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News For April 2, 2008

Ribbon Joining Windows 7 User Interface
The Office Ribbon, one of Microsoft biggest software design innovations of recent years, is getting promoted to Windows. The Office UI element will be built into the Windows 7 platform, available for all software developers to access and use in their applications. Quite the vote of confidence, but when you’ve got something good, you should spread it around. Read more about it at Long’s blog.

Xbox Does April Fools Joke
Microsoft’s Xbox division sent out an email to all users, informing them of new products from Xbox. They included a wireless helmet, Xbox: The Board Game, a wood-paneled Xbox, and a weather-proof portable Xbox. Also for April Fools Day, Long Zheng “revealed” the lost Windows Vista sounds, uploaded as a collection of Windows 98 sound packs.

Windows Mobile 6.1 Official Launched
At CTIA, Microsoft officially showed off the long talked about Windows Mobile 6.1 update. It includes a new version of the mobile Internet Explorer browser, complete with support for Adobe Flash, Silverlight, H.264. There’s also a new Getting Started Center, the ability to handle more things from the home screen, better touch screen and small screen UI features and other updates.

Microsoft Videos Launching
Microsoft has launched a beta preview of Microsoft Videos, a new Silverlight-powered video site that collects the many videos Microsoft creates. Whether you’re an IT pro or developers looking for technical videos, or a gamer looking for video game videos, or a consumer looking for videos about the latest software and Media Center stuff, it’s all there are running in glorious Silverlight.

40% Of Vista Crashes By Major Graphics Chips
Proof is out that it is the graphics processor industry that is ruining computing. Data from Microsoft shows that 40% of crashes in Windows Vista were caused by graphics drivers from ATI and NVidia, with 75% of those NVidia’s fault. Since Vista was released, those two companies have been the most negligient in serving their customers with decent drivers, and everyone is suffering as a result. I wish Intel got serious about graphics, because ATI and NVidia have lost any goodwill they had with me an many other users.

April 2nd, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows Mobile, Developers, Silverlight, Mobile, Seven, Vista, Corporate, Windows, Humor, Xbox, Office, Applications | no comments



News For March 18, 2008

Here’s some stuff going on today or recently:

Novell Free To Sue Over Long-Dead WordPerfect
The Supreme Court has ruled to allow Novell to go ahead and sue Microsoft for alleged antitrust infractions involving WordPerfect, which Novell sold 12 years ago. Novell is complaining that Microsoft used its Windows monopoly to depress sales of WordPerfect, resulting in the product dropiing in value from $1.2 billion in 1994 to $170 million in 1996. Novell only owned WordPerfect for two years, and much of the failures of WordPerfect that allowed Microsoft Word to trounce it in the marketplace occured before they bought the product, but the case is apparently strong enough to go trial. We’ll see if it’s strong enough to actually win.

OneCare Gets Marketing Campaign
Microsoft has a new marketing slogan for Windows Live OneCare, its all-in-one security suite. The tagline is, “Don’t Worry, We Took OneCare Of It” and the ads typically featuring some nasty virus it “took OneCare” of. You have to read it a few times before the sentence makes sense, but the ads are cute. I’m pretty sure I saw one of these ads in the Post yesterday.

Flash Coming To Windows Mobile
Microsoft has licensed Adobe Flash for Windows Mobile. Specifically, Adobe Flash Lite will be built into Internet Explorer Mobile in future versions of WinMobile as a plugin, so webpages with Flash should, for the most part, work as intended. That means full YouTube for Windows Mobile users, even as Apple complains that Flash doesn’t work on its devices. Boo hoo. I’d look forward to seeing Flash in Windows Mobile 7, but that’s pure speculation.

Become a Windows Mobile Fan on Facebook
Facebook has a feature that lets you become a fan of entertainers, celebrities or politicians, but apparently you can be a fan of a product as well. You can now become a fan of Windows Mobile and show your love for the platform. I’m in. Just head here while signed in to Facebook and click “Become a Fan”.

Live Spaces Loses 15% Of Visitors
Windows Live Spaces, Microsoft’s once high-flying social network/blogging platform, slipped badly in the last year. It’s still technically the biggest blogging platform around, but it failed to keep up with MySpace and Facebook, its real competitors, losing 15% of its unique visitors in the U.S. in the last 12 months. Live Spaces lost 1.4 million unique visitors, coming half a million of LinkedIn, which rose 271% last year. Guess the buzz on Live Spaces is over, and Microsoft has some work to do to keep the rest from leaving.

Bill Gates on Running A Good Startup
A student at the University of Waterloo stood up and asked a question of Bill Gates during a roundtable breakfast at the University (no, it was not a Q&A session, she just really wanted to ask), wondering how he had the courage to start Microsoft at 17. Gates answer says a lot about how he values his employees, and could be a good lesson for startups.

At 17 I didn’t have much to lose. I promised my parents that I would go back to university if things didn’t pan out. But I did worry about all those people who had spouses and children. They depended on the business succeeding. That’s what worried me at night. So I made sure that I had enough money in the bank to pay everyone’s salary for a year if none of my customers came through. That’s how I got through it. Eventually there came a time, though, when we needed to hire 30 people, and that was a real crisis. I really didn’t want to expand without a financial safety net in place. Ultimately, I compromised and said yes, go ahead and hire. But I want to know immediately when the increased revenues offset the costs of paying everyone a year’s salary … that way I could sleep again.

March 18th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows Mobile, OneCare, Adobe, Mobile, Bill Gates, Live, Corporate, Security, Law, Windows, Spaces, Word, Applications | one comment

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Silverlight For Mobile On The Way

Here are two videos from Mix 08 about Silverlight For Mobile, coming soon to Windows Mobile (probably the second quarter of this year) and demo’d at Mix. You’ll need Silverlight to watch them:


Mobile Social Networking with Silverlight 2


Weather Beyond the Browser with WeatherBug

March 16th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Mobile, Silverlight, Windows Mobile, Developers | one comment

Asus Windows Mobile 6 PDA, Just $260

Buy.com has the Asus MyPal A626 Windows Mobile 6 PDA for just $254 with free shipping. Amazon.com has it for $260, also with free shipping, useful if you’ve got some Amazon gift certificates to get a nice PDA at a good price.

The processor isn’t spectacular, just a 312 MHz Marvell XScale processor, but the PDA has b/g wifi, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, a large 3.5-inch QVGA touchscreen (again, a dissapointing 240×320 resolution), a 1200 mAh battery, 128 MB ROM, 64 MB SDRAM, and an SD/MMC card slot. It doesn’t have a keyboard, and it isn’t a phone, but if you want a straight WinMobile PDA and a regular small phone, the price is decent.
(via Ben’s Bargains)

Some other Windows Mobile PDAs: The HP iPAQ hx2495 is $380, the GPS-equipped Pharos 535e Traveler is $312, HP’s other iPAQ, the 2795, is $475, the glofiish M800 from E-TEN is $754, another HP iPAQ, the HX2700, is $510, the Asus P527 is $575.

March 13th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Mobile, Windows Mobile | 2 comments

Silverlight Coming To Nokia Phones

Microsoft has announced yet another platform will be receiving a plugin to support playback of Silverlight content, this time Silverlight will be on Nokia phones. The Nokia S60 web browser for Symbian OS phones will support Silverlight when the plugin is released later this year. Nokia Series 40 phones and internet tablets will get Silverlight some time after that, and a Windows Mobile version of Silverlight is expected around the same time.

Perhaps this could be how Silverlight truly one-ups Adobe Flash. While Flash is ubiquitous, support for Flash on mobile devices is a mixed bag, ranging from poor to non-existant. If Microsoft can get Silverlight on a lot more phones than Adobe can manage for Flash, that might prove too tempting for web developers to ignore.

March 5th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Mobile, Adobe, Silverlight, Windows Mobile, Developers | no comments

Windows Mobile Phones Sell 14 Million in Six Months

Microsoft announced at the Mobile World Congress that it sold 14.3 million Windows Mobile phones in the last six months, thanks to breakout hit devices from Samsung and HTC. By contrast, Apple sold 4 million iPhones in its first 6 1/2 months, and is expected to sell 8.5 million the first year, 4.5 million in the same next six months Windows Mobile expects to sell 20 million.

While this fight is far from decided, it’s curious how, on the one hand, Apple is getting outsold by Windows Mobile at least 3 to 1, and on the other hand, you’ve got Canalys claiming Apple has 28% market share to Microsoft’s 21%. Remind me to never believe a word Canalys says again (who are they, anyway?).
(via Engadget)

February 27th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Mobile, Windows Mobile, Apple | 4 comments



MP3 Alarm Software For Windows Mobile

“shiv” posted a neat little piece of software for Windows Mobile devices. MP3 Alarm.NET does one thing, and does it well; it plays any MP3 or WMA file, or a Media Player playlist, at a time of your choosing, acting as an alarm clock with your favorite songs or podcasts. Download the free program from SkyDrive.

February 27th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Mobile, Windows Mobile | no comments

Calculate Your Windows Mobile Total Cost of Ownership

Windows Mobile TCO graph

Microsoft and Alinean have built the Windows Mobile Messaging TCO Tool, a website that takes some information about your business and tells you how much you would pay to implement Windows Mobile for mobile messaging versus how much the same setup would cost with a BlackBerry system. The tool takes into account the cost of devices and software, the amount of service desk time that would be required, and other costs.

Windows Mobile TCO chart

You can see a sample company I computed above. The Windows Mobile setup came out to $800 per employee per year, while the BlackBerry cost $1230. Annoyingly, the big differences came lumped under the “Other” category, with $85,863 being allocated to Mobile Messaging Device Support and Maintenance Contracts for the BB, and none for WinMo, as Microsoft considers those costs part of the Exchange contract.

Look at the numbers above or try out the tool and compare to your own experience. Is the tool giving both sides a fair shake, or is it biased or making bad assumptions? Let me know what you find.

I think I’m obligated to point out the the iPhone’s total cost of ownership calculation is simple: Cost of iPhone plus cost of Windows Mobile or BlackBerry, since the iPhone’s enterprise offerings are still undelivered.
(via Jason Langridge)

January 30th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Mobile, Windows Mobile | no comments

Gates Demo Featured “Pivot” Interface?

WMExperts is saying that in Bill Gates CES keynote, you could see a pivot interface running on one of the demo phones, not unlike the pivots used in the leaked Windows Mobile 7. Now, we know Windows Mobile 6.1 might be using pivots as well, so don’t be surprised if that was it, but it’s still interesting to see Windows Mobile UI that hasn’t been announced yet, no matter what version it’s from.

January 10th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Mobile, Windows Mobile | no comments

Video: Bill Gates Mobile Navigator

ZDNet extracted this video from the keynote Bill Gates gave at CES Sunday night, showing the mobile navigator Gates demoed. Take a look:

Getting a better look at it now, you can see what they did. The device in Gates’ hand was most likely a camera connected by cable to a computer, or it was the full system in a box just outputting video of its final result. Gates really did shoot the video live, and the navigator software did process it in real-time, then Microsoft placed the video inside an image of a cell phone, which is why when the video is shaky in Gates hand, the background doesn’t shake behind it.

The main thing is that, in all appearances, Microsoft did have a technology that worked successfully in real-time. Now they just have to reduce the size of the device and expand the number of objects it can recognize, and it’ll be an amazing addition to Windows Mobile devices and maybe even regular PCs.
(via the Virtual Earth blog)

January 10th, 2008 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Mobile, Windows Mobile | no comments

Mobile Live Maps Improved

Microsoft has improved the browser-based mobile version of Live Maps, adding better detailed and navigatable maps, one-click directions for businesses and street addresses, details/photos/reviews of businesses you search for, as well as movie show times, traffic and maps in Search. Take a look at these screenshots from the Virtual Earth blog, or point your phone at m.live.com:

December 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Mobile, Maps, Live, Windows, Search | no comments