A few things you can download to make Windows Mobile a little better:
Web Viewer is a free add-on for Pocket Internet Explorer that adds tabbed browsing and changes around the UI to make it better (something sorely needed on that way dated browser). It also remembers closed tabs so you can get them back, as well as typed URLS, plus it has full screen viewing and source code viewing.
SPB’s Pocket Plus isn’t free, but it adds a lot of cool stuff for just $30 (with a money-back guarantee). You get tabbed browsing, fast search in IE, ZIP support, file encryption, storage card formatting, and file properties info. What’s really cool, though, is that it adds kinetic scrolling so you can scroll up and down just by flicking your fingers, and you can do it in the web browser as well as on lists (like the contact list, emails and stuff like that).
Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP has been released with some minor updates, and missing one major thing: A Windows Genuine Advantage Check. Microsoft has removed the anti-piracy tool, so that users running non-Genuine versions of Windows can still install IE7.
Microsoft decided that it was more important for pirates to have the heightened security of IE7 than to discourage pirates by sticking them with the old software. Many of Microsoft’s software updates require a WGA check so that pirates can’t use them, but the threat of botnets of zombie computers infected because of an insecure IE6 was so serious, Microsoft removed the piracy check. Good for them, and good for everyone, since IE7 is a pretty good upgrade.
Microsoft has settled its patent dispute with Eolas, ending eight years of litigation. The dispute was over the patent that makes Eolas such a successful patent troll, one for invoking external applications in a web browser, one that Eolas won once over Microsoft with a $521 million judgement that was never fulfilled.
Microsoft altered Internet Explorer to avoid Eolas’ patent (which is why you have to click to activate an ActiveX) control, plus Microsoft may have found a way to beat Eolas back in May of this year. According to Wikipedia, Microsoft was awarded a patent with almost the same wording as Eolas’, prompting the Patent Office to open arguments that Microsoft owned Eolas’ patent.
The circumstances of the case almost guarantee Microsoft paid less to settle this than the $521 million 2003 judgement. I would not be surprised if Eolas, eager to avoid losing its big patent, settled for considerably less. Microsoft will only say it paid $60-72 a share, but no one knows how many shares exist.
Microsoft has launched a new website, Tafiti.com, that delivers Windows Live Search in a Silverlight interface. Tafiti, swahili for “do research” or “to search”, is more of an expirement, showing the cool applications and UI that are possible with Silverlight, but it is fully functional, with Live Search, including web search, books search, blog search, news search, and image search. It appears that you have to uninstall the Silverlight 1.1 alpha and re-install the 1.0 Release Candidate to make it run (that’s not getting annoying).
You can drag searches over to the areas on the right side, then, share them with others or your other PCs (or Macs). Each search stacks on a card above the last one. Tafiti uses some pretty cool animation, only possible with Silverlight. There’s a really cool carousel that rotates among search types. The news search uses a very cool newspaper style view.
There’s also this cool tree view, that shows items from the search on a rotating tree. It’s good for a screensaver, and can be clicked to run full screen.
Microsoft’s HD Photo Format To Be Standardized As JPEG XR
First it was Windows Media Photo, then HD Photo. Now, Microsoft’s high powered image format is set to become an industry standard, literally the next JPEG, as the Joint Photographic Expert’s Group is working to to make it so under the new name, JPEG XR (eXtended Range). JPEG XR will become the next generation image format, available under an open license to everyone, allowing for a a ton more color information to be saved by the camera. It should prove a great alternative to camera RAW by actually being a standard (RAW is different from every camera manufacturer, sometimes every model).
Microsoft Blames The Family For Xbox Fire That Killed Baby
Microsoft issued its first response to a lawsuit that blames it in the death in fire of a baby. The family of the child is suing Microsoft, claiming that the power supply of the original Xbox overheated, sparked the wiring and started the fire at the house in Warsas, Illinois. Despite the fact that Microsoft recalled all Xbox 360 power adapters due to fire concerns, they are fighting, and said in their statement:
The losses “were the result of an open, obvious, and apparent condition which was known to and recognized by the plaintiff and/or others who, nevertheless, knowingly, willingly, intentionally, and voluntarily exposed themselves to said danger and assumed the risk of incident, injuries, losses, and damages,” Microsoft charges.
Considering the number of families misusing power strips, I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft has enough evidence to support its side. Still, considering the obvious fire problems the power supply had, as well as the fact that the family is just seeking damages in excess of $50,000, maybe it’d be easier to just pay them off?
Massachusetts Relents, Accepts Open XML
Massachusetts has backed off from its plans to become an OpenDocument-only user, accepting both ODF and Microsoft Office’s Open XML as acceptable file formats. The state had been moving its IT towards what it called standards, and did not consider Office, despite being the best-selling and most widespread file format, a standard, but Microsoft’s moves to get Open XML standardized have satisfied them, finally. Part of the push to keep using Office came from disability groups, which require Office’s disability features.
It was all well and good for Mass. to try and push standards in order to make government documents more accessible, but they got sidetracked with the ODF vs. Office thing early on as it turned into a political statement. It stopped being about accessibility and started being about hurting the “evil corporation”, Microsoft, and that’s a stupid way to run a business or a government. If someone wants to use ODF, use it if it is superior or if your constituents support it, not to make a statement and use a format no one else is using.
A CompTIA survey of IT professionals has named Microsoft’s Internet Explorer the most influential technology product of the last 25 years. Not only did Microsoft take the top spot, it won or tied all of the top four spots, with Microsoft Word in second, Windows 95 third, and Excel fourth (tied with Apple’s iPod). IE, Word and Excel certainly aren’t as sexy as a tiny music player, but their impact on the industry is undeniable, and this survey reflects that.
The Hotfix says that they have been told to expect the first beta of Internet Explorer 8 to ship around the same time the beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 does, sometime near the end of the year, or a little after SP1 ships. The IE8 beta will be released both for Windows XP and Windows Vista, although there will be differences between the versions.
Apple released Safari for Windows a week ago, and it looks like they maybe should have waited a little longer.
Let us count the ways:
Compiler benchmarked Safari against Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox2, and the results didn’t look great for the Apple browser. Safari wound up in last place opening a message in Gmail, last place logging into Gmail, and two seconds slower than Firefox in Google Calendar.
If you didn’t like Safari’s blurry fonts, you’ll hate when it spits out gobbledygook because you have different language settings than English. Take a look at the messed up screenshot Amit Agarwal took, and fixing the damn thing isn’t fun or sometimes easy.
Apple put out a press release, proclaiming 1 million downloads in the first two days. Considering the millions following the WWDC, the AP coverage, the blog posts, news articles in every publication on the planet, one million could be a little low. I’m shocked Apple would brag about downloads so soon, when there may not be a lot of pickup in the weeks and months to come. Typically, these sort of things get a ton of downloads in the first day or two, then taper off unless they are a hit. Nothing we’ve heard indicates Safari is taking off with users, so maybe Apple should have curbed its enthusiasm. Claim 1 million in two days, and if you can’t claim 8 million in a month, you’ve wasted everyone’s time. Does anything indicate that will actually happen?
Completely missed in all the talk at Mix about Silverlight, Microsoft’s amazing development platform for rich applications, is the news that Silverlight is coming to the excellent Opera browser. Opera, which I use and love, is known for having some of the best web standards support of any browser and amazing features not available in any other browser, would be an amazing platform for running Silverlight applications, and the release would guarantee Silverlight compatibility on the top four browsers (IE/Firefox/Opera/Safari) and top operating systems (Windows Vista/XP/2003/2000 and Mac OS X Tiger/Leopard), covering probably over 90% of the market.
Note that I mentioned Windows 2000. Silverlight doesn’t support it right now, but it will, just like it is going to support Opera. I can’t wait to be able to run Silverlight in Opera, since it would eliminate many reasons for loading up IE. With IE8 moving towards web standards, and websites having to follow it there, all sites will eventually run as intended on Opera, and that’s great for everybody, even those on other browsers.
IE7 Pro is an amazing add-on for Internet Explorer 7 (and IE6) that lets you change all sorts of crazy stuff in IE. What can you change?
Double-click to close tabs
Open new tabs from address bar
Crash recovery to save all open tabs if the browser dies on you
Move IE menu bar above address bar, like it used to be
Get rid of search bar
Ad blocking (Flash, rich media, ones that fly around the screen, pop-ups/unders
Drag and drop to open links, search, save photos
Save web page as image
Greasemonkey user script-like functionality
And that’s just a partial list! Check it out at IE7Pro.com and wonder how you ever lived without it. Now, if I could move the tab bar to the side of the browser like in Opera, I might even consider switching browsers.
The anticipated Internet Explorer session at Mix 07, while not containing a preview of IE8, did contain a good amount of details about the direction IE is heading, and some of what you can expect when IE8 hits next year.
The most interesting info centers on web standards. According to Mary Jo Foley’s report of the session, IE8 will encourage web designers to create websites that adhere to web standards, and allow them to opt-in to a standards mode if they meet that criteria. Microsoft doesn’t want to be accused of breaking web pages anymore, by no longer supporting problems from older versions of IE, so if more pages are standards-based, the responsibility for breaking web pages rests with developers, not IE.
Wilson said to expect Microsoft to be investing across layout, object model and Ajax development fronts in IE 8.0. Specificially, Wilson said Microsoft is investing in making IE 8.0 more compliant with CSS 2.1 layout standards. Microsoft also is working to make the IE 8.0 object model more interoperable with that used by other browsers, and is looking to provide more client-side application programming interfaces (APIs) to support local storage for mash-ups, Wilson said.
Good for them. If IE is standards compliant, and all other browsers hopefully will be as well, then browsers can compete on interface and features, not how they render pages, and pages can be expected to work the same way everywhere.
Lifehacker has a hugely helpful Registry fix that allows Internet Explorer 7 to have unlimited simultaneous downloads. See, IE7 only allows you to download two files at once, and makes you sit around like a dope waiting for one to finish before it allows you another. By changing this Registry key, you can increase that amount to unlimited, letting you download as you damn well please.
The Registry key is located at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings, you need to create a new 32-bit DWORD called MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server, set the value to 3, then create another DWORD called MaxConnectionsPerServer and again set it to 3. That’s it. Enjoy!
Softpedia is reporting that Microsoft will give the world its first preview of Internet Explorer 8, the next version of Microsoft Windows’ web browser, at next week’s Mix ’07 event. At some point during the event, to be held Monday through Wednesday, IE program manager Chris Wilson will present a general preview of the software, which is still in the alpha stage and being dogfooded by Microsoft employees.
I haven’t heard much specific about IE8, but there is one thing I can tell you for sure: Microformats are going to be a big part of IE8′s new capabilities.
(via Red Pepper > Digg)
IE7 Past, Present, and Future
Speaker(s): Chris Wilson – Microsoft
Audience(s): Business Decision Maker, Designer, Developer
Hear from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 team about the journey from mea culpa to broad market acceptance. Hear what went right, what had to be cut, and how development priorities are set. Also, understand what Microsoft’s browser investments mean to you, and make sure you get a voice in shaping the next version of Internet Explorer. Hear about what features and layout issues are being worked on, and let us know what causes you the most problems.
Don’t miss that session, I would advise.
UPDATE: I should have looked at the IE blog, where they say they will not be getting into specifics of IE8 at Mix 07, that it is too early for that. However, they will be discussing lessons learned from IE7, lessons that will be applied to IE8. Based on what I heard asking around, don’t expect IE8 at Mic. If it did happen, it would be a surprise. However, it should be a very interesting session and provide insight into the IE team’s thought process developing IE8.
We will have more information to share about the next release in the future, but MIX07 is too early yet to discuss specifics.
IE7: Past, Present and Future with Chris Wilson
Iâ€™ve been on the IE team since IE 2.0, so I know a bit about the ins and outs of Internet Explorer. In this session Iâ€™ll be talking about the road from IE6 to IE7 â€“ the vision of the release, how we set priorities, and more importantly, how we deal with the challenge of serving 500 million users. There were many lessons learned, and Iâ€™ll talk about how weâ€™ll take those lessons forward into future releases of Internet Explorer.
There’s a problem businesses are facing in Washington State: the state’s electronic filing system, UIFastTax, has compatibility problems with Vista, making filing with the software impossible and requiring less convenient offline filing. Not only that, but MSN internet users can’t login either. Pretty ridiculous that a tech-savvy state as Washington, Microsoft’s home state, wouldn’t understand the risks of software that doesn’t work everywhere, and not provide web-based software instead.
One option for those who have Vista but need to run this software: Virtualization. Microsoft has updated its virtual Windows XP images, now offering two breeds, one with Internet Explorer 7, the other IE6. Use one of those, and your tax software should do just fine.
Are you a paranoid parent? Do you want to keep tabs on your kids, instead of talking to them and parenting? Well, you may have noticed that your kid is pretty smart, and knows how to cover his tracks by deleting the browser’s search history before you can see where he’s been.
Luckily, this MSDN forum thread explains how you can disable the ability to access the options page which allows deleting of the search history. Here’s how:
Open the Start Menu and Click “Run” (in Windows Vista, just open the Start Menu and start typing. Alternatively, you can hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and press “R”)
Type “gpedit.msc” and hit Enter
Browse through the folders in the left pane to: Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Internet Explorer -> Internet Control Panel
Double-click “Disable the General page”
Click “Enabled” and click OK
That should do it. Now you can read your kid’s search history and find out that your kid isn’t looking up porn, he just hates you, because you’re too invasive. Whoops.
No, seriously, this is pretty useful. I don’t believe parents should snoop on their kids, but the kids shouldn’t have full access to cover their tracks on the family computer. With that in mind, if you make your kid an administrator, you really are an idiot.
Microsoft has released a new version of its free Virtual PC image of Windows XP SP2 with Internet Explorer 6. The VPC image is designed to help web designers see what their sites look like on that sort of system, since most XP computers have moved over to Internet Explorer 7. The image is free, and thus a free way to run Windows XP in a virtual machine, but is time-bombed to stop working on July 23, 2007. Luckily, they have said they will release a new image right before it expires, just like they promised last time, and obviously, they’ve delivered.
Aaron Stebner has posted about some particularly thorny issues with installing MSN Remote Record on 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. Turns out Vista x64 has two versions of Internet Explorer 7, one 32-bit and one 64-bit, and the two have different ways of announcing themselves to websites. To demonstrate, these are the user strings websites read when visited by the two browsers in Vista x64:
32-bit: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; WOW64; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.04506)
64-bit: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; Win64; x64; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; SLCC1; Media Center PC 5.0)
As you can see, only the 64-bit version has Media Center listed. This means that webpages, downloads and web applications that use Media Center are going to think you are running a version of Windows that does not have Media Center, and if they require that, not let you through (also, the 64-bit does not mention .NET 3.0, even though it is installed).
If you are running Vista 64, download Robert McLaws’ Registry fix that balances the two user strings, making sure they both have accurate and full data. Seems like a pretty stupid mistake for Microsoft to make, and not even the only one facing Remote Record on x64, as Aaron explains in the rest of his post.
Long Zheng has done a mockup of what Windows Vista would be named if the Windows Live team named it. It’s a bit complicated, but I think it comes out to:
Microsoft Windows Live XP 07 for Workgroup PCs Plus! Ultimate Extras “N” built on NT and XP technologies (32-bit and 64-bit edition) with advanced security & Internet Explorer [Tablet PC and Media Center enabled]
In other words: Microsoft’s shortest product name in years!
Funny stuff, but even worse is that Stefan Ventura has calculated that Windows Live Hotmail will have 59 letters in its name by 2018, making it the most sophistocated brand on the market.
You gotta love this Microsoft website, which asks you some questions and tells you which Microsoft Office product you are. I thought I was Powerpoint, but it turns out I’m Microsoft Word. Cool stuff. Guess it makes sense that if you write for a living, you should be Word.
(via Inside Office Online)
The IE blog announces that they’ve recorded over 100 million computers that have installed Internet Explorer 7. They also say that WebSideStory is tracking that 25% of all U.S. web visits are through IE7, making it the second most popular browser in the country, after IE6. All this without Windows Vista, and not bad, considering all-time Firefox reports 286,294,781 downloads, while IE7 has recorded 100,000,000 in just two months.