Archive for February, 2006
There’s a lot of confusion about Windows Vista these days. Many online discussion forums have a great number of users who express no desire to upgrade to Vista.
ExtremeTech pulls it all together and tell you why they’re excited about Vista with a list of what’s new and improved in Microsoft’s next generation OS and why you should care about it.
read more | digg story
The Virtual Earth team has launched a preview of a new feature that they have been working on – interactive Street-side browsing. You can try it out at http://preview.local.live.com Street-side imagery allows you to drive around a city looking at the world around you as if you were in a car. But unlike the real world, you can stop your car anywhere you like and rotate your view around 360degrees. Currently they have street-side imagery for San Francisco and Seattle online, and they are planning to have many more cities added when we formally integrate this feature into Windows Live Local this summer.
Here is a channel 9 video on the Street-Side view.
“World Wind lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there.”… and it’s open source!
read more | digg story
Microsoft Visual Studio Code Name “Orcas” Community Technology Preview – Development Tools for WinFX
Download details: Microsoft Visual Studio Code Name “Orcas” Community Technology Preview – Development Tools for WinFX®: “The Microsoft Visual Studio Code Name “Orcas” Community Technology Preview – Development Tools for WinFX® (CTP) provides developers with support for building WinFX applications using the final released version of Visual Studio 2005. This support includes XAML Intellisense support through schema extensions for the editor, project templates for the Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly code named “Avalon”) and the Windows Communication Foundation (formerly code named “Indigo”), and WinFX SDK documentation integration. This CTP contains a preview of the Visual Designer for Windows Presentation Foundation (code name ‘Cider’), more information can be found on the Channel 9 Wiki site for Cider. This CTP does not include a graphical design surface for the Windows Communication Foundation. “
Since the release of SQL Server 2005, I have been really impressed with Microsoft’s focus on Business intelligence and E.T.L. The only problem that I had was finding books and training theses new tools and features. I found some great resources at conferences, Microsoft Webcasts, and on sites like SQLIS.com.
If you want to learn about theses and other Microsoft technologies, Microsoft’s On-Demand Webcasts is a great way to do it. I spend hours every week viewing webcasts to learn and get ideas how to best leverage this tool set. There is always new content, so you will not run out of opportunities to learn. Here are a few of my favorite webcasts on these subjects from Microsoft:
Intelligent Applications Powered by SQL Server 2005 Data Mining
Introduction to Analysis Services 2005
Report Authoring Tips and Tricks
Developing a Model for Report Builder and End-user Report Authoring
Beyond ETL: Using SQL Server 2005 Integration Services to Integrate Non-Standard Data Sources and Destinations
Data Cleansing Applications with SQL Server Integration Services
Building SQL Server Integration Services Packages
Find more webcasts and information at: SQL Server Developer Center.
Two good books on SQL Server Integration Services are:
The Rational Guide to Scripting SQL Server 2005 Integration Services Beta Preview
Professional SQL Server 2005 Integration Services (Programmer to Programmer)
So today Microsoft officially flipped the switch on the buzz machine for their Origami Project — an atypical viral marketing manuveur for a company whose products are usually known about years ahead of time. Scoble says its a device, the Internet’s lighting up with rumors — is it the Xbox portable? Well, we dunno, but as usual got our hands on some pictures. And as usual we can’t guarantee they’re the real deal, though we are pretty confident in their source. So, let’s go over it: these were sent to us detailing it as a Microsoft portable media player, which wouldn’t be too far off from what Jobs and BusinessWeek both prophesied Microsoft doing (despite being pretty broadly denied from within).
This link is to the video in mpg format, you should use “save as”
Business Intelligence in Excel 2007: “Is there any business intelligence out there? Mike Arcuri, group program manager on the business intelligence team shows off Excel 12′s new features for looking at how your business is doing. You’ll never look at pivot tables the same way again.”
EvokeTV is an interesting new way to look through TV listings using Ajax. Not only does it have the listings for thousands of areas, it also gives you the show’s synopsis in a nice little sidebar. Add some nice Ajax gloss, and you have a great tool for channel surfing (or BitTorrent downloading)
read more | digg story
Over the next few posts, I am going to share some of my favorite features in Microsoft Office 2007, formerly Office 12, that are really blowing my socks off.
Microsoft’s site states, “The 2007 Microsoft Office release, available by the end of 2006, is an integrated system of programs, servers, and services that will help you meet your business and personal needs. Work more efficiently, stay organized, and more easily collaborate and share information using the security-enhanced 2007 Microsoft Office system.”
My son, who is a big World of Warcraft player, looked over my shoulder while I was in Word 2007. He said, “Whooh duuude thats soo cool.” You know the interface is hot when a gamer appreciates it. I have been using Word since 1.0 and this is a totally new experience. The new Ribbon bar and Command Tabs, Contextual Command Tabs, and a million little things make creating really great documents very easy.
The rest of the Office suite rocks too, I will tell you more about that later.
A scan of the March 2006 issue of Official Xbox Magazine reveals “that a DirecTV blade might be added to your Xbox 360 Dashboard to accompany the Xbox Live, Games, Media, and System blades. In that blade, you could download TV episodes in high definition, HD movies on demand, and standard-definition streaming DVR (i.e., TiVo) functions.”
read more | digg story
Windows Defender (Beta 2) is a free program that helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance, and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software. It features Real-Time Protection, a monitoring system that recommends actions against spyware when it’s detected, and a new streamlined interface that minimizes interruptions and helps you stay productive. I have had it installed for several months, and it works like a charm.
PocketDigg.com is a light weight site designed specifically for mobile devices. It aggregates news and RSS feeds from sites across the web in real time. These sites include Digg, USA Today, CNet, Google News, AP Wire, BoingBoing, and more. It also has pages dedicated to Pocket PC, Blackberry, PSP, Microsoft, Apple, and more are coming online. So just point your Pocket PC, Palm, Windows Mobile phone, or your PSP to www.PocketDigg.com.
I have been using the xv6700 for a few weeks now, and I thought I post a quck review. I just upgraded from the xv6600 and I love this Pocket PC phone.
• Smaller and easier to handle
• One handed operation much easier
• Windows Mobile 5 is very cool.
• Auto rotation for slide out keyboard.
• USB Charger
• Extra wall charger cable
• Great Resolution
• Bluetooth feature works better with hands free devices then 6600
• Notification popups are very nice
• Quality of phone calls is improved from the 6600.
• GREAT KEYBOARD. For such a small PDA phone, the keyboard is great. Big improvement over the 6600.
• Stylist stays in much better. The one in the 6600 keeps falling out.
• Power Point and New camera apps are great additions.
• WiFi is a great additional feature and easy to use.
• Super Cool looks. This is my first PDA phone that my wife has not made fun of me for. She even think its cute.
• Using keyboard numbers and special characters much more intuitive.
• Media Player much improved.
• Camera resolution is much better.
• Wireless sync rocks. It is easy to setup and is rock solid.
• Keyboard does not slides out so smoothly.
• Smaller screen is harder to see than the 6600
• Some apps will not install on WM5
• Phone does not slide on cradle smoothly. It can take some fumbling to get it in.
• Speaker on 6700 for listening to recordings aloud is not as good as the 6600.
• Does not have the Calendar or Contact button. I find myself going to Start button more, and then going to these programs.
• Keyboard backlight is less useful than it could be. I see the glow of the letters just fine, but can not read them all.
• Black finish leaves all kinds of prints and finger marks. The Sprint silver version does not show as many prints.
• Can be slow at times. I was hoping for a little speed boost.
• Head phone jack is on the bottom. When I have it im my Nutshell case, I have to put it in upside down.
• Minisd is more expensive, and I could not use my current 1 gig sd card.
• I could not get the WiFi on with out turning off my phone connection. This is a real pain, since I can not receive calls when surfing on a WiFi connection.
• I would like to be able to remove the bar on the bottom of the screen for the soft keys when in landscape. It takes a lot of real estate.
• Joystick sticks up just a little high making it snag in pockets and my Nutshell belt case from time to time.
• The delay on the camera button is a little annoying.
Bottom line is that I love it, much more like a phone than other PDAs that I have used. I would defiantly recommend this to anyone who uses a PDA.
Column from PC Magazine: Will Apple Adopt Windows?: “This would be the most phenomenal turnabout in the history of desktop computing. There’s just one fly in the ointment. “