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Microsoft Releases ASP.NET AJAX Framework

Posted in Microsoft,News by Paul Patterson on January 24th, 2007

Microsoft Releases AJAX FrameworkMicrosoft was announced the formal release of its ASP.NET AJAX framework. Formerly known under the code-name “Atlas”, the framework allows developers to create more sophisticated Web interfaces.

ASP.NET AJAX is a free framework and is intended to work with Microsoft’s ASP.NET 2.0 platform and Visual Studio 2005 development environment.

Ajax or Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, is a popular web development technique for creating web pages that are more interactive and behave more like a traditional windowed application. The darling of Web 2.0 websites, the technology is intended to make web pages feel more responsive by limiting the need to “reload” the web page each time the user requests a change.

Microsoft will now need to convince Web developers to make the painful switch to its Ajax framework vs. sticking to one of current popular solutions like Script.aculo.us or Ajax.net.

ASP.NET AJAX is available …

Microsoft Extends Windows XP Support Beyond 2010

Posted in Microsoft,News,Windows by Chris Weber on January 24th, 2007

microsoft will continue support of windows xp home past 2010Microsoft has announced that it will extend its free support period for Windows XP. The Redmond Washington software giant had originally planned to discontinue free support in January of 2009. Microsoft said the support period applied specifically to the Home edition of Windows XP.

Windows 98 and ME just ended their supported life in July of 2006. Microsoft has a history of extending the support life of products based on customer demand. Windows 98 support was supposed to end in January of 2004. Microsoft decided to extend the support period by about two years due to the popularity of the operating system.

In the industry support contracts are often a major factor for IT management deciding to upgrade software. Microsoft may use the initial support date announcement to spur adaption of its latest …

Coming to Europe Zune

Posted in Microsoft,News,Zune by Darrin Olson on January 20th, 2007

Microsoft Zune could be coming to Europe in late 2007.Reuters has recently reported that the Zune, Microsoft’s media player which launched in the US in November, could be launching for European customers before the end of 2007 but Microsoft is not ready to make the announcement official quite yet.

According to Jason Reindorp, Zune marketing director at Microsoft, they understand the competition they are up against with the Apple iPod, and ready to face the challenges. “You couldn’t get a more entrenched competitor,” he said at the annual music industry Midem Net conference in France. “But we feel really good about the first steps that we’ve taken.”

The Zune from Microsoft is a 30 GB digital media player that features some wireless functionality to share pictures, music, and video between devices, as well as a built in FM-tuner.

“The industry moves in this sort of Christmas …

HP MediaSmart Server

Posted in HP,Microsoft,NAS,Storage by Chris Weber on January 20th, 2007

hp media smart serverOne of the few notable moments in Bill Gates‘s yawn-worthy opening keynote address was the official introduction of Windows Home Server, a version of Windows designed specifically for devices like HP‘s MediaSmart Server. Added to a home network (which can include PCs and Xboxes), it will perform automatic backups, share files to every device on the network, and allow access to your stuff from any Internet-connected machine, all features previously reserved for high-end commercial networks, available in your humble abode later this year.

The HP MediaSmart Server uses Microsoft Windows Home Server as its operating system. As previously stated access to your network is easy to setup so you can get to your home files from anywhere. Want to share your photos with Grandma and Grandpa without posting them to a public web site? The MediaSmart server can do that. …

Technology Companies Develop Human Rights Principles

Posted in Google,Microsoft,News,Yahoo by Darrin Olson on January 20th, 2007

Technology companies work together to develop human rights principles agreement.Four of the leading technology companies in the world have come together to announce an agreement along with human rights groups for a working set of principles addressing freedom of expression and human rights.

Google, Microsoft, Vodafone and Yahoo along with the Berkman Center, Business for Social Responsibility, the Electric Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch and Reporters without Borders among others were all involved in the creating the code of conduct, which is designed to hold the participants responsible in these areas. There would still be a number of questions involved with this agreement, the largest of which is the deterrent to keep companies in line with the agreement.

This agreement comes after multiple technology companies being scrutinized for providing hardware or software that allows the government to censor or monitor information running through them. A prime example is …

Microsoft CEO Ballmer Laughs at iPhone

Posted in Apple,iPhone,Microsoft by Paul Patterson on January 18th, 2007

In this video, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer discusses the impact of the Apple iPhone which was unveiled by Steve Jobs at the recent MacWorld keynote address.

Obviously stung when asked whether or not the iPhone took some of the spotlight from the Zune, Ballmer responds that the iPhone is “by far the most expensive phone in the marketplace,” and that “it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard”.

Ballmer discusses Microsoft’s mobile strategy and its emphasis on music and entertainment, stating that “right now we are selling millions of phones and Apple is selling zero”. Ballmer acknowledges Apple’s preeminent position in the entertainment domain, but asserts his confidence that Microsoft is very much “in the game” when it comes to mobile entertainment.

Microsoft to Sell Windows Vista via Download

Posted in Microsoft,News,Software,Vista by Paul Patterson on January 18th, 2007

Microsoft to Sell Windows Vista via DownloadMicrosoft revealed three new mechanisms for customers looking to buy, upgrade, or otherwise license Windows Vista. The new options are designed to offer greater flexibility in obtaining the new operating system and to ensure users have the edition of Windows Vista that matches their needs. The announcement is made in the shadow of the worldwide availability of Windows Vista on January 30th.

The new purchase options are:

Windows Anytime UpgradeWindows Anytime Upgrade allows customers to upgrade their current version of Windows Vista to a more advanced or feature-rich edition through an Internet transaction. This option will be available in the Start menu in Windows and allows users to select the desired upgrade version and purchase it online.

Windows MarketplaceWindows Marketplace makes Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office release available for direct …

IE 7 Reaches 100 Million Installations

Posted in Browsers,IE,Microsoft,News by Darrin Olson on January 17th, 2007

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 has 100 million installations of the browserOn January 8th, Tony Chor, Group Program Manager on IEblog wrote that IE 7 had reached 100 million installations, bringing the stats to over 26 percent of all web surfers using Internet Explorer 7 according to WebSideStory with IE 6 not far behind in second place.

The milestone comes only a few months after the release of the browser upgrade, and still seems to be quite a feat despite the fact that IE 7 became a critical update not long after it’s launch. Mozilla’s Firefox, which many believe to be the number 2 browser is continuing to gain popularity but took almost a year to reach the same milestone. Firefox is certainly not going to let IE gain too much ground as they have a new version of Firefox coming soon.

Internet Explorer 7 was launched …

XBox 360 Upgrades on the Way?

Posted in Microsoft,Xbox 360 by Chris Weber on January 17th, 2007

Xbox 360 Game Console UpgradesAn overlooked news item during the CES was Bill Gate’s announcement that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 would be getting a live IPTV service. Rumors are also circulating that the Xbox 360 might also get DVR capabilities and other upgrades to compete with Apple TV in a fight for the living rooms of America and the world.

The TV service will be provided by merging Microsoft’s existing Microsoft® TV IPTV Edition software platform with the Xbox. The service should be available by the holiday season of 2007.

Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division said, “Both Xbox 360 and Microsoft TV IPTV Edition by themselves deliver unique and exciting entertainment experiences today, but IPTV on Xbox 360 is truly a solution that is greater than the sum of its parts and will enable even more exciting experiences to delight consumers, …

Top 10 Console Video Games of 2006

Posted in Games,Microsoft,News,Nintendo,PS3,PSP,Sony,Wii,Xbox 360 by Chris Weber on January 14th, 2007

madden 07 top selling game of 2006The PlayStation 2 and the Xbox 360 had a pretty good year with game sales. This news comes on the heals of PlayStation 2′s surprising sales showing.

Of course Madden topped the charts as usual. Of some surprise is the number of Super Mario Bros. games sold for the Nintendo DS. The Super Mario franchise continues to shine and Mario apparently ages very well. Another interesting sales figure is for the Brain Age title. Not a game so much as a series of brain teasers and mental exercises developed by Japanese neuro-scientist Ryuta Kawashima, the title’s strong showing gives us evidence that video games do make you smarter!


The Best Selling Console May Surprise You

Posted in Games,Microsoft,News,Nintendo,PS3,Sony,Wii,Xbox 360 by Chris Weber on January 14th, 2007

platstation 2 is still the number one selling console for 2006The gaming industry did well in 2006, however the real king of the consoles may surprise you. You know that the Wii beat the PlayStation 3. You also know that the Xbox 360 beat the Wii. But who beat the Xbox 360? The PlayStation 2.

Yes, the best selling console of 2006 appears to be the six year old PlayStation 2. Why did a ancient (in gaming terms) console outsell all the brand new rigs? It’s probably the availability of excellent games and the often overlooked economics aspect.

Sony has an incredible lead in game sales. Four of the top 10 games sold in December were for the PlayStation 2, including the number two game, Guitar Hero, which sold over 800,000 copies. The PlayStation 2 also had the number one …

Major Game Console Manufacturers Sued over Controller Design

Posted in Microsoft,News,Nintendo,PS3,Sony,Wii,Xbox 360 by Chris Weber on January 11th, 2007

fenner patent infringement schematic sony microsoft nintendo controllersFenner Investments is suing Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft over the design of their game console controllers. Fenner, located in Texas, is claiming they hold the patent entitled “Low-Voltage Joystick Port Interface.” The suit claims that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are causing damage to Fenner by their infringement of the patent in their respective controllers.

It appears that Fenner is claiming to own the patent on joysticks or ports that connect joysticks to another device. If this is the case it may have a far reaching affect on game hardware manufacturers.

It should be noted that Fenner recently also tried to sue wireless makers such as Nokia and Cisco over another patent entitled “a method and apparatus for managing a communications network for mobile users.” That suit was dismissed.

Sony and Microsoft were also recently …

Las Vegas Hosts Worlds Largest Tech Show

Posted in Apple,iPod,Microsoft,News,Vista,Zune by Chris Weber on January 8th, 2007

las-vegas-ces-2007.jpgToday was the opening day of Consumer Electronics Show 2007 (CES). As you’ve no doubt noticed we’ve been bringing you coverage and news from the show.

The three day event hosts close to 3,000 companies and about 150,000 people. The show is centered at the Las Vegas Convention Center but it also spills over into surrounding casinos.

The event features speeches by notables such as Michael Dell and Bill Gates. Gates, Microsoft Chairman, gave a keynote that sounded to some like a late night infomercial for Vista, the Zune and its partnership with Ford. Microsoft has positioned Vista to be the center of a home entertainment web that includes Zune and the Xbox 360 which will get the ability to download and and record Television shows.

Microsoft is eying the juicy entertainment section just like its arch rival Apple Computer. …

Ford and Microsoft ‘Sync’ Up to Provide Auto Software

Posted in Automotive,Ford,Microsoft,News by Darrin Olson on January 7th, 2007

Ford and Microsoft Team Up To Offer Automotive Sync SoftwareToday Ford announced that they have teamed up with Microsoft to offer some in-car software to enhance the use of digital audio players, mobile phones and multimedia in their vehicles. Ford Sync will be powered by Microsoft Auto Software and provide voice activated communications and entertainment in select Ford vehicles.

Sync is planned to be available in 12 different Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles yet this year and will allow users to access their mobile phone, mobile music and will host almost any digital media player including the iPod and Zune, all from voice commands or from controls on the steering wheel. Integration will happen via either Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones or a USB 2.0 port inside the vehicle to connect digital audio players and most media storage devices. The Microsoft Auto software will support …

Windows Vista Security Flaws Unveiled

Posted in Microsoft,News,Software,Vista by Darrin Olson on December 27th, 2006

Windows Vista security flaws found, downlpayed.Windows Vista, the latest and greatest OS from Microsoft, hasn’t even been released to general consumers yet and experts are finding vulnerability exploits and related code being sold and discussed on the internet through underground sites. This operating system has been touted by Microsoft as being the most secure operating system yet, but the security has been brought into question due to some flaws reported on a Russian and US sites recently.

One of the threats involves a hacker gaining additional privileges to a PC through direct access to the PC or through someone installing software with the hack. This is according to Mikko Hypponen, a chief research officer for F-Secure Corp. “The bottom line is you couldn’t use a vulnerability like this to write a worm or hack a Vista system remotely,” Hypponen said. “It only has historical significance in …