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Old 10-26-2006, 08:30 PM   #1801 (permalink)
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MS Says 10 Activations For Vista?
It seems that all those stories flying around the web the last few weeks about Vista activation restrictions are not true. This report at Bit-Tech has the scoop straight from MS and, while things may still be a bit tricky, this is a far cry from what we were hearing just last week.



He told us that Windows Vista will not require a system re-activation unless the hard drive and one other component is changed. This means that enthusiasts will be able to swap CPUs, memory and graphics cards out without any worry about having to re-activate with MS, either on the internet or by phone.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2006/10...n_to_bit-tech/
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:53 PM   #1802 (permalink)
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What did Microsoft learn from Vista?
ZDNet has a very candid interview up with Jim Allchin, the co-president of Microsoft’s platforms and services business. In this interview he discusses many things about the Vista development as well as what they learned from the whole process.



Allchin: Well, right or wrong, that buck stops with me, because I made that decision. And this was against Steve Ballmer's direction or opinion to me. And here's the reason why I did it. In hindsight I look like an idiot.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=65
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Old 10-29-2006, 06:33 PM   #1803 (permalink)
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Vista Home Basic: Of Lemons and Lemonade
Ars has their take on the fact that Vista will be released in four different versions and what it all means to the consumer, specifically where the most basic version is concerned. Many people have wondered how viable of a product it will be, so Ars is trying to answer that question.



Back in 1998 there was one consumer Windows OS release tier, just like in 1995. Come 2001, there were two: Home and Professional. In 2007, there will be four: Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, and Business (I've left out Enterprise since it is a volume licensing product).

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061028-8097.html
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Old 10-29-2006, 06:43 PM   #1804 (permalink)
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Security vendor Authentium has discovered a mechanism to get around Microsoft's controversial Patchguard kernel protection technology, which is due to ship in the 64-bit version of its forthcoming Windows Vista operating system.

Microsoft has criticised the move, claiming it puts Windows customers at risk, and vows to modify its technology to block the approach. Security firms ought to work with the APIs provided by Redmond rather than going it alone, it said


"We continue to encourage all software vendors to work with Microsoft on supported design approaches that work with Kernel Patch Protection to ensure that customers can have a secure and reliable computing experience on Windows Vista and Windows XP 64-bit systems, rather than putting customers at risk by developing approaches to try to bypass Kernel Patch Protection and as a result reduce the security protection of Windows," Adrien Robinson, director of Microsoft's Security Technology Unit, told eWeek.

The spat marks the latest flare up in a high profile row between security vendors and Microsoft over Patchguard, technology designed to prevent root kits from hooking into the Windows kernel that some security vendors claim is leaving them locked out too. Symantec was among the first to criticise the technology before McAfee picked up the baton with a full page advert in the Financial Times decrying Microsoft's approach.

Anti-virus vendors are far from united in opposition to Patchguard, however. Russian-based anti-virus developer Kaspersky Labs was the first to say it had no problems with Microsoft on the issue. UK-based Sophos followed up with a much more strongly worded statement essentially portraying Patchguard-naysayers as security ninnies who needed to grow up and stop throwing their toys out of the pram. Symantec and McAfee should have prepared better for Microsoft Windows Vista, Sophos said.

Anti-spyware firm Sunbelt dismissed Sophos's posture as a PR stunt. "Sophos tapped into that angry mob user resentment in a brilliant PR move — after having drunk the Microsoft KoolAid from a fire hydrant, they openly embraced PatchGuard. In one fell swoop, they're positioning themselves as Microsoft-friendly, happy-dancing, API-loving people. At the same time, they positioned the rest of the industry as a bunch of moronic crybabies," it said.

McAfee hit back at Sophos's barb by patronisingly suggesting it hadn't experienced problems with Patchguard only because its product portfolio was small. "Single-product vendors, like Sophos, may well not have an issue with Microsoft. However, for an innovative security risk management vendor like McAfee, that offers its customers comprehensive security protection, full and unfettered access to the kernel is vital if we are to protect users as they are currently protected with XP," it said.

All this might leave you thinking Patchguard is new to 64-bit Vista, but the PatchGuard technology actually debuted in the x64 edition of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Professional x64 editions. Not that that's going to stop the current row, of course, which is rapidly descending towards custard pies at dawn.

http://www.theregister.com/2006/10/2..._row_analysis/
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Old 10-30-2006, 04:03 PM   #1805 (permalink)
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It's Autumn in St. Louis, my favorite time of year in Missouri. Coats are getting progressively thicker as the temperature drops, trees are changing their leaves in a final show of brilliant color before their skeletons show, and darkness is starting to scare away the sun a bit earlier every day.

Every Thursday night this Autumn you'll find me teaching the latest iteration of a wonderful course at Washington University in St. Louis titled "Technology in Our Changing Society". Once a week my students and I examine a different issue about the point at which technology and social change intersect, and our discussions are as fulfilling as they are knotty. I can't tell you how many times this semester I've heard someone say, "This is a really complicated issue, and I'm not sure yet what I think.

I respect and understand completely what they're saying. After all, when you're wrestling with issues around free speech, biotechnology, identity online, or virtual property, discussions tend to operate in shades of grey instead of black and white. Sometimes issues are a bit more cut and dried, and a student will utter a bon mot that perfectly encapsulates an issue.

A long time ago, a high school kid who wasn't that great of a student told the class, after a long discussion about governments and politics, "Well, here's what I've learned: socialism is fair but doesn't really work, while capitalism isn't fair but does work mostly." Not too bad for a 9th grader. More recently, I had the adults in "Technology in Our Changing Society" read both the Windows XP EULA and the GNU General Public License. When I asked them what they thought, one woman said, "The EULA sounds like it was written by a team of lawyers who want to tell me what I can't do, and the GPL sounds like it was written by a human being who wants me to know what I can do." Nice

The next version of Windows is just around the corner, so the next time we discuss software licensing in my course, the EULA for Vista will be front and center. You can read the Microsoft Vista EULA yourself by going to the official Find License Terms for Software Licensed from Microsoft page and searching for Vista. I know many of you have never bothered to read the EULA - who really wants to, after all? - but take a few minutes and get yourself a copy and read it. I'll wait.

Back? It's bad, ain't it? Real bad. I mean, previous EULAs weren't anything great - either as reading material or in terms of rights granted to end users - but the Vista EULA is horrendous.

Benchmark censorship
Ed Foster has written - with his usual righteous eloquence - a piece on his Gripelog titled "A Vista of Licensed Censorship" that covers several new restrictions in the upcoming Vista EULA. Vista Home now contains this gem:

9. MICROSOFT .NET BENCHMARK TESTING. The software includes one or more components of the .NET Framework 3.0 (".NET Components"). You may conduct internal benchmark testing of those components. You may disclose the results of any benchmark test of those components, provided that you comply with the conditions set forth at http://go.microsoft/fwlink/?LinkID=66406.
Foster brings up good points about the inevitable problems that this clause will bring. Microsoft can - and undoubtedly will - change the terms on that web page at any time, thus complicating life for anyone wanting to disclose test results.

Worse, another requirement dictates that any benchmarks must "be performed using all performance tuning and best practice guidance set forth in the product documentation and/or on Microsoft's support Web sites," thus forcing testers to use settings that aren't found in the workaday world, potentially distorting results. Foster gives this example, one that should resonate among the readers of this column:

Just by way of example, what about a security researcher who a year or so from now wants to compare the buffer overflow vulnerabilities of the original version of Vista with the inevitable SP1?
Under Microsoft's rules, the researcher could not make public the results of the older version of the software. And if you think it highly unlikely Microsoft would actually object to the benchmarks in such circumstances, think again. In 2001 Microsoft came down on an independent lab that was about to go public with performance benchmarks comparing Windows NT and Windows 2000.

Beyond the fact that censorship is almost always a bad thing (I'll agree that it's permissible in a very few cases involving national security, but that's about it), software is of such critical importance to people's lives that I can see virtually no reason why any limitations on benchmarking and testing results should ever be allowed to stand.

No virtualization for you!
Right now, consumers and businesses can buy two versions of Windows XP for their desktops: Home and Professional. Let's review the choices they're going to face, including pricing, when Vista rears its head:

Starter (OEM pricing only)
Home Basic ($199, or $99 upgrade)
Home Premium ($239, or $159 upgrade)
Business ($299, or $199 upgrade)
Enterprise (OEM pricing only)
Ultimate ($399, or $259 upgrade)
I understand that product differentiation among market segments is common and makes good sense. But this is ridiculous. Six different versions? Quick, which one is right for you: Home Premium or Business? Uhhhh...

http://www.theregister.com/2006/10/2...eula_analysis/
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Old 10-30-2006, 08:41 PM   #1806 (permalink)
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Monday, The Windows Vista Developer Team announced and showed off Windows Vista's and Office 2007's new retail packaging.

This is not your standard CD/DVD case, this new packaging has been completely revised and features an extremely unique design.

"Designed to be user-friendly, the new packaging is a small, hard, plastic container that's designed to protect the software inside for life-long use. It provides a convenient and attractive place for you to permanently store both discs and documentation.

The new design will provide the strength, dimensional stability and impact resistance required when packaging software today. Our plan is to extend this packaging style to other Microsoft products after the launch of Windows Vista and 2007 Office system." - says the Windows Vista Developer Team on their blog.


View: Windows Vista Home Basic Packaging

View: Office Professional 2007 Packaging

View: Office Home And Student 2007 Packaging
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:06 PM   #1807 (permalink)
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hehe, make it all pretty so people will think its better than all the rest of the crap microsoft has made....

besides, it looks bulky....
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:37 PM   #1808 (permalink)
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Expert Vista RC2 Tweaks
If you are running Vista RC 2, the folks at ZDNet want to help you out with these 10 expert tips and tweaks for Vista RC2. Tip #5 is one of my favorites:



Windows Vista has no shortage of diagnostic tools. The System Health Report is one of the most useful. It takes input from the Performance and Reliability Monitor and turns it into a well-organized, information-packed report that does a good job of spotlighting potential problems.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?page_id=164
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Old 11-01-2006, 09:49 PM   #1809 (permalink)
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Will vista have a new sound scheme?
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Old 11-01-2006, 10:05 PM   #1810 (permalink)
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Nothing wrong with the one that RC1 has.
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