Overnight Microsoft has made Windows 8 Consumer Preview available for download, in multiple languages. I have downloaded the 64 bit ISO and installed it on a 60 GB virtual HDD under VMWare Player.
Tip: According to their FAQ, if you boot your PC from the media (ISO or USB key) then you will be asked for a product key. In this case use the key NF32V-Q9P3W-7DR7Y-JGWRW-JFCK8.
Installation was quick and had no problems with the virtual environment. You can chose to login using a local account, or your Windows Live Id. When using Windows Live Id your account information is automatically populated and things like Messaging (Windows Live Messenger), Mail, Calendar and Skydrive are ready to use.
You can at any time open Mail and add an Exchange or GMail account - in my case I added my Office 365 Exchange account.
The Weather tile quickly figured out I am in Wellington, New Zealand and is now showing the appropriate information. Bing Maps seems to have a bit of a problem searching locations outside the US though.
The interface works ok even without a touch screen, but it will get some time to get used to the different elements in the UI.
Like Windows Phone, the social permeates through the interface. If you open the People tile you will see all your contacts, pulled from Exchange, GMail, Twitter, Windows Live and going to What's New will show you the latest updates from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. Clicking on a person's tile will show you ways to contact the person, latest updates and interactions, exactly like the Windows Phone does.
Obvsiouly, being a Consumer Preview it's advisable not to install this build if you are not comfortable with new technologies and the inherent problems it may carry. Mainly be aware that some hardware may not be supported due to lack of drivers, so if your PC is vital for your daily use consider installing this on spare hardware or virtual machine.
I have just downloaded Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 from MSDN. It should also be available on Technet.
The download is a 1.75GB ISO file, containing the installer, and the Service Pack .exe files for 32 bit, 64 bit and Itanium 64 bit.
Installation on my HP DV6 laptop (5.5 Windows Experience Index), from a USB key, went on for about 45 minutes, with a couple of reboots.
You can install it even if you have Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate in your system.
This is a cool gathering for .Net developers in New Zealand. Topics inlcude "ASP.NET MVC", "Building Composite Solutions with Microsoft Products", "Code Contracts", "Object Relational Mapping","Programming for the Microsoft Sync Framework", "What's Happening in .NET Languages" and "Zero to Practical Silverlight in 60 Minutes".
Another new topic this year is the "Introduction to iPhone Development" session.
The download is a 1.4GB file called en_fr_de_ja_es_windows_vista_sp_and_windows_server_2008_sp2_x86_x64_ia64_dvd_342431.iso that works for both Windows client and server configurations, both 32 bit and 64 bit.
Of course if you are only using Windows Vista it pays to wait for this update to be offered via Windows Update, when it will probably be a lot smaller and targeted at your specific configuration.
These wallpapers are arranged in Themes. Themes can have more than one wallpaper and you can select to rotate between these images on a set timer.
They are trully beautiful images and it's probably the first time I enjoy using the default wallpapers provided by Microsoft.
Here is a list of changes for this version:
Changes that impact desktop applications
· Service Pack 2 adds the ability to open, edit and save documents in version 1.1 of the OpenDocument Format for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These applications now let users save, open, and edit files as OpenDocument Text (*.odt), OpenDocument Spreadsheet (*.ods), and OpenDocument Presentations (*.odp).
· The 2007 Microsoft Office Service Pack 2 is the first service pack to support uninstall of client updates through the Microsoft Service Pack Uninstall Tool for the 2007 Microsoft Office Suite as well as via Windows Installer command line. The Service Pack Uninstall Tool will be available as a separate download.
· Save As PDF/XPS support has been built into the SP2 of these Office applications. Users no longer have to download the add-in separately.
· When many graphic objects are present performance has been improved.
· In many scenarios, expect increased print fidelity of graphical objects.
· Improved interoperability using standard DrawingML markup to describe the visual properties of the SmartArt graphic.
The 2007 Office Suite SP2 has been tested and is supported for Internet Explorer 8. Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows 7 and Windows Server R2 will all be supported upon their release.
· The ability to export reports to Excel has been added.
· Fixes for issues with the import data wizards, report printing and previewing, macros, Excel integration, and date filters.
· Updates to Access Developer Extensions are now included in SP2.
· The charting mechanism has improved robustness and targeted performance improvements.
· A chart object model has been added to Word and PowerPoint.
· Improved printing of graphical content, especially on PCL printers.
· Improved form tools.
· Synchronization reliability has been improved.
· Increased compatibility between InfoPath forms and other Microsoft products, such as Groove and Outlook.
· SharePoint synchronization has been improved which helps reduce the load on SharePoint servers and produce fewer errors.
· Performance in startup, shutdown, view rendering, and folder switch has been improved.
· Calendar updates, search, and RSS are more reliable.
· The object model has been improved.
· Resaving of files is faster.
· Several printer-specific problems have been fixed.
· The Microsoft Office Excel Chart Object Model has been more fully integrated.
· The scheduling engine, Active Cache, and Gantt charts all have improvements.
· There is additional reliability with earlier versions of the .mpp format.
· Fixes have been made in the following areas: print preview, compatibility with Internet Explorer 8, e-mail on Windows Vista, and saving to the Content library.
· Improved compatibility with other Microsoft products in several key scenarios, such as inserting Visio drawings as linked objects in PowerPoint or Word, exporting reports to Excel, and saving drawings as Web pages for browsing in Internet Explorer 8.
· Fidelity of PDF and XPS output has been enhanced.
· Fuller integration of the Microsoft Office Excel Chart Object Model.
There are also changes to server products in the making.
This year the final New Zealand event is open to all students and industry professionals. The event is being held at The University of Auckland Business School. Join the event and find out which team will be the ultimate winner and represent New Zealand in the world wide finals in Cairo, Egypt.
For the first time ever, watch the finalists present and demonstrate their unique solution to a panel of influential industry judges live and decide for yourself who should take out the title of Imagine Cup 2009 NZ. Register your place at the finals now and get the chance to win prizes including one of three XBOX 360 consoles at the finals. Everyone is welcome!
What: Microsoft Imagine Cup 2009 National Finals
Where: The University of Auckland Business School
When: Wednesday 29th April 2009, Kicking off at 6:30 P.M.
Register Here: http://www.microsoft.com/nz/imaginecup09/Finals.aspx
XP Mode consists of the Virtual PC-based virtual environment and a fully licensed copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (SP3). It will be made available, for free, to users of Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions via a download from the Microsoft web site. (That is, it will not be included in the box with Windows 7, but is considered an out-of-band update, like Windows Live Essentials.) XPM works much like today's Virtual PC products, but with one important exception: As with the enterprise-based MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization) product, XPM does not require you to run the virtual environment as a separate Windows desktop. Instead, as you install applications inside the virtual XP environment, they are published to the host (Windows 7) OS as well. (With shortcuts placed in the Start Menu.) That way, users can run Windows XP-based applications (like IE 6) alongside Windows 7 applications under a single desktop.
On behalf of everyone here, I would to thank all of our beta testers for helping us get to this point. You guys have been busy. At the peak of the feedback cycle, we were receiving a “Send Feedback” report every 15 seconds for an entire week. Since then, the engineering team has been busy analyzing the feedback, fixing bugs, and working hard to improve the overall experience. Many of your suggestions helped us refine the new and improved taskbar, the behavior of Aero Peek, Touch, Windows Media Player, and much more.
More information in Windows Blog...
Three Auckland-area companies found to be selling unlicensed software have settled with Microsoft as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to protect local resellers and consumers by reducing software piracy.
The three companies that entered into settlement agreements are: TDM Technology Limited, operated by Ayman Franso and Nicholas Jansen; Pars TV, operated by Al-Huseiny Ibrahim; and PCTown, run by Linjiang Yu. Two other companies did not settle with Microsoft, and the matters are before the Auckland District Court.
These latest settlements follow two High Court proceedings filed in November 2008 against Auckland-based traders charged with selling counterfeit Microsoft software likely sourced from China."
Illegal copies might be loaded with all sorts of malware - virus, trojans, keyloggers, etc. When buying a PC you should ask yourself:
• Am I buying from a reputable reseller?
• What is their return policy, and do I have contact details in case I have problems with this product?
• Are they giving a strange explanation for why the price is so low?
• Is a Certificate of Authenticity included?
• Is a hologram CD, DVD, or recovery media included?
• Are the product packaging and documentation of high quality?
• Is an End-user License Agreement included?