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Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 brings virtual environment on desktop

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Apr-2009 12:20

This is one of the coolest things I've seen on this new OS: Windows XP as a licensed OS virtual environment running on a Windows 7 desktop - or "Windows XP Mode for Windows 7".




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.



Polaris uses Google Analytics API to bring stats to your desktop

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Apr-2009 11:39

If you use Google Analytics on your domains then you should know a bit about Polaris Desktop Reporting for Google Analytics.

It is a beautiful application running on Adobe AIR - it means you can have it on Windows, Mac OS and Linux - and uses the just released Google Analytics API.

The application is free for one domain, or US$15/year for multiple domains.

It's a quick way to glance at your analytics stats, with beautiful charts on an browser-independent program.




Windows 7 Release Candidate Update: dates confirmed

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Apr-2009 11:34

A post in the Windows Blog confirms we will be able to download the Windows 7 Release Candidate from MSDN and Technet on the 30th April, and public availability will begin on 5th May.


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...



Telecom unveils the XT Network branding

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Apr-2009 19:10

That's it then... The upcoming Telecom New Zealand WCDMA network is now officially known as XT Network.

Subscribe for more information via email on their XT Network promotional website.

You can find more information about WCDMA 850MHz in a previous blog post. Also there's a discussion going on Geekzone about the TV ads and branding.






Help shape Sprite Backup 7.0 for Windows Mobile

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Apr-2009 09:36

I got an e-mail from Sprite Software, a New Zealand-based company that produces mobile software such as Sprite Backup for Windows Mobile.

The company is planning a complete redesign of Sprite Backup from the ground up. It will be completely reengineered to make the most of the features offered in Microsoft’s new Windows Mobile 7 (and most likely 6.5).

What they need at the moment is user input and to make it a sweet there's something in there for anyone willing to help.



Basically they are holding a Backup 7 Feature Hunt, with some great prizes:

1st prize (2 winners, each receives a HTC Touch HD)
2nd prize (5 winners each receives a Bluetooth GPS Unit)
3rd prize (30 winners each receives an 8GB MicroSD Card)

You can read more about at www.spritesoftware.com/Backup-7-Competition.
 



Things to check before buying cheap PCs

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Apr-2009 12:24

When you buy a PC and the price is too low, it might be time to think "Is this too good to be true?"... I've just posted on Geekzone how Microsoft is leading the charge against New Zealand companies that sell hardware with counterfeit copies of their OS.


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?



Geekzone Jobs forum updates

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2009 18:35

Just a quick note about a couple of updates in our Geekzone Jobs forum... Until now most of the posts in that forum came from other Geekzone users looking for or offering a position.

But because of the current conditions we thought it would be cool to provide a bit more to our readers. So we partnered with CVB to automatically load their job listings into the Jobs forum.

I have also created a special Geekzone Jobs RSS feed that you can subscribe and see all the latest jobs openings.

Of course our users can continue to post in the forums as usual.



Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 available for download

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Apr-2009 12:29

Last week Microsoft announced the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1. Since Geekzone runs on SQL Server 2008 I worked on our test server to deploy this update - which worked out to be quick and painless - and no server reboot required! Mind you, the database will be out of action for a few minutes while the code is changed, but that's pretty much it (I've tested this in both 32 bit and 64 bit environments we have here).

According to their blog announcement:


With this Service pack, Microsoft is introducing 80% fewer changes to customer configurations compared to previous SQL Server Service Pack releases. 

With this service pack, Microsoft has made investments to ease deployment and make management of service packs more efficient. Key improvements in SP1 include Slipstream, Service Pack Uninstall and Report Builder 2.0 click-once deployment.

o   Slipstream allows administrators to install SQL Server 2008 and Service Pack 1 in a single instance. This decreases the total time for an installation, including a fewer number of reboots thereby increasing productivity and deployment availability.

o    Service Pack Uninstall allows administrators to uninstall the service pack separately from the database release.  This feature also improves DBA productivity, reduces the cost of deployment and improves overall supportability

o   Report Builder 2.0 Click Once improves the existing SQL Server end-user report authoring application by easing deployment to business users.


It seems this is mainly a rollup of previous cumulative updates and minor fixes. No new features are being released. If you are running Microsoft SQL Server 2008 you should start planning (or implementing) for it now. Download the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 to start working.



 



Microsoft Office Service Pack 2 coming 28th April

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Apr-2009 18:21

Later this month Microsoft will introduce the Microsoft Office Service Pack 2. 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.

Access
· 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.

Excel
· 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.

Groove
· Improved form tools.

· Synchronization reliability has been improved.

InfoPath
· Increased compatibility between InfoPath forms and other Microsoft products, such as Groove and Outlook.

OneNote
· SharePoint synchronization has been improved which helps reduce the load on SharePoint servers and produce fewer errors.

Outlook
· 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.

PowerPoint
· Resaving of files is faster.

· Several printer-specific problems have been fixed.

· The Microsoft Office Excel Chart Object Model has been more fully integrated.

Project
· The scheduling engine, Active Cache, and Gantt charts all have improvements.

· There is additional reliability with earlier versions of the .mpp format.

Publisher
· 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. 

Visio
· 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.

Word
· 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.



What does it take to be an I.T. Rockstar 2009?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Apr-2009 15:34

So, you think you are an I.T. Rockstar? Or do you know one? (Warning: some NSFW images around)



PS. I am one of the judges in this year's I.T. Rockstar competition. Bribes, tips,bottles accepted. You know how to find me ;)



freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I work for Intergen and I'm also the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums.

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me freitasm@geekzone.co.nz. Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

If you'd like to help me keep Geekzone going, please use this Geekzone Amazon affiliate link when placing any orders on Amazon.



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