Make sure you create a 30 seconds (less or more is ok) video about what you love about using Windows Vista, upload to Soapbox on MSN or YouTube and fill the entry form in our Windows Vista Competition.
You will be in to win some cool prizes, including Microsoft Zune and copies of Windows Vista Ultimate. And be famous during the Tech Brief.
Just note that almost all of those are in constant change. It looks like we live in a world of constant Beta Software. I guess developers can always say "Oh, this is a bug, but this is beta...". It just happens that most free services are always "Beta". Are they trying to dig a way out of trouble?
Just yesterday Yahoo! announced Yahoo! Go Mobile was gamma. That's a change, but when are we seeing v 1.0 of any of these things?
I read somewhere a simple question: "why can't people create software like they build bridges?"
Telecom New Zealand's users seem to be ahead of the game now, since Sierra Wireless announced it has validated its current PC Card and embedded module product portfolio on Windows Vista. Windows Vista WHQL signed drivers are ready for all current Sierra Wireless EV-DO cards, including the AirCard 595, used by Telecom New Zealand (pictured below). You can find more on Sierra Wireless' site.
This is great news, because Telecom is introducing their CDMA EV-DO Rev A service here in Wellington on the 22nd February, so I will be able to use the AirCard 595 on my laptop running Vista.
Meanwhile Novatel still hasn't replied to my query through their support pages about availability of signed drivers for their HSDPA cards, used by Vodafone New Zealand. Vodafone New Zealand has announced their upcoming support for Windows Vista, with the required software for Windows Vista being available shortly, but with no specific date for signed drivers as required for Windows Vista 64 bits.
UPDATE: Vodafone has released drivers for Windows Vista (no 64 bit yet).
If you need an invitation to use Soapbox on MSN to upload your video for this competition, you can follow the instructions in the competition page and we will forward you an invite.
The prizes are really cool, and include Microsoft Zune media players and copies of Windows Vista Ultimate.
Go ahead, start creating your movies and "wow" everyone.
Yes, this is box #24183/25000 of Windows Vista Ultimate Signature Edition, digitally signed by Bill Gates. This is an upgrade version though, not full version, and requires a previous Windows 2000 or Windows XP install of course. Microsoft Office Professional 2007 and Windows Live OneCare are full versions though.
If you want some of the New Zealand Bliss, head on and download those:
New Zealand users will see Windows Vista first, thanks to our timezone. A Dick Smith store in Auckland will open midnight to start selling the first PCs with Windows Vista, and then start a few charity auctions.
Thanks to Hamish MacEwan, who apparently gave my name to the Radio NZ guys when asked about Windows Vista.
Since then I saw a couple of reviews that simply copied parts of the press release, even using some strange (if not incorrect) names for some technologies used on this new tablet PC, without the correct information being passed on.
I will try bringing some light to this. And it's all very simple, but I haven't seen it explained anywhere before, so let's go...
The Portégé R400 tablet PC comes with an external display based on Windows Vista SideShow technology, that enables laptop manufacturers to include a secondary or auxiliary display in their designs:
This display can be used to easily view the critical information you need, whether the laptop is on, off, or in sleep mode. The convenience provided by these auxiliary displays will save time and battery life by allowing you to quickly view meeting schedules, phone numbers, addresses, and recent e-mail messages without having to start up your laptop.
Toshiba's Personal Information Assistant is the SideShow display. The Personal Information Assistant can display information from your e-mail store, Microsoft Outlook for example. But now comes the interesting part: how the e-mail gets there in first place.
Even though the official press releases (and the "reviews") call the process Microsoft’s Active Notifications, it is actually the good old Microsoft Direct Push system, based on Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2. The same system used to push e-mail to Windows Mobile devices.
But the folks at Toshiba did really well and there are actually three ways of getting your e-mail information out on the SideShow display. Two modes require the laptop to be active and running, while the third mode does not require the laptop to be on at all.
To start with it works because the Portégé R400 tablet PC comes with a built-in CDMA EVDO data adapter, connected through Verizon Wireless. Remember, ActiveSync with Direct Push on Windows Mobile devices works only over cellular data connections, but not over Wi-Fi, and it is the same on this tablet PC.
How these three modes work?
The first mode is called Poll Mode and it will actually query the Exchange Server at set intervals for new e-mails and download any new messages. The number of new items will be shown on the SideShow display.
In the Direct Push Mode the laptop will establish a connection to the server, and any new e-mails will be sent down through this path, exactly like on Windows Mobile 5.0 with Direct Push technology (MSFP).
Both these modes require the laptop to "wake-up" or stay on to work.
The third mode is more interesting. Called Direct Push No Wake Mode, it will not require the laptop to wake up, but only the e-mail subjects will be downloaded and shown directly on the SideShow, er, Personal Information Assistant display.
Interesting how those reviews didn't bother explaining this...
Sorry for the inconvenience. We do not have any drivers available for Windows Vista. We do not have the information yet if they will be available.
Probably the new units will work with Vista.
We appreciate your business. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
The emphasis is mine... Ok, so I buy a disc storage system that is not even future proof? Or if it is they have no clue about when or how?
If they are not aware. they should have been testing drivers since Windows Vista Beta 1. After that we had RC1, RC2 and RTM, available from MSDN. I guess the software developers have MSDN since this product is touted as integrated with Microsoft's library.
I found out about this on Nigel Parker's blog, but in summary the Dick Smith Electronics PowerHouse, 5 Ronwood Avenue, Manukau City store will open at midnight, Tuesday 30th January, but you can probably join the queue before then, to chat with other early adopters (and grab a hot chocolate if the evening is cold?).
Apparently this is not the first time this kind of thing has happened, and it was the same when Windows 95 was launched.