14 Must Have Windows programs

31 10 2007

PC World has compiled a list of 14 great programs you didn’t even know you needed, all designed to work around Windows’ limitations or enhance your productivity. Most of them are free or really cheap — just the way we like our software around here. Here’s the scoop on one of them: Macro ToolsWorks, which records keystrokes and even mouse-strokes and turns them into macros:

A lot of macro programs let you do fast, slam-bang recording. Macro ToolsWorks makes your macros more powerful by providing simple programming commands that you insert into your recordings to allow the use of variables, flow control, text manipulation, macro menus, Internet functions, and other commands that even a programming virgin can master before the honeymoon is over.

Lots of good stuff here, including a utility that lets you reassign keyboard keys and another that greatly improves Windows’ file-copying capabilities. Give ‘em a look.

Zune 2 beats Wii!

31 10 2007

mostwanted2.jpg picture by FordGTGuy

Forget the Red Sox, Zune has just won CNet’s most wanted gadget poll. The new Zune has rocketed to the top of the pack weeks before the November 13th launch. Word is getting our about the larger glass LCD screen and thinner, smaller size of the Zune 80. Microsoft has invested heavily in R&D to make sure Zune defeats the competition in every aspect. A 27% reduction in size leaves the Zune lighter than the 80gb iPod and it’s still scratch resistant. Existing Zune owners are prepared to receive, free of charge, new Zune 2 firmware features including wireless Wifi sync and 1 click podcast subscription.

Mac OS X 10.6

30 10 2007

According to Wikipedia, Mac OS X 10.6 is the next operating system from Apple Inc., it is estimated to be released in 2009. It is speculated to possibly be named either “Cougar” or “Lynx“, as both names were also trademarked by Apple Inc. at the same time as “Leopard” and “Tiger“.

Lets just hope that atleast this OS will not be easily hacked and that it wont have any early issues.

Microsoft apologizes for their Windows Update snafus

30 10 2007

Microsoft has been having all sorts of problems with automatic Windows updates lately. First, it was reports of users who had turned off automatic update installations finding that their computers had installed and rebooted anyway without their consent, then some enterprise Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) users found out that Windows Desktop Search (WDS) had been installed without administrator approval. Microsoft acknowledged the first problem but denied the second, then relented and issued an apology via WSUS product manager Bobbie Harder’s blog. Read the rest of this entry »

Leopard’s Time Machine – Think Back-Ups are bore? Think again

30 10 2007

Since Apple Inc. first announced the initial 10 features of Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” in August 2006, the one that has captured the most interest of Macintosh fans is Time Machine. Apple has billed Time Machine as the backup tool for people who hate the task. That’s almost everyone, according to Steve Jobs, who says only 4% of computer users regularly back up their data.The goal set for Apple’s engineers in designing Time Machine was to create a backup technology that requires little or no configuration, performs backups automatically and invisibly, and makes restoring files from those backups as simple and intuitive as humanly possible. That’s a pretty tall order, even for Apple, and yet the company has managed to deliver those results.

So simple, there’s no Step 3

One of Apple’s early iMac commercials described connecting to the Internet as being so easy that “there’s no Step 3.” As I was trying to sum up how easy Time Machine is to configure, that commercial popped into my head.

In fact, Step 1 — plugging in an external hard drive after installing Leopard — is the only step that’s truly required. Leopard will automatically detect the hard drive and ask whether you want to use it for Time Machine backups. If you say yes, that’s really all you need to do.

Starting Time Machine

Time Machine’s easy setup. (Click for larger view.)

Time Machine will then perform an initial backup to the drive, which can take quite some time — a couple of hours or more for most people, depending on the contents of your internal hard drive. You may actually want to start your initial Time Machine backup before going to bed and let it run overnight. Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft Introduces Limited-Edition Wisin y Yandel Zune Music Player

29 10 2007
30GB digital media player delivers custom music experience to Latino music fans.

Microsoft Corp.’s Zune® team announced that a Zune music player produced in collaboration with Latin Grammy-nominated artists Wisin y Yandel, Machete Music and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will go on sale exclusively at Wal-Mart retailers Oct. 29 for $199 (ERP). The black, limited-edition Zune will come pre-loaded with the new Wisin y Yandel album, “Wisin vs. Yandel: Los Extraterrestres,” before it is available in stores, and will also feature an exclusive track, music videos, photos and concert footage.

“It was great working with the Zune team to create this custom device and come up with cool ways to promote our new album via their digital music platform,” said Edgar Andino, Wisin y Yandel’s manager. “Connecting with fans digitally is really where music is going, and we’re psyched to have this opportunity.”

The idea to work together resulted from a chance meeting between Wisin y Yandel’s management and Zune executives at a summer concert. Shortly afterward, Wisin y Yandel visited Microsoft’s headquarters to meet with the Zune music marketing team and discuss design concepts for the limited-edition Zune 30GB device.

“Wisin y Yandel are currently one the biggest Latin groups out there, so we are excited to have them customize a Zune device and offer exclusive content to their fans,” said Javier Farfan, multicultural marketing manager for Zune at Microsoft. “Working together like this has helped us to connect Latino music artists with their fans.”

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Credits: Microsoft Press

Windows Vista is clearly finding its way onto lots and lots of PCs.

29 10 2007

In last week’s earnings announcement, Microsoft reported a 25 percent increase in revenue from the unit that sells Windows for notebook and desktop PCs. Granted, some of that bump came from a crackdown in piracy and because more people are opting for “premium” versions of Vista. Still, the company has now managed to sell 88 million copies of the operating system, a significant tally.

“We have a lot of consumer interest and enthusiasm around it,” CEO Steve Ballmer said in an interview with CNET News.com last week.

Vista has picked up momentum in recent months, said Samir Bhavnani, an analyst at Current Analysis West.

“It got off to kind of a rocky start,” he said. “There was a very vocal minority of people that were kind of ripping into Vista.”

On the corporate side, momentum has been harder to come by. Microsoft finally acknowledged that it won’t hit its lofty goal of having Vista in use on twice as many business PCs as were running XP in its first 12 months on the market.

Read the rest of this entry »