Microsoft has taken a cue from the Flat Earth Society as shown in the recent ad below. Don’t let it fool you though, its not part of Microsoft’s $300 million campaign to turn opinion around on Vista. Several sites mistook this as part of their new ad campaign not due out until later this year. Clicking on the ad sends you to Microsoft’s website for Vista they have been working hard at breaking up stereotypes about Vista:
“But we know a few of you were disappointed by your early encounter. Printers didn't work. Games felt sluggish. You told us—loudly at times—that the latest Windows wasn't always living up to your high expectations for a Microsoft product. Well, we've been taking notes and addressing issues.”
Attendees at the Microsoft Global Exchange saw some of the new upcoming ads for Vista. One attendee was quoted by liveside.net, "got goosebumps - just, wow".
We’ll see. The hype building up over this marketing campaign might rival Vista’s hype, and if they don’t deliver, they’ll blow another hole in Vista’s boat.
BitTorrent has already proved itself a capable technology for distributing large files to the masses, and at least one company is hoping it will prove equally adept at delivering streaming content. Backed with $22 million in funding from the EU and partners, the P2P-Next research group has come up with a zero-server solution for delivering streaming content, and has begun testing the breakthrough technology with its SwarmPlayer software.
After installing the SwarmPlayer application, a user can start watching streaming content by clicking on a "live" .tstream file that connects them to whatever broadcast the file is associated with. The player then downloads and buffers a minute's worth of data, which is then traded with other people in the stream.
If the trial run proves successful, it could open the door to a deluge of broadcasts from anyone with an internet connection without concern for gobbling up oodles of bandwidth. Instead, the onus gets passed back to the ISPs in the long run, so it will be interesting to see what kind of opposition emerges should the new technology build up a head of steam. And it's not all peaches and cream for end users, either. If you think YouTube is bad, just imagine what YouStream would be like.
With the all the brouhaha surrounding solid state drives (SSDs), there remains a question of exactly how big of a performance advantage flash memory really holds over today's hard drives. On paper, most SSDs scream ahead in both read and write speeds, but real-world benchmarking paints a different picture. So why the discrepancy? At SandDisk, they're blaming Vista. The company's CEO, Eli Harari, says SSD "performance in the Vista environment falls short of what the market really needs. Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid-state disks."
It's not hard to find fault with Vista, but blaming the OS for underperforming SSDs qualifies as a new one that even Apple hasn't yet exploited in its many mocking commercials. To be fair, Harari made the statement as part of a pitch to improve SSDs' next generation controllers, which he says "need to compensate for Vista's shortfalls." Because of this need, the company claims it is behind schedule bringing competitive SSDs to market.
Is SanDisk justified in pointing the finger at Vista?
One of the big announcements at this year’s Gamefest – Microsoft’s XNA developers conference taking place in Seattle right now – is the next step for the Games for Windows initiative. We spoke with Kevin Unangst, Senior Global Director of Games for Windows, who gave us a breakdown of the updated service and how it’ll affect current GFW account owners. Kevin also clued us into the details from the official DirectX 11 unveiling, including what three new features have been added to the API.
Click through the jump for more details, and how this affects gamers who've already paid for GFW LIVE accounts.
We still have a ways to go before being able to print out an entire PC's worth of components ordered through Newegg, but imagine taking that killer motherboard layout you've been brewing in your head and printing out a 3D mockup. Then the only question is do you send your design to your favorite motherboard maker, or start up your own company and show the competition what a real enthusiast's layout is supposed to look like? Forget about Fatal1ty, and slap your own forum nick on your custom mobo!
Sound farfetched? It is, but only because of the high costs associated with 3D printing. Looking to break that barrier is Netherlands-based Shapeways, an ambitious startup who hopes to help you transform your 3D modeling designs from software creations into hard printouts, all without breaking the bank. After submitting your object, Shapeways decides whether or not it can be produced and provides a real-time cost estimate, which the company claims usually runs between $50-$150.
It's all part of Shapeways' private beta for a new online consumer co-creation community and do-it-yourself 3D printing service. The site beta has just gone live, but the only way you'll get to try it out is with an invite. That's no problem for Maximum PC readers, as we've secured 250 exclusive invitations!
Hit the jump to learn more about Shapeways' 3D printing service and to snatch your invite. But hurry, they're first come, first served!
Remember that old economics lesson about supply and demand? If demand for a product rises, the company producing it can raise the price to the point where the supply and demand curves intersect. But when the demand for a product is almost non-existent, the invisible hand of economics demands that price falls. In the case of Microsoft’s Games for Windows LIVE initiative, the price has now fallen to zero. Microsoft just announced today that Games for Windows LIVE will be free for all users (both Silver and Gold accounts), which is the price it should’ve been at all along. Gamertags, buddy lists, and achievements will be enabled on all accounts without an annual fee, though gamers who play on Xbox LIVE will still have to pay for that service.
Check back later today for our interview with Kevin Unangst, Senior Global Director of Games for Windows, who will reveal what other plans Microsoft has next for the GFW program. Click through the jumpf for Microsoft's official press release.
Windows Home Server Power Pack 1, in beta since early June, is now available. It rolls up several previous updates, and also fixes a major data-corruption bug affecting systems with multiple hard disks. You can get it right now from KB944289.
However, there's more than bug fixes in Power Pack 1. To find out more about what's new in Power Pack 1, and to learn how to grab updated documentation, see us after the jump.
Last week GoDaddy began selling top-level .me domains for the first time ever, and it didn't take long for thousands of registrants to pounce on the newly available naming scheme. The frenzy started immediately after opening registration and according to GoDaddy, in the first 24 hours it "registered more than 20,000 .me names, making it the most successful new domain launch" in the company's history.
As previously reported, the launch wasn't without its technical difficulties as GoDaddy found its servers temporarily overwhelmed, resulting in a few customers purchasing domain names that already belonged to someone else. Those customers were refunded, but still left without a domain name. Perhaps you're one of them, and if so, here's a list of domain names that have not yet been taken:
Have an idea for a better one that's still available? Share it below!
Not a fan of Vista? You're not alone, but you might be outnumbered. Microsoft claims it has sold over 180 million Vista licenses since launch, and while the significance of Vista sales have always been a point of contention, Microsoft has some other numbers it can now throw around that aren't so easily disputed. These include:
$60.42 billion (revenue for fiscal year ended June 30, 2008)
18 percent (revenue growth over one year ago)
$15.84 billion (fiscal fourth quarter revenue)
$5.68 billion (operating income, representing 42 percent growth over same period last year)
$0.46 (operating income, representing 48 percent growth over same period last year)
With Linux making headway as a viable alternative to Windows, it might come as a surprise to see Microsoft doing so well. But not only did Microsoft have a "strong finish in the fourth quarter, which capped off an impressive year for the company," but Chris Liddell, CFO at Microsoft, expects "another year of double-digit revenueand earnings growth in fiscal year 2009."
Few companies wouldn't mind switching places with Google, who posted a $1.25 billion profit, but when you're the undisputed champ of the online world (or if you're Dr. Evil), a measly billion dollars just isn't enough. Along with earnings per share of $3.92, the numbers aren't adding up to what analysts had predicted, leaving many to wonder if the online advertising market might be taking a turn for the worse. Google Cheif Economist Hal Varian sees it differently, saying:
"Consumers are being cautious in their online spending patterns just as they are in the offline spending. Despite the weakness in the economy, advertising seems to be hodling up remarkably well in most sectors. This illustrates the point that we've made several times that during periods of slow economic growth, the last thing an advertiser wants to cut is its spending on search-based advertising."
But Varians comments did little to assuage investors, nor did posting gross sales of $5.37 billion, marking a 39 percent improvement over one year ago and hitting analysts' estimates. The company's shares still managed to drop 10 percent to $479.70 in after-hours trading.
Given the overall growth and $12.7 billion in cash, is the panic justified?