Microsoft has released a free iPhone app called TagReader. It happens to be the software bellwether’s second iPhone app after SeaDragon Mobile. Using TagReader, iPhone users can photograph a tag (Microsoft’s vivid version of barcodes) to search for information related to that particular tag without having to type in anything.
If you snap a tag on a person’s visiting card using the TagReader iPhone app, then your search will, in all likelihood, yield results related to that person. The app sounds fun from the off, but its usefulness is contingent upon the success of Microsoft Tag, which is currently in beta. You can create your own tags here and eventually test the usefulness of TagReader by snapping them.
Ever since the Windows 7 public beta went live yesterday, Microsoft servers have been buckling under the demand. The much coveted ISO files and CD keys have had somewhat sporadic availability, but as always can be had if you know where to look. Luckily for you, we’ve kicked over every stone to bring you everything you’ll need to get started.
I recommend when surfing through the links that you fire up Internet Explorer, as you will likely run into the same problems I did using Firefox or Chrome. If you manage to use the official beta site in fact, you will require an IE specific ActiveX control to be installed. So if you’re looking for a copy of Windows 7, and are ready to begin, follow along below.
Step #1 – Get Yourself a Beta Key
- The steps were detailed in a blog entry which allows you to access key’s via http://technet.microsoft.com . Simply follow the link and log in using the sign in option in the top right corner. It will ask you for your tech net user name and password, but I was successfully able to do this using my Windows Live ID.
- Next simply copy and paste the following link into your active window
Windows 7 32-Bit Key: https://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/scripts/gcs.aspx?Product=tn-win7-32-ww&LCID=1033
Windows 7 64-Bit Key: https://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/scripts/gcs.aspx?Product=tn-win7-64-ww&LCID=1033
- Finally, just copy down the CD key for use during installation.
Step #2 – Download The Beta
- The official download site seems to come and go, but here are some deep links to the file which seem to be working even through the disruption.
Remember to back up your data before giving this a try and it’s probably not best to run this on your primary machine. The beta key’s are supposedly valid until August 2009 and should give you a good preview of what is to come.
Hit the jump and leave your impressions of Windows 7.
Remember when your great-great-great grandparents used to trek barefoot through miles of freezing snow in the scorching hot desert just for the privilege of purchasing a music CD from the music store that sat on top of a mountain? Maybe that's slightly exaggerating the situation, and while many of you still prefer to own physical media, downloading tracks has become the norm when it comes to purchasing groovy tunes. According to statistics compiled by Will Page, chief economist of the MCPS-PRS Alliance, and Andrew bud, the head of mobile software company mBlox, there are roughly 13 million songs available for download. But only a small fraction make up the majority of downloads.
With so many songs to choose from, you might think the wealth is being spread around. But surprisingly, just 52,000 songs make up for 80 percent all music purchased online. The distribution becomes even more lopsided when looking at albums, with 85 percent of bands and singers who released an album in 2008 not having sold a single copy.
"There is an eerie similarity between a digital and high-street retailer in terms of what constitutes an efficient inventory and the shape of their respective demand curves," Andrew Bud told the Times. "I think there's something more going on there: a case of new schools meets old schools."
What are you listening to that might be off the beaten path? Post your favorite non-mainstream hits below and help your fellow readers expand their music collection.
To date, the RIAA has sued more than 20,000 individuals over alleged copyright infringement, and one could argue that the RIAA has turned its suing spree into a business model. If that's the case, consider what DigiProtect is doing to be nothing more than modern day business economics 101.
The German company has been sending out thousands of letters to UK residents accusing them of using file-sharing networks to download and distribute dozens of porn flicks. The 20-page letters lay out all the embarrassing details, including the name of the film(s) and what date and time the alleged download took place. Similar to what the RIAA has been doing, DigiProtect offers to settle out of court, usually to the tune of £500 (about $740USD).
Hit the jump to find out what the studio being represented has to say about the letters (you'll be surprised).
It's an all-too-familiar marketing ploy: download a utility you really want, and get a toolbar for your browser free. This week, Microsoft joined the "download one, get one free" bandwagon, but with a twist: Redmond announced a deal with Sun Microsystems to offer the MSN Toolbar to US users of Internet Explorer whenever they download the Java Runtime Environment. MSN Toolbar offers one-click access to Live Search, direct access to Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger, and stories from the MSN network. If you hate toolbars, or your browser's already running your favorite toolbar, you can opt out of the MSN toolbar.
This Microsoft plus Sun pairing represents a big "win" for Microsoft, as Google's toolbar was previously being offered as the freebie with Java. As El Reg points out, this sort of thing is nothing new for Sun and Java. Java's also been used to deliver offers of OpenOffice and the Yahoo! toobar (the latter to Mozilla Firefox browser users only).
So, how do you feel about these combo deals? Would you rather get a coupon for free french fries, or are you comfortable with getting "two for one" downloads"? Join us after the jump and sound off.
Many Windows users have been running Picasa 3 for the past several weeks now, but Picasa development for Linux has always seemly lagged behind.This all changed on Thursday with a public beta release of Picasa 3 with support for all the major Linux distributions. According to the feature overview, the new version includes many of the new editing and retouching features missing in the previous version as well as a tighter integration with Picasa Web. For Linux users looking to further automate the process of importing photos you will also appreciate the auto detect feature that runs each time you plug in your camera. In a blog post by Google Software Engineer Lei Zhang he reminds the Linux community of Google’s commitment to their platform. Some of its largest contributions have been in the form of patches for the open source WINE project with over 2700 fixes. WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) is an application for Linux which allows users to execute programs written for Microsoft Windows. Want to learn more? Check out the November print edition of Maximum PC on sale now for an excellent how to guide on using WINE for gaming in Linux.
This week, Google unveiled a public beta of its Picasa 3.0 photo-sharing software. Picasa 3.0 offers a huge number of new and improved features that will appeal to both point and shoot and DSLR users. I was particularly impressed by the following:
A new photo viewer that integrates with Windows Explorer and supports PNG, TGA and RAW formats as well as JPEG, TIFF, BMP, and GIF. The preview window displays thumbnails of other photos in the folder for faster navigation and offers one-click editing in Picasa, one-click uploading, or a one-click slideshow. Even on my less than swift single-core laptop, it displays Canon CR2 RAW files much faster than Windows Live Photo Gallery does. Google tested Picasa 3.0 on systems with up to 1 million photos, and it shows.
The ability to display image metadata for RAW files from within Picasa.
The enhanced photo collage creator with six preset designs along with easy drag and drop repositioning and image rotation. It's so good that I wonder if Microsoft Research's new AutoCollage 2008 (which costs $19.95) can compete.
Improved photo editing tools such as the retouching tool (good for removing scratches and dust) and the tuning tool, which features highlight, shadow, fill light, color picker, and color temperature controls. If you don't want to learn (or pay for) Adobe Photoshop Elements, you can do quite well in fixing less-than-perfect photos.
To see the photo viewer in action, and to find out where to learn more (or just get your hands on Picasa 3.0), join us after the jump.
Last month, Opera Software had announced that the long awaited and much delayed Opera Mobile 9.5 was undergoing alpha testing and the beta version would become available for download on July 15th, 2008. And, miraculously enough, Opera didn’t disappoint this time around and stuck to its promise.
Just to let you know, this release doesn’t offer support for non-touchscreen Windows Mobile phones. You can download the new browser for free and catch a glimpse of the various enhancements. I believe that this news might not excite those who own an Opera 9.5-bearing HTC Diamond or have downloaded a ripped version of the browser.
MTV is busy optimizing popular comic book Invincible, using a process called Bomb-xx, for distribution through iTunes, Xbox Live and MTV Mobile, besides airing it on MTV2. The enhanced version of the comic book will not be a conventional animation but, on the contrary, an audio visual compilation prepared using actual scans of the comic.
One can perceive it to be something between a usual comic and an animated cartoon. The first six installments of the series will become available through the abovementioned digital distribution services on August 22.
It is indeed a novel idea as this way the peculiarities of the comic might not be compromised as is usually the case when a comic is turned into an animated cartoon. Not all comics travel well across to TV screens just like most videogames turn out to be contemptible movies.