Microsoft received considerable buzz over its Silverlight web browser plugin during the Beijing Olympics, in which NBC opted to use Silverlight rather than Adobe's Flash to stream its Olympics coverage. But it didn't take long for NBC to run back to Flash once the Olympics were over, taking the spotlight off of the Silverlight platform.
Silverlight is back in the news, this time for a new contest Microsoft has launched at serverquestcontest.com. The contest is being aimed at Silverlight game developers age 16 or older and living in the U.S. To enter, eligible developers must create a user profile on the site, download the Software Development Kit, and then use it to create an online game.
Participants can submit up to three entries, each of which must follow a set of strict guidelines. These include a file download size not larger than 4MB and total file size of less than 10MB, resolution of 800x430 or less, the game cannot include any upload file aspects nor can it require or allow any external communication, it must be developed in Silverlight 2.0 and submitted in object/binary code format, and finally the game must clearly indicate to others that it is governed by the Creative Commons license. Phew!
The contest runs through April 30, 2009 (11:59 PM PST), with a voting period to take place between May 1 and May 14. Winners will be announced May 25, 2009.
Select Vista owners may be getting a free ride to Windows 7, according to a draft document TechArp claims to have obtained. The document, which TechArp says was handed out to OEM partners on December 10 with a one month deadline to provide feedback, outlines Microsoft's tentatively named "Windows 7 Upgrade Program."
The point of the program is to alleviate the concern from potential PC buyers who may be postponing a purchase in anticipation of Windows 7. As it's being reported, it's a consumer-oriented upgrade program aimed at both individual consumers and small businesses who purchase a Vista-based PC during the unspecified 'Program Eligibility Period.'
To qualify, end users must buy a new PC with Vista pre-installed, and the system must come with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached. The upgrade only apples to Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate flavors, which can then be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate respectively. And finally, Microsoft says the program does not support multiple upgrades for medium, large, or enterprise customers, according to the document.
Keep in mind the above is based on a draft document, and should it become finalized, eligibility requirements and other details could very well change. Stay tuned!
Ah, the fashion mouse. You know the one: It’s designed by the industrial design team of the moment, and it not only lets you move your PC’s cursor but also tells everyone that you care about Design (you know, with a capital D). Unfortunately, what this mouse tells anyone who knows about mice is that you’d rather use an incredibly uncomfortable device that looks cool than one that properly fits your paw and gives you good control over your cursor. Despite a more than competent laser-powered sensor, the Arc Mouse falls squarely in fashion-mouse territory.
The Arc is, ostensibly, designed to be a travel mouse, and its size and shape are indeed suited to that purpose. When you fold the back of the mouse up and snap the USB transmitter dongle into the magnetic receptacle, you get a mouse that’s small enough to fit in a pocket. That’s great and all, but it’s just not comfortable to use.
Microsoft has reached a major landmark after receiving its 10,000th U.S patent. The software bellwether has cemented its place among top patent recipients in the last five years; it is the fourth highest patent getter in the U.S. The 10,000th patent concerns a technology that allows a Microsoft Surface-like computer to discern real objects and link them with data or media. Microsoft can be expected to move up the ladder in the near future as it has a policy of incentivizing employees for patent filings.
Yes, you heard right! Microsoft is giving away free, hosted domains. This means you can finally set up a website for your special hobby or anything else that you wish. There is a catch though. Unfortunately, it is only free for the first year and then $15 per year after. This is still a good deal though. So why would you want such a thing? Because it’s your website and you can do whatever you wish to it. Other free services, such as Tripod, give you free website hosting, but you do not get your own domain name. Hit the jump for more details.
Procrastinators take note, your window of opportunity to beta test Microsoft's next operating system is closing fast. You have until 11:59 PM PST today to begin downloading Windows 7 (from Microsoft, anyway), and will have until 9 AM PST Thursday to finish the download, Microsoft said. It's the general public who are being cut off by tonight's deadline; MSDN and TechNet subscribers will still have access.
If you miss the deadline, you'll have another opportunity when Microsoft releases its next test version of Windows 7, which the software maker says will closely resemble the final release. When that version of Windows 7 will arrive has not yet been announced.
This is also a good time to remind users that Windows Vista beta testers who submitted a legitimate bug report ended up being eligible to receive a free copy of Vista Business or Ultimate. Microsoft has made no mention of doing anything similar for Windows 7 beta testers, so you'll have to decide for yourself how motivated you are to spend some hands-on time with Vista's successor.
It is finally happening! Microsoft is now changing over to a 64-bit operating system by default instead of 32 bit. Windows Server 2008 R2 will be the first operating system to feature 32 bit optional. This means that all the applications included with Windows Server 2008 R2 will be native 64 bit. It appears Microsoft is now ready to embrace the 21st century and begin shipping their new server operating systems as 64 bit only.
For the system administrators that still want to run 32-bit applications inside of Windows Server 2008 R2 they will have to install WoW64. This application support layer is not included by default with the operating system.
Hit the jump for more information and what this means to regular home users.
Although Microsoft is concerned about the likelihood of EU requiring it to bundle other browsers with Windows, Firefox architect Mike Connor isn’t exulting. He, personally, despises the idea of other browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, being packaged with Windows. Connor told PC Pro in an interview,” The choice [when installing Windows] would be weird. There's no good UI [user interface] for that.” Connor’s views on this particular issue are his alone and should not be construed as Mozilla’s official line.
He then proceeded to take Opera to task for having complained to the EU about Microsoft’s bundling of IE with Windows. Connor thinks that the quality of the product is paramount and bundling doesn’t necessarily lead to market share. He labeled Opera – based on other people’s feedback – a “geeky browser” that is difficult to use.
Microsoft’s Windows Vista Ultimate was supposed to be a fun-filled version packed full of extras, but as anyone with the OS knows, this is a promise that Microsoft didn’t exactly make good on. So, on that note, Microsoft has decided to announce that Windows 7 Ultimate will feature absolutely no extras whatsoever.
“Our new approach to planning and building Windows doesn't have the capacity to continue to deliver features outside the regular release cycle. While our core development team is focused on building the next release, our sustained engineering team is focused on updates to existing features. As a result we don't plan to create Ultimate Extras,” Microsoft stated in a recent bit of Windows 7 SKU news.
Windows 7 Ultimate won’t be available on a retail level, but instead will be offered during promotional periods. It has been speculated that it will be $80 cheaper than Vista’s Ultimate, making it $320.
We have all had those stubborn problems that refuse to go away no matter how long you try to fix it. As a power user, you know that Microsoft has a gigantic library of fixes. The hard part is finding the particular fix for the problem you are having. Once you get to the KB article, you are given a list of steps to perform. Most likely the steps are easy to perform and do not take much time. However, what if you manage a huge network of computers and each one of them has the particular problem? Microsoft has announced they are going to start being proactive and help people fix their computers.
Hit the jump for more information on this feature.