There's been much ballywho surrounding Windows 7, Microsoft's anticipated successor to Vista, and we've covered much of it right here on MaximumPC.com. From what is known, Microsoft appears to be working closely with system vendors to ensure Windows 7 enjoys a smooth rollout among preconfigured systems, and to avoid third-party drivers giving the new OS a bad rap in similar fashion to how the software maker suggests early Nvidia drivers did to Vista. But it now looks like users will have to wait until December before spending some hands-on time with Windows 7 beta 1.
In the meantime, a pair of videos showing off two features of the new OS have begun making the rounds. The first one shows the Windows 7 Start menu, which looks no different than Vista's. However, with the mouse pointer hovered over the icon, a search box appears just above it in the video.
The second clip showcases Microsoft's redesigned Calculator application. You can choose from four modes - Standard, Scientific, Programmer, and Statistics - and copy and paste values. A new Options menu brings more functionality to the table, such as quickly calculating specific dates and breaking them down in to years, months, weeks, and days. Templates and unit conversion are also included, giving geeks with a caculator fetish something to salivate over.
Check out the clips and hit the jump to let us know what you think.
The marketing drum at Microsoft beats on and new advertisements have finally surfaced for your viewing pleasure. The new direction in the campaign features a noticeable lack of Seinfeld and churros, but it finally takes on the damaging Mac vs PC ads which Apple first debuted several years ago. For many PC enthusiasts this is the real kick start of the Vista ad campaign, and in many ways is long overdue. For years Apple has stereotyped Windows user’s as pie chart obsessed corporate stooges who resist the very notion that computing can be fun. The Microsoft ads hope to demonstrate the diversity of the over one billion users across the world who use Windows everyday and are proud proponents of the platform. The campaign also features a new face to represent the PC, which ironically turns out to be an internal Microsoft employee named Sean Siler. Sean claims he was one of many who auditioned for the role of the PC and his duties at Microsoft otherwise involve work on IPv6. His email address (provided at the bottom of the ad) sends back an automated out of office response directed toward curious observers. Try it yourself by sending an email to email@example.com or hit the jump to read the transcript and see the ads for yourself.
If you enjoyed the first commercial starring Bill Gates and new OS pitchman Jerry Seinfeld (and judging by the comments in the accompanying news post, many of you did), then you're likely to be tickled by the latest installment, all agonizing 4 minutes of it (that's right, my PC brethren, I'm still not amused). Gates doesn't shake his tush in the latest Vista ad, but he does do the robot, or at least a 52-year-old semi-retired billionaire's version of the robot (admittedly not bad, all things considered).
The newest ad still stays mainly focused on trying to connect with current culture rather than outright attempting to whip Apple at its own game, which is to fight a battle of the OSes. But here's my beef - it's just not amusing, to me anyway. There are subtle (and some not so subtle) messages to be picked up on in both commercials, but just as I didn't find myself chuckling at the whole Shoe Circus setting, I'm equally unimpressed watching a couple of rich guys trying to coexist with the common folk (props to the spunky grandma, the sole shining star so far in this ad campaign). Taken to the extreme, as Gizmodo alludes to, the commercials' failure to live up to expectations ironically mimic the same characteristic that described Vista when it first debuted.
There's a particular line that stands out in this new commercial. After Gates and Seinfeld are caught stealing a leather giraffe, the man of the home tells the unlikely duo "I'm disappointed in the both of you." Me too.
Am I just being a hater, or are you guys and gals still digging these introductory commercials? Maybe I'm just bitter that Will Ferrell didn't end up with the role.
If any internal software veers away from the normal pattern of operation, the Kernel almost freezes the system to scrutinize the cause of that anomaly. The effectiveness of this technique appears to completely rest on its ability to identify normal operational patterns. Although it is being touted as an alternative to anti-virus software, it is difficult to say at this stage whether it can actually replace anti-virus software. Anyways, an open-source application based on this method is now available for Linux.
It is well known that T-Mobile will be launching the maiden Android-based phone, which in all likelihood would be the HTC Dream. Now, Reuters is reporting that the launch of the first Android device could be just a few weeks away. September 23rd might witness an official announcement from T-Mobile and Google – members of the Open Handset Alliance, according to the report, which is based on intel gained from two anonymous persons. After the launch of Android, Cell phone users will be spoilt for choice as far as mobile platforms are concerned.
One of the biggest challenges Maximum PC readers often face is the never ending battle we endure when it comes to restoring the PC’s of family and friends. We often find ourselves bombarded with machines that may have once been configured by us, but have become infected or modified beyond recognition. The good news is that Microsoft finally has a solution and it comes in the form of a free add on for Windows XP and Vista which promises to restore sanity to your world.
Windows Steady State goes far beyond a simple group policy editor. It gives users the protection and peace of mind that until now could only be matched by a virtual machine. Simply put, Windows Steady State gives you nearly unlimited control over what can and cannot be done on a protected PC. With the ability to flush unwanted changes with each reboot every new session can be as fresh and snappy as the day you first installed the OS.
The obvious application for Steady State is anyone who maintains a large fleet of public computers, but I would argue that it works just as well for anyone who maintains a troublesome household computer with friends or family who just can’t resist opening email attachments. Steady State gives administrators full control over how users access the internet, how they import and export data, and even what programs they can use. Interested in learning how to master this amazing new utility?
Read on to learn how to configure Steady State for your application.
Starting this week, Microsoft will update the way its Windows Genuine Advantage behaves. The first change will come in how WGA keeps itself updated, with MS saying "in this release we've also added the ability for future updates to WGA Notifications to have both the validation logic, as well as new forms of notifications, installed without additional steps."
But the biggest change comes to how WGA handles installations that fail to pass validation. Taking somewhat of a cue from Vista, users sporting a copy of Windows flagged as non-genuine will be greeted to a plain black background. Users will still be given the ability to change the background to whatever it was before, but every 60 minutes the desktop will go back to black until Windows passes validation.
In addition, Microsoft plans to add a "persistent desktop notification." Similar to a watermark, the non-interactive notification will appear permanently over the system tray as a reminder that the copy didn't pass validation. Users won't be able to click, move, or otherwise manipulate the notification, but it will be translucent over desktop items, and stay hidden under open windows.
Will this latest effort curb software piracy, or is WGA a bad idea to begin with?
Some Linux users are getting a feel for what it's like to be one of the Windows faithful, as the open source community looks to be under siege. The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) has issued a warning for "active attacks" against Linux-based infrastructures using compromised SSH keys.
Specifics remain scarce, but the attacks appear to use stolen SSH keys to gain access to a system, after which time the attacker uses local kernel exploits to gain root access and install a rootkit called phalanx2.
"Phalanx2 appears to be a derivative of an older rootkit named "phalanx". Phalanx2 and the support scripts within the rootkit, are configured to systematically steal SSH keys from the compromised system. These SSH keys are sent to the attackers, who then use them to try to compromise other sites and other systems of interest at the attacked site."
The US-CERT has outlined ways Linux users can reduce the risk of attack, as well as what steps should be taken if a compromise is already confirmed.
We can all agree that the Mac commercials blasting all things PC (most of which revolve around Microsoft's Vista OS) aren't always accurate, but few outside the PC loyal would argue they're not funny. Or at least they used to be - there are only so many times you can watch Justin Long remind the world what a supposed hip computer user looks and dresses like.
Now it's Microsoft's turn, but rather than try to redefine 'cool,' it's reportedly going back in time a decade to snag an instantly recognizable spokesman who's most recent celebrity role involved a voice over for a talking bee. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jerry Seinfeld will be one of the key celebrity pitchmen for Microsoft's new $300 million advertising campaign, in which Bill Gates will also appear. Also fresh from the rumor mill, look for the new slogan "Windows, Not Walls."
The new ads are likely to debut on September 4th. Lulz?