Cloud computing is going to be the focal point at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC), according to eWeek. The company will share its “services aspirations” and there is every possibility it might shed light on its so-called “Cloud OS”. But Windows 7 is expected to assume more importance than anything else at PDC.
Though cloud computing and Windows 7 are most certainly going to attract all the attention at PDC, the company is expected to shed more light on its Oslo modeling platform and Visual Studio 2010 as well. "There will be lots of talk of interoperability and how developers not on the platform can work with Microsoft technology," said Tim O'Brien, senior director of platform strategy at Microsoft.
The race is still on to see which will come out first - Vista's second Service Pack, or Windows 7 - but when it comes to beta releases, you needn't wait long. In a blog post, Microsoft said Vista's SP2 will begin beta testing this week.
"Following the success of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 last spring, we have been working hard on Windows Vista Service Pack 2," writes Mike Nash, corporate VP for Microsoft's Windows Product Management. "As part of the development and testing process, we're going to start by providing a small group of Technology Adoption Program customers with Windows Vista SP2 Beta for evaluation next Wednesday, October 29."
Nash goes on to say that SP2 will incorporate both previously released fixes and unreleased updates into a single serviceability model covering both Windows Vista (client) and Windows Server 2008 (server) versions. A big focus on SP2 will be on improving hardware support as well as "adding support for several emerging standards." Some of the changes include:
Adding Windows Search 4.0
Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack
Record data on Blu-ray media natively
Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) for easier WiFi configs
T-Mobile scored a big win by partnering with Google and handset manufacturer HTC to become the first provider to offer a smartphone powered by Android, Google's open-source OS. The pre-release buzz was so strong that initial estimates indicate as many as 1.5 million HTC G1 phones were gobbled up through preorders alone. It would seem illogical to scoff at those kind of numbers, but that's what Dan Hesse, Sprint's CEO, has done.
According to a report on Reuters, the cynical CEO told the National Press Club in Washington that the current iteration of Android isn't "good enough to put the Sprint brand name on it." Is he hating on Google or pouting over being passed over? Likely not. Initial reviews of the recently released G1 show Android as having promise, but as Engadget points out, Android "has a lot of ground to cover before it's really making the competition sweat," namely platforms like the iPhone and Windows Mobile devices.
Don't fret of you're a Spring subscriber. Despite Hesse's unenthusiastic comments, he has promised to sell an Android-powered phone "at some time in the future." Of course, at some point in the future, other manufacturers besides AT&T will also carry Apple's iPhone, so perhaps this is a case where time is of the essence.
The instant-on system will let users access key applications and data without actually booting the machine. If Jeff Clarke, senior vice president and general manager of Dell Product Group, is to be believed the technology will also be energy-efficient as it will provide limited access to the system without engaging the CPU.
While it seems most PC users got a kick out of watching Seinfeld inquire about the future of chewy computers and Bill Gates doing the robot, I've remained critical of Microsoft's $300 million ad campaign and have yet to be impressed with one of its commercials, including the "I'm a PC" segments currently being aired. By contrast, I found myself chuckling at Apple's initial round of ads, not because I thought they were accurate (they're not), but because they managed to throw humorous jabs without going for that impossible knockout punch. For those of you who follow baseball, it's like being a Red Sox fan (which I am) and tipping your hat at the Tampa Bay Rays for outplaying your team last night (which they did), even though you despise them (which I do).
But lest anyone accuse me of sleeping with the enemy (you know, those whiny Mac losers), let me go on record as saying that the new Mac ads suck too, and not just because I've developed an urge to want to punch Justin Long-in-the-tooth square in the face (I bet he's a Tampa Bay fan too, the smug bastard).
Hit the jump to read my beef with the new Mac ads.
It seems as though many enthusiasts are biding their time with Vista and have already begun looking forward to Windows 7. In some respects, so has Microsoft, who doesn't need much coaxing to talk about the new OS, whether it be about the refined UAC experience or explaining where the Windows 7 naming scheme comes from. But that doesn't mean Vista's being kicked to the curb.
On the contrary, it looks as though Vista's second Service Pack will make a debut before Windows 7, suggests ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. According to Foley, select hardware and software partners have already received a beta of SP2, and while the murmurs are unusually quiet regarding what the new Service Pack will bring, Foley's sources have indicated that Microsoft's goal is to deliver SP2 before Windows 7 in an attempt to lessen confusion among users mulling whether to deploy Vista or wait for the new OS. And what does Microsoft have to say on the matter?
"Microsoft is working on a second Windows Vista Service Pack (Windows Vista SP2) and will share more details in the coming months," a Vista spokesperson wrote.
Hit the jump and let us know what you're most looking forward to: Windows 7 or Vista SP2.
Full-blown instant-on technology is considered by some to be the holy grail of computing, whereby once you hit the power button, your PC's ready to go. It's safe to assume we won't see this implemented in its entirety anytime soon, but steps have already been taken in that direction. Asus' SplashTop OS makes it possible to fire up Pidgin, Skype, or a browser all before booting into the main operating system, and similar functionality can be found on some Dell Latitude notebooks and even Voodoo's Envy. These Linux-based systems on a chip are all the rage and appear to have drawn the attention of Microsoft.
In a recent Microsoft survey sent out to select users, the software giant pinged consumer interest in "Instant On" technology. The survey notes that "Instant On takes your computer from being completely powered down or 'turned off' to being usable for a few specific activities in a very short amount of time." The survey goes on to ask participants a series of related questions, such as what value they place on Instant On technology and what types of applications would they expect to be able to use.
So what exactly does Microsoft have planned? It could be nothing, or it could be feature to pop up in Windows 7. Or maybe the next iteration of Centrino will come standard with Instant On. The list of possibilities goes on and on, but at the very least, the company's exploring user interest and is aware of the trend.
Hit the jump and tell us what you think Microsoft is up to, and whether or not you care.
Linus Tovalds the proverbial godfather of Linux announced the official release of a new kernel on Friday bringing it up to version 2.6.27. The new version adds both ath9k wireless drivers from Atheros, and a new gspca driver which will drastically increase the number of webcams supported by the OS out of box. Some of the changes such as “function tracing framework” and “memory-mapped IO’s” are mostly for developers, but this isn’t all that was included. The performance improvements to the Ext4 file system are rumored to be substantial and a new file system called UBIFS was implemented for flash storage devices. Perhaps the most significant change however from 2.6.26 (only 3 months ago) was in the scalability of the OS. Support for up to 4096 processors now works out of box and I for one would like to try out the system they were testing this feature with. A full log of the changes has been released and you can read either the translated or developer editions for more information. Oh and did we mention that Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) received some pretty impressive looking new wallpapers?
Can we all agree that User Account Control (UAC) sucks? Good. Now if only we can get Microsoft on the same page. That shouldn't be too hard considering at this point it's no secret that UAC was designed to annoy, and if Ben Fathi, president of Microsoft's core OS development is to be believed, we're all finally in agreement.
"We've heard loud and clear that you are frustrated," Fathi wrote on his blog. "You find the prompts too frequent, annoying, and confusing. We still want to provide you control over what changes can happen to your system, but we want to provide you a better overall experience."
Fathi goes on to explain that in Windows 7, users logged in as an administrator will be able to determine the range of notifications received. Fathi also says the dialog UI will be more telling, perhaps leading to less of a knee-jerk reaction to automatically click 'Allow' every time the dialog pops up.
Fathi sounds optimistic that the revamped UAC system will be far less hated than it is now, but the question isn't whether or not it will be less hated, but will we still hate it?
According to reports, Microsoft has delayed the release of its Windows Mobile 7 OS. The mobile OS will now be launched in the second half of 2009. It was previously slated for early 2009. The company is said to have notified its partners about the delay, though an official confirmation is still awaited. Windows Mobile 7 will face stiff competition, when it eventually debuts, from Symbian OS, Android and the iPhone . A new version of the most popular mobile OS in the world, Symbian OS, is also expected in 2009. Microsoft certainly has its task cut out.