I am currently running Windows XP Pro. Every time I start my computer, the first thing that appears on my desktop is a pop-up error screen. It’s a rectangular box with “system.exe -Application Error” at the top. On the bottom of the window is a red circle with a white X through it and this message: “The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000022). Click OK to terminate the application.” I don’t know what this means.
ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has apparently learned that Microsoft’s online alternative to Google Docs will emerge from beta before the end of this year. Office Live Workspace is a service that is geared to work as either a standalone product, or in tandem with Office 2003-2007. It has been suggested that the current public beta is fairly close to the final version, and the primary issue outstanding is language support. Microsoft wishes to expand the 11 languages it currently supports to 37 before it officially lifts the beta tag later this year. Spokesmen Kirk Gregersen from Microsoft has also reportedly commented on the surprising trends they have identified during the public beta. It was originally assumed that casual users such as students would use Live Workspace as a means to author and remotely access documents. Instead, the service is being used mostly as a single access point for collaborative efforts involving multiple users. Insiders have suggested that this only further demonstrates why desktop versions of Microsoft Office won’t be leaving us anytime soon.
For those who haven’t been following the development of Office Live Workspace, hit the jump to learn more about the services currently being offered.
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?
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?
Like everyone, Microsoft hates to back a loser. There comes a time though when you have to lick your wounds and suck it up. With the demise of Microsoft backed HD DVD, they are now working on incorporating the new storage option into Windows.
Microsoft is developting a “Windows Feature Pack for Storage” for both Windows XP and Vista. On the Microsoft Connect website they highlight three new technologies each in their own installer for the prerelease beta: Active Storage Platform: This pre-release package enables the Windows platform to restrict access to portable devices (such as a USB Flash Device) via a certificate or password authentication based on the IEEE 1667 standard specification. Image Mastering: API update for Blu-Ray media: This feature enables the Windows platform to do master style optical burning on Blu-Ray media.
Smart Card Drive:: This release provides support for new form factors, such as ICCD/CCID smart cards.
Maybe official Microsoft and Windows support for Blu-ray will help speed adoption rates for the new storage media.
On Friday, Microsoft released the production version of SyncToy 2.0, the sequel to the popular SyncToy 1.x file-synchronization program I've been using for over two years (the beta version appeared last fall).
So what's new? A few of the 16 new features include:
Native support for 64-bit Windows XP or Vista (choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version when downloading SyncToy 2.0
Support for encrypted files and folders
Folder pair rename
Dynamic drive letter assignment
For the entire list, see the SyncToy download page. Microsoft also offers a white paper (PDF format) on SyncToy 2.0, and offers a FAQ list on its forums.
When you install SyncToy 2.0 on a system that includes a previous version, it upgrades the previous version automatically. To assure that your folders are properly detected, you should synchronize your folder pairs with your old version of SyncToy before installing version 2. SyncToy 2.0 requires the .NET Framework 2.0 (you'll be prompted to install it if your system doesn't have it already installed).
From the Makers of TweakUI and Other Great Windows XP PowerToys
SyncToy has the distinction of being the only PowerToy that works on both Windows XP and Windows Vista. For other PowerToys for Windows XP, stop by the Windows PowerToys website.
For your chance to tell us your favorite file-sync programs or war stories, see us after the jump.
Come December, directory assistance will hit the web in a big way, and it has nothing to do with the online yellow pages. Instead, ICANN has approved the creation of a new domain name, .tel, which will serve to offer a one-stop surfing destination to look up contact information on what it hopes will eventually include every individual and corporate entity.
ICANN says that .tel sites are stored within the DNS systems so that information can be "quickly accessed on any device from a game console to a PC to a mobile phone." Regardless of the vehicle, navigators could, for example, head over to WillSmithMPC.tel to gain access to a wealth of contact information, including address, phone, Facebook URL, IM, Twitter, and whatever else the MPC editor-in-chief chose to share. Companies can purchase a domain name too, meaning you could visit MaximumPC.tel to see who's on staff and other contact information for your favorite magazine.
The new Telnic-owned domains will go on sale this December with initial registrations reserved for trademark owners. General availability opens up to public on March 24, 2009. Pricing yet to be announced.
Another social news voting system gets added to the web today as Yahoo opens up its Buzz to the public. Prior to the public release, only about 400 publishers could contribute new links to the service, though anyone could see them and vote buzz up or down what they consider to be the most/least interesting news stories.
The release comes with little fanfare or hype, an interesting move for a service that hopes to contend with similar sites like Digg and Reddit. Separating itself from the pack, Buzz's algorithms also analyze search engine popularity rather than remain purely community driven, and Yahoo's editors still program the Yahoo.com front page.
While it's far too early to predict how Buzz will fare, the social service could gain some traction both by leveraging other Yahoo communities, and by luring participation by having some of the most popular news items posted on its main page.
Another birthday for the CD has come and gone and yet the damn things just won’t die. On Aug. 17th, 1982, the Compact Disc was born into an age of rampant consumerism that was the 1980s. Big hair was in, big vinyl and the big snarls of tape from cassettes was out.
The CD of course wasn’t without its drawbacks. They disliked abuse and absolutely had to live in their cases. I replaced the bulk of my CDs with my first car player before going back to cassette so I could dub my own playlists and stop spending money on music I had already bought. Even the players then were delicate. My car CD player touted a 3 second anti-skip buffer for those canyons in the road called potholes. Of course back in east Texas they had washboard roads that could eat up that buffer and just ruin AC/DC’s Who Made Who.
It would be well over a decade later before semi affordable CD-Rs would arrive. Since then everything from music, to photos, to video, to Grandma’s recipes have been stored on CD.
Some really great things came on CD like, Windows 98, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A., and Starsiege: Tribes. I invested a big chunk of my life in Tribes.
Of course the CD is also responsible for bringing us some really bad things too. Remember Windows Millennium Edition? They should have melted down those CDs before they left the factory. Then there was Mary Schneider’s Yodeling the Classics. That thing should be classified as a method of torture.
Remember when AOL used to spew out those CDs to pimp their dialup service? I use to use them as coasters for my coffee cup. When a new one came into the office, (about every few days it seemed) I’d toss my old AOL coaster and put down the new one.
What do you think some of the best and worse things that have ever been put to CD are?