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Showing posts from May, 2006

Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5 BETA is now open!

The Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5 BETA is a lifecycle management tool that assists in identifying and managing application portfolio, reduce the time and costs involved in resolving application compatibility issues, and create a faster deployment of Windows Vista.

The Microsoft Application Compatibility Team just released its ACT 5.0 Beta.

It’s easy to sign up for the BETA:
Sign-up for the beta at the MSConnect site: http://connect.microsoft.com/ (Click on Available Programs, sign-in and select ACT Beta from the list).
Familiarize yourselves with the tool.
Participate on ACT newsgroup site, mvp.public.deployment.app_compatibility

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Working on BETA 2 Platforms

Am happy to report that I have been able to install Office 2007 BETA 2 on a machine. This comes close on heels with successful install of Vista BETA 2 with Aero effect .. This will be the first blog entry using the blog post feature of the Office 2007 Word!
How do you do it?
Office Logo -> Publish -> Blog
This uses the current open document as a blog post with option to enter the Title.
I will soon be doing a webcast on the new features of the Office 2007 and Vista BETA 2.P.S.: I am not saying that you need to upgrade to Office 2007 for the blog feature! This is one of the cool things that i like :)

ActiveSync 4.2 BETA available

ActiveSync BETA 2 Preview is now available for download. You use ActiveSync to sync up your Windows Mobile with your PC. The existing version of ActiveSync is 4.1. You can download 4.2 from: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/downloads/activesync42.mspx

I carry with me a bulky O2. I do so 'cause the value it delivers by seamlessly connecting with my PC and providng information on the go is enormous!

ActiveSync 4.2 seems to be an incremental improvement over 4.1 with no UI Changes. ActiveSync 4.2 addresses issues encountered when synchronizing Outlook over Desktop Pass Through using a USB connection. Additionally, ActiveSync 4.2 improves the overall user experience when errors are encountered due to USB connectivity issues.

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Run or Develop applications hosted on IIS Server?

Head over to http://www.iis.net - The destination with anybody anything to do with IIS. Apart from information on IIS 5.0 and IIS 6.0, it also hosts information about IIS 7.0. Not only that, you can even try IIS 7.0 in Virtual environment !

And if you have a question, the forums provides all the answers :)

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Build Live Gadgets

Live.com isn't only where you can experience cool new technology offerings from MS. It also provides developers ability to build new gadgets themselves via Live Gadgets SDK.

The Windows Live Gadget SDK provides everything you need to get started with developing Gadgets that run on Live.com. It not only provides you with the SDK but also a project template for VS 2005 that you can use to develop easily in VS 2005. the SDK is available at: http://microsoftgadgets.com/livesdk/index.htm

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Now build your language based Windows Vista yourself!

Microsoft Windows Vista currently supports more than 200 locales (100+ languages), and yet this covers only a fraction of speakers worldwide. Microsoft is now moving towards a more extensible model for international support that will empower users to create and share customized solutions in the international space.

The Microsoft Locale Builder provides a way to extend and modify the set of locales that Microsoft ships with your own regional and cultural data. The Microsoft Locale Builder was created to support customers in regions without built-in Windows locales as well as customers seeking to modify locales that they are already using. Customers will be able to add support on their own timeline without having to wait for new releases of Windows.

Microsoft Locale Builder will also allow corporations, governments, universities, and special-interest groups to generate and easily share custom locales on Microsoft Windows Vista.
Download available at:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/deta…

Vista BETA 2 Releases

OK.. Vista BETA 2 is out! Touted to be one with a lot of features that can be previewed publically, it is still difficult to get hold of :)

Vista BETA 2 is available as a download from subscribers download from MSDN and TechNet... :).. a whopping 3.2 GB of download...

there is a lot of content on Vista already available... http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/http://zdnet.com.com/1606-2_2-6075323.html

i am also planning a quick feature tour of Vista on video soon... would be available at: www.merawindows.com ... And if you have a question on Vista, please make sure to post it on Forums at www.merawindows.com.

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MVPs get better services on MVP Secure Site

MVPs are the best of the breed in technology! "Best" - people who are valuable to the community and help others in times of their needs. MVP stands for "Most Valuable Professional" and is an award given out to celebrate their community contribution!

MVPs have a secure website from where they can avail of all the services exclusively available to them. Till now they had services like profile availability on microsoft.com with ability to federate across multiple pages, member downloads...

Microsoft has enhanced services to them (further affirming their commitment to MVPs) by improving this service. New services added to the MVP site are:
New MVP Nomination Form where current MVPs can nominate other candidates. After the nomination, a stringent process is followed to select deserving candidates. An Event Calendar that lists all the events and in which you can search for events in many ways. Also, an ability to add events in your Outlook calendar :). The page uses AJAX f…

Ready for Office 2007 with your version of Office?

Office 2007 is nearing its release... Office 2007 has its own formats.. but you might be running older Office suite of products (e.g. Office 2003, Office XP or even older)...

For you to enable creating documents compatabile with the Office 2007 dude, MS has decided to release "Compatability Packs" for Office 2003 and Office XP. Pieces of software that will enable your Office suite to create files that work with Office 2007. The total amount of download that you will have to do if you are running Office 2003 is: 62.2 MB

Office Preview page for the File Awareness patches: http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/converter.mspx

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Office 2007 BETA 2 Released

Today Microsoft released beta 2 of Office 2007. This beta is publicly available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/default.mspx

Also check out the community site for Office 2007 at: http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/community/overview.mspx.
This site also has some great information regarding Office 2007 on it.

The beta user will rely on peer-to-peer support; consequently, the Office team is facilitating the organization of an online community, the Microsoft Office Beta Community
The site will include articles, customer evidence documents, chats, featured blogs, and links to newsgroups and newsletters.

Please participate in the beta community by sharing your knowledge!
Ø Take part in the various newsgroups.
Ø Attend or suggest a topic for one of the live chat events.
Ø Use the site and suggest ways to improve upon it.

Llook forward to seeing you in the discussions, chats and blogs on the Office Beta Community.

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Get the right hardware today for Vista

Before WinHEC, clear guidelines have been issued by Microsoft on PCs that can run Vista. the recommendations are for 2 classes of PC:
Vista Capable - PC that can run Windows Vista (but not the cool glass effects)Vista Premium - PC that can run Windows Vista alongwith Aero glass effectMy recommendation is to target for Vista Premium Ready PC as you don't want to miss the cool glass effects. What's a new OS that doesn't have an enhanced OS???the hardware requirements are pretty steep for Vista Premium Ready PC:1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1.
1 GB of system memory.
A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2.
128 MB of graphics memory.
40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
DVD-ROM Drive3.
Audio output capability.
Internet access capability.Time for 1 GB memory has finally arrived !!!More details can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/capable.mspx
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Skyscrapr - Meet the Architects!

The Aspiring Architect Community! Skyscrapr (http://www.skyscrapr.net/) is the community for aspiring architects. There are millions of professional developers and aspiring architects looking for a rich, valuable introduction into the world of Architecture. Skyscrapr allows them to explore, train and study architecture and makes Microsoft the ‘go to’ authority to study or plan a career in architecture. Skyscrapr is driven by 78% of developer saying they are interested or very interested in learning about architecture and 1/3 of developers identifying career aspirations of becoming an architect. What this really tells us is there is a huge opportunity to cultivate relationships with people interested in learning and growing their skills in architecture. Always wondering what Service Oriented Architecture really meant but too afraid to ask? Now you can find the complete definition and how it differs from a solution, infrastructure and strategic architects point of view. Skyscrapr wi…

Microsoft sued again

Microsoft has been sued by Symantec for using one of its patented technologies in Vista. The technology in consideration is Data Storage technologies and the Volume Manager in Vista uses that. The story is available at: http://www.technewsworld.com/story/50634.html

this is after google tried suing it for including MSN as default search engine in the IE 7 browser. Appropirately so it was rubbished! Google is the default for Firefox browser, Google is almost a forced install with QuickTime!

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Commerce Server 2007 RC1 Released

If you have been waiting for the new version of Commerce Server 2007, here is the opportunity to try out the RC1:
http://connect.microsoft.com

It promises to be numero uno "e-commerce platform" with designing marvels in the product :)

To know more about the new features of the product and the support available for the same:
http://blogs.msdn.com/rdonovan/archive/2006/05/19/602259.aspx

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Frontpage Next Version - Try it TODAY!

Microsoft has released the CTP of the Expression Web Designer - next in line for Frontpage as a download.
So web designers who have used Frontpage in the past, here is your opportunity to try this new product and make a difference with your feedback.

Release annoucement here:
http://blogs.msdn.com/somasegar/archive/2006/05/15/597093.aspx
and from the annoucement:
"EWD is a new professional design tool for creating HTML/CSS based web sites and applications. One of the great features is the deep support for web standards - something that is more important today than ever in the designer community. It also provides sophisticated CSS management and formatting with drag and drop features that will be exciting for designers. "

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Outdated News - Exclusively on Economic Times

While checking the RSS feeds of EconomicTimes.com I came across this article: "MS Launches free tool for students" dated May 18 2006. The article mentions that Visual Studio 2005 Express is now free for students.

there are two factual errors in this reporting:
the tool is free for everyone who wants to use it. The tool is not only focussed on students but also coding enthusiasts for whom recently there was a Maker Fair also organised.this tool has been free since the annoucement on April 19 2006. This blog covered the story: http://abhishekkant.blogspot.com/2006/04/visual-studio-express-is-free.htmlJournalists, please get the facts right!

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The LPG Delivery - Gas weighs less

This one's not a technical post!

This post narrated how a low tech solution also works. The incident in question is home delivery of LPG cyclinders on which the very essence of a household exists. We like many other consumers in India get gas cyclinders from a gas agency that ensures door delivery of the 30 Kg LPG cylinders. Mostly, we tend to trust the gas delivery guys and the gas company for delivering the right amount of gas as stipulated and no one ever checked the weight of the cylinder.

This time we used a bathroom weighing scale to weigh the LPG cylinder delivered to our home and as suspected it was 4 kgs less than what it should weigh. On confronting the delivery guy, he readily changed the cyclinder and got a fresh cyclinder that was of the right weight.

Here's the inside story and math associated with it:
14 kgs of gas costs INR 298 i.e. INR 21.3 / kg. So one steals 4 kgs (INR 85 i.e. 30%) of the gas amount from each cyclinder. Assuming 100 cylinders gets delivered per …

Windows Media Player 11 BETA is OUT!

Eagerly awaited Windows Media Player 11 BETA is now available for download from:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/11/default.aspx

It is almost 22 MB to download and after installation (takes 5-7 mins) you will need to restart your machine.

To know more about the Media Player 11:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/knowledgecenter/howto/mp11/navigate.aspx
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=913102

The classic menus have given way to taskbar tabs and there is a desktop like search to search your library for songs! VERY VERY cool.. there is also an integrated picture viewer..

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Alexa powered by Windows Live

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It has begun!

Alexa is now powered by Windows Live! I have used Alexa to get an indication of the site usage and was pleasantly surprised to see this change. this is probably the FIRST public site displaying the logo and represents that Microsoft Live Search has now matured enough to be trusted by 3rd parties...

Update: The whole of Amazon and now A9 search has adopted the Windows Live search. Google has been abandoned. IMHO, google is now directly competing with froogle.com with amazon.com and may have been the reason for the switch over coupled with maturation of the search technology from MS.

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FREE Journal for Architects from Microsoft

Architects form the backbone of the application quality! Only on a solid foundation would a solid application exist.

Software architecture is specially relevant to India as "we are the developer nation of the world" building greenfield software that corporations worldwide run! Siebel, Oracle, SQL .. chances are there are pieces of software built in India.

To take care of the growing population of the architects and the appetite for content in that field Microsoft publishes the Architect Journal that is available for FREE in both online and print :)

you can get your copy here: http://www.architecturejournal.net

And yes, the theme for this month's Journal is: Workflow..

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MSN India launches new initiatives

MSN has launched the following new initiatives in India:

Regional Language Editions
Beta edition of Hindi and Tamil editions:
Hindi – http://content.msn.co.in/Hindi (beta)
Tamil - http://content.msn.co.in/Tamil (beta)

The sites are loaded with local language stuff e.g. चटपटे चुटकुले , खबरें, ज्योतिष , खेल-खिलाड़ी , बौलिवुड, साइबर ज्ञान , व्यंजन now the common man on the street can feel more connected to the internet.

i think this just indicates the seriousness with which Microsoft in India is pursuing the localisation of its products and services. Localised Windows, Office and low cost Windows starter edition has already been released! Now its turn of the local language news and content service from MSN!

Want to suggest names of these editions eg. MSN “Pranam” / MSN “Vanakkam”? Do take a shot and suggest a name by leaving a comment to this post!

Cricket and Bollywood in new light
Cricket and Sports - http://content.msn.co.in/Sports/Default (beta)
Bollywood and Entertainment - http://content.msn.…

To Web Developers, Designers and Groovy Digital Artists

You heard about MIX06 that happened in Las Vegas? Didn't??

Here's an opporunity to feel the MIXer away from LV on your comfortable seat while the summer outside burns your circuitry :) .. MIX06 has put all the 52 sessions online for everyone to view.. no registration code, no fee nothing... point and get the content at MIX06 site: http://sessions.mix06.com

Some of the content you can see:
Test drive "Atlas," Microsoft's powerful new framework for building crossbrowser, crossplatform AJAX applications
Explore Windows Live!, Microsoft's new consumer services strategy
Learn how to deliver revolutionary, mediarich Web content with the new Windows Presentation Foundation
Find out how to extend your content, media and services into the living room with Windows Media Center and Xbox 360TM
More than 50 separate sessions and discussions for Web developers, designers and business professionals

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What's more popular - Microsoft or Linux in India

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My morning cup of milk came with a mint fresh news (late last night i was looking at adsense and adwords) - Google releases Google Trends.

Here are some interesting links to know more about Google Trends: http://www.micropersuasion.com/2006/05/google_trends_f.htmlhttp://www.techcrunch.com/2006/05/10/google-trends-launches/

the thing about google is that probably it is the most "neutral" of all sources of information that you can find. armed with this information, i set to compare Microsoft, Linux and Java technology adoption in India. the logic being more the people search on a particular technology higher are the chances that the particular technology is more popular (and not most used - as most MS Dev environments come with a lot of documentation!!) The results are here for everyone to see:

in here, the blue trend line is search for microsoft technologies and is at the top! clearly Microsoft technologies (development, operating system, servers, games) etc create the most buzz…

E3 - Significant News for Gaming Industry and India

Microsoft has made some ground breaking annoucements in E3. And when i say ground breaking, it is a change that will reflect in the whole gaming industry for long long time. Being an avid gamer myself, I am extremely pleased with the annoucements made and think they are truly "KICK ASS".. truly innovative and truly a thought leader.. so on with the revolution:
Live Anywhere: It began with a humble XBOX Live that made multiplayer gaming a reality and popular. the next frontier is gaming experience irrespective of the device you are on. that means that one could be playing the same game on XBOX or on Windows Mobile Device or on Windows PC or on Mobile Gaming Console (rumored to be being built already!!).. towards this end, "Shadowrun" (FASA Studios) will be available for cross-platform gameplay between Xbox 360 and Windows Vista this winter. Microsoft’s mobile gaming initiative: A mobile games service spanning Windows Mobile, Java and BREW handsets. The service will…

Yahoo Answers and so does Microsoft Live QnA

ideas.live.com is an interesting website to visit. New services are regularly added here. I went to the site and was treated with 2 new services-

Live QnA BetaWindows Live ShoppingOn my way from Gurgaon to Delhi, I have been seeing a huge billboard for Yahoo Answers. Google Answers has also been around for quite sometime. These sites let you ask questions that other people can answer for money. Live blog quotes the important features as:• In a one-to-many system, consumers may pose questions to the Windows Live QnA community, thereby creating a store of human knowledge containing facts, opinions and experiences on topics ranging from business, health, arts, sports, technology and more. • People then can rate answers and reputation-based scoring is available so you and others know which sources are most reputable.• Questions are tagged so others can easily find similar or related questions and answers to learn from • The ability to mark and remove inappropriate content I have enrolled f…

Skypecasts - Conference for lesser

Skype has launched Skypecast. From skype.com:
"Skypecasts are live, moderated conversations allowing groups of up to 100 people from anywhere in the world to talk to one another. Skypecasts are moderated by the ‘host’ who is able to mute, eject or pass the virtual microphone to participants when they wish to speak."

This is going to give a run to other online voice conference providers like MCI. Given Skype's voice quality over VoIP (which is much better than traditional phone most of the times) this feature should be a great hit!

the feature still requested the most is "the ability to record the VoIP conversations" online. some other requests on skypecasts are referring for its ability to hold private skypecasts (invite only) and other advanced conferencing features :)

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Additions to my blogsite: Feedburner Supported

I have added a cool feature that is more in demand in India than anywhere else in the world - Emailing stories!
In India, for some reason people prefer to receive emails over any other medium of distribution e.g. RSS, simply visiting a website... maybe it has to do with any time availability of the email alongwith familiarity of Indians with email..
So, i added this feature on this blog.. to receive the posts from this site as an email scroll down the right column and under feeds section you will see a box requesting your email ID and button called "Subscribe". Enter your email alias there and click on subscribe. you will start receiving the posts as email :)
the service is provided by Feedburner, also the service i use to render RSS feeds from the ATOM feeds provided by default here.

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Delhi Bloggers Meet

If you are a blogger and located in Delhi/NCR, you want to attend the Delhi Bloggers Meet being held tomorrow, Saturday, May 6, at India Habitat Center around 6 PM.

Date: Saturday, May 6th 2006
Venue : Amphitheatre, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
Time : 6 pm

USP of this meet: There will some guests from BBC as well... Bill Thompson, Julian Siddle and Gareth Mitchell..

More details available at: http://delhiblogmeet.rediffblogs.com/2006_23_04_delhiblogmeet_archive.html#1146079381

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What Visual Studio Express can't do

· No Source control
· No Test support (unit testing, load testing, manual test, generic test, ordered test, etc)
· Limited Refactorings (rename, extract method only)
· No Obfuscation tools
· No Java Language Conversion Assistant
· No extensibility (no add-ins, macros, or VSIP packages)
o Example: the Refactor! add-in for VB 2005 can only work in Standard or higher
· No Performance/Profiling tools
· No 64-bit support
· No deployment tools
· No Class Designer or Object Test Bench
· No Mobile development
· No MFC programming
· No tools to connect to remote data (VWD does though)
· Limited Debugging (No conditional breakpoints, no tracepoints, no hit count, etc)
· No database projects (managed stored procedures)
· No Whitehorse designers (Application Diagram, System Diagram, Logical Datacenter diagram)
· No Crystal Reports
· No WCAG/Section 508 Accessibility checking
· N…

Microsoft gets focussed about Ads business - MSN AdCenter

Microsoft has been delivering ads for sometime now on it online properties that includes - MSN Messenger, MSN Websites, Hotmail, XBOX live and paid MSN Chat services. What makes it interesting is the recent annoucement that MS is going all guns after the ads business - consider this MS plans to spend $1.1 billion next fiscal year on research and development in MSN/ Live Services, up from $700 million in planned spending this year and $500 million in the prior year. Also, the hardware expenses/ capital expenditure is estimated $500 million on capital expenses in fiscal 2007, up from $100 million in fiscal 2005 and an estimated $300 million this year.

With those figures in mind, i am sure one can be sure of the seriousness of the Microsoft initiative.

At the seventh annual MSN Strategic Account Summit, Steve Ballmer announced the launch of Microsoft adCenter in the US -- the online advertising platform for Microsoft and soon for thousands of websites and partners that operate on the Inter…

Napster goes free

Napster has gone free! Napster becomes the first legal digital music service to offer music fans free, on-demand listening of songs and albums in .swf flash format, delivered at 32kbps.

You can listen to all the music for FREE at napster.com. The new buisness model is “Free” ad-supported streaming. It is only available in US for now. New features include:
NapsterLinks -hyper links for email/blogs linking to musicNarchive - expanded artist bio info and interactive communityThere are charges if you need an enhanced experience of music listeningCategory: ,
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A virtual programmer for your fancy

Here's something refreshing for the end of the day frustrations - A Virtual Programmer who will do exactly as told... ask him to dance, fly, jump, cry, code in C# or drink some coke.. he'll do it all :).. check him out at: http://www.subservientprogrammer.com/

Very very funy....

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