Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

January 2006 - Posts

  • PostTypeIcon
  • Back Online

    Sorry about the disappearance, guys. My hoster made us switch IP addresses, and it took a little while for the change to propagate across the internet. No worries, we're back :).
  • Want Windows Live Messenger?

    Have you been wanting to try out the new Windows Live Messenger? I've got 15 invitations. The first 15 people to comment on this post with the phrase "Hook me up!" and your e-mail address will get them. Get them while they're hot!

    UPDATE: Please leave your e-mail address if you're not a registered user on the site.

    UPDATE2: Comments are closed, I sent out 18 invitations. Thanks to everyone who commented!

  • Vista CTP Hell: Was it the Hardware?

    So, my travails with the Windows Vista CTP program have been well documented. So far, it has sucked. I don't think it has been Microsoft's fault... I've been pretty sure it was NVIDIA and Toshiba's fault the whole time. Well, while I was at CES, my Tecra M4 TabletPC picked a most inopportune time to fail. I've been without my computer for nearly a week now... feeling practically naked. My girlfriend was kind enough to let me use her Toshiba Satellite R15, which is basically a crappy Tablet in the same shell as the M4.

    It was really weird too, my screen all of a sudden had short yellow bars running in a pattern across the entire screen. Then, when I went to reboot, Vista went into a bluescreen reboot loop that surprised me. I thought maybe it was Vista, so I replaced it with an image of Windows XP I had set up after the 7th time replacing Vista with XP. 15 minutes later, my computer was stuck in the same bluescreen reboot loop.

    So when I got back in town, I took it into the shop. Well, they're replacing the motherboard, video card, and LCD. I'm really surprised they didn't just replace the whole machine, but oh well. So, we'll see what happens with Vista when I get my computer back. Hopefully between new hardware and new builds coming, better Vistas are ahead.

  • When Technology is not About Customers

    What happens when technology becomes more about egos than it is about what customers want? You have HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. I guess the only thing they could really agree on was to put dashes in their names. has more:

    "We are frustrated," said Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson on Friday on the sidelines of a panel discussion at CES, the industry's biggest U.S. trade show. "We are going to wind up with some number of consumers probably buying a format that dies, and we are probably going to wind up having to sell it to them. They are not going to be happy with us."

    My personal opinion: HD-DVD will win, because it delivers the #1 feature customers want: legal copies. I asked several Blu-Ray vendors at CES about their support for legal copying, and they said it's nonexistent. This basically says to me that next gen vendors were too busy fighting over egos to notice that we're standing on the sidelines saying "hey guys, this is what we want, build it."

    These are situations where capitalism should not have to take its course. There should be one format, to eliminate consumer confusion and save us from wasting money. But it's not about us... it never was. We're not customers to most of these companies, we're just faces to shove movies in front of, as long as we remember that, though we pay money for it, we don't really own it. But instead, the market will have to decide the winner, which will be a protracted war that the loser won't concede easily.

    Whichever format wins, the customer loses, and that's sad. With stupid battles like this, it's no wonder "technology" people can't figure out why "normal" people hate us.

  • Windows WMF Vulnerability Patched

    This just went live a couple minutes ago. Microsoft has released the patch for the WMF vulnerability that has been talked about so much the past week or so. This is a really bad vulnerability, so please install this on as many machines as you have access to... and spread the word.

    This is an excerpt from the e-mail that went out to Premiere customers:

    Important Information for Thursday 5 January 2006
    Microsoft announced that it would release a security update to help protect customers from exploitations of a vulnerability in the Windows Meta File (WMF) area of code in the Windows operating system on Tuesday, January 2, 2006, in response to malicious and criminal attacks on computer users that were discovered last week.
    Microsoft will release the update today on Thursday, January 5, 2006, earlier than planned.
    Microsoft originally planned to release the update on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 as part of its regular monthly release of security bulletins, once testing for quality and application compatibility was complete.
    However, testing has been completed earlier than anticipated and the update is ready for release.
    In addition, Microsoft is releasing the update early in response to strong customer sentiment that the release should be made available as soon as possible.
    YAY!!! Microsoft FINALLY gets it. Congrats on meeting customer demand.
  • Windows Vista 5270 MCE Patch Available

    Download it on Connect now. Thank's Microsoft for responding so quickly.
  • O*M*G

    Filed under:

    I've just witnessed the coolest keynote I've ever seen. My mind is going in a million different directions, I hardly know where to start. Here we go:

    • Bill Gates demoed probably the most interesting setup I've ever witnessed. Remember the video from Microsoft Research a couple months ago, where an image was projected onto a table, and you touched the table to interact with it? Well, Bill demoed a souped-up version that interacted with your cell phone and business cards.
    • PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE where can I buy the 3 paneled screen that Bill sat at??? HOLY CRAP that thing was tight.
    • The Vista MCE will be really slick. Dell will be selling a digital tuner that will work with Cox Cable later this year.
    • HD-DVD will blow Blu-ray out of the water. Toshiba's $499 drive will be available in March, and will let you legally copy movies to Windows computers, to move to any device. Sure, it's huge. It's probably heavy. And it's expensive. But Blu-Ray will have a tough act to follow with that feature set. And I'll buy it.
    • Xbox 360 will ship 4.5 to 5.5 million consoles by June. On average, buyers are purchasing 4 games and 3 accessories per console. That's huge. In the 90 days since launch, there have been over 400 million downloads on Xbox Live Marketplace.
    • Microsoft will ship an HD-DVD external drive for Xbox 360s later this year.
    • Watching Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer box is probably the funniest thing I've ever seen. I can't wait to go home and beat the crap out of my football-playing roommate.

    I'm so excited to see what's coming up this week. But I'm even more excited to go to the MTV VIP party tomorrow night at Caesar's. The Killers will be performing live. I can't wait.

    Robert McLaws, signing out.

  • Microsoft Wants Your Windows Vista Experiences

    Microsoft wants you... well, ok they want your feedback. Specifically, they want anonymous experiences with Windows Vista so far. From the site...

    We welcome your thoughts, suggestions, ideas or other comments on this pre-release version of Windows. Please tell us what you think. Please do not provide any information which could personally identify you or others. We're looking for completely anonymous, candid feedback.

    Give the team your Windows Vista story here.

    Thanks to Ryan Hoffman for the heads-up.

  • Build 5270 MCE Expiration Fix

    David Fleishman tells us that Microsoft has a workaround for the bug that I talked about the other day (apparently it unexpectedly caused some hassles here at the CES booths too), and it will be available soon. I've been told that it can be expected by early next week, if not sooner.

  • Timing is Everything

    Windows Vista hates me. I take that back. I think this tablet hates me. I get here to CES, and now my computer has taken a crap on itself. I'm pretty sure the video card has been bad the whole time, and that's why I have so many issues. It couldn't come at a worse time, not only being here, but because I'm working on a critical project for a start-up (one of the reasons I've been so quiet lately). I'm going to have to have it serviced when I get back to Phoenix.

    Maybe I'm gonna have to track down Toshiba and see if I can't knock some heads around... uh, I mean, see if they can help me out. Yeah, that's what I meant.

  • Take That, Mac Mini!

    When this runs Windows Vista, I want it.
  • Microsoft's New Year's Present: No MCE in 5270

    If you're testing 5270's Media Center functionality, you're now out of luck. The newsgroups are abuzz with testers angry over the fact that the MCE expired on Jan 1, 2006. Just 30 days to test MCE? We're waiting for an official response from Microsoft, because Monday was a holiday. We'll see what happens this week, but with CES2006 just hours away, you can bet this one's gonna get talked about. Remember the screenshot debacle of WinHEC '05? Why do these things always get times aroud trade shows?
  • A Vista of 2006

    2005 was an interesting year. We saw a new name for Longhorn, another WinHEC, a long awaited PDC, Windows CTPs, .NET 2.0, Ray Ozzie, The "Live" wave, "Web 2.0" madness, RSS, and more. What will 2006 bring? Windows Vista RTM, Office "12", WDDM, XPS, WCF, WPF, WinWF, WinFX, Visual Studio "Orcas", "Quartz", "Acrylic", "Sparkle"....<whew>. Somehow, I don't think I covered it all.

    2006 is going to be an interesting year. Ray Ozzie called it the year for Microsoft to "build". Looks like he wants to prove Mark Lucovsky wrong. Can it happen. We'll see what happens in the next year.

    In the immediate future, I'll be at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show January 4-7th. Microsoft is hosting a "Windows Featured Communities" booth, and I'll be there at various times. If you're there, please stop by and say "hi". I've never been to CES before, so this should be really interesting.

    Have a safe and happy New Year!