Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

February 2006 - Posts

  • Microsoft LOVES Reinventing the Wheel

    Windows Live Desktop Mail - Just what I need, 3 mail clients from the same company to choose from. I thought the idea whas to SIMPLIFY the offerings by ditching Outlook Express for Windows Mail? Is this going to be like Microsoft's photo editing strategy all over again? Microsoft, I know you're trying to get your Web 2.0 on and everything... but that doesn't mean that the Live team needs to build every idea that pops into their head. Come on, guys... what's the deal?

    OK, so maybe I've been a bit snarky today. But seriously now, you can't just put something out like that without clarifying what the strategy would be if it were successful.

  • Windows Live Messenger - Thoughts on Today's Release

    Is it just me, or does Windows Live Messenger look more like the old MSN Messenger with each passing revision? What's up with that? They took all the cool stuff out of it. I liked the different UI colors, I liked the popup buddylist options, I liked the stark contrast in the interface.

    WLM was supposed to be new and interesting. Now it just looks boring and corporate again. <sigh>. Too bad.

    UPDATE: Forget corporate. I just installed it on my own computer, and the UI, to quote Chris Pirillo "looks like ass!" Whose idea was it to make the UI white by default? When I went to sign in, the UI all but disappeared on my monitor. I had to take a screenshot to show you. Can you find it?

    PS: I didn't move the window when it opened... that's where it appeared.

    To make matters worse, changing the colors has practically no effect. The window disappears on my laptop if I have any other window open. WTF? That's like UI Design 101. Whoever decided to force the team to stop taking risks should be put on administrative leave for crimes against my eyeballs.

    These forced updates suck. I want the original beta back. Looks like it's back to Trillian for me.

  • ProjectOrigami: Could This Be It? - Updated!

    Filed under: ,

    Everyone's speculating about Scoble, MaryJo, Neowin, I'm not one to fan the flames or anything... wait a second, of course I am! If the project does indeed refer to the device that Neowin talks about, then we've all seen it before. Microsoft demoed it at WinHEC 2005. While I was there, I had the opportunity to interview a woman on the MobilePC team, where she showed off the prototype device that Bill had onstage. I never published the interview, but I'm going to have to go back through my recording and glean any details I can.. I'll post that later.

    (click to enlarge)

    I have an extremely reliable source that told me the device pictured above exists for real now, will cost $500, and will be available before the end of the year. It has also be referred to as the "Lifestyle PC", as Engadget has suggested. The reason the screen is so bright is because they slipped a printed piece of paper underneath the screen, so you could see it onstage. At the time, they told me the device was just a very rudimentary prototype; nothing more than a plastic shell. But my sources tell me they were able to get pretty close to this form factor.

    Does this remind anyone else of the PADD from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine? I'm about to show my geeky true colors, but it definitely looks familiar:

    SciFi becomes reality once again.

    As I've said, I can't confirm that Origami refers to the device they demoed at WinHEC. But as neowin said, it does exist, it will be $500, and it will probably run Vista and be released around the same time.

    UPDATE: Neowin has the answer: DigitalKitchen created the advertising spot (Click "Enter", then "Work", then "Brandtheatre"). It looks like Engadget was right. It is important to note that DigitalKitchen did a lot of other work for Microsoft, including the AthensPC Prototype.

  • Microsoft Connect: Let It Die

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Microsoft Connect is terrible. It's like, let's take everything that we like about MSDN Subscriptions and the MSDN Product Feedback center, and throw them out the window, and build a completely useless application. Look, I'm sorry for everyone that built it... they're probably going to be mad at me. Sorry guys, I really am. It needs to be said.

    The site is an abomination. First off, it's completely broken at the moment. No error message, no nothing. Just "this page cannot be displayed". For the past 6 hours. I can't get past the Passport login screen at all. Second, the bug tracking system is terrible. Why wouldn't you just use the MSDN Feedback Center? It's the perfect bug app. But the Windows team thought they could do it better, so they built a better and it is better than the old WindowsBeta system, don't get me wrong. But why wouldn't you take a system that was a phenominal hit and make it available to the rest of the Windows team, too?

    I can't delete old programs out of my profile, I can't clear downloads that I've already seen off my list... I can hardly do anything with it. It obviously can't handle any kind of load whatsoever, because I still can't get into the darn thing to download the CTP... but you don't see the MSDN Subscriber Downloads going down under heavy load. Oh yeah, and it takes forever for the Connect team to release updates.

    Geez Microsoft, Windows is your bread and butter, maybe you should consider revising your budgeting and manpower strategy to make the process of testing your bread and butter a little easier?


  • Windows Defender Beta 2 for Windows XP

    Microsoft has FINALLY updated Microsoft AntiSpyware. It's now Windows Defender, and Beta 2 was released this evening.

    From the new Windows Defender FAQs:

    Windows Defender (Beta 2) is the name of the next beta version of Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware. It includes several enhancements that are based on customer input. Changes include, but are not limited to:

    1) Improved detection and removal. Windows Defender (Beta 2) can detect and remove more threats posed by spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Real-Time Protection, which helps prevent unwanted software from being installed, is enhanced to better monitor key points in the operating system for changes. These features help you stay productive because they help to prevent pop-ups and the performance degradation that is caused by spyware and other potentially unwanted software.

    2) Redesigned and simplified user interface. The Windows Defender (Beta 2) user interface has been redesigned to make it easer to scan your computer and remove unwanted files. The new interface also delivers a warning system that alerts you to the severity of a threat and makes appropriate recommendations to help secure your computer. This new design gives you more control over the software on your computer and minimizes interruptions to your work.

    3) Protection features for all users. Windows Defender (Beta 2) can now be run by all the users who use a particular computer, whether they have administrator-level privileges or not. This helps ensure that all the people who use a computer are able to benefit from the protection features offered by Windows Defender (Beta 2).

    4) Definition updates delivered through Automatic Updates. Windows Defender (Beta 2) now receives updates through Automatic Updates. Provided by Microsoft analysts, these updates help keep you protected from the latest threats at no additional cost.

    5) Voting network statistics. When Windows Defender (Beta 2) detects potentially unwanted software, it shows you how customers who participate in the opt-in network voted to classify the software. This helps provide you with more information even before Microsoft analysts evaluate the software.

    Compare Windows Defender to OneCare Live and other Microsoft Security Offerings


    Thanks to Brandon for giving me the heads-up.