Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

November 2006 - Posts

  • Office 2007: Stick a Fork In Her, She's Done

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    Office UI Guru Jensen Harris lets us know that Office 2007 has indeed gone gold. He says he's proud of the product, and he should be; Office 2007 arguably the sexiest product to come out of Microsoft in a long time.

    The build string is 12.0.4518.1014, and as I reported yesterday, it should be up on MSDN within the week.

  • Anonymous Comments Re-enabled (Again)

    I thought I re-enabled them last time, but apparently I hadn't. So I trudged through the CommunityServer Control Panel and finally found the right settings. I've installed several new CS SpamFilters, so that should help take care of most of the spam issues that crop up.

    Even though you don't need a username to comment anymore, we're going to have some giveaways in the weeks and months ahead that will require you to be a registered user to win. So if you're not registered with the site and you have a spare 30 seconds, please take a second and do so now. It's nice to know who our readers are.

    Now, time for some other tweaks...

  • Vista/Office 2007 Future Availability on MSDN & TechNet

    I was working on a quick-and-dirty tool to manage my MSDN keys, and I headed over to the MSDN Subscriber homepage, when I saw this notice:

    Windows Vista and Office 2007 will be available through TechNet Subscriber downloads within 7 days of release to manufacture (RTM). TechNet Subscriptions is committed to making new content available to our subscribers as soon as is practical.

    I have a feeling they meant MSDN as well, because it was on the MSDN site. But there you have it... if Vista RTMs this week (as expected), MSDN subscribers should get their copy by next week. Sweet!

  • What Happened to the Halo Movie?

    Filed under:

    CNBC's On The Money has the scoop.

    So here's my question: If Microsoft believes in the movie THAT MUCH... why not just produce it themselves? The budget is $125M and it will make at least $300M... plus DVD sales. So screw Hollywouldn't and do it yourself. Indie studios do it all the time. Better yet, buy an indie studio, and then just find a distributor. Problem solved, right?

  • Zune - Xbox Live Integration

    Earlier this week, I blogged that the new Xbox 360 Dashboard is the clearest evidence yet that Microsoft is about to wage a bigger war with Apple than most people realize. Today I posted that I think Zune Marketplace is a WMP 11 skin, and Brandon pointed out that ZM looks a HELL of a lot like Urge. He's worried that the back-end is also the same as Urge's. But I think Urge looks like Zune because they use the same WMP APIs. I think the back-end is Xbox Live, and not just because both use Microsoft Points.

    Here's what I mean (click any picture to enlarge):

    Here's my "media' blade. Click on "Video", and you get the next screen:

    The two options you don't see are "Current Disc", and "Portable Device". The last one is where you'll get the Zune experience on your Xbox 360. Go ahead and select "Console" for now.

    Movies, TV Shows, Music Videos... Viral Videos? Hmmm. Maybe MSN Soapbox plans to link to Xbox Live / Zune Marketplace?

    Is that DRM I spy under the show icon?

    So here's the bottom line. I think the Zune / Xbox 360 combo is a major opening salvo not just against iPod / iTunes, but against the whole concept of entertainment in your home. I think Microsoft wants to succeed where NetFlix, DirectTV, and others have failed, too.

    If Xbox 360 and Zune were linked up... you'd be able to buy videos on your desktop, copy them to your Zune, and take them to a friend's Xbox 360 and watch them on your TV. Or maybe you could stream them through your Vista Media Center at home and watch them in your bedroom though a second-generation Extender. And Zune Marketplace is nothing more than WMP 11... who is to say you won't be able to take videos to other devices too? Like that Windows Mobile phone?

    Look, Microsoft didn't put J Allard on this project for nothing. He's going to take an extremely well-executed Xbox 360 strategy and turn it into a media revolution that no one ever expected. And history shows that when Microsoft jumps into the fray, they play to win.

    Now we'll just have to wait and see what happens when Zune launches next week.

  • Is Zune Marketplace Just a WMP11 Skin?

    You be the judge (roll over image for comparison):

    Yeah, I know the Zune Marketplace one is hard to see. Blame Engadget

    Note the locations of most UI elements are practically identical. Also the shuffle and repeat buttons are the same, and the button layout is identical too. The only really notible differences are the "options" and "sign in" buttons next to the search box, and the lack of a toolbar at the top..

  • Please Turn In Your Tinfoil Hats at the Door on Your Way Out

    <GASP /> What do you mean Microsoft just promised not to sue Open Source developers who work on SuSe Linux? You mean Microsoft is going to give out support coupons for SuSe Linux Desktop? I thought Microsoft hates open source? You mean that... Microsoft wants to work together with open source?

    But I need my tin foil hat to protect my brain so Microsoft can't steal my code...


  • Microsoft Listens! Vista EULA Changes

    Nick White from the Official Windows Vista Blog just posted some very interesting news. It appears that Microsoft actually has ears, and listens to the feedback it gets. While not budging on the fact that only Vista Business and Vista Ultimate are allowed to be used inside a Virtual Machine (it really does make sense, except for a few software testing-related edge cases), Microsoft has amended the terms of the Vista EULA to allow retail box copies of Vista to be transfered between machines an unlimited number of times.

    It's important to note that the copy of Vista you buy on a new PC cannot ever be moved to another machine... just like in XP. That's not changing either.

    Kudos to Microsoft for listening to the community. Now, about that Vista Family Pack...

  • New Office Online Site Launches

    Microsoft took the new Office Online out of beta today, to coincide with the announcement of Business availability on November 30th.

    I wonder if this means that Office 2007 has RTMed?

  • Windows Vista and Office 2007 Business Launch on Nov. 30

    According to, Steve Ballmer will ring in availablility of Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Exchange 2007 at the New York Stock Exchange on November 30th. Microsoft sez:

    Launching together for the first time in 10 years, these releases will invigorate the IT industry, while enabling businesses to fully utilize their greatest resource: their people.

    Hopefully the beta testers will have access to it before then.

    So if Microsoft launches Vista for Businesses in New York, what are the odds that they'll announce consumer availability in New York in January too? Does that make a CES announcement much more likely? Note to Microsoft: If you're announcing at CES, then every attendee should get a free copy. :)