Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

June 2008 - Posts

  • Hulu Coming to Vista Media Center?

    Hulu is my favorite video sites on the Internet. Why? Because I can watch almost all of my favorite shows for free, with far less advertising than television. The problem with the site is, if I want to watch it on my Vista Media Center PC, I have to go out of the 10-foot experience, and use my keyboard and mouse… which I’d really rather not do. On top of that, I can’t use it at all on my Xbox 360, because no one has built a decent browser add-on for WMC yet.

    So the other day I sent Hulu an e-mail inquiring about a public API so that I could build my own Hulu add-in for Windows Media Center. This is the response that I got, verbatim:

    Robert,
    Thanks much for the message!  We love to here [sic] from our users.  Rest assured we certainly have plans in the works to support a living room experience.  We will definitely keep users in the loop as those progress.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before you will be able to lean back (with remote) and enjoy Hulu.
    Hulu Distribution Team

    While that doesn’t solve my immediate problem, it is good to hear that the Hulu team is forward-thinking enough to include Vista in their distribution plans. When I hear any more about this, I’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, does anyone else out there use Hulu? What do you think about it?

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  • Devs Targeting Vista: It’s The .NET Framework, Stupid!

    The Vista press FUD continues. CNET’s Matt Asay is linking to an Evans Data report (registration required) on development that says that only 8% of shops are targeting Windows Vista for their development.

    The problem with the statement is that it draws the wrong conclusions, because they don’t fundamentally understand Vista. People don’t develop applications targeted at “Windows” anymore, they target development at the .NET Framework. Big corporations aren’t doing their development for Sidebar or SideShow gadgets, they’re developing for .NET 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5.

    So, you can accuse me of wearing blinders if you want, but the question is stupid. As a developer, I don’t care what version of Windows my users are running. If they’re running .NET 3.0 or 3.5, then they have everything they need to have a great experience, no matter what platform it’s installed on top of. Especially seeing as how .NET will support OSX in the near future with Silverlight 2.0…

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  • Disneyland’s “Innoventions Dream Home” By HP & Microsoft

    I was the first tech news site to break this story a while back, and I’m glad to finally see this come to fruition.

    Microsoft has teamed with Disneyland, HP, Life|Ware, and Taylor Morrison to combine Microsoft’s “Home of the Future” with the HP MediaHome into the “Innoventions Dream Home” at Disneyland. It combines Microsoft technologies like Microsoft Surface (looks like they took my advice), Windows Home Server, and Windows Media Center, to give people an immersive glimpse into the ultimate Microsoft-powered home, and how people can leverage these technologies today.

    Below are some pictures from Microsoft’s Press Release:

    Disneyland’s Innoventions Dream Home kitchen displays recipes and other messages directly on to your countertop and even recognizes ingredients and tools the home cook places on the counter and suggests recipes for using them. The Dream Home features the latest technology and a glimpse at future products from Microsoft, HP and Exceptional Innovations.

    Disneyland’s Innoventions Dream Home kitchen displays recipes and other messages directly on to your countertop and even recognizes ingredients and tools the home cook places on the counter and suggests recipes for using them. The Dream Home features the latest technology and a glimpse at future products from Microsoft, HP and Exceptional Innovations.

    Disneyland’s Innoventions Dream Home Magic Mirror projects clothes, accessories and even hairstyles onto the image of the Elias daughter. As she gestures, the clothes and pigtails move with her.  The software also analyzes what clothing is in your closet, in your laundry or borrowed by friends.  The mirror was inspired by technology inside the Microsoft Home, a prototyping facility on the company’s Redmond, WA campus.

    Disneyland’s Innoventions Dream Home Magic Mirror projects clothes, accessories and even hairstyles onto the image of the Elias daughter. As she gestures, the clothes and pigtails move with her. The software also analyzes what clothing is in your closet, in your laundry or borrowed by friends. The mirror was inspired by technology inside the Microsoft Home, a prototyping facility on the company’s Redmond, WA campus.

    You can also register your own version of the Dream Home, by home builder Taylor Morrison, starting this Friday at tmdreamhomegiveaway.com.

    HP’s Brian Burch is at Disneyland today for the opening, so if you head down there (tours run from 7-10pm tonight), be sure to find him and say hi. I’m also hoping to have pictures from the event posted tomorrow.

    More Information:
    Disneyland Press Release
    Microsoft Press Release
    Disneyland’s “Innoventions Dream Home” Press Kit
    Disneyland’s Official Video Tour
    Interview with Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore & HP’s Phil McKenney

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  • Microsoft (Wisely) Walks Away From Yahoo

    The big news today is that Microsoft has walked away once and for all from the “Microhoo” deal.

    I for one am extremely happy about this. Yahoo is a has-been company that is going nowhere, fast. They haven’t been relevant at anything since they started buying up Web 2.0 companies and doing nothing with them. Flickr is the only decent thing left over there. Let the company burn out like many others have. There was no need for Microsoft to burn so much money to add dead weight to the ship. There are many smaller, more innovative companies out there, like Xobni, who would be a much better fit.

    I’m glad the charade is over.

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  • Windows PowerShell (and .NET) on Windows Server 2008 Core

    Windows PowerShell is an incredibly powerful tool that makes managing servers a LOT easier. The problem is, you can’t run it on Server Core, which is arguably where it would be most useful. The reason is that PowerShell requires the .NET Framework, which is not supported on Server Core because of it’s reliance on GDI, which is removed from Server Core to minimize the footprint. (Hopefully the next version of the .NET Framework will have a stripped-down version that is not reliant on GDI; maybe a variant of the Silverligfht runtime.)

    Well, now, someone has figured out how to get PowerShell on Server Core, by modifying the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 installer to stop testing for Windows Server 2008. Now, this is completely unsupported by Microsoft, and it’s a pretty safe bet that stuff will break if you try to run any other .NET apps, but at least you’ll have better scripting support.

    I wonder if this means you’d be able to serve up ASP.NET pages with IIS7 on Server core…

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  • Windows SideShow for Windows Mobile Beta – FINALLY!

    If you thought the development cycle for Vista was long, consider Windows SideShow for Windows Mobile. I can’t tell you how many times I heard this thing promised during the Longhorn Beta. At least Vista got a promised ship date, the only thing Microsoft promised with WS4WM was “it’s coming”.

    Well, 18 months after Vista shipped, Microsoft has FINALLY released “version 0.01” (could you guys be any *more* confident in this build?) of Windows SideShow for Windows Mobile. I wasn’t able to try it yet, because SideShow is not available on Windows Server 2008, but I’ve got another machine I might try it on shortly.

    So if you’ve got the #1 smartphone platform on the planet, and a bluetooth-enabled Vista computer, you should fire it up and take it for a spin. Anyone else tried it yet? I’d love to hear some other user’s thoughts about it’s usefulness, value, etc.

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