Microsoft: Your Avatar Will Look Like You

According to a patent filed by Microsoft, Microsoft wants users to make sure that their online avatars resemble their offline appearance. The patent implies that an individual cannot fake their online and offline apperances, no matter whether they are obese or thin. The abstract of the patent states:

An avatar generator for a virtual environment reflects a physiological characteristic of the user, injecting a degree of reality into the capabilities or appearance. Thereby, many of the incentives of the real world are replicated in a virtual environment. Physiological data that reflect a degree of health of the real person can be linked to rewards of capabilities of a gaming avatar, an amount of time budgeted to play, or a visible indication. Thereby, people are encouraged to exercise.

This makes a lot of sense for Microsoft’s project Natal – A Xbox 360 add-on which allows users to control and interact using gestures and actions, thereby eliminating the use of a controller. One of the possible uses mentioned on the patent page is:

a game competition could enforce that only requisite health levels are allowed to compete in a certain competition level. [0034]

This might actually take a game like boxing on the Xbox 360, with Natal, to an entirely new and real level. Going through the patent, the main idea behind this seems to be bridging the gap between real and virtual gaming. Avatar anyone? The movie, I mean.

via LockerGnome, SeattlePi

Microsoft Indic Language Input Tool Makes Typing in Indian Languages Simple

Microsoft-Indic-Language-Input-Tool

Microsoft has quietly released a new product called Indic Language Input Tool, which is aimed at Indian users. Indic Language Input Tool enables input of text in Indian languages on any webpage and application. The initial release supports Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telegu and is available as a desktop software as well as an online utility. The Indic Language Tool utilizes free-form transliteration, which means there is no learning curve. Users can type the desired text in a natural manner (phonetically) utilizing English script and the utility will automatically transliterate it.

Microsoft-Indic-Language-Input-Tool-Bookmarklet

The web version works through a bookmarklet and works with all popular browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari. It’s refreshing to see a Microsoft product which is cross-browser compliant, since Microsoft products are notorious for not playing well with alternate browsers. Once you have installed the bookmarklet, simply click on it whenever you wish to activate the Indic Language tool. Any text you type is automatically transliterated on a word by word basis. Languages can be easily toggled through a floating icon, which is added to the currently active text box.

Microsoft-Indic-Language-Input-Tool-Desktop

The desktop software utilizes the language bar and works with any offline utility (as long as it features a text box). If you don’t see the language bar even after installing the tool, you will need to enable it manually from Control Panel–>Clock, Language and Region–>Change keyboards or other input methods.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Microsoft-Indic-Language-Tool-Techie-Buzz-Reccomended Microsoft Indic Language Tool is a joy to use. Its biggest strength is that it works pretty much everywhere and anywhere. The interface is minimalistic and never gets in your way. On most occasions, Indic Language Tool is bang on with its transliteration. And, in case it gets things wrong, you can easily enter the correct text from the on-screen keyboard. The developers – Emerging Markets Labs team of the Microsoft India Development Centre, have done a fabulous job. Indic Language Tool is still in beta, hence there may be some issues. I had some trouble while installing the Desktop version (for Bengali). There are also few minor oversights like missing punctuations. But, if you are willing to look past these issues (which are to be expected from any beta product), you will definitely be impressed with Indic Language Tool.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

[ Download Microsoft Indic Language Tool ]

via BeingManan

Microsoft Caught Violating the GPL: Once Again!

Last month, we had featured Windows USB/DVD Tool (WUDT), which allowed users to create bootable setup media for Windows 7. In their hurry to release WUDT, Microsoft may have blatantly ripped off code licensed under GPL.

While tinkering with the UDF-related internals of WUDT, Rafael Rivera a Windows Guru, discovered that the source code was obviously lifted from the CodePlex-hosted (yikes) GPLv2-licensed ImageMaster project. The piece of code in question is actually a derivative of LGPL 7zip, which was reused by ImageMaster in accordance with the license.

Microsoft appears to have violated the GNU General Public License v2 on two counts. Firstly, they modified and distributed ImageMaster code without making the source code of the derivative product available. Secondly, they also imposed their own license on the software, which further restricted the user’s rights.

Microsoft has already removed WUDT from the Microsoft store and has promised to investigate this matter. It is worth noting that Microsoft has a bad reputation when it comes to open source. Steve Ballmer infamously called Linux a cancer and compared open source with communism. In fact, Microsoft has a tradition of stealing open source code and using it in their proprietary applications. So, it’s no wonder that they are despised by FOSS supporters and treated with suspicion by most Open Source advocates. This latest transgression will only make matters worse.

Download Windows 7 Product Guide

Want to know what new features have been added in , before you make a purchase? Microsoft has announced the availability of a Windows 7 guide to help users find about new and improved features in the new OS.

The Windows 7 Product Guide provides a detailed look at the many new and improved features in Windows 7. The guide is designed as an accurate source of information that can help you to understand how Windows 7 Simplifies Everyday Tasks, Works the Way You Want, and Makes New Things Possible. The guide is also designed to provide IT Professionals with information about how to Make People Productive Anywhere, Manage Risk Through Enhanced Security and Control, and Reduce Costs by Streamlining PC Management. This is not a help and how to guide. Rather, it provides an overview of the many exciting features in Windows 7 and pointers to more information. The Windows 7 Product Guide is available in both XPS and PDF formats.

If you have been looking to find accurate information on Windows 7, this guide is all that you will requite.

Windows 7 Product guide is available as XPS (30.5 MB) and (62 MB) from Microsoft downloads.

Download Windows 7 Product Guide

Microsoft Ties Up With Twitter and Facebook: Will Integrate Real Time Updates Into Bing

Microsoft-Bing-Twitter-Facebook The search engine war is on! Earlier today we revealed that Google may be planning on launching its own music service to enhance music related search results. Now according to latest reports, Microsoft is expected to announce non-exclusive deals with both Facebook and Twitter later today.

This deal will give Microsoft access to both Facebook and Twitter status updates and will undoubtedly give them a huge advantage over Google. Google has clearly started that real time search is their biggest challenge. Unfortunately for them, the partnership with Twitter and Facebook would offer Bing a wealth of data that won’t be available to them. It has already been demonstrated more than once that Twitter is extremely agile when it comes to breaking news. The access to Twitter (and Facebook) data stream will allow Bing to react faster to emerging trends.

While this deal is undoubtedly a big step for Microsoft Bing, it must be remembered that both of them are non-exclusive in nature. In other words, there is nothing stopping Google from partnering with Twitter or Facebook tomorrow. A lot will also depend on Microsoft’s ability to properly integrate real time data received from Facebook and Twitter.

[ via All Things D ]

Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade & Family Pack Pricing

Microsoft has revealed the price of Anytime upgrade pack which will allow you to upgrade to Windows 7 from a previously installed version of Windows 7.

Customers using lower versions of Windows 7 will be allowed to upgrade to a higher version.

windows7_box_pack

The pricing for the WAU will be;

  • Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium: $79.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional: $89.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate: $139.99

In addition to this, Microsoft will also offer Windows 7 Family Pack in select locations, which will allow users to install the same copy on 3 PCs in the household.

windows7_home_premium_family_pack

In the US, the price for the Windows 7 Family Pack will be $149.99 for 3 Windows 7 Home Premium licenses.

For complete pricing details of Windows 7 please visit our earlier post on Windows 7 pricing.

Customers will be able to buy retail copies of Windows 7 starting October 22nd, however you can start buying laptops, desktops and netbooks preloaded much more earlier than that.

[via Windows Team Blog]

Urgent Microsoft Security Updates Released

Microsoft has released three unscheduled security updates for vulnerabilities found in Internet Explorer, Visual Studio active template libraries and Microsoft active template library.

These are unscheduled patches and should be applied immediately if you are using any of the above products.

These patches will be automatically pushed to Windows Update, if you want to learn more about them here are the Microsoft knowledgebase articles.

  • KB972260 – MS09-034: Cumulative security update for Internet Explorer
  • KB973882 – Microsoft Security Advisory: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Active Template Library (ATL) could allow remote code execution
  • KB969706 – MS09-035: Vulnerabilities in Visual Studio Active Template Libraries could allow remote code execution

You can learn more about the security updates and bulletins.

Windows 7 RTM Confirmed For August 6th

The Windows team has finally confirmed the release date for RTM, it will be made available to partners and others starting August 6th 2009.

Initial downloads of Windows 7 RTM will be available from both Microsoft Connect and MSDN. The initial release will be in English, however other languages will be made available starting October 1st.

If you are end-user customer you will be able to buy retail copies of Windows 7 starting October 22nd, pre-orders should also be delivered somewhere around the same time.

In addition to this they have also confirmed a family packof Windows 7 Home Premium. The family pack can be installed on up to 3 PCs, however it will only be available in select markets, so don’t hold high hopes yet.

How much will it cost? Check out our Windows 7 Pricing to get detailed pricing information.

Windows 7 RTM Release Dates

  • ISV (Independent software vendor) and IHV (Independent hardware vendor) Partners will be able to download Windows 7 RTM from Microsoft Connect or MSDN on August 6th.
  • Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified Members will be able to download Windows 7 RTM in English through the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Portal on August 16th.
  • Microsoft Action Pack Subscribers will be able to download Windows 7 RTM in English starting August 23rd.
  • OEMs will receive Windows 7 RTM software images beginning approximately 2 days after the official RTM is released.
  • Volume License (VL) customer with an existing Software Assurance (SA) license you will be able to download Windows 7 RTM in English starting August 7th via the Volume License Service Center (VLSC).
  • IT Professionals with TechNet Subscriptions will be able to download Windows 7 RTM in English on August 6th.
  • Developers with MSDN Subscriptions will be able to download Windows 7 RTM in English on August 6th.

Are you going to go ahead and get a copy of Windows 7? Do let us know about it.