Tag Archives: Tech News

Lots More Windows 8 Information: Power Conservation, Evolved Identity Management, Stereo 3D and More

There has been a deluge of Windows 8 related information over the past few hours. We have already covered various aspects of the successor to Windows 7 including online app store, tablet optimizations, facial recognition and more. It appears that the source of all the leaked information was Win7Vista.com, which published a huge stockpile of confidential documents. Of course, as you can imagine, Microsoft is not bemused. Francisco Martin’s blog, which was hosted on Microsoft Live Spaces, has already been pulled down (possibly by Microsoft). Worse still, in their eagerness to share the confidential documents, Win7Vista might have exposed their source. One of the slides clearly identifies one Mr. Derek Goode from HP as the legitimate owner of the documents.

Anyway, the documents are still available for download from the aforementioned forum. If you are excited about Windows 8, then you should really check them out. In this post, I will highlight some of the stuff (other than that has already been mentioned) that caught my fancy.

Fascinated by Apple

Really! Microsoft openly acknowledges Apple’s cool cred and discusses Apple in at least three of the slides. No wonder, Apple keeps mocking Windows for stealing ideas.

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Optimized for Variety of Platforms

Microsoft will continue with its philosophy of using the same operating system on different form factors. Windows 8 will be optimized for tablet PCs, laptops and normal desktops.

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Instant On

I briefly discussed this earlier, but going through the slides I found a lot more information. With Windows 8, Microsoft is aiming for “Instant On”. The documents also suggest that Microsoft might be weighing Logoff + Hibernate as an alternative to conventional shutdown.

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Energy Efficiency

Given that Windows 8 will run on both laptops and tablet devices, power efficiency is a critical aspect.

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Improved Help and Support

Microsoft wants to broaden the Windows Help and Support by integrating more resources including custom resources provided by the OEMs.

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Improved Recovery Option

Windows 8 will provide an option called “Factory Reset”, which will reset your system to its original condition, while retaining your data and configurations. Microsoft also wants to provide a pre-boot recovery environment, which will be simple enough to be useful to everyone, but will also house advanced diagnostic tools for power users.

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3D

There are a lot of people who believe that 3D is a passing fad. However, Microsoft is not one of them. As suggested by the following slides, Windows 8 ecosystem will be capable of providing a rich 3D experience.

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Improved Identity and Authentication

Windows 8 might include a system level key ring to manage all your login information, thus freeing you from the burden of remembering hundreds of passwords. It also means independence from web browsers and other 3rd party tools for managing passwords.

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With Windows 8, user accounts will finally become user centric. Your cloud based user account will follow you, from machine to machine.

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As a part of its enhanced focus on simplified user authentication, Microsoft wishes to integrate facial recognition in Windows 8. Check our previous post for more on the Kinect-like features Microsoft is currently contemplating for Windows 8.

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TechCrunch TV Goes Live

A few months ago, we had told you about TechCrunch hiring a Forbes anchor reporter Evelyn Rusli in plans for TechCrunch TV, and it looks like all the months of work has finally completed with the official launch of TechCrunch TV.

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TechCrunch has invested heavily into the new venture setting up a new office in San Francisco and also hiring several dedicated personnel for the venture. TechCrunch TV also plan to live broadcast several global tech events, similar to what Twit.TV is famous for.

TechCrunch TV will be launching with a limited beta service with about 40 minutes of original programming a day, supported by a wealth of previously recorded shows. Watch a video below of TechCrunch TV Creative Director Paul Carr and Evelyn Rusli where they introduce the idea behind TCTV to the readers.

More information at the official launch post at TechCrunch.

Some More Windows 8 Information: App Store, Attention Tracking and More

Making a mockery of Microsoft’s non-disclosure agreements, leaked documents pertaining to Windows 8 are showing up left, right and center. Now, Neowin has managed to get their hands on some of the leaked goodness.

The new leaked documents reveal that Microsoft is planning to launch a full-fledged app store for Windows 8. The objective of this store will be to provide a safe venue to users for discovering and installing new applications.

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Quite obviously, this will be a strictly optional feature and users will still be able to install 3rd party software without having to go through the online store. According to Neowin’s Tom Warren, “The ‘Windows Store’ will be a software service Microsoft provides and hosts fully in the cloud. The company will likely build the distribution model on Windows Azure to lure application developers”.

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Of course, unknown to most, Microsoft has already dabbled with an app store for Windows before. However, the Windows Marketplace failed to gain much traction. It was shut down and replaced with the Microsoft Store in 2009.

In related news, Manan Kakkar has released some more documents concerning Windows 8. It appears that Microsoft is also focusing on Tablets in a big way.

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One of the more interesting features described by Microsoft is something called “Attention Tracking”. Microsoft has a horrible reputation when it comes to naming new technologies and concepts. Thankfully, with Windows 8, they have chosen to go down the obvious and sensible route. Attention Tracking does just what its name suggests.

Now that your interest is piqued, imagine a situation where you are playing a game when someone knocks on the door. Interrupted, you leave your tablet device on the couch and attend to the person at the door. Microsoft wants the tablet to be capable of detecting that the subject of your attention has changed, and automagically pausing the game.

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If Microsoft indeed succeeds in implementing everything described so far in the leaked documents, then (at the very least) Windows 8 would turn out to be an interesting operating system.

Confidential Windows 8 Details Leaked

Windows 8 is still a long way off, but Microsoft has already started communicating with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) regarding the general direction they wish to take with Windows 8. Microsoft enthusiast, Francisco Martin, managed to get his hands on some of the confidential documents sent under non-disclosure agreement to select partners.

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One of the areas, Microsoft is putting a lot of emphasis on is the system startup time. Microsoft wants Windows 8 enabled systems to focus on POST performance, S3 resume support and general performance optimizations for each of the Off states.

Windows 8 will also be better adapted to take advantage of modern trends like facial recognition for user authentication, automatic display adjustment through ambient light sensors and premium media experiences such as stereoscopic 3D and Wireless TVs. All this will be complemented by cutting edge graphics, which can be leveraged by developers to provide a rich user experience.

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As expected, Windows 8 will support high speed connectivity options like USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0. Microsoft is also working on improving Bitlocker (hard disk encryption tool) and System Restore to make them more functional and easier to use. Windows 8 will feature a new factory reset option, to restore your system to the original condition.

I am sure that this is only the beginning. In the coming weeks and months, we will be learning more about Windows 8. Stay tuned to Techie Buzz for more.

128 GB Quad Layer Blue-ray Discs Are Coming

Blue-Ray-BDXL One can never have too much of storage space. 32 GBs might have seemed to be a monstrous amount a decade back, but it has become a standard fare in this day and age of HD content. Now, the Blu-ray Disc Association has published the final specifications for the new BDXL standard.

The new BDXL standard will support re-writable or write-once triple layer Blue-ray discs (100 GB) and write-once quadruple layer Blue-ray discs (128 GB). “The BDA worked diligently to create an extension of the Blu-ray Disc format that leverages the physical structure of the design of the disc to create even more storage capacity,” said Victor Matsuda, Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee chair. “By using the existing Blu-ray technologies, we have created a long-term and stable solution for archiving large amounts of sensitive data, video and graphic images. We expect further growth of the Blu-ray Disc market as the introduction of 100GB/128GB discs will expand the application of Blu-ray Disc technologies.”

Of course, as you might have already guessed, the BDXL discs won’t work with existing hardware. So, if you want to be among the early adapters, you better start saving now, as bleeding edge technology is never cheap.

Judge Dismisses Viacom’s Lawsuit against YouTube

A U.S. district court has sided with Google in Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube. Judge Louis Stanton granted Google’s motion for summary judgment and hopefully set a precedent for other similar cases of copyright infringement.

Judge Stanton wrote, “If a service provider knows of specific instances of infringement, the provider must promptly remove the infringing material. If not, the burden is on the owner to identify the infringement. General knowledge that infringement is ‘ubiquitous’ does not impose a duty on the service provider to monitor or search its service for infringements”.

YouTubeGoogle hailed its victory as a victory for “the billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other”. Although, that might appear to be a hyperbole typical of a press release, in this case Google is not exaggerating.

Viacom had filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Google in March 2007, seeking retribution for copyrighted material distributed for public consumption through YouTube. While Viacom believed that the sheer volume of infringing content on YouTube made Google culpable, Google maintained that it was protected under DMCA’s safe harbor provision, since it promptly removed any infringing content upon being notified.

Had the judgment gone the other way, it might have cast a cloud over the future of other similar user generated content (audio, video or otherwise) providers. However, this dispute is far from being settled. Viacom has indicated that it will soon appeal against the District Court’s decision. “We believe that this ruling by the lower court is fundamentally flawed and contrary to the language of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),” Viacom said in a statement. “We intend to seek to have these issues before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as soon as possible.”

Opera 10.60 Beta 1 Released – Speed, Geolocation, WebM and More

Earlier today, Opera Software released the first beta build of Opera 10.60. Regular Techie Buzz readers are probably already aware of all the major new features, since Opera 10.60 beta doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen in the snapshot builds. Here is a quick recap:

Speed: Not willing to be left behind by the likes of Chrome and Safari, Opera has amped its JavaScript engine. The end result is that it outperforms Chrome Dev. 6, Safari 5 and Firefox nightlies in almost all the JavaScript benchmark tests.

WebM: WebM is Google’s new open video platform that will hopefully become the de-facto standard on the web. Opera was quick to release an experimental build when WebM was announced and has now merged it with the main trunk.

Geolocation: Opera has been toying with the W3C Geolocation API for a long time. In brief, the Geolocation API can be leveraged by services like Twitter and FourSquare to guess your location without requiring the use of a GPS device. Check out this article to get a deeper understanding of the Geolocation API.

Web Workers: This is a new technology that allows web applications to spawn background processes to improve performance through greater parallelism.

AppCache: AppCache or Application Cache is a new HTML5 technology designed to provide offline access to web applications. You can think of it as a standards based alternative to Google Gears.

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Improved UI: Opera has received numerous visual tweaks, which makes the overall experience more pleasant. Among other things, the ugly O button has been replaced with a more dignified Menu button, tab previews as well as internal tab thumbnails are prettier, speed dials now work better in wide-screen monitors and search previews provide suggestions as you type (available for Wikipedia).

Opera 10.60 beta is so fast, it will blow you away,says Chief Development Officer, Christen Krogh, Opera Software. Beyond the speed boost, the latest version of Opera improves on our robust HTML5 support and provides more options for quick and efficient Web search through your preferred search engines. By combining raw speed with intuitive and easy-to-use features, Opera places you among the fastest Internet users on the planet.

Opera 10.60 Beta 1 is available for Windows, Mac and UNIX and can be downloaded from opera.com/browser/next/.

Microsoft Office 2010 Released Worldwide

Microsoft has announced the general availability of Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010. They are now available at more than 35,000 retail stores around the globe, in addition to being available for purchase at online shopping sites like Amazon. You can also directly order your copy from Microsoft at Office.com.

Microsoft Office was reported to have reached RTM stage in mid-April and was downloaded more than 9 million times during its beta phase. Encouragingly for Microsoft, more than 75 percent of the surveyed beta users expressed their desire to purchase Office 2010 within six months.

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Microsoft predicts that in the next year, more than 100 million PCs will ship with Office 2010 pre-installed, which can be easily activated by customers after purchase. For this, Microsoft has tied up with leading manufacturers like Acer Inc., Asus, Dell Inc., HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Sony Corp. Working with major retail partners and PC makers, we’ve made dramatic changes in the way we deliver Office 2010 to give consumers more buying choice, making it easier than ever to unlock the power of Office on new and existing PCs,said Stephen Elop, president, Microsoft Business Division. For the first time, people can purchase a Product Key Card at retail to activate Office 2010 preloaded on new PCs. For those who want to download Office 2010 direct from Office.com for an existing PC, the new Click-to-Run technology will have them up and running in a matter of minutes.

Office 2010 is available in multiple flavors including Office Home and Student 2010, Office Home and Business 2010 and Office Professional 2010. Check out our earlier post for pricing and edition information.

The new edition introduces several new features along with web based options via Office Web Apps. Check out Keith’s visual guide to new features in Office 2010 and his list of awesome Office 2010 tips and tricks to familiarize yourself with the latest avatar of Microsoft’s office suite

New Opera 10.60 Snapshot Introduces Better HTML 5 Standards Support

Opera 10 HTML5 and standards are quite the buzzwords these days. While Microsoft is desperately trying to catch up, others are determined to maintain their lead. Opera Software has released yet another snapshot build of Opera 10.60, which boosts the already excellent standard support offered by Opera.

The new snapshot includes:

  • WebM support for HTML5 video (demo)
  • HTML5 Offline Web Applications (demo)
  • Geolocation (demo – only partially implemented on FreeBSD/Linux)
  • Web Workers (demo – might be a slight delay before it starts working)
  • Major update for Cross-Document Messaging (demo)

Of course, other than this, there are the customary bug fixes and stability improvements. Opera 10.60 snapshot for Windows, Mac and UNIX can be downloaded from here. However, keep in mind that this build is not yet ready for primetime and probably contains several bugs.

Twitter Launches Special FIFA World Cup Mini Site

With just a few hours remaining for the kick-off of FIFA World Cup 2010, football (soccer) frenzy across the world is reaching its fever pitch. Not satisfied with just adding a World Cup theme, Twitter has launched a whole new mini-site to track the World Cup frenzy.

“Using live widgets, real-time search, and Top Tweets (updates that are currently catching the attention of many Twitter users) we’ve put together a special site to capture the spirit of the World Cup and it’s already pulsing with activity”, announced Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter.

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The World Cup mini-site displays top tweets, as well as a schedule of upcoming matches. Clicking on any of the match links will take you to a new page displaying tweets from fans of both countries. In order to identify supporters of a particular country twitter is relying on hashtags (or hashflags) like #arg, #bra, #eng, #esp, #fra, #ger and #ita. Unfortunately, at the moment the match streams are being dominated by spammers.