Microsoft Zune : 30 GB, $249.99 retail Nov 14 in the US

September 28, 2006 at 2:53 pm (Technology)

Microsoft Zune

Reported here

Microsoft Corp. is putting the social into digital music, starting this holiday. Today the company announced that the Zune™ digital media player and online service will be available to consumers in the U.S. on Nov. 14, 2006, just in time for the holidays. The Zune device will retail for $249.99 U.S. (ERP) and will create new ways for entertainment fans to connect and share media experiences device-to-device through the use of wireless technology and new software scenarios.

“On Nov. 14 we’re delivering not only a device, but a shared, social experience that will be shaped by the collective imagination of consumers,” said Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune. “We’re infusing the spirit of discovery and sharing into everything we do — from the experience we crafted around the device and service to pre-loading music and videos on every device to expose people to something new.”

Microsoft Zune

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Windows Vista: fitted and nearly-finished and Fully Loaded with Icons

September 25, 2006 at 10:26 pm (Technology)

Reported here

Vinny Pasceri, the Aero Program Manager for Windows Vista, has the daunting task of oversighting the user experience development project. Many people and especially Microsoft enthusiasts do not understand why Windows has so many legacy and conflicting user experience elements, and even why Microsoft will fail to address those issues in Windows Vista.

Having said that, Microsoft designers are unofficially committed to redesign most of the icons in Windows to the new Aero interface standards. Now, with RTM just around the corner, how are they doing?

Microsoft Vista Icons
Image Source: istartedsomething.com

Download all the 256*256 icons in a ZIP (24.7MB) file for your own viewing pleasure and any other pleasures you may get out of high-resolution icons. Get PNG version (ZIP, 14.9MB) here.

Vista

MSDN talk more about Vista icons here

Icons in Microsoft® Windows Vista™ visually represent programs, objects, actions, and concepts that help users to recognize and grasp meaning and purpose, identify places and items, and find their way through the UI with visual landmarks.

New in Microsoft Windows Vista

Windows Vista introduces a new style of iconography that brings a higher level of detail and sophistication to Windows-based imagery.

Windows Vista Aero-style icons differ from Windows XP-style icons in the following ways:

  • The style is more realistic than illustrative, but not quite photorealistic. Icons are symbolic images—they should look better than photorealistic!
  • Icons have a maximum size of 256 x 256, making them suitable for high-DPI displays. These high-resolution icons allow for high visual quality in list views with large icons. This maximum size isn’t required for icons used solely for menus, toolbars, glyphs or small symbols, or the notification area.
  • Wherever practical, fixed document icons are replaced by thumbnails of the content, making documents easier to identify and find. Stacks and folders contain multiple thumbnails.
  • Icon overlays allow thumbnails to show the file’s associated application, making it easy to distinguish file types and predict which application opens the file by default.
  • Toolbar icons have less detail and perspective to optimize for smaller sizes.
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    Microsoft Zune Demo Video

    September 22, 2006 at 9:09 am (Technology)


    Microsoft Zune Demo Video : Social Networking Zune, Landscape Views Zune, FM Radio Zune… Cool Zune :)

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    Be Altruistic, Be Gandhian … or Be Happy

    September 19, 2006 at 5:00 pm (Pointless Philosophy)

    Altruism

    Altruism is the practice of placing others before oneself. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and central to many religious traditions. In English, this idea was often described as the Golden rule of ethics. In Buddhism it is considered a fundamental property of human nature.

    The word “altruism” was coined by Auguste Comte, the French founder of positivism, in order to describe the ethical doctrine he supported. He believed that individuals had a moral obligation to serve the interest of others or the “greater good” of humanity. Comte says, in his Catechisme Positiviste, that

    “[the] social point of view cannot tolerate the notion of rights, for such notion rests on individualism. We are born under a load of obligations of every kind, to our predecessors, to our successors, to our contemporaries. After our birth these obligations increase or accumulate, for it is some time before we can return any service…. This [“to live for others”], the definitive formula of human morality, gives a direct sanction exclusively to our instincts of benevolence, the common source of happiness and duty. [Man must serve] Humanity, whose we are entirely.”

    As the name of the ethical doctrine is “altruism,” doing what the ethical doctrine prescribes has also come to be referred to by the term “altruism” — serving others through placing their interests above one’s own

    I strongly take sides with the Philosophers who support egoism. I would like to argue that altruism is a degree of lack of self-respect in individuals. Any individual or group or a society with a certain degree of self-respect will not believe that they are obligated to serve others more than themselves.

    Religious philosophers in Hinduism will counter argue that altruism is directly linked to karma. Their arguments will be based on the fact that acts that you perform today add up to your karma calculations and will take effect either in the next cycle of when those karma takes effect, usually assumed to be in the next birth although “kaliyug” theories argue otherwise.

    But I feel the foundation of altruism itself is stupid. It is like asking someone to shed and sacrifice the respect he has got for his life, for his soul, for himself and then go on and serve the other in respect to the supposed obligations he/she has towards everything else other than himself/herself.

    If such fictitious obligations do exist then how could they supersede the commitments that one has to his/her own life.

    Forget Buddha, forget Gandhi – the torch bearers of selflessness. Selflessness is not cool. To me, its not even a word. Better call it, “lack of self-respect”.

    Be selfish, justify your existence.
    Disclaimer: The argument is for/against the philosophies and not the philosophers themselves.

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    Online portal trying out offline advertising? Tactical Yahoo! ?

    September 18, 2006 at 2:03 pm (Technology)

    Now, this is strange. Online portal is trying out offline advertising?

    The world’s second largest search engine Yahoo! is (desperately?) promoting it’s portal by giving away coupons for a free cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts to anyone who sets Yahoo.com as their home page this Friday.

    AP reports here more

    Yahoo executives bill the multimillion dollar campaign as a celebration of several significant improvements to its Web site, including a makeover of the home page, an e-mail upgrade and a service that enables users to tap into their collective knowledge to find answers to tough questions.

    “This is a great time for us to talk to our customers and encourage them to visit the new Yahoo.com,” said Allen Olivo, Yahoo’s vice president of global brand marketing. “It’s an invitation to come back to those who haven’t been using us in a while as well as to those who haven’t been using us as frequently as they once did.”

    I would say that this means Yahoo! is increasingly pressurized to fend off the aggressive moves from Microsoft and Google to steal the traffic away from Yahoo!.

    With search though, Yahoo! has got a long way to catch up with Google and Microsoft Live has just entered the game by coming out of beta.

    “Yahoo is probably feeling some erosion of its brand,” said Brad Scott, director of digital branding for San Francisco consulting firm Landor Associates. “They probably want to build some awareness again.”
    Yahoo claims 412 million users. Last month it attracted nearly 107 million unique U.S. visitors, more than any other online destination, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

    Yahoo’s decision to turn to television and radio to protect and expand its Internet turf seems ironic.

    “I can’t say if it’s good or bad, but I do know it’s not the wave of the future,” McKenna said.

    Yahoo’s Olivo defended the strategy, saying: “We live in a multimedia world and we want to be wherever are customers are.”

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    Apple unveils new iPODs this week and Microsoft calls the press to discuss about Zune

    September 14, 2006 at 12:59 pm (Technology)

    Question:
    Where will Steve Jobs take Apple Computer in the 21st Century?
    – asks Mercury News here

    Jobs says

    “Your den, your living room, your car, your pocket”

    …in front of a a select audience of technologists and journalists who had been summoned to San Francisco for a secret announcement on Tuesday

    Now, if you think that’s cool. Then think again, Cos Techcrunch says here that Microsoft has called the press to discuss about Zune – supposedly the iPod killer machine.

    My previous post covering the same topic:
    Microsoft Zune – iPOD killer? Sony PSP compete? fight Apple iTunes? and more

    I have a iPOD shuffle – an old one. :(

    Time to throw the my shuffle away. I can’t wait for Zune to hit the market. I will be going for one right away. Previous discussions around Zune supporting Wi-Fi is what interests me the most!

    Get ready folks – Microsoft Zune will be here this holiday seasion.
    …and I will come back to post about it!

    Seattle Weekly says here

    Yet even as Microsoft gets ready to release Zune in time for the holiday season, Apple is grabbing attention with reports that it is about to offer downloadable movies that can be played on a new version of iPod with a bigger screen. Microsoft says that Zune will be compatible with video formatted for an iPod or any other media player. But the company is focusing on music, which it believes makes more sense for a device that people use while jogging or riding their bikes. Still, even in the music space, Microsoft has its work cut out.

    Also, watch the cool “Coming Zune” videos here. www.comingzune.com

    UPDATE:Microsoft Zune Demo Video

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    Get Ready for the battle – Microsoft Windows Live Search is “Live”

    September 12, 2006 at 12:00 pm (Technology)

    Ken Moss, GM of Live Search at Microsoft announces the launch of “Windows Live Search” in the Live Search’s Blog here

    We’ve been talking about the War of Searches, the battle of Microsoft vs Google. This cannot get bigger than this now – the flagship search product of Microsoft has moved out of MSN Search and is now “Windows Live” Search. Out of beta now and all dressed up to take the action live against Google search.

    Live Search is Live

    The best day to work on a large scale service like Live Search is the day when you launch new improvements. By that measure, today is one of the best days our team has had in a long time J .

    Now, we feel it’s time to unveil the new Live Search … no longer in beta, and powering searches on both Live.com and MSN. In related news, Live Local Search is coming out of beta, and Live.com is too! Starting tonight we will be ramping the percent of MSN.com searchers who see Live Search and by Thursday we plan to be at 100%. If you want immediate access head over to Live.com and give it a test drive!

    I am happy that they decided to shed the “AJAX-ish Scroll bar” idea for the search results page. It was originally a part of the Live Search beta when it first launched few months ago. Currently it has moved away from the irritating scrollbar and showcases a more conventional Click thrus for jumping across the search results pages.

    However, you can still see the scrollbar interface in the Image Search results at images.live.com.

    One cool feature that really stands out is the “Related results”. More like “Did you mean this?” but adds more value.

    Related Searches help you refine your query by simply clicking on a list of related terms (try Jaguar, Las Vegas, CSI). We’ve found that helping our customers refine their queries is one of the biggest things we can do to help people find their answers.

    So, let’s sit back and watch how Microsoft tries to fight for a substantial search market share…

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    17 easy ways to kill any new proposal or idea

    September 8, 2006 at 4:02 pm (Pointless Philosophy)

    Seth here talks about how status quo can be defended

    If your subordinate comes up with a brilliant idea or a new business proposal – these lines will come in handy to promptly reject the proposal with poise and dignity, sort of killing the idea without giving a hint of resistance to change.

  • “That will never work.”
  • “… That said, the labor laws make it difficult for us to do a lot of the suggestions [you] put out. And we do live in a lawsuit oriented society.””
  • “Can you show me some research that demonstrates that this will work?”
  • “Well, if you had some real-world experience, then you would understand.”
  • “I don’t think our customers will go for that, and without them we’d never be able to afford to try this.”
  • “It’s fantastic, but the salesforce won’t like it.”
  • “The salesforce is willing to give it a try, but [major retailer] won’t stock it.”
  • “There are government regulations and this won’t be permitted.”
  • “Well, this might work for other people, but I think we’ll stick with what we’ve got.”
    “We’ll let someone else prove it works… it won’t take long to catch up.”
  • “Our team doesn’t have the technical chops to do this.”
  • “Maybe in the next budget cycle.”
  • “We need to finish this initiative first.”
  • “It’s been done before.”
  • “It’s never been done before.”
  • “We’ll get back to you on this.”
  • “We’re already doing it.”
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    Microsoft Windows Vista RC1 – It’s here!

    September 6, 2006 at 12:24 pm (Technology)

    Back in June, I posted that I am running Windows Vista beta with Office 2007 beta.

    It’s time to change now, change to the Release Candidate version of Windows Vista Operating system. For those who can’t wait to download the RC version, please visit the Vista space at Microsoft.com. The Vista Web at Microsoft.com itself is pretty neat. It’s sort of gives you a feel of the UI you would be seeing in the Vista OS. The rich Avolnish color schemes and the AJAX-like Navigation interface let’s you sail through smoothly through the whole website.

    This is how the site looks like…
    Microsoft Windows Vista Website

    This is what the Vista Team blog says about the Vista RC1:

    To the TechBeta community:

    It’s official — Windows Vista RC1 is done!

    We could not have achieved this milestone without your support. The quantity and quality of feedback and data we received from you has been essential to helping us progress. Thus we wanted you to be the first customers outside of Microsoft to get access to the bits. Next week, a broader set of technical customers will get them via MSDN and TechNet. But you’re the first! We wanted to get it into your hands asap so you can start giving us feedback right away.

    You’ll notice a lot of improvements since Beta 2. We’ve made some UI adjustments, added more device drivers, and enhanced performance. We’re not done yet, however — quality will continue to improve. We’ll keep plugging away on application compatibility, as well as fit and finish, until RTM. If you are an ISV, RC1 is the build you should use for certifying your application.

    The operating system is in great shape with RC1, but there’s still a lot of testing to do. You’ve come through for us so far, and I’m asking you to once again put the pedal to the metal and send us feedback. Windows Vista is going to touch hundreds of millions of lives all around the world. Thanks for everything you’re doing to help us give them the best experience possible.

    jim

    As you would have heard already there are five different editions of Windows Vista OS which is claimed to be designed to fit the way you intend to use your computer.

  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
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    ‘Living The Blog’ – Chennai BlogCamp 2006 – Bloggers meet at Chennai

    September 1, 2006 at 2:45 pm (News)

    Wow! I didn’t realize how big this was until Scoble posted this!

    Scoble says here that Chennai Blog Camp 2006 on September 9-10 is actaully going to be bigger that the TechCrunch Party in the States.

    Scoble goes on to say

    How do I know it’ll be big? Because everything in India gets big almost instantly. Americans can’t understand the population density of places like India and China unless they visit

    Best thing is it happens in Chennai!! My city! My heart! My home! Well, actaully my home away from my work place at Bangalore :)

    Most of the bloggers I know are not from India and seems like I might do with some company to visit the Blog camp – interested folks ping me!

    Bloggers from around the world will participate via video conferencing, live blogging, webcasting and podcasting of all the sessions.

    There will be sessions on how to conduct Podcast interviews, branding via blogs and next generation marketing.

    Topics like blogging as a form of journalism, making a journalist of everybody, blogging as a vibrant medium on disaster management and social media, will be extensively discussed.

    ‘We hope to provide a forum where bloggers can share their stories and be inspired by innovative and successful blogging experiences,’ BlogCamp volunteer Kiruba Shankar said.

    Participants will have the choice of simultaneous workshops and sessions that will be held in small groups, and use relatively informal ways of engaging each other, in conversations around the various themes.

    The convention of the blogging community will take place at the Tidel Park premises, an IT hub in the city’s south that houses more than 700 IT and associated services firms.

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