Thursday, January 22, 2009

Windows Vista SP2 to be Delayed by a Month

As everyone including Ubuntu’s king Mark Shuttleworth are eagerly waiting for Windows 7, vista-logo  comes news that Microsoft has delayed the released of Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista by a month. Microsoft now states that Vista SP2 will be available only in the second-half of 2009.

Microsoft was supposed to deliver its first release candidate to beta testers in February, but now has plans to release it in March. This Release Candidate (RC) is now being referred to as “escrow build” (also means frozen and only bug fixes will be done). Showstopper bugs are supposed to be only fixed and regression is to be avoided. Microsoft has in the past indicated that SP2 is very much an optional install to the OEMs and it wants OEMs to instead move to Windows 7 directly, when its released.

Windows 7 is running pretty much on schedule and we expect it release by early next-year. The RTM for Windows 7 may be out from the Microsoft stable even by the end of this year.

By the way for those wondering what changes SP2 will be bringing to Windows Vista, following are some of the known changes in SP2:

  • Windows Search 4.0 for faster and improved search
  • Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack, the latest Bluetooth spec
  • Blu-Ray support to write discs directly for explorer
  • Windows Connect Now (WCN) for simpler WiFi configuration
  • Content Protection in Windows Media Center

Also on the blocks with Vista SP2 is Windows Server 2008 SP2 which was released with the label SP1. Hoping to see another Windows 7 beta before the Vista SP2 then!!??

Apple Registers Highest Ever Revenue & Profit

While the economic downturn and recession has hit nearly everyone, Apple seems to be AppleAqua surging on with its sales. Yesterday Apple announced its first fiscal quarterly earnings report and the figures are just amazing. It announced revenue of $10.17 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.61 billion.

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs said, “Even in these economically challenging times, we are incredibly pleased to report our best quarterly revenue and earnings in Apple history--surpassing $10 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time ever”. Apple sold 22,727,000 iPods (3% growth YoY), 2,524,000 Macs (9% growth YoY) and 4,363,000 iPhones (88% growth YoY).

Its amazing on how those iPods still sell like hotcakes and the demand still seems to go up. iPod Touch was added the line-up, but then the other iPods still have majority of the share. Apple sold a record number of MacBooks and they account for 71% of all Mac sales.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Microsoft Songsmith is Apple Garageband Competition

Everyone and anyone who has used a Mac off late is sure to have seen Garageband – Apple powerful yet simple audio mixing, editing, recording, instrument tutoring application that’s part of the iLife suite. Its simplicity is simply superb! At CES 2009, Microsoft showed Songsmith as a competitor to Garageband.

While Microsoft has done all kinds of software applications, audio is one place where in my knowledge Microsoft has never stepped in. Songsmith is one application that is going to change that all. Here’s a youtube video showing some of its features in an advertisement for Songsmith (store link).

While Songsmith is relatively new, you will find a few loopholes and it’s audio detection isn’t perfect… But from what I’ve tested, it is quite good for the Garageband!!

Microsoft will be on a publicity drive for Songsmith over the next few months. Watch out for the new Windows musician in your neighborhood… It might just be better than the Apple-pwn’d band!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Microsoft to bring IE8 through automatic updates

Microsoft will be bringing some respite to web developers, but some anger and controversy from Google, Apple and Mozilla Foundation by releasing Internet ie7  Explorer 8 through automatic updates.  IE8 has been under development for quite sometime now and Microsoft have released some betas which have shown promising behavior towards web standards.

The reason why I say some respite to web developers because IE8 has been showing healthy improvement in web standards compliance compared to earlier version of IE. Automatic updates allows Microsoft to put important and critical updates to PCs, if users have opted to turn them on. This would mean that lots of Windows computers will be updated to IE8 and web developers will be able to avoid some of the quirks that were until now required for Internet Explorer.

But just like Google, Apple and Mozilla were angry during the previous automatic update of Internet Explorer 7, this time also there will be some noise from these companies. Google now has Chrome in the market and will be more fiercely revolting to this update from Microsoft. But with all the other browsers claiming to be so much better than Internet explorer, they still hold less than 30% of the browser market. Thus, if we look at the reality of the internet, developers still have to majorly develop web applications for Internet Explorer and any improvement in Internet Explorer is surely great news for everyone.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Computers have life? Hard-disk reacts badly to screaming

When J.C Bose first proved that plants have life, he used a crescograph and showed that pleasant music or a friendly chat with plants helped them grow faster. On the other hand, plants didn't like someone shouting on them... Now, as weird as it sounds, computers (hard-disks) also don't like it when someone shouts at them.

This was experimentally verified by Brendan Gregg from Sun Microsystems Fishworks lab where they create loud noises around a JBOD disk array. Due to the vocal vibrations, there is a spike in the I/O operations and a clear increase in the disk latency. The finding is interesting because it can be useful to make datacenters quieter to improve performance. The finding was put on Youtube on 31st Dec, 2008 and you can look at the video below:

So with that video you realize that computers don't like someone screaming at them. Next-time when Windows hangs on you, don't shout, your PC will slow-down further!! May be it has some form of life ;-)