Stay-at-home system administrator

30 11 2008

By Erwin Blonk, November 30th, 9:55PM.

With the rise of home networks, a form of system administration has slowly creeped into the home. Windows Home Server has preceded Linux in this category but these, whether that is correct or not, appealed more to the techno-savvy consumers. With centralizing data and functionality comes the necessity of keeping it organized.

Microsoft has released version 1.1of the Windows Home Server Toolkit. Main parts of lie in two basic funtions: troubleshooting connections and error reporting. Being a system administrator in the corporate world this sounds familiar, and it will be interesting to see how Microsoft will balance the need for home system administration with users that don’t necessarily care to know every nut and bolt of their computers.


Vista Transformation Pack

30 11 2008

I’m sure a lot of people out there have heard of the Vista Transformation Pack, a software bundle that ads a number of Vista’s features (as well as a clone of Vista’s ‘Aero’ theme) to Windows XP. I used it a few years ago and have to say, it’s not great. It does add some useful things to XP but it slows the computer down considerably.

Vista Transformation Pack dosn't always work

Vista Transformation Pack dosn't always work properly.

Some of the features that I liked included Vista SideBar, a tool that mimicked the SideBar in Vista, ViStart, a clone of the Vista Start menu (rather buggy though) and WinFlip, a peice of Software that simulates the Start+Tab flip hing in Vista. I ended up removing the pack because it drastically lowered my system performance. In some cases it took 5 times as long to do something in XP with the Transformation Pack than in XP without it. Unfortunatly the Pack also messed up my Audio Drivers.

When compared to the speed of real copy of Vista on the same machine, the Pack was faster but by so little it hardly mattered. If you have an old PC, I don’t suggest trying the pack or attempting to install Vista itself, just stick with what works for you  –  XP.

Microsoft Announces Morro

23 11 2008

By Erwin Blonk, November 23th, 3:35PM

Microsoft recently announced Morro, dubbing it a no-cost consumer security offering which will protect against viruses, spy-ware and other computer problems. It will become available in the first half of 2009.

According to Roger Kay of Endpoint Technology Associates, “By offering such basic protection at no charge to the consumer, Microsoft is promoting a safer environment.” As such it can be seen as an extension to Windows Update.

Rowan Trollope, Symantec’s consumer business senior vice president, considers it proof of Microsoft’s inability to provide quality security software.

Randy Abrams, technical director of security firm ESET, sees it differently. Windows Live OneCare took 2% of the market without many promotional activities, deeming it not a defeat to competitors but a bid to enhance Windows’ security positioning.

OneCare will be sold until June 30th, 2009 and support will be phased out soon after.

The SkyDrive is the limit

16 11 2008

By Erwin Blonk, 12:00PM

Many things are afoot in Microsoft Live Services. Central to this is expanding SkyDrive. It has been upgraded to 25GB and has added functionality. From the comments the most requested and still missing feature is the ability to map SkyDrive as a driveletter. The extension of the size is also to facilitate other services in Windows Live. Read the rest of this entry »

LiveID now an OpenID provider

11 11 2008

By Erwin Blonk, 4:12 PM

As of October 27th, LiveID is an OpenID provider. This adds a large pool of potential accounts to OpenID, the internet single sign-on solution.

At this time a few restrictions apply, like:

– it supports only OpenId 2.0

– it is in CTP phase

In its present form the target audience is developers. According to the Live Services blog it will soon be available for general use.

The main problem OpenID is facing is Google. They have an created a version of OpenID that is not completely compatible. If this will lead to a switch to the Google version or if it leaves Google behind, remains to be seen.

Why are Netbooks so important to Microsoft

10 11 2008

By Kris at 3:15 PM

Asus Eee PC If you buy a netbook today, you’ll most likely be running Windows XP or a Linux variant by default, due in no small part to Vista’s high power and system resource consumption. That is potentially one of the reasons why Vista sales aren’t as high as expected, because the netbook concept didn’t see it’s first real releases until approximately a year after Windows Vista was released. Microsoft apparently gambled on the concept that desktops and laptops were going to continue to a strict increase in power over time, but instead netbooks with lower resources and cost came into the picture and have started to rise in popularity. Read the rest of this entry »

The Microsoft Bus

10 11 2008

By Kris at 2:01

Microsoft Bus

The current economic situation in America is affecting everyone, though it would seem some are feeling it more than others. Microsoft for one doesn’t seem to have noticed, that or they’ve gone off the deep end. For some reason or another the company has lodged an office environment into a bus, which includes multiple workstations. As of now not much information was released about the “Microsoft Bus,” other than that the mobile cubicle is roaming about in China. It could be possible that Microsoft wants to sell these specialized buses to major corporations that are always on the go and would benefit from having a highly mobile work environment. I also noticed that the computers in the Microsoft bus are running Windows XP, so that just goes to show how much faith Microsoft has placed in Vista. Read the rest of this entry »