January 20th 2009
Win32/Conficker.B virus threat.
Win32/Conficker.B exploits a vulnerability in the Windows Server service (SVCHOST.EXE) for Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2008. While Microsoft addressed this issue in October with Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067, and Forefront antivirus and OneCare (as well as other vendor’s anit-virus products) helped protect against infections, many systems that have not been patched manually through Server Update Services and Microsoft/Windows Update or through Automatic Updates have recently come under attack by this worm. Attacked systems may lock out users, disable our update services and block access to security-related Web sites:
In response to this threat, Microsoft has:
August 27th 2008
Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008
Internet Explorer 8 is the latest version of the familiar web browser you are most comfortable using, helping you get everything you want from the web faster, easier, more privately and securely than ever before.
Support for IE8 Beta2 can be received by visiting the Internet Explorer Beta Newsgroup to discuss issues, or by contacting Customer Support Services.
If you use a screen reader, please consult the Internet Explorer Beta 2 release notes before downloading.
December 12th 2007Microsoft buys Multimap
Consolidation among digital map providers continues as the Windows maker follows TomTom and Nokia by buying an established map maker.
Microsoft will use Multimap's technology and mapping data in existing and future products that rely on maps and location-specific data, such as Virtual Earth, its Windows Live search engine and web-based services, as well as using it in conjunction with its recently-acquired aQuantive web advertising business.
Financial terms for the deal have not been released at this stage.
"This acquisition will play a significant role in the future growth of our search business and presents a huge opportunity to expand our platform business beyond the UK and globally," said Sharon Baylay, general manager of Microsoft's Online Services Group.
As well as running a free-to-use public web-based map service, Multimap also sells digital mapping products to third-party software developers and to enterprise users.
"Partnering with Microsoft gives us access to new opportunities to build our mapping services into new technologies and applications," said Jeff Kelisky, chief executive of Multimap, which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft.
Microsoft's acquisition of Multimap comes just weeks after TomTom clinched a hard-fought battle for control of Tele Atlas, while Nokia agreed a takeover of map maker Navteq.
December 10th 2007
Toshiba to use solid state drives in their laptops
Posted by Mayumi Negishi, Reuters at 8:41AM, Monday 10th December 2007
Chip and hard drive maker to make flash hard drive for portable computers amid falling cost of solid-state storage technology.
The company, which makes chips, laptop hard drives and laptops to put them in, is the world's second biggest maker of NAND-type flash memory. Toshiba said its solid state drives would range in capacity from 32GB to 128GB, and that it will mass produce the 1.8 inch and 2.5 inch drives in May 2008.
Zippy, quiet, and boasting a faster boot time than hard disk drives, solid state drives are used in portable devices like tablet PCs and Ultra-Mobile PCs. But their high price has prevented them from going mainstream in the PC market.
Samsung, the world's biggest memory chip maker, and Toshiba's partner Sandisk already make solid-state drives.
Micron has also said it would enter the solid-state drive market, with mass production to start next quarter.
December 5th 2007
Microsoft release Beta version of SP1 for Vista to 15,000 Beta Testers
On Wednesday, December 5, Windows Vista SP1 RC will be released to the 15k Beta Testers on Microsoft Connect, and on Thursday, December 6, the RC will be made available via MSDN and TechNet subscribers. In addition, we plan to release the SP1 RC bits to the public on TechNet some next week.
What’s important to know:
Q: I’ve heard that performance is bad in SP1. Care to comment (this Q is related to the Devil Mountain software issue)?
A: We appreciate the excitement to evaluate Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3 as soon as possible. However, these service packs are still in development and will continue to evolve before being released to our customers in the first quarter of 2008 and the first half of 2008, respectively. That said, performance is definitely a priority for Windows Vista SP1 and we are prioritizing key scenarios that our customers have told us are most important, such as copying files, unzipping files, moving files between PCs, and reducing the time it takes to resume from sleep.
Unfortunately, when labs publicize tests on incomplete software, it does a disservice to our customers as it does not accurately reflect what their user experience will be like when it is ready for their deployment and use. We try to avoid early tests of our software by encouraging reviews when the results of those tests will be done with a confidence level that will provide useful guidance to our customers.
Q: What is the release date of Windows Vista SP1?
A: The RTM release date will depend on customer feedback and the quality of the beta, but we are currently targeting Q1 of CY08.
SP1 is going to be released in two waves. The initial release of SP1 will include 5 languages (English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese). The second release containing all 36 basic languages will occur afterwards.
Q: What is in Windows Vista SP1?
A: Windows Vista SP1 is an update to Windows Vista that, along with improvements delivered to users via other channels, addresses feedback from our customers. In addition to previously released updates, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability, performance, and compatibility issues, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards. SP1 also continues to improve upon the IT administration experience. SP1 is not intended to be a vehicle for releasing new features; however some existing components do gain slightly enhanced functionality in SP1.
While SP1 contains valuable updates to Windows, organizations don’t need to wait to deploy and can experience the improved security, management and deployment benefits of Windows Vista today.
Q: What advice do you have for customers who were waiting until SP1 before evaluating Windows Vista?
A: Today, Windows Vista provides higher productivity, mobility, and security, with lower ownership costs, than any previous version of Windows.
Customers should alert ISVs if specific applications are not yet compatible on Windows Vista RTM, and should begin remediating internal applications if they are found not to be compatible. (Additional customer-ready application compatibility content can be found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsvista/aa905066.aspx)
Q: Didn’t Windows Server 2008 announce a Release Candidate today too?
A: Yes, RC1 for Windows Server 2008 was made available for testing today – bringing that code one step closer to final. Windows Server 2008 is on track to RTM by the February 27th “Heroes Happen Here” launch event in Los Angeles which kicks off hundreds of launch events worldwide. There are already more than 37 partners signed up to support that launch, including AMD, Citrix, Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, Intel, Quest, SAP and Unisys. For more information on the Heroes Happen Here launch – please visit www.microsoft.com/HeroesHappenHere.
Q: What did you announce this week with regards to WGA?
A: Yesterday, we announced two program changes to the WGA program. The first update will address two exploits to the activation process, and the second will adjust how Microsoft differentiates between the experience customers have on non-genuine and genuine Windows Vista systems. More information on this update can be found here http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/dec07/12-03wga.mspx.
Check out the Windows Vista Team blog posting about performance testing.
November 27th 2007Toshiba, NEC partner on 32nm chips
Japanese firms team up on 32-nanometre chips to fight off competition.
The companies will decide in 2008 how and if they will jointly produce the chips, they said.
Chip makers are racing to move to tinier circuit sizes to cut production cost per chip function and enable powerful electronics that run for hours without killing the battery. But the shift also forces changes in fundamental materials and processes and exposes chip makers to huge initial costs.
Samsung Electronics, IBM, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics and Freescale Semiconductor have said they would work through 2010 to develop and produce 32-nanometre chips. A nanometre is a billionth of a meter.
Japanese chip makers have yet to map out how to share the estimated 100-200 billion yen (£440-£880 million) development costs to make the leap to the next generation of chips.
Actual production would require new equipment such as immersion steppers, which are multi-million dollar machines that use purified water between the lens and the silicon wafer to draw thin circuit lines onto microchips.
Toshiba and NEC Electronics, which plan to mass produce 45-nanometre or 40-nanometre chips by early 2009, had also approached Fujitsu spokesman Etsuro Yamada declined to comment on whether or not Fujitsu would join the group, only saying that Fujitsu was considering various options.
Shares of Toshiba closed up 0.5 per cent, while NEC Electronics fell 3.8 percent, both underperforming Tokyo's electrical machinery subindex IELEC, which rose 1.26 per cent.
7th November 2007Sony drops out of R&D for 32nm chips
Sony will withdraw from joint research with IBM and Toshiba, who are developing the manufacturing technology for chips of 32 nanometres or less.
Sony has been moving away from the production of advanced semiconductors, which involves heavy investment.
The Tokyo-based electronics and entertainment company said last month it would sell to Toshiba its production facilities for making the "Cell" microprocessors and "RSX" graphic chips, both of which are used in its PlayStation 3 game gear.
While it is withdrawing from the joint R&D on technology, Sony said it would continue to work with Toshiba and IBM on design work for cutting-edge chips with 32-nanometre or narrower circuitry.
Narrower circuitry makes the size of a chip smaller and helps manufacturers cut per-chip production costs. But finer circuitry also means heavier initial investments for microchip makers as costs for chip-making equipment balloon.
16th October 2007Hitachi announce plans for 4TB desktop
A 1TB notebook drive and a 4TB desktop drive capable of holding a million MP3 tracks could be on sale by 2011, Hitachi has announced.
These innovations will be made possible thanks to the development of the world's smallest read-head technology for hard disk drives. The heads have been reduced in size, making them 2,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
The new technology, current perpendicular-to-the-plane giant magneto-resistive (CPP-GMR) heads, will quadruple current storage capacity limits, and is expected to be implemented into shipping products by 2009 and reach its full potential by 2011.
The rush to push forward the advances in hard disk technology requires developers to put more data bits onto the recording media, demanding that the heads become smaller. Unfortunately, smaller heads create more noise output, compromising the ability to correctly read the data signal.
To fix this problem, Hitachi developed a high electron-spin-scattering magnetic film material to increase the signal output from the head, along with new technology for damage-free fine patterning and noise suppression. These innovations improved the signal-to-noise ration, paving the way for the technological breakthrough.
"Hitachi continues to invest in deep research for the advancement of hard disk drives as we believe there is no other technology capable of providing the hard drive's high-capacity, low-cost value for the foreseeable future," said Hiroaki Odawara, research director at Hitachi's storage technology research centre.
Earlier this year Hitachi began shipping the world's first retail hard drive with a full terabyte, known as the Deskstar 7K1000.
Hitachi will put its accomplishments on display this week at the Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Conference at the Tokyo International Forum.
The CPP-GMR acronym may look familiar to some. That's because GMR technology, initially discovered in 1988, recently won Albert Fert of France and Peter Grunberg of Germany the Nobel prize in physics last week.
These GMR heads have spurred the hard disk's consistent capacity growth, which peaked in the early 2000s when capacity was doubling every year. Today that number has slowed down, and Hitachi believes with the current hard disk innovations consumers can expect the doubling to occur every two years.
October 5th 2007
Microsoft anounce Internet Explorer 7 Installation and Availability Update to more Windows customers.
Microsoft are excited to share the latest news from the IE7 Product team that will impact consumer and developers, as Microsoft continues to take steps to help make consumers safer online by making the Internet Explorer 7 web browser more accessible to all Windows XPSP2, x64 Server and Windows Server 2003 users.
Beginning October 4th, 2007, Microsoft will make available a new IE7 build, the IE7 Installation and Availability update (IAU) for Windows XPSP2, x64 Server and Windows Server 2003. With this update, IE7 now installs without WGA validation, offering a streamlined First Run Experience and includes some minor enhancements to the browser and tour.
The updated IE7 will be available on the Windows Download Center (DLC) and the IE site at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.mspx in 8 initial languages. Additional languages will be added as they become available.
Microsoft takes its commitment seriously in helping protect the entire Windows ecosystem. Security enhancements to Internet Explorer 7 include a built-in Phishing Filter that prevents an average of 900,000 visits per week to known phishing Web sites. Additionally, Internet Explorer 7 is the first and only browser to natively support Extended Validation SSL Certificates to help prevent online fraud.
Internet Explorer 7 makes it safer and easier to accomplish everyday tasks online. It has a streamlined look and enhanced capabilities that make everyday tasks — such as tabbed browsing which makes browsing multiple sites easier— simple and fast.
The primary modification consumers will notice is the Menu bar is turned on by default. For first time users, the first-run experience includes a new, easily accessible Internet Explorer 7 overview, and the on-line Internet Explorer 7 tour has been updated to include how-to’s on great new features like tabbed browsing. This is an update to the availability of Internet Explorer 7 and not a new version of the browser.
Also, for IT Pros, we’ve updated the Internet Explorer 7 Administration Kit (IEAK7) to include the ability to create an MSI package for enterprises that simplifies deployment for customers who prefer to distribute via Group Policy or those who are not using a corporate update management solution such as Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 or Software Update Services (SUS). IT Administrators need only define a Group Policy setting to deploy a branded IE7 package to relevant units within their organization.
Installation and Availability Modifications to Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) include:
How will customers access IE7?
Similar to the previous IE7 builds, IE7 will be available via multiple channels:
Authorised 3rd Party suppliers
April 16th 2007
Microsoft announce the release of a plug-in for WMP in Firefox
More news here
April 15th 2007
Microsoft announce the release of Silverlight
A cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications (RIAs) for the Web, see the silverlight home page here for more information.
April 6th 2007
Microsoft release Movie Maker 2.6 for Vista
see this page for more details
November 20th 2006
Windows Media Player 11 has already been released
A little slow with this one. WMP 11 is available here
November 14th 2006
Zune is released to the public in USA
We're excited to share with you that Zune devices and service will hit the shelves tomorrow!
When the team began on this voyage a few months ago their goal was fairly simple: to create a platform that would enable new experiences and narrow the gap between artists and their audiences. Digital entertainment stands at a transition point today. By adding human power to the equation - both the power of the individual and the power communities we are excited to see where we this journey takes us.
To make sure they could compete, not only did they design Zune to be the best device and software on the market today, but they also bet on the basic elements to allow the experience to grow with you. For example, by providing a rich screen and wi-fi in every device they added a layer of future proofing for new innovative scenarios. And of course, they designed the entire system with the idea of ever expanding on the core principle of Connected Entertainment through software and services.
And speaking of performing, let's talk about the music that is launching the device at venues all over the U.S. Today we have free flash concerts popping up in six cities across the country. Check out the post-show comments, photographs and video from the concerts available at www.zune.net beginning this evening.
We're sure you've seen a lot of press coverage since we first announced our Zune plans. Like anything of this nature a lot of it has been great and of course some of it has been critical. That's OK. One thing for sure is that a LOT of people are talking about it. Here are some quotes we thought showed an appreciation of how our social story is taking shape.
"Most analysts say this sharing feature - which Apple has yet to offer on the iPod - may form the kernel of an advantage that Microsoft will exploit to build a community of digital media consumers. Microsoft could also link Zune's online customers with those using its Xbox 360, who typically sign up and use Xbox Live, an online, real- time gaming service." - Kevin O'Brien, International Herald Tribune
And from today's New York Times.
"There is going to be a lot of noise this holiday around the latest attempt to take a bite out of Apple's market share -- Microsoft's Zune . The combination device and service is backed with a marketing campaign valued in the hundreds of millions, as Microsoft aims to set the Zune apart as a community-based music-sharing experience. . The debate rages over how big a draw this functionality (referencing the send feature) will be, but already Microsoft has succeeded in capturing a great deal of awareness over the product, something Apple is accustomed to having all to itself." - Reuters shopping guide appearing in The New York Times today.
So now the answer to the question that we know is top of your mind - how and when can we buy a Zune player? Be sure to tell your friends and family that the Zune players are hitting the shelves in over 30,000 retail outlets tomorrow (the largest retail rollout of any Microsoft product ever).
January 10th 2006
Play Windows Media Files in your Quicktime player
With Windows Media® Components for QuickTime, by Flip4MacT, you can play Windows Media files (.wma and .wmv) directly in QuickTime Player and view Windows Media content on the Internet using a Web browser.
Flip4Mac can be found here
December 15th 2005
MTVN and Microsoft announce URGE
December 7th 2005
Thomson Grass Valley buy Canopus
It's all about synergy.
Yesterday it was announced that Thomson is buying a 33 1/3% stake in Canopus and intends to launch public tender offer to acquire remaining shares. We see this as a good blending of technologies that will benefit the customers as well as the company. The Canopus product offering strengthens Grass Valley's position in several markets - broadcast, professional video production and professional AV, and the Canopus team gets a wealth of resources to continue its engineering and sales efforts that will expand the market for Canopus-engineered technologies.
Hiro Yamada will continue to play a leadership role in managing the Canopus business and in seizing the opportunities offered to the combined business by the professional AV and video editing markets. The current Canopus management team will continue to lead the day-to-day business with the support and guidance of Grass Valley senior management.
The synergy is evident in the statements made by Marc Valentin, president of the Grass Valley business within Thomson and Hiro Yamada, founder and CEO of Canopus today:
"Canopus brings important products and technologies that allow us to address multiple facets of our growth strategy and accelerate key elements of our R&D roadmap," said Marc Valentin, president of the Grass Valley business within Thomson. "Truly, we are acquiring a star with Canopus."
"This combination will be positive for Canopus, for Grass Valley and Thomson, and for our mutual customers," said Mr. Yamada. "Our sales organizations are very complementary. We look forward to strengthening Thomson's presence in Japan and Asia, and to the Grass Valley sales organization creating even broader access to Canopus solutions by customers globally."
What does this mean for current Canopus customers?
Of course, no changes will be made until the deal is finalized. Once the deal is complete, customers will see an influx of improvements in sales, marketing, support and engineering. We believe this will result in increased customer satisfaction as well as a better foundation for all Canopus products in terms of stability, features and interoperability.
Will you continue to develop EDIUS Pro?
Yes, EDIUS Pro will continue to be developed.
Will you continue to develop ProCoder as well?
ProCoder will continue as a current product as it has been.
Where will Canopus users go for sales and customer support?
The sales and support channels for Canopus products will remain the same.
November 28th 2005
Holographic-memory discs may put DVDs to shame
A computer disc about the size of a DVD that can hold 60 times more data is set to go on sale in 2006. The disc stores information through the interference of light - a technique known as holographic memory. More at the New Scientist web site.
November 20th 2005
Microsoft announce Windows Media Encoder x64 Edition 9 Series
We're pleased to announce the availability of Windows Media Encoder x64 Edition 9 Series. This release extends the capabilities of Windows Media Encoder 9 Series to users on 64-bit Windows platforms. It offers virtually the same functionality as our widely-used 32-bit version, but on the x64 platform. If your encoding environment uses quad or dual-processor machines, Windows Media Encoder x64 Edition 9 Series will be a great introduction to the x64 support that you'll see in Windows Vista.
You'll find more information and a link to download from here
We have many exciting things to look forward to as we head toward NAB and beyond, and we're looking forward to working with you to ensure that Windows Media remains the best platform to create and distribute the highest-quality content.
November 3rd 2005
Microsoft® Digital Image Suite PLUS
Microsoft and Pinnacle have teamed up to bring you a complete photo and video organization and editing software package that is sure to give your creativity a boost. Digital Image Suite Plus delivers professional quality features that allow you to effortlessly capture, edit, and share your photos and videos. See here for more information.
October 10th 2005
CCD failures in many digital camcorders and cameras
Many manufacturers have been experiencing problems with ccd failures in their products. It is a complex problem, with certain criteria having to be met for failure to take place. It only affects some production runs and at present only a few manufacturers have said they are affected, though more are likely to follow suit.
In short if your camcorder has started recording blank images then you may be suffering from this failure.heck out these sites for more information on the problem
October 6th 2005
Creative Festival 2005
This is being held at and around the Custard Factory in Birmingham, UK. Free entrance to many seminars, screenings etc. See here for more details and registration.
September 26th 2005
Microsoft and Intel Back HD DVD as Next-Generation High-Definition DVD Format of Choice
Companies cite key criteria for consumer and industry success, join HD DVD Promotion Group.
SANTA CLARA , Calif., and REDMOND, Wash. - Sept. 26, 2005 - Intel Corporation and Microsoft Corp. today announced that they will join major consumer electronics manufacturers, content providers and other companies as members of the HD DVD Promotion Group. After extensive review, both companies determined that the HD DVD format developed by the DVD Forum meets important criteria and delivers unique advantages, including PC and connected device interoperability and an easy, affordable transition to high definition for consumers. HD DVD can bring the excitement of HD video to the consumer faster than competing formats, with the potential for more affordable hardware and more interactive experiences.
Intel and Microsoft are the two most recent additions to the HD DVD Promotion Group, joining such companies as NEC Corp., S ANYO Electric Co. Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. and content providers such as Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures Corp. A complete list of over 100 companies can be found at http://www.hddvdprg.com/about/member.html.
"There are both challenges and opportunities in the transition to high-definition experiences throughout the home," said Blair Westlake, corporate vice president of the Media/Entertainment & Technology Convergence Group at Microsoft. "And after looking at the core advantages to the PC ecosystem and how it would benefit the consumer, it is clear that HD DVD offers the highest quality, and is the most affordable and highly flexible solution available."
"Our vision with Intel ® ViivT technology is that digital media content can be enjoyed on these Intel-based PCs and consumer electronics devices in and around the home in an easy and affordable manner," said Brendan Traw, Intel fellow and chief technology officer of Intel's Digital Home Group. "Intel has determined that HD DVD best meets the needs of consumers and the requirements for the respective consumer electronics, computer and entertainment industries for delivering a high-definition, interactive experience to the home on optical media."
Microsoft and Intel cited the following consumer and industry requirements of any successful next-generation optical format for high definition, which is reflected by what HD DVD delivers today:
Managed Copy: A first for DVDs. Managed Copy is a guaranteed feature within HD DVD that gives consumers the freedom to make copies of their discs to a hard drive or home server, including Media Center PCs using Intel Viiv technology, and enjoy them in every room of the house over their home networks. HD DVD discs also will allow copies of the movie to be played on portable devices.
"Future-proof" compatibility. Using proven HD DVD "hybrid disc" technology, a single disc can store both high-definition and standard-definition versions of a film, allowing consumers to immediately enjoy the standard-definition movies stored on these discs on today's DVD players, while HD movies can be replayed later on the HD DVD platform. This is an opportunity for consumers to buy discs at launch that future proof their collections - in other words, helping assure customers that the discs they buy will remain viewable in the future.
Proven low-cost, high-volume manufacturing. HD DVD discs use essentially the same manufacturing equipment as existing DVDs, meaning that production of HD DVD can ramp up easily and lower costs.
Superior capacity . HD DVD-ROM discs will offer dual-layer 30GB discs at launch, compared with BD-ROM discs, which will be limited to 25GB.
Superior interactivity. HD DVD discs will offer greater interactivity using iHD technology, allowing for enhanced content, navigation and value-added functionality for high-definition films. For example, HD DVDs can offer advanced picture-in-picture capability so that other video, such as a director's commentary, could play on top of the movie.
Superior format for notebook PCs. The compatibility of HD DVD with standard DVD facilitates and simplifies development of slim disc drives for integration in notebook PCs, one of the fastest-growing segments of the PC market.
As longtime leaders in the development of new industry specifications, Intel and Microsoft believe a single optical disc format is an ideal solution that would drive rapid consumer adoption. Although the companies have determined that HD DVD is the only viable solution at this time, each remains committed to working toward one format that meets consumer and industry requirements.
About the HD DVD Promotion Group
The HD DVD Promotion Group aims to exchange views and thoughts to help promote the HD DVD format based contents and products into the marketplace and share its promotional activity among members to encourage the broad acceptance of HD DVD on a world wide basis among members of the group, related industries and the public.
Articles are sourced from various places on the internet, but are believed to be true at the time of publishing. Any errors and ommissions will be corrected immediately we are informed of them.