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Apple and MicrosoftApple has quietly released the beta version of Boot Camp, a software package that allows its new Intel-based systems to run Windows XP.  The next major revision of Mac OS X, v10.5, will have the software incorporated into it, and therefore the beta software will only work for a limited time.

The software doesn’t act as an emulator but allows Windows XP to run natively, thereby reducing any bottlenecks and performance issues.  It works by creating a partition on the hard drive just for Windows XP, and includes all of the required drivers thereby making the install much easier than the unofficial methods that are currently floating around.  A graphical interface walks the user through the process of creating the partition and burns the drivers to a CD/DVD.  Upon completing the install, users will have the option of dual-booting into either Windows XP or OS X.

Requirements for Boot Camp include the obvious Intel-based Mac, plus a USB keyboard and mouse (or integrated keyboard/trackpoint for laptop users), Mac OS X v10.4.6, the latest firmwares, 10GB of free space, one blank CD/DVD, and Windows XP Home or Professional with SP2 or later.

“We think Boot Camp makes the Mac even more appealing to Windows users considering making the switch” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.  Indeed, this may be just the impetus that some Windows users were waiting for.


Read More | Apple via Computerworld


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MicrosoftMicrosoft has announced that Virtual Server R2 Enterprise Edition will come with a new pricing structure - free.  In addition, new offerings are now available in the form of virtual machine add-ins and technical support for Linux guest operating systems, a dramatic change for the software vendor.  By making Virtual Server free, Microsoft is responding to similar moves by its competitors.  One such competitor, and leader in the virtualization market, is VMWare who made their own GSX Server software available for free back in February. 

Microsoft acquired Virtual PC, and the unreleased Server product, from Connetix Corp. in 2003.  When first launched in September 2004, Microsoft’s Virtual Server came in two flavors - Standard and Enterprise with pricing at $499 and $999 respectively.  This past December version R2 was released, along with a pricing change of $199 for Enterprise Edition and $99 for Standard Edition.


Read More | Microsoft via Computerworld


Samsung Q1 UMPC

It looks as though Samsung will be one of the first companies to have an Ultra Mobile PC available for purchase.  We gave you insight into the UMPC just a few weeks ago, and with products about to hit the shelves, it’ll be interesting to see if they fly, or flop.  Granted, they’re very cool from a gadget standpoint as they do a little bit of everything, but that may be the whole crux of the problem.  Devices that do a bit of everything tend to not do any of them really well, and turn out to be rather mediocre as a whole.  Somehow this smacks of the Tablet PC all over again in that there isn’t a strong market for the product (even less so with the UMPC), but I digress . . . on with the show.

Expansys has the Samsung Q1 UMPC up for pre-order for £799.95 (~ $1,390 USD).  The specifications are what you’d expect of an “everything but the kitchen sink” type of device.  Running a Celeron M ULV CPU at 900MHz, it comes with 512MB RAM, a 7” WVGA LCD (800x480), Bluetooth, GPS, Wireless (802.11 a/b/g), and more.  About the only thing missing would be some form of high speed data like UMTS or EVDO, but that was never in the design specs anyway. 

Full specifications after the jump.


Read More | Expansys via Ubergizmo

Click to continue reading Samsung Ultra Mobile PC Available For Pre-Order


As an owner of a Smartphone, I was personally outraged that iAnywhere Solutions did not offer a client for my platform.  It seems that the wait for Avantgo goodness is over; iAnywhere Solutions announced today that there is a beta client available for Windows Smartphone.  The beta supports Windows Mobile 2003, 2003 Second Edition and Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone handsets.  Unfortunately, the feature set is reduced due to the lack of a touch screen and the maximum display resolution on Windows Mobile devices. There are over one thousand content providers available though, which should make up for some of the features that are not available. You can grab the beta at the link below.

Read More | AvantGo


With Windows Mobile 5.0 released, and with Windows Mobile 2003 still around, many people have discovered that Windows Media Player for Windows Mobile has some flaws.  With Windows Media Player (WMP) unable to play .divx files or .ogg files, many users are left needing software capable of features that WMP does not offer.  Enter Beta Player, free software for your Windows Mobile device that can do all the things WMP can not and then some. 

Supported file containers:

  • AVI (*.avi)
  • Matroska (*.mkv, *.mka)
  • MP4 (*.mp4, *.m4a)
  • Ogg Media (*.ogg, *.ogm)
  • ASF (*.asf)

Supported audio codecs:

  • Mpeg 1 Layer III
  • Ogg Vorbis
  • Musepack
  • Windows Media Audio (on Windows Mobile devices)
  • AC-3
  • AMR
  • Adpcm, uLaw

Supported video codecs:

  • DivX
  • XviD
  • MPEG4-SP (plus B-frame support)
  • MPEG1
  • M-JPEG
  • Windows Media Video (on Windows Mobile devices)

Beta Player is considered open source software, and has a very active community.  It’s also available for a variety of different devices, so even if you don’t have a Windows Mobile device, you can still usethe product.  I personally use Beta Player on my Windows Mobile device, the software was easy to install, and I have experienced no issues with it. 


Read More | Beta Player


Hundred Dollar Laptop

By now most people have heard about MIT’s noble effort to bring technology to third world countries by designing a $100 laptop.  Google’s founder, Larry Page, said that Google would back MIT’s project.  Bill Gates publicly critiqued the $100 laptop, saying, “The last thing you want to do for a shared use computer is have it be something without a disk…and with a tiny little screen.”  Gates went on to say, “If you are going to go have people share the computer, get a broadband connection and have somebody there who can help support the user, geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you’re not sitting there cranking the thing while you’re trying to type.”  Prior to the critique Gates was promoting Microsoft’s new “ultra-mobile computer” which is expected to cost between $599 and $999.  What is funny is the $100 dollar laptop program is called One Laptop per Child, or OLPC.  These laptops are not being given to American families to close the digital divide here; they are intended to assist children in third world countries that lack the support infrastructures that many of the things Bill Gates is interested in offering require. 


Read More | CNN


Xbox 360 Firmware hack

It looks like even the Xbox 360 is not the impermeable fortress that Microsoft expected it to be. Recently, a group of hackers have not only managed to hack the firmware, but they got burned copies of game discs to play as well.  The team responsible for the hack has declined to release the hacked firmware for the masses - probably to avoid issues with Microsoft.  The hack does not allow region free playing of discs, nor does it allow the execution of unsigned code. It merely allows the playing of directly copied discs.  Technical details here, and here.


Read More | MaxConsole


Sony VGP-XL1B2Back in January we reported on the rumor that Sony was going to make its 200-disc media changer available separate from their Digital Living System PC.  Rumors do come true now and then, and this happens to be one of those times.  Whether the VGP-XL1B2 is a viable alternative to assembling terabytes of hard drive space for your ripped DVDs is arguable, but it’s certainly an interesting option.  The changer requires Windows Media Center Edition (with the Rollup 2 update), utilizes a firewire interface, can be daisy-chained with 4 other units (max 5 total), and supports the following disc formats:

• DVD R Double Layer/DVD±RW drive
• DVD R DL Write (4x max.)
• DVD-R Write (16x max.)
• DVD-RW Write (6x max.)
• DVD R Write (16x max.)
• DVD RW Write (8x max.)
• CD-R Write (40x max.)
• CD-RW Write (24x max.)

Available directly from Sony for $799.99


Read More | Sony via Digital Media Thoughts


Windows VistaIt came as no surprise to anyone when Microsoft announced that the consumer versions of Windows Vista would be delayed until January 2007.  Following swiftly was news that Microsoft is reshaping its Platforms & Services Division (Windows and Windows Live) by bringing Senior Vice President Steven Sinofsky over from the successful Office Division, where he has worked since 1994.  Steven was picked to bring the misguided division back on track and on schedule.

Today we have more news that Office 2007 will be purposely delayed to coincide with the 2007 launch of Vista, and a disturbing rumor that 60% of the Windows Vista code will need to be rewritten prior to its release.  Luckily, Robert Scoble posted earlier that this rumor was completely false, killing the notion that employees were being pulled from the Xbox division (among others) to help with the rewriting of code.


Read More | Smarthouse (60% code rewrite)
Read More | Microsoft (restructuring details)


Office 2007 DelayOn the heels of their announcement of the delay of Windows Vista, Microsoft issued a statement today which states that Office 2007 will be delayed as well. Originally expected to hit the market by the end of the year, Microsoft is choosing to delay the launch of the new Office suite until January 2007 to coincide with Windows Vista’s retail debut. Microsoft Office 2007 will still be finished in October 2006, and will be available to business customer who purchase bulk licenses at that time. Malina Johnson, a spokeswoman with Microsoft’s public relations firm Waggener Edstrom, said in an e-mail that the decision to delay the release of the retail version is “simply an indication of our desire to provide an easy retail experience by coordinating delivery with Windows Vista.” Looks like Office 2007 will end up living up (or down) to it’s name.

(Thanks Veronica!)


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