Word on the street is that Microsoft plans on finally releasing the first service pack for Windows Vista - that’s right, the long-awaited Windows Vista SP1 will be yours for the downloading in 24 hours. You’ll have to download it manually.
In a month’s time, on April 18, Vista SP1 will be added to the automatic update system. So the more casual bunch who rely on Windows Update for all their security needs will all come in under a second wave of installations. Here’s hoping for less crashing, better performance, and all that other good stuff. We’ve been waiting for this for over a year.
Speaking of which, those Vista price drops will also be going into effect this week. If you go ahead and install SP1, hit us up and let us know how it went in the comments.
Read More | Computer World
Pay attention, MSN IM addicts. The i-Buddy, who looks darn close to the icon, hooks up to your USB port and responds to incoming MSN messages with his glowing head and wings. The 3-inch figure does more. He will respond to emoticons within the messages and can even be programmed to alert you to one specific bud. How kewl is that? Pre-order for $24.94 from Firebox for a March 28 ship date.
Read More | Firebox
Just a quick mobile update from SXSW here in Austin, TX. We just bumped into a few people from the Windows Live team in the street while walking back from lunch at Stubb’s (which, if you are in town, you have to try), and it turns out they are working on some sort of new, cool, innovative video search features. We are getting our of here to head back to Seattle, but we will be hooking up with them at their Redmond offices. We will get it into an episode of Bleeding Edge TV so you can see what all the fuss is about.
Say hello to Microsoft Office Live Workspace. The beta service lets you create and share documents, provided you use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to do so. New features include an activity panel and e-mail notification about changes made. Bookmark a workspace or item with direct links and upload more than one file at a time with drag-and-drop. You also get access with any computer and can invite others into your private space. MS claims that you can store 1000+ files on the Workspace, so if you feel lucky, punk, give it a shot.
Read More | Microsoft Workspace
For those who check their e-mail before their first cuppa java (you know who you are,) the Yuno is the perfect answer to allow you to fulfill your quotas in both areas. While you are getting your caffeine fix you can check your e-mail, see a traffic report, or find out how much Google stock is worth now with its touchscreen. It measures 6.25 x 3.75-inches and has a detachable CPU bottom so that you can pop it in the dishwasher. This is a finalist in Microsoft’s Next-Gen PC Design Competition. We like this prototype over most of the others even though we hope that they also make it insulated. Our e-mail takes forever to wade through sometimes. The contest runs through March 15, in case you want to vote for one of the contestants.
Read More | Next-Gen PC Design Competition Finalists
So, Windows Vista has been around now for a good thirteen months, and in that time, it has seen much criticism. If you’ve been on the fence about switching or upgrading to Vista, we are sure that Microsoft is hoping that their upcoming price drop will be enough to get you to make the move. The new pricing details will be as follows:
- Windows Vista Ultimate: $320, down from $400
- WIndows Vista Ultimate Upgrade: $220, down from $260
- Windows Vista Home Premium: $130, down from $160
The price drops are expected to coincide with the shipment of the first major update to Vista, Service Pack 1.
Read More | Reuters
We knew that Microsoft Research had something pretty amazing up its sleeve after talking to a few people at the company, in addition to having dinner with Robert Scoble, who told us that what he saw brought him to tears. As it turns out, it is the WorldWide Telescope that had people in awe. After watching Roy Gould introduce the software in the above video during TED, we have to say, we agree. Think of the WorldWide Telescope as the equivalent to the full-featured version of Google Earth - except that the WorldWide Telescope software is free, and instead of looking at the earth in extreme detail, you get to peruse the cosmos instead. I mean, watch the video to see how truly mind-blowing this technology really is. Look for it to be available for download this Spring for the Windows platform. No word on how beefy a machine you will need to run it as smoothly as it worked in the demo - but here’s hoping that everyone who downloads the WorldWide Telescope will be able to enjoy the same experience seen here.
Well, with the news that HD DVD had been killed by Toshiba, you knew that it was only a matter of time before the Xbox 360 HD DVD player was eliminated as well, right? Well, the time has come, as Microsoft sent us the following update:
As a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios, and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD. Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD Players in the market. As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.
Okay, well, shouldn’t that be “HD DVD was one of the several ways…”? So, now that we know that the Xbox 360 HD DVD player add-on will no longer be manufactured, if you really really want one, they can now be had for $49.99. That is 75% off of it’s original price, for those of you keeping track. So if you want a piece of recently outdated technology, now is your chance.
Read More | Bloomberg
It was just announced this morning by Microsoft during their GDC keynote - Gears of War 2 will be hitting Xbox 360 consoles this November. That’s right kids - November 2008. You ready for this? Here is the word from Microsoft:
Providing a dramatic close to Microsoft’s GDC keynote address, Epic Games Inc.’s lead designer Cliff Bleszinski announced that the epic saga of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad continues exclusively on the Xbox 360 this fall with “Gears of War 2.” This highly anticipated sequel to the 4.5 million-selling blockbuster “Gears of War” delves deeper into humanity’s struggle for survival against the nightmarish Locust Horde, and promises to take high-definition visuals to a whole new level.
Check out the trailer, at the top of this post.
Read More | Gears of War product page
“We do not believe the recent reports about HD DVD will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. As we’ve long stated, we believe it is games that sell consoles and Xbox 360 continues to have the largest next-gen games library with the most exclusives and best selling games in the industry. We will wait until we hear from Toshiba before announcing any specific plans around the Xbox 360 HD DVD player. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.”
Well, we think it is safe to say that we will be seeing the 360 HD DVD player (along with all the others) hitting the bargain bins over the next week or so. Now we await official word of an Xbox 360 Blu-ray add-on. It’s gotta happen.