One of the many interesting tech stories this year was Microsoft’s release of Windows Vista…and the subsequent complaints, issues and horror stories that followed, as this writer can personally attest to. As a result, many users and businesses have it made quite clear they’d rather switch back to good ol’ Windows XP. Well, in a very surprising move, Microsoft is “quietly allowing PC makers to offer a downgrade option to buyers that get machines with the new operating system but want to switch to Windows XP.” The catch? The offer only applies to Vista Business and Ultimate editions, so you Home users are out of luck. Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo and HP PCs are all capable of downgrading if customers wish to. That piercing, wailing sound you hear? It’s this writer screaming in despair because she can’t go back to the shiny, happy days of Windows XP.
Read More | Engadget
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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend E3 this year – instead, I’m on vacation in Cape Cod, using awful hotel Wi-Fi to watch streamed press conferences. Not the most glamorous way to take it all in, but exciting announcements, great games and new details are welcome no matter how you hear about them.
Here’s my personal transcription (in very brief form) of all the announcements and showings, along with some reflection on what Microsoft had to show.
In this episode of Unboxing Live, we break out one of the limited run Windows Vista Starter Kits. These are the kits Microsoft gave out at CES 2007, as well as many Windows Vista launch events. We show off everything that’s inside the box (mouse pads, video games, USB flash drives), and then give it away!
Let us know what you think, or what you want us to unbox next!
Sony has a new series of notebooks that definitely shows some class. No bright and shiny Hello Kitty crystals, just some very classy sounding and looking shades of sangria, cosmopolitan, dove, and indigo. The VAIO CR has a 14.1-inch screen, an Intel Centrino Duo processor, built-in 802.11n wireless LAN capability, and Windows Vista Home Premium. It also features LocationFree software for live TV, which allows accessing of your DVD recorder or player and play via the Internet. If that isn’t enough, there is also a built-in digital camera and mic and it only weighs 5.5 lbs. The notebooks will be available sometime this month for a MSRP of $1,369.00.
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The fascinating relationship/rivalry between Microsoft and Apple was ratcheted up a notch this week. At Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference, CEO Steve Jobs announced their Apple-exclusive web browser, Safari, will be released for Windows XP and Vista—and will be up to twice as fast as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2. The move is seen as part of Jobs’ business strategy to broaden Apple’s presence in the browser market, of which they only have 5 percent, compared to Microsoft’s whopping 80 percent. Curious? A test version of the browser is available at Apple’s web site. This writer will give Safari a test run with Windows Vista and report back soon…
Read More | New York Times
Read More | The Bleeding Edge
We went out to Parallels headquarters right outside Seattle to talk to Ben Rudolph, and to get a first-hand look at Parallels 3.0. Ben walks us through all of the new features of the latest release of the vastly popular OS X virtualization software, including 3D GPU support, SmartSelect, and Snapshots. If you have been waiting for something truly excellent to enhance your computing experience, this may very well be it.
Read More | GamerAndy Live! Episode 82
So, Halo 2 for Windows Vista is launching on May 8, 2007, and we have been able to spend some time reviewing the title. Since everyone is familiar with Halo 2, we felt a full review wasn’t in order. Instead, we wanted to clue you in on the ten best improvements we experienced while reviewing the game. These ten features raise the bar for Halo as a whole, and may be a foreshadowing of things to come in Halo 3:
Achievements: If you are looking for something fun that adds another level of fun and challenge to the Halo 2 world, this is it. We have said it before, and we will say it again - Microsoft hit a gold mine with the notion of achievements. No sooner than when we finished a multiplayer deathmatch did we rack up a total of three achievements. Meleeing five people from behind (and thusly earning the Ninja achievement) was nice, but Meleeing someone who already had the Ninja achievement (and thus earning the Flaming Ninja achievement) was even better. We have the achievement to prove it. For those wondering, yes, the achievements you earn in Halo 2 for Vista (or any other Games for Windows game) is counted towards your Xbox Gamerscore.
Although Windows Vista has been out awhile now and is selling
well, its release has consistently made headlines for its lack of compatibility with iTunes, PC games and more. So it’s interesting that a Hewlett-Packard ad in this past Sunday’s “USA Today” promotes a Compaq desktop running Windows XP. In fairness, HP states the ad was created before Vista’s release, but is only now appearing in newspapers. However they will “...continue to offer XP Pro pre-configured systems alongside Vista systems.” Hmmmm.
Read More | Cnet