Patrolling the Longhorn precinct for the latest Windows Vista beta news, commentary, and technical info...
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 hits the web
Today Microsoft released the second beta of Internet Explorer 7. It's not really intended for the general public, but for IT administrators and web developers to test with. You can get it here.

The IE7 application itself is in great shape. I like the new interface look and feel, and they eliminated all the toolbar clutter that IE6 and previous had. And despite the fact that most people use standalone RSS readers, I still think it's handy to have built-in support just in case.

Of course, the real test for a browser is how it renders web sites and applications. I expect there remains a lot of work to be done, since they have made quite a few changes to the rendering engine. CSS in particular has been tuned considerably. I've already had some trouble with But I don't think these issues are going to be as big a deal as they would have been in the past. If people are willing spend time tuning their websites to cater to a browser with a tiny fraction of the market (*cough* Firefox *cough*), then they had better not make a sound about testing for IE7 compatibility.

Technorati Tags:
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Vista 5270 installs and activates with previous CTP product key
I've seen a lot of false information around the web about product key changes in the latest build of Windows Vista (5270). Many websites and blogs were reporting that activation or installation could not be completed with the MSDN keys previously issued for other CTP builds. Supposedly, the product activation system was overhauled for this latest CTP release. That may very well be true, but I still used the key labeled for build 5219 in my MSDN account, and 5270 accepted it just fine. So there.

SignUp at TextPayMe

Technorati Tags:
Saturday, January 07, 2006
XBOX 360 Premium sighted!
If you live in the Portland, OR metro area and are hunting for an XBOX 360 Premium system, the Circuit City Clackamas Store #3324 has several in stock, as of this evening!
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Best Gates Keynote Ever!
I just watched the keynote presentation which kicks off the 2006 CES, featuring, of course, Bill Gates. It was definitely his best presentation ever. Not only were the showcased technologies exciting, but the demos were flawless. Highlights include:
  • Desktop and tabletop LCD displays
  • Some impressive Windows Vista demos
  • Widescreen handheld Media Center devices
  • Windows Media Player 11
  • New content services
  • Windows Live services

Watch the keynote!

Monday, January 02, 2006
Speech in WinFX December CTP
There's good news and bad news about the latest WinFX CTP for developers who want to use the new System.Speech API. The good news is that it is more complete and more stable than ever. The bad news is that there is still no support for attaching semantic values to a grammar to make it easier to extract the meaning of a spoken phrase once it has been recognized by the speech engine. I still get an exception whenever I attempt to use those constructs (see this excellent MSDN article for a semantics example), though we'll hopefully see them implemented in the near future.