Windows Live Sync is Live!

Posted by sumeethevans on December 13 2008, 5:26 AM. Posted in Windows Live.

We've been hard at work on the new software, and we're pleased to report that the new Windows Live Sync is now available for Windows and the Mac.
We've listened to your feedback, and Sync will continue to offer the same great service as FolderShare, along with several new features:
  • Higher file limits—up to 20 synchronized folders (formerly known as libraries) with up to 20,000 files in each one.
  • Integration with Windows Live ID.
  • Integration with the Recycle Bin.
  • Unicode support.
  • More languages for Windows (46 in all).
  • And lots of bug fixes.
As part of the new release, we will be retiring the old FolderShare blog and newsgroup to make room for a new Sync blog and a new Sync newsgroup.

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How To Buy the Cool-Running Xbox 360 'Jasper'

Posted by sumeethevans on December 13 2008, 5:26 AM. Posted in Xbox.

While Xbox 360s have become increasingly capable at handling their crippling heat defects, you still want the newest, coolest 360 you can buy. Right now, that's the "Jasper" edition, featuring a new 65nm GPU.

You should note, the GPU appears to be Jasper's major relevant revision, and it keeps the same huge heatsink found on the previous iteration—which is probably a good thing, actually. The other revision is that on-board memory stores NXE in the Jasper Xbox 360 Arcade. (It's unconfirmed as to whether or not such is true in the 60GB models of the 360.)

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A look at a few post-NXE Xbox LIVE stats

Posted by sumeethevans on December 13 2008, 5:25 AM. Posted in Xbox.

With the NXE launch behind us and the Holiday right around the corner a few data points just landed in my inbox that I though you might find interesting: 

  • If LIVE were a U.S. city, it would be the largest city with over 14-million members. The equivalent of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago combined.
  • Since the New Xbox Experience launched on Nov. 19 the number of new friends added per Xbox LIVE member has risen by 33%.
  • Xbox LIVE is not just games: With more than 45 global network and studio partners, and Netflix in the U.S., we offer more than 30,000 movies, TV episodes and music videos in both high and standard definition.
  • In the past year the average number of unique visitors to Xbox LIVE each day has risen 66%
  • Movie downloads increased 49% and TV episode downloads were up 30% the week after launch
  • Xbox LIVE Arcade sales almost tripled in the first week after the New Xbox Experience launched
  • Avatar-specific titles like A Kingdom for Keflings registered the second-best first week of performance ever
  • UNO which was updated to include in-game Avatars, saw a 650% increase in sales in just one day

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Now available for download - Infrastructure Planning & Design (IPD) guide for DPM 2007 SP1

Posted by sumeethevans on December 13 2008, 5:24 AM. Posted in System Center.

We are just a few days away from releasing Service Pack 1 for DPM 2007, and part of the release is updating our existing content and adding new materials.

The DPM Team has been working with the Microsoft Solution Accelerators group to develop this IPD, which goes into beta this week -  so please tell us what you think !!


Open Beta for IPD Guide-Now Available for Download -- Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1

This guide leads the reader through the process of planning a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2007 SP1 infrastructure. Work through the infrastructure design process in a logical, sequential order. This IPD guide enables the reader to quickly identify what types of data will be protected, what the recovery goals are, and the protection strategy to achieve those goals. Other benefits of using this guide include best practice design guidance from the product group and an optimized infrastructure to best meet the business requirements.

Please tell us what you think! Download the beta guide and send us your honest feedback. We appreciate your input and will work to make each guide as helpful and useful as possible.

Infrastructure Planning and Design streamlines the planning process by:

  • Defining the technical decision flow through the planning process.
  • Listing the decisions to be made and the commonly available options and considerations.
  • Relating the decisions and options to the business in terms of cost, complexity, and other characteristics.
  • Framing decisions in terms of additional questions to the business to ensure a comprehensive alignment with the appropriate business landscape.

Get the beta IPD by visiting the Connect Web site at (invitation code embedded).

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Office 14: The (near) silence is deafening

Posted by sumeethevans on December 13 2008, 5:23 AM. Posted in Office.

While Microsoft has begun to divulge details about the next version of its Windows cash cow, company officials have maintained almost total silence about the next version of its other big money-maker: Microsoft Office. So it seemed like a good time to check in with my sources and see if there was any new info on Office 14.

Here’s what is known, at this point:

Microsoft officials are continuing to decline to comment on Office 14’s timetable or feature list. Nonetheless, there have been a few bits of information about O14 which have gone public.

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Blue Badge rev. 3 adds registry override bits, “Aero Peek” enabled

Posted by sumeethevans on December 13 2008, 5:23 AM. Posted in Windows 7.

This day, last month, I released a small utility to patch system files in Windows 7 Build 6801, the build given out at this year’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC), to enable some features that Microsoft intentionally tried to hide from the public.

Chris Holmes and I were scratching our heads over Aero Peek, a feature that we knew worked in some builds, but wasn’t working on Blue Badge’d systems. I initially wrote it off as an unfinished quirk but I took another look…and noticed I totally missed a series of checks made in the registry. Each protected feature has a pair of enabling override bits that are checked for, one for those on the Microsoft domain and one for those that aren’t. I’m not sure as to the rationale behind that, but I suspect it was implemented this way to prevent Microsoft employees from leaking working override bits. Overkill in my opinion.

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Microsoft Live Labs releases Thumbtack

Posted by bink on December 11 2008, 5:25 AM. Posted in Research.


Microsoft Live Labs is releasing Thumbtack, an easy way to gather and share links, photos, and text, from different Web sites and save all of the data in the form of a collection to a single place at: Thumbtack allows users to share and collaborate with others on collections by providing the ability to directly email the content or by allowing them to publish their collection to the Web with a number of options including RSS, Atom, HTML and Internet Explorer 8 Web Slices. Thumbtack collections can also be embedded in personal websites and blogs.


In addition, Thumbtack includes gadgets which enhance and extend the capabilities of Thumbtack and enable people to do more with their content, such as compare different items by price or location or automatically find and map addresses. Clips within Thumbtack can also be annotated with properties and then viewed as a scatter plot or bar graph to help sort, filter and visualize content within a collection.


The team incorporated ideas from the community feedback of the Listas tech preview, which Live Labs released in the fall of 2007. Thumbtack focuses on ways to seamlessly collect and organize information gathered from across the web. Similar to other technology preview releases from Microsoft Live Labs, the team will evaluate user feedback to determine the best places to move forward on Thumbtack, including better ways of collecting clips to further analyze the rich metadata to better support visualization and decision making.

Oxite - Open Source Content Management System

Posted by vasudev on December 10 2008, 10:43 AM. Posted in .NET.

Oxite is an open source, standards compliant, and highly extensible content management platform that can run anything from blogs to big web sites.

Oxite is a project built by the team behind Channel 9 , Channel 8, Channel 10, TechNet Edge, Mix Online

 A Quick Overview of Oxite from Channel9 video


 .......................Full Story At Source




December Security Patches and a new advisory

Posted by bink on December 10 2008, 4:56 AM. Posted in Security.

 The new bulletins for this month are:

  • MS08-070: Vulnerabilities in Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime Extended Files (ActiveX Controls) Could Allow Remote Code Execution (932349) which is rated "Critical"
  • MS08-071: Vulnerabilities in GDI Could Allow Remote Code Execution (956802) which is rated "Critical"
  • MS08-072: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office Word Could Allow Remote Code Execution (957173) which is rated "Critical"
  • MS08-073: Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (958215) which is rated "Critical"
  • MS08-074: Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office Excel Could Allow Remote Code Execution (959070) which is rated "Critical"
  • MS08-075: Vulnerabilities in Windows Search Could Allow Remote Code Execution (959349) which is rated "Critical"
  • MS08-076: Vulnerabilities in Windows Media Components Could Allow Remote Code Execution (959807) which is rated "Important"
  • MS08-077: Vulnerability in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Could Cause Elevation of Privilege (957175) which is rated "Important"

In addition, today we've published Microsoft Security Advisory 960906 regarding new reports of a vulnerability in the Wordpad Converter for Word 97 files affecting Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP1 and SP2. We are aware of very limited and targeted attacks seeking to exploit this vulnerability. The advisory details workarounds that you can evaluate while we develop a security update for this issue.

As we do each month, our colleagues over at the Security Vulnerability Research and Defense blog have more information and details on today's security updates including MS08-076 that addresses a vulnerability similar to what we addressed with MS08-068. In my posting last month about MS08-068 I noted how we've been doing a lot of work to address the difficult issues around the SMBRelay attack. This new bulletin is borne out of that same ongoing effort andthat work is still going on: there are other related issues we're still working on. You can expect to see more updates in the future out of this ongoing project.

This month the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool is adding detection for two new families: Win32/FakeXPA and Win32/Yektel. Our colleagues over at the Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC) have posted information on these new families on their blog.

Finally, please join us tomorrow for our monthly TechNet webcast where we review this month's security bulletins and, most importantly, answer your questions about this month's release. You can register for the webcast here.

Windows 7 Build 6956 leaked by an attendee at WinHEC China

Posted by MBrant on December 8 2008, 4:25 PM. Posted in Windows 7.

The impossible has been done again and pirates all over the world are busy trying to obtain the more updated build of Windows 7- build 6956. Just a day after WinHEC China began, an attendee from the conference managed to slip a Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) image of Windows 7 Build 6956 onto a portable device and upload it via torrent to the world. You’d think that Microsoft would have some sort of security enforced to keep this from happening after how hard they’ve been trying to prevent any leaks. The uploader from the PCBeta forum uses the alias Edward_Han, and is seen by the Chinese Windows community as a hero. The community has been referring to him as Edward_Han the hero, and even Master Edward_Han. The entire VHD image was actually supposed to be uploaded yesterday, but Ed’s computer shut off mysteriously, so the pirating had to be delayed for a day. As of now, there’s heated discussion on how to properly turn the VHD image into a fully functional install of Windows 7 Build 6959. A few have succeeded, but most people are having trouble and are awaiting for the Chinese hackers and community to get an ISO out. Word is starting to spread quickly in the English community in forums including our own, and many others. So far, from what we can tell, the following features are included in the build:

Windows Peeking or Aero Peeking Desktop Slideshows Modified Start Menu and Taskbar (No arrows beside application icons)

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Compatibility View Improvements to come in IE8

Posted by sumeethevans on December 6 2008, 4:48 AM. Posted in Internet Explorer.

The next public update of IE8 (for Windows Vista- and Windows XP-based operating systems as well as the Windows 7 Beta) includes improvements to Compatibility View that help end-users when they visit web sites that are not yet ready for IE8’s new, more standards-compliant defaults. This blog post describes the technical background and how this new functionality works.

A Brief History of Standards, Interoperability, Compatibility, and IE8

As we improve the interoperability of Internet Explorer by delivering better implementations of web standards, some users may face compatibility issues with sites that rely on the behavior of previous versions of Internet Explorer.

With IE8’s Beta 1 release, Microsoft demonstrated its commitment to interoperability by making the most standards-compliant default view for web pages IE’s default. This is a good thing for the next billion web pages. We think that developers will have an easier time building interoperable sites on top of IE8’s strong platform work (like CSS 2.1, a better Document Object Model,  ARIA, and cross-domain requests (XDR) and cross document messaging (XDM) and our start on HTML5 support).

The problem is that some of today’s web pages might expect the old, less interoperable behavior from IE. These web pages might not function correctly, in ways ranging from just looking a bit misaligned to not working at all.

This scenario is exactly why we’re committed to interoperability and doing the standards work we’re doing in IE8. People who develop web sites and people who use sites want them to just work. Previously, some versions of IE released while some key standards were still under construction and before standards efforts had started for other key technologies. The most important thing we can do now is deliver better interoperability for a better web, with as few compatibility issues as possible so that end-users adopt it.

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Microsoft taps Yahoo exec to lead Web business

Posted by sumeethevans on December 6 2008, 4:48 AM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft on Thursday tapped a former Yahoo search executive to lead its online push, adding to the intrigue surrounding a possible search partnership between the two rivals.

Microsoft named Qi Lu president of its Online Services Group, responsible for all of the software maker's Web-based programs and services, including search and online advertising — areas where it ranks a distant No. 3 behind Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

The slot was left vacant after Kevin Johnson, a driving force behind Microsoft's quixotic attempt to buy Yahoo, departed in July. A top internal contender to succeed Johnson, former aQuantive chief Brian McAndrews, is leaving the company, Microsoft said.

Lu spent a decade working for Yahoo. He oversaw a high-profile effort, dubbed "Project Panama," that has helped Yahoo reap more money from the ads running alongside its search results. But that project took longer than investors had hoped to complete, giving Google more time to widen its advantage over its rival.

More than 100 Yahoo executives have left since January 2007, exasperated with the perceived bungling of the Sunnyvale, California, company's leaders. The Web icon, eclipsed by Google and outmaneuvered by nimble newcomers like MySpace and Facebook, has posted sagging profits for the past three years.

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