New wave of updates for Windows Live web services rolling out

Posted by vasudev on December 3 2008, 8:28 AM. Posted in Windows Live.

As Brian announced a few weeks ago, Windows Live is in the midst of releasing a new wave of updates for the web, for your PC, and for mobile devices.

Today we’ve started releasing the first set of updates to our web services, and these will continue to roll out globally over the next 24 hours – including a new version of Windows Live Home, Spaces, Events, and SkyDrive, as well as completely new web services such as Windows Live Groups, Photos, and Profile.

New header for Windows Live

First, you’ll notice a new common header that will be appearing at the top of all Windows Live web pages.

Windows Live common header

Our goal is to keep this consistent, so you can always find your way around easily. It includes links to all of your Windows Live services, links to great news, stories, videos, and content with MSN, a place to quickly search the web using Live Search, and the sign-in area, in the top-right corner, where you can quickly access your Windows Live account information.

Now, let’s now jump to the new services.

New Windows Live Home 

Located at, the new home page is the place to start your web browsing. It provides a simple dashboard for all of your communication and sharing activities. At the top, you can see your e-mail, local weather, any private messages that people have left for you, people you might want to add to your network, and upcoming appointments or birthdays. You can customize this area with rich themes – some of which are dynamic and change depending on the time of the day or the weather. And as you can see below, you can also add some of your own pictures to your page to make it a little more personal.

Windows Live Home

As you move down the page, you’ll notice a preview of your e-mail, and updates on what’s new with people in your network. This “What’s new” list gives you a quick summary of the most recent updates that people in your network have made and decided to share with you. This can include things they’ve done on Windows Live as well as other activities from across the web – like updating a Flickr album, writing reviews on Yelp, and more. The new home page also provides the latest headlines from MSN and other news and information sources that you can add to this page.

Windows Live Photos

Windows Live Photos

Sharing photos is now a much richer and more personalized experience on Windows Live. The first thing you’ll notice when you start sharing a photo album is the new storage limit – 25 GB! With the way digital cameras have been........................Continue At Source

Microsoft Confirms Cases of NXE Breaking Xbox 360 Sound Output, Apologizes and Pledges Fix

Posted by sumeethevans on December 3 2008, 2:52 AM. Posted in Xbox.

The launch of the New Xbox Experience brought more than just a new interface and a few temporary Xbox Live issues. Since the new Xbox 360 dashboard hit on November 19, some HDMI-connected owners have literally been playing their games in silence.

The problem appears to afflict a select group of devices that properly handled Xbox 360 audio prior to the New Xbox Experience, such as the BenQ G2400W monitor. It is believed that the issue stems from an updated HDCP handshake--the protocol used to establish an HDMI connection--which the older devices are not compatible with.

Now, Microsoft has acknowledged the issue in a statement to Shacknews, apologizing for the "inconvenience" and noting that a fix is in the works.

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Windows Vista SP2 Beta Available to TechNet and MSDN Subscribers, Public Release on 4th December

Posted by sumeethevans on December 3 2008, 2:52 AM. Posted in Windows Vista.

As you all know Windows Vista SP2 beta builds were released to a few selected beta testers recently. Today Microsoft has officially released the SP2 Beta to TechNet and MSDN subscribers.

So if you are a TechNet or MSDN subscriber, you can download it from your account. If you can't see it in the list, wait for a few minutes/hours.

If you are not a subscriber, then no need to worry. Microsoft is going to release the same beta build to public on 4th December.

SP2 supports new types of hardware. It improves the administration experience and eases certain management and support challenges. It also minimizes deployment and testing complexity for customers. In addition to all previously released updates, SP2 contains changes focused on addressing reliability and performance issues.

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Microsoft puts more muscle behind its potential ‘Kumo’ search brand

Posted by sumeethevans on December 3 2008, 12:05 AM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

After a weekend of “it’s on-again/no it’s not” rumors regarding Microsoft doing some kind of search deal with Yahoo, it’s worth noting the Redmondians are still pushing ahead with their plan to rebrand Live Search as “Kumo.”

Kumo is one of a handful of potential new search brands Microsoft has been investigating as a replacement for  Live Search, according to my sources. (Others under consideration, as of this summer, included “Bing” and “Hook.”) But recently, Microsoft redirected some of its search servers to point to the domain, leading many to speculate that Kumo was the leader in Microsoft’s search-rebranding bake-off.

It’s not justthe domain that the Softies have registered. It turns out it also has registered related placeholder names for some of the verticals that the company’s  search unit has been targeting — such as, travel, healthcare, wiki-search and the like. 

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Windows 7 allows DirectX 10 acceleration on the CPU

Posted by sumeethevans on December 2 2008, 12:03 PM. Posted in Windows "7".

Windows 7’s new WARP system can run Direct3D 10 and 10.1 on the CPU, doing away with the need for a hardware 3D accelerator in some circumstances

It turns out that Intel isn’t the only company that’s looking at performing Direct3D in software; Microsoft has just announced that it’s also planning to introduce a new feature called WARP in Windows 7 that allows you to run Direct3D 10 and 10.1 on the CPU.

In what could be seen as an easy answer to the Vista-capable debacle, where there was some confusion as to what 3D graphics hardware you specifically needed to run Windows Vista’s Aero interface, Microsoft has introduced what it calls a ‘fully conformant software rasterizer’ called WARP (Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform) 10, which does away with the need for a dedicated hardware 3D accelerator altogether.

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You asked for it: instant cashback!

Posted by sumeethevans on December 2 2008, 12:02 PM. Posted in Windows Live.

When we asked users about the improvements they'd like us make to Live Search cashback, many said they want to receive cashback instantly instead of waiting for 60 days. Well, I'm happy to announce that we've just released the Instant cashback feature with eBay. Instant cashback will be eligible for some, but not all users. Eligible shoppers will be notified online after completing a purchase on eBay.

Here's how it works

When you search for a product on Live Search — say an Xbox — within the results returned you'll see an eBay ad with the gold coin cashback icon  and "Live Search cashback." Click the eBay ad to go to and make your purchase. After completing the payment with PayPal, you'll receive a message saying you're eligible for "instant cashback." Yippee!  The cashback amount is automatically deposited into your Paypal account and posted to your cashback account.

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Windows Vista Service Pack 2's Latest Release Schedule?

Posted by sumeethevans on December 2 2008, 11:49 AM. Posted in Windows Vista.

We have news of the upcoming Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista! Microsoft is doing their best to rush out Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista so there will be additional incentive for folks to upgrade to Window Vista now, instead of waiting for Windows 7. So the latest schedule should come as no surprise.

A confidential source has revealed that Microsoft will deliver a Release Candidate in February, 2009 with the final SP2 binary scheduled for RTM (Release To Manufacturing) in April, 2009.

As always, do remember that when Microsoft announces that a product is RTM, it doesn't mean you will be able to download it right away. RTM merely means it is "released to manufacturing", including OEMs. Actual public release will be sometime later. Release to web (RTW) will also occur sometime after RTM.

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Media Center Beta Survey #2

Posted by sumeethevans on December 2 2008, 11:48 AM. Posted in Windows Media Center.

You may remember a post from a few weeks back about a new upcoming Media Center beta.  This survey was to provide Microsoft hardware information of your computer to determine if it would meet the requirements needed to test the new beta.

Last weekend I went to the Iowa-Minnesota football game in Minneapolis.  My wife and I go there do enjoy the game, gamble a bit, and just have some fun.  Iowa decimated Minnesota.  While not a necessity, it does make the trip more enjoyable.

When I returned home, I had to check my emails, of course.  I had an email from Microsoft.  I needed to complete another Media Center survey.  I am quite interested in this beta, so off to Microsoft Connect I went.  The email I received from Microsoft is as follows (minus the invitation code):

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Rumor: Jasper Motherboard in the Wild: 256MB Internal 'MU', 150W PSU,

Posted by sumeethevans on December 2 2008, 11:46 AM. Posted in Xbox.

It looks like the first Jasper motherboards (which should have the new 65nm GPU) are now out in the wild!Moddage posted pictures of his new Jasper 360 on our forums (here and here) and we also received some pictures from The Dude Z. Both are Arcade SKUs made 10-23-2008 Lot #0843X by Team FDOU.

Xbox 360 Jasper Xbox 360 Jasper

The new power supply is now 150W (25W less than those used with Falcon boards) and the plug has of course been changed so u can't plugin this PSU into an older motherboard.

Xbox 360 Jasper Xbox 360 Jasper

Other unannounced change ... the onboard flash chip has grown from 16MB to 256MB. Microsoft included internal memory storage, so the Arcade SKU now ships without (external) Memory Unit and the new NXE dash will install fully on the flashchip (rather than requiring a HDD or external MU). But the internal memory can also be used to store gamesave data, XBLA games, videos or whatever ... u can use it asif it was an external MU. As the flash chip is also used for the kernel/keyvault/dash etc there seems to be about 214MB left according to scoldingice on our forums to store your own stuff (this is prior NXE install, if you install NXE it will take most of the space).

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Yahoo, Microsoft make gains in search

Posted by sumeethevans on December 2 2008, 11:44 AM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Yahoo and Microsoft outperformed the U.S. search industry's 7 percent increase in search results for the month of October, while AOL slipped further behind, according to a ComScore report released Wednesday.

During the month of October, 12.6 billion searches were conducted at home, work, and universities, up 7 percent from September results. Yahoo led the way in growth with a 9 percent increase to 2.6 billion searches, while Microsoft gained 8 percent to 1 billion.

That performance outweighed Google, which posted a 7 percent increase, and far outstripped the struggling AOL unit of Time Warner, which declined by 2 percent in October.

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Xbox 360 Registers Biggest Black Friday in Its History

Posted by vasudev on December 2 2008, 10:51 AM. Posted in Xbox.

 Xbox 360 consoles and games sell at record levels; outsells PlayStation 3 by three-to-one ratio.

 Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system kicked off the holidays with record-breaking console sales on one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year in the U.S. Retailers reported Xbox 360 console sales over the Black Friday weekend were on pace to beat previous years, outselling the PlayStation 3 by a three-to-one ratio and estimating a 25 percent increase from Xbox 360 Black Friday sales figures from 2007.Strong game sales rounded out a historic Black Friday for Xbox 360, with record-paced software sales continuing for key Microsoft titles, such as “Gears of War 2,” “Fable II,” and “Lips.” Xbox 360 continues to have the highest game attach rate of any console at 8.1 games per console.“We entered into the Black Friday sales period with cautious optimism, knowing that dollar for dollar, Xbox 360 offers more social entertainment value than any other console on the market,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Record Black Friday sales in the U.S., coupled with our existing global install base of 25 million and an online community of more than 14 million Xbox LIVE members, have laid the groundwork for continued global sales momentum in 2009.”Xbox 360 sales have also surged worldwide since the September price drop, outselling the PlayStation 3 week over week across Europe. Console sales in Europe are up as much as 400 percent, with sales nearly double year over year and reaching 7 million consoles sold this generation.............................Continue At Source

November 2008 Windows Update for Windows Home Server

Posted by sumeethevans on November 26 2008, 5:53 PM. Posted in Windows Home Server.

The Windows Home Server team released a minor software update for the product as part of our ongoing customer- driven improvement program.  Current users will receive this software via Windows Update, either on or shortly after the release date of November 25, 2008.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p><o:p> </o:p>Below is a summary of what is included:<o:p></o:p><o:p> </o:p>This update improves the interaction between home computers running Windows Vista and a Windows Home Server-based system when copying files or folders that are larger in size than the free space available on the first (or primary) hard drive to a Shared Folder.  Additionally, this update resolves certain issues which can happen when restoring files and folders from Windows Home Server, such as the opening of a Home Computer Backup sometimes stalling at 79% complete.  The update also improves the search functionality when using remote access.<o:p></o:p><o:p> </o:p>

You can read the full Knowledge Base article at:


The entire Windows Home Server team would thank the people that have used our Connect site to submit bugs with detailed logs and "repro" steps to help the team understand issues with the product that are not easy to reproduce.  The home server team has one of the oldest Connect sites dating back to October, 2005.  But most importantly we have the 4th most active site due to the fact that we keep it open so people can continue to submit product suggestions and bug reports that are directly reviewed by the product team.    


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