Tag: "microsoft"

New build of WorldWide Telescope

A new build of WorldWide Telescope has gone up, for both Windows and Silverlight platforms.

Grab it from here.

Cosmos view has been re-worked and looks a lot better, the Solar System view has had a view changes, eclipes now work on other planets, the Sun looks a bit better from a distance, although the planets all seem to still be spheres /facepalm I was really hoping that would get sorted in this release. There's also a bunch of new resources for tour creators (woo I had to source my own background music in the past).

Microsoft Security Essentials update

Those using the pre-release version of Microsoft Security Essentials may have noticed a new update being pushed down lately.

There's a few couple of changes of note.

WIndows 7 Action Center reporting on Microsoft Security Center

It now reports itself to the Action Center / Security Center as Microsoft Security Essentials, previously it reported itself as Microsoft Antimalware.

It also features a new set of icons, here's the old set:

Microsoft Security CenterMicrosoft Security Center

And the newer ones, which are much clearer.

Microsoft Security CenterMicrosoft Security Center

Windows 7 RSS feeds don't update automatically

Carrying on from my preview post about how Internet Explorer and Pen Flicks are somewhat broken, next we come to the even more annoying issue.

RSS feeds don't reliably update in Windows 7. I haven't worked out exactly what is going on with this one yet.

But since I've been running Windows 7 I've noticed after logging onto the machine in the morning, that the RSS feeds in Internet Explorer - well any that are stored in the Common Feed List - aren't automatically updating.

I normally have my feeds set to update every 15 minutes, but after logging on in the morning 9 times out of 10 they'll all say last updated yesterday, even after waiting a couple of hours. You can easily tell it to start updating - by just right-clicking and refreshing all feeds, that starts the service working as usual, until the following day at least.

When I've come up with a work-around I'll post it.

Pen flicks in Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 half broken

Now that Windows 7 has RTMed, it's time to look at where we are exactly from a bug standpoint.

Last week we had a lot of fuss over the so-called check disk bug, where check disk would use up all but 50MB of RAM. When was the last time anyone here ran check disk? And as I've always said, unused RAM is wasted RAM. I'm sat on my machine at the moment and it’s got 2GB unused, come on use that RAM.

Non-issue, that's not to say Windows 7 doesn't have bugs, I've come across more than I came across with Windows Vista when it first RTMed.

The second most annoying is this one, pen flicks being broken in Internet Explorer 8.

As many of you know I am a fan of the Tablet PC, I currently use a Motion LE1700. Windows Vista brought massive improvements to the Tablet, a new TIP (Tablet Input Panel), plus handwriting recognition that learns as you use it and pen flicks, the ability to quickly swipe the screen, and move say back and forward or scroll a page up and down. Windows 7 has improved upon the old TIP. But, its suffered from one massive almost deal-breaking bug.

Pen flicks do not work to scroll the page up and down in IE8 when it's using the new rendering engine. They however work fine if you're visiting a website in compatibility mode.

As a partial work-around you can enable compatibility mode for all websites in Compatibility View Settings under the Tools menu. But this work won't for websites that declare themselves as IE8 compatible.

So worst of all, this bug will get more obvious and annoying as time goes on as fewer websites will be displayed in compatibility mode.

What's even more annoying is Microsoft is talking up the touch features in Windows 7 - touch like using a tablet also uses the same pen flicks system, so undoubtedly it will be broken for those using touch screens too.

Quick hands-on with the Zune HD

CNet had a look at the Zune HD last Thursday. The mood seems generally positive.

Donald Bell:

The Zune's coolest music trick, though, is that it automatically pulls in a gallery of band photos, biographical information, and similar artist recommendations for any currently playing song--regardless of whether the track is from Zune Marketplace, your friend's hard drive, or torrents. It's feels a little more like digging through Last.fm now, instead of just a straight-up music directory. If the Zune's connected to Wi-Fi, listings of related artists will link though to the mobile version of Zune Marketplace, where tracks can be streamed and purchased directly.

Speaking of Wi-Fi, the Zune's new Web browser smokes. Not since first using the iPhone have I been this impressed with a mobile Web browser. There's no branding on the browser, but I was told it was cooked up by Microsoft's Internet Explorer team (makes sense). Page load was snappy, and pinching and reorienting pages work just like the iPhone and iPod Touch. You also get a fast onscreen keyboard with a nice little magnifier effect with each keystroke.

Zune HD

Matt Rosoff:

But the real innovation seems to be going on in user interface--how do you make a touch screen workable on such a small device? Here, Microsoft has done a solid job, taking the mixture of horizontal and vertical menus used on the current Zunes and adding particular tweaks for the touch screen. You can scroll horizontally or vertically simply by swiping your finger along, and there are multiple "ways in" to and "ways out" of the various menus and screens, which encourages exploration. When a song's playing, you control the volume by touching the screen and hitting a little plus or minus button; numbers show you absolute volume. Clearly marked "exit" buttons are usually available to get you back to the previous menu, and a physical button below the screen (you can see the black trapezoid shape on the screenshots here) takes you back to the home menu page. There was a bit of a learning curve, but after a couple minutes I was impressed by how much functionality Microsoft was able to pack into such a small screen.

Hopefully Windows Mobile 7 will pick up on some of the nicer featuers of the Zune HD.

How to show text labels on Windows 7 Taskbar icons

One of the major changes in Windows 7, is the new Taskbar. By default it looks something a little like this:

Windows 7 Taskbar

Now if you're like me, and would rather it make better use of onscreen real estate you can stop the icons from combining (although to be fair I do use the default setting on my Tablet PC and my netbook), and turn on text labels again, that'll make it look more like this:

Windows 7 Taskbar with labels enabled

Personally I not only find that option more attractive, but when you've got a dozen or so explorer windows open, trying to access them all off one icon, isn't a pleasent experience. By making this change you can break out seperate windows, back into seperate objects on the Taskbar, like how it behaved in the past.

Making this change is pretty simple.

  1. Right-click an empty area of the Taskbar
  2. Select Properties from the Menu
  3. Using the drop down box next to Taskbar buttons select Combine when taskbar is full

Taskbar and Start Menu Properties

Selecting Never Combine, will make the Taskbar wrap around onto a second 'page' requiring you to scroll up and down to access different icons, and isn't something I recommend.

From here you can also change the Taskbar to use small icons, which will make it the same height as the old Taskbar were by default.

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