Microsoft Surface Thoughts

I didn’t want to clutter the previous post (the one with all the videos) will my thoughts so I figured I’d write this separately. I will just start off with this, Microsoft Surface is ridiculously cool. Not only is this technology cool and interesting, it will also be very useful.
Side note: My big dream job is working on ways to improve the human/computer interaction because frankly, it sucks right now. The way in which people interact with computers is so far from intuitive that it’s almost laughable considering the kind of technology we now have available to us.
What I previously said leads me to say this, I think this Surface technology is a HUGE step in the right direction for improving this human/computer interaction. I’ll base most of my comments on the videos posted in the previous post so if you’re confused then watching a few of those videos may help to illuminate what I’m talking about.
Continue reading “Microsoft Surface Thoughts”

Top 10 New Features in Windows Server 2008

Top 10 New Features in Windows Server 2008

“So if there’s a corruption detected someplace in the data structure, an NTFS worker thread is spawned,” Russinovich explained, “and that worker thread goes off and performs a localized fix-up of those data structures. The only effect that an application would see is that files would be unavailable for the period of time that it was trying to access, had been corrupted. If it retried later after the corruption was healed, then it would succeed. But the system never has to come down, so there’s no reason to have to reboot the system and perform a low-level CHKDSK offline.”

I usually don’t write about enterprise-related information because, honestly, usually I find it boring. For the heck of it the other day I was reading something at BetaNews when I came across this article. I am a beta tester for Windows Longhorn (AKA Windows Server 2008), but as you might gather I am not exactly the most technical beta tester they have for this.

Anyways, I thought this particular feature was quite useful and hopefully this is one of the features that get rolled into Vista when they release SP1 (including the kernel update) in Q2 2007. Anything Microsoft can do to reduce the number of restarts would be great.

My Realistic Next Computer

I was bored (who woulda thunk?), and I got to playing around a bit at Newegg. Here is my public wish list for my realistic next computer. Sure, it isn’t the fastest processor available (more on this in a minute) and 2 GB of RAM isn’t all that huge any more (I’d eventually upgrade this to 4 GB). The 8800GTS isn’t the fastest video card currently available, but the 640 MB will definitely help out a great deal. The dual 20x DVD-RW drives aren’t the newest or the greatest high definition burners, but honestly the HD format is still too much of a mess right now to spend a large amount of money on something that could be useless in a year.
Just a quick note on the processor: It’s the Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 @ 2.13 GHz. It is widely held around the internet (after repeated examples time and time again) that this processor can easily reach 3 GHz + speeds with little or no effort. The Intel E660 is clocked at 2.4 GHz for $40 more than the E6420. So I can easily manage to save myself $40 by going with the cheaper processor and then just overclocking it. Not to mention that I still have my Koolance Exos-LT water cooling system…so I likely could push 3.2 or 3.4 out of the processor. 🙂
Overall, the theme here is …still plenty of speed (and for a while into the future), but at an affordable price. Check out the public wish list entitled “Realistic May 2007 Build”. I swear, a new build is like crack to a computer nerd…

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Processing Key for HD-DVDs

Here is the Processing Key which should work on all HD DVD discs (and maybe even Blu-Ray discs) released so far:

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

It’s the HD-DVD Processing Key for most movies released so far. I was not aware that a string of numbers and letters was copyrightable. Perhaps its just my ignorance but it seems that someone is abusing the DMCA again. Now, even if this number stopped working (and it will, thanks to the revocation procedures in HD-DVD’s encryption scheme) or if it were a hoax, the decryption system has already been figured out and is implemented in a software program called BackupHDDVD.

Here is a nice write up (including the key) over at Wired.

Here is some the source code for decoding HD-DVDs: hddvd_decoding.txt

Here is the application that runs under windows: Decoding HD-DVDs (Usage: mkb [volume_id] )

Here is the source code for getting this to run under Linux, download aacauth right here.

p.s. A big heart felt “fuck you” goes out to the RIAA and the HD-DVD group. If you don’t like this then go right ahead and send me your little cease and desist. You can’t stop us, you can’t stop this number, and you can’t win with your pathetic DRM.

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Windows Home Server April CTP

Windows Home Server Beta/CTP Preview

the ‘C’ in CTP alternatively stood for consumer, customer, and community. “We think of it as the ‘C-cubed’ build,” he said, noting that they had staged the release of the CTP so that first-tier testers such as MVPs, Microsoft Insiders, and Microsoft employees could give them a few days to triage the build before it shipped to the wider test pool. Regarding the public beta, over 45,000 people were accepted into the program previous to the CTP release, and Hendrick says there are another 10,000 to 12,000 waiting in the queue. The CTP represents a visual freeze of the product: “What you see is what it will look like [when it’s finalized],” Headrick told me. WHS is “98 percent” feature complete, he said, and only a few minor changes will be made between now and the final version.

Well it is nice to finally be able to talk about this… I’m a Microsoft Insider, and as such have been unable to discuss the April CTP build of Windows Home Server that I received about a week ago. To be honest, I have not had the time to install it, but the general feedback I’ve been reading from other Insiders has been positive so I am quite excited to get some time to get my current Home Server updated. Paul has some screenshots available at WHS CTP Screenshots Part 1 and WHS CTP Screenshots Part 2.

Once finals are done I will get this installed, or maybe next week when I am procrastinating my studying for said finals, and then I’ll be able to write a little bit more about what has actually been updated. Check out Paul’s screenshots and hold tight.

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Zune v2.0 Details Leaked

Zune 2.0 Details Leaked

Zune 2.0 and the Flash Zune, AKA little Zune, were leaked. Here are the details. 

  • Zune 2.0 and the Flash Zune will be out this year
  • Zune 2.0 is like Gen 1 but thinner
  • Larger HDD, same doubleshot finish
  • Flash Zune is 3 by 1 1/4 by 1/4
  • Flash Zune is video capable
  • Flash Zune’s Screen covers 75% of the front
  • Flash Zune will have WiFi
  • Flash Zune will have doubleshot
  • Design phase is over, but some tweaks to hardware will occur
  • 2.4 million next gen Zunes will be made before 2007’s holiday season, and that 2/3 of em are the Flash Zune players. 

Amazing espionage and good fortune by Zune Scene agents. Unconfirmed, of course.

Interesting, although this isn’t exactly shocking information when you really think about it. Thinner? Duh. Bigger HDD? Duh. Smaller model with a flash HDD? Duh. Anyways, here is my thoughts on what they did right with Zune v1 and what they should do with Zune v2.

Lets see what the Zune did right with v1:

  • Killer UI, yup
  • Killer screen, yup
  • Killer video quality, yup
  • Basic Wifi support, yup (I said basic…)
  • Relatively attractive design

Things they should improve on in v2:

  • Fix the damned Wifi, make it not suck
  • Enable Wifi purchasing of music
  • Enable Wifi syncing
  • Enable divx/xvid support to attract customers
  • Make the device thinner, and lighter
  • Increase the HDD size of the high-end model (60, 80, 100GB range)
  • Release a compact model with a smaller flash HDD (4, 6, 8GB range)
  • Make it very easy to transfer to/from the Xbox 360 music, photos, videos
  • Similar to above, stream off Media Center and Xbox 360 to Zune.
  • Enable the damned mass storage device setting out of the box.
  • Remove all DRM from the Zune store (They are already working on this one)

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

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