Some realistic videos of Windows 7 demos – teasers

It seems that Microsoft made several Windows 7 teasers. Though it doesn’t actually say it’s Windows 7, you could probably already guess it is.

So there’s two of them. The first one is about Windows 7 and how it can be accessed/connected anywhere. Like some strong "integration" feature for Win7.

I thought that was a good one. There’s also another one, about how Win7 "includes smartphones, mobile connectivity, cross-platform communication, Tablet PCs, virtual office synchronization, collaborative editing, professional networking (think LinkedIn), VOIP, internet shopping and remote presentations with video"

Via Long Zheng.

Both very similar videos, and both to give a rough look at Windows 7 and what it can do.

Enjoy.

The so-called Windows 7 leaks

There was a ridiculous video about Windows 7 M1.

But to me, it seriously looks like a joke.

I mean the whole things screams "Vista!!!". It even says Vista on Media Center.  6.1 is reminiscent of Vista. NOT the 7 I’m looking for.

But, there are ‘some’ people who say that this is how all pre-versions of the next Windows OS is usually like. Like how Longhorn (which became eventually Vista) looked a whole lot like XP at first.

But even then, this video shows NOTHING at all significant about Win7. I mean, that must be humiliating to Microsoft. One, somebody leaks their new OS already. Or 2, somebody leaks a fake and embarasses Microsoft with it.

Whether it’s real or not, shame on that guy for posting up such a video.

a) Shows nothing new besides a Win7 logo.

b) Leaking a company’s product way before it’s going to be released is a no-no

c) You’re a loser for posting it, just to get darn attention

That’s it. I have a couple of "real" Windows 7 concepts though in my next post. They look like they’re created officially be Microsoft, and seem to be a teaser at what’s coming in Windows 7.

So please, IGNORE this guy’s video. Not like the tech media hasn’t.

Is Ford SYNC really that cool?

To me, it’s not.

                                 

I like the concept of Ford SYNC – the ability to connect Bluetooth phones, PMP’s, etc. so you can use them hands-free with your voice.

This can be very useful. By controlling via your voice, you can keep your eyes on the road, and not have to stare at the screen of anything. Less car accidents maybe? At least it’s better than crazy drivers who try to input things onto a device while driving at the same time. Guys have a smaller portion of the frontal lobe (or whatever controls multiple actions) in the brain, thus they have a hard time doing multi-tasking. At the same time, guys are usually more of a tech gadget person. So mixing gadgets and driving may not be good. But with SYNC, there might be a way to ease the best of both worlds.

But it doesn’t come without some things I find bad about SYNC:

  • It’s exclusive with Ford (who also owns Lincoln and Mercury) – Couldn’t that software be available with other auto makers too? Not that I have anything against Ford, but I want choices instead of being locked-in.
  • The menu on the car screen is UGLY – What is this, the late 80’s? I don’t know why the menu screen looks rather rough and archaic to use. Would it have taken that much longer to polish up the UI a bit? If it’s a touchscreen (which I’m not sure of) it doesn’t look really friendly to navigate.
  • It’s a $395 option – I think that’s rather expensive for a piece of software that just recognizes voice input. I think it should be around $200-$250
  • The SYNC ‘voice’ sound too robotic – I don’t really know how companies make electronic voices, but the always seem robotic. SYNC’s isn’t any different. I’m ok with robotic, but I doubt it would take that long for a sexy-sounding person/people to say common simple lines that the system usually responds with the most. That would be much more appealing.
  • NO other integration from Microsoft – How about a Live Maps integration, to get traffic info., gas prices etc? Especially if the car has it’s own built-in GPS. Can you pop CD’s or DVD’s in SYNC and view them in a WMC/WMP-like interface? Display RSS feeds via WiFi? Any other interesting tech bits in a car? It seems to me that more could be done than just syncing devices.

So overall, I just think Ford SYNC kind of under-delivers what I would expect for something like this to be implemented. I kind of want more.

I found a neat link where a guy and a girl test-drive SYNC. It’s pretty interesting.

Windows Live Reader

                                                                             

I got an anonymous tip from somebody. So don’t take this as a leaked info. or anything. There’s a possibility it’s not real. Plus, I don’t even have screenshots to show. 😦

So anyways, coming in 2008 is supposedly Windows Live Reader – a program that’s suppose to be able to display any RSS feeds, documents, spreadsheets, eBooks, and possibly online newspapers, and e-mails. Maybe even anything with subscriptions (user-made). Sort of like a Google Reader, but more.

There’s a desktop version (of course) and a web-based version.

Microsoft might be buying NewsGator to help accomplish this task. NewsGator appears to have small friendly ties to Microsoft with practically the best RSS reader for Windows (not Mac), work with SharePoint 2007, and RSS add-on for Outlook. All appear to be free. So obviously, considering that NewsGator has pretty good ties with Microsoft products, an acquisition from Microsoft wouldn’t be too surprising.

So here’s some "unconfirmed" speculation about it:

  • Can display Kindle eBook content via partnership with Amazon
  • Contain Silverlight/WPF
  • Might read all Microsoft Office formats – for those unlucky enough not to have Office
  • Be available mobile
  • Ability to display title link, short excerpt, or even the whole thing (including all pics, videos, Flash parts, etc.!)
  • Subscribing and adding is as easy as 1-2-3
  • Imports IE7 RSS feeds, Outlook Feeds, or any other currently used feed service on user’s computer
  • Able to export to any other possible feed service
  • Podcasts! Ability to subscribe and view on WLR as well.
  • Sharing feature – share feed(s) with contacts or whoever via e-mail/WLM
  • Dynamic inline search
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Metadata (tags) support
  • Possible extension of WLR to Xbox 360 to view on a big screen?
  • Folders – duh
  • Video subscriptions via MSN Video?
  • Possibility of small text ads

So just that you know, these are some ongoing details of what could be in WLR. Hopefully it’s as easy to customize, have a good UI, and do add-ons/extensions.

Links for 01-19-07

Some interesting links I found:

  • Latest sites to upgrade to Virtual Earth platform – Yellowpages.com, Ohio Department of Transportation, and Coldwell Banker are the latest sites to utilize the VE platform.
  • Windows 7 preview – Here’s an interesting look at the future of Windows 7. A mix of possibly Surface computing, sync anywhere integration, smart home features, etc. Shows a demo of what it would look like. Watch the video.
  • Comparing WLPG Panoramic Stitch tool to paid professional ones – A very great comparison of how WLPG photo stitching tool compares with an expensive one. Lots of photos and details.
  • Neat Silverlight site – A French Microsoft TechDays 2008 site has a neat Silverlight site. Sort of resembles a Surface-like interface. Where you can stretch video thumbnails, drag and drop, etc. Pretty neat. (Be aware : site is in French and takes a while to load)
  • Organize your IE7 favorites – DownloadSquad has a great IE7 article about managing favorites.

Give these a read.

Trying out the Opera browser

                                                                    

So I’ve been giving Opera a try for a month now. So here’s what I think.

What I like about Opera over IE7:

  • Faster – really fast. Pages change practically instantly. Well, maybe I’m overexaggerating, but it at least ‘feels’ like Opera is faster. I never really noticed a speed issue with IE7. But it is fast like Opera fans say.
  • Skins – Opera has some really nice skins, if you don’t like the default look. Still don’t get why IE7 doesn’t manage to get a real skins-developing community. I saw a few and like getting a overall new look for my browser.
  • Choice of blocking ‘unwanted’ pop-ups – IE7 has a great pop-up blocker, but sometimes when I actually press a link that I want, IE7 regards it as a ‘bad’ pop-up. That’s dumb. As far as I’m concerned, links I press are legit.
  • The "Wand" – This feature remembers personal info. like name, city, address, e-mail, phone number, etc. to place in when you’re entering info. for a new account or anywhere where you might need to put such info. Just press it, and it automatically does it for you. IE7 doesn’t seem to have that option, or at least a easy way of finding it. Though Live Toolbar has a thing called "Form Fill" which does practically the same job.
  • Best zoom feature – Out of the top 3 browsers, Opera does page zooming the best. I don’t really notice that much of a difference, but Long Zheng, a techie, wrote a post comparing the top 3 dogs, and their zooming power. Opera wins, with IE7 a close second. Though this was written in August 06′ so maybe it’s not the most current page to review from.
  • View site source code – I can’t find that option in IE7, but Opera for sure does. Now I’m not a geek, so I don’t see any use in it, but for the people that want it, it’s in Opera.

Now what I don’t like about Opera:

  • "Fast-forward" and "Rewind" button are useless – There’s two buttons right next to the usual "Back" and "Forwards" buttons, called the "Rewind" and "Fast-Forwards" button. They’re suppose to guess what page you want to see next, or go back to. Guess being the main thing. I tried it, and it doesn’t do anything I want. I mean how can you guess where I want to go next? Dumbest buttons ever, and you can’t remove them.
  • No "Recent Pages" drop-down button – Probably comes from me being such an IE7 user, but that button or a way of doing so doesn’t appear in Opera to me. In IE7, right next to the "back" and "forwards" button, is a drop-down arrow, where you can view the many recent pages you’ve just been to, and a checkmark on the current one you’re on. Say if you want to go back to a page you were viewing about 4 minutes ago, you don’t have to keep pressing the back button so many times to get there. Just go to Recent Pages arrow, and select the page. Easy as pie. Nothing like that in Opera
  • The whole Widgets idea sounds kinda dumb – Widgets/Gadgets are cool, but directly from a web browser? Um, that’s kinda useless. If you got OS X, you have the Dashboard. If you have Vista, you got the Sidebar. And if you have neither, you can go for Y!’s Konfabulator or even Live.com gadgets. Simple as that. The ones in Opera aren’t any different from the others, so it’s rather useless.
  • I hate the Menu bar – Coming from a person that uses IE7, I found that I rarely/never use the menu bar. It just takes up space, and doesn’t really add anything pleasing when browsing. Though I can turn it on if wanted. But it’s not an option with Opera. You HAVE to have the menu bar. Not a choice. So I still prefer IE7 because it’s much more streamlined than Opera is.
  • Doesn’t work well with Windows Live sites – Not Opera’s fault (blame that to Microsoft), but it sure is a let-down if you happen to use Windows Live a lot. Even though Microsoft’s tried to extend to other browsers like Firefox, Opera and Safari are still let-down in the cold. Going to Live Hotmail, I get the reduced version, instead of the full version like on IE7. Silverlight doesn’t work for Opera. Sigh. A lot of issues with Live and Opera.
  • No Live Search listed in the browser search box – I was a bit upset with this. I mean, how can you NOT support the 3rd most used search engine? They do have Google and Y!, and even Answers.com and Amazon.com, but no Live Search? Instead, I had to go through the tedious task of entering in the Live.com site, and trying to get it to work for like 20 minutes. I thought that was rather dumb to just not include a big list of search engines like IE7 does. IE7 shows a ton of search engines, while Opera doesn’t.
  • Full screen mode not as good as IE7 – Now while Opera really does show only the web page in fullscreen, you have to find the fullscreen option in the menu bar (or press F11) to launch it. And to get out of it, you have to press either the F11 or Esc button. It took me a few minutes to realize I couldn’t pan up to show a quick render to turn it off. With IE7, there’s a Fullscreen button right on the panel, and once you’re fullscreen, you can just bump around the top and a quick mini-render of the browser panel comes up allowing you to turn off fullscreen mode. Since I’m more of a mouse than a button person, I find that better. Though IE7’s fullscreen still show the scroll bar and usual bottom bar in that mode.
  • Side panel – Takes up a lot of screen real estate if you open it. Somehow, I think IE7 does this in a more effective way.
  • Some sites will render awful – Even though Opera’s suppose to be have better compliance to web standards or whatever, some of my favorite sites won’t render well in Opera. I don’t like that.

So that’s my stance on Opera. It’s a great alternative if you can’t get IE7 or want to try another browser, but there are things that (compared to IE7) seem less as good as other browsers.

So I suggest you at least give it a try to see what it’s like. On a scale of 1-5, I’d rate it a 4.

Amazon.com + Windows Live/MSN?

                                                + = ?

I got a tip telling me of a possible partnership with Microsoft and A9, the parent company that owns Amazon.com.

Could there be a possibility of some possible integration with Amazon and Windows Live/MSN?

It’s not like both companies hate each other. A9 uses Windows Live Search. Live Spaces uses its Music and Books modules, where users can search for images of book covers and album art, and links provided go directly to Amazon’s site.

So why not partner?

I could see it happen 2 ways. One if it’s just a simple partnership:

  • Allowing of Amazon’s MP3 Downloads service from Zune Marketplace (to add more to what’s already available)
  • MSN Shopping site is dead
  • Direct downloads of Microsoft software (Windows, Office, etc.) from the site – not like Microsoft has a real store site anyways
  • Amazon Unbox Movies and TV shows available on Zune/Xbox Marketplace for rental or purchase (or just make the Zune a PlayForSure device in the first place!)
  • Live ID’s have a more better centralized account, and have less issues signing-in with the site
  • Advertising from Microsoft (blech)

Now if Microsoft actually manages to buy Amazon.com/A9:

  • Amazon MP3 Downloads service is directly placed in Zune Marketplace (without need for the Amazon label)
  • Amazon Unbox also gets ported directly to Zune Marketplace and becomes the place buy/rent movies and TV shows for Zune
  • A slight site make-over (Amazon still looks cluttered with useless junk on every product page)
  • Silverlight on some parts of the website
  • MSN Shopping site is still dead
  • Live ID users get extras, to encourage people to use the Live platform but not have to
  • Direct downloads of Microsoft software from the site
  • Kindle gets rebranded to Live eBook? Or get eBooks directly from Zune Marketplace for Zunes?

I could see this as a big boost for Amazon to be noticed by even a larger audience. Microsoft could finally have an online shopping site to possibly trash MSN Shopping with, and integrate classifieds (Live Expo) with.

Now I doubt a partnership with Amazon means any radical changes to the site. Like you definitely won’t see Windows Live Amazon take place. Or a deep Live ID necessity. Just minor things like ads when searching, better integration with Live services, and things like that. Where Amazon and Windows Live act more like a cohesive force.

And hopefully, if Amazon.com does buddy up a bit with Windows Live, maybe they should reconsider giving the site a more simplified look. There’s a bazillion pieces of useless junk on a product page that’s not needed.

Maybe the popular Amazon MP3 service will also be accessible through the Zune Marketplace?

There could be many possibilities with an Amazon.com + Windows Live/MSN partnership. I would love to see that.