Need Windows Vista for Free?

Microsoft lately appeared quoting in couple of international media about offering Vista for free! Yes, Microsoft is offering Vista, free upgrade.

However, the free upgrade will be only available for MCE (Media Center Edition) users of Windows XP. For Windows XP Profession users, the upgrade would be around USD 110 for the entry level OS, while for the premium version it would be close to USD 270.

apparently, there is a tentative corporate launch of Vista scheduled around 10th November 2006 – Vista will only be available for Corporate customers – the retail versions are slated to be launched in January 2007

So if you are a retail user, and what a free upgrade to Vista and are looking for buying a new computer, go ahead and buy it with Media Center Edition.

Installing WinFX [.NET 3.0]

Well – after the much pains I look installing WinFX, I found a simple way out. All that I had to do was to browse to http://msdn.microsoft.com/windowsvista/downloads/products/getthebeta/ and under Downloads for Running .NET Framework 3.0 (formerly WinFX) Applications – just click the appropriate link.

I was taken to the download page, where after reading though the text, I could go ahead and download the complete runtime which was in .exe format.

Now wasn’t that a nice helpful thing done by Microsoft 🙂

Installing WinFX [ .NET 3.0 ]

Recently I was trying to get my hands dirty on Sharepoint Portal 2003. However for the portal to install correctly, what we need is WinFX.

WinFX is not bundled with the SPS 2007 DVD. Its a additional download. Once you click the download link, a small exe of 1MB is saved on your computer. This “exe” file, when executed, connects to the internet to download additional 24MB files. These files are part of WinFX setup.

However, at India, where bandwidth is still an issue – the “exe” may not be a feasible way to distribute your apps which use WinFX as a platform. The user will have a machine connected to the internet to get the redistributables. An internet connection might not be available at every location, hence it makes all the more sense to “extract” the files and burn them on CD.

Here is what you will have to do, when the exe is installing WinFX, it has temporarily extracted all the files to the “Temp” folder under “Documents and SettingsLocal Settings”. You should copy the folder names “WinFX” from the “Temp” folder, copy it to another location and you are done.

However this is to be done before the setup is complete, else the setup might delete the files it extracted.

Changing Splash Screens of a Windows Mobile phone

I was always fascinated by those funky operator logos that used to appear on Nokia phones. You had those dirt bikes, your names, cakes, etc and various not-to-be-mentioned logos. I always wanted something like that on my smartphone.

I realized there is no way to get a operator logo on the smartphone (Rather I just couldn’t find a way). And hence nevertheless, I have been trying to find out a way to change the Splash Screen / Shutdown screen to something custom (like my pic 😉 ). Something which gave a “personal” feel to my phone. Finally, I was able to achieve that :).

For all you Windows Mobile Freaks, and for all of you who didn’t know how to change the splash screens, here are the steps to do it:

  • Create your jpg /png images with size 176 x 220 (in pixels).
  • Copy them to some folder in the phone memory (eg my documents). Make sure its not on the Storage Card.
  • Open the Registry Editor and add a registry key ‘Splash Screen’ (or whatever you want it to be) to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoft].
  • Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftsplash screen] and add string values ‘CarrierBitmap‘, ‘CarrierShutdownBitmap‘, ‘MSBitmap‘ and ‘MSShutdownBitmap‘.
  • Edit added string values, so that they point to the images. Make sure you use full paths to the images even if they are placed in Windows.
  • Restart the phone.

BTW this also applies to Pocket PC – however I am not sure of the size for the image. If you can figure that out yourself – its great – else let me just post it here in couple of days.

PS: Thanks to Anando, he pointed out that this would work only with non-QVGA display devices. So there is a different resolution for QVGA and Pocket PC Devices.

Office Live Mail vs Hotmail

I had recently signed up for Office Live and associated my passport ID with it as a primary email.

I would log onto my Hotmail account using one instance of my browser and using the second instance I would log on to the Office Live account. The moment I do this and refresh my Hotmail browser, the MSN Hotmail logo changes to Microsoft Office Live Mail.

I am sure many of you who have Office Live accounts associated with you passport account you might have faced this problem (you can call it a “bug” though). The problem here is the “cookie” which is shared by Passport and Office Live to associate the accounts.

If I just log out of Office Live, and refresh the Hotmail page, I will get my MSN HOTMAIL logo back, also if I delete my cookies and refresh the Hotmail browser, MSN HOTMAIL logo comes back.

This looks like a bug which the Office Live team might be aware of and will get fixed in future releases of Office Live.

Windows Live Messenger – Public Beta

For all those who wanted an invite to Windows Live Messenger but couldn’t get it; for those who never knew about it and for those who had always wanted to send “offline” messages to buddies – there is a good news.

Windows Live Messenger (thats what MSN messenger will now be called as) has gone as public beta. This means that no invites needed to sign up and no more waiting in “queue” for using it.

All you need to do is point your browser to Windows Live Messenger Homepage and “Sign Up” for the beta. You will be asked to download the new messenger and you are done.

So have fun with the new messenger and let your feedback improve WLM.

Microsoft Academic Days

In Microsoft’s words

“Microsoft invites you to the power-packed Academic Day event in your city. We bring to you a 10 city tour which is designed to bring some of the latest technology developments closer to the academia.The event is open for both students and faculty members of Information Technology who will get exposed to various academic and competitive opportunities.

And of course, you can walk away with the Software, Tutorials and Curriculum Content based on the tools and technologies discussed during the day.

All sessions are addressed by Microsoft experts and leading industry technologists like Yashavant Kanetkar, Rajat Khare, and many others”

Looks intersting, check Academic Days website for more details

Microsoft Technologies De-Coded

Microsoft has always had codenames for each of it technologies, be it “Longhorn” or “Whistler“; an OS, an IE and most of the technologies had a codename. Here is a glance at couple of latest ones –

1. Whidbey – Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 and/or Visual Studio 2005
2, Burton – Visual Studio Team System suite of tools
3. Yukon – SQL Server 2005
4. ELead – The work item
5. Ocracoke – Team System’s Web testing system
6 Currituck – Team System’s work-item tracking system
7. Hatteras – Team System’s version control system
8. Whitehorse – Team System’s distributd system designers
9. F1 – Team System’s profiling system
10. BIS – Team Foundation Server’s underlying extensibility model
11. PREfast – Static code analyzer for C/C++ code

And finally one big one “Orcas – Microsoft .NET Framework vNEXT” which is scheduled to release in Q3 of 2007

Language Design ?

Can you call it arrogance if it’s true? Paul Graham on how hard it is to design a new Lisp:

The advantage [the inventors of Perl, Python, and Ruby] had over us in the Lisp world was that they started from a lower point. Larry Wall, for example, started out trying to make a better awk. That’s not hard. Awk is missing a lot. Whereas we in the Lisp world are bumping up against the asymptote. Among other things, we can’t avail ourselves of the one of the richest sources of features for new languages: taking stuff from Lisp. We have to invent genuinely new things.

Of course, he’s missing the obvious answer: just take stuff from Smalltalk…
On a more serious note, I’m not sure why “the Lisp world” (to use Paul’s sweeping generalization) spends so much time on language implementations. The great thing about languages like Lisp, Scheme and Smalltalk – which, I would agree, are all pretty asymptotic, but on local maxima not the global one – ought to be that the language problem is solved, and you can spend all that energy inventing genuinely new libraries instead. That way, all that genuine newness gets to interoperate, rather than compete.

Well, just a thought.