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Date: Sunday, 04 Oct 2009 00:51
End UX Evangelist.

When I started UX Evangelist almost 2 years ago, my interests were purely UX-related (bet you couldn't figure that one out). Well, that's not the case any longer, so I figured it was time to bring UX Evangelist to an end. And with that said:

Begin Microsoft Kitchen.

Since the course of time has lead my focal point away from strictly UX-related content and more towards researching the future of Microsoft's products, I felt it was time for an upgrade; a new, fresh website with a broader focus to more accurately reflect my content. I needed to come up with something that had unique appeal and would be both easy-to-remember and instantly recognizable. With that in mind, what better than Microsoft Kitchen? The product of a delirious Stephen having spent hours checking GoDaddy for hundreds of mostly non-available names, it's a bit quirky but highly relevant and provides me with a great slogan: "Serving up some seriously tasty Microsoft."

Equal parts professional journalism and personal hobby, the plan with Microsoft Kitchen is to continue cooking up the unique flavors of Microsoft news, reviews, rumors, speculation, and whatever else I think readers will find tasty! Mentally tasty, that is. I mean, if I post something so good that it makes you lick your screen, then that's great but I'm not counting on it. lol. Anyway, Microsoft Kitchen will simply pick up where I'm leaving off here. Though the blog is live, I have a fair amount to tweak and some additional functionality coming down the pike VERY soon.

So, without any further adieu, head on over to Microsoft Kitchen (linked at the bottom) and make sure you update your favorites, subscribe to my new feed, and take note of my name change on Twitter if you're already following me. Otherwise, click here to follow me! Thank you to everyone who has helped make my site such a personal success and allowed me to expand into new territory with this venture and like, such as. I look forward to continuing to bring forward unique content that I hope you all enjoy!

Link: Microsoft Kitchen

-Stephen
Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 28 Sep 2009 23:07
Follow me on Twitter: @UXEvangelist


Having some fun making these videos and all, I decided to cook up another one. This time, I've included a full-screen version of the log in animation that wasn't fully in the original. There has been a screenshot or two out there, but that's it. Along with posting the video here, I've included a high-resolution download of the video. Likewise, I've updated my previous post here to include a high-resolution download of it. Enjoy!



HD Download (45 MB): Longhorn Days Video 02

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Windows Vista, Longhorn, Windows, Vista,..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Sep 2009 23:03
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Here's a little demo video I cooked up for all those Windows Longhorn fans that are still floating around out there. Commonly referred to as the, "Longhorn Days" demo, I decided to make a video using components from the actual demo and spice it up with a little bit of Incubus. =) This one's for the old Longhorn fans - you know who you are!



HD Download (30 MB): Longhorn Days Video 01

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Windows Vista, Longhorn, Windows, Vista,..."
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Sep 2009 12:01
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This weekend was quite fruitful in my quest to find relevant Windows 8-related content! I'm soon going to have a Windows 8 section over in my sidebar to keep track of all the Windows 8 content I post. As I've stated previously, my aim is to remain on the bleeding edge of Windows 8 (and Office 15/2013) news, rumors, speculation et al. With that said, onward to the content!

Windows 8: Bear-Friendly


Are you a, "hibernate" kind of person? Maybe only in the winter (get it?), but if so, it appears that Windows 8 is going to contain a new Hibernate/Resume Integration API and a new TLZ file compression engine (I don't think TLZ is an acronym for the name of the engine, but rather an acronym related to TLA, or, "Temporal Logic of Actions" which you can read about here) that will replace Windows Vistas Xpress compression engine. One would assume the benefits of such a change will spell better performance via quicker hibernate/resume times due to the improved compression engine and however the new Integration API interfaces with it.

More specifically, the former Microsoft SDE intern whose online resume I acquired this information from, says the following:

"Researched new algorithms and programming methods to build Hibernate/Resume Integration API that can integrate and utilize the new TLZ file compression engine for the Hibernate/Resume component of new Windows 8 Operating System."

"Using C and C++ programming languages in SourceInsight, developed a 100% functional C wrapper for C++ functions and the Hibernate/Resume Integration API, which will be used in Windows 8 replacing Windows Vista’s Xpress compression engine."

Personally, I always disable hibernation and I don't think I've ever intentionally used it in all my years as a computer user. I'm not sure how large of a demographic I represent where that's concerned, but I will be interested to see if anyone sings the praises of improved hibernation/resume if such an enhancement does indeed make its way into Windows 8.

Windows 8: Can't Touch This


If you're one of those hacker-types who enjoys making Windows' innards your playground, then you're probably familiar with PatchGuard (aka Kernel Patch Protection). If not, PatchGuard is a feature on x64 versions of Windows that prevents you from patching the kernel. Though not impenetrable, PatchGuard has enjoyed its fair share of scolding from anti-virus companies. They have had to rewrite their software for x64 so that it does not leverage the kernel patching techniques they typically used for 32-bit.

Well, guess what?

PatchGuard is apparently going to make life even a little more difficult for hackers (and anti-virus companies as well, perhaps). Contained in the resume of a Senior Program Manager of the Windows Hyper-V Service and Platform Management division is the following:

"Led working group to make a recommendation on a PatchGuard follow-on. Wrote a summary white paper and presented the results of the working group to the executive team. Recommendation of tabling the function until Windows 8 was accepted and it is now a Windows 8 feature candidate."

So, whatever this PatchGuard follow-on is, it must be pretty awesome to have been tabled until Windows 8. And speaking of awesome, it looks like Windows 8 is shaping up to become quite the major release. Follow my nose!

Windows 8: Software Vendor Partners, Take a Ticket


Before I speculate, this one speaks for itself:

"Mapped 120 top software vendor partners into business taxonomy for Windows 8 planning. Developed and refined taxonomy guidelines through several iterative mappings."

Perhaps that's a typical number of software vendor partners Microsoft takes into consideration while planning for future revisions of Windows, but that seems like a rather high (but good) number to me. That said, there's no telling when Microsoft plans to reach out to said partners, so that number stretched out over a period of time seems quite reasonable. I'm curious to see which partners made the top of the list and which are on the bottom, though. Regardless, it's interesting to see a number put on the heads of the companies Microsoft plans on reaching out to for the planning stages of Windows 8.

Windows 8 Server: Making Datacenters feel as Safe as Hiding Under a Blanket


In his LinkedIn summary, former Senior SAN Engineer, Chris Lionetti, states the following:

"Hold multiple patents related to SAN infrastructure, hard drive technology, and security aspects within the datacenter space one which one of which is already generating royalties and another is slated for inclusion in Windows8. Integrate well into standards organizations such as the FCIA, T10, T10, SNIA, and T13."

That's not much to go off of, but seeing it as security is typically on the forefront of Microsoft's focuses, it's really no suprise to see this mention. The question is, of course, what this particular security feature - slated for inclusion in Windows 8 - will be.

Windows 8: DirectAccess (DA), Here to Stay


Or so it appears, as one might glean from the following experience of a particular Microsoft Software Test Engineer:

"Authored DA setup guide, a complete guide for setting up DA that was used by several customers and other teams internal to Microsoft for configuring their DA environments. This guide was also the foundation for the DA test automation that will be created for Windows 8, and provided the foundation for the publicly available DA setup guide."


If you're unfamiliar with exactly what DA is, as defined by Microsoft's website, it, "[g]ive(s) mobile users seamless access to corporate networks without a need to VPN."

Windows 8: UI, UC (User Interface, Under Construction)


In conjunction with my post exposing Windows 8 containing a new, "next-generation graphical user interface framework," here is another employee working on the Windows 8 UI:

"Windows 7 Find and Organize, Windows 8 User Interface"


Naturally, UI development is equally as perpetual as the other key components of the OS, but seeing direct references to it by employees themselves always serves as a reminder and gets my noodle churning on wondering exactly what they could be cooking up.

Windows 8: Let's Get Mental


Here is an interesting reference to Windows 8's download experience research:

"Working Group – For Win 8 download experience, researched security user mental models to inform design."

I'm not quite sure what that entails, exactly, but I thought it was worth throwing in as it sure does sound cool! =)

Windows 8 Server: "Dublin" is Comin' for YOU


On this Microsoft employee's LinkedIn profile, we see a short-but-sweet mention in his, "specialties" section:

"Win8 Server (Windows Application Server)"

If you're interested, I'll cut to the chase and just link you to a video that sums up Windows Application Server (code name, "Dublin") quite well: Channel 9

Windows 8: RDP Moving Right Along


Windows 7 saw some great RDP enhancements - and if Windows 8 is going to be as big of a release as it appears it is going to be so far, one can't help but wonder what Microsoft will try to do next. Here is the mention I found for it on an employee's online resume:

"Dev. work for Win7 & Win8 as part of the RDP (Remote Desktop Client and Protocol) team in Terminal Services group."

And a rewording on his resume found here:

"Working on feature development, enhancements and bug fixing activities for Win7 and Win8’s Remote Desktop client. Involved in bug fixes and improvements for Remote Application and Server Tools as well."

Conclusion


Well, that about wraps it up for the latest Windows 8 excursion of mine! It looks like Windows 8 is shaping up to be a pretty ambitious release thus far. Hopefully, Windows 7 will be the standard for past indicators from here on out in regards to the development of Windows. I think Windows 7 is a very solid release and quite simply, Microsoft just got it done and out of the door, delay-free.

A bit of revelation and speculation all wrapped up in a neat 'n tidy blog post. Thanks for reading!

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Win 8, Windows 8 Server, Windows 8"
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Date: Friday, 18 Sep 2009 15:24
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Unfortunately, I don't have a roadmap screenshot for this one but I'm sure one will make its way down the pike here soon enough. What I do happen to have is what appears to be an insider throwing out a mention of what the next version of Office will be code-named and when it is planned to hit the market.

On Fred Morrison's popular SharePoint blog, a user with, "insider insight" (aka a Microsoft employee) responded to a post regarding SharePoint 2010 workflow development using WF (Windows Workflow Foundation) 4.0 with the following:


Couple of things on Office 14's workflow you mentioned above:
- Office 14 (or SharePoint 2010 to use your words) won't be supporting .NET 4 and WF 4.
- Office 14 still uses workflow foundation 3.5 and .NET 3.5 and you wont get the same benefits compared to when you use only .NET 4 solutions in custom development.
- The workflow platform for WF 4 was indeed rewritten from the ground up and is a much better platform, however, we will have to wait for Office 2013 (or Office 15) before we can use this for SharePoint development.
- WF4 does provide some out of the box sharepoint activities, but these are very different from SharePoint's workflow and is built by the WF team, rather than the Office 2010 team.



Two things to note are that the comment was posted back in January, so the 2013 mention could be outdated by now, and even though he does indeed seem to be speaking via an informed perspective (aka a Microsoft employee's perspective), this is merely an observation I've made and, ultimately, speculation until confirmed otherwise. I know it seems as though Office 15 was the obvious code name for the next version of Office (seeing it as Windows 8 is following Windows 7 and, "Office 2013" would put the next version of Office right in line to meet the projected 3-year development cycle Microsoft adheres to), but plenty of people put their foot in their mouth when Microsoft randomly made the decision to choose Office 14 in lieu of Office 13 for superstitious reasons (which I covered in my article, "Why did Microsoft Skip Office 13?").

As soon as I can dig up one of those roadmaps I'm so fond of running across, I'll be sure to slap it up here! Let the speculation commence...

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Date: Wednesday, 16 Sep 2009 13:59
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In my quest to post any and every little morsel of Windows 8 information I can scrounge up, the latest is something I unexpectedly ran across in an unlikely place.

Let me preface this with a bit of information as to how this whole, "presentation template" thing works internally. Basically, there are blank templates created for Microsoft employees to use for their presentations. Typically, these templates are in Powerpoint format. Templates, clip-art, etc. are all lying around on Microsoft's intranet. So, let's say I'm an employee and I want to slap together a quick presentation for a group I'm presenting to. I could go out, take a look at some of these templates, select which one I want and go to town. Alternately, let's say I have one sitting around that I like from using previously. All I'd have to do is delete the content currently in it and start over.

Here's the kicker: Most of the time, there are keywords and other properties stored in these templates. Sometimes, templates are created with a specific product in mind, so keywords related to that product will be stored in the document. In other words, I may be doing a presentation on Windows 7 that I put together using a template that was actually created for Office or something of the like. The only way anyone would know or care what a template was specifically created for is if it was either filled with product-specific graphics or if they checked the document properties.

Now, with all of that in mind, I ran across a presentation from a Microsoft Research conference held at the University of Washington from July 26-29 of this year. It's titled, "What Could New-Era Corporate Systems Management Mean for the Home? And Vice Versa?" and was presented by Anders Vinberg, Technical Fellow in the Management and Services Division at Microsoft. Though the presentation itself is interesting, it's what I found in the document properties that grabbed my attention:

(Click for the full template screenshot)


From those properties, we can glean two potential explanations:

1 - This is simply a template created for the Windows team to give presentations on Windows 8 but was used by Anders for this presentation. Obviously, the master slide is quite clean which could be analogous to Windows 8 not having much beyond planning completed at the point of the template's creation.

2 - Prior to being presented at the MSR conference, this exact presentation was given internally with planning for Windows 8 in mind. That would mean this presentation sheds a bit of light on what Microsoft may specifically be focusing on in Windows 8; Security and Systems Management. Obviously security is always a focus, but the systems management information in this document is interesting if placed in the context of it being a focus in Windows 8.

Perhaps I'm reading too far into this, but hypothesizing is half the fun of this phase of development (for me, at least)! I'm even going so far as to say that the, "Windows 8 Waves" (that's what I'm going to call that image, at least) is analogous to, "waves of change" or something like that. Or maybe not.

Windows 8 Waves


Anyway, that's my take on this document! It's linked below, so feel free to give it a go yourself and see what you think.

Source: UW MSR Institute 2009
Document: Anders Vinberg's Presentation

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Windows 8"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Sep 2009 11:29
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First in Italian, then in English and now in Korean! Adding to my shiny collection of Windows Server roadmaps with Windows 8 appearing on them, I stumbled across a Microsoft presentation in Korean that shows exactly the same data as seen on this roadmap and this roadmap. It's a hideous port of a Powerpoint presentation to PDF on the behalf of the site I found it on, but, hey... it is what it is. Check it out:



There's not much more to say that I haven't already said in the previous two roadmap posts I linked to above other than to reiterate that this timeline appears to be pretty solidified, company-wide. And yes, I'm champing at the bit for Windows 8 anything and that will never be more evident than with my next Windows 8 post coming up. =)

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Windows 7, Windows 8, Roadmap"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Sep 2009 11:06
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With Microsoft gearing up for Windows Mobile 6.5 to officially hit the market, training material for partners and advertisement templates, banners, etc. are being made available. Amongst all this content, there is one bit of material in particular from June 2009 that caught my eye: Windows Phone Cobrand Guidelines

Yes, right on Microsoft's servers, there is a set of guidelines which teaches partners how to make the sell and do it by Microsoft's book. In a section labeled, "Communicating to Customers," there's a subdivision labeled, "use only when necessary." The content in that section is a breakdown of how partners should get down to brass tacks if need be with the customer. When discussing how they should go about discerning Windows Mobile versions, they give a nod to Windows Mobile 7 as seen here:



For those of you who aren't familiar, Contoso is a fictitious company name used by Microsoft to represent anything from non-existent products to examples for how to use products already on the market. As such, the Contoso Alpha and Contoso Zeta phones mentioned are purely fictitious.

Again, though it isn't much, this is just another non-public mention of Windows Mobile 7 by Microsoft. I suppose the next step will actually be a build in between 6.5 and 7, though. As always, I'll be sure to post whatever I can dig up!

Source: Windows Phone Cobrand Guidelines on Microsoft's Website

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Date: Tuesday, 15 Sep 2009 11:50
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Windows 7: Done. On to the next.

I'm interested in seeing what all of you want to see happen in Windows 8. Myself? There are only 2 things I would personally like to see changed (and before Windows 8, preferably):

Folder Views: I can't vent my frustration enough about Windows automatically selecting views for me, even when I tell it that I want to view ALL of my folders a certain way. ARGH, SO FRUSTRATING!

Desktop Click + Shift + Click Select: Why on this green earth would Microsoft let you click and drag to select items on your desktop, control + click to select any number of items randomly, but automatically select whole rows of items for you if you click on an item, hold shift, then click on another item even 1 item up in the same column? Truly baffling.

About a month ago, I posted my opinion of Windows 7 up to this point and those were my only two gripes. Feel free to check out the comments of others to see if you experience their issues as well. Anyway, nothing major here. I know Windows 7 still hasn't officially been released, but I just thought I'd throw something out there to see if any of you guys and gals who are already well-seasoned Windows 7 users had some thoughts for what you would like to see happen in Windows 8!

[rant] Oh, and to the anti-Windows Mac/Linux users. Let me go ahead and get your irrelavant prattle out of the way so that you don't waste your time or ours: Windows needs to do what Linux can already do graphically, it needs to be impenetrable and it needs to be free. Also, Windows needs to make its users feel like they matter in life and are cooler than everyone else and Microsoft needs to stop being the big, bad bulley in the marketplace. Yadda, yadda, yadda. I think that about sums it up for the folks who - even if Microsoft catered to their laundry list of issues - wouldn't use Windows even if hell froze over. So why do they even complain in the first place? It makes you wonder... [/rant]

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Mac, Linux, Windows 7, Windows 8, Apple,..."
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Date: Thursday, 10 Sep 2009 01:16
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I tweeted... twittered... twitted... whatever the heck you call it; anyway, I basically posted on Twitter the other day my loathing of the stupid, "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" commercials. That day (about 3 or 4 days ago, actually) I saw TWO of those commercials that I had never seen before and I couldn't help but shake my head and think to myself one thing:

Just how the hell would Apple market their OS if it weren't for Windows!?

Yeah, now THERE'S a novel concept! I mean, just how big of a niche is Apple appealing to with the whole, "ohhh, every PC has bad viruses and they're going to eat all your datas?" It can't possibly be THAT many! Oops... maybe I've just stumbled onto something there. ;)

It seems that for all of their, "Mac users are, "up here" and everyone else is just, "down there"," they don't really give a good reason to use their product. Not once does one (or do I, at least) get the impression from those commercials to get a Mac other than for the purpose of, "not getting millions of viruses." You know, if I'm going to buy something, I don't want FUD marketing techniques to sell it to me. Granted, if someone wanted to, they could go pull up Apple's website to see what a Mac is really supposed to be about but doesn't that defeat the purpose? How is someone going to look it up if they don't have a computer to begin with? Oh, that's right... chances are, everyone already has a computer with Windows on it. Once again, just where would Steve Jobs' OS be without good ol' Bill G's already dominating the market?

Okay, so let's say I don't have a computer at home, so all I have to go by are Apple's commercials. Okay, I want to go check out a Mac. Is there an Apple store close by? Let's have a look in the phone book to call and see. Oh, well looky there! There's only ONE in my state and it's 3 frickin' hours away! That's alright, let me see if any other retailers near by sell Macs. (Once again, back to the phone book) Okay, there are. Let's go to the store and check them out!

*Microsoft's commercials kick in here* and I do indeed find something more powerful and just as good-looking and usable in a PC... and for considerably less, to boot! It's really simple in my head: You walk into a store where you can compare the two and a PC sells itself! If it works great in the store, it's going to work great at home unless you're like Rafael Rivera and visit naughty sites all the time (he's exemplary of what, "InPrivate" mode was built into IE8 for, har har!).

Anyway, maybe Apple's OS is great and beats the pants off of Windows... but I'm not going to go and actively seek it out when I have absolutely no reason to due to the problems I DO NOT have with, "millions of viruses" and the gazillion random crashes I DO NOT have! No, Apple's going to have to sell their product to me directly... or at least give me SOME reason to look into it! Until then, I'm pretty sure that most users like me will remain quite content with their status of being a PC. Yes, all of us low-life PC users will sit down here and look up the nostrils of the snooty Mac users (not all of them, because I know some good people who use a Mac because they like it and not just to be cool) and laugh at them because we can't figure out just why the heck they think they're all so cool.

Oh, and I'm not ditching Apple's OS by any means. I'm a huge fan of people using what they like and what works for them, but as a content Windows user, it baffles me that I've been watching these stupid Apple commercials attempt to beat the same message over and over and over and over into peoples' heads for, what... 2 years now? Something like that? *Pssst!* Hey, Apple! Try appealing to those willing to give your product a try, should they find it to be discernible enough from what they currently use to do as such! Oh, what's that? There's really nothing that's that much greater about your OS? Shame. I guess one of these days, I'll get even so much as ONE of those, "millions of viruses" that plague Windows and I'll go running to adopt your invincible OS!

And just to drive the point home, Apple did a FINE job selling their iPod Touch to me via their commercials. I couldn't keep watching that Crash Bandikoot racing game much longer without having it for myself... along with all the MP3's I frequently listen to and all the other awesome apps! So, Apple knows how to do it... they just can't if the product doesn't sell itself via its own means. To me, this is even more proof that Apple's OS just couldn't stand on its own two feet if it weren't relying on bashing Windows at every turn.

But who am I kidding? I'm just preaching to the choir here. Oh well. Thanks for reading my rant anyway (if you made it this far). =)

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "OSX, Mac, Windows 7, Windows, Apple, Mic..."
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Sep 2009 23:50
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It's no secret that I love Windows 7. As I've been thinking about exactly why I love it so much more than Windows Vista, I've come to the conclusion that Windows Vista needed to happen for Windows 7 to be what it is and what it will be: The perfect step up from Windows XP.

I've been able to sell Windows 7 to many of my friends and followers by painting it in a light which seems befitting enough to grab their attention and pique their interests: Windows 7 is the encompassment of the performance of Windows XP combined with the aesthetics of Windows Vista. After all, at this point, Windows Vista has - for the most part - ended up being a solid OS. Not that it wasn't before, but it's in this where I find that Windows Vista just had to happen.

Between the version checking issues, the driver issues, the new user experience (not just the user interface, but how one goes about using the OS) learning curve, the continuation of ironing out the kinks of migrating to 64-bit client, UAC, and the overall headaches and hatred for Vista that ensued - yes, the OS to follow XP was destined for damnation. It makes me think that even IF Microsoft had completed Windows Longhorn as it was pre-reset, many of the issues that plagued Vista would have plagued Longhorn just the same. After all, most of what Microsoft was aiming to achieve in Longhorn did find its way into Vista in some form or fashion (those of us on the forefront of hacking those builds to death know just about more than anyone else all the things that didn't, though), so even IF the Longhorn vision had been carried through to completion, it would have more than likely met the same fate as that which it gave birth to in Windows Vista.

Even being a Microsoft enthusiast, it still took me until early this year to switch to Vista because I just didn't like the new user experience. I didn't feel like it flowed, many of the little ways I used XP that I, personally, found the most productive had been removed, and I honestly read more into the anti-Vista hype than I should have. Once I finally received a copy to review for another website, I took the leap and was pleasantly surprised! Sure, there were some small issues I needed to figure out and get past, but those didn't last long. Regardless, I entered the Vista game at a point well-past the majority of the issues Windows haters and Windows enthusiasts alike were experiencing with drivers, etc., so my shift to Windows 7 wasn't too bad where usability was concerned.

I don't know about you, but there's been a driver for damn-near everything I've thrown at Windows 7 so far and whatever I *have* had to install driver-wise, it has either just worked or using compatibility mode just works. It just works. That's one thing I did have an issue with in Vista - compatibility mode. Oh, and UAC? Brilliant now. It never gets in the way (most importantly, when I've told it not to... and it didn't take an act of congress to make it happen). Although there are some minor gripes that I do have with Windows 7, I think it's exactly what *should* have followed XP, but would have never been due to the lessons that still would have needed to be learned.

Now, this isn't to say that Windows Vista was just an all-out horrible OS, because it wasn't! There was plenty of innovation that went under the hood into Windows Vista and it all went into Windows 7. Of course, Windows 7 got the best of it and improved upon it, but there is PLENTY of Windows Vista in Windows 7... and that's a good thing. Leave it to Apple, though, and they'll tell you that Windows 7, "is just another Windows Vista" simply because it utilizes much of the same code... annnnd because Apple apparently doesn't have enough going for its OS to market it properly, so instead, they take cheap shots at Windows to sell their product (hehe).

Taking all of the aforementioned into consideration, I posit that Windows Vista HAD to happen to ensure what will be the success of Windows 7 and everything that actually makes Vista a good OS. Yes, I'm going to step out on that limb and be so brave as to call Windows 7 a success a little over a month prior to its official launch date. For all of the businesses who decided they would wait until Windows 7 to upgrade from XP, well... Windows 7 is here and it's exactly what you wanted Vista to be (and so much more). While XP users will still have a bit of a learning curve with Windows 7's usability, it's filled with the performance from XP and the looks of Vista to make it an enjoyable experience; not an arduous one.



-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows, Micro..."
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Date: Thursday, 03 Sep 2009 15:17
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As you can obviously tell, I've been spending an exorbitant amount of time scouring LinkedIn for Windows Mobile 7 information, and it sure has been fruitful! The information in this post should help to paint a fairly decent picture of some of what we can expect for Windows Mobile 7 and its devices. Though much of this information has been floating around out there in one form or another, Microsoft has been tight-lipped about Windows Mobile 7. Because of that, the next best thing I've found to getting confirmation straight from Microsoft is getting it in bits and pieces from current and former employees (or, better yet, employees of other companies working with WM7)! That's what this post is. I'll chime in when I have something to add, but the majority of what is to follow will be direct quotes from LinkedIn profiles. Admittedly, I don't keep up with the mobile scene much, so hopefully you mobile-junkies will be able to glean something decent from this.


Developer for the WM7 Handwriting Recognition system. Source


I am responsible for designing and developing the Multimedia subsystem development for Tegra (APX2500) on Windows platforms including latest OS Windows Mobile 7. Source


Planned, designed, architected and implemented MEMS sensor capabilities in Windows Mobile 7-based platform, including accelerometer and compass. Source (Hey, I thought this guy made karate movies! lol. =B )


Owned the testing of the Nickname Cache feature and Windows Live ID feature implemented by the Exchange Mobile Client team to be included in the Windows Mobile 7 release. Source


Sr. SW Dev. Engineer – Symbian S60 & WM7 (2008 to 2009), System Integration & "Bring Up" Flow, using diff. Design Platforms (Linux/Java, Symbian/S60 and WM6/WM7) Source


Responsible for the integration of BCM4325 wlan chip on Caesar Platform (OMAP3430) on WM7 as a native host driver. Source


Oversaw development of the Rich Video Call(AT&T; Video Share) UI, session control, and porting of the IP Multimedia Subsystem stack to Windows Mobile 7. Source


Working on creating and maintining automation software used for automated testing of ActiveSync in Windows Mobile 7. Source


(Premium Mobile Experience Group) RIL, GPS, WiFi, and USB on Windows Mobile 7. Source


Managed Test Automation for Windows Mobile 7 Outlook Mobile syncing. Source


Low level programming (database/sync management) for Outlook in Win Mobile 7. Source


Windows Mobile 7 Board Support Package for Freescale chipset. Bootloader development, NAND and OneNAND Flash Memory drivers. Source


Development of Test automation for Internet Explorer 7 for Windows Mobile 7, the next generation of Mobile Operating System. Source (Most likely at IE8 now)


Last assignment was as consulting Dev PM/Lead on the Windows Mobile Platform Team (MESE Dogfood). Working to help make Windows Mobile 7 rock on Motorola and Samsung devices. Source


Develop Windows Mobile 7 BSP for Freescale ICs. Source


Collect requirements from internal teams and create a long term deployment plan for Windows Mobile 7 Labs. Design and direct the creation of self servicing lab spaces for three Windows Mobile 7 add on projects. Oversee the public launch of one of the Windows Mobile 7 add on projects. Source


Windows Mobile 7 integration on TI chipset platform. Source


Now, I'm leading a team, responsibility for Qualcomm platform and Windows Mobile 7. Source


Working on the (then) next generation Windows Mobile 7 Messaging Application. Focusing on Messaging functionality and interface. Source


As a researcher, gathered requirements from the project team and formed the test task list and test document of WM7 IME, Live
Video Search, and Mobile Search usability test.
Source


Microsoft UX Team Project Manager for the Mobile Insights Panel
• Drove progress for this $2 million instrumented mobile phone research project to collect user activity data from 400+ users to improve the Windows Mobile software experience.
• Worked with the Windows Mobile team to create special data collection software for the MIP devices. The WM team is looking to include parts of this software in the production release of WM 7.
Source


Creating feature prototypes for Windows Mobile 7 in Silverlight. Source


If any of the aforementioned quotes are no longer on their respective pages, then those people were probably asked to remove their references of Windows Mobile 7. At the time of this writing, it's all there. Also, if you find information in this post news-worthy, please give credit where credit is due. I spent a lot of time gathering all of this information and posting it. Thanks.

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Windows Mobile 7, Windows Mobile"
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Date: Thursday, 03 Sep 2009 13:03
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With PDC 2009 right around the corner, you can probably bet the farm that Windows Mobile 7 will be unveiled there. Every PDC has consisted of major announcements and this one shouldn't be any different. With Windows 7 out of the door, Office 14 all-but-complete, and Zune HD hitting the shelves soon, Windows Mobile 7 stands as the last really hot item to not be even so much as acknowledged by Microsoft. Well, I'm going to take it one step further and guess that Microsoft is not just going to reveal Windows Mobile 7, but they may even make a pre-release build of Windows Mobile 7 available at PDC. The reason I'm stepping out on that limb is comprised of 3 reasons:

1. Microsoft has a history of putting the bits of the technologies revealed during their keynotes into the hands of attendees at its conferences. If Windows Mobile 7 is revealed there and history is any kind of indicator, some form of the mobile OS will find its way into the hands of attendees.

2. The following Windows Mobile 7 roadmap I posted back in May which verified similar info Mary Jo Foley posted about back in February of Microsoft planning for a release to testers in November (the same month as PDC, no less):



3. The latest work experience status from the following LinkedIn profile of a Motorola employee has a rather interesting mention in it: "Runtime Environment: Windows Mobile 7.0 (Beta)" Hmm... Does that mean Windows Mobile 7 has already hit an internal stage of Beta 1?

The aforementioned gives me good reason to speculate that Windows Mobile 7 will not only be revealed, but it will also be put into the hands of attendees in *some* capacity. I say, "some" capacity because I wouldn't put it past Microsoft to strip it of certain features (or disable them) - just as they've typically done with the Windows pre-release builds they've distributed at past conferences. The only problem I see with that hypothesis of mine is the number of people who could actually do something with those bits. We don't all exactly have a spare Windows Mobile device hanging around for us to install a build of Windows Mobile 7 on. Actually, that gives me an idea that maybe, "the goods" could include something that would serve the purpose of using a Windows Mobile 7 build... probably not, but it would be cool if so!

With that in mind, I'm also going to guess that Windows Mobile 7 will meet a similar fate as Windows 7 where conference-attendee interaction is concerned: Once it's announced during a keynote on either day 1 or day 2, there will be a number of Windows Mobile 7-ready devices on-hand for all to see up-close and fiddle with.

How different do you personally think the UI is going to be from Windows Mobile 6.5? Do you think it's going to resemble the old WM7 prototype images that have been floating around out there for quite a while, or do you think it will be completely revolutionary? I've heard rumors from a couple of people that its interface will be the same as the Zune HD's interface. I guess we will all find out soon enough!

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Date: Thursday, 03 Sep 2009 13:00
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I ran across a rather interesting mention of Windows Mobile 7 on the LinkedIn profile of one Vivien Park:


Product / Interaction Designer, Illustrator
Microsoft
2004 – 2005 (1 year)
Illustration for user research and internal communication materials
communication applications for Windows Mobile 7 (blue sky exploration)



If you're unfamiliar with the term, "blue sky exploration," the following is a great explanation:

In some creative circles, ideation is sometimes used along with the phrase "blue sky" exploration. Research and development efforts many times start with a blue-sky phase, meaning a phase of initial work without pressure for particular result. Blue sky efforts often allow all possible alternatives to be placed as possibilities for further examination. Ideation differs from "blue sky" efforts primarily in that "blue sky" thinking is a means of kick-off for a creativity process, while ideation is a process of managing towards final-form ideas. Source: Adventure Studios

So, basically, if Windows Mobile 7 does indeed hit the market in 2010 as currently planned, that will give it a total planning and development time span of ~6 years. Though it's merely coincidental, is Windows Mobile 7's course of development - along with Microsoft's mention of how big of a bet it is for the company - bringing back memories of Longhorn for anyone else?

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Windows Mobile 7, Windows Mobile"
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Date: Wednesday, 02 Sep 2009 21:46
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I was super-excited today when I got home to see my fresh new GPU awaiting me in front of my door (check out the size of this freakin' thing). Before you could say, "why the heck hasn't Microsoft hired Rafael Rivera yet," I slapped that puppy in my mobo, fired it up, installed the drivers and went to run WinSAT to acquire my new WEI rating (5.9 because of my hard drives... booo, everything else is at least 7.2).

If you're never run WinSAT via command line, there are a number of ways you can run the tool. The way I chose to run it was: winsat formal -restart clean

Unfortunately, I couldn't remember the command, so I pulled up WinSAT's help information by running: winsat /?

When I did that, I was presented with what I consider to be a massive failure:

(Click for a full-sized image)



(Close-up view)



It looks like someone copied the text out of Wordpad or something and compiling the application incorrectly formatted the open/close quotes that should be around, "forgethistory". Also, doing a Google search (and a Bing one, for posture), there were no results for, "winsat winast" (I didn't have those in quotes when I searched), so I'm not sure Microsoft is aware of this yet. Because of that, it's obvious that *nobody* leverages WinSAT via command line but me... soooo, I guess that makes me the ultimate nerd, huh? lol. That, and I suppose this post makes me a, "grammar nazi" to boot, huh? Oh well.

Hey, I don't have Vista installed on any of my machines any longer, so do any of you want to check and see if this issue is present in it as well? In a command line window, just run: winsat /?

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "WinSAT, Windows 7"
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Date: Sunday, 30 Aug 2009 18:01
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Whilst surfing along the information superhighway today, I ran across something labeled as, "Microsoft Windows 8 Professional Edition (Leaked Version)." Well, curiosity certainly got the better of me, so I clicked to have a look. When I arrived at my destination, I was greeted with the following image:



Now, while that absolutely looks horrible and would fail to fool any of the enthusiasts in this community, it's certainly going to attract some downloaders... and as such, it did. Luckily, for you curious lot, a number of people who downloaded the ISO from the site noted it's nothing but Windows Vista with some additional applications, a theme pack, and some changes to make it say Windows 8 instead of Windows Vista in certain places. Long story short, don't be fooled by things like this going around. Though it would be nice, Windows 8 is far from falling into the hands of the enthusiast community at this point.

Rest assured that Windows 8 leaking in any capacity will be covered here, so if you're ever in doubt... uhhh... check my site out (had to say something that rhymed)!

Source: Fake Windows 8 Download Page

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Windows 8, Fake Alert"
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Date: Wednesday, 26 Aug 2009 11:14
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First, for those of you who have no idea what the heck, "OM NOM NOM" means, here you go:

Om nom nom: The sound made when someone eats ravenously; made famous by Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. See exhibit A.

Exhibit A.


Now that you know, here's how to make Windows 7 taste OM NOM NOM (click the pic for a full-res version):



Talk about a... FROSTED look for AERO's glass border, huh!? *cough, cough* Oh, and I believe the text is in Russian (which I can't read), so if you're a Russian viewer of my blog, feel free to translate for us!

Now, if you're baffled as to how the heck a cake was made with such a pristine-looking image, there's a way to take a picture and transpose it to edible art, essentially. Cake makers use such methods to produce results like what you see here. Anyway, this sure has been a pointless post... but at least you know how an image like that can be put on a cake now (if you didn't already)! For a more meaningful post, make sure to catch my Bing cashback article. If you shop online and enjoy saving money at every corner, it's not an article to be missed!

Oh, and see? You thought exhibit A had nothing to do with this post beyond, "om nom nom." Everyone loves cake! Especially a Windows 7 cake.

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "OM NOM NOM, Windows 7, Microsoft"
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Date: Wednesday, 26 Aug 2009 11:09
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For those who like saving money, read onward!

With the news and excitement surrounding Bing having died down to not even a whisper, I thought I would cook up a post to serve both as a reminder for those who are familiar with and those who are new to Bing's cashback program. I was familiar with it, but at the time of Bing's launch, the cashback program wasn't near as fruitful as it is now. Honestly, the cashback program has become the most exciting feature of Bing for me! Why? Because I do a lot of online shopping. Naturally, we all have our preferred merchants who we find typically have the lowest price of anyone out there. This is *really* where Bing's cashback action comes into play, because I get cashback for just about every single one of my preferred outlets: Buy.com, Newegg, Amazon - you name it, they probably have some kind of cashback percentage for it. Heck, I've even purchased items from Ebay sellers who had Bing cashback discounts! For reference, you can find a massive list of participating online retailers right on this section of Bing.

Example: I've recently had my eye on the SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4870 Vapor-X 2GB GPU.

First, I try searching Google Shopping and sort the results by lowest price first. Then, I did the same with Bing Shopping. The results? Not counting Google Shopping's one false-positive (the acmemicro.com link is actually a 1GB model; not the 2GB), Bing has the lowest price from Newegg with cashback factored in. Even with going to Newegg and factoring in shipping, I still come in at equally as much as Google's first lowest of $194 (antaresdigital.com, but the site doesn't show you how much shipping is). For good measure, I searched for the same card on Amazon.com, Buy.com and pricewatch.com. Amazon was priced higher, Buy didn't have the card, and low and behold, the lowest-priced card on pricewatch.com is our $194 friend from Google Shopping's results (antaresdigital.com)! And would you look at that; we have a shipping price included! It's $10, bringing their total to $204. Newegg's total with Bing cashback and shipping is $194, so there you go. While those aren't savings that are going to allow you to go crazy buying scratch-off tickets at your local gas station, this is just one example. More results like this one will add up over time and there are *plenty* out there where you can save in the 10's of dollars (and like I said, that's especially awesome when you find cashback like that on items that are already priced the lowest you can find on the net).

So, if you're new to Bing's cashback program or you haven't checked it out since Bing's launch, go ahead and give it a shot! Take about 5 things you want to buy, find the lowest price you can via Google, then go to Bing's shopping section of the site and search for the same item. Even *if* you find your item priced lower elsewhere directly from a vendor, with Bing's cashback applied to the same item from a different vendor with a higher cost, you still may very well end up with a lower price when all is said and done! Soooo... that's it! Go have a field day shopping with Bing!

ATTENTION DEVELOPERS: This post just made me think of a cool gadget that I'm sure one of you talented programmers out there could whip up. How about a Bing gadget that will allow you to type the name of an item you're searching for and have it return Bing's lowest price on that item (with or without cashback) which you can then click on to be taken to that vendor's site? Maybe something like this already exists... but if not, I know I'd certainly help you promote it!

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Bing, Microsoft, cashback"
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Date: Tuesday, 18 Aug 2009 16:45
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In celebration of the completion of Windows 7 (and with the anticipation of Microsoft making Windows 8 a 64-bit-only release), I decided it was time for me to upgrade my desktop from the (now) low-end 32-bit system I currently have to a 64-bit powerhouse... and all for under $1000. I set out to build something that would last for quite a while to come. Likewise, I needed it to be a powerhouse not just for the sake of it being a powerhouse, but for good reason: I have some pretty processor- and memory-intensive hobbies. While I've always been satisfied to run my favorite games on their low settings, I decided to shoot for the stars and build something that would run Crysis on high (maybe even the unlockable, "very high"). Likewise, I do a lot of audio recording and mixing. With lots of plug-ins loaded in my DAW, just my drum kit plug-in alone is a RAM hog (loading samples into RAM is how it accesses them so quickly).

So, before setting out to do this, I needed to justify it. I don't like spending exorbitant amounts of money without first justifying it. And contrary to how this post might make it seem, I'm not Mr. Moneybags, I assure you. Stephen's fun money has been spent for the next month. lol. Anyway, with that out of the way, I decided to hit up newegg. After spending a number of days doing price-comparisons and figuring up just how much I wanted this puppy to be capable of, I've ended up with a system consisting of the following (click the items to see them on newegg):

Case: Cooler Master RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ABS ATX Mid Tower
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD
CPU: x64 AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D (I bought two to = 8GB)
GPU: EVGA 512-P3-N973-TR GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported (I bought 2 to configure SLI)
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD6400AACS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s (I bought two to = 1.2TB space, no RAID configuration)
Power Supply: APEVIA ATX-AQ700W-BK 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready
HDD SATA Cables: OKGEAR 18" SATA II Cable Model GC18ATASM12 (Needed since the HDD's are OEM; typically means they don't come with cables)

The grand total for all of the above is: $883.87

Excellent! I came in well-under budget and I'm fairly confident I've set out to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish in terms of power and longevity. That price includes a coupon (EMCLWMW32) that took an additional $20 off the 2 hard drives and the power supply was half-price due to it being one of neweggs, "Shell Shocker" deals today. Bear in mind, I already have a 24" monitor and I will be reusing my Lightscribe DVD-RW drive, as well as my 5.1 surround sound speaker setup and my X-Fi audio card. Without having those already, the price would have been substantially more, but if you're looking to accomplish the same thing I set out to, go fill your cart with the aforementioned 8 items, change your quantities, apply the coupon (if it's not outdated by the time you read this post), and you should be good to go!

And for the sake of mentioning it, though I think I'll rarely utilize the quad-core capabilities of this processor, I figure it will bode well for down the road and definitely for the rare times it's needed. Likewise, 64-bit is the future no matter which way you slice it, so if Microsoft does decide to make Windows 8 an x64-only release, I should be golden. Hopefully, all I'll have to upgrade for a while are my graphics cards... and hopefully, not for a while to come (I'll be satisfied if I can run Crysis 2 on at least medium settings, lol).

-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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Author: "Stephen Chapman (noreply@blogger.com)" Tags: "Crysis 2, Windows 7, Windows 8, Crysis"
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Date: Monday, 17 Aug 2009 23:06
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Just a short 'n sweet update here for those of you interested developers. From the Microsoft Download Center: "The Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers includes presentations, hands-on labs, and demos designed to help you learn how to build applications that are compatible with and shine on Windows 7." The training kit is noted to utilize key Windows 7 features, such as:

* Taskbar
* Libraries
* Multi-Touch
* Sensors and Location
* Ribbon
* Trigger Start Services
* Instrumentation and ETW
* Application Compatibility


And Application Compatibility topics such as:

* Version Checking
* UAC Data Redirection
* Session 0 Isolation
* Installer Detection
* User Interface Privilege Isolation
* High DPI


Source: Windows 7 Training Kit For Developers Website


-Stephen
http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com

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