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Two first impressions. First, the Live Mesh tech preview is a good start. It's obviously early in the life of Live Mesh so it's hard to judge something which you are viewing by just peering into one tiny porthole. Second, Live Mesh is a move away from the old freeze the market, bait-n-switch tactics of Microsoft old. Let's jump into the Live Mesh tech preview.

Live Mesh Installation

Score: 4 of 5--The Live Mesh install was extremely easy, and with one exception, was flawless. And I'm probably being a bit unfair about the one exception, because it had to do with SilverLight not installing properly, but I'm not dinging Live Mesh for that one.

To join the tech preview, just sign up. They are taking 10,00

0 users initially. You'll receive an e-mail when you are in, then go back to the site and sign in with your Windows Live user ID.

First, you'll need to add your device to the Mesh, which causes Live Mesh software to be installed on your computer. It all went very fast and went well for me... no problems.

From there, you can add other devices or start to upload documents you want to share through Live Mesh, as shown in this screenshot (click to enlarge).

That's the good news. Now, for the bad. To use Live Mesh you'll have to enable UAC on Vista. Yep, you heard me right. You have to ENABLE UAC! OMG, hasn't Microsoft learned their lessons about User Account Control? You know what UAC stands for, don't you? User Annoyance Center. I'm sure there are good security reasons for doing this but Microsoft is asking a lot from us if they expect users to live with UAC in order to use Live Mesh.

Holy barriers to entry, Batman. One BIG demerit, to what otherwise is a great installation experience.

Sharing Data

Score: 3 of 5--Setting up folders and sharing files are easy. Go to the Live Desktop and start adding folders. One thing that was a bit confusing is that you double-click folder icons in Live Desktop. I guess it makes sense since this is a desktop metaphor, but doing it from a browser fooled me until about the fourth try.

Adding files is easy and straight forward through the Live Mesh web interface. You can also go to you Windows Explorer where you'll find "Live Mesh Folders" under your account's local files. Everything's pretty straight forward from there too. I do wish you could drag and drop via the Web interface (something I'll say more about later) and could add folders in addition to single files. I suppose those features will come.


Mitchell Ashley

Stephen Chapman of UX Evangelist delivers yet again. In response to all the chatter and speculation surrounding the new Windows 7 logo, Stephen has published some interesting graphic resources he’s found in the master slides of the “Windows 7 Core Presentation Deck” which reveals more details of how Microsoft plans to market Windows 7 to the masses.

win7vennBesides larger resolution versions of the new Star Trek (flare)-inspired “7″ logo in four vibrant colors, there are also some basic guides on how Windows 7 PowerPoint presentations should be designed.

The venn diagram example (right) I thought was particularly interesting and is probably a good representation of the simplified and humanistic approach Microsoft will use to pitch Windows 7. FYI, Windows 7 is at the intersection between “this is cool”, “easy” and “it’s what I want” encapsulated by “it works”.

If there wasn’t enough goodies in one PowerPoint deck already, there is also a small resolution mockup of a Windows 7 display in a retail environment which appears to feature the retail boxart not too different to the leaked version.

Needless to say, anything plastered with “Microsoft Confidential” is definitely worth a look.


Long Zheng


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It appears the Windows Mobile team, who has had a history for sharing good insights into the future development of Windows Mobile through innocent job advertisements, is not wasting any time sharing new information about Windows Mobile 7. A recent job advertisement for a Software Development Engineer on the “Communications Foundations” team writes,

The Mobile Devices division is Microsoft’s fastest growing, most cutting edge, and most competitive business. Windows Mobile 7 is a huge, important bet for the company and the team has benefitted from a recent influx of senior talent from around the company. Our users buy Windows Mobile devices to manage all parts of their work and personal lives through the use of phone, email, IM, SMS, calendar, contacts, photo sharing, and access to social networks. “Communications” is the Windows Mobile 7 team that owns that experience end to end from phone to connectivity to Windows Live and Exchange services. Millions of Windows Mobile customers all around the world use what we build in this team every day.

The Communications Foundations team is the engine room that powers these social experiences - the team builds the connectors and Unified Storage models that power all the social & communications experiences for WM7. The team is at the center of the rich change in how communications is happening, driven by the rapid shifts in social networking - Live wave 4, Facebook, Twitter etc. The team is looking for an experienced developer to drive how we enable exciting, new market-changing scenarios based on top of the Unified Store. You will help architect, design and build capabilities to enable these new end-to-end scenarios, and drive a clear model/view separation in our architecture.

As far as I’m aware, the “connectors” and “Unified Storage” referred to here is a new concept for WM7. Unfortunately the job description doesn’t go into any details, but in the context of communications, I’m predicting it’s a new framework designed to handle all the communication storage needs on a phone in a single, structured and open-access system.

If my prediction is correction, as opposed to the current method where each application has its own proprietary storage model (ex. Outlook Mobile, Facebook application, Twitter applications), this new framework would allow applications to store and retrieve any communications data on the phone in a consistent and managed manner, allowing for far richer integration.

Like icing on the cake, the job ad also confirms what has been hinted at for a very long time, integration with the Zune service.


Long zheng



Windows SideShow’s reception in the marketplace since the launch of Windows Vista has been lukewarm at best, but they haven’t given up. Now Microsoft is trying to breathe new life into Windows SideShow by illustrating some interesting applications of the platform to PC gamers.

A research study conducted by Microsoft earlier this year shows gamers are keen on a small Windows SideShow-powered touch-enabled and rotatable widescreen display to the tune of about 6.4-inches attached to the side of a monitor. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also suggested the display be connected via WiFi or Bluetooth so you could place it wherever. Since, Microsoft has ran with the idea showing how such a screen can benefit gamers.

One and perhaps the most obvious implementation of SideShow for a game, illustrated above, is to move the menus and on-screen controls of the game to the SideShow display, freeing up the primary display to show more of the game. This I’m sure captures the interest of RPG and strategy players who might find a third of the screen today dedicated to controls.


In another scenario, the auxiliary display could also be used to provide a more immersive gaming experience. In this example, the auxiliary display acts like wing-mirror of a racing game, but is suggested could act as an instrument panel for a flight simulator game. Of course prior art is due as Sony first demoed the same concept between a Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable for a racing game, however has since failed to realize.


Furthermore, the auxiliary device could display secondary information when a gamer would normally otherwise have to pause the game to display, for example a map in a flight simulator game. Anyone who’s played GTA4 probably comprehends how frustrating it was to pause the game every time you needed to review the large map.

Last but not least, the auxiliary display could also provide information outside of the game but useful to the player, for example walkthroughs, game guides or chatting applications. Of course, like a standard SideShow device, it should also allow you to control music, read emails and check the weather, and we all know how well that caught on.

As an avid PC gamer, this definitely captures my interest but of course is still nothing more than a Photoshop mockup (as seen by the Gamespot watermark). If a hardware vendor can produce such a device for under $100, I think it could sell like hotcakes.


Long Zheng


By default, Microsoft includes the /prefetch:1 switch to speed up it's Windows Media Player application start time. This switch can be used for other Windows applications and also many third party programs.

Example #1

You have AOL 8.0 installed on the computer. Complete the steps outlined bewlo to add the /prefetch:1 switch to AOL's Target path.

1. Right click on the AOL shortcut and select properties from the menu.

2. In the Target: Field add the /prefetch:1 switch to the very end of the path, like this: "C:\Program Files\America Online 8.0\aol.exe" /prefetch:1 and then click ok.

Now start AOL. It would load at least 50 times faster than ever before.

Example #2

1, Go to the Start button/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools

2. Right click on System Restore and select properties from the menu that appears. Add the /prefetch:1 to the Target Path entry so it looks like this %ystemRoot%\System32\restore\rstrui.exe /prefetch:1 and click ok.

Now System Restore will start immediately when executed.

Note: This switch will only work with some programs. Others will return a message saying the program in the target box is invalid. Just remove the switch



The computer programmer to his son: "Here, I brought you a new basketball."
Son: "Thank you, daddy, but where is the user's guide?"


A customer comes into the computer store. "I'm looking for a mystery Adventure Game with lots of graphics. You know, something really challenging."
"Well," replied the clerk, "Have you tried Vista?"


What would a computer geek is going to do after seeing a beautiful woman?
"Immediately start downloading it."


Bill Gates was drafted and sent to boot camp. At the rifle range, he was given some instruction, a rifle, and bullets. He fired several shots at the target. The report came from the target area that all attempts had completely missed the target.
Bill Gates looked at his rifle, and then at the target. He looked at the rifle again, and then at the target again. He put his finger over the end of the rifle barrel and squeezed the trigger with his other hand. The end of his finger was blown off, whereupon he yelled toward the target area, "It's leaving here just fine, the trouble must be at your end!"


Man: Hello, my computer is reporting a fatal error!
Customer Support: Well there's nothing we can do now, you should have called us when it was still critical!


What is the other name for the ‘Intel Inside?'
"The warning label." {Intel inside.......fool is outside}.


There was an engineer, manager and programmer driving down a steep mountain road. The brakes failed and the car careened down the road out of control. Half way down the driver managed to stop the car by running it against the embankment narrowing avoiding going over a cliff. They all got out, shaken by their narrow escape from death, but otherwise unharmed. The manager said "To fix this problem we need to organize a committee, have meetings, and through a process of continuous improvement, develop a solution." The engineer said "No that would take too long, and besides that method never worked before. I have my trusty pen knife here and will take apart the brake system, isolate the problem and correct it." The programmer said "I think you're both wrong! I think we should all push the car back up the hill and see if it happens again."


James Bond got this email from a friend:


Bill Gates is at the beach when he discovers a bottle, he opens it and a Genie appears. The Genie says, "I have been trapped for 1000 years. As a reward you can make a wish." Gates thinks about it as he carries the bottle back to his beach cottage. Once there, he goes to a bookshelf, pulls out an atlas and turns to a map of the Middle East. This area has seen conflict and suffering for hundreds of years. What I wish for is peace in the Middle East. The Genie replies, "I don't know I can do a lot, but this? Don't you have another wish?" Bill Gates thinks and finally says, OK. The whole world hates Microsoft because we have conquered the software market and because Windows still crashes. I wish you would make everybody love us. The Genie says, "Let me see that map again."


What do computers eat when they get hungry?