Jordan, Microsoft sign deal to enhance IT strategi

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 5:55 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Jordan on Saturday signed a strategic partnership agreement with Microsoft to accelerate the development of the information technology sector, pushing forward the e-government and e-learning strategies. Information and Communications Technology Minister Fawwaz Zu'bi said the five-year deal, whose exact value will be announced later this month, will open the door to several Microsoft investments in the Kingdom.

"This agreement serves Jordan's overall strategy, through the completion of strategic projects, the promotion of the development of unique intellectual property jointly with Microsoft, and capacity building across all segments of society, as well as contributing to revolutionising education in Jordan," Zu'bi told reporters at the signing ceremony.

Under the deal, Microsoft will co-invest in projects selected jointly with the government from within the national strategies to bring the educational system online and allow citizens to obtain government services with the click of a mouse.

Also, Microsoft will supply advanced training to 1,000 engineers, set up and fully equip electronic libraries for 50,000 children in rural and remote areas, disclose source codes as part of technology transfer, and establish new IT academies

With yesterday's agreement, Jordan also becomes one of the first beneficiaries of Microsoft's "Partners in Learning" programme — a global initiative envisaging, amongst others, the distribution of software packages at greatly reduced prices or for free to schools.

"This strategic agreement hinges on four pillars," said Jean-Phillipe Courtois, CEO of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa.

"We will build some services in e-government, support the e-learning strategy to turn Jordan into a knowledge-based society, help building capacity in local companies, make sure the overall society can benefit through training and development opportunities," Courtois said.

Mahmoud Khasawneh, head of Jordan's e-government team, said three projects had already been identified to inaugurate the partnership with Microsoft: One will involve the country's airports, setting up electronic gate systems; one will provide infrastructure for e-transactions at the e-government operations centre; the third will involve the Planning Ministry, where an "enterprise project management" system will be set up.

The partnership agreement crowns three years of contacts and more or less formal cooperation between the government and Microsoft. The cornerstone for cooperation was laid by His Majesty King Abdullah at a meeting with Microsoft's Chairman and founder Bill Gates, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in February 2000.

Yesterday's deal is the conclusion of months of negotiations on areas of potential investment.

Continue at source

Quick Reference Guide to Microsoft Codenames (PDC)

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 5:48 PM. Posted in Windows (general).

Full abstracts for all talks at the Professional Developers Conference next month in November have have now been posted. Accordingly Microsoft's Mark Fussell - a Lead Program Manager on XML technologies - recently blogged what he calls "a brief biased description" of each of his company's codenamed projects.

Here's what he writes:

"WinFS"- The digital aid meets meta data. Store all your "stuff" and find it seemlessly with hundreds of rules.

"Indigo" - SOAP 1.2 + WS-*. The future of distributed computing

"Avalon" - Cool UI graphics, no Windows message pump and a declarative programming model.

"Yukon" - SQL Server next with the beauty of an XML data type to store all those XML documents.

"Whidbey" - VS.NET next with some great innovations in the XML programming model.

source

CEO trying to win Microsoft some friends

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 5:45 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

For millions of consumers at home and at work, using a computer means using Microsoft. Its Windows operating system powers more than 90 percent of the world's personal computers. Its programs for Internet surfing, word processing and spreadsheet calculations barely have competition. It is aggressively pushing into online gaming, entertainment and corporate systems.

So why is Chief Executive Steven Ballmer demanding that his troops rethink everything?

The ground is moving under Microsoft's omnipotent footprint, as the technology industry slows and emerging threats endanger what has been inexorable growth.

In the more than three years since Ballmer took over day-to-day control from Bill Gates, the company has overhauled its structure to force improved financial performance. It issued a modest dividend in January and then recently doubled it, hoping to make the stock more attractive to investors. And it eliminated employee stock options, a lifeblood of most technology firms.

But Ballmer, 47, also is driving what might be the most ambitious change of all: transforming the company's culture and image. Legendary for arrogant, boorish and sometimes illegal dealings, Microsoft seeks to improve its relationships with customers, partners and government regulators.

Ballmer knows Microsoft needs more friends to get where it wants to go, to be the center of a world where computing can happen wherever and whenever people want it.

"I think Bill and I both recognized we needed to take a different tack in terms of the way we relate to our industry and our customers," said Ballmer, who dislikes taking sole credit for any of the company's strategic thinking.

Stalked by Linux

Most dangerous for the company is fast-spreading competition posed by open-source software such as the Linux operating system. Open-source code is developed collaboratively and made freely available on the Web but also is being embraced and marketed by some of Microsoft's top competitors, such as International Business Machines Corp.

With their lower costs and greater ability for users to manipulate its code, Linux and other open-source variants are gaining traction with operators of corporate and government networks, an area Microsoft has targeted for aggressive growth with its server systems.

Meanwhile, businesses and consumers alike are howling for relief from an onslaught of viruses, worms and other attacks that seem to exploit Microsoft software with particular ease. Critics say Microsoft has sacrificed security at the altar of sales and profits. The company rejects this, but all its executives cite security as its greatest short-term problem, and it is pleading for patience.

That's a tall order for a company that might have $50 billion in the bank but little goodwill.

Continue at source

interview with a Microsoft Engineer of Windows MCE

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 5:27 PM. Posted in Windows XP Media Center.

Thanks Olcay of WinFuture.de for sending this in.

Winfuture.de had an interview with a Microsoft Engineer of Windows Media Center Edition 2004.

Olcay: What was your job in the MCE 2004 team?STE: Software Test Engineer, Windows Media Division: DVD, Timeshifting, Analog TV group

STE: Building 50

STE: Redmond Campus

Olcay: Which were the hardest parts of MCE 2004 to realize? We heard that you guys had problems with the european EPG-system is that true?

STE: Well, the PAL systems were tough because we had to hardwire in PAL singnals into the lab. There are different PAL singles between Europe and Asia, so TV cards had to be tested differently.

STE: Teletext in Europe was also a challenge and we had to setup a special Teletext feed to test that as well.

STE: There was also an issue with DirectX 9.0b that slipped by us concerning an issue with PAL cards no longer functioning after the 9.0b upgrade.

STE: This was because of a regression in kstvtune.ax, but a patch has been released to solve those problems.

Olcay: Where there any conflicts you really didn't expect?

STE: All of the time. There was a major problem that we ran into with Pixela TV Tuner cards that were being sold in Japan using the NTSC-J singnal, which was different than the US singnal, so we had to set up special feeds just to find these issues. A Pixela rep and translator even flew all the way to MS for a few days to fix the problems on-site.

STE: Also, sometimes with new DVD Decoders, things like ratio aspects and timeshifting stopped working correctly, so we had to bug those.

STE: Slow motion was taken out of MCE 2004 because of a Timeshifting coding issue.

Olcay: Did you guys get into crunch mode?

Olcay: Because of less time...

STE: Yes, some features had to be cut and a few bugs had to be pushed back, but nothing too major. I cant go into details there.

Olcay: Ok, no problem.

Olcay: How many people worked on MCE 2004?

STE: That's hard to determine, but all of Building 50 is Windows Media, so most of those people worked on it... I was say anywhere up to 500.

Olcay: Awesome!

Olcay: Did you guys planned to support more TV-cards? because, I'am sure there are a lot ATI users who would like to use their ATI card with their own remote.

STE: Yeah, there are only a certain number of supported cards.

Olcay: Whats the main component which says what card is supported? The application ehshell.exe it self or the drivers?

STE: It's in the way the drivers are contructing a TV graph. MCE does it a specific way, and if the drivers dont support that specific way, then the card fails to work in MCE.

STE: So yes, the short answer is drivers.

STE: DirectX 9 SDK comes with a program called GraphEdit. You can use that program to construct TV graphs for your specific TV card. If you cant construct a TV graph in that program, then the drivers definately won't work in MCE.

STE: Most new cards will eventually be supported, but older ones will not. It's really up to the manufature of the cards/drivers to make sure it work properly with MCE.

Olcay: So it depends on the manufature who release the MCE machine / TV-card? So it's the work of the manufacturer to code the special MCE-drivers?

STE: Yep.

STE: It really doesnt have much to do with MS unless the drivers are to be included with MCE.

Olcay: Ok.

Olcay: What do you think about WinFuture's Customizer for MCE machines? 30-40 tweaks to customize MCE-machines :)

STE: I think that anything that helps power users customize MCE or XP machines is great. Customizable machines is what makes computing fun and powerful.

STE: I hope WinFuture's Customizers machines helps improve users experiences even more, although it's not officially supported by Microsoft. source: Winfuture.de (in german)

MVP 2004 list

Posted by bink on October 5 2003, 2:42 AM. Posted in Bink.nu Site News.

Microsoft is proud to announce its Most Valuable Professionals for 2004!

The MVP Award was established by Microsoft more than nine years ago as a way to award amazing individuals for their outstanding contributions in a wide range of community activities. From newsgroup to top user group, websites and message boards worldwide, MVP status is awarded to the most active online community “gurus” for their technical expertise, voluntary willingness to share their experience and commitment to helping others realize their potential within Microsoft technical communities.

Now more than ever, online technical communities devoted to one or more Microsoft products are used by millions of customers worldwide. Each year, Microsoft looks to these communities—message boards, web sites, USENET newsgroups, and other technical peer to peer communities—for the most outstanding, active participants providing credible and noteworthy contributions to a technical community.

By far, Microsoft’s largest online community is the Microsoft public newsgroups with over 11% growth in membership and nearly 1.5 million active community members annually participating at Microsoft.com or news://msnews.microsoft.com. There are thousands of freely available newsgroups covering a wide variety of Microsoft products and technologies, including more than 250 devoted to developer topics. In nearly all of these newsgroups you are likely to run across a Microsoft MVP.

Not only are Microsoft MVP’s active experts on one or more Microsoft products from Office to Visual Studio .NET, they also represent a diverse group of backgrounds and professions from artists to technical trainer and from author to student, police officer, homemaker, firemen, doctor and more. They range in age from 18 to 80 while spanning the globe from Brazil to China. Not only are they online and active but many host websites, author best selling books and train others; while always finding the time to voluntarily give something back to the community. It is this amazing “spirit of community” and willingness to share combined with technical expertise and a sense of professionalism that truly reflects the Microsoft MVP Award.

Anthony Russell, Program Manager for the Microsoft MVP Program sums it up best. “Microsoft MVP’s are amazing individuals sharing a common passion for technology and willingness to help others. They provide invaluable feedback that enriches the broader customer and community experience while making a difference in Microsoft technical communities worldwide. Microsoft MVP’s are credible, technology experts and among our very best; most accessible community members. I am constantly amazed by their efforts and consider it a privilege to work on a worldwide team focused on recognizing and improving the MVP’s connection with Microsoft.”

MVPs make a significant contribution to our customer and overall community satisfaction, and we sincerely appreciate their efforts. Microsoft would like to congratulate and thank the following Microsoft MVPs for 2004.

Microsoft report prompts Forrester policy change

Posted by bink on October 4 2003, 7:29 PM. Posted in Microsoft Corp.

Forrester Research Inc. has changed its policy toward vendor-sponsored research following last month's publication of a controversial Microsoft Corp.-funded study that compared the cost of developing applications on Linux and Java to a Microsoft-based approach.The policy change was announced in a letter written by George Colony, the CEO of the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company, and posted to the Forrester Web site late last week."We will no longer accept paid for, publicized product comparisons," Colony said in an interview. "The best example of that would be the Microsoft report."The Microsoft-funded study found that developing certain types of Web applications was 40 percent more expensive when Java and Linux were used rather than Microsoft software. The survey was widely seen as a blanket statement about the cost of ownership of the platforms, rather than a more qualified statement about their relative costs for running certain types of applications, according to Forrester analyst John Rymer, the author of the report."There was a huge outcry about the Microsoft study," said Rymer, who blamed the way the media covered the report for much of the criticism. "'Microsoft cheaper than Linux:' That was the basic headline. There were a dozen variations on that. Obviously, if you read the report, the conclusions in the report are much more qualified than that," he said.In addition to Microsoft having funded the study, critics also took exception to the small sample size (12 companies) that Forrester's results were based on, as well as the study's methodology. Continue

Dolby Digital Solutions with Windows XP MCE 2004

Posted by bink on October 4 2003, 6:50 PM. Posted in Windows XP Media Center.

Dolby Licensees Continue Expanding Dolby Digital Solutions with Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004

Dolby Laboratories has made available new solutions designed to expand the entertainment capabilities of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 PCs using Dolby Digital technologies. These solutions are designed to provide the end-user with enhanced DVD-Video playback control, DVD recording capability, and simplified connectivity to home theater systems. Software DVD player solutions from CyberLink, InterVideo, Nvidia and Sonic offer fully integrated menus providing users with full control of DVD playback functionality displays and audio settings from the Windows Media Center Edition 2004 interfaces.Sonic PrimeTime and Sonic MyDVD Studio Deluxe applications both provide Dolby Digital encoding capabilities for Media Center PC users, making it easy to burn recorded TV shows onto DVDs. Creating DVDs using Dolby Digital encoding technology optimizes available disc space, enabling users to archive more shows on their DVDs with the highest-quality audio and video.

"By collaborating with Dolby, InterVideo provides a Dolby Digital decoder filter for DVD playback on Media Center PCs and has designed a new, easy-to-use interface for simplified control of audio settings," said Steve Ro, founder and CEO of InterVideo. "With WinDVD and MCE, users have direct access to InterVideo audio settings to optimize their audio setup with a choice of multiple audio outputs including line level, Dolby Headphone and Dolby Digital compatible S/PDIF."

Media Center PCs featuring Nvidia nForce 2-based MCPs and Nvidia SoundStorm audio enable any PC audio source to be remapped to Dolby Digital and output via a single digital connection for playback through a home theater audio system.

Dolby    PDF

The inventor of Ctrl-Alt-Delete

Posted by bink on October 4 2003, 6:36 PM. Posted in Windows (general).

Every time a software program locks up and you want to start over, every time you need to change your password or log on or off your computer, you can thank David J. Bradley.

Bradley is the man who gave the world "control-alt-delete."

"It was not a memorable event," said Bradley, a longtime IBM employee, speaking of that day in 1980 or '81 when he discovered control-alt-delete.

"It wasn't intended as something we were going to tell the customers about," he says. "Then it turned out that this reset was a problem-solver for people who were writing the programs and writing the instruction manuals."

The original idea was simply to reset early PCs without turning them off. Microsoft adopted control-alt-delete to help ensure people powered down correctly, then to handle "administrative functions" such as the vital "end task" feature for computer software that crashes or otherwise gets stuck.

Bradley chose the control and alt keys because he needed two shift keys to make the operation work, and he chose the delete key because it was on the opposite side of the keyboard. He didn't want people to hit control-alt-delete by accident.

It's more complicated than that, of course, but most people don't have a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University, as Bradley does.

Source via WMLAH.com

October Cumulative Patch for Internet Explorer!

Posted by bink on October 4 2003, 3:09 PM. Posted in Internet Explorer.

This patch is rated critical for all supported IE versions, except Windows 2003 Server IE6 (Moderate)

Not sure if it fixes all 22 holes still in IE, but read the bullitin what it does fix.

A number of security issues have been identified in Microsoft® Internet Explorer that could allow an attacker to compromise a Microsoft Windows®-based system and then take a variety of actions. For example, an attacker could run programs on your computer when you are viewing a Web page. This vulnerability affects all computers that have Internet Explorer installed. (You do not have to be using Internet Explorer as your Web browser to be affected by this issue.) You should help protect your computer by installing this update from Microsoft.

IE 6 SP2 is scheduled for this Quarter.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS03-040

All versions except Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 for Windows Server 2003

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 for Windows Server 2003