Its been a long time since I’ve blogged here, but its time I make a come back.
Things are definitely getting exciting in technology these days; with the iphones (and their especially cool app store), new zune software, holiday season coming up, windows 7 going beta next year etc.
Also, given the fact that I just bought a new condo and am working on setting up the tech for it, I finally have enough to say again to make blogging worthwhile.
So stay tuned.
DreamScene (Preview) was available for Vista Ultimate users yesterday. For those who don’t know, its a Windows Vista Ultimate Extra that allows users to use a video as their desktp background.
I have been playing with it a bit, and I’m glad its still a preview, not a full release. It still needs some work; The one video that is included with it crashes for me.
Other video’s however do work, and my CPU utilization hovers at about 35% with most of them. This isn’t bad considering my computer is only a Dell Inspiron 6000, 1.6Ghz with 1GB of RAM. I could see it being worth it on a faster computer, however I’m still not convinced I want my wallpaper moving, seems like it would be too distracting; Maybe on a secondary computer.
If you have had the chance to install it, here are some additional scenes to download. Unfortunately they are all on Rapidshare.
Here’s the DreamScene demo that’s been going around…
This is the main computer I use, a Dell Inspiron 6000, 1.6Ghz with 1GB of RAM. Not a powerhouse by any means but its proof that Vista doesn’t need a high end computer to run smoothly. Aero is turned on and it runs very similarly to XP, although I don’t game on it at all.
- The background image is from Mandolux – The left half is another laptop (more on this later)
- The top two gadgets are clocks that come with Vista for India and Chicago since I have to keep track of both time zones
- The third is the custom gadget I wrote to control winamp
- I also use Microsoft OneNote a lot, whose file is store on the server so that all computers are automatically up-to-date. It works better than I anticipated. I can press the windows key + N, write a note and its immediately updated on all computers. More on how to do this here…
The other computers in the network I get to by using a program called Synergy. It allows me to control them using the same keyboard and mouse over WiFi (without a KVM).
So if I move my mouse passed the edge of the screen left, it moves on the desktop of my Windows XP computer. It is a work computer so I can’t post any screenshots; however I use that for all my work related tasks.
If I move the mouse up passed the edge of the screen I end up on my server/HTPC computer across the room. This also uses Windows Vista but is always in Media Center mode. It is an older custom built Athlon 3000+ 64bit with 1.5GB RAM (although it runs Vistas 32bit version). It can also be accessed using the windows media center remote or keyboard.
There is also an XBox 360 in the network that gathers media from the HTPC. Here is a full network diagram (note the XP computer doesn’t show up on it for some reason)
I am trying really hard to keep an open/unbiased opinion on the Apple vs Microsoft debate. Going beyond their regular smearing ad campaigns, they have graduated to spamming peoples inboxes (mine included). Here’s an email I received on the 4th of February.
For my skeptical readers, I’d like to first point out that this email was definetely received from Apple, and not some third party. I can say this, because the images that make up the email, http://images.apple.com/chatterbox/us/2007/02/3906/img/ttl.gif and http://images.apple.com/chatterbox/us/2007/02/3906/img/mainimage.jpg are clearly off the apple.com servers.
Apple does have some very slick products, including OSX, the iPod and hopefully the iPhone soon. Why not show these off, instead of playing dirty with their competitors. I have watched a lot of videos on on10 and Channel9 and Microsoft employees very rarely (if ever) mention their competitors, let alone speak badly of them.
Sorry Steve, but I’ve already upgraded to Vista, its simpler, more secure and way more fun”. Not to mention it works with all my stuff like my printer, camera, xBox 360, home theater system and phone.
Doing some looking around on the subject I came to Paul Smith’s blog which had this rather humorous response…
I’m tired of people saying that Vista/Microsoft has copied Apple. My argument has always been that these things are immaterial in the big picture. Do you hear Microsoft fans yelling “they copied” after Stevo’s keynote today, ok maybe you do :). The browse CD’s feature on iTunes and Apple TV work awfully similar to Microsoft’s offerings.
In light of this sentiment, heres a list of what I found inovative from both Microsoft and Apple Inc. (formerly known as Apple Computer, Inc.) over the last few days.
- 3D map images on live maps
- SideShow (here is some of what can be done with it – MCE remotes, external displays on laptop bags)
- Windows Home Server (Here are some video’s if you are interested in learning more – Channel9, on10)
- iPhone (Does everything you could possibly want from a phone, PDA, mp3 player… and it sure looks pretty too – launch video)
Update: Lots of iPhone pictures here…
For the off chance you’ve been living under a rock for the last month and you haven’t heard of Microsoft’s soon to be released iPod competitor, heres the quick synopsis.
I found an interesting video today of Scoble interviewing the project manager of Zune. Its worth noting the way he handled references to their main competitor, the iPod, in a very respectful way.
In other news, over the last week I finally got my living room system under control with Wndows Media Center fully controllable through my main remote (I’ll post some pictures soon). This has got me really excited about Microsofts future products and their plans to integrate them for a better “connected entertainment” experience. There is no denying that the iPod will be the best portable music player and the Xbox 360 will continue to have very tough competetion in the video gaming market; but Microsoft is poised to be the only company that has a real chance of creating a fully integrated system.
One thing that I believe that the iPod got right, that I fear Microsoft will stumble on, is that the iPod’s DRM is just good enough to keep the recording industry happy, but just weak enough for people to get around. Unfortunately Microsofts huge emphasis on their own DRM might be the Zunes downfall.
The last time I blogged was June 25th 2005 after our website Quente Cafe covered Wired magazine’s Next Fest, and although it was very a exciting time for Quente Cafe, it also marked its languid demise. Maybe we lost interest or maybe we realized that we couldn’t keep up the commitment we had invested, and keep our day jobs.
However, for some reason nowadays I feel the need to write about technology again. So I decided to start writing a more discrete blog under my own name. Unlike Quente Cafe I will be writing less about consumer technology and definitely less often. However, I hope to focus more on quality posts about programming, graphic design and other things that catch my interest.