Get the latest Vista update while its steaming hot
With the impending release of Windows 7 next year, Windows Vista SP2 seems set to launch next summer with its developers rushing to incorporate the many fixes and upgrades they had planned in time. The release appears to be moving along on schedule, with the first beta set to make its public debut tomorrow.
Previously, Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 was only available to select partners — “Technology Adoption Program” customers. Today it is free to download to any MSDN or TechNet subscribers, and it goes live for the general public tomorrow through the Customer Preview Program (CPP).
The CPP is intended for technology enthusiasts, developers, and IT Pros who would like to test Service Pack 2 in their environments and with their applications prior to final release. For most customers, our best advice would be to wait until the final release prior to installing this service pack.
For those of you who choose to test this service pack, we encourage you to install the beta as soon as you can; your feedback will help us to ship a solid and stable service pack for Windows Vista.
As with previous service packs, SP2 bundles Windows Updates released since SP1 into a single source. It also adds support for key new standards. One update is Windows Search 4.0 which should provide faster searches and improved relevancy in results. The update will also ensure that Vista and Server 2008 are compatible with the latest Bluetooth tech, via the Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack. Native recording to Blu-Ray on Vista is also now supported at last.
A new utility called Windows Connect Now (WCN) is also added to help users set up wireless networks more easily. In order to synchronize files across time zones, Microsoft also adds exFAT file system to support UTC timestamps.
Many other minor features are also featured in the new service pack. Overall Microsoft hopes that it makes Windows Vista and Server 2008 use a bit easier and more intuitive, while fixing outstanding issues.
Head on over to TechNet tomorrow if you want to download SP2 as part of the Customer Preview Program.
AMD processors launching starting in January 2009 through June 2009 unveiled
AMD is placing its hopes of regaining market share lost to Intel on its new line of processors set for launch next year. AMD is planning to launch a lot of processors, 14 of them to be exact according to the latest roadmap uncovered.
HKEPC says that the different processors to be launched will use the Phenom II brand and some will bring back the Athlon name. The new parts will all be 45nm desktop processors and will start coming to market in January 2009, a few of them likely to be announced for CES 2009 in early January. New processor introductions are reported to last until June when all of the new parts will be official.
When AMD first announced its new processors, the naming convention was unanimously disliked with its Phenom branding along with a five-digit model number. The parts will now launch under the brand names previously mentioned and sport a three-digit product identifier.
45nm quad-core processors for the AM2+ and AM3+ sockets will be in the Phenom II X4 900 family and Phenom X4 905 family. A 4MB L3 cache version of the Deneb CPU will also be added in the Phenom II X4 800 family. The Phenom II X4 900 and 905 CPUs will have 2MB of L3 cache.
The launch date for the 45nm AM2+ quad-core Deneb is now reported to be January 8; the CPU was originally expected in mid-December. When February 2009 rolls around, AMD will unveil six socket AM3 45nm processors including the Phenom II X4 925 with 6MB of L3 cache and a Phenom II X4 910 with the same cache. A pair of 4MB L3 cache processors, the Phenom II X4 810 and Phenom II X3 710 will debut the same month. Also tipping up in February will be a pair of 6MB L3 cache CPUs including the Phenom X3 720 and the Phenom II X3 710.
CPUs to be released under the Athlon brand will be 45nm, but will lack the L3 cache of the higher end parts. The Athlon X2 200 family will feature two parts and will offer 2MB of L2 cache with a 65W TDP and is slated for release in June. DailyTech reported on an AMD roadmap in November that mentioned a few of these processor families by code name.
The breakdown of processors looks like this:
* Phenom II X4 940 at 3GHz, 8MB total cache using the AM2+ socket
* Phenom II X4 920 at 2.8GHz with 8MB of total cache on the AM2+ socket
* Phenom II X4 910 2.6GHz with 8MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Phenom II X4 810 Phenom II X4 810 2.6GHz with 6MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Phenom II X4 805 Phenom II X4 805 2.5GHz with 6MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Phenom II X3 720 Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz with 7.5MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Phenom II X3 710 Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz with 7.5MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Phenom II X4 945 3.0GHz with 8MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Athlon X4 615 2.7GHz with 2MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Athlon X4 605 2.5GHz with 2MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Athlon X3 420 Athlon X3 420 2.8GHz with 1.5MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Athlon X3 410 Athlon X3 410 2.6GHz with 1.5MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Athlon X2 240 2.8GHz with 2MB total cache on the AM3 socket
* Athlon X2 235 Athlon X2 235 2.7GHz with 2MB total cache on the AM3 socket
Seriously, how many spare Xbox 360s does Benjamin Heckendorn have laying around? By our count, this is the third instance where the modder extraordinaire has shoved Microsoft’s latest console into something that’s theoretically playable on one’s lap, and obviously, this one is the best one evar. Dubbed the Xbox 360 Portable, the unit is said to weigh almost as much as his sister’s cat, and it differs from most other on-the-go 360s by featuring a removable standard Xbox 360 hard drive, two accessible memory card slots, no keyboard (use the chatpad!), an internal WiFi module and beveled edges for extra safety. We’d ask what crazy mod he’s planning with all the free time coming up over the holiday break, but honestly, we’d prefer to be surprised.
We’ve seen lots of controller mods around here. We’ve seen voice recognition controllers. We’ve seen controllers with hidden buttons. Until now though, we hadn’t seen a controller with no buttons. Okay, technically it does have the start, back and Guide buttons, but just follow along, mkay? The mod you see above — created by one Mactastic Mendez — uses tiny digital joysticks located under the controller for face button input. How does all of work? It’s quite simple really: magic. Well, that, a soldering iron, and some handy crafting skills. Check out a video of the controller in action after the break. Then head over to AcidMods to see how it was made.
Hey, hey, just as expected out pops Sony Ericsson’s latest Walkman from the rumor mill. The quad-band W705 (aka RIKA, the G705 clone) with UMTS/HSPA 900/2100 support shares the same Clear Bass / Clear Stereo audio quality found in the W980 Walkman while packing DLNA-certified WiFi, shake control and SensMe music manipulation, a “large” (uh, hardly by today’s standards) 2.4-inch display, 4GB of bundled memory card storage, an FM radio, 3.2 megapixel camera, Google Maps, and an accelerometer for what’s quickly becoming a ubiquitous auto-rotating display feature on cellphones. It also packs Bluetooth, allowing it to stream audio out to the newly announced MBS-900 Bluetooth speaker. You know, if you’re a fan of compressed audio and short battery life. Just sayin’s all. Both will be available in select markets as of Q1 of the new year.
It might make for good business practice, but damn if Microsoft’s plan to “invest” in South Korea’s software industry “as part of the US giant’s drive to strengthen its presence in the country” doesn’t sound a bit desperate. After all, shouldn’t your software be so compelling that governments and companies fall all over themselves for the rights to use it (eh, hem: Android)? In a $60 million deal announced after Steve Ballmer lobbied met with South Korea’s president, Lee Myung-Bak, Microsoft will train software designers, support venture firms, and establish a tech center in South Korea over the next three years. The Korean government will invest about $8.4 million. In separate but related deals also announced today, Microsoft entered into a vague agreement with LG — having something to do with convergence using LG’s mobile gear and Microsoft’s WinMo OS — and opened a research center with Hyundai to develop new IT products and services for automotive applications. Thumbs up, indeed.
Read — $60,000,000 investment
Read — Hyundai deal
Read — LG and Microsoft
In broad, soap operatic strokes of the finest sort, IBM and Apple are at each other’s throats over Apple’s latest recruit: IBM’s vice president of microprocessor technology development. Improbably named Mark Papermaster, the man in question is responsible for IBM’s blade server division, and IBM is pretty sure there’s a non-compete in there somewhere, especially with Apple’s recent acquisition of PA Semi, a chip developer with PowerPC technology similar to IBM’s — IBM has filed lawsuits both against Apple in California (a state traditionally indifferent to non-competes) and against Papermaster in New York. We’re not going to get into all the sordid details, but just because IBM and Apple are very, very angry at each other right now doesn’t mean they’re mad at you. Probably.
With all of the political mudslinging going around this time of year, Apple has decided to add a different type of mudslinging to the barrage of TV commercials. Tonight, they released two new “Get a Mac” ads: Bean Counter, and V Word.
In Bean Counter [direct video link], PC is sitting at a desk, counting money out into two stacks. The largest stack is for advertising and the smaller stack is for bug fixes for Vista. When Mac questions him, he says that he’s having to take drastic action because of the frustration of Vista users. In the end, PC gives up budgeting and puts all of his money into advertising. This commercial is no doubt in response to Microsoft’s recent advertising strategies. In V Word [direct video link], PC makes every attempt to “beep out” the word “Vista” in the ad.
Sure, these commercials are well thought out and somewhat funny; but is Apple’s mudslinging getting a little old? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to take part in our poll. You can watch the new commercials by visiting the Apple website.
This sexy MID has been dropping jaws for more than a year now. Unfortunately, the plastic mock-up has always been a non-working, gutless model with little more than a glossy screen and backlight to demonstrate the form factor Intel’s gunning for with its future Moorestown Mobile Internet Devices. That all changed today when a world’s first working, Moorestown prototype (which we think is the device above) hit the stage at Intel’s Taipei, Developer Forum in the familiar hands of Anand Chandrasekher. Moorestown consists of a Lincroft micro-architecture that integrates the 45nm processor, graphics, memory controller, and video encode/decode functions onto a single, tiny chip with 10x less idle power draw than those first-gen, Atom-based MIDs and UMPCs. That’s pretty Impressive. As we’ve heard before, we can expect the new Moorestown MIDs to hit in 2009 / 2010 with support for wireless 3G, WiMAX, GPS, Bluetooth and digital mobile TV. We can hardly wait. We’ll update you with video just as soon as we can track it down. Until then, check Anand’s original video demonstration of the concept from 2007 after the break.
For individual Mac users or small businesses, it’s usually not a problem deploying new Macs with a standard image — as a Mac support specialist, you might just load each machine manually. But imagine if you need to deploy hundreds or thousands of Macs, PCs, or XServes. You’d need a small army of techs or a way to do the job automatically.
That’s where DeployStudio comes in handy. This freeware tool can be used to create deployment files using Netboot, external USB or FireWire drives, or any AFP, SMB, or NFS sharepoint on the network.
DeployStudio works with Mac OS X 10.4.11 to 10.5.3 at this point, and is updated regularly to include new OS versions. The package consists of DeployStudio Server, DeployStudio Assistant, DeployStudio Admin, and diffPackageMaker.
DeployStudio Server creates a network based deployment server containing the images. Assistant is used to configure the server and to create the NetInstall sets, while Admin is used to monitor deployments, manage disk images and scripts, enter configurations, and more. diffPackageMaker can look at the difference between two file system snapshots and create installation packages based on what has been changed or added.
Detailed documentation PDFs and screencasts are available on the DeployStudio site.