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.
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.
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
With HP’s touchscreen laptop looming on the horizon, out come the leaks of an ASUS touchscreen lappie scheduled for launch in the first half of 2009. Touchscreen Eee PCs too (finally, right?) if DigiTimes‘ sources at panel makers are correct (which they tend to be with regard to ASUS). According to the Taiwanese industry rag, ASUS will likely use either a 12.1-inch or 11.6-inch touchscreen panel developed by AU Optronics (AUO) or Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO). What’s odd here is the claim by sources that the touch-panel notebooks “are expected to take advantage of Windows 7″ and presumably the new Microsoft OS’s multi-touch capabilities. Strange, since Windows 7 isn’t officially expected until sometime in early 2010 — a date looking more and more like a publicly padded goal to avoid the bashing Microsoft received for its Vista delays. The whispers certainly add a bit more credence to rumors of a 2009 release as expressed by Bill Gates himself, or more specifically June 3rd, 2009 as allegedly marked in the internal Microsoft calendar.
It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you’re looking for something decidedly larger and less flashy than the usual Xbox 360 replacement case, it looks like you’ll soon be able to get your fix courtesy of case-maker Lian Li, which is apparently set to release its Lian Li 360 case in just a few weeks. Among other things, this one promises a quieter operation courtesy of some air cooling and a 120mm fan, and relatively easy access to the internal components, although that of course does come at the expense of your warranty. No word on a price just yet, but Lian Li is apparently at least working to keep costs down, opting simply for aluminum side panels and standard screws instead of the more expensive thumbscrews it had originally planned.
Resisting the Microsoft takeover may effectively have ended the Yahoo careers of not only a number of board members, but also CEO and co-founder Jerry Yang
Icahn is stepping up his campaign to takeover Yahoo’s board and shake up the company’s leadership with tough talk. DailyTech has closely followed the ongoing drama between Icahn and board, which have significant ramifications on the possibility of a possible Microsoft merger.
This week Icahn delivered his hardest-hitting comments yet. In them he says that if his takeover is successful, he will seek to depose Yahoo co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang, whom he sees a roadblock to a merger. While Icahn was delivering his comments, Yahoo’s board was busily meeting to discuss possible limited partnerships with Microsoft or the possibility of outsourcing its search functions to Google Inc.
In an interview Icahn laid on the criticism thickly for what he believes are disingenuous actions on the part of the board and Yang in their willingness to consider an offer. He also accuses them of intentionally setting of an artificially costly employee-retention plant to deter a potential deal. Icahn comments, “I am amazed at the lengths that Jerry Yang and the board went to entrench themselves in this situation.”
He will seek to oust the current board at the annual shareholder meeting. He seeks to replace it with a Microsoft-merger-friendly dissident board, which includes billionaire buddy Mark Cuban. The meeting was originally set to be held on July 3, but it got pushed back August 1 by a nervous board. The board blasted back at Icahn in a statement, saying, “Yahoo’s board of directors, including Jerry Yang, has been crystal clear that it would consider any proposal by Microsoft that was in the best interests of its shareholders.”
A new Yahoo shareholder lawsuit just unsealed provides details which cast a surprising new light on the Microsoft-Yahoo saga. The suit refers to a refusal of an informal $40 a share offer from Microsoft in January 2007 when shares were trading between $26 and $29.
However, Yahoo and the board publicly stated that they would consider favorably offers of $37 a share or more. Microsoft had publicly stated that it was only willing to offer $34 or $35 a share, but it is entirely possible that it offered more behind closed doors. Unsurprisingly, a Yahoo spokesman said that the board was “not aware” of a $40 a share offer.
Along with the surprising revelation of possible deceit on the board’s part, the suit also provides details on the employee-retention program, which Icahn says was constructed as an artificial roadblock to a merger. The plan would apply to Yahoo employees who were fired without “cause” or had “good reason” to quit in case of a merger. Such employees would be awarded exceptional severance packages — as much as $15,000 in additional reimbursement, full pay for as much as two years, and medical and dental coverage for some months.
Based on his own calculations Icahn says the package would have cost Microsoft around $2.5 billion, which Microsoft was well aware of. This, Icahn said, helped to kill the deal. Yahoo contends the package would only cost between $462 million and $2.1 billion depending on the number of departing employees. Icahn points out that the plan contained seeming outlandishly flexible provisions, such as full severance (including full pay at their former salary) to any employees who saw their job descriptions change. Thus in the case of shuffling of responsibilities, some employees could be taking home two paychecks for one job, for over a year.
Icahn comments, “It’s no longer a mystery to me why Microsoft’s offer isn’t around. How can Yahoo keep saying they’re willing to negotiate and sell the company on the one hand, while at the same time they’re completely sabotaging the process without telling anyone?”
He states that trust between Microsoft and Yang has been completely lost and while Yang heads the company a merger is impossible. Indeed, Microsoft today is lukewarm about any potential deal.
The shareholder lawsuit brought against Yahoo has raised some startling accusations. If they hold true, the picture of the Yahoo-Microsoft saga may change from one that seemed to be a dueling battle of egos, to that of a faltering company trying to jealously and deceptively hold on to its independence at the expense of its shareholders. If this proves true, it will surely aid Icahn in his efforts to oust the board and Yang.