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Archive for the ‘microsoft’ tag

The Tablet You Want Isn't What You'll Get

Posted on 10th Jan 2011 at 08:12 by bit-tech Staff with 43 comments

bit-tech Staff
It goes without saying that CES will see a lot of tablet launches. However, the tablet you really want is unlikely to be among them.

Why? Not through lack of innovation; it's more about economics and materials.

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Is this the decade PC gaming bounces back?

Posted on 26th Jan 2010 at 10:25 by Antony Leather with 41 comments

Antony Leather
I noticed a rather interesting trend in the uptake of the latest generation of consoles over the last few weeks. I don’t usually take much notice of them to be honest. I haven’t bought a new console since PC upgrades started being affordable to me, and it’s been that way since the N64 started showing its age.

However, the majority of ‘what was great in 2009' and general 'over the shoulder glance' articles about the previous decade's tech meant I couldn’t really avoid reading about the PS3 or Xbox 360. What I read lead me to an interesting idea.

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Zune HD versus iPod Touch: Round 2, Video

Posted on 23rd Nov 2009 at 10:28 by Richard Swinburne with 14 comments

Richard Swinburne
In the previous round of this face off between the Microsoft Zune HD and Apple iPod Touch, I concentrated on the music end of things. This time round I'll go into the video playback.

Firstly, the iPod Touch: media playback is pretty good with the nice sized screen suitable for both 4:3 and 16:9 content, although there's very little media support (basically just MP4) and you can't get subtitles unless you buy through the Apple store - something I flat out refuse to do because of DRM.

Comparatively, the Zune HD screen feels notably smaller, to the point where anything that isn't using the whole (very) widescreen format is almost squint-worthy. In that regard the iPod offers a better viewing experience unless you only watch widescreen videos.

Media support for the Zune is also very limited, but it accepts WMV as well as MP4, though most converters prefer the H.264 for MP4. Again, this means the ever popular MKV format is neglected on both parts - however the Zune will happily accept a full fat 720p MP4 and downscale it into its own native format - that's pretty neat! Although, a waste of storage if you're going to convert it from DVD/MKV/AVI anyway.

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Leaving Live Mesh and the mess Microsoft is in

Posted on 20th Nov 2009 at 11:24 by Alex Watson with 16 comments

Alex Watson
It’s not often PC Pro gets the drop on us in terms of new technology (unless you’re into laser printers), but they were well ahead when it came to Microsoft’s Live Mesh, and prompted by their enthusiastic praise, I gave it a try.

Live Mesh really is pretty nifty; sign up for an account, add your computer to 'the Mesh' (your own of group of machines) and any folders you select are uploaded to the servers. You can then access these folders and files via a web browser, or – and this is the brilliant bit – set them to by synced across multiple computers. Make a change to a file on one PC, and it’ll be uploaded to the servers, then downloaded when the other machines turn on so they all mirror each other.

For a while, in fact, it was so good, I wondered if it was the start of a turnaround for Microsoft.

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Zune HD versus iPod Touch: Round 1, Music

Posted on 19th Nov 2009 at 10:57 by Richard Swinburne with 26 comments

Richard Swinburne
Before my job moved to central London I never really spent enough time going anywhere that justified a mobile media device, but having to spend an hour door to door to get to work and home everyday presented itself with an opportunity to kill time.

So, about 6 months ago I bought myself a 16GB iPod touch. I'm sure you're all familiar with it since it's basically an iPhone but thinner. I've always been tempted by the great press Microsoft's ZuneHD was getting though. It seemed to offer more than the iPod, and greater functionality potential thanks to its Nvidia Tegra CPU that can output 720p h.264 video via HDMI without a hickup.

On a trip to California recently (thanks again, Kingston) I managed to pick a ZuneHD up and can now do do a side by side comparison with the iPod touch.

Which is a better media device? Well, let's break down the parts:

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How are you getting on with Bing?

Posted on 22nd Oct 2009 at 13:10 by Mark Mackay with 39 comments

Mark Mackay
Since the release of Microsoft’s new search engine named Bing, it’s been something of a hot topic. The company’s previous attempt at a search engine, Live Search, was a woefully lacklustre addition to Internet Explorer and something of a non-event for the world of internet search.

Clive blogged his thoughts about Microsoft being on to a winner with Bing while Alex thought otherwise. But has Google gone unchallenged for such a long time that it’s possible the search giant could be caught unawares by a decent newcomer?

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The Most Annoying Crapware

Posted on 16th Sep 2009 at 11:23 by Richard Swinburne with 67 comments

Richard Swinburne
What makes companies think it's OK to install extra crap you didn't ask for by default? There are numerous examples of this, from store-bought laptops that are preloaded with bloatware to toolbars that come included with your chosen browser. Even the most trusted sources and manufacturers have become involved with this crapware epidemic.

"Security" companies seem to to be most notorious offenders of all, constantly trying to weasel their way onto your PC when you don't want them to. Once they've invaded your registry and (previously) clean startup procedure so that they're nigh impossible to remove they begin their main task - pummelling you with notifications and subscription requests.

It's not limited to Microsoft (probably one of the worst facilitators of this) either; ATI, Adobe, Asus and Gigabyte are all guilty parties too and that's just off the top of my head. I'm sure many of you will fill me in with your experiences too, so go ahead - name and shame them!

Below, I've listed some of the worst and most annoying examples of bloatware and their carriers that I've found in the past few weeks.

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Bing will beat Google

Posted on 1st Jul 2009 at 11:47 by Clive Webster with 29 comments

Clive Webster
Alex wrote an interesting blog post about Bing, Microsoft's new search engine, last week. The gist of it was that Google is so successful that competing against it with a similar product isn't going to work - and as a result, his idea was that searching social sites such as Facebook and Twitter is probably the biggest threat to Google.

I feel that’s slightly missing the point. Bing, after all, is the default search engine for Internet Explorer, which is the default browser of the interweb, therefore as long as Bing just works and is good enough (in the same way that Google is now) no-one will see a need to switch. Far from Microsoft needing to up its game to beat the services of Google, it’s Google that needs to provide a compelling reason to switch the search engine of IE’s search bar from Bing to Google.

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When is a browser bigger than the platform it runs on?

Posted on 15th Jun 2009 at 11:52 by Tim Smalley with 16 comments

Tim Smalley
Whether or not Microsoft's decision to ship Windows 7 without a browser goes ahead, there are still other ways that it could, in theory, attempt to control the browser market with potentially underhand tactics. That, if anything, is what the EU should be looking at in its latest antitrust case against the software giant.

For instance, I've heard suggestions that Microsoft could tie OEM's Windows marketing money to Internet Explorer bundling in Europe - that's wrong if it happens and Microsoft should be punished if found guilty of such business practices.

Computing is moving into the cloud - we're moving to a model where your data will be available on any device with an Internet connection and a web browser. If you look at things in that way, the operating system is becoming less important and the browser is now more important than ever. With that in mind, it's easy to see why Opera is fighting so hard to have the EU intervene regarding Internet Explorer.

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Thank you EU Regulators, you have broken Windows 7

Posted on 12th Jun 2009 at 13:49 by Tim Smalley with 102 comments

Tim Smalley
It looks like the European Commission and Opera have got their way and Windows 7 will now ship without a browser installed in Europe.

It's fair to say that Windows 7 is now broken - Microsoft has said that its decision to ship Windows 7 without a browser installed means that it's no longer possible to upgrade from a previous version of Windows while keeping all of your settings, including your browser of choice. Instead, the European version (even the upgrade version) will require a clean install.

It's like a bad joke. It just isn't funny and is actually offensive. That the Commission think this is a good idea shows how far out of touch it is with reality in this instance.

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