Monthly Archives: April 2006

WMP11 Teaser Wallpaper

Sean Alexander, a Senior Program Manager (presumably eHomes division) at Microsoft released today a cool wallpaper featuring Windows Media Player 11.

About a month or so ago, cool new posters for Windows Media Player 11 started showing up around Microsoft’s Redmond campus in buildings. I thought it might make a good desktop wallpaper so I’ve converted it into a number of popular screen resolutions and aspect ratios.

What is interesting to note here is the appealing use of black, which seems to be a trait of Windows Vista. Also, I presume the icons are to represent the same interface found in WMP 11, what I noticed was subtle differences in the interface we have seen publically, and the interface shown.

  • The left and right seek arrows are double-arrowed, whilst the wallpapers shows single arrows
  • The left and right arrow buttons are much slimmer
  • The orb is has an inner glow in the public, the wallpaper shows glossy highlights

This goes to show that most interfaces are still being redesigned and touched up. I look forward to the final UI design for WMP11.

This design makes a great wallpaper. It’s dark coloured, features large blank areas, minimalistic and ‘fresh’. Although I would have to preferred it to be a little less branded, and therefore capture much more attention by onlookers.

Stepping into the world of 2GB RAM

There is much debate over whether 2GB of memory is worth it over 1GB. Some says certainly, some says it is neglectable.

Most use Battlefield 2 as the prime example to justify the need for 2GB, since it is a very memory intensive game, and the difference between 1GB and 2GB seems to be very obvious. I do play Battlefield 2, but not that much, so it’s not such a big factor to me.

I’ve just bought a 1GB kit off ebay to add to my existing 1GB. Its set to arrive in the next few days, I’ll give an update of how much difference there really is when I’ve installed it.

Update: Well, and I’ve been using 2GB of RAM for about 4 days now.

The biggest benefit can be seen with Battlefield 2. Previously, if I had to ALT+TAB out of Battlefield 2 on to the desktop, it would take at least 30 seconds of pagefiling for the system to return to a usable state. Now, the switch is almost instant. As soon as I ALT+TAB, I’m back on the desktop and can readily launch applications.

However, Windows otherwise does not show any significant differences with the extra RAM. Bootup speed is unchanged, and neither does applications load any faster.

Even though it might not be as benefitial as it sounds, its still benefitial. I look forward to how Vista will perhaps better handle memory and maybe even make full use of the extra RAM available.

Video review of Toshiba Portege M400 Tablet PC

I have created a video review of the Toshiba Portege M400 Tablet PC. This is my first ever video production, so this is more of a learning experience than anything. Also, I was using an old webcam to record to video, so the quality is pretty poor.

Because I don’t have any experience with video editing, I did about 100 takes for this. To say the least, my throat got very soar and I drank about 10 litres of water during. The final take, which I’m still not perfectly happy with, but I guess it’ll have to do after 6 hours of repetitive talking.

Update: Yay. I’ve made it on Memeorandum

Lack of internet payment choices

The only thing lacking in internet commerce currently is choices in payment systems. Today, buying on the internet is so efficient and cost effective that in some situations, you’d be silly to buy from brick and mortar shops.

With the introduction of even better retail experiences, for example, Valve’s Steam or Microsoft’s Digital Locker, buying legit software through these platforms offers better experiences through features such as licence management; never having to worry about losing discs or serial numbers.

Even though I would prefer to purchase through Steam for my games, I’m restricted by their payment systems. Like many other online retailers, they only accept credit cards. Whilst I won’t argue most people do have credit cards, there are still potential customers without them. I believe, for them, not to invest in system integration with more payment choices, they are even more disadvantaged.

If consumers purchase straight from the vendor, it’s a win-win situation. The consumer enjoys the costs avoided through convential distribution channels, and the vendor enjoys an 100% share of profits.

For me, I can’t and wouldn’t like to get a credit card purely for ethical reasons, however I’m happy to purchase through other systems such as Paypal or wire transfer. I would like to see online retailers open up their payment systems, and accept funds from a wider range of systems. The benefits could easily outweight the costs.

However, ANZ bank in Australia has recently introduced a Visa card that doesn’t offer credit, and only debits money in a regular savings account. Its an alternative I’m considering to avoid the negatives of a credit card, but enjoy the benefits of the wide acceptance of Visa.

Vista SKU features guide

Update: Since the release of Windows Vista, this information is now out-of-date. For the most accurate comparison, please visit the official Microsoft Windows Vista editions comparison page.

This information comes from the Windows Vista Product Guide, which is a summary of all the features found in Windows Vista.

Of course, Microsoft has already announced the many versions or SKUs, people began speculating what each version might contain and how will it be marketed. Now the speculation can end as the official feature-set for each version has been released.

Interesting points to note:

  • Dual core (and presumably multi-core) support can be found on all versions, including Home Basic. However, multi-CPUs is only limited to high-end versions.
  • An all-language (36 languages) user interface package is available on Enterprise and Ultimate editions.
  • Virtual PC Express is included on Enterprise and Ulimate. Sounds like a scaled-down version of the virtual machine application built into Windows.
  • Aero interface available on all version except Home Basic.
  • A set of new “premium” games is included in Home Premium and Ultimate packages.

The secret informations about Vista is slowly being released as there are just over 6 months until RTM.