Monthly Archives: October 2007

Mediaroom Personal Server not so personal, a development tool for 3rd-party developers

MediaroomMicrosoft’s ingenious naming conventions has failed me miserably. A knowledgeable person has contacted me and corrected my prediction about what the Mediaroom Personal Server is. It is not, as “personal” might suggest, a consumer product. It is a development platform for third-parties to develop Mediaroom solutions with.

The server allows the full Mediaroom environment to be simulated for the purpose of third party development. Currently this product is only available to the content providers (ex. AT&T, BT), and third-party participation in the development program requires sponsorship by one of these customers making it quite an involved process. Which is why Microsoft’s working on making this server available to more mainstream developers for developing on the Mediaroom platform.

But seriously, the Mediaroom people couldn’t have picked a more misleading name. Wouldn’t have “Mediaroom Development Server” worked so much better?

ESET AU offers free ‘upgrades’ from other AVs: how companies should treat their competitors’ customers

ESETOften just because you’re using a product that is in direct competition to a company’s offerings, you’ll be treated like second-class citizens who don’t know what’s good for them. Security software companies aren’t known for their kindness or generosity to each other, so what ESET Australia announced today deserves to be recognized.

Currently limited only to Australians, owners of anti-virus suites from other vendors (ex. Norton, McAfee) will be offered a free “cross-grade” license of the upcoming ESET Smart Security software equal to the remainder of their current license term (with maximum of 1 year). Existing owners of NOD32 will also be able to acquire a free upgrade.

ESET Smart SecurityESET Smart Security

After hearing all the good things about ESET’s NOD32 anti-virus – lightweight and effective, I’ve been keen to try it and maybe replace the functional but hideous-looking AVG Free. Perhaps my procrastination is even paying off with the imminent release of NOD32 version 3 and the new Smart Security package on November 5. Both of which not only looks to be extremely capable but also polished interface-wise to fit in well on Windows Vista.

In detail, the offer does not discriminate for what type of security product you own a license for, whether it be purely anti-virus or an anti-everything bundle, as long as there is proof of purchase. As you might have guessed, owners of free anti-virus are not eligible nor OEM versions (with purchase of computers). Also, multi-users licences are only offered a single license.

I urge everyone who is eligible to take up the offer because there’s everything to gain and nothing to lose. Your existing license remains valid so if everything fails, you can also go back. This is a brilliant marketing idea I think should be adopted more often. Definitely one-up from the uninspired 30-day product trials.

P.S. Maybe for the first time in software history, the new version of NOD32 will be the same price as the current version.

Update: Clarifications from ESET. Because ESET only offers single-user licences for home consumers, multi-user home licences from other vendors can only be exchanged for a single-user licence. However business multi-user licences can be exchanged for multi-user ESET licences. In addition, anyone who buys NOD32 from now till Dec 31 is eligible for a free upgrade to Smart Security.

Mediaroom Personal Server, available Dec 29

Microsoft MediaroomMicrosoft might have just got the Mediaroom party started four months ago, but already dozens of providers around the world are drinking the kool-aid and having a good time. The much anticipated XBOX 360 integration is also crashing in any day now, but Microsoft’s got one last party trick, called the “Mediaroom Personal Server”.

On the generously detailed Microsoft Support Lifecycle’s portal, where it lists the support availability dates for all previous, current and upcoming Microsoft products, features an entry for “Mediaroom Personal Server“. The general availability date provided is “12/29/2007”.

Mediaroom Personal Server support lifecycle

Okay, I have to admit, I have no idea what the Mediaroom Personal Server is. But thanks to Microsoft’s ingenious naming conventions, you can’t be too far off with a guess either. It is definitely a consumer-orientated software or device bundle, much like Windows Home Server, which serves as an aggregator and hub for your Mediaroom devices.

Some of the scenarios I can think of with a ‘personal media server’ includes letting you rip and store your DVDs for instant access, let you subscribe to vidcasts which it will automatically download and archive, or even just manage all of your scheduled recordings including remote recordings from web access.

So far, there’s not even one reference to this product anywhere on Google besides Microsoft’s support page. It is definitely not something they’ve mentioned in passing. However since it’ll be available in exactly two months, I’m pretty sure it’s being worked on very hard.

Update: Or not. By a mile. Apparently it’s not even a consumer product, instead a virtual Mediaroom environment for third-party developers.

Microsoft’s Mix On Campus Australia in November

Microsoft Australia really knows how to treat students. They were the first in the world to offer tertiary students a copy of Office Ultimate for just $75 bucks, and now they’re hosting an event just for students around Australia. Today they’ve opened registrations for Mix On Campus, a free one-day event exclusively for students and lecturers involved in multimedia or web development.

MIX On Campus

Whilst Microsoft’s other events generally either run straight through a school week and cost a leg to attend, not only is Mix On Campus scheduled to run after everyone’s end-of-year exams, it is also free to attend. Plus, you could also be in the running for some free prizes so if you’re really cheap, you could always eBay them for a little profit. Now there’s no reason not to attend.

Even if you don’t drink the Microsoft kool-aid, it’s a great time to catch up with other students around the city and meet with industry experts who will be speaking whilst drinking some other flavored beverage. The session details and speakers have not yet been confirmed but if it’s anything like its relative ReMIX was, there should be some great content and learning opportunities. Of course expect Silverlight and Expression to be there.

Keep and eye out on the official event blog as well as the Microsoft AU Academic blog for news and updates, but make sure you register as soon as possible because seating is limited. Here is a summary of the events, registration link and Facebook groups.

Brisbane
Tuesday, 20 November, 10am-4pm
QUT City Campus – Room 117, B Block, 2 George St, Brisbane
Register
Facebook group
Map of venue
Melbourne
Monday, 26 November, 10am-4pm
Melbourne Conference Centre (near RMIT), 333 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Register
Facebook group
Map of venue
Sydney
Friday, 30 November, 10am-4pm
UTS City Campus – Guthrie Theatre, Building 6, 702 Harris Street, Ultimo
Register
Facebook group
Map of venue

I’ll definitely be at the Melbourne event. Now I better get back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Update: The address for the Melbourne event seems to be wrong on the blog. I’m certain it’s at the Melbourne Convention center, which is at Southbank, not on Swanston Street. Update 2: Nope, it’s at the Conference Center on Swanston Street.

Win a RF Vista Media Center remote from James Senior

RF Vista Media Center remote from KeyspanIt’s been a while since I’ve ran a giveaway so James Senior, my giveaway nemesis has decided to take this opportunity and host a giveaway of his own. The prize is a RF-powered remote for Windows Vista Media Center from Keyspan.

Normally Windows Media Center remotes, or most remotes for that matter work on the infrared technology. A neat trick to ‘see’ the infrared is to hold up your mobile phone’s camera towards the emitter and press a button the remote. You should see a bright white light because unlike handheld cameras, the lens on a camera phone does not filter infrared light.

The benefit of a radio-frequency remote is that you do not need direct line-of-sight to operate. It can work behind walls and furniture in a range of 90ft (27.4m). Say if you want to change the channel on your living room Media Center whilst in the bathroom on the opposite side of your house, you probably can. Why you would want to is another matter.

To enter in the competition, you’ll have to email James with your favorite feature in Vista Media Center. He’ll be picking the best answer so it’s probably good idea to bribe. I hear he accepts PayPal and Visa, sorry Mastercard users.

A380 flies today from Sydney to Singapore

Count down to the world’s first A380 commercial flight

For a second now (and only a second because I can’t stand the congestion), I wish I lived in Sydney. Today, the world’s first commercial Airbus A380 flight going to take place between Sydney Australia and Singapore (flight SQ380). The charity event organized by Singapore Airlines and hundreds of sponsors marks a pretty proud moment in aviation and engineering history. Regular three-per-week service will begin on Sunday the 28th between Sydney, Singapore and London.

The tickets were auctioned on eBay raising over S$1.9M (equiv. US$1.3M) in donations, all of which are going to be split between a Singaporean, Australian and international humanitarian organization.

I look forward to flying in one of these in the future. Hopefully the inflight entertainment system won’t disappoint. 😉