Monthly Archives: February 2011

Can’t wait for WP7 copy paste? Maybe send your phone for OEM servicing (caveat)

Dying for copy and paste on your Windows Phone 7? It appears some OEM service centers have begun flashing phones with newer firmware and Windows Phone 7 ROM containing copy & paste functionality. Although this might sound like NoDo, it actually isn’t.

One xda-developers user “lonely2k5” who had his Samsung Omnia 7’s speaker replaced under warranty has received an unexpected surprise update to his phone. He reports that his phone is now sporting a KA1 firmware with an OS build of 7.0.7355.

Of course those familiar with build strings would know this is not the NoDo build that will be pushed out via the update, it being build 7389. Bizarrely, this user may have received an interim developmental build somewhere between RTM and NoDo. Considering how stubborn the WP7 update architecture appears to be, it’s questionable if official updates will work on his phone in the future.

Given the problems some Samsung owners ran into when applying the pre-NoDo update, it just might not be a bad idea to preemptively send your phone in for servicing. Who knows, you might get an in-development Mango build.

Apple shows how Shadow Copy is supposed to be done

Once again, Microsoft may have implemented the technology first, but Apple has turned it into a compelling end-user experience. Credit where credit is due for both parties.

The feature in question is Volume Shadow Copy which some of you might know of as “Previous Versions” introduced to the file properties dialog since Windows Vista. Even fewer of you might have even used it to recover an old file. If not, I don’t blame you since it’s neither well exposed and easy to use.

After OS X Lion is released in approximately a few months, it’s my guess many folds more users are going to love “Versions”. Why? Because even if they don’t need to recover a file, they’re going to enjoy the visual spectacle of traveling through time with their documents.

“Function over form” comes to mind with Microsoft’s approach with a traditional list control. Some might argue Apple’s is “form over function” but if you consider both the visuals of the preview and the timeline, you’d understand that the form is the function in this case. And the space background? It’s pretty.

Note: The UI for Versions is not unlike Time Machine introduced in Leopard, however that feature required an external drive to function, thus it was a backup feature.

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 adds split screen

I think Windows MultiPoint Server is one of the most interesting small product groups at Microsoft right now. They have an innovative solution built on top of Windows Server that does a superb job at reducing the complexities of their technology with potentially huge implications for multiseat computing in the long term.

Exactly a year after their first release, the team just announced their new version, Windows MultiPoint Server 2011, was released to manufacturing today. The new release adds an array of management and collaboration features along with support for LAN-connected and traditional RDP clients, however one particular feature stands out from all the rest, “split screen”.

What split screen enables is the ability to allow an additional user with their own keyboard and mice to share one screen with another user, side-by-side like in a game. Obviously this isn’t an ideal way to use a PC, but it is a great way to make the most of available resources in an environment where the budget never seems to be enough.

Check out the demo of split screen at the BETT education trade show last month.

First looks at Microsoft Australia’s new digs

Microsoft Australia’s head office in the suburb North Ryde of Sydney might not compare to the Redmond campus by size, but a recent renovation makes it probably one of the most stylistic Microsoft office anywhere in the world.

Thanks to a couple phone pictures courtesy of Deeps De Silva, Windows Product Marketing Manager, it appears the former cubicle-like layout has been completely replaced by an open-space format more commonly seen at trendy internet startups and Google. Although the renovations are still ongoing, “green leaves” seems to be the theme of the design, complete with what appears to be real tiny pot plants.

Check out all the pictures below.

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Microsoft Tag helps zombies overpower hippies

You may want to add Microsoft Tag to your arsenal against the ever-impending zombie apocalypse as a mobile-based alternative reality game played out a couple of months ago at the University of Colorado at Boulder has demonstrated.

Posters for “Zombies vs Hippies” around the campus teased people to scan a tag with their mobile phone which led them to a site that provided some back-story to the game. Players had objectives that involved entering codes, scanning tags and group missions that scored points both for the team and themselves. The person with the most points also scores a $500 gift card.

Although the student team from Boulder Digital Works, a creative technology program at the university, claims this was a physical and virtual game blended with the campus culture to meet and socialize with students on-campus, it’s result (zombies won) speaks volumes to how under-prepared we are.

Nano-coating technology: water-repellent on steroids

Microsoft Channel9’s Laura Foy recorded an amazing demo of a soon-to-be mass-market water-repelling technology being showcased at the Mobile World Congress 2011. The infamous Arthur C. Clarke quote “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” couldn’t be more true here.

I’m glad she got it on video because she would have had a hard time convincing people otherwise. “What do you mean the tissue was dry inside a bowl of water.”

Wikipedia has a brief but simple explanation of the magic science behind all this and there’s also some great demo videos on the P2i’s company website.

Although I’m not sure if it’s plausible, this could be an interesting way to make phones submersible. Imagine being able go for a swim with your phone in your pocket. Windows Phone 7’s pocket to picture feature would be even better, underwater.