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Photoshop CS4 to Have 64-Bit Version... But Only on Windows

In the past, Macs were sometimes argued to be better for image editing than Windows-based PCs. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if this was true or a complete myth, but it looks like things may not be like that anymore with the introduction of Adobe's Windows-only 64-bit version of Photoshop Creative Suite 4. Until now, Adobe has strived to ensure that both the Windows and Mac versions of Photoshop come with similar features. However, due to a choice by Apple not to make the Carbon technology that is used to develop Photoshop available as 64-bit, Adobe has decided it will not be providing a 64-bit version of CS4. Adobe's product manager for Photoshop, John Nack, said:
We're not going to ship 64-bit native for Mac with CS4. We respect Apple's need to balance their resources and make decisions right for that platform. But it does have an impact on developers.
Adobe's preliminary testing suggests that the 64-bit version of Photoshop CS4 will offer a performance boost of 8-12%, with the benefits being much greater for memory-intensive tasks due to its ability to take advantage of more than 4GB of memory.

Windows 7 Confirmed for 2010

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 7 is on track for release in 2010. During its internal "MGX" global sales meeting this week, Microsoft witnessed that the code name for Vista's successor is "Windows 7" and the project is due to see light in approximately three years.
We are currently in the planning stages for Windows 7 and development is scoped to three years from Windows Vista Consumer GA. The specific release date will be determined once the company meets its quality bar for release
a Microsoft spokesperson revealed to Softpedia via email. Outside of the confirmation quoted above, Microsoft did not comment more on Windows 7.

ASUS Officially Launches Eee PC with Microsoft Windows Operating System

Amidst great expectations, ASUS today launched the ASUS Eee PC pre-installed with Microsoft Windows XP. This new offering of the ever-popular Eee PC promises to let users enjoy an efficient online and work management experience with the incorporated Windows Live and Microsoft Works features. This will help create additional opportunities for students and other personal PC users who desire a portable and affordable PC to easily access the Internet virtually anywhere.

Microsoft Cuts Vista Retail Prices

Microsoft has decided that Windows Vista isn't flying off the shelves quite as quickly as it would like and has issued a price cut for three of the retail versions of the software. The retail version of Windows Vista Ultimate will see its price fall by $80 from $399 to $319, and the upgrade versions of Vista Ultimate and Home Premium will have price cuts of $40 and $30 respectively, meaning they'll now set you back $259 and $129. The price cuts will apply to 70 countries world-wide (although figures may vary slightly), and will come into place with the introduction of Service Pack One for Vista. Microsoft has already sold over 100 million copies of the operating system since its release late in 2006, but sales have been hindered slightly by users preferring to stick with Windows XP rather than move to Vista.

Windows Live 'SkyDrive' Storage Increased to 5GB

One day, a dude working for Microsoft checked his G Mail account, and then checked his Live account. He noticed that he could shove a lot more stuff on his G Mail account than he could his Live account. To be precise, Live used to hold 1GB of digital goodies, while G-Mail can hold 6.4GB. And so, this dude brought this issue to the dudes in charge of developing and maintaining Windows Live, and bumped up Skydrive storage to 5GB. This move will make several dudes who subscribe to Windows Live quite happy, and makes Live more competent with the likes of Yahoo, AOL and of course G Mail. Live Skydrive storage is officially out of beta, and available in several countries around the globe.

Microsoft Makes WGA Smarter

Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage software, which was designed to prevent piracy, is doing anything but. Cracks that get around, or even shut off, WGA are easily found by true pirates, while innocents are bagged for piracy when they've never even heard of the term. Fortunately, Microsoft has figured out how to make WGA friendly. Instead of WGA trying to use fancy code to find out if the Windows copy it is attached to is hacked, WGA will now search for the presence of common hacks, and only common hacks. This will drastically reduce the number of false flaggings, and make WGA a lot friendlier. Another large change is that the Vista version of WGA will no longer feature a "kill switch", or go into reduced functionality mode when WGA calls a hacked copy. Instead, there will be a long, politically-correct stream of dialog boxes that won't go away until you've validated. Microsoft made no mention of when this new, superior version of WGA will fly out factory doors.

Windows XP SP3 RC2 Publicly Available

Microsoft has now made the second release candidate of Windows XP's third service pack available to the public, which can be obtained via Windows update after downloading a registry patch from Microsoft. You can download the registry patch here [38KB], but before you do so it is recommended that you remove any previous beta or release candidate version of SP3 from your system. The RTM version of the service pack should become available during the first half of 2008.

Blogger Compiles List of 50 Reasons to Switch to Mac OS X

Somebody took the time and effort to write a fairly neutral list of reasons why people should switch from any Microsoft operating system to Mac OS X. The full list is available at the source link, but I think you might be interested in what made the top five.
  • It seems that the future of Windows development is happening largely for corporate environments and customers.
  • Excellent power management in OS X. When I close the lid to my MacBook Pro, it falls asleep. When I open the lid to my MacBook Pro, it wakes up. Imagine that!
  • I'm ready to experience different frustrations. OS X isn't perfect, certainly - but I already see its noticeably more stable than Windows Vista has been. Kernel Panics at least look prettier than BSODs.
  • There's more interesting, useful, beautiful, and affordable software being developed for OS X
  • VMWare Fusion

Microsoft Responds to 'Save XP' Petition

The folks over at Redmond are very serious when they say that they're trying to make Windows a product developed with a lot of user feedback. The 'Save XP' petition that we reported on yesterday got some recognition by Microsoft. Beating extreme improbabilities, and documenting one of the few times a petition actually does something, Microsoft acknowledged the users' concerns, and promised that fresh Windows XP licenses will be around as long as partners and customers feel like they need them. In the words of a Microsoft spokesperson...
We're aware of it, but are listening first and foremost to feedback we hear from partners and customers about what makes sense based on their needs. That's what informed our decision to extend the availability of XP initially, and what will continue to guide us.

Microsoft Releases List of Most Notable Changes in Windows Vista SP1

The 21 page document can be found in both XLS and PDF format.

Both can be downloaded from Microsoft.

In case you don't feel like sifting through 21 pages of Microsoft's PR team at their finest, I took the liberty of summing up the summary. Basically, Microsoft took in a lot of user feedback, and mushed it into Vista Service Pack 1. Service Pack 1 addresses a ton of specific reliability and performance issues. Microsoft even went so far as to re-do the Vista kernel.

Microsoft Warns Users Against Using VLite

Windows Vista is known for a lot of things. Among them is eating memory, both in storage and RAM, like a fat kid through cake. The folks who made VLite, a program designed to let you custom-build a Windows Vista disk without a lot of things you don't need, were very proud of what their program was doing for people who liked a streamlined operating system. Unfortunately for VLite, Microsoft has sent a look of scorn at the makers of the software. A public outcry asks, why? After all, VLite keeps people using Vista, instead of letting them come to the conclusion that XP is more streamlined, and should be used in place of Vista. However, Microsoft's reason for not liking VLite actually makes a lot of sense. When users go merrily chopping programs and processes willy-nilly, they risk keeping Windows Vista from updating properly in the future. Basically, Windows Update would try to update a component that isn't there, making parts of Windows unstable, and possibly bricking the whole system.

As long as you understand the risks, though, and know what you're doing, using VLite should not be a problem, and Microsoft is not going to make VLite copies of Vista illegal.

OS X Suffered Over Five Times More Vulnerabilities than Windows in 2007

A few years ago, one of the biggest weapons in a Mac user's arsenal for any Windows vs OS X debate was that Apple's operating system was more secure than Microsoft's. However, the statistics compiled by ZDNet (which are shown in the table below) tell a very different story for this year. Combined, Windows XP and Vista saw a total of 44 flaws, whilst Max OS X experienced 243 - over five times more. Overall, Macs had 234 highly critical vulnerabilities compared to just 23 for Windows, although admittedly Mac OS X had no extremely critical flaws, whilst Windows had four. This would seem to suggest that the tables have turned a little, which could well be linked to the fact that Macs have become more popular over the last couple of years and as a result there is a greater incentive to hack them.

Microsoft Offers Free Software in Return for Your Privacy

Microsoft has made an interesting offer to PC users - in return for participating in its Windows Feedback Program, you can receive a 'free' copy of software titles including Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate, Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007, Microsoft Money Plus Premium Edition, Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008 and Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008. However, as you would expect from Microsoft, this so-called free software comes with a price. If you participate Microsoft will ask you to do a survey once a week and will collect data about the following:
We are looking for information that will help us understand problems you encounter with Windows, how you have configured your computer and Windows, what hardware you are using, and general information about how you are using Windows and Microsoft Office products on your computer.
Microsoft will basically be collecting all sorts of information, including hardware details, Control Panel settings, file and folder information and usage statistics for Windows and Office as well any problems you encounter with them. So if you value your privacy less than a copy of Windows Vista, this could be for you. Or perhaps you could just install it on a secondary system and get a free piece of software for that?!

Update: Apparently Microsoft has already had too many people register, so it's reached its limit for free software giveaways. You can still register for the program, but you won't receive anything in return.

Microsoft Releases Tool to Block Upcoming Service Packs

With the company putting the finishing touches to no less than three major service packs at the moment, Microsoft has released a tool which will allow users to prevent them from being automatically downloaded. The Windows Service Pack Blocker Toolkit lets users block XP SP3 and Vista SP1 for up to one year, and Server 2003 SP2 until March next year. There are three versions - an executable, a script and a group policy template - so take your pick. This is recommended for any users worried about potential security and stability issues that may result from installing the service packs.

Windows is 22 Years Old This Week

On November 20, 1985, Microsoft unveiled Windows 1.0, and it began seeing mass-adoption by users this week. While Microsoft seems content with just letting the anniversary of the landmark operating system pass away, Windows lasting this long says plenty about it's quality and power. While some people love it, and others hate it, for various reasons, Windows has been growing ever since that week in 1985. The words Bill Gates said as he pushed Windows 1.0 out of factories are quite fitting for the anniversary:
Windows provides unprecedented power to users today and a foundation for hardware and software advancements of the next few years. It is unique software designed for the serious PC user, who places high value on the productivity that a personal computer can bring.
As a bit of nostalgia, the original version of Windows was $99USD, just like the Nintendo 64 and original Sony Playstation. Windows 1.0 also introduced Microsoft Write and Microsoft Paint to the computing scene.

Microsoft Windows Vista Nears 8% Market Share

Despite of widespread critics among certain groups of end-users, Microsoft Windows Vista operating system (OS) captured additional part of the market in October, whereas other operating systems from Microsoft reduced their installed base. At the same time, platforms from Apple reduced the shares of the market they command. In September the share of Windows Vista-based personal computers used to browse the Internet was close to 8%, 7.91% to be precise, up insignificantly, according to data collected by Net Applications, a provider of Web tools. The shares of Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems decreased to 3.16% and 79.07%. The share of systems based on Mac OS decreased to 6.55% in October, down from 6.61% a month before. Other operating systems, namely outdated Windows versions, Linux OSes and so on, which have been losing market share for many months now, are now used in 3.31% of devices that are browsing online.

Microsoft Getting Closer to OLPC Operating System

Software giant Microsoft is making progress in creating a modified version of its Windows operating system designed to run on the XO laptop built by the One Laptop Per Child project. Microsoft Corporate Vice President Will Poole said:
We're spending a nontrivial amount of money on it. We remain hopeful with our progress to date, we still have significant work ahead to finalize our analysis and testing processes. At the end of the day, there's no guarantees.
The OLPC project intends to start producing its laptop next month, which is designed for elementary school children in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The laptops were originally designed to run Linux, however Microsoft hopes to develop a cut-down version of Windows in order to install it on the XO, with the biggest issues being reducing the power consumption and the space required by the operating system in order for it to run efficiently.

Microsoft Patch Slows Computers to a Crawl

Microsoft's automatic updates system has once again found itself in the limelight following an issue with Windows Desktop Search 3.01 which has slowed thousands of computers and is causing havoc for IT technicians around the world. Despite client computers being configured only to update currently installed software, numerous blogs have reported that the Desktop Search software is installing itself and then hogging resources by loading an indexer, resulting in client computers slowing to a crawl and file servers struggling with the increased load. A Microsoft spokeswoman says the company is looking into reports, but IT administrators won't be too impressed with Windows Update at the moment as this comes just weeks after news that the update services secretly downloads and installs updates even on computers with automatic update disabled.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Video Previews

IGN has released some videos for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. They are located in the PC section, but are marked with 360. So it makes it hard to say on which version they are showing. In one of the videos it states that the PC and PS3 version will be identical to each other. The game its self looks very promising, and could bring a lot fun to FPS fans when it is released.

You can check out the videos here.Source/Videos: IGN

Vista Service Pack One Enters Testing

Things are still a little cloudy, so take this with a pinch of salt, but a number of Microsoft's software testers claim to have received an early version of the first service pack for Windows Vista. Apparently a few testers have given ZDNet a tipoff, although each tester has come forward with a different build number, which suggests that Microsoft could even be using them to track down anyone who gives away information about new features, but it's equally possible each tester is just running a different build. The screenshots below are from WinBeta and supposedly show a version of Vista with the service pack installed, although there is still very little which will be of interest to most people. The private beta had been rumoured for mid-July, with a public beta following soon afterwards and a final version coming as soon as November this year, although Microsoft has not given any official confirmation of this. Hopefully more information will become available soon, but it looks like the first service pack could be here soon.

XP Service Pack Three Still on the Cards

Despite there once being rumours of Microsoft dropping service pack three for Windows XP, the software giant has now confirmed that it still intends to keep its old operating system up-to-date with at least one more service pack. Although no information about major changes has yet been leaked, a Microsoft spokesperson said the following:
We're currently planning to deliver SP3 for Windows XP in the first half of calendar year 2008. This date is preliminary, and we don't have any more details to share at this time.
By that time, service pack two (which was quite a huge security update) will have been around for about four years, and given the slow start for Windows Vista, Microsoft may have no choice but to continue supporting its larger consumer market for a few years yet if it doesn't want to upset millions of customers. However, considering that Windows XP is now very secure and stable, the next service pack could turn out to be little more than a bundle of Windows Update patches - unless Microsoft intends to integrate features from Vista such as user account control, which is very unlikely.
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