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All posts tagged "microsoft"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pre-Order Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49.99, Limited Time Offer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 09:37 AM


You'll have to excuse the network-wide broadcast (well, except Apple Thoughts of course), but I thought this was something that everyone would want to know about: Microsoft is offering the forthcoming Windows 7 at a steep discount, but only for a limited time. Until July 11th, you can purchase Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49.99 USD (that's an Amazon affiliate link, so your purchase helps support Thoughts Media). The normal price of Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade is $119.99 USD, so that's a very significant level of savings ($70 to be precise). You can also pick up Windows 7 Business Upgrade for $99 if you want that version. When Windows 7 is released on October 22nd, Amazon will ship you the software.

The Windows 7 upgrade will work on a computer with Windows Vista or Windows XP installed. If you have an older computer, you may want to run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to make sure your computer is ready for Windows 7, but in general any computer built in the past four years should be able to run it just fine. Windows 7 is lighter on resources and works well across a broad spectrum of hardware.

Got a netbook? Then you'll want to take advantage of this offer as well - I'm running the Windows 7 Release Candidate on an MSI Wind, and an HP Mini 1000, and it works really well on both of them. I think Windows Vista is a fine operating system, but Windows 7 is even better - it addresses many of the concerns that people had with Windows Vista and adds a degree of polish that means everything is easier to use.

Unfortunately, this offer is only valid in the USA and Canada (Canadians can order from Amazon.ca, Future Shop, and Best Buy). as far as I can tell. Europe is getting a different version of Windows 7 due to the lawsuits Microsoft is undergoing there.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Engadget Gets Hands-On Time with the Zune HD

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 09:43 PM


"We managed to track down the beast and toy with it a bit, and we must say... the thing kind of rocks. In your hand the Zune HD has a nice, solid feel, with good heft to it and a surprisingly thin profile. The OLED screen looks absolutely stunning -- even at severe viewing angles, colors were super bright, edges were crisp, and text looked beautiful."

The lads at Engadget didn't get a video, but they did get a bunch of photos from all sorts of angles - and the Zune HD looks just as drop-dead sexy as I thought it would. It looks very slim and sleek, and more attractive than the rendered photos we posted the other day. Definitely worth checking out the gallery!

Gizmodo Gets Hands-On With the Zune HD

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 09:35 PM


"Having just played with a prototype for a few minutes, I'm really impressed with the Zune HD. I've got a video, too, showing off how well the animations work. The device is tighter and more physically beautiful than the iPod Touch and it's got a better UI, the main menu's scrolling so natural through the swipe gestures."

The boys at Gizmodo got a chance to check out the Zune HD in person, and managed to not only snap a bunch of geek-lust-incuding photos, they also managed to get it on video - and their camera person understood the whole "focus" thing a bit better. Video after the break. Read more...

C|NET Gets Hands-On Time with the Zune HD

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 09:27 PM


"As D: All Things Digital wrapped up Thursday, I got a quick chance to play around with the Zune HD that Microsoft plans to ship this fall. The software maker announced plans for the product on Tuesday and released a photo, but this is a product I was curious to see firsthand. The most striking feature from my brief look was the device's striking organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display."

This is one of several first looks at the Zune HD that have happened today - check out the video and I'll post the others shortly. All I can say is: WOW! That UI looks fluid. Oh, and the cameraman doesn't know how focus works.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Official Zune HD Press Release

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 02:00 AM

Microsoft Announces the Expansion of the Zune Entertainment Service to New Platform and Markets; Confirms New Zune HD Portable Media Player

Premium Zune digital entertainment service to be available internationally on Xbox LIVE.

REDMOND, Wash. - May 26, 2009 - Microsoft Corp. today announced the evolution of Zune, the company's end-to-end music and entertainment service, to a new platform and new markets. Zune will extend its video service to Xbox LIVE internationally this fall. This marks an important development in the Zune strategy and brings the Zune brand to more than 17 million international Xbox LIVE subscribers. In addition, Microsoft confirmed the next generation of the Zune portable media player, Zune HD. Available in the U.S. this fall, Zune HD is the first portable media player that combines a built-in HD Radio receiver, high-definition (HD) video output capabilities, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch screen, Wi-Fi and an Internet browser. Read more...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zune HD Size Calculations

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Articles & Resources" @ 11:30 PM


Josh Sorenson from Cruleworld's Lifestream, hit me up on Twitter and let me know he'd done some caculations - the Zune team is being tight-lipped on the specifications of the Zune HD, but assuming that the photos are accurate, with a known screen size we can figure out the size of the device itself. The big deal would seem to be the thickness - a mere 0.35 inches. For comparison's sake, the iPod Touch is 0.33 inches thick, so essentially the same. And that's really thin.

Say Hello to the Zune HD

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 09:50 PM

See, I had this plan tonight. I was out at a meeting and was getting home a full 45 minutes before the press embargo on the Zune HD was up, so Zune Thoughts would be one of the first sites to bring you the awesome news about the Zune HD. Then a site in the UK broke their embargo and everyone was allowed to publish the news...and I didn't realize that until I got home and checked my email. So that's why Zune Thoughts is bringing you this news late - hopefully when it come to actual hands-on time with the Zune HD, we'll be able to deliver something unique and special. Without further ado, here is the Zune HD and what I'm allowed to say about it so far (yes, there are a few bits of info that I know but can't share yet).

The Zune HD is designed from the ground up to take on the iPod Touch head to head. The hardware design is completely different from previous Zunes - one look at the sleek thinness tells you that. Microsoft wanted to get some information out about the Zune HD, but they're not spilling all the details just yet. Here's what we know for sure. Read more...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Windows Media Player to Support Streaming

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Software" @ 03:00 PM


"In the announcement of the impending release of Windows 7 RC (basically the final beta), Microsoft on Wednesday confirmed a rumor that I first saw reported by Zack Whitaker of ZDNet last month: a new feature called Remote Media Streaming will let you access the music library on your home PC from another computer over the Web. It's like Slingbox, only instead of accessing the cable box or DVR sitting in your home, you're accessing the music files stored on your home PC."

This would be an excellent feature to implement to the Zune. I mean, come on, the wi-fi is just asking for a killer application and this would be one of the few features that the iPod touch does not use its wi-fi for. Of course, this is probably a pipe dream since this is in WMP rather that the Zune's software.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Neowin "Confirms" Zune Will Go International This Year

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 05:50 PM


"After doing some digging, we can confirm that the release this fall will be international . While we were not able to get a list of countries that the Zune will ship to, we can confirm that it will be shipping to: Australia, China, and Europe. A company representative told me that there will be far more countries that the Zune will be shipping to. Stay tuned for more, including specs and pictures (We've seen the internal video!). I'll leave our readers with this: It's slim and you won't need a D-Pad. Feel free to speculate."

We pretty much knew that new hardware was coming this year, but the interwebs are blowing up over a single tweet from Brian Seitz where he confirmed that there's new hardware in the pipeline. People seem pretty excited about a new Zune, so that's good to see. The above quote from this Neowin article has more specifics than I've seen elsewhere - though I disagree with the use of "confirm" when they can't quote their source. At any rate, if this news is accurate, I'd say it's very big news indeed. Not only does it seem to firm up the rumour about an iPod Touch-like Zune (slim and no D-Pad), but it seems the Zune is finally ready to bust out of the confines of North America. Take this all with a large grain of salt mind you, because none of this is confirmed, but I think it's worth getting excited about! I wish I could add my own speculation into the mix based on what I learned spending two days with the Zune team, but I can't...I do hope though to be among the first to be able to provide you all with accurate information when the time comes.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Calling all Internet Explorer 6 Users

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Off Topic" @ 10:55 PM

This is somewhat random, but humour me. I've been involved in a discussion over email about browsers - specifically Internet Explorer 6 - and why people are still using it (and if they have a choice in the matter). In the case of Pocket PC Thoughts, in the past month 42.6% of all visitors are using some sort of Internet Explorer, and 42.3% are using Firefox. Of those Internet Explorer users, I was very surprised to see that 21.8% of them are still using IE6. IE6 is a highly problematic browser for developers to code for - so much so that there are several online movements to banish it once and for all - yet it's still being used in surprising numbers.

So if you're using IE6 on your computer that you use to access any of Thoughts Media Web sites, tell me why - I'm really curious! Is it that you're on a corporate computer and they've locked down installing any newer version of IE? Is it that you like IE6 and don't want to change to a newer version? Is it that your computer is messed up and IE7 or IE8 wouldn't even install? There are no wrong answers here, and I'd like to hear from as many of you as possible, so chime in...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Zune Software's Speed of Updating Music = Awesome

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Software" @ 02:42 PM

It's a small, but beautiful thing, when software impresses me - and today the Zune software impressed the heck out of me. I always knew it was quite fast at finding new music in a monitored folder, but I didn't realize how fast it was until today. I purchased and downloaded six tracks from the new Mstrkrft album for my wife (she digs electronic music) and after tweaking the metadata and fixing the file names using the always-awesome MediaMonkey, I moved the files up to my Windows Home Server and swung over to my media editing computer. The Zune software was already running on it, and I was amazed to see it pick up the new tracks on the network-shared drive - we're talking less than three seconds before it found the music. That's a beautiful thing. Compare that with Windows Media Center, which seems to not even find my new music half the time unless I kick off a manual update scan in Windows Media Player, and you can see why I use the Zune software on all my computers for listening to music. Good job Zune team! Even if you don't have a Zune, I honestly reccomend giving the Zune software a try - it's a great piece of software.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Microsoft at CES 2009: Keynote Highlights

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home Events" @ 03:45 AM

After a few minutes of beatboxing and a seemingly enthusiastic Gary Shapiro introducing Steve Ballmer on to the stage, Microsoft's keynote was under way. This was Ballmer's first keynote at CES since taking over from Bill Gates, who delivered it for the first time almost 15 years ago and has traditionally done so up until last year. The question on everyone's mind was whether this keynote would be as memorable as the last. In a time when the very word, "recession", strikes fear into both consumers and businesses, would Microsoft have enough up its sleeve to turn 2009 into a year of ambition, innovation, and prosperity?


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Microsoft at CES: Keynote at 6:30 PM, PST

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home Events" @ 10:55 AM


In a little under nine hours, Steve Ballmer and Robbie Bach will deliver the Microsoft keynote at CES. What's in store for Windows, Windows Mobile, Windows Live, Office, the Xbox 360, and Zune? You'll have to tune in at 6:30 PM (PST) to find out, or simply wait for our post-keynote report. Whatever tickles your fancy.

  • Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Seattle: Wednesday, 6:30 PM
  • Chicago, Houston: Wednesday, 8:30 PM
  • New York, Washington, D.C.: Wednesday, 9:30 PM
  • London: Thursday, 2:30 AM
  • Paris, Berlin: Thursday, 3:30 AM
  • Moscow: Thursday, 5:30 AM
  • Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong: Thursday, 10:30 AM
  • Perth, Tokyo: Thursday, 11:30 AM
  • Brisbane: Thursday, 12:30 PM
  • Sydney, Melbourne: Thursday, 1:30 PM
  • Auckland: Thursday, 3:30 PM

Live Webcast: 100k, 300k, 750k

Monday, November 24, 2008

Get Common's New Album for 99c on December 9

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Media" @ 10:30 AM


"Brace yourself for the music of the future with Common's new album, Universal Mind Control. The Zune staff loved this latest work from Common and wanted the world to hear it, starting with you. So, to help spread the word, for a limited time you can get the entire album for the price of just one song."

Hip-hop artist, Common (a.k.a. Common Sense), is releasing his new album, Universal Mind Control, on December 9 for just 79 Points (99c). It's a limited-time offer, and one that requires a small purchase, so take note.

First, install the Zune 3.x software if you haven't already, then purchase 400 or more Microsoft Points for your account. On the 9th, sign into the Zune Marketplace and add Universal Mind Control to your cart for 79 Points. Any remaining Points can be used to purchase additional Xbox or Zune content. It's that simple!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Zune 3.0 Now Available!

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Software" @ 04:40 AM


Zune 3.0 has arrived! You should already know what's new and improved, but in case you don't, here's the lowdown. On the desktop side, there's Mixview, Just for You, Now Playing, rich search functionality, and enhanced social features. On the device side, you can now access the Zune Marketplace wirelessly, plus enjoy Buy from FM, Zune Channels, games (Texas Hold 'Em and Hexic), audiobooks, and a clock. To download the Zune 3.0 software, simply visit Zune.net, or if you already have the Zune software installed, run it and wait for the update prompt. Once you have the Zune 3.0 software up and running, connect your Zune to download and install the 3.0 firmware.

We'll be covering all that's new in 3.0 as well as some other significant announcements later today. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Visiting Zune HQ for the Zune 3.0 Briefing

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Events" @ 01:10 PM

Along with my fellow Zune MVPs, nine of us in total, I spent Monday September the 8th visiting the Zune headquarters in Redmond, Washington. The MVPs in attendance were Chris Leckness from Got Zune, Patrick Heffner from Zune Tracks, Graham Skee from AnythingbutiPod, Drea from Beetstro, Harvey Chute from Zunerama, Paul Colligan from Zuneluv, Neville Williams from Inside the Circle, Stephan Shipman from Ihaveazune, and me. Here's what I learned about Zune 3.0. Read more...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Purchase Microsoft Points With Your Phone... In Japan

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 10:30 AM


What if filling up on Microsoft Points was as easy as picking up your phone and having the cost added to your phone bill? That's how it is for NTT DoCoMo users in Japan, and hopefully, that's just a starting point.

If Microsoft is working with other carriers to make this available around the world, great. If not, they probably should. A vast majority of Xbox Live Marketplace and Zune Marketplace users probably have a mobile device of some sort - some have their reasons against directly linking their Windows Live ID and credit card together, while others don't always want to make the trek to their local store to pick up one of the many Microsoft Points cards on offer, so this third option makes a lot of sense.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Microsoft Walks Away From Yahoo!

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 07:23 AM


"Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) today announced that it has withdrawn its proposal to acquire Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO). "We continue to believe that our proposed acquisition made sense for Microsoft, Yahoo! and the market as a whole. Our goal in pursuing a combination with Yahoo! was to provide greater choice and innovation in the marketplace and create real value for our respective stockholders and employees," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. "Despite our best efforts, including raising our bid by roughly $5 billion, Yahoo! has not moved toward accepting our offer. After careful consideration, we believe the economics demanded by Yahoo! do not make sense for us, and it is in the best interests of Microsoft stockholders, employees and other stakeholders to withdraw our proposal," said Ballmer."

What a dramatic three months it's been. The press release continues with a very detailed letter from Ballmer explaining why Microsoft's offering of $5 billion on top of the initial bid wasn't enough for Yahoo!, and why the proxy contest never too place. No Microhoo!, I guess. Now, I wonder if Goohoo! is on the cards.

Update: Yahoo! shares fell 22% in pre-market trading. NYSE opens in under an hour.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Microsoft Increases Offer By Several Dollars, Yahoo! Happy?

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 09:45 PM


"After a months-long standoff, Microsoft and Yahoo are in active merger talks, a person involved in the discussions said. Microsoft, which had threatened to abandon its bid, has increased its offer “by several dollars,” this person said. The merger talks represent an enormous breakthrough following weeks of behind-the-scenes discussions without any progress. Exact terms being discussed could not be learned. The talks would explain the silence from Microsoft this week as it has refused to disclose its plans, despite threatening to bring a proxy contest if Yahoo didn’t reach a deal with it by last Saturday. Seven days have passed without any announcement from Microsoft about how it intends to proceed."

Well, this is certainly a more civil approach to the proposed acquisition, and it would explain why Microsoft has been so tight-lipped on the matter this week. Will we actually see Microhoo! emerge at the end of all this? Time will tell.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Microsoft to Yahoo!: You Have Three Weeks... or Else

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 AM


"Dear Members of the Board: It has now been more than two months since we made our proposal to acquire Yahoo! at a 62% premium to its closing price on January 31, 2008, the day prior to our announcement. Our goal in making such a generous offer was to create the basis for a speedy and ultimately friendly transaction. Despite this, the pace of the last two months has been anything but speedy... During these two months of inactivity, the Internet has continued to march on, while the public equity markets and overall economic conditions have weakened considerably, both in general and for other Internet-focused companies in particular. At the same time, public indicators suggest that Yahoo!’s search and page view shares have declined. Finally, you have adopted new plans at the company that have made any change of control more costly. By any fair measure, the large premium we offered in January is even more significant today. We believe that the majority of your shareholders share this assessment, even after reviewing your public disclosures relating to your future prospects."

Just when you thought talks of an acquisition of Yahoo! were winding down, Microsoft shows up to deliver Yahoo! a stern notice. They've been given three weeks to accept the initial offer or to come to an alternate agreement that would be willingly accepted by both parties. Failing that, the rumoured proxy contest will be realized: Microsoft will go straight to Yahoo!'s shareholders, and attempt to elect a new Board of Directors that will allow the acquisition to go through. Popcorn, anyone?

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