Windows Mobile 6.5

Windows Mobile 6.5 is the next version on the road map, as accidentally revealed by a Motorola Exec!

WIth Windows Mobile 7 looking likely for a late 2010 release, we can expect WinMo 6.5 to be with us in the 2nd half of 2009. There’s currently no word as to which features will be in 6.5 and which won’t appear until V7.

I’m excited to see what new features are contained in this as 6/6.1 had some great new stuff. Hopefully this will be an upgrade from 6.1 so I can get it on my HTC Diamond!

Microsoft SecondLight

The Microsoft SecondLight device is seriously cool…it’s like the Surface…but even better!

It’s quite hard to explain in words what it does without making it sound rubbish and/or pointless. It can display one image on the table and then another image through that which is viewable through paper placed on the table..if that doesn’t make sense, I’m sorry…but the picture below show’s what I mean. The Surface is displaying the pic of the car and then you can also see the blueprint..

A cool video demo can be seen here (warning: Will open in Windows Media Player)

I saw this through a combination of Gizmodo & PCPro..

Hyper-V 2.0

Hyper-V 2.0 features are already being discussed. Microsoft’s already great Virtualization product is going to get even better!

The next version of Microsoft’s Hyper-V is going to include:

·         Live Migration (utilising a new Clustered Shared Volumes technology)

·         32 Logical Proc Support

·         Hot Add/Remove Storage

·         Second Level Address Translation – Leveraging new Virtualisation technology built into next generation of Intel/AMD chips

·         Dynamic Memory

·         Boot from VHD

·         Networking Improvements

·         Virtualised I/O

As I get more info, I’ll let you know..I saw the above over at VirtualBoy.

For me, the Live Migration will be a great addition as that’s one of the main differences between Hyper-V and ESX and I think it gives some people the impression that Hyper-V must be lacking elsewhere too (which isn’t the case). The addition of LIve Migration will certainly help increase the adoption rate of Hyper-V..

It looks like we’re quite close to the beta’s being available..



Windows 7 Features Announced

A number of Windows 7 features have been announced today (28/10/08) at the Microsoft PDC 2008. The vast majority of the features we saw today were for the consumer but fear not, Microsoft promise there are numerous Enterprise related additions too! These include:

  • Federated Search: Deliver a consistent experience finding file across PCs, networks, and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server systems.
  • DirectAccess: To link users to corporate resources from the road without a virtual private network.
  • BranchCache: To make it faster to open files and Web pages from a branch office.
  • Bitlocker ToGo: Data protection for removable devices.
  • Refined Universal Access Control: To give fewer prompts for users and more flexibility for IT.
  • PowerShell and group policy management.
  • Client virtualization: With virtual desktop infrastructure enhancements, to improve memory utilization and user experience.
  • Device Center: To provide a single place to access all connected and wireless devices with Device Stage, to see status and run common tasks from a single window.
  • HomeGroup: To make it easier to share media, documents, and printers across multiple PCs in offices without a domain.

Direct Access:

“DirectAccess in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 enhances the productivity of mobile workers by connecting them seamlessly and more securely to their corporate network any time they have Internet access—without the need to VPN.”

Anything that means we don’t need to use VPN’s is brilliant! I find they rarely work as well as end users need them to and they can make a System Admin’s life difficult, so removing VPN’s could be enough to make the detractors forget all about Vista!

“With DirectAccess, IT administrators can manage mobile computers by updating Group Policy settings and distributing software updates any time the mobile computer has Internet connectivity, even if the user is not logged on.”

“To keep data safer as it travels public networks, DirectAccess uses IPv6-over-IPsec to encrypt communications transmitted across the Internet. DirectAccess can use split-tunnel routing, which reduces unnecessary traffic on the corporate network by sending only traffic destined for the corporate network through the DirectAccess server (running Windows Server 2008 R2)…”

Bitlocker To Go:

With all the lost data flying around these days, BitLocker To Go extends the proven BitLocker technology to removable USB devices, securing them with a passphrase. “In addition to having control over passphrase length and complexity, IT administrators can require users to apply BitLocker protection to removable drives before being able to write to them”.

Administrators can still allow unsecured USB devices to be used in a Read-Only mode and policies are also available to require appropriate passwords, smart card, or domain user credentials to utilize a protected removable storage device.

A related addition is AppLocker which is “a flexible, easy-to-use mechanism that enables IT professionals to specify exactly what is allowed to run on user desktops.” It uses “publisher rules” that are based on digital signatures so, with correctly structured rules, you can deploy updates etc without having to create new rules.

Virtualization Enhancements

Virtual Desktop Infrastructire (VDI) in Windows 7 is closer to the experience of a local PC now with support for Aero, video viewing in Media Player 11 and multiple monitor configurations. New microphone support enables remote desktops running WIndows 7 Enterprise to provide VOIP & speech recognition functionality. Last, but by no means least, is Easy Print which allows users to print to local printers without installing drivers on the server.

You can see more info on the Microsoft site here.

The guys over at ActiveWin have got a great, in-depth review of the Windows 7, M3 Preview which contains any number of screenshots and a whole host of info. Some of the bits that caught my eye were:

Location Aware Printing:

In Windows 7, you no longer need to select the printer to match your location. When you change network locations, such as taking your work laptop home for the evening, the default printer setting can change to reflect the best printer for that new location. When you print at work, Windows 7 will print to your work printer. When you print at home, Windows 7 will automatically select and use your home printer.

Media Player 12 will ship with Windows 7 and according to ActiveWin: “this new version features radical changes to its menu structure, with some menus positioned on the left and right sides of the interface…and features two thick toolbars of controls, the second one focusing on traditional features such as Organization, Sharing, Playlist and Search…Common media formats supported include WMV, WMA, MPEG-4, AAC and AVC/H.264.”

Ultra Wideband (UWB) and Wireless USB (WUSB):

UWB and WUSB are new technologies that provide wireless alternatives to USB cables. Support for UWB and WUSB in Windows 7 lets you take advantage of new wireless devices and wireless USB hubs.

Libraries also seem like a really cool multimedia feature. I’m forever duplicating files as I can’t find where I saved them, creating numerous folders in different places all with the same names and finally just keeping stuff on my desktop so I don’t lose it. None of this leads to a brilliant user experience at home or at work and this is where Windows 7 libraries come in.

With Libraries, you can not only organize, but view and manage files that that are stored in more than once place. This reduces the need to view files even when they are stored in different folders. Libraries are so powerful that they even span different disk drives and/or PCs on your home network. There are a range of options for organizing and browsing, by type, date taken or genre depending on the file type.”

On top of this, there is the already well known addition of touch and multi touch capabilities to Windows 7. If you’ve got a touchscreen monitor, or more likely a Tablet PC, you can open things from the Start Menu etc by pressing them. MultiTouch will let you zoom in and out on images by moving 2 fingers together/apart as needed and more..

Another new feature of Windows 7 will be the ability to re-order applications on the taskbar…I think this is awesome! This is one of those little things that has annoyed me for years and will finally be gone. I have a certain order that I like my applications to be in and I always have Outlook as the first program. However at the minute if I have to re-start Outlook it ends up buried on my Taskbar between to IE windows or something..and then it takes me a little while each time I need to go back Outlook.

I’ve asked around the office and this addition is met with unanimous approval!

Something else I’ve just seen on is that you can schedule desktop background changes with WIndows 7, I think that’s quite a neat touch!

Over at ZDNet, Ed Bott has got a great gallery of Windows 7 Screenshots which you can find here. Below is a shot of the desktop which shows another new feature, that gadgets are no longer confined to that bar on the right hand they can reside anywhere on the desktop :-)

Windows 7 Desktop

Windows 7 Desktop


Microsoft Office Web Applications

Microsoft Office Web Applications has been announced today (27/10/08) at the Microsoft PDC 2008.

This is awesome!! Microsoft Office is coming to the Browser to compete directly with Google Apps et al, and will work across browsers including IE (obviously), FireFox & Safari for the editing and creation of Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote documents. The aim is to provide an easier, more consistent experience for users across all  their various access pc, home pc, laptop, mobile device etc..

Office Web apps will be made available via Office Live, which will have both a free ad-supported version and also a subscription based, ad free version.

It seems that Corporate customers will be able to take up subscriptions via their existing Volume Agreements (Open Value, Select, Enterprise Agreements etc) according to readwriteweb.

Readwriteweb also have a nice comparison between Office LIve Workspace & Google Docs here.

You can sign up for Office Live Workspace at

Microsoft Windows Azure

Microsoft Windows Azure and the Azure Services Platform is here..the actual name for Red Dog, Strata et al is with us.

LIve Services, .NET Services, SQL Services, Sharepoint Services & Dynamic CRM Services all sit on top of Windows Azure and support the Online versions of Microsoft’s key software including Live, Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online and CRM Online.

The Azure Platform

The Azure Platform

Azure will enable people to build and use completely new services in the Cloud, at a lower price point than before.

Pay as you grow and reduce costs. Pay for the services you use and reduce the capital costs associated with purchasing hardware and infrastructure. Reduce operational costs by running applications on the services platform and decrease the need for maintaining on-premises infrastructure. Increase business efficiency and agility by dynamically adding and subtracting capacity in real time. Envision building an e-commerce Web site that you can scale at the click of a mouse to meet seasonal demands or spikes in traffic based on sales and promotions. The Azure Services Platform helps reduce IT-related costs, freeing up time and capital to focus on your core business. runs atop Windows Azure.

I’m really excited about this, both as a Microsoft “Enthusiast”/Fanboy (depending who you ask!) and a Microsoft Partner. I get the impression that Azure is going to take us to some pretty amazing places; as business partners, customers and web users we’re witnessing something special!

A big shout out to Steve Clayton for breaking this news to us :-)

If you’re a developer and want to try out Azure for yourself, you can register for the Community Technology Preview (CTP) here.

Mary Jo Foley has got a nice breakdown of how Azure is composed. She also mentions that MS have committed to delivering Microsoft Hosted versions of all it’s Enterprise apps; she mentions that she’s heard rumours of ForeFront Online & System Center Online already!

Microsoft are really making a big push on Software+Services and as a Gold Partner actively looking into S+S, these PDC announcements are very interesting.

Windows 7 Pre-Beta Features

The Windows 7 Pre-Beta Build will be available to PDC 2008 attendees from Tuesday 28th of October (tomorrow) but Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet has got some info on what features we can expect to see:

Device Stage – a central location for customers to more easily interact with devices, ranging from printers, cameras, cell phones, media players, etc. Device Stage will only recognize “Device-Stage-enabled” peripherals.

Action Center – a self-diagnosis feature to help users troubleshoot problems with their Windows 7 systems

A new Animation Framework for customizing animations

New Task Bar & Shell Integration

Multi-Touch & Gesture Recognition

There isn’t much more info on these features as of yet so roll on tomorrow!!