Rip to Mobile direct from CD


Gizmodo have got a post about the new Sony Ericsson Premier 3 phone and it’s got one stand out feature; you can rip tracks from a cd direct to the phone.

This is brilliant feature and I fail to see why it’s taken this long for it to come about. Giz say:

“If you want to rip music from a CD, all you need to do is plug the player into the remote via a 3.5mm plug and you are good to go”

…that is awesome and would save me loads of time. Just the other day I found an old cd (3rd Bass, Nice n Smooth, Pharcyde etc) and started rocking out. Having remembered how great the songs were I wanted to put them on my phone for when I’m out and about, this of couse involved getting the PC on the scene, ripping to WMP and then syncing my device. Because of that it took me a few days to get around to it and was then nearly more hassle than it was worth-but this Sony Ericsson would circumvent all that.

premier-3

Even without this long awaited (by me at least) feature, it looks like a pretty good device other than it being pink and only able to accept 2GB external cards.

I won’t be swapping my Diamond for this, but I will now be hoping that WinMo 6.5 or 7 devices will start to include this feature.

No more betas for Windows 7


Steven Sinofsky has confirmed that the beta we are all using and loving is the only one we’ll get. The next step will be the Release Candidate (RC) which will have a complete feature set and be very close to the final version.

His statement included:

We will continue to listen to feedback and telemetry with the focus on addressing only the most critical issues that arise. We will be very clear in communicating any changes that have a visible impact on the product. This release allows the whole ecosystem to reach a known state together and make sure that we are all ready together for the Release to Manufacturing. Once we get to RC, the whole ecosystem is in “dress rehearsal” mode for the next steps.”

MS are still stating Jan 2010 as the release date as this fits 3 years after Vista, but I along with many others, think that Q3 this year is more likely.

More Leaked Windows Mobile 6.5 screenshots


The guys over at Pocket PC thoughts have got some new WinMo 6.5 screenshots from a new manufacturer called CompuLab:

winmo65_1

winmo65_2

I’ve got to say that I’m liking what I’m seeing here (apart from the scary Ostrich!)-the honeycomb style icon layout looks good and I imagine is a lot easier to navigate that what we have at the minute.

These screenshots have got me looking forward to the upcoming release even more-how about you?

Simplexo Enterprise Search


I had a meeting this week with Simplexo, a new Enterprise Search company and I was very impressed by what I heard.

Although, as a start up, they are classed as an “immature” company the guys they’ve got working there from the CEO down have been involved with companies including Ingram Micro and EMC so have a great track record with tech businesses.

Search is becoming a bigger and bigger issue among businesses, no matter their size and Simplexo appears to bring a real solution to the table. Not only does it have a huge range of features it is also very easy to use from an Information Worker’s perspective.

It eliminates the need for multiple searches as it can work across all types of structured (databases (Oracle, SQl etc), payroll and HR systems, SAP etc) and unstructured data (emails, Word documents, images, spreadsheets etc) with a single click.

simplexo-features

It delivers live, up-to-date results so you always get the most current & relevant information and all data is de-duplicated on the fly. It has been designed to MOD security levels and all search results are tied to users permission levels, helping keep data safe.

Another great feature is it’s image search capability; it doesn’t rely just on the metadata but can actually directly compare the pictures to return similar content! It is planned they they will extend this to streamed video in the future…

A perhaps surprising feature of Simplexo is that it is Open Source, so all it’s features are available to users free of charge; customers need only pay if they require dedicated support rather than the online forum. While I won’t mention specific pricing here I will say that it is very attractive and competitive, particularly against it’s main rival Autonomy. The pricing structure is on a per-server basis so number of users is not taken in to account at all, this helps keep costs down in almost all cases. *UPDATE* Having met with Simplexo a 2nd time, there has been a complete U-turn on the pricing structure…now it IS licensed per user. This makes it a much more expensive proposition around £75 per user, coming down to £50 for over 2000 users.

Although there are a number of big names in the Enterprise Search arena including Google, Microsoft and Autonomy none of them have anything approaching a hold on the market and I think there is a great opportunity for Simplexo to establish themselves here.

Simplexo will easily integrate into your existing environment and can be used from with numerous desktops applications including “MS Office, MS Outlook, Outreach, AutoCAD, Open Office. Star Office, Lotus” and more.

To download the software and check it out, go to the download page here.

To download the Simplexo Technology Audit from the Butler Group-click here. (Will launch PDF download).

Embed YouTube in PowerPoint 2007


I now know how to embed YouTube clips into Powerpoint 2007 slides. It is amazingly easy and just as useful :-)

Thanks to a tweet from @jamestutt which pointed me to this link I can now harness the power of YouTube in my presentations-just today I delivered one where this was a perfect fit.

How to embed YouTube into PowerPoint 2007:

Steve Clayton blogged about a brilliant video from CommonCraft that explains Software + Services very succinctly in less than 4 minutes, and I needed to create an internal S+S training presentation-so I used that. Initially I just had a link to the video on YouTube so the presentation was interrupted while it went off to the YouTube site, but now it’s all contained within the .pptx; giving me a much smoother, more professional looking session :-)

Common Craft S+S Video:

I think this holds the record for the most links in one post!

Performance Point Server killed off?


Performance Point Server (PPS) has been part of the Microsoft product portfolio for a while now but, as far as I can tell, it hasn’t really made much of an impact. It’s been the top-end, full featured Business Intelligence (BI) product but the uptake hasn’t been amazing and MS announce there won’t be another standalone version of PPS, making Performance Point Server 2007 the last.

A lot of clients I work with who you would expect to jump on PPS have stayed away and they aren’t the only ones. The impression I get is that most people are unsure about Microsoft’s credentials in this part of the BI arena; they’re not sure that PPS will stack up against competitors such as SAP (Business Objects), Oracle (Hyperion) and IBM (Cognos) when it gets to the nitty gritty high end enterprise features. PPS isn’t cheap-coming in at around 17K-and when companies invest at that kind of level, they need to be completely confident they will get the best possible return on their investment.

However, this isn’t the end for Performance Point Server, or at least it’s component parts. As expected the scorecarding, dashboard and analytics features will all be folded into Sharepoint 14 (due this year/early 2010) and the new “Performance Point Services for Sharepoint” will be available via the Enterprise CAL.

I think this is a really good idea and will certainly increase peoples usage of MS BI and thus help increase their market share. The proliferation of MOSS 2007 (Sharepoint) throughout all market sectors means an amazing amount of people will have much easier access to these tools. It will make it yet another compelling reason for people to make the move to Sharepoint and for those that already have (but didn’t take Software Assurance)-a good reason to upgrade. By removing a product from the portfolio it looks like MS will increase the use of that product as well as grow it’s (Sharepoint) revenue at the same time…good skills :-)

From the official statement:

“Additionally, in the summer of 2009, we will release ‘Service Pack 3′ for PerformancePoint Server 2007, which will include updates to the Planning module. From there we will focus our development on the new monitoring and analytic capabilities in ‘PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint’ and will not offer standalone versions of PerformancePoint Server.”

MS Songsmith Remixes


Songsmith was one of Microsoft’s announcements at this year’s CES show and I didn’t pay it much attention to be honest-a program that adds music to your vocals just didn’t seem like much to get excited about.

How wrong I was!

We are witnessing a new meme being created at this very moment-people giving Songsmith the accapella’s of popular/classic songs and seeing what it comes up with music wise; I have to say some of them are fantastic.

Here we have:

Beatie Boys Intergalactic (courtesy of @Jonoble)

 

Wu-Tang: C.R.E.A.M

Police: Roxanne

and an oddly techno Wonderwall from Oasis

I’m not sure that these are the greatest advert for Songsmith as a serious product but they do help show that great music definitely requires a human touch ;-)

You can grab a trial here and start to join in with what will hopefully become a truly popular meme. I’m gonna go dig out all my cd’s with accapellas on and see what I can come up with-if I get any gems I’ll post them up here :-)

Microsoft announce job cuts


The rumours have abounded for the last few weeks and today they were confirmed-Microsoft are making job cuts…5000 over the next 18 months, with 1400 of those taking place now.

Many thought and hoped it wouldn’t happen, but unfortunately not even the Software giant that is MS has proved immune. However, and while I am sorry to all those who have/will be cut, it isn’t as bad as it could have been. Numbers around 8000-15,000 were often spoken of, some even went as far as 30,000 s0 5,000 is a relatively conservative outcome. The positions are being cut from “R&D, marketing, sales, finance, legal, HR, and IT” according to the memo from Steve Ballmer…

On a more positive note, Ballmer also mentions that they’ll be hiring 2000-3000 new people during the same 18 month time frame, so MS are by no means freezing or stagnating; simply re-appraising and re-focusing. Also, at least MS profits were up…albeit only by 2% but still-that’s a fair increase when you’re talking numbers the size that they are. I was chatting about this at work today and just because the results (in this case and others) aren’t quite as good as predicted-they’re still good so is there as much need to worry as we’re told?

Gizmodo New BSOD Competition


I do love Gizmodo…not only a source of great tech news and gadget porn, but they’re also a funny bunch of dudes…as are the readers it seems.

They’ve announced the winners of the “Re-designed Blue Screen of Death” competion and here is the winner-welcome “Cobra Commander”:

cobra-commander

Haha, that cracks me up everytime I look at it… :-) I’d love it if that came up if Windows 7 ever Blue Screened on me-would certainly lighten the mood…

The other 130 entrants can be seen here, now STFU and forget ma face ;-)