All posts by iain30

About iain30

I am a Hardware and Software Engineer who loves to keep up to date with all the latest and future technology.

Windows 8 New Feature: Desktop as a Service

With information about Windows 8 remaining almost non-existent, Mary-Jo Foley has reported some interesting slides that tend to indicate that windows 8 will feature your “desktop as a service”.

This will be a  strong pointer towards more virtualisation support for the desktop OS.  Already Windows 7 allows you to boot into a VM containing a copy of Windows 7 Enterprise  or Ultimate just as you would book into a normally installed copy of Windows.  After trying  this you simply cannot tell that you’re working inside a virtual machine.

what is a virtual desktop 400x288 Windows 8 to Feature Desktop as a Service

The virtual desktop takes things one step further with applicationss and data being centrally managed and “delivered” to your computer rather than being explicitly installed on it.

desktop as a service in win next 400x260 Windows 8 to Feature Desktop as a Service

There’s precious little information at the moment but it’s been clear for a while that more virtualisation would be key to Windows 8 (referred to in the slides as Windows Next) and it’s also worth noting that a great many future features for Windows products never make it past, or even into, the beta.

It’s an interesting concept though to allow complete virtualisation of an OS, especially where stability and compatibility issues are concerned.  Microsoft should be applauded for taking this issue so seriously for the next version of Windows. Yet again another great move by the Microsoft team.

New wave of Windows Server Products Announced

Since Microsoft announced the beta version of Windows Small Business Server Code name “Aurora” and Windows Small Business Server “7”, these products have been downloaded more than 9000 times.   Today as microsoftt move forward with these new releases, Microsoft is announcing the final names, licensing and estimated availability for the next generation of the Small Business Server family currently in public preview.

  • Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials (formally Windows Small Business Server Code Name “Aurora”) is ideal as a first server for small businesses, providing a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution to help protect data, organize and access business information from virtually anywhere, support the applications needed to run a business, and quickly connect to online services such as Office 365, hosted e-mail, collaboration and CRM.  Windows SBS 2011 Essentials can be used by up to 25 users, requiring no CALs for user access and is expected to release in H1 2011. SBS 2011 Essentials will be available through all current Microsoft server licensing channels and estimated retail pricing is $545US.
  • Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard (formally Windows Small Business Server “7”) is designed and priced for small businesses with up to 75 users, delivering enterprise-class server technology in an affordable, all-in-one solution. Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard helps protect business’ information from loss by performing automatic daily server backups and greater productivity through on-site features like e-mail, Internet connectivity, internal Web sites, remote access, and file and printer sharing. Licensing for Windows SBS 2011 Standard is consistent with previous versions of Windows SBS 2008 Standard, which required both a Server License, plus CALs for each user. Estimated retail pricing for Windows SBS 2011 Standard is $1,096US, with CALs approximately $72US. Windows SBS 2011 Standard will be available through all current Microsoft server licensing channels and is expected to release in December 2010. Further availability through OEM’s and System Builders is expected starting February 2011.
  • Windows Small Business Server 2011 Premium Add-on, consists of an additional server that provides support for SQL Server based LOB applications and access to Window Server 2008 R2 technologies in a cost effective solution for a small business environment. The Windows SBS 2011 Premium Add-on includes Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard, and SQL Server 2008 R2 for Small Business and can be added to both Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Standard editions. The Premium add-on provides the ability to run a vast number of line-of-business applications on an additional server and the capacity to make more informed business decisions with rich analysis and reporting technologies. It is ideal for role based deployments such as LOB application support, Remote Desktop Services, Backup domain controller, and Virtualization though Hyper-V. The decision to move to an add-on model was taken to provide our customers with more flexibility and deployment options providing the ability to purchase additional servers either up front or as needed. While access to the Windows Server components for the Windows SBS 2011 Premium Add-on will be covered by the Windows SBS 2011 CAL model, users will still require Premium Add-on CALs for access to SQL Server. Estimated retail pricing for Windows SBS 2011 Premium Add-on is $1,604US, with CALs approximately $92US. The Premium Add-on will also be available with the release of Windows SBS 2011 Standard in December.
  • [via Technet Blog]

    Kinect for Xbox 360 Goes On Sale Nov 4

    The much anticipated  kinect for xbox 360 is just hours away from the release time of 12.01 am in North America. Kinect for Xbox 360 brings NUI gaming to a whole new level. Gamers can use gestures and voice commands in order to play, with Kinect delivering what the microsoft Redmond company calls controller-free gaming and entertainment.

    Retailers around the world are gearing up for Thursday’s Kinect launch, as are consumers. Some shoppers even plan to line up at one of thousands of stores opening at midnight to get first crack at buying Kinect.  The launch of Kinect will be accompanied by 17 games especially built for the platform, four of which were developed in-house at Microsoft.

    Why Go Controller-Free?

    Xbox 360 has evolved over time, from being very gaming focused in its early years to adding other forms of entertainment such as Netflix, Zune video and music, ESPN, Twitter, Facebook and Last FM. In three years, the Kinect team incorporated technology from all over Microsoft, and even looked outside the company, to be able to make a device that could recognize a user, track his or her body, and recognize speech.The team consulted all kinds of experts in creating Kinect, and not just technological experts. Tsunoda said they talked to actors, artists, consumers, and language, gesture, and movement experts.

    Prices for Kinect will start at $150 for just the Xbox 360 add-on. However, retailers worldwide will offer special bundles with prices as high as $400, as is the case for the 250 GB Kinect Bundle.

    Bundles contain not only the Kinect sensor, but also the Xbox 360 console as well as games tailored to the new NUI add-on.

    Microsoft’s New Record For First-Quarter Results

    Microsoft announced a new record turnover of $16.2 billion for there first quarter ending Sept. 30, 2010, a 25% increase from the same period of the prior year.  Operating income, net income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $7.12 billion, $5.41 billion and $0.62 per share, with increases of 59%, 51% and 55%, respectively, when compared with the prior year period.

    REDMOND, Wash.  quotted

    “This was an exceptional quarter, combining solid enterprise growth and continued strong consumer demand for Office 2010, Windows 7, and Xbox 360 consoles and games,” said Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “Our ability to grow revenue while continuing to control costs allowed us to deliver another quarter of year-over-year margin expansion.”

    During the quarter, Microsoft saw year-over-year growth across all business segments. Among the highlights are these:

    Office 2010 is off to a fast start with revenue growing over 15% in its first full quarter in market.
    Microsoft continues to see a healthy and sustaining business PC refresh cycle.
    Xbox 360 consoles grew 38%, outselling every competing console in the U.S. for each of the past four months.
    For yet another quarter, Bing continued to grow market share, while achieving major milestones in implementing Microsoft’s partnership with Yahoo.

    “We are seeing improved business demand and adoption. Our enterprise agreement rates were strong, reflecting business commitment to Windows 7, Office 2010, and our server and database products,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft. “Customer demand and excitement for our cloud and commercial online services continue to grow as demonstrated by major new customer wins this quarter for Windows Azure and by the significant customer interest in our recently announced Office 365 service.”

    Webcast Details

    Peter Klein, chief financial officer, Frank Brod, chief accounting officer, and Bill Koefoed, general manager of Investor Relations, will host a conference call and webcast at 2:30 p.m. PDT (5:30 p.m. EDT) today to discuss details of the company’s performance for the quarter and certain forward-looking information. The session may be accessed at The webcast will be available for replay through the close of business on Oct. 28, 2011.

    Windows 7 Family Pack Now Available in 46 Countries

    Windows 7 Family Pack became available outside the United States  On Oct. 22 .  When Family Pack was launched earlier this month in the USA, more than 94% of folks who try Windows 7 love using it. With Family Pack you can upgrade three PCs to Windows 7 Home Premium for a significant savings – which makes Windows 7 a great gift for your family or someone you love.  And if you want to set up a home network, Windows 7 has built in features like Home Group that make it simple to get all of your home PCs connected and sharing files, music, photos and printers.

    But, don’t wait. Windows 7 Family Pack will only be available while supplies last, so go check it out at your local retailer today.

    Here are the countries where Family Pack is available (or will be in the coming weeks):

    Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates.

    Sixth IE9 Platform Available for Developers

    In the six weeks since the release of IE9 beta there has been an outstanding 10 million downloads. This shows the popularity and massive improvements that IE9 brings.  With easy to use features such as pinning site’ s  directly to the windows task bar,  and websites being able to program jump lists and offer notifications as other windows programs do.  The web standard markup (HTML, CSS, and script) in pages runs faster and smoother, taking advantage of the latest PC hardware.

    The designers have had an extensive impact on IE9 due to the popularity and overall exposure of the beta test.  The first five platform downloads were downloaded over 2.5 million times.  

    The sixth Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 9, available now, reflects feedback and delivers better performance as well as more standards support, like CSS3’s 2D transforms.

    You can many find more examples from the larger community of what’s possible with a great HTML5 implementation at and Each of these examples shows how the web becomes richer and more immerse with HTML5, and how using the power of the whole PC is increasingly important to deliver the performance consumers expect.

    Microsoft and Yahoo Search Alliance In U.S. and Canada

    Today Microsoft has announced that with there Partners from Yahoo they have completed another major search alliance transition in the U.S. and Canada.  So as of today, Microsoft’s ad-Center advertising platform is now powering all the paid search listings for searchers on both Bing and Yahoo! in the US and Canada.  Advertisers will operate a single account in ad-Center to reach Microsoft and Yahoo!’s audience of 163 million searchers in the U.S.1 and 15 million searchers in Canada.

      This has come about  following more than a year of planning, engineering and  A strong collaboration between the engineering and sales organizations of both companies, who have both worked round the clock to complete both the algorithmic and paid search transitions in 2010 with the quality  customers deserve.

    This provider’s advertisers a combined marketplace through a single platform,  Rather than managing campaigns on Bing and Yahoo! separately, advertisers can now reach the combined audience of both search engines by managing a single account, saving time and simplifying campaign management.

    Microsoft Brings Games on Demand to the Web With New PC Game Store

    REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 22, 2010 Microsoft Corp. today announced the Games for Windows Marketplace, a new online PC games store that combines the convenience of the Web with the power of Games on Demand online distribution. Launching Nov. 15, the Games for Windows Marketplace will offer PC gamers a robust lineup of games they love, easier navigation and purchase, and recurring specials such as Deal of the Week.

    “With Games for Windows Marketplace, we set out to create a digital store built for PC gamers end-to-end,” said Kevin Unangst, senior global director, PC and Mobile Gaming, at Microsoft. “And by integrating with our existing Xbox LIVE and Windows Live services, we’ve made it easier than ever for millions of gamers to see for themselves how easy buying PC games can be.”

    A Streamlined Experience

    Built from the ground up for convenience and performance, the Games for Windows Marketplace ( will remove the barriers between gamers and the games they love by offering the following:

    Online access, anywhere. Optimized for speed, the store allows for ultra-fast downloads; this means fewer clicks to purchase and download, delivering faster turnaround for gameplay. And since the service lives on the Web, gamers can download games on a PC, anytime, and can easily redownload games they purchase if needed.
    Deals and discounts galore. Gamers can check out screaming deals on select games every time they visit the Marketplace, as well as the Deal of The Week and other recurring and seasonal offers.
    Game search functionality. Gamers can search by titles or genres to quickly find the games they want; they can even find new games from their favorite publishers with dedicated publisher pages.
    Fresh design. The clean, intuitive look and feel makes browsing for games a simple, enjoyable experience. Gamers can easily navigate between pages as they search for the perfect game.

    A Growing Portfolio

    Games for Windows Marketplace will launch with a managed portfolio of 100 top-quality titles. The launch roster includes blockbuster games such as “Fable: The Lost Chapters” (Microsoft Game Studios) and “Grand Theft Auto III” (Rockstar Games Inc.) from some of the industry’s biggest developers, such as Capcom Entertainment Inc., 2K Games, Square Enix Co. Ltd. and more. In addition to top retail games, the portfolio will bring new indie titles to the forefront and continue to grow with many of the best games in the industry including titles such as “Lego Universe” (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment) and “CarneyVale” (Microsoft Game Studios), which will hit the Games for Windows Marketplace and retail stores at the same time and date; recent hits such as “Dead Rising 2” and “Lost Planet 2” (both from Capcom); and perennial best-sellers such as “Max Payne” (Rockstar) and “Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition” (Square Enix).

    “We plan to deliver some of our biggest and best PC franchises on Games for Windows Marketplace from day one,” said Christian Svensson, corporate officer and vice president of Strategic Planning and Business Development at Capcom. “Digital distribution continues to drive growth in PC gaming, and we’re excited to partner with Microsoft and bring amazing games to this growing marketplace.”

    Games for Windows Marketplace will also be the place to find iconic franchises from Microsoft Game Studios, such as “Flight Simulator,” “Gears of War,” “Halo” and “Zoo Tycoon,” as well as upcoming blockbusters “Fable III,” “Age of Empires Online” and “Microsoft Flight.”

    Easy Access to a Massive Gamer Community

    Using the new marketplace is a breeze: anyone with a Windows Live ID (Windows Live, Xbox LIVE, Games for Windows – LIVE or Zune account) can login and immediately start shopping in the Games for Windows Marketplace. The new store also supports Microsoft Points (as well as credit card purchasing), allowing the more than 25 million users of Xbox LIVE, Zune Marketplace and Games for Windows — LIVE to use their Microsoft Points balance seamlessly across platforms.

    The new Games for Windows Marketplace launches Nov. 15 at

    A Great Move By Microsoft

    This is a great move by Microsoft for the use of gamers. Not only will this make purchasing games so much easier but also the support and downloading far simpler. And with an outstanding company like Microsoft this should offer competitive prices and great downloading speed .