Microsoft releases new Ultimate Extras for Vista

Windows Ultimate users finally (euhhhhhhhh!!!) have some new Ultimate Extras to download.  Released today was two new sound schemes and additional DreamScene content.  Windows Ultimate users can download the new extras now by going to Windows Update in Control Panel.

New Sounds

Two new sound schemes have been released:

  • Ultimate Extras Glass – Similar to the default sound scheme but with a “glassy edge.”
  • Ultimate Extras Pearl – Cleaner, clearer and brighter than the glass scheme.

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New Dreamscene content

Dreamscene Content Pack #3 is now available with three nature scenes.

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Apple looks toward iPhone chat app

At its iPhone SDK event last month, Apple touted an adaption of AOL’s instant-messaging client for the iPhone. Now comes news of Apple’s own patent application for a chat feature.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the application, titled “Portable Electronic Device for Instant Messaging,” on March 6–the very same day Apple was providing details on its software development kit for the iPhone, including AOL’s test version of the first “official” native Web chat for the gadget.

The news of the Patent Office’s action was first reported by the AppleInsider site late Monday.

From the patent application, which Apple filed in August 2007:

The GUI has a set of messages exchanged between a user of the device and another person. The set of messages (is) displayed in a chronological order. In response to detecting a scrolling gesture comprising a substantially vertical movement of a user contact with the touch-screen display, the display of messages (is) scrolled in accordance with a direction of the scrolling gesture.

The iPhone already offers SMS messaging.

As demonstrated last month, the AIM-on-iPhone application–which AOL developed in just two weeks–offers a buddy list and lets users easily toggle among multiple instant-messaging conversations with a finger swipe.

The Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless

Microsoft launch a new kind of updates called Feature Pack  that improve wireless support in Windows Vista:

•Bluetooth version 2.1 support

•Unified Pairing user interface

•Windows Connect Now updates

Some of these features may work with existing hardware. However, you must have new hardware to take advantage of the new functionality.
This update is compatible with all versions of Windows Vista. It can be installed only on a computer that is running Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).

Description of the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless

Microsoft Launches Beta of New All-in-One Service codenamed “Albany”

Microsoft today launched a private beta program for a new service, code-named “Albany.”

PressPass spoke with “Albany” Group Product Manager Bryson Gordon to learn more about what consumers can expect from the service and what it will enable them to do.

PressPass: What is “Albany”?

Gordon: “Albany” is the codename for a new all-in-one subscription service of essential software and services consumers told us were most important to them. We’ve pulled together the productivity tools people need to organize their lives, security to help keep their personal information safe and online services that make it easy for them to keep in touch with friends and family, and folded them all into a single service that also ensures the user’s PC is running the latest security and productivity software.

With just a few clicks, “Albany” subscribers will be able install the whole package, which includes Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, giving them the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for their personal and school projects; Windows Live OneCare to help keep viruses at bay and their computer fast and healthy; and Windows Live Mail, Messenger and Photo Gallery so they can connect and share with others. Albany also installs the Microsoft Office Live Workspace connector on the Microsoft Office toolbar, so users can save documents to their own dedicated online workspace and invite friends and classmates to collaborate and share.

Additionally, with “Albany” consumers get the latest versions of Microsoft Office Home and Student and Windows Live OneCare as they’re released. Combined with ongoing security updates, consumers can have the peace of mind that they have protection from the most recent security threats and that their PC is running at its peak.

Even more rumors: The new iPhones’ specs

Faithful Macenstein tipster Doug writes in yet again with insight into 3 upcoming iPhone models allegedly set to be released.

Just as the iPod lineup developed and branched out, so does Apple have plans for the iPhone lineup. Here’s some of what is being considered:

A “Pro” or “Max” model, that is noticeably thicker than current model (over 15mm, versus 11.6mm for existing iPhone), to incorporate a battery with almost triple the duration of the existing iPhone. This model is also the 3G model. It is targeted for power users and enterprise, meaning people who may use their phone 2-3 days in a row (on a business trip) without accessing a PC or having the time or opportunity to charge it.

Existing iPhone stays the same, along with no 3G, just Edge.

Also being considered, and with engineering and development basically done, is a new entry model, that is slimmer than the iPod Touch (an amazing 6.2mm versus iPod Touch’s already amazing 8mm), and slightly less wide (58.6mm versus 61.8mm for iPod Touch). Screen size is the same; this width reduction comes from the casing. It does not offer video playback and has only 4GB. Could be as low as $159. Name to be determined, internally referred to as iPhone Shuffle, definitely not the final name. Edge, of course.

Serious Rumours?? Microsoft Windows 7 in 2009?

I am personally unsure if it will really come this soon, Make your opinions.

Microsoft Corp. has dropped two strong hints in the past two days that the next version of its Windows operating system will arrive in 2009, shaving up to a year off previous expectations. It could also be a signal that Microsoft intends to cut its losses with Windows Vista, which has been poorly received or shunned by customers, especially large companies. Microsoft has long said it wants to release Windows 7 about three years after Vista, which was released to manufacturing in November 2006 but not officially launched until January 2007. Given Microsoft’s recent track record – Vista arrived more than five years after XP — most outsiders had pegged sometime in 2010 as a safe bet for Windows 7’s arrival.

Microsoft is targeting the middle of next year for some sort of release milestone for Windows 7 — the only codename known at the moment — though whether that would be a final release to consumers or an RTM, which allows businesses and resellers to start installing it, is unknown. Gates also said that he was “super-enthused about what [Windows 7] will do in lots of ways” but didn’t elaborate. What could those be? Microsoft has divulged a few things. Responding to criticism that Windows has become unnecessarily bloated, the company has 200 engineers developing a slimmed-down kernel called MinWin that uses 100 files and 25MB, compared to Vista’s 5,000 files and 4GB core and is so small it lacks a graphical subsystem. Microsoft has also confirmed that the operating system will come in consumer and business versions and in 32-bit and 64-bit editions.

Adobe leads high-quality raw video format initiative

Adobe Systems thinks we can do better with the quality of digital video images. It is also developing a way to search on the audio within video clips.

At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show 2008 in Las Vegas this week, Adobe will announce a joint initiative to develop a specification that it hopes will eventually lead to a file format for higher image quality.

Adobe will show a preview of technology that will create a text transcription of the audio within a video clip at editing time.

(Credit: CNET Networks)

The effort is called CinemaDNG, named after the DNG (Digital Negative) raw digital still image format designed by Adobe. The company is working with others in the industry including camera makers and software developers, said Simon Hayhurst, senior product manager for dynamic media at Adobe.

The group’s hope is to have a specification ready sometime this year and to submit it to a standards body to encourage broader industry adoption, he said.

Initially, the specification will only affect “high-end Hollywood and top-end indie” filmmakers because equipment that supports this format would be the most sophisticated and expensive available. But eventually, this format could be used more broadly.

“It lays the foundation for the correct way that you want to do cinema in the future,” said Hayhurst.

Creating a common standard will help accelerate adoption of higher quality imaging, he said.

The advantage of the specification will not only be better resolution, but it will also give more image control to cinematographers and editors. The format can be useful for archiving films which could be reissued with a different look as well.

Adobe intends to support the format in future versions of its video work-flow products, like After Effects and Premiere Pro.

“You want enough space to innovate but have commonality so that you are implementing technology when there is a genuine need for it to be different,” Hayhurst said.

Video to text
Separately, Adobe will give a preview at NAB 2008 of technology that automatically transcribes the audio track of a video file.

For editors, this will allow them to more quickly find passages within a clip based on a text read-out of the audio. The output of the video-editing software will also include that transcribed information.

As a result, viewers of a Web video will be able to search on terms to find a specific location within a video.

For example, a person could search a CNET video review for a product name and a specific feature, such as camera zoom.

Adobe will demonstrate the feature on a version of its Soundbooth audio-editing product under development and on Premiere Pro.

The company intends to support the feature in the next major release of its video work-flow software. There was a two-year gap between the releases of Creative Suite 3 and 2, so the next major version is likely to come some time in 2009.

The transcription information will be stored in XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform), another format developed by Adobe.

“We keep saying that metadata is the most important thing happening in our industry and we want to prove it,” said Hayhurst.

In other announcements, Adobe will announce that it is now natively supporting Sony’s video file format in its video-editing tools.

And it is adding support for H.264 standard, high-definition video format on its Flash encoding software. It added support for H.264 for Flash video playback last year.