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All posts tagged "windows 7"

Monday, November 30, 2009

Come on Picasa, Kick Your Quicktime Addiction!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 12:00 PM

Picasa is a truly superb program for digital photo management, and the fact that it's free makes it even better. I'm using it more and more now that I've added Facebook and Smugmug functionality into the program, but I noticed something odd when I installed it on a Windows 7 system: it refuses to recognize any sort of MPEG4/h.264 videos unless Quicktime is installed. This made sense on a Windows Vista computer, where native support for those file types was lacking, but Windows 7 has superb support for MPEG, h.264, Divx, and Xvid video files. So why would Picasa require Quicktime to be installed in order to support playback of these files? I don't know enough about how the MPEG4 codecs are implemented in Windows 7, but I'd be very surprised if there was no way for third-party applications to take advantage of them. So come on Picasa, make the most of what Windows 7 has to offer and free users from having to install the always-in-need-of-an-update Quicktime. Please?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Windows 7 Market Share After One Month Surpasses Entire Apple OS X Installed Base

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 06:00 AM

"Windows 7 passed the 5% market share milestone last weekend, which put it, if only temporarily, above the total market share of all versions of Apple's Mac OS X, a Web measurement firm said today. Last Saturday and Sunday, Windows 7 powered an estimated 5% and 5.14% of all computers that were online those days, according to Internet metrics vendor Net Applications. The two-day average of 5.07% was higher than the 5% of the market that Net Applications said Apple's operating system averaged for the week of Nov. 15-21."

This is a welcome reality check. I know that Apple has tremendous mind-share because they spend an ungodly amount of money on prime-time TV advertising telling us how much Windows "sucks", but at the end of the day only 5 out of 100 computers on this planet are Macs running OS X. The market share for Windows that same week was 92.64%. The numbers say a lot - and no amount of reality-distortion field spinning is going to change that. Macs might be the perfect computing solution for some people, but they're not a mass-market product, no matter how hard the Mac faithful want to believe that.

There's also a weird reality distortion bubble in the media - many people in the media/blogging tech world use Macs. A far higher percentage than the rest of the world; just look at figure 2 in this article. I don't know whether it's techno-savvy people who got sick of Windows, or the uber-geek's desire to try the next shiny and new thing, but at many tech events I'm in the minority using a Windows laptop. At that Mobius event OS X had 53% market share; in the rest of the world, 5%. Funny things can happen when you get a bunch of Mac users in the room: they think their platform always matters, even when it doesn't. Sounds harsh, right? Let me explain. Read more...

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Night I Crashed Windows 7 Nine Times in a Row

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 01:00 PM

On the whole, I'm really enjoying Windows 7 - I've migrated eight of my computers over to Microsoft's latest operating system, and it's working great on all of them. As you can tell from the above screen shot, however, I hit a snag with one of the systems. You'll never believe what caused the problem though: a font. I'd installed Windows 7 on a brand new Intel Core i7-based media machine (yes, an article is forthcoming) and it was running smoothly. I had a bunch of fonts I wanted to install, so I grabbed them all and dragged them into the font folder. They were installing, when all of a sudden bam, my system blue-screened (BSOD). I was shocked, and initially thought it was a problem with my aggressive overclock (I pushed the Core i7 920 CPU from 2.66 Ghz up to 4.2 Ghz) even though I'd torture tested the system for days without a problem. I clocked my system back to normal, and tried to install the fonts again - and bam, it crashed again! Read more...

Sniff Out The Energy Hogs in Windows 7

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 09:30 AM

I read about this tip in Maximum PC, tried it myself, and thought I'd share it with Digital Home Thoughts readers. It's pretty cool! This tip will tell Windows 7 to generate a power report, telling you which devices are mis-configured for optimal power savings.

To generate this report, here's what you do: first, click on the Start button, then type CMD. Right-click on the CMD program that will appear in the filtered list, and select Run As Administrator. A command-line box will appear. At the prompt, type in powercfg -energy. Wait 60 seconds, and Windows 7 will generate an HTML file called energy-report in the Systerm32 directory. Go find it and check out the results. Read more...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Flickr Search Connectr for Windows 7...Cool if it Worked

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 10:15 AM

"What is this? A new feature of Windows 7 is "Search Federation" - the ability to search remote document repositories such as Flickr through the native Windows search interface. This is a custom Windows 7 "Search Connector" which can be installed to communicate to the Flickr OpenSearch translator implemented on this site."

I was reading the one and only computer magazine that I subscribe to this morning - Maximum PC - and they mentioned this tip for Windows 7 that would allow you to directly search Flickr for images from within Windows Explorer. It seemed like a neat idea, and a quick Google search brought me to the site that has created the tool for making this possible. I installed the tool, and typed in my first query - dogs - and waited. The result? An error message stating "The location cannot be searched because it no longer exists or is temporarily unavailable." Well that's no fun! I cracked open the connector bits in notepad, found the search URL that was being used, and tested it with a hard-cored search string. It worked. So I'm a bit baffled as to why this won't work for me. Anyone else have better luck with this than me?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Microsoft Cancels Windows 7 Family Guy Sponsorship

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 04:00 PM

""Face? Meet palm. Microsoft's decided to pull out of its co-sponsoring of "Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show" after execs attending the taping came to the sudden conclusion that Family Guy-caliber jokes were to be told, tackling such topics as "deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest.""

Makes you wonder if anyone at Microsoft who was involved in making this decision had ever watched the show - because it's not like the Family Guy is subtle with the humour they employ. I enjoy watching the show that skewers everything in sight, but that doesn't mean it's a good match for every consumer brand.

Windows 7 Installs: No Optical Drive? No Problem!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 10:30 AM

"The Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool allows you to create a copy of your Windows 7 ISO file on a USB flash drive or a DVD. To create a bootable DVD or USB flash drive, download the ISO file and then run the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool. Once this is done, you can install Windows 7 directly from the USB flash drive or DVD."

Once upon a time, Personal Computers has their Operating System installed through floppy disks, that is, when they were not run off the floppy disks themselves. You had your choice of the big 5 1/4" floppies and the more cutting edge 3.5" floppies. As time went on, the number of floppies you needed increased until you were swapping a stack of 20-30 floppy discs over the course of a few hours! Things are much better now with CDs and DVDs, except lots of PCs are coming without them. So how do you install or upgrade them? With Microsoft's handy, dandy, super-excellent Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool! Well, it won't change the world, but it will take the ISO image of a Windows 7 install disc and turn it into a bootable image you can put on a USB flash drive. Handy if you want to upgrade your netbook and don't have access to an external CD/DVD drive.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

To go 64-bit or not to go 64-bit

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

"What’s that you say? “Shouldn’t everyone with a 64-bit capable CPU upgrade to 64-bit Windows?” Well, not quite. There are some major advantages to a 64-bit OS, but there are drawbacks to consider as well. In this article, we’ll describe the pros and cons of 64-bit Windows, so when the time comes to upgrade you’ll know which version is right for you."

One of the decisions you'll face when upgrading or installing a new Windows based computer is whether to use the 32-bit or 64-bit version. The most obvious factor in determining your choice is how much memory your system has. If it is 3.5GB or less, 32-bit Windows should be fine. If you're planning on going 4GB or above, the 64-bit version of Windows is pretty much your only choice if you want to take advantage of the extra memory. Still, the choice is not always so clear cut, especially if you have less than 4GB of RAM. Maximum PC has a quick article describing some other considerations, such as driver support and software compatibility. Check it out if you're stuck making the decision.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Upgrade to Windows 7 with a Clean Install

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 05:00 PM

"I was so hoping to have better news to share, but with all the conflicting reports and my own troubles testing this while on the road, it's been a messy 24 hours. However, after staying up late last night and working through a few different scenarios, I think I do have a (fairly) simple way to clean install Windows 7 with Upgrade media."

So you bought Microsoft's pledge and decided that Windows 7 is the answer to all your life's problems. Paul Thurrott of the SuperSite for Windows has a treat for you. After much work, he has found a way to use the Windows 7 upgrade media to make a clean install. Traditionally, upgrade media requires that you have an existing copy of Windows on your computer, however, upgrades do not always go smoothly. While Microsoft has improved on this process, lots of techies recommend clean installs, meaning you install the OS on an empty hard drive. With Thurrott's tip, you can now do an "upgrade" without fear! The only suggestion I can make beyond this is that you keep in mind that this is probably not an officially supported method of upgrading your PC, so have that geek friend on speed dial if you want to try this.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Windows 7 But Were Afraid to Ask

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 04:00 PM

"His very detailed and easy to follow guides cover everything from choosing what version of Windows 7 fits your needs to a guided tour of the new operating system. This post brings all of his guides to one central location so that you can learn how to do practically anything in Windows 7." has grouped together all their guides covering different aspects of Windows 7 into one big page of link love. Whether you are looking into finding out whether you need Windows 7 to what you can do with Windows 7 if you take the plunge, the list of guides are pretty comprehensive and just in time for the Windows 7 Weekend. While Microsoft is driving a media blitz on Windows 7, the new OS will not revolutionize the way you use computers. Take your time and read through what Windows 7 will actually provide. If you are buying a new Windows based computer, you probably will not have much of a choice, but if you are thinking about upgrading, be informed before you decide whether or not it is worth the investment. Personally, I will be taking the plunge, and yes, I have planned most of the weekend for it, mostly because it takes that long for me to reinstall all the extra programs and get things tweaked just the way I like it. Anyone looking forward (or sadly) to their Windows 7 Weekend?

NewEgg 7 Days of Windows 7 Giveaways

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 02:30 PM

"Each day for 7 days, 7 copies of Windows 7 Ultimate will be given out. It gets better! One AMD Phenom II 965 CPU, one EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Video Card, one Acer Aspire One Netbook and one Microsoft Swag Bag will also be given away each day. That's 77 lucky prize winners. Giveaways start October 22, 2009 with the launch of Windows 7!"

Prizes? Contests? What's not to love - there's a lot of action going on related to the launch of Windows 7, and here's just one of the promotions that are going on right now. Best Buy has a great deal for $1199 that gets you an HP desktop PC, HP monitor, HP laptop, and HP netbook, all rocking Windows 7. $1199 for all that? Oh, and a wireless router plus in-home setup. I'd like to it, but Best Buy's Web site makes that impossible.

Impressions of the Engadget Show with Steve Ballmer

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Digital Home Events" @ 06:03 AM

Yesterday afternoon I witnessed a great interview between Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, and Joshua Topolsky, editor-in-chief of gadget blog Engadget. The event of course celebrated the launch of Windows 7, but Windows Mobile (6.5 and 7), Zune HD, and Microsoft’s cloud computing initiatives were all hot topics, and each were discussed at some length. Read more...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The New Windows 7 Ads...Were My Idea

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 12:00 PM

The new Windows 7 ads have kicked off today, and I suspect we'll be seeing them on TV starting today. What do you think of them? I think they're great - they're fun, light, and highlight features of Windows 7. Windows 7 is a great OS that stands on it's own, and I'm happy to see Microsoft not crawling into the gutter with that other company and their ads. A good product succeeds on its own, not because it trashes another product. Two more ads after the break. Read more...

Windows 7 Launches in NYC!

Posted by Jon Westfall in "Digital Home Events" @ 10:30 AM

As I write this I'm standing in a sea of Microsoft technologies, all focused around Windows 7. It's around 12:30 PM EST on Launch Day for Windows 7, and Microsoft's presentation lived up to expectations. While many of us have no doubt have played with Windows 7 for quite some time, most haven't had the opportunity to use the finished product until today. So what were the highs and lows of the event? And what will you be wanting to pick up within the next 4-5 months to complete your 7 experience? Read on!

Figure 1: The lighting wasn't the best, but the content made up for it!


Watch the Windows 7 Launch Live

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 08:08 AM

Want to watch the launch of Windows 7? It's live, right here.

Get Bing, Zune, and Your Backyard On Your Windows 7 PC

Posted by Darius Wey in "Digital Home Software" @ 12:15 AM

Today is Microsoft's big day! And what better way to kick off the launch of Windows 7 than with new themes that are free for you to download and use on your Windows 7 PC. Among the selection, there's a sample of Bing's gorgeous imagery, three Zune-flavoured themes, and twenty international themes (yes, they're different to the ones released during the beta). All of them pack high-resolution images, and some even include unique sound effects. What are you waiting for? Go get 'em!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tomorrow is the Big Day

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 05:00 PM

"Tomorrow's our big day - Windows 7 officially launches and hits General Availability (or GA as we have acronyms for everything). That means Windows 7 will be available for purchase worldwide! I thought I'd take a moment to highlight some things to look out for as Windows 7 becomes available in stores and online around the world. We have big events happening in many countries, including: Japan, UK, Germany, France, China and more. Plus we're hosting a launch party in New York City tomorrow, which will be hosted by our own CEO Steve Ballmer. Even if you're not in New York, you can still attend online."

There's lots of interesting stuff happening tomorrow related to the Windows 7 launch, so check out Brandon's blog entry. Oh, and I just may have a few copies of Windows 7 to give away...stay tuned!

Amazon: "Windows 7 is the Biggest Pre-Order Product Of All Time"

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 03:48 PM

"Windows 7 has beaten boy wizard Harry Potter to become the biggest pre-order product of all time in the UK, says Amazon. The UK arm of the retail behemoth adds that the new operating system sold more copies in the first eight hours of its release in July than Vista did in its entire pre-order period. The new OS launches officially tomorrow (October 22)."

Above: Incredibly cool graphic courtesy of Engadget.

Tomorrow is the big day, and it seems a lot of Amazon UK users are anxious to get their hands on it. I think this is the modern-day equivalent of what happened with people lining up at midnight to get Windows 95. Windows 7 is a great operating system, and people have heard the buzz.

Windows 7 Computers Ready For Pre-Ordering

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 09:30 AM

"Windows 7 won’t be available to the public until Thursday, October 22nd. But dozens of netbooks and notebooks running the operating system are now available for pre-order. Some of the restrictions imposed on Windows XP netbooks have been lifted, so in addition to shipping with the latest version of Windows, many of the netbooks have received a spec bump."

The launch date for Windows 7 is almost here, but retailers want your money now, so they've made certain notebooks and netbooks available for pre-order. Most retailers already have made their orders to stock up in anticipation of the Windows 7 rush, so I think this is more of a "reserve your PC" concept than pre-ordering, though the question remains as to just how hot will these new computers be? Unfortunately, having Windows 7 will also command a bit of a premium on your new baby. While having the newest computer on the block gives you some bragging rights, I would honestly wait a few days, perhaps even a couple of weeks for the reviews to flow in and see which of these have made the most of the new OS.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Netbooks Will Ship With Windows 7 Starter at Retail, and be $50 More Expensive Then Before

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 09:03 AM

There's been copious amounts of speculation on this subject, but it looks like we finally have the answer: it seems most netbooks are going to ship with Windows 7 Starter, not Windows 7 Basic, and the impact (at least in Canada) is a $50 price point jump. Case in point: Future Shop, one of the big-box electronics chains in Canada (owned by Best Buy), is touting their Windows 7 line-up of netbooks. Among them are products from HP, Samsung, and Toshiba. Looking at the HP Mini 110, and comparing them spec to spec, the Windows XP version sells for $299 CAD and it's identical in every way to the Windows 7 version, which will sell for $349 CAD. We've discussed this on the site before, and the hope was that even if the overall price of netbooks went up a bit, there'd be more than just the OS update in there. Perhaps a bump from 1 GB up to 2 GB, or a dual-core Atom processor? No such luck.

So the question becomes, is the license for Windows 7 Starter really $50 CAD more than Windows XP? Highly doubtful - a $50 license fee is in the realm of what HP would pay for Windows 7 Home Premium desktop computer, and we know that Windows 7 Starter isn't going to be the cheap. So is this a case of the netbooks OEMs looking for ways to bump up the price of netbooks to eek out some more profit? It's certainly possible - netbooks have razor-thin margins, and I'm sure HP, Dell, and others would do anything they could to make them more profitable...and a new operating system changes the value proposition for consumers, giving them an opportunity to do so. Read more...

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