I’ve mentioned Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Home Server appliance before, but it bears repeating – this has the potential to define a new category of home appliance that will be more interesting than you expect. It’s hard for you to imagine why a product with “server” in the name will enter your house, but it addresses some common problems in imaginative ways. […] continued

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Adobe and Microsoft each announced new technology for playing back video on your computers, setting up yet another format war. As always there are appealing features promised in the technology, but make no mistake: the goal, the only goal, is to seduce us into watching online videos for the purpose of exposing us to advertising. […] continued

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The “ribbons” in Microsoft Word 2007 and Excel 2007 are better organized than the menus and toolbars in Office 2003, but I’m also going through odd moments of confusion or frustration. I’m still not ordering Office 2007 on new office computers.

A few random examples:

  • Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional is polished and wonderful – but it does not integrate with Office 2007 yet.
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If you’ve ever looked at Engadget or Gizmodo, you know there are an overwhelming number of new products appearing all the time. Here’s one that looks like it might be particularly useful.

There are hundreds of cell phones and other handheld devices with two inch screens that theoretically can browse the web. […] continued

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Back in ancient times – 4 or 5 years ago – many people tried their hands at learning a little HTML and creating a web site. Microsoft FrontPage wasn’t easy to learn but other programs were harder and FrontPage is the only one to develop any name recognition with consumers. Did you know FrontPage has been discontinued? […] continued

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Patches/updates/upgrades are a mess. That’s nothing new, and certainly some steps forward have been taken – Microsoft’s automatic update system works remarkably well. Many of the updates are necessary and important, but it makes it impossible to reach that stable place where things just work.

I’m usually more frustrated than happy when other programs alert me to updates. […] continued

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Two Microsoft things have turned up in the last week that have made me say, Hmmm. There’s no point to these and nothing special to do – just odd geeky things that caught my eye.

Microsoft took a lot of heat for rolling out Internet Explorer 7 as a “Critical Update.” It had to release a special tool for big companies to prevent automatic installation of IE7 and there was much discussion of whether IE7 should have been optional – IE7 has significant security improvements but a few browser-based programs and web sites are incompatible with it for one reason or another. […] continued

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The post-holiday lull has ended, Vista is out the door, so we’re back to a nonstop barrage of new products and services. Here’s what stood out in the last week.

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Here’s a review of a beta release of Microsoft Windows Home Server, which continues to look like a genuinely exciting advance for home computing. Here are my earlier thoughts on the preview at the Consumer Electronics show last month.

When it is final, most of us will see it preloaded on separate, dedicated devices; there will also be a software-only version for people who want to build their own boxes. […] continued

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The .JPG format is ubiquitous – everything supports it, everything displays it. Microsoft has spent six years creating a new format intended to replace .JPG in the hearts and minds of manufacturers and consumers. Here’s an article about Microsoft’s new HD Photo technology.

The HD Photo format has several advantages – it creates files that are half the size of comparable .JPG files, and it has the native ability to handle more subtle details and richer colors. […] continued

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Microsoft is taking the wraps off “Windows Home Server” today at a trade show. The first details are just coming out from people freed from their nondisclosure agreements. Here’s Microsoft’s first public web site for Home Server. I’m impressed by the feature list – if Microsoft can actually come through with something that reliably delivers on these promises, it will be very interesting indeed. […] continued

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The folks responsible for promoting Windows Vista are trying hard to be hip – check out Microsoft is footing the bill for Demetri Martin, a Daily Show regular, to film short episodes of a random and mildly amusing story that features Vista computers in various scenes. The idea is to create a viral buzz that drives people to check out the site out of curiosity because they hear about it from friends. […] continued

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Many people are staring at their digital camcorders, wondering how to get video off the camera for a DVD or some other project.

Adobe Premiere Elements is the software of choice for the long run. It’s the best designed software on the market, relatively easy to get started but capable of complex tasks as you grow into it. […] continued

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Microsoft released a big crop of updates yesterday for Windows and Microsoft Office programs – there are ten patches on the official list but my computer shows fifteen items ready to be installed this morning. Yesterday Microsoft was having some trouble with the Automatic Updates system but that appears to be resolved now. […] continued

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OPERATING SYSTEM MARKET SHARE reported yesterday that Windows XP is responsible for almost 87 percent of all Web usage, while all Windows versions combined account for 97 percent of Web usage. These days that’s a fair measure of an operating system’s market share.

The second most popular OS on the Web is Windows 2000, at more than six percent. […] continued

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