Tech News and Opinions (by Paul Spain)

Silverlight 4 beta released, puts some heat on Adobe

, posted: 19-Nov-2009 09:31

Microsoft have today made available the first public beta of Silverlight 4. Targeted specifically at developers this release brings with it dozens of new features and improvements that are likely to accelerate the uptake of Silverlight by the software and web development community.As well as improvements for running in the browser, Silverlight 4 also brings major integration with Windows and also Office on the desktop for standalone Silverlight applications. Webcam/Mic support, Hardware acceler (read the entire post)...

Big week for Microsoft: Office 2010 beta, Forefront TMG 2010 release, Xbox update

, posted: 17-Nov-2009 22:51

This week Microsoft are making available new products in a range of areas this week. Of interest to many will be the beta release of Office 2010. This is available for download now for both Technet and MSDN subscribers. I have been running the 'Technical Preview' version of Office 2010 and have been impressed at the improvements which make me more productive. Planning meetings in Outlook 2010 is one area that stood out for me.

Also available this week Microsoft's replacement/upgrade f (read the entire post)...

Massive drop in price of Microsoft cloud offerings - what does it mean?

, posted: 3-Nov-2009 19:51

Today Microsoft have announced dramatic reductions in the price of their hosted editions of Exchange Server, SharePoint and Office Communications Server.Microsoft's reductions in the cost of BPOS (Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite) which consists of Exchange Server, SharePoint and Office Communications Server are by 33%, and they are reducing the price for hosted Exchange Server by 50%. Discounts refer to pricing for commercial customers - I am still investigating whether there is any (read the entire post)...

RIM launches Blackberry Storm2 internationally

, posted: 15-Oct-2009 23:52

Research in Motion (RIM) are in the process of launching their second generation touch-screen handsets - the Blackberry Storm 2. The new model includes Wifi and improved ease of use and will initially be available in the UK (via Vodafone) and the US (via Verizon). Availability elsewhere around the world is expected in the coming weeks.

The UK edition of the Storm2 is officially available from 26 October (pre-order available now), and features 2100mhz UMTS/HSPA and quad-band GSM. The U (read the entire post)...

Microsoft ISA Server replacement Threat Management Gateway 2010 (TMG 2010) hits Release Candidate

, posted: 12-Oct-2009 14:40

Microsoft have been working towards replacing their ISA Server products for a number of years. They are finally now coming close the release of two products that will replace ISA Server 2006. The products will not be called ISA Server 2010 Standard and Enterprise, but instead they will launch under the following names:
- Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010 (TMG 2010) - Available in Standard and Enterprise editions
- Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway 2010 (UAG 20 (read the entire post)...

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 finalised for release

, posted: 9-Oct-2009 09:14

Microsoft have today confirmed what was aluded to in a WindowsFutures tweet yesterday - Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 has been released to manufacturing (RTM). A post on The Microsoft Exchange Team Blog confirmed the news today.

The Exchange team have advised that the RTM code will be sent initially to early adopters to test, then will be become broadly availably in early November.

See my story earlier in the year on key Exchange 2010 features.

Of key note with (read the entire post)...

Zune HD, Freeview and Windows 7 Media Center integration (Updated)

, posted: 3-Oct-2009 10:35

In recent days I've been reading about the frustration some have with the new WTV file format that Windows 7 Media Center uses. I was pleasantly surprised however when I tried to sync some TV programmes to my Zune HD so I could listen to or watch them while away from home.

So far I have tried synching 3 programmes from NZ's TV3 (all via Freeview) and they have been successfully coverted by the new Zune 4.0 media player/client. The only frustration at the moment is the time it takes fo (read the entire post)...

1000 people working on Windows Mobile 7

, posted: 17-Sep-2009 22:48

One of the interesting facts that was announced during TechEd this week in New Zealand was that there now is a team of 1000 people working on Windows Mobile 7. That's a fairly sizable team and suggests to me that Microsoft are really going to pull something solid out of the bag for this release next year.

It looks as though Microsoft might well not be stopping at 1000 staff on WM7 either as there are currently 65 job listings for new Windows Mobile related jobs listed here.

read the entire post)...

Zune HD launches with free app downloads

, posted: 15-Sep-2009 22:49

Microsoft's newest Zune MP3 player has launched today, and the big news for this multi-touch device is all software in Microsoft's Applications store for Zune will be free. Initially the most apps are understood to be games, however Twitter and Facebook apps are coming amongst others.

According to The Seattle Times who quote Microsoft's Zune Marketing Manager, Brian Seitz, the major apps won't actually be available until November - including 'Project Gotham Racing'.

(read the entire post)...

LTO-5 expected in H1 2010 with 1.5TB - 3TB storage (updated)

, posted: 9-Sep-2009 14:58

The leading tape backup technology - LTO Ultrium is expected to be launched in its fifth generation in the first half of 2010. LTO technology which is developed by the LTO Consortium (made up of IBM, HP and Seagate) was first launched in late 2000, followed by LTO-2 in mid-2003, LTO-3 in late 2005, LTO-4 in mid-2007.

The longer gap between the fourth and fifth generations of LTO seems is thought by some to be a reflection of a lacking demand, however many businesses seem keen to take (read the entire post)...