Tag Archives: service-pack

Are Compact Discs Dead?

In just a few months, Universal Music Group is dropping the prices on their CDs to between six and ten dollars each in an effort to boost sales. While the company does have its hand in the music download and streaming side of things, their profit margins are much better with physical disc sales. Up until now, however, it usually cost far more to buy a copy at the local WalMart than it did to purchase the entire album digitally.

In addition to the lower cost, UMG plans to add extra content to physical CDs that cannot be purchased online. Their hope is the combination of the lower cost packed with additional features will bring sales out of the serious slump they find themselves in. I personally love this idea, and will likely buy more compact discs than normal. I do buy music online, sure. But there’s just something about owning those sweet little silver discs that I am hopelessly addicted to. What about you? Will the lower cost cause you to go out and buy more music in hard copy form?

Don’t forget to stop by the software center and see what’s new today.

How Not to Install Windows Vista SP1 Beta

I thought I would have been fine with installing the first Windows Vista SP1 beta last night (after having been invited and accepted into the feedback program). Guess what?

Everything seemed fine after the first three installer-induced reboots, but then I came to see a black screen of… nothing but my mouse cursor. No matter what I tried, I could not move past this snag.

I tried rebooting in Safe Mode a few times – and the first few times, it showed me that SP1 was installing itself again. Eventually, however, I could only boot into Safe Mode for a second before the PC would restart itself.

So, I throw in my Vista install CD and hop into the Recovery Console. It shows me that I have three restore points for this particular installation of Windows Vista (x86). However, it cannot restore the volume because… Vista is too retarded to help me.

So, I need to clear space on this volume (obviously). I boot into my x64 installation of Vista and discover that it was never activated. Grumph! Well, okay… so it’s back to a fully-functional Windows XP I go – if only to clear some excess space on the Vista x86 partition.

After wiping out a few non-essential (and rather large) files, I went back into the Recovery Console only to discover that my restore points had completely vanished. Awesome. Pure awesome.

Back to Windows XP… period, end of story.

In the middle of this ordeal, I received an email from Wendy Kaufman, an NPR correspondent who wants to interview me on the subject of Vista. Her timing is impeccable.

Windows Vista SP1

  • The beta will be released to a moderate-sized audience in a few weeks.
  • With SP1, Windows Vista can boot via EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) on an x64 machine
  • SP1 supports ExFAT, a new file format that will be used in flash memory storage and consumer devices
  • Support for SD Advanced DMA Support to improve transfer performance and decrease CPU utilization is part of SP1
  • SP1 includes a series of new API’s and software features to enable 3D application and game developers to make more complete and efficient use of the upcoming generation of graphics Direct3D 10.1 hardware
  • Windows Vista SP1 includes SSTP (Secure Sockets Tunnel Protocol), a remote access VPN tunneling protocol that will be part of Microsoft’s RRAS (Routing and Remote Access Service) platform. SSTP helps provide full-network VPN remote access connections without some of the challenges that other VPN tunnels face traversing NAT, web proxies, and firewalls
  • With Windows Vista SP1, BitLocker Drive Encryption has been enhanced to not only fully encrypt the entire Windows Vista volume but also any or all additional locally created data volumes. (Customers can now not only fully encrypt C: but also D: and E:)
  • Network Diagnostics in Windows Vista SP1 will help users with the most common file sharing problems, in addition to basic problems already supported
  • SP1 includes an update to Disk Defragmenter so administrators can control which volumes the disk defragmenter runs on
  • Windows Vista SP1 does not include new drivers. Rather, new drivers are delivered to users via Windows Update or directly from the driver vendor.
  • Microsoft currently expects to deliver SP1 during the first quarter of 2008, but will collect customer feedback from the upcoming beta process before setting a final date.
  • Windows Vista SP1 is designed to not significantly change the UI or to cause regressions in application compatibility.
  • SP1 is going to be released in two waves. The initial release of SP1 will include 5 languages (English, French, Spanish, German, and Japanese). A Service Pack containing all 36 of the languages (including the original 5) will be released about 3 months later.