imnuts' Blog
Random stuff from my mind…

Software Roundup

I’ve been really busy with a variety of various different things this past week. Due to all the other randomness that has cropped up around here, I haven’t really had a chance to post as much as I have wanted to. The fact that I was so busy with a bunch of other stuff also sidetracked my fairly often and caused me to forget the topic I was going to write on. So, I’ll try to bring a bunch of the stuff that happened over the week here and comment on all of it in one nice post.

The one software release that I did find rather notable, I have already posted about. VMWare Server 1.0 was released this week, and was also opened up from being a relatively expensive application to being free to the public. The really nice thing about VMWare Server, at least in comparison to Microsoft’s Virtual Server 2005 which is currently in its beta stages, is the features of VMWare Server. Microsoft’s Virtual Server, while being compatible with Virtual PC (also free now), is not openly compatible outside of Microsoft’s own line of operating systems. So, where many people are running a Linux operating system on their server, seeing as Windows Server 2003 is likely out of the price range of many home consumers, people can still run this on their actual server computers. You also have much better virtualization technology and support with VMWare. You can use USB devices from within the virtual operating system, which many people see as a huge benefit. The virtual networks are also much more organized with VMWare. The other thing that it offers over Microsoft is performance, although this is only a slight benefit. The VMWare virtual machines will tend to run slightly closer to how the real operating system would run compared to Virtual Server 2005.

The next release, which some people are happy about (I don’t really care) is Virtual PC is now free for the public as well. It isn’t nearly as advanced as VMWare Server or VMWare Workstation, but for the general user, it is likely much more user friendly. I have never actually used it myself, but seeing as how Microsoft tries to design many of their products for the average PC users out in the world, I would imagine that the entry level virtual machine program from Microsoft is no different. While it is much more likely to work with Windows when compared to VMWare, it will not be as highly portable as VMWare is, and it also isn’t as specialized. Even with all the differences aside, the fact that virtualization is coming into the real world at reasonable prices (doesn’t get better than free!), is a real step forward in my opinion. This will surely open up the doors for product testing to many more people out there, and should also allow for more experimentation by people. Hopefully, many more people will now give Linux a shot as it will be much easier to do so with free virtual machine products out now.

Another product that is hot off the development line and into the beta testing scene now is the integration of Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Instant Messenger. Users of both networks can now chat back and forth with each other using their respective clients. If you are using the latest version of Yahoo!’s instant messaging client, you can add MSN/WLM contacts to your list. If you are using WLM, you need to go to the Live Ideas site and “sign up” to add Yahoo! contacts to your buddy list. I say “sign up” because you don’t really have to do much signing up, just click the button to try the service and then sign out of Windows Live Messenger and sign back in. Just make sure to download the latest version of WLM if you don’t already have it, it would be 8.0.0792. After that, you are all set and can chat amongst your Yahoo! friends now as well as WLM friends. Now if Microsoft would just implement tabbed conversation windows in their client, they would have the best service out there for instant messaging. Also, if you would like to submit feedback about the product, feel free to go to Connect and sign up for the beta program there and you will be able to get your feedback to the developers more easily.

Another huge release today for the beta testing community was that of VistaBootPRO 2.0 from PROnetworks. Many people downloaded, installed, and used VistaBootPRO 1.0 to make altering the new Vista boot menu much easier, especially when compared to trying to use the command-line bcdedit.exe utility to try and edit everything. There are several changes to the program from the initial public release. The GUI has been revamped and is sporting a new skin and style. The backend has also undergone a major change, migrating from Visual Basic over to C#, and has been optimized to run better than the previous version. The folks at PROnetworks are hoping to make the pains of using bcdedit go away and that is the reason they are providing an easy way to alter the boot menu without getting frustrated with the command line. Also, stay tuned to the website as there is a development going on which may remove the two boot screens altogether for users using Windows Vista and a “legacy” operating system, such as Windows XP.

In other news, again from the Microsoft front, the highly anticipated release of Windows Vista for this weekend did not occur today, but this is only the start of the weekend. There has been much speculation over this in the past week based on several different things. The Beta Testers are hungry for a new build and can’t wait to get their hands on something new and start churning out the bugs once again. The screenshots posted earlier this week of Build 5466 added to the anticipation. In case users are wondering where this may have come from, it is likely a TAP release to a vendor to test out a specific feature, that or someone has some really good connections. For users wanting more information, this build is likely not going to be public and will likely be limited only to the beta testers. However, if you’ve downloaded and activated Beta 2, stick around for RC1, which should be released in August. As for what build folks are expecting, no one really knows for sure, at least no one that does know is saying anything. Speculations abound and it could possibly be something in the neighborhood of Build 5472. Based on previous news about a new build being produced internally everyday though, it could be as high as 5490, seeing as build 5456 was released about a month ago now.

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