Sunday, September 28, 2008

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Firefox 3.1: Minefield's Here

First there was "Shiretoko," now we have been graced with "Minefield." The latest Firefox 3.1 build, which is pegged as a Pre-Beta 1 version of the software, was recently released to very low fanfare. However, this release is notable for a couple of reasons.

One thing I thought IE 7 did better than either Firefox 3 or Safari was that it was much easier to open a new tab within a given window. Right next to the tab furthest to the right sat a "new tab" button, which was easily accessible, and made opening multiple tabs a breeze. In Safari and Firefox, you had to either open one using the drop down menu, a keyboard shortcut, or, in Firefox, by placing a "new tab" button on the toolbar manually.

Now, Minefield has a new tab button on the toolbar by default, which you'll see placed all the way on the right side of the page when you start the program for the first time. It also comes with a little drop down tab situated right next to the button that lists the tabs you currently have open, so you could switch between them that way as well.

The big advancement in Minefield, however, is so under the radar that Mozilla hasn't even activated it by default. The new TraceMonkey JavaScript rendering engine, which has been really labeled as Firefox 3.1's breakout feature, is now available IF you know how to activate it.

Luckily, thanks to some help from Andrew Smith over at the Dallas Morning News, I've run down the Mozilla Wiki page that tells you how to accomplish this goal. I've played around with it a bit, and, for example, does seem to have a bit more pep in its step.

NOTE: Sort of as a bonus, if you want a tip on how to activate additional internet pipelines for Firefox and IE, take a look here, and it may make everyday browsing a little quicker.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

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New Xbox Live Experience Coming in November

Even though Microsoft has been doing quite well at keeping software from leaking onto the net lately, it has not done quite as admirably as it comes to release dates. As a matter of fact, Microsoft actually let the cat out the bag themselves that The new Xbox Live Experience. complete with Wii-esque avitars, will be surfacing this coming November.

How could they pull this off you may ask? That happens to be the best part. Gamespot is reporting that the drop was actually hidden within a Stride Gum advertisement placed within the Xbox Live blade interface. The interactive ad had a section labeled "New Xbox Experience," and scrolling over it revealed an ad that stated "Check out the New Xbox Experience coming in November."

For those of you that don't know much about the new interface, it, as I mentioned in the beginning, has customizable avatars for users, and will also add new Netflix functionality that could become quite a hit for those who subscribe to the service.

I'm not necessarily all about the new changes, mostly because I'm so used to the blade interface in its current form. However, as long as it's just a fresh coat of paint, but still functional and easy to navigate, I probably could care less.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

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Windows 7 M3 - Build 6780

Despite having checked numerous sites (for research purposes, clearly), I've determined that Microsoft has done an admirable job of keeping Windows 7 Milestone 3, or Build 6780, from leaking onto torrent, or other download, sites. The TAP testing pool must be fairly exclusive, and very loyal, to pull of such a feat when Microsoft products in the past (including Vista builds and other software) have all found their way onto the computers of unauthorized users.

The build, which was released some time during the week of September 15th (not sure exactly what day), appears to be coming along nicely. As I noted in last week's post, it doesn't appear to be very different from Vista, and keeps a good portion of the Vista UI at this point. I do expect this to change as things progress, but not on a drastic level.

Also, as rumored, the ribbon interface has indeed worked its way into Paint and Wordpad. happens to have posted a few of these shots, so take a look:

Insert picture feature, and integrated Paint . . . step in the right direction I suppose.

At least more asthetically pleasing, if nothing else.

Windows SOLUTIONS Center???

Integrated themes = GREAT idea.

Monday, September 15, 2008

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Windows 7 Beta Coming Sooner Rather Than Later?

According to a couple sources, it actually sounds as if the first beta of Windows 7 (possibly still codenamed "Vienna," although I haven't heard it called that name for quite some time) will likely be dropping before the end of the year.

Mary Jo Foley, an author on all things Windows who I particularly enjoy reading, has made it known that she belives that Microsoft will not introduce Beta 1 at either PDC (October) or WinHEC (November), two upcoming Microsoft conferences. Although, she does mention that it appears as if Microsoft will be on target for a mid-Decemeber release of Beta 1, which would mean it would be public in beta form for about a year before its consumer release target in early 2010 (NOTE: Many people posting around have now seem to come to the conclusion that Microsoft is dead set on late 2009, but they've said 3 years after general availability of Vista, which was January, 2007, so I still look at it as early '10).

However, there is another source claiming that Beta 1 goodness will reach the public even earlier than December. Andy Patrizio at apparently has a source that puts the RTM release of Windows 7 in June, 2009, and a Beta 1 release at PDC. In fact, Patrizio believes that the Beta 1 will actually be released to the general public on the first day of PDC, October, 27.

Considering I'm a tech guy, and love beta testing, I really hope that Patrizio is right. For those of you out there thinking a 2009 release means that certain proposed additions to Windows 7 will get cut as a result of the early release, you're really missing the main thing here:

Windows 7 will NOT, mark my words, be a major OS release. Those who have tried, or currently have, Vista will be surprisingly familiar with 7, because it will simply be Vista +. Is this a bad thing? No. I assume Windows 7 will have all the reliability that Vista will have one year from now, which should mean the OS will be pretty stable.

Upgraders from XP who initially tried to upgrade to Vista in 2007 will probably say "wow, this Windows 7 recognizes a lot of my devices, and never crashes on me!" Well, guess what, Vista in 2009/2010 would do the same thing! Windows 7 is going to retain the Vista kernel, and devices that work under Vista will also work under 7. Windows 7 will simply add the touch capabilites, Office ribbon, and faster boot times that have already been talked about.

If you haven't upgraded to Windows Vista, you may as well try it out, because what it represents as an OS will be the Microsoft standard for the next few years to come.
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Welcome to Cold Boot. As my first foray into the blogosphere will likely prove, I typically have nothing interesting to say about anything someone else is interested in. However, things that interest me will be posted here, and someone in this universe may also find them somewhat appealing.

This blog will, for the most part, mention the latest in the tech department, mainly things related to Windows and its development, Windows applications and their development, and Macs and Mac products when applicable. I'm a big sports nut, but I wil try to keep all of that for another blog if I end up getting around to it.

What type of experience do I have in the computing realm do post on such things you may ask? I have been avidly interested in computers since I was in grade school, and my father was in technology sales for a number of years, once trying to start up his own web based business. I have been a beta tester of many more recent Microsoft products, including Windows Vista Beta 2 (a disaster I'll probably mention a few times in later posts), Internet Explorer 7, and 8 betas, and various other applications as well.

I will leave you for now with that little tidbit of info about why this blog has come to be, and I will post more about myself as an individual as time goes on. I hope you enjoy this blog, and i hope it can be insightful as well as informative as it progresses.