Windows Home Server Power Pack 2

From the Windows Home Server Team Blog:

“We are pleased to announce Windows Home Server Power Pack 2.  Power Pack 2 fixes known issues and adds new features to improve the Windows Home Server experience.  Enhancements include: Improvements to remote access configuration, enhanced functionality for computers running Windows Media Center, and content streaming support for Windows Media Center Extenders.  Power Pack 2 adds Italian language support on new home servers.

Power Pack 2 will be made available via Windows Update.  Users need to have Windows Home Server with Power Pack 1 already installed on their home server. Power Pack 2 will automatically install as part of Windows Update if Automatic Updates is enabled on the home server.  (How to turn on automatic updates.)  The English version release date is March 24th.  Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish is currently scheduled to be available before the end of April.”

 

Full details of the updates can be found here.

Hyper-V RC1: Download details: Update for Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition (KB950049)

“The Release Candidate 1 (RC1) update to the Hyper-V role provides improvements to security, stability, performance, user experience, forward compatibility of configurations, and the programming model. All users of the Hyper-V role are encouraged to apply this upgrade. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer. Once you have installed this item, it cannot be removed. This update is provided to you and licensed under the Windows Server 2008 License Terms.”

There is also an update to the Vista Management console for RC1 available here.

Download details: Update for Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition (KB950049)

Why you should never buy a Creative sound card again…

Over the years (quite a number in my case), I have purchased a large number of Creative sound cards.  Generally, I went for the higher spec ones (AWE64 Gold with extra sugar, etc).  My last purchase was in January 2007 of an X-Fi Elite Pro.  Not a particularly cheap purchase, you’ll admit, at €360.

Shortly after that, I started testing Microsoft Windows Vista, and was pretty impressed except for the lack audio driver support.  I had to accept the statement from Creative that as Vista had not officially launched, they would not provide support it.  Fair enough, you say.  Once Vista launched though, I wanted my drivers.  I still want them.  Doesn’t look like I’ll get them from Creative though, and now it seems that Creative want to make sure that I don’t get them from anywhere else.

Daniel_K is a regular in the Creative support forums who has taken it upon himself to develop drivers which Creative can’t/won’t release.  He has helped a lot of people to get Creative hardware working on Vista, but now Creative want him to stop.

Creative have, in a thinly veiled threat, told him to cease and desist, or else…don’t-touch-my-IP-or-I’ll-break-your-legs-cuz-you’re-stopping-us-forcing-people-to-buy-new-cards type of thing.

You can read it all here (currently with 1,714 replies…and heading for a quarter of a million views), but suffice to say, I personally will never buy nor recommend that anyone else buys, Creative hardware, as they just want you to junk whatever you have and buy another piece of their unsupported kit.

Message to Daniel_K – Sound Blaster – Creative Labs

iPhone on O2 Ireland

Yesterday, I ordered a 16Gb iPhone, probably a gut-reaction to the O2 announcement that they’ll provide them from March 14th.  I grappled overnight with the thoughts of having to live without Exchange push e-mail, and no 3G.  I heard this morning that visual voicemail also won’t be supported.  Now I hear that the iPhone isn’t supported on 64-bit Vista.  We’re just about to roll out that OS flavour to all our desktops, so we’ll just throw that order in the bin.

Maybe later in the year when the 2nd gen iPhone supports 3G and other stuff, and the price is dropped and the extortionate packages and terrible conditions disappear, I’ll look at it again.

Or maybe not.  I’ve had a Nokia N95 now for nearly 6 months, and my biggest (only) gripe is it just a little too big and heavy.  That apart, it does everything I could possibly want.

Creative Drivers (or lack thereof)

I have an X-Fi Elite Pro.  I know, I’m very lucky, but I got it because of the excellent sound quality.  I had hoped that the RTM drivers for Vista (and associated apps, EQ etc.) would have been available at the lastest yesterday or today, given the public launch of Vista.

No.  The following is an extract from a moderator posting on the Creative support forums:

Due to additional requirements in the Windows Vista driver certification process, the release of the final signed drivers for the Sound Blaster range will move out beyond our initial projected date until early March. The current Beta drivers are still valid for use under Vista and are required to take advantage of the benefits of Creative ALchemy with the Sound Blaster X-Fi range to restore multichannel audio and EAX to your games. We appreciate your understanding for this change to the schedule as we work to bring you the best experience for your Sound Blaster series cards while adhering to the requirements of this new operating system.

I have my cake, but I’d like to eat it please…

WebGuide from ASCII Express

I always hated the fact that, living outside of the USA (Ireland), I couldn’t use the MSN Remote Record service to remotely set my Media Centre PC at home to record certain programs.  ASCII Express have a product I stumbled upon called WebGuide4, which not only achieves what MSN Remote Record does, but will give me access to my pictures, music, videos, download recorded tv (dvr-ms files) and will let me stream recorded TV remotely to any device, PC, Windows Mobile device, etc.

I installed the demo, and after about 17 seconds of investigating it, got out my credit card and signed up.  One of the best $15 I ever spent!

Kudos to Microsoft

I love it when a plan comes together.

After a very long beta program, Vista (as I’m sure you’re aware) has gone RTM and retail offerings are imminent.  As a special “thank you” to official beta testers, Microsoft has offered a free (that’s £0.00, $0.00, or €0.00) copy of Vista Business or Ultimate to all testers who submitted at least one bug through the Microsoft bug tracker application.  I thought we’d get a mug, cap, mouse-mat, mug-warmer or the like if we were lucky, but it’s unheard of to get a full licenced OS product.  If we’d received Vista Home Basic, I would have been impressed enough.  Here’s the speil:

 

“We would like to take a moment to thank you for your contribution to Microsoft Windows Vista. Quite simply, it would not be the product it is today without your time, dedication and thoughtful feedback. You should be proud to have helped us develop the highest quality, most secure and most reliable Windows to date. To say “thank you” we would like to provide you with a complimentary copy of Windows Vista for your use.
Please visit >> removed << to accept your copy.
If for some reason you are unable to accept this gift you may decline by clicking “Decline Invitation” on the “My Participation” page on Connect.
We would like to offer you a copy of the software and a product key for Windows Vista Business Edition or, if you are eligible Ultimate Edition. You are eligible to choose Ultimate Edition if the machine on which you intend to install Windows Vista already has a DVD drive and is currently licensed for DVD playback, i.e., you have already licensed one or more pieces of software for playing back DVDs

  • This is a full retail copy intended for your personal use and not for resale.
  • It is being offered as a download only. No media will be mailed.
  • Only currently active, invited members of the Windows Vista technical beta program who filed at least one bug are receiving this offer.
  • Please visit >> removed << to accept this offer and indicate your preference for Business or Ultimate editions.
  • After accepting the offer terms you will be immediately be given access to download the software.
  • You may install and use the edition you chose for 30 days without a product key. Simply click ‘next’ at the product key prompt during setup, continue on and choose the appropriate edition from the list. You will be able to enter your product key at the activation prompt at a later time.
  • We will email you when your product key is available for retrieval on Connect. In general this should happen within one week of your acceptance of the terms.

Again, we thank you for all your contributions during the beta!!
Thank you,
The Windows Beta Team”

 

Way to go Microsoft!!!

It’s Hammer Time…

Well, Longhorn…sorry, Vista Time.  Jim Allchin finally posted the announcement ending five years of development to the Vista Blog.  Build 6000.16386 has gone gold (RTM, Released to Manufacturing).  Microsoft expects to have 18 languages at the January launch, and 32 within 100 days of English RTM.

No sign of RTM on MSDN yet, but Saturday is looking promising.  According to the MSDN Downloads page, “Windows Vista and Office 2007 will be available through MSDN Subscriber downloads within 7 days of release to manufacture”.  Still no word if/when it will appear on Connect.

Well done to Microsoft on reaching this goal.