Vista SP1 Tested (Part-3)  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

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INNOVATIONS IN VISTA SP 1
User account control : The user need not constantly certify for multiple UAC (User Account Control) messages any more—a single authorization will suffice in future.
Vista-Backup : Even data encoded with EFS (Encrypting File System) can be secured in the new version of the image program from Windows.
New recovery tool : The SRT (Startup Repair Tool) can even restore system files. Till now, users had to completely reinstall the system.
Quick unblocking : Earlier, pause time after hitting [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Del] used to average 10 seconds.
Remote maintenance tools : The security involved in remote access has been improved—the programs can now be equipped with a digital signature.
BitLocker I : Along with the system partition, the encryption program can encode other partitions and drives as well.
BitLocker II : The data can also be encrypted through Multi Factor Authentication simultaneously with TPM module (PIN) and a USB stick for increased security.
New activation : The KMS (Key Management Service) available in the ‘Enterprise’ version now operates in virtual environments as well.
Safe password : Users have to compulsorily input a password hint as reminders while installing Vista, or else Windows will not start.
Old group policy : On installing SP1, Windows deletes GPMC (Group Policy Management Console) and activates the simpler version, GPedit.
New file system : The new file system exFAT has been introduced in Vista with SP1. Created especially for storage media, it offers support for files up to 32 GB.Better network behavior: In case of peer-to-peer connections, the users can also find out if they are behind a symmetrical firewall.
Faster Windows Releases : Network shares can be recognizable faster with SP1, especially when it concerns a pure SP1 environment.
Quick ZIP folder : Packed archives such as ZIP files can be stored and extracted faster with Vista Service Pack 1.
Speedy pictures : The photo display is more powerful with SP1. The supplemented feature is particularly noticeable in large images.
Improved Internet Explorer : Vista is faster in loading and rendering loads of websites which use intensive JavaScript programming language.
New SuperFetch : The Cache function loads the frequently used files in the main memory. This happens much faster, particularly while booting.
Intelligent network logic : Vista identifies which network connections are useful, for example, when LAN and WLAN are activated simultaneously.
Upgraded remote access : The RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) has a new compression algorithm and thus requires less bandwidth.
Configurable defragmentation : Users and administrators can determine the drives they want to defragment.
Deleting functions for offline folders : Vista with Service Pack 1 can delete files from offline folders, even if they are not connected.
64 Bit emulator : 64 Bit versions of Vista-SP1 can be installed and used on a 32-Bit system too.
Complete display of main memory : Windows displays the entire main memory on systems, even those which have several OS running.
Better connection of displays : In case of external displays, the display and integration with Vista now work more conveniently.
More drivers : With SP1, Microsoft also delivers a whole series of new drivers for components from third party providers like printers or WLAN-N adapters.

FORECAST
Microsoft internal : What the next Windows has in storeThe technicians at Redmond are saving many functions that are missing in SP1 for the upcoming Windows 7.
Extended Bootmanager : Until now, the system administrator from Windows recognized only the Microsoft-owned operating systems. Other operating systems, for example, Linux, had to be manually added by the user in a long winded way. Installing a recognition function is child’s play for Microsoft.
Windows activation : A person changing PC components frequently or reinstalling the system would soon reach the limit of Internet activation of Windows. The only way out: the telephone hotline. Many users want to have the option of deactivating the OS before upgrading so that it does not reach the activation limit.
Fully developed sound mixer : Even with Service Pack 1, the sound mixer from Windows can set only the volume: the bass and fading configurations are entirely missing. These functions are standard even in a simple car radio.
Blu-ray and HD DVD playback : If you want to watch the latest HD discs with Vista SP1, you would need additional software. Microsoft has paid a lot of attention to the out-of-the-box experience—install and start up. However, the screen still remains blank without a suitable codec.
Configuring the Taskbar : Firefox and Internet Explorer have the function whereby individual tabs can be moved and grouped using the mouse. However, this functionality is still missing in the Windows taskbar.Personalizing Superfetch: The SuperFetch function in Vista loads frequently used DLL files in the fast main memory. Windows need not load these files from the relatively slower hard disk any more. The only thing missing is a configuration option. SuperFetch used to search for cacheable data in unneeded folders, like in film or MP3 directories. (end)

Vista SP 1 Ttested (Part-2)  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

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Security: Better protection against viruses, hackers etc., Vista is relatively safer and some new features have improved the security aspects of SP1. But, these improvements will only benefit corporate customers. Encrypting data: If you want to use the in-built Windows encryption-function BitLocker, you either require an ‘Ultimate’ or an ‘Enterprise’ version of Vista, both of which are expensive and are seldom installed on any of the PCs available in the consumer market. Users not equipped with either and still wanting to encrypt their operating system will have to resort to programs from third party providers. Until now, the problem with BitLocker was the limitation on the size of system volume. With SP1, users can now also protect additional partitions from strange eyes. Yet, it’s incomprehensible why Microsoft is releasing this function now since experts could already encrypt their other partitions using BitLocker, via the command line on Vista systems without SP1—only the user interface was missing. Microsoft has added it now so that the average user can perform the same function. Better updates: If Windows had been a car with a broken brake, Microsoft would have asked the driver to apply the brakes gently instead of completely replacing the brake disc. This situation is comparable to the security updates: If the technicians at Redmond discovered a security leak, they would only plug the hole, and never strive to find the cause of the leak. This has fortunately changed with Vista. Maybe because this is the first consumer operating system from Microsoft that has been developed taking SDL (Secure Development Lifecycle) into account. A new security strategy from Microsoft is hidden behind SDL: right from the initial phase of developing new systems, the specialists study current threats and predict possible future threats. The programmers have upgraded the operating system so that it can withstand all those dangers. If you believe Microsoft, you require around 50 percent lesser updates—all thanks to SDL. With SP1, Vista includes a corresponding SDL update that should make certain parts more secure: If Vista now blocks a program with the user account control; the user receives more information about it. However, the continuous messages are still just as annoying as before. Reliable Info: If you want to know whether the antivirus protection has been activated and updated, or whether the firewall is active or not, then you don’t need to open Vista security any more. With SP1, it looks like Microsoft has improved the technology too. Before, in certain cases, malicious software could change the status of the security applications within the centers. Thus, it happened that Windows would show a green light but the firewall, for instance, would be inactive. Security tools can now report their status to Windows monitoring via new and safer interfaces. The user can thus be sure that everything really is in order when Windows says so—at least until hackers find a new way of attacking it.
Reliability: Windows does not crash so often with the SP1The blue screen stll remains to scare users. Crashes haven’t been rampant for quite a while now, but the allegedly robust Vista cannot handle everything. Many errors have been taken care of in SP1. Lesser data loss: Windows has drilled it into our heads that we must first eject the USB stick from the Windows software before taking it out. Simply removing the USB stick could lead to data loss. Microsoft has improved the cache performance with SP1, especially in the case of NTFS media. One should still not pull out the stick directly, but, if you do, it is quite unlikely that your data will be lost. Better Drivers: Crashes are mainly caused due to driver problems and software from third party providers. Compatibility issues have been improved with SP1 and Microsoft has even updated the drivers for radio networks, which promises higher rate of success with WLAN connect. For wireless networks, the range largely depends on the location and efficiency of the router. Microsoft boasts a larger range with SP1, but we could detect only a marginal increase during testing.Support for new hardware: Along with the many bugfixes, this Service Pack also introduces support for future hardware standards. Thus, Vista SP1 can work well with media on the new exFAT file system. This allows the usage of media having larger total capacity and is especially intended for flash memory cards and USB sticks. Even upcoming SD cards with SD ADMA (Advanced DMA) can communicate with Vista and they offer a higher transfer rate as well as lesser load on the processor. Future PC systems with EFI-BIOS can now be used with Vista as well. Yet, with all these improvements, there is still room to heap on the criticism. -->

Vista ServisePack1 Tested (Part-1)  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

It might sound strange to you but we actually asked average computer users if they or somebody they know are using Vista. After all, Microsoft has sold over 100 million licenses of Vista since the introduction of the operating system last February. Besides, this number is supposedly well distributed around the world. We wanted to find out why so many people hesitate to buy Vista and hence, we conducted an online survey. “My current programs won’t run since they are incompatible with Vista”, dreaded about 22 percent of those surveyed. They are not completely wrong in their assertion. Even with an installed XP emulator, some programs refuse to operate in Vista.
More than a year after Vista’s release, frustrated users feel that they have been unknowingly tangled in a beta test of incomplete software. Service Pack 1 (SP1) seems to provide relief to the disgruntled. Microsoft hopes that the release of SP1 will make Vista a full-fledged operating system. Yet, at first glance, it doesn’t seem to promise much. When the update is first run, the improvements are not very obvious. The situation is analogous to that in the auto world: If Volkswagen introduces the next Golf VI, it will look very much like the Golf V but underneath the surface the changed mechanism may actually make the vehicle run smoothly, or better still, it may even be a complete overhaul. That’s exactly how it is with Windows: the manufacturers claim to have improved features such as performance, security, and reliability under its bonnet. How much more exactly? We tested the claims in detail.
Performance: Vista is much faster with Service Pack 1 : Microsoft still asserts that an 800 MHz PC with 512 MB RAM and a DirectX 9 graphics card should be enough to run the system smoothly. In practice however, it turns out that Vista performs best only on the latest CPUs with dual-core technology and a minimum of 1 GB RAM. Still, there are performance problems even with fast computers: music crackles, power consumption on notebooks is extremely high, and it still takes ages for Vista to launch. Resource sparing, stability and faster operations are still the mainstays of the proven success of Windows XP. Microsoft has, however, improved considerably with the Service Pack.
Copying Faster : The average hard disk could transmit 25 MB of data per second but only if Vista’s brakes were absent. This transfer rate is achieved only in the rarest of the cases because of the sub par programming of Vista. Technicians in Redmond have identified the defect and repaired it, and this happens to be the biggest plus point of Vista SP1.
On a computer running the new software package, data can allegedly be copied on the local disk up to 25 percent faster and 50 percent faster across the network. However, in practical tests conducted in our test center, the increase in speed was not so high—it was 18 percent higher while copying locally and 33 percent higher over the network. Though not reaching the speeds touted by Microsoft, it is still good improvement. Incidentally, Microsoft has also rectified the way the copying process works. Until now, the Vista time specification while copying was rather haphazard. With SP1—while few of the time progress bars are still inconsistent with the actual time taken—the display is right most of the time. However, folders containing a cluster of small files still have problems in gauging estimated time.
Enjoying music without interference: Today we can simultaneously perform multiple tasks on the PC. However, Vista is still riddled with flaws. Whenever several memory- and computing-intensive applications are simultaneously running on Vista, the audio playback is usually interrupted. This occurs because the media player gets allocated very little CPU time to decode the MP3 and this results in crackles while playing music. Leave alone slower machines, this is a problem that can take place even on fast systems.
While testing the original Vista, Amy Winehouse, for instance, started stammering when we ran iTunes, Photoshop and Microsoft Word simultaneously on our 2.4 GHz large Dual Core system. With SP1, Microsoft gets rid of this exasperating problem by reserving CPU time for audio and video playback. If you believe that this is the only reason for the sluggish functioning of other operational applications, you are just deceiving yourself: Windows cleverly divides the CPU time amongst the applications and performance is not lost with Photoshop & Co. The only hitch is that Microsoft has not integrated a cool user-friendly playing tool, such as iTunes offered by Apple.
Notebooks hold out longer: Laptop users ought to rejoice with SP1 because the computer battery should now last longer. We tried it out and installed the new Service Pack on a Lenovo notebook. The outcome: about seven percent more run time. In order to achieve this increase in battery time, Vista SP1 has especially optimized the working of the major power devourer— laptop display. For instance, the CPU can now discretely go into sleep mode as soon as the display content does not change for a determined time. SP1 also gets rid of a bug with certain video chipset.
f a program continuously accesses the VSync-interrupt even though it does not need to, the system does not go to sleep mode. Vista SP1 monitors this interrupt and checks whether the application actually needs it. Similarly, there are alleged improvements in the second largest power sucker, i.e. the hard disk. The technicians at Redmond have improved its performance by merely rectifying a programming error: earlier, in some cases, the hard disk used to continue running even though it was actually supposed to switch over to the standby mode. Along with that, Microsoft has also worked on the compatibility of the new power-saving hybrid SSD hard disks (Solid State Disk) with SP1. These disks are equipped with a big cache, which buffers the data.
Earlier, the components of the hybrid SSD hard discs used to create difficulties while in standby mode. Unfortunately, our tests reveal that the collaboration of such hybrid disks with Vista SP1 has not improved substantially. On the contrary, on exiting the standby mode, the disk drives by manufacturers Samsung and Seagate take 20 seconds to start. Windows in the meantime is completely idle—it is neither possible to click on icons nor start any programs. This is an extremely embarrassing goof-up by Microsoft! -->

Intel showcasing Trine's Streets of Mumbai (Game)  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

Giving fillip to a budding gaming studio with immense growth potential, Intel has tied up with Mumbai based game development studio, Trine to showcase its latest game, Streets of Mumbai at the Intel Innovation Zone in Bangalore.
Speaking to AnimationXpress, Sangam Gupta, CEO of Trine Game Studio shared, " Intel acts as a technology platform partner with Trine and offers Trine in-depth testing and feedback on how to optimize the code for ready performance on upcoming Intel platforms. All our developer machines are running on the Intel platform and we have the best development hardware today ranging from powerful Core2 duo to dedicated Quad Core Xeon machines."
According to an official spokesperson, the association is a technical collaboration between the two parties on enabling game performance on future Intel client platforms. Technological support that Intel is providing Trine includes engineering consulting, knowledge sharing from other Intel gaming ventures from across the world, training on Intel software tools, future Intel platforms and marketing.
Intels chose Trine's work taking into consideration that it is an Indian company developing original content/IP, Indian retailers and customers want Indian content, the game has a local flavour to it, rich graphics which showcase Intel's C2D platform capabilities and that the game runs on an indigenously developed game engine.
Streets of Mumbai is in mid stages of production and is currently on schedule for a December deadline. A lot of technical changes have been made to the game to bring it up to international quality standards. "There are several interested parties for distribution of the game in India, talks with whom are on to work out the best possible deal. Things should be clear by early next year," commented Sangam.
Presently a technical demo of the game comprising one level and two cars is on display at innovation zone. The level is based on Mumbai's famous Marine Drive area and the team is currently working on another one which will be delivered to Intel by the end of the month. There will also be timely upgrades of the game during this period.
Concluded Sangam, "Everyone seems to be really excited about the game, and an association such as this will definitely help out in the long run where technical partners will have faith in Trine in future for providing excellent quality products. Our website has only been up for less than a month and we have been receiving a huge response from the Indian game development community as well as publishing/distribution offers from various Indian and foreign companies and not too mention tons of game developer resumes."

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