Windows 7 introduces a new way to interact with your phone, camera, printer, or portable media player from the Windows desktop. Device Stage is new visual interface that makes it easy to find the things you want to do with your devices on your Windows 7 PC. You could think of Device Stage as a multi-function version of Autoplay where it displays all the applications, services, and information related to your device. Device Stage not only works for devices connected to a Windows 7 PC via USB, but also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well. In many cases, software installation isn’t required for Device Stage – with any additional drivers that might be needed automatically retrieved from Windows Update.

Device Stage is customized by the device manufacturer and specific to the devices you own. During Steve Ballmer’s keynote at CES tonight, the Nikon D90 was shown via IE8 during the Windows 7 demo showcasing the “Snap To” feature. They used the Nikon D90 because it is a device that works great with Windows 7 today. Part of working great with Windows 7 is that the Nikon D90 also supports Device Stage. When a Nikon D90 is plugged in to a Windows 7 PC, you can see how Nikon customized Device Stage specifically for the D90.

D90

As I mentioned, Device Stage displays all the applications, services and information related to your device. In the case of the Nikon D90, Device Stage presents to the user the ability to import photos and videos off the device, browse files on the device, take advantage of the service from Nikon called my Picturetown, launch Nikon’s Nikon Transfer application, and get support or order accessories for the D90. You’ll notice Device Stage also displays how much battery life is left on the Nikon D90 as well as how much storage is left too.

Because Device Stage is a way of extending the features of Windows 7 to expose device capabilities, it also supports the use of Jump Lists via the new Windows Taskbar.

When a device is plugged in that supports Device Stage, it appears on the new Windows Taskbar in Windows 7 as an icon of the actual device. To quickly access all that is offered through Device Stage for that specific device, you can right-click on the device on the taskbar to see all the Device Stage options. You’ll notice for the D90, the Jump List displays everything shown in Device Stage for the device.

devicestage_d90b

Simply moving your mouse over the device on the Windows Taskbar also gives you a quick glance at battery life and storage capacity.

devicestage_d90a

In the next couple days I’ll be talking about Device Stage a bit more - highlighting different experiences Device Stage provides for different device types from different device manufacturers.

In the Windows 7 Beta, you will be able to experience Device Stage for yourself! I know folks will be wondering what devices will support Device Stage for the Windows 7 Beta too -click here for that device list! (story Link)

An update on the Windows 7 Beta Download Situation  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

We are now about 8 hours after the original time of release for Windows 7 Beta and Microsoft still hasn’t gotten around to fixing their server issues after an epic fail.

Just a few hours ago, Brandon from the Windows Team Blog made an announcement regarding the issue:

Due to very heavy traffic we’re seeing as a result of interest in the Windows 7 Beta, we are adding some additional infrastructure support to the Microsoft.com properties before we post the public beta. We want to ensure customers have the best possible experience when downloading the beta, and I’ll be posting here again soon once the beta goes live. Stay tuned! We are excited that you are excited!

We’ve received no information at all from Microsoft on when the download links will be up again. However, a member of the Windows 7 Center forum have posted direct links to the ISOs straight from Microsoft’s servers. You can download those for the time being by clicking here. Although we are still in the process of launching our forums, we hope you will be able to discuss on topics related to Windows 7 with other community members.

And finally, we’ve received word that if you were able to fill out the form required before download this afternoon, you should be getting an activation key in your soon. Some seem to have gotten theirs in their email. Some others kept pasting the following links every few minutes and eventually did not get redirected to the Windows 7 page, and got an activation key:

https://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/productkeys/win7-32/enus/default.aspx (32-bit)
https://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/productkeys/win7-64/enus/default.aspx (64-bit)

Some people have also claimed that they were still able to get a key even though they did not complete the registration process. Remember, if you did not fill in any form this afternoon, you will have to wait until Microsoft resolves their server problems before getting your key. (full Story With Thanks)

Little notebook drives just got a whole lot bigger, thanks to a new line of portable drives from Fujitsu.

Big brand names like Seagate and Western Digital dominate the mainstream hard drive market, but don't overlook Fujitsu. The Japanese giant has been in storage for 40 years, actually, and in the mobile market owns a decent 15 percent of the market, manufacturing 2.5-inch drives in the Philippines and Thailand.

Fujitsu ups the ante today, introducing a new portable 500GB capacity to U.S. shelves. The USB 2.0, bus-powered drives carry the Handy Drive brand name and ship with Acronis True Image Home Backup, a software package that lets users create full drive images, and a password lock tool which disables read/write access to drive. Handy Drive is a new brand name in the US, although the name and products have been around in Europe and Asia for a few years.

The two-platter, 5,400-rpm drive uses the company's MJA2 series hard drives, which Fujitsu calls a breakthrough in storage density. Other manufacturers currently sell 500GB drives as well, such as the Buffalo MiniStation TurboUSB and the Western Digital My Passport Elite; which manufacturer actually started producing the drives first is hard to determine. Fujitsu's drives distinguish themselves in another way, however: low power. The Fujitsu Handy Drive uses just 1.4 watts during read/write, and sips a mere 0.6 watts when idle. Other drives run as high as 2.6 watts. The 250GB and 500GB capacities will be available in the U.S. in February for around $150 retail; 400GB and 320GB capacities will follow soon after. (full Story)

On Wednesday, Panasonic announced 19 new camcorders, from as low as $299.95 for a standard-definition camcorder and up to $1,399.95 for the most expensive high-definition model. The most interesting new camcorders included a waterproof standard-definition camcorder, a high-definition model with a "twin memory" feature and the introduction of the world's first standard definition camcorder with a 70X optical zoom.

The SDR-SW21 is Panasonic's new waterproof/shockproof standard-definition camcorder. The body of the unit is rugged enough to withstand a four-foot drop, and it can be submerged in 6.5 feet of water. The camcorder will record video to a removable SD memory card. Color choices will include silver, lime green and orange. The SDR-SW21 will retail for $399.95 in April.

Panasonic will also offer three standard-definition camcorders with 70x optical zoom: the SDR-H80, SDR-H90 and SDR-S26. The lens will be supported by optical image stabilization that can detect and combat shakes through a built-in gyro-sensor. The camcorders will offer a quick-start mode that allows them to turn on and begin recording in .08 seconds. They will also include Panasonic software called "VideoCam Suite" that will assist and expedite the process of uploading videos to YouTube. The camcorders will be available in April; pricing was not announced. (full Story)

Dell Debuts Eco-Friendly LED Displays  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

Dell's new G-series of widescreen LED displays, announced Thursday at CES, the G clearly stands for "green."

The G2210 and G2410 (22-inch and 24-inch respectively) flat-panel displays are EPEAT Gold and ENERGY STAR-compliant, designed for energy efficiency, and are made from recycled materials and other environmentally preferable components. Not only that, they're built for performance.

The maximum resolution for the G2210 is 1,680x1,050 (G2210) and 1,920x1,080, full 1080p HD, for the G2410. Dell specs the standard contrast ratio at 1,000:1 and the dynamic contrast ratio at up to 1,000,000:1, with a brightness of 250 nits. A fast 5-ms black-to-white pixel response time should provide for good gaming and DVD-watching. Available connectors include VGA, and DVI-D with HDCP.

Dell claims the new monitors consume less than half the power of comparable displays, with a typical power consumption of 18W for the G2210 and 20W for the G2410, and less than 0.15W when in sleep mode. (full Story)

NVIDIA glasses make home computer screen 3D  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

NVIDIA wants zombies to reach right out of videogames and virtually grab players by the throats.

The graphics chip specialty firm is at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with an affordable way for just that to happen.

NVIDIA has created a kit that turns computer screen images 3D provided machines have GeForce graphics processors and one of the new-generation of high-resolution monitors launched at CES by Samsung, ViewSonic, or Mitsubishi.

"Imagine being home alone in a dark room playing; you turn a corner and zombie arms come out of the screen at you," said NVIDIA GeForce vice president Ujesh Desai.

"I call that the true pee-your-pants-moment. In shooters you see bullets whizzing past you."

Desai demonstrated the technology with a chilling bout of zombie hunting in popular videogame "Left 4 Dead." Ravines looked bottomless. Bridges appeared treacherous and zombies swarmed.

3D Vision for GeForce kits selling for 199 dollars each contain glasses embedded with circuitry and an emitter that wirelessly sends signals from computers to wearers. (full Story)

Google's free code-hosting Web site for developers is being used to distribute malware, a security researcher said on Friday.

Google Code is a place where programmers can host projects and code. Along with the legitimate code are links to fake videos that direct users to download a missing codec, said Dave Marcus, director of security research for McAfee Avert Labs. The codecs turn out instead to be password-stealing Trojan horses and programs geared toward stealing financial information for identity fraud, he said.

"They're using it as a way to send out links or as a place to house their links and redirects because it's Google and obviously it gets highly ranked in the index," he said. "The bad guys look for services like this as a way to push out code."

A Google spokesman said the company has removed malware-distributing projects from Google Code and search results.

"Google works hard to protect our users from malware. Using Project Hosting on Google Code, or any Google product, to serve or host malware is a violation of our product policies," the spokesman said in a statement. "Using automated tools, we actively work to detect and remove sites that serve malware from our network. We have removed many of these projects from Google Code and from our search results. Additionally, we'll continue to explore new ways to identify and eliminate such content." (full Story)

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