Windows 7 : Desktop Slideshow  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Rafael from Within Windows is just on fire with his reverse-engineering skills. Just a few days after discovering the hidden taskbar, he was able to discover another hidden feature which he called “Desktop Slideshows.” This feature was found under the Personalize option in the desktop menu.Windows 7 Prebeta Secret Feature Discovered: Desktop Slideshows

The feature basically allows your desktop wallpaper to automatically change itself from intervals ranging from 10 seconds to 1 day. There’s also an option to pause the slide show when using battery power.

Windows 7 Prebeta Secret Feature Discovered: Desktop Slideshows

Another neat aspect of “Desktop Slideshows” is the ability to draw images from feeds. This is good for those who don’t have a lot of images, or want to draw their images from an outside source. You could subscribe to a comic feed and read a new comic every time you turn on your computer. However, Rafael reports that this feature is not yet fully functional. Afetr all, it is build 6801 and Microsoft did not intend us to find or use these features at all.

He’s working on a workaround to get this feature unprotected for us to play with. Updates will be posted as soon as we hear word that he’s got it working. (story Link)

Remove the Windows 7 Watermark  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Microsoft imprints their evaluation and testing versions of Windows 7 with a Watermark like the one below:

How to remove the Windows 7 Watermark
It’s a minor detail that only exists in the pre-release versions of Windows 7, but some don’t like it there. Personally, I think it sucks to have it say “For testing purposes only” when you want to show off your Windows 7 installation to your friends.

Getting rid of the watermark is simple. There is a manual way to do it, which involves modifying a system file. But lhjhyc from PCBeta has provided a patch that can remove the watermark automatically. The documentation is in Chinese, so I will explain it in English here.

Warning: Some users have reported some slight stability issues after implementing this tweak. You may or may not want to implement this tweak. (Personally, I have experienced no stability or OS issue other than not being able to run MSN in Compatibility Mode)


  1. Download the patch here
    (Use this patch if you are on Build 7048 or newer)
  2. The documentation asks you to disable UAC. I managed to run the patch with UAC at its highest level for some reason. If you want to know how to disable UAC, you can access your UAC settings by typing UAC in the Start menu Search.How to remove the Windows 7 Watermark
  3. Once you’re at the UAC settings window, drag the slider all the way to the bottom. You’ll have to reboot for changes to take effect.How to remove the Windows 7 Watermark
  4. Once you’ve rebooted, extract the RAR’s contents and open the extracted folder. Right click the appropriate file, and choose Run as Administrator.
    If you are on a 32-bit version of Windows 7, run RemoveWatermarkX86.exe
    If you are on a 64-bit version, run RemoveWatermarkX64.exe

    The program will make some changes to your user32.dll file and create a backup of the previous file.

  5. You will have to reboot again for changes to take effect.

If something goes wrong, it says in the documentation that you can always restore your user32.dll since a backup was created earlier.

Other than disabling UAC and two restarts, the procedure should be very simple. The patch also works for getting rid of XP and Vista watermarks. (story with thanks)

IT pros: We hate Microsoft  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

If we're to believe a study about the performance ratings IT pros give to vendors, Microsoft is in big trouble. The study just out from VendorRate gives Microsoft products across-the-board dreadful ratings for customer satisfaction, integrity, reliability, and more.

VendorRate conducted an online survey of IT pros of 347 hardware, software, telecom and service vendors during the second quarter of 2009, and only reported results for those vendors that received eight or more ratings. Microsoft's ratings for that quarter, in the words of Rick Schaefer, CEO of VendorRate, "simply fell off a cliff in this quarter."

The site asked for IT pros to rate vendors in 10 categories, including integrity, timeliness, communications, customer service, expertise, effectiveness, and whether they would recommend the vendor to others. It then added all the categories for each vendor to come up with a total.

For Microsoft, the ratings were universally dismal.Three different Microsoft businesses were given separate ratings, including operating systems, applications, and server/infrastructure.

Here's a brief summary of the findings, taken from the VendorRate summary:

IT pros rating vendors on VendorRate in April, May and June hammered Microsoft across the board with poor customer satisfaction scores for the company’s server and infrastructure software (55 out of 100, down nearly 17 percent), operating systems (67, down 9.5 percent) and applications (64, off nearly 18 percent).

Verizon was at the bottom of the barrel, with a 61 rating, followed by Sprint Nextel with 64, and Microsoft applications with 64. Microsoft operating systems was tied with AT&T Wireless for next worse with a 67. That means Microsoft took two of the bottom five spots. IBM Informix, meanwhile, took the top spot for vendors with a 96.

It's hard to know what to make of the survey, because there was no event or series of events that could have caused such a drastic plunge in a single quarter. But whatever the reason, Microsoft clearly has a lot riding on Windows 7, because if that operating system is a hit, you can expect all these numbers to rise.  (story Link)

Bill Gates: Natal coming to Windows in the future

In an interview with CNet today, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates hinted Natal’s integration with Windows in the future. Project Natal is Microsoft’s project to integrate motion sensing capabilities into Xbox 360, similar to what has been done with the Wii but without the use of any controller. He stated that the Windows team have latched onto the idea of Natal and is working in collaboration with the Xbox team to research on how the concept can be used in the office environment.

I’d say a cool example of [what's going on in Microsoft research labs], that you’ll see is kind of stunning, in a little over a year, is this (depth-sensing) camera thing… Not just for games, but for media consumption as a whole… If they connect it up to Windows PCs for interacting in terms of meetings, and collaboration, and communication, you put the camera in now it’s a cool thing

The Microsoft chairman did not go into specifics, but hinted at possible examples of the concept’s utilization:

Well, I think the value is as great for if you’re in the home, as you want to manage your movies, music, home system type stuff, it’s very cool there. And I think there’s incredible value as we use that in the office connected to a Windows PC. So Microsoft research and the product groups have a lot going on there, because you can use the cost reduction that will take place over the years to say, “Why shouldn’t that be in most office environments?”

The fact that Microsoft is latching on to a potential opportunity to change the conventional way of interacting with computers is exciting. While Apple has been using multi-touch gestures as a productivity feature for Mac laptops for a while now, Microsoft is responding with numerous multi-touch display features that are integrated into Windows 7. Gates wording of the Windows team picking up on the idea suggests that Natal may play a role in next generation Windows. (story Link)

What if Google Wasn't Free?  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

The launch of Google's Chrome OS spurred numerous questions among analysts and bloggers: what is it? How will it be used? Will it displace Android? Microsoft Windows?

The question that's now being asked is: what if it isn't free? And what if Google decides to charge consumers for Gmail, or its Apps package, or any number of additional services?

The questions have been raised by The New York Times and analyst Rob Enderle, among others. At this point, it's merely speculation, but possibly a topic that might be factored in as a "what-if" scenario in future budgets, too. The question remains: what would you pay to use Google?

Hands On With the Nokia Surge  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , , ,

Nokia's new Surge smartphone for AT&T Wireless is designed specifically for the U.S. market – and a younger demographic.

BOSTON – I spent some time Monday checking out the Nokia Surge, the company's new smartphone for AT&T Wireless. In a twist, Nokia designed the Surge specifically for the U.S. That means there's no unlocked version with a different model number, such as with the E71 and the E71x.

In fact, it's actually Nokia's third smartphone for AT&T in the past 12 months; the first two were the Nokia 6650 and the E71x. That's significant because it signals a change in Nokia's strategy; up until recently, Nokia's diverse lineup of unlocked smartphones have barely made a dent in the U.S. marketplace due to their high upfront cost.

Nokia SurgeThat said, Nokia is aiming the Surge at a younger demographic than the E71x. The big news is the Surge's thin, squat form factor, as if it endured a few passes of a rolling pin. It's made almost entirely of black gloss plastic and accumulates fingerprints like crazy. The handset measures 3.8 by 2.3 by 0.6 inches and weighs 4.4 ounces. But it felt lighter in the hand than I had expected.

A slide-out, horizontal QWERTY keyboard spans the width of the unit. In fact, the entire handset is oriented horizontally, down to the AT&T and Nokia logos and the asymmetrical front panel. As a result, it looks a little weird when holding it vertically. The keyboard's squarish keys felt a bit cheap, but they offered a pleasant, clicky resistance despite their flat look. The slide mechanism itself was smooth but also felt a little chintzy.

The power button doubles as the End key, which is a departure from other Nokia handsets. The Surge's five-way control pad was a little smaller and harder to press than I normally like, but I adjusted pretty quickly. Plenty of buttons adorn the unit's sides, including a messaging shortcut key on the front for texting fiends. Given that most horizontal sliders only rotate the screen when you slide out the keyboard, the Surge's responsive accelerometer was a nice touch. The QVGA screen was sharp and bright, but its 320-by-240-pixel resolution and simple menu graphics felt aged compared with an iPhone 3G or BlackBerry Bold.

As a proper AT&T device, the Surge features support for the TeleNav-powered AT&T Navigator. That's a step up from Nokia's confusing, proprietary GPS software, such as what came with the unlocked Nokia N78 last year. The Surge also features CV for streamed videos, and Nokia's standard-issue Mini Map browser.

There are some minor nods to the younger target market, such as JuiceCaster support, some built-in games, and support for AT&T Video Share. But even as such, the Surge is a genuine Symbian Series 60 Third Edition smartphone. It can multitask, it includes Quickoffice for editing Word and Excel documents, it works with Mail for Exchange 2.9, and it can be used as a 3G modem for a laptop. I tested a pre-production unit, though I didn't run into any bugs for the short amount of time I had the handset.

The 2-megapixel camera lacks auto-focus or an LED flash, but it's capable of recording smooth QVGA videos. The non-standard, 2.5mm headphone jack is a bummer. But other Nokia smartphones I've tested have sounded quite good when paired with stereo Bluetooth headphones; this one shouldn't be any different. There's also a built-in FM radio for the three or four people who need that. The battery is the same 1500 mAh pack that comes with the Nokia N97 and E71x, which should put talk time in the four-and-a-half hour range.

The Surge will be compatible with the Ovi Store when it launches later this year, complete with integrated carrier billing when buying mobile apps. The Surge will cost $79.99 with a two-year contract and after rebates when it drops on July 19; stay tuned for a full review. (Gearlog) - Blog Search