Friday, June 26, 2009

Digital Art


To be perfectly honest, I've always wanted to be an artist; However, I faced the dilemma early on that I could not draw, sculpt, paint or even take a photograph to save my life. One thing I could do, however, is 3d modeling.

I'm deeply concerned that society as a whole views computer art as shallow, or simply 'not art at all.' There's a collective notion that the computer does all the art, and the artist simply boots up the computer and lets it work for them. Of course, we all know this to be false. As far as technique, expression and form, the digital artist is every bit as adapt as Dali or Kahlo in his/her own right. I see digital art, respectively, as equal as any medium...and only a select few can truly make it shine.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Understanding XP Mode

After we announced Windows XP Mode, I sat down again with Jeremy Chapman at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas a few weeks ago to find out what he thought about Windows XP Mode as a solution for solving application compatibility issues.

Stephen Rose: Hi Jeremy, seems like I’m interviewing you a lot lately. So we’re at MMS here in Las Vegas and we just announced the Windows 7 Release Candidate and Windows XP Mode as a solution for allowing applications to run within a Windows XP session on a Windows 7 machine. What do you think about this technology? Will this solve everything for people having problems moving off Windows XP or Internet Explorer 6?

Jeremy Chapman: Windows XP Mode adds the seamless virtual desktop integration like we saw in Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MEDV), so you can see applications within the virtual operating system in the start menu:


And you can view applications within the physical operating system’s desktop without showing the entire virtual machine desktop.


It definitely makes the use of Virtual PC technologies much easier for the average user. As we’ve seen for the last decade or so, you can run legacy applications under the context of the legacy operating system. Initially that sounds like a good thing, as Virtual PC always has.

Stephen Rose: Explain what you mean by initially.

Jeremy Chapman: To the undiscerning eye, this looks like an easy fix and for many in sales and marketing roles, it might sound like a silver bullet for application compatibility. Despite the more intuitive user experience, the IT management issues with that are essentially the same as they have been for the last ten years or so with Virtual PC.

Stephen Rose: What do you see as the challenges with this technology then?

Jeremy Chapman: First, there are two operating systems to manage per userSecond, while we can automate and customize full operating system provisioning, it isn’t so easy to custom provision the virtual machine according to user roles and needs. Third, by default the virtual PC user account is a local administrator.

Stephen Rose: Ok, so is there anything that helps IT pros with any of these areas?

Jeremy Chapman: Definitely, MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization) adds the control so you can sandbox the virtual PC environment from the physical environment. It also provides the administrative tools to provision within the virtual environment. There is granular control over how the two operating systems behave with one another and you can even pre-define which websites or web-based Line-of-Business applications need to be automatically invoked in the virtual machine’s web browser (Internet Explorer 6 by default). MED-V is also self adjusting as the virtual PC memory allocation based on available RAM on host, so that the virtual PC does not take significant resources from the user. Features like TrimTransfer update a master Virtual PC image, and MED-V will automatically distribute and apply the changes to all endpoints. Finally, MED-V will work on both Windows 7 and Windows Vista, and will not require processor-based virtualization support

Stephen Rose: That definitely sounds like the more manageable solution, but is running Virtual PC and MED-V the only recommended solution for Windows 7?

Jeremy Chapman: From the application compatibility perspective, the best thing to do is to get applications that run natively without any virtualization aids, recoding, compatibility fixes or compatibility modes needed. If you own the code and can recode the application, then do that. If you can’t recode a line-of-business application or are not dependent on support for a third party application, you can try compatibility fixes – or “shims” – to remediate the application. Finally, when all these options aren’t possible, then look into legacy operating system virtualization. If you have exhausted all other options for application remediation and intend on using Windows XP Mode, then I’d recommend following all the best practices in the Windows XP Security Compliance Management Toolkit to secure the virtual environment and manage configuration with Group Policy and desired configuration management in System Center Configuration Manager.

Stephen Rose: So who should be using Windows XP Mode then?

Jeremy Chapman: For individual users or smaller organizations where desktops are not managed, Windows XP Mode is a relatively easy solution to get working. You’ll need to find installation media for those older applications and manually install them, but it can get them working until you port everything over to the physical operating system.

Stephen Rose: So for a transitional period to the new OS, these legacy client virtualization tools can help people run their incompatible legacy applications. Is there anything else to remember with Virtual Windows XP?

Jeremy Chapman: We haven’t talked about hardware yet. So hardware needs to have hardware virtualization – Intel VT or AMDV – and have it enabled in the BIOS. Most business grade hardware produced in the last 2-3 years has that, but netbooks and older PCs often do not meet this requirement. The virtual machine also uses memory, so you’ll probably want to use PCs with 2 GB or more RAM.

Stephen Rose: Good advice. So where can people find more information on Windows XP Mode?

Jeremy Chapman: Check out Scott Woodgate’s blog post on the Windows Team Blog and Scott’s Q&A on PressPass. There is also a Virtual PC Tips and Tricks FAQ on Springboard located here

Stephen Rose: Thanks again for your time Jeremy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Updated photo e-mail slide shows in Windows Live Mail

One of the most common reasons people send e-mail today is to share photos. But photos can be really large files. When you attach several photos to an e-mail, their combined file size can really add up, making sending and receiving e-mail slow, especially if you or some of the people you’re sending them to have a slower or unreliable Internet connection. And if you exceed your attachment size limit, you’re completely out of luck!

Fortunately, if you use Windows Live Mail (free to download here), you can easily get around this problem with the photo e-mail feature, which lets you upload the full-size photos you want to share online, and attaches smaller, thumbnail-sized versions to your e-mail, making the download size of your message much smaller. The photo e-mail contains a link for recipients to view your photos as an online slide show. And after watching the slideshow, they can then download the full-size photos they like best.

Although the photo e-mail feature has been around for several years already in Mail, we made a few recent changes to the online slide show to make it even better. We took away a lot of the dead space in the old slide show, allowing for a larger viewing area, a much cleaner presentation, and the same beautiful effects you see in all our slide shows on Windows Live Photos. The new slide show uses Microsoft Silverlight technology to match the background color to your image, so it always appears in the best light.

Take a look (click to view larger images):



Old slide show New slide show

Much nicer, huh?

Hope you enjoy the updates!

Program Manager, Windows Live Mail

Clubhouse Tags: clubhouse, story, Windows Live, Photos, Mail


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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ozzy Osbourne sues in NYC over Black Sabbath name - MSN Music News


Ozzy Osbourne

© AP

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne sues in NYC over Black Sabbath name

May 29, 2009, 11:47 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ozzy Osbourne has accused former Black Sabbath band mate Tony Iommi of taking over the heavy metal titans' name and costing him royalties from merchandise sales.

Osbourne, who sued the guitarist earlier this week, issued a statement Friday imploring him to "do the right thing."

"Tony, I am so sorry it's had to get to this point by me having to take this action against you," the singer-turned-reality show star said.

But, he added, "we've all worked too hard and long in our careers to allow you to sell merchandise that features all our faces, old Black Sabbath album covers and band logos, and then you tell us that you own the copyright."

Osbourne, who lives in California, filed suit Tuesday in a federal court in New York, saying Iommi falsely claimed to have sole rights to Black Sabbath's trademark in negotiations over the last year with a company that sells the band's merchandise. As a result, the lawsuit says, Osbourne has lost royalties formerly split 50/50.

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The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, lost profits and a declaration that Osbourne is a half-owner of the trademark.

Iommi's representative and lawyers who have represented him didn't immediately respond to telephone and e-mail messages late Friday.

Osbourne's lawsuit reads at times like liner notes to a greatest-hits album, describing the case as "a dispute concerning one of the most famous and valuable names in the history of rock and roll."

The band, known for its apocalyptic bent and such hits as "Iron Man" and "Paranoid," has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It made a star — and a spectacle — of Osbourne and his from-the-crypt howl before he was fired in 1979.

"To fans of heavy metal music," Osbourne's lawsuit says, "Ozzy has become synonymous with Black Sabbath."

But Iommi, considered one of heavy metal's guitar greats, noted in a separate lawsuit filed against the merchandise firm in December that he has been the only constant member in the English band's 41-year history. Court records show that lawsuit, which doesn't involve Osbourne, was settled Wednesday on undisclosed terms.

Iommi, who registered the Black Sabbath trademark in the U.S. in 2000, also said in the lawsuit that co-founders Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward legally relinquished rights to the band's name in the 1980s.

Osbourne's lawyer disputed that in a January letter included with his lawsuit, saying that even if the singer did make such an agreement he took a major role in the band's direction and success after rejoining it in 1997.

Osbourne, who in recent years has appeared as the paterfamilias of an erratic clan on MTV's "The Osbournes," said in Friday's statement that he believes all four original members should share Black Sabbath's name equally.

Ozzy Osbourne sues in NYC over Black Sabbath name - MSN Music News

Ex-Pink Floyd rocker wants Israeli wall down - Yahoo! News


Composer and former bassist and singer of British rock band Pink Floyd  Roger AP – Composer and former bassist and singer of British rock band Pink Floyd Roger Waters, is seen while touring …

Tue Jun 2, 8:30 am ET

AIDA REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank – The legendary rocker and co-founder of Pink Floyd says he would give a concert in a flash if Israel's West Bank wall is torn down.

Roger Waters made the promise Tuesday during a visit to a Palestinian refugee camp that is hemmed in by the separation barrier's tall slabs of cement.

The 65-year-old co-wrote Pink Floyd's iconic "The Wall" album and performed music from it in 1990 at the site where the Berlin Wall once stood.

Waters had harsh words for the West Bank barrier, which Israel says was built as a defense against Palestinian militants.

The musician says the wall amounts to an oppressive grab of Palestinian land and that he hopes that "this thing, this awful thing, is destroyed soon."

Ex-Pink Floyd rocker wants Israeli wall down - Yahoo! News

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