Microsoft recently released the Origami Experience 2.0 for Windows Vista, download it here. This is an update to the Microsoft UMPC interface. The Origami Experience is designed for small screens with touch-capabilities, but after just trying it out on my laptop with Vista Ultimate I figured – some of these features would fit into the Media Center interface perfectly. There are a lot to say about the Windows Media Center interface, I think it is quite good – needs some fixes though; why are films divided in three categories – Videos, Recorded TV and DVD’s?
Joost is now for everyone, no more invitations to get your hands on it! It’s still a beta but called Joost 1.0 beta and it’s getting better and more importantly it’s getting more channels and content (more than 15.000 shows). So if you have not tried Joost, head on over and download it. The one thing I think is missing, is a seamless Media Center Integration - wouldn’t that be something?
If so, then you have the chance of winning a grand prize by Microsoft. Microsoft has announced a Windows Media Center - Ultimate Install Contest in which they are looking for the best (finest and most creative) installation of Windows Vista Ultimate Media Center. If it is you, then send in your submission before November 1st, 2007 (for where to send the stuff, look at the link above). The winner will be announced at Electronic House (EH) Expo Fall 2007.
Windows Home Server, WHS, is a great addition to the Windows Server family, a product that I have wanted to have for a really long time. It will really help me connect my machines at home and provide great features to the connected home and make me share my digital media easier between Media Centers, laptops etc. I have hoped that I could turn my current Media Center, a quite powerful machine, into a Home Server later this year once it is time to build my own new Media Center.
The Windows Media Center Components Database is now live! MCE components is a site which targets Windows Media Center self-builders with help to choose components and to see how the components work together. To help build the database you can add your own system and grade it to help others out. There are currently about 100 systems entered into the database and it will keep growing, as long as you help out.
Chris Lanier, Media Center MVP, just blogged about a new website which collects information on the components of Media Center PC’s, called Media Center Components. The aim of the website is to collect information on which Media Center components that play nice together. Take your time to fill out the form and help building a nice database for Media Center PC’s.
If you have an Ahanix computer case (in my case an MCE 302-SA) with a Samsung VFD and have upgraded your HTPC system to Windows Vista you may have found out that the VFD does not work nor does the drivers available from the Ahanix web site. But to your rescue there is FrontView for MCE by Media Center Magic. FrontView is an alternative to the default drivers for numerous LCD and VFD displays (CrystalFontz, Samsung, SilverStone etc) optimized for Media Center experience and with a highly customizable interface.
Robert Scoble is writing about that the analog TV will be turned off (Turn off analog TV? It’ll never happen) in two years and that he thinks this is not going to happen. This is exactly what’s happening in Sweden right now, by the next few months the last analog terrestrial broadcast is turned off. I think this is great except for that almost every TV has analog recievers and you therefore have to buy another box, with a new remote etc etc.
The day is finally here and Windows Vista is available for the consumer market and the commercials are everywhere. In Sweden we hade the annual Grammis awards, the Swedish music industry price, this evening and it was broadcasted on TV. The awards was sponsored by Microsoft and of course it had the standard sponsored by stuff in every commercial break (I’m glad I watched it on Vista Media Center with 30 minutes delay so I could skip those :-).
Today I start my two weeks vacation and I thought I should summarize this year. The year of 2006 has been characterized, for me, as the year of Betas and Technology Previews. I have been trying to involve myself as much as possible in the all the goodies flowing out of Redmond. Microsoft has released numerous amount of new applications and upgrades. Internet Explorer 7 The new version of Internet Explorer is the application this year that will have most impact in the short run on users.
Here is a small tip to all of you that have DVD movies on your hard drives, like me. I have copied most of our kids DVD’s to the hard drives so there is no need to change DVD every fifth minute and as all of you with kids know - they are not that gentle to the DVD discs nor the cradle of the player. Windows Vista Media Center does not initially allow you to watch ripped DVD movies using the Video Library, it only shows an empty VIDEO_TS folder.
There has been a lot of discussions around the net on the non-customizable and non-removable Windows Vista startup sound. Robert Scoble has a post that explains why the Vista team decided to design it like that. My personal opinion, like Roberts, is that I would like to decide for myself if I wan’t a startup sound when I turn my computer on. For example; at home I have Windows XP Media Center which would benefit from having that sound, it lets me calibrate the volume before I put on a movie and it makes me aware of when the machine is up and running.
Scott Dart (Program Manager) has a good blog post on Metadata and the Windows Vista Photo Gallery. An interesting article on how Windows Vista Photo Gallery reads and handles the metadata in photos. Since I am a Media Center freak with a lots of digital photos I really hope that Media Center uses the most of this metadata, as I wrote in previous posts; here and here.
A few days ago I complained about not being able to categorize photos in Vista Media Center using metadata. I was using the 5384 (beta 2) build! But in the most recent builds there are a new pivot called Tags, in which you can watch the photos organized by keywords instead of only by date and folders. The tags can be edited through the Windows Photo Gallery and is persisted in the image.
Microsoft Windows Vista contains Windows Media Center (in Home Premium and Ultimate) which is a great upate from the Windows XP Media Center Edition. Finally the user interface is taking advantage of widescreen and the navigation is faster and smoother. But I think one big thing is still missing in the Media Center interface - editing, sorting and searching pictures using metadata; today you can sort them on date taken! I would find it more useful to search for all images containg images of my family, my vacation in Spain or winter images from our summer house.