All posts tagged ‘Windows’

File Under: Software & Tools

Humyo: 30 Gig Online Hard Drive is offering 30 gigs of online storage for free with every account sign up . The catch is 25 gigs is restricted to media files such as music and video, five is for whatever you want, and anything over that will cost you.

The website interface uses a Java Applet to drag and drop files to and from your online account. You can create folders, sort by type and edit files directly within the browser. Editing and sharing files via the web interface makes the online storage somewhat unique by simulating a shared drive and enabling collaboration.

Downloading via the web page is a little clunky — you can only download one file at a time. Humyo explains that instead of developing a way to permit mass downloads, development will focus on making it easy to access all your files online. Although it is unsaid, it will also probably also prevent software piracy.

Perhaps the most useful feature of Humyo’s offering is its Windows desktop client. The client emulates a network drive, complete with any files or folders you created or uploaded online. You can download and upload just as if you were moving files around on your computer. You can even play the media directly through iTunes or Windows Media Player.

Humyo’s desktop client is impressive because it blurs the line between the “cloud” and desktop software. You would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the Humyo drive or any local area network drive that appears under “My Computer.”

Of course, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Humyo makes their money by getting you to pay for the Premium account which will run you $59.99 for the first year, $79.99 after that. As with any online storage, you will probably want to hold on to the original files in case Humyo goes down. The client software comes with a 14 day trial, after that you’ll have to pay for the Premium account.

Humyo’s service is an example of what is next in store for the web. Apple’s MobileMe, announced in June, promises online synchronization between computers through online, mobile and desktop interfaces. MobileMe will be available to Mac users this summer for a hefty $99/year. Dropbox promises similar functionality for the Mac but is currently limited to beta testers by invite only.

Other services focus on the transfer of files rather than accessibility. is a favorite and doesn’t require an account. works like TinyURL for files. You can upload a file under 100 mb and share it with friends with a simple URL.


Would You Like Cheese with Wine 1.0?

It took fifteen years of development, but the open source application Wine finally released its first stable version Tuesday.

Wine 1.0 allows you to run Windows “.exe” programs on Linux or Mac OS operating systems. Unlike emulators like VMWare or Parallels that allow you to run Windows on other OS’, it is unnecessary to own a copy of the operating system to run apps through Wine. The application bypasses the OS and simulates the Windows system libraries instead.

Wine doesn’t support every Windows application — the list of supported programs are mostly video games. However, even if your favorite program isn’t included on the supported list, there’s still a chance Wine can handle it.

In fact, when I tried to get Windows Media Player running using Wine on Ubuntu, I got an error message saying the player couldn’t verify my copy of Windows was valid. Seems like it works just fine to me.

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File Under: Software & Tools

QuickTime Update Patches Serious Security Flaws

QuicktimeNot all of Apple’s recent announcements are for software of the future, at least one update is here today. QuickTime users can grab the latest edition of QuickTime, which, according to Apple’s notes, “improves application compatibility and addresses security issues.”

The Apple support note for the latest version of QuickTime, 7.5, says that the update fixes bugs that open security holes to maliciously crafted PICT image files, QuickTime files and Indeo video files.

The free QuickTime 7.5 update is available via Software Update or direct from Apple’s download page. The update and security patches affect both the Windows and Mac versions of QuickTime.

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File Under: operating systems

Microsoft Vows to Keep Windows XP Alive for ‘Nettops’

winxplogo.jpgMicrosoft has announced it will extend the lifespan of Windows XP for what the company calls “Nettops,” low-end PCs that don’t have the horsepower to run Windows Vista. Nettops is Intel’s term for machines like the upcoming Eee Box and other PCs designed primarily for simple tasks like checking e-mail or surfing the web.

Microsoft already made an announcement extending XP’s lifespan, but that one specifically targeted laptops like the EeePC or Cloudbook. Today’s news means that same life extension will apply to low-end desktop PCs as well.

Many such devices already ship with Linux rather than Windows, in part because of hardware limitations and also because skipping Windows keeps costs down.

Obviously these devices are never going to run Vista so, potentially faced with the loss of a growing market, Microsoft has agreed to keep Windows XP alive, possibly through 2010.

The interesting thing about the announcement is that Microsoft apparently won’t be dictating what constitutes a Nettop. Rob Young, a senior director with Microsoft’s OEM group, tells ComputerWorld that Microsoft and PC vendors are in general agreement over what constitutes a Nettop, but the company won’t be enacting specific hardware limits.

In theory it may be possible to lay your hands on a copy of Windows XP far past the originally scheduled end-of-life date — June 30.

No doubt that will be music to ears of many a Vista-hater.

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File Under: operating systems

Windows 7 Preview: The Wow Starts When Again?

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer took the stage at the All Things Digital conference yesterday to show off Windows 7, the successor to Windows Vista. Although the demo was short, there were two significant new features — system-wide multitouch and a floating, pie-shaped taskbar menu.

The multitouch support is hardly a surprise given Microsoft’s Surface demos — which feature a multitouch interface — and the success of the iPhone. Naturally any multitouch device is going to be compared to the iPhone and indeed the Windows 7 interface has all the same tricks, right down to the “throwing” gestures to flip through documents Cover Flow-style.

Far more interesting is the re-imagined taskbar, which now floats about as a pie shaped menu, making it theoretically easier to access and use. Rather than heading down to the bottom left corner of your screen, the new taskbar appears to pop up wherever your cursor (or finger) happens to be.

The design of the pie-shaped task bar bears something of a resemblance to the alternate Radial Menu interface for the popular Mac app Quicksilver (video). However, taking the Quicksilver idea and combining it with the multitouch interface could make it significantly more useful.

Nice though the multitouch and additional eye candy may be, judging by the comments on an earlier post over at Gadget Lab, Microsoft could be seriously misjudging what customers want in a new OS — namely speed and stability.

One commenter neatly summarizes a common theme: “I just want a simple, fast booting OS, that supports all the hardware and applications that I am running.”

Perhaps we’ve reached the point were Microsoft (and Apple as well) have run out of ways to “improve” the desktop and ought to concentrate on creating a simple, stable background on which to run the applications we actually use.

It may not sound all that sexy and exciting, but it may be that we’ve reached a point in our relationship with operating systems where stability, speed and reliability trump a flashy new outfit.

To that end many were hoping that Microsoft might pull an Apple and completely rebuild the OS kernel for Windows 7, but that won’t be happening.

A post on the Windows Vista blog says, “contrary to some speculation, Microsoft is not creating a new kernel for Windows 7.” Instead the company plans to refine “the kernel architecture and componentization model introduced in Windows Vista.”

In other words, Windows 7 will be Vista’s successor, not a completely new system rewrite.

On the bright side, Microsoft says one of its goals for Windows 7 is to ensure that the minimum hardware requirements stay the same as they were for Vista. There’s no telling whether or not the company will stick to that goal, but if it does perhaps Windows 7 can avoid some of the backlash Vista has experienced.

While yesterday’s demo provided a quick glimpse of Windows 7 don’t look for Microsoft to start trotting out feature lists. After touting Vista’s extensive features and slowly scaling them back one by one, Microsoft seems to be feeling a bit wary about over-promising for Windows 7.

Microsoft has yet to set a date for Windows 7, but if it sticks to its vague schedule it should arrive roughly two years from now.

Oh and those screenshots Crunchgear showed off yesterday from a “reliable” source? A Microsoft spokesperson tells CNet’s Dan Farber that the images are either “very old or fake.”

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