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Microsoft's New Multiple-Browser Tester 221

Z80xxc! writes "Microsoft recently announced a new product called Expression Web SuperPreview, which lets developers view their web pages in any browser installed on their system, as well as in different versions of IE, all from the same interface. The product has one genuine innovation — a built-in tool for overlaying the rendering from one browser over another to compare (referred to as 'onion skins'). There are also HTML debugging aids and other helpful tools for web developers. A beta version is available for download. However, the current build only has support for IE — it will compare rendering in IE6 with either IE7 or IE8, whichever is installed. An internal build shows Firefox and Safari on Windows as well. The final product will appear as part of MS Expression Web Studio 3 when it is released later this year. (It will not be available in the Expression Mac suite.)"

UI Features That Didn't Make It Into Windows 7 342

TRNick writes "TechRadar talks to Windows 7's Senior User Experience Designer and discovers the interface ideas the Windows 7 team almost, but didn't put into Windows 7, and the stages various UI features went through to their final form. Quoting: '... The next prototype, in February 2007, was called the Bat Signal; when you moved your mouse over an icon in the taskbar, the full window would pop up on screen, highlighted by beams of light (a little like the Batman signal projected over Gotham City). Bat Signal made it easy to find the right window but it caused other problems: 'sometimes people toss the mouse down to the bottom of the screen when they're typing because they don't care where the mouse is and the Bat Signal pops up and that's really intrusive in their flow.' Bat Signal evolved into Aero Peek in Windows 7; you can hover over an icon to get thumbnails and hover over a thumbnail to get a preview of the window."

Microsoft Launches Free Web Software Eco-System 133

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft, inspired perhaps by the ease of selecting and installing iPhone apps, has taken a similar approach to gather back market share of its IIS web server in a predominantly Apache/PHP market. 10 open source CMS, gallery, wiki, and blog tools were chosen to populate the eco-system, dubbed Web App Gallery. Developers must agree to principles and can now submit their PHP or .NET application for inclusion. Once an application is in the gallery, Windows users use Microsoft Web Platform Installer, released in a keynote at MIX this week, which inspects the the local system, and installs and configures dependencies like the IIS webserver, PHP, URL re-writers, and file permissions. Screenshots show this to be quite easy for the typical computer user. This could provide some real competition for WAMP and Linux shell install processes."

Google Returns Chrome To Beta, Touts Speed Boost 110

CWmike writes "Google yesterday reversed its decision to ditch the beta label from its Chrome browser, saying it is restoring the moniker to some builds to get faster feedback to developers. 'Since we took the 'beta' tag off Google Chrome in December, we've been updating two release channels: developer and stable,' said Brian Rakowski, a Chrome product manager, in a new blog Google kicked off on Tuesday. 'With our latest release, we're re-introducing the beta channel for some early feedback.' The first beta, Chrome, includes several new features, said Rakowski, and it boasts a significant speed increase over the current stable version of the browser, According to Google's tests, the beta is 35% faster than the stable build when measured by the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark suite, and 25% faster on the company's own V8 tests."

2.0 Beta Chrome On Windows, Chromium On Linux 258

AlienRancher writes "Google launched this morning a new beta version of Chrome 2.0: 'The best thing about this new beta is speed — it's 25% faster on our V8 benchmark and 35% faster on the Sunspider benchmark than the current stable channel version and almost twice as fast when compared to our original beta version.' Other enhancements include user script support (greasemonkey-like) and form auto-fill." And reader Lee Mathews adds news of the open source version, Chromium, on Linux: "Not only has Chromium gotten easier to take for a test drive thanks to the personal package archive for Ubuntu Chrome daily build team, but development on the browser is also progressing nicely. Despite being a very early build, Chromium on Linux feels solid and boasts the same blazing speed the Windows users have been enjoying for months."

Cisco Barges Into the Server Market 206

mikesd81 was one of several readers to write in about Cisco's announcement of what has been called Project California — a system comprising servers made from 64-bit Intel Nehalem EP Xeon processors, storage, and networking in a single rack, glued together with software from VMWare and BMC. Coverage of this announcement is everywhere. Business Week said: "The new device, dubbed Project California, takes servers into new territory by cramming computer power into the very box that contains storage capacity and the networking tools that are Cisco's specialty. Cisco's approach could help companies use fewer machines — saving money not only on hardware, but also on power and IT staffing — in building data centers. ... Cisco is well-girded to take this step. It has more than $30 billion in cash, more than any other tech company. The company is moving into no fewer than 28 different markets, including digital music in the home and public surveillance systems." The Register provides more analysis: "Microsoft is, of course, a partner on the California system, since you can't ignore Windows in the data center, and presumably, Hyper-V will be supported alongside ESX Server on the hypervisors. (No one at the Cisco launch answered that and many other questions seeking details). ... The one thing that Cisco is clear on is who is signing off on these deals: the CIO. Cisco and its partners are going right to the top to push the California systems, right over the heads of server, storage, and network managers who want to protect their own fiefdoms."

Microsoft Unveils Windows 7 File-Sharing Beta 230

nandemoari writes "Microsoft yesterday released a trial version of new file-sharing software intended for use with its upcoming and highly-anticipated operating system. The new software allows PC users to swap files with the computers of friends, family, and trusted colleagues along safe, secure channels. Dubbed 'Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant 6.5,' the beta connects the Windows Live IDs of individual users with a Windows 7 account, essentially building a secure link between data stored on a hard drive and information accessible via Windows Live online."

Microsoft Caves, Will Change UAC In Windows 7 249

CWmike writes "Reacting to intense criticism of an important security feature in Windows 7 (which we discussed a few days back), Microsoft today said it will change the behavior of User Account Control in Windows 7's release candidate. In a blog post, two Microsoft executives responsible for Windows development, John DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky, said 'We are going to deliver two changes to the Release Candidate that we'll all see. First, the UAC control panel will run in a high integrity process, which requires elevation. Second, changing the level of the UAC will also prompt for confirmation.' They said the changes were prompted by feedback from users, including comments on an earlier post Thursday by DeVaan in which he defended the modifications Microsoft made to UAC in Windows 7."
PC Games (Games)

Windows 7 Gaming Performance Tested 179

Timmus writes "Gamers holding onto Windows XP may not have to fear sluggish performance when Windows 7 debuts. While Windows Vista's gaming performance was pretty spotty at launch, the Windows 7 beta build seems to handle most games well. Firingsquad has tested the Windows 7 beta against Windows XP SP3 and Vista SP1 on midrange and high-end gaming PCs across 7 different games. While the beta stumbles in a couple of cases, overall it performs within a few percentage points of Windows XP, actually outrunning XP in multiple benchmarks."

Generational Windows Multicore Performance Tests 228

snydeq writes "Windows XP, Windows Vista, and (soon) Windows 7 all support SMP out of the box, but as InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy notes, 'experience has shown that multiprocessing across discrete CPUs is not the same thing as multiprocessing across integrated cores within the same CPU.' As such, Kennedy set out to stress the multiprocessing capabilities of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 in dual-core and quad-core performance tests. The comprehensive, multiprocess workload tests were undertaken to document scalability, execution efficiency, and raw performance of workloads. 'What I found may surprise you,' Kennedy writes. 'Not only does Microsoft have a firm grasp of multicore tuning, but its scalability story promises to keep getting better with time. In other words, Windows Vista and Windows 7 are poised to reap ever greater performance benefits as Intel and AMD extend the number of cores in future editions of their processors.'"

OpenDocument Foundation To Drop ODF 325

poet sends us to Computerworld for a story on the intention of the OpenDocument Foundation to drop support for Open Document Format, OASIS and ISO standards not withstanding, in favor of the Compound Documents Format being promoted by the W3C. The foundation's director of business affairs, Sam Hiser, dropped this bomb in a blog posting a couple of weeks ago. Hiser believes CDF has a better shot at compatibility with Microsoft's OOXML, and says that the foundation has been disappointed with the direction of ODF over the last year.

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