Windows 7 Comes Friday

from Download Squad

During his keynote address at CES tonight, Steve Ballmer made it official. The Windows 7 public beta will be made available for download on Friday, January 9th, 2009.

If you’ve been leery of downloading the version that’s been all over the torrent trackers since last week, get your download manager ready and keep your browser tuned to Microsoft’s Windows 7 page for the genuine article. Technet, MSDN, and TechBeta members have already been given access.

I’ve had my share of problems with the leaked version and am hoping that the official release is either a slightly newer build or at least free of the issues that I’ve had so far. Internet Explorer 8 hasn’t been working 100%, and Explorer itself has stopped responding repeatedly when I’ve tried to extract large zip archive or move multiple large files onto my flash drive.

Vista Service Pack 2 Now Public

It’s December 5, 2008 and – as promised – Microsoft has made the Vista SP2 beta publicly available. Early adopters can install it now and take advantage of improvements like 10% better power saving, reduced resource consumption in sidebar gadgets, Windows Search 4, and a long list of security and bug fixes.

According to Wired’s post, you should be aware that you’ll have to uninstall the beta in order to install SP2 final once it’s released. Currently Microsoft is anticipating doing that some time in April 2009.

If you’re looking for more details before grabbing the file, check out PC World’s article Vista SP2: Six Things You Need to Know. Downloads for both 32 and 64-bit users are available at the Microsoft Download Center. Instructions are also available here for users wanting to install SP2 through Windows Update.

Wubi: Try Linux WITHOUT Leaving Windows

Are you curious about Linux and Ubuntu? Trying them out has never been easier! Download Wubi at the official site!

Wubi is an officially supported Ubuntu installer for Windows users that can bring you to the Linux world with a single click. Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu as any other Windows application, in a simple and safe way.

Wubi is Simple

No need to burn a CD. Just run the installer, enter a password for the new account, and click “Install”, go grab a coffee, and when you are back, Ubuntu will be ready for you.

Wubi is Safe

You keep Windows as it is, Wubi only adds an extra option to boot into Ubuntu. Wubi does not require you to modify the partitions of your PC, or to use a different bootloader, and does not install special drivers.
It works just like any other application. Wubi is spyware and malware free, and being open source, anyone can verify that.

Wubi is Discrete

Wubi keeps most of the files in one folder, and if you do not like it, you can simply uninstall it as any other application.

Wubi is Free

Wubi and Ubuntu cost absolutely nothing (free as in beer), but yet provide a state of the art, fully functional, operating system that does not require any activation and does not impose any restriction on its use (free as in freedom).

Red Alert 3 Bonus Content

I do not usually promote pirated wares, bypassing activations, or similar. However, I do truly feel that many gamers whom purchased the standard edition of Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 were cheated out of bonus material…. 10 maps to be exact. Therefore, I do feel that those gamers who did support the game whether it be a standard edition or a collectors edition do deserve to have these 10 maps. So here we go

There are a total of 10 official bonus maps in all 6 special editions of Red Alert 3.

  • Premier Edition Maps (5 Maps): Download (30.4MB)
  • Pre-Order Maps (1 Map): Download (5.4MB)
  • Best Buy Pre-Order Bonus (1Map): Download (5.9MB)
  • Gamestop Pre-Order Bonus (1 Map): Download (6.5MB)
  • EA Store Pre-Order Bonus (1 Map): Download (7.5MB)
  • Warhammer: Online Pre-Order bonus map (1 Map): Download (5.5MB)
  • Full torrent of all maps at the Pirate Bay: Download

Two updates have already been presented for the PC version. Patch 1.03 makes improvements for the multiplayer invite system to work more reliably. Version 1.02 fixes main menu sluggishness. The Xbox 360 build is on track for release on November 11. PS3 development build was halted in June, but will be revived and geared toward extra content, 1080p, and BluRay support in the coming months.

Windows Live Wave Released

Joining the Microsoft family of user friendly applications comes Windows Live Wave beta 3. Aside from the applications that come bundled in Vista (Sidebar, Calendar, Photo Gallery, etc), I am very impressed with Microsoft’s initiative to release free user applications that do so well for free. The Windows Live suite is especially great for those still using Windows XP, that do not have the liberty to download or utilize the new applications included with Vista.

Windows Live Wave is an upgrade to the Windows Live Suite. WLW features Writer for Blogging, Mail with Calendar, Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Toolbar, and Family Safety. Of course, the installer grants you the ability to install only the applications you want.

Live Photo Gallery advantages over previous versions include:

  • the Vista-feel has been abandoned by reducing the bottom rotating/zooming/viewing functions to the bottom-right hand corner
  • the ability to tag your Messenger contacts or any person using “People tags” similar to MySpace (aka tagging)
  • Messenger Photo sharing imports shared images from Messenger in to Photo Gallery
  • Photo Gallery will join Windows Live Dev, allowing developers to develop plug-ins for the application
  • includes a new Publishing API that enables the community to build plug-ins for virtually any sharing service
  • In addition to stitching a panoramic photo, Photo Gallery now also integrates with the latest Photosynth technology

Live Movie Maker advantages and disadvantages over previous versions include:

  • lacks in basic features to make it actually useful
  • additional service integration and plug-in architecture for the future
  • ribbon UI similar to Office 2007 and to be coming in Windows 7 and the Paint beta
  • cross fade, black & white, and Sepia tone effects
  • Removed items (?): timeline editor, cropping, text overlays, audio mixing
  • Obviously Movie Maker is far from complete but already offers better output quality and an open API for future extendability

Windows Live Messenger advantages over previous versions include:

  • ability to store shared images to Windows Photo Gallery
  • new look, as well as many customizable UI features (change contact layout, etc)
  • Shared Folders has been replaced by Online Files
  • “What’s New?” RSS feed integrated
  • “Favorites” group to sort contacts to

This article was constructed with the new Windows Live Writer, along with several free plug-ins available at http://gallery.microsoft.com

Extend Your Firefox

As you may or may not know, Firefox has the potential to be far more interactive than the initial installation. What do I mean by this exactly? With Firefox you can write to your blog, sync your bookmarks to a server, download videos from YouTube, and more. Sure, you may be able to pull off some of these tricks with IE7 or Opera, but not near as easy as you could with Firefox, as Firefox was developed with such intentions. Here are my reccomendations to make Firefox the most secure and interactive browser on your system:

1. Scribefire

ScribeFire is a full-featured blog editor that integrates with your browser and lets you easily post to your blog. Techtronic uses ScribeFire for all blog entries  😉  ScribeFire can also integrate revenue based ad’s to help you generate revenues (in which Techtronic does not utilize).

2. DownThemAll!

DownThemAll is all you can desire from a download manager: it features

an advanced accelerator that increases speed up to 400% and it allows you to pause and resume downloads at any time. DownThemAll is great for pornaholics, as you can download all images from a page in a single click.

3. Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer

If you use Firefox on more than one computer, you’ll want Foxmarks. Install Foxmarks on each computer, and it will work silently in the background to keep your bookmarks synchronized. You can also log in to my.foxmarks.com to manage your bookmarks from any computer.

4. Video DownloadHelper

The easy way to download and convert Web videos from hundreds of YouTube-like sites. VDH is also capable of converting FLV files in your browser to AVI files on your computer.

5. Adblock Plus

Ever been annoyed by all those ads and banners on the internet that often take longer to download than everything else on the page? Install Adblock Plus now and get rid of them. This definitely helps speed up MySpace at times.

6.WebMail Notifier

WebMail Notifier checks your webmail accounts and notifies the number of unread emails… Supports : gmail, yahoo, hotmail, daum, naver, empas, nate and more.

7. GooglePreview

Inserts preview images (thumbnails) of web sites into the Google and Yahoo search results pages.

8. Web of Trust aka WOT

WOT, Web of Trust, warns you about risky websites that try to scam visitors, deliver malware or send spam. Protect your computer against online threats by using WOT as your front-line layer of protection when browsing or searching in unfamiliar territory.

9. Feedly

Feedly is a new kind of RSS start page which weaves Google Reader, Digg, and Delicious into a more fun, magazine-like user experience. The integration with Twitter, Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Friendfeed and Delicious
makes sharing a breeze. You can get up to speed quickly by importing your existing Netvibes, Bloglines or MyYahoo accounts, your bookmarks or an OPML file.

10. Mozilla Firefox

LOL…. It would not possible to use the listed extensions if you do not actually have the browser installed. If you have yet to try Firefox, there is no better time to start than now.

Free Games: Shooters

Continuing on my rambling of free games I introduce more today. While America’s Army and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory have broke news widely upon release, there are still many other free and worthy games all over the net. While free titles may not feature quality graphics compared to today’s commercial titles, game play quality is the number one factor.

F.E.A.R. Combat

COMBAT is the multiplayer portion of the highly acclaimed PC shooter made free. Combat features 10 game modes, 19 maps, 12 weapons, anticheating-software support, and the ability to download user-created content (mods!). FEAR is graphic intesive so tune up Windows and update your video drivers. Simply register for a free cd key and download the client from the site to get started.

       

 

Savage

Once retail in Summer 2003 but now available for free, Savage mixes RTS (real time strategy) and fps (first person shooter) elements in to a single online experience.

       

 

Gunz: the Duel

Imagine the action of the Matrix mixed with the graphics of recent Final Fantasies…. Gunz.

       

 

Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy

Once commercial for the Playstation 2, PSI-Ops is now on the PC for free. It is ad-supported but there are ways around that (search the download location).

       

 

eXteel

Here is one for all of the cell-shader junkies. eXteel is a free2play title. Imagine the outfitting and environments of Mech Warrior, with the gameplay of Quake Wars complete with machin e and weapon customizations.