Mike Thoene


Microsoft rep shows up Bing Maps, stunning augmentation

by on Feb.19, 2010, under Microsoft

Microsoft’s Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrated some stunning augmented reality integration inside of Bing Maps at the (Technology Entertainment DesignTED conference last week.

Blaise Aguera y Arcas worked on the Seadragon technology at Microsoft which is designed to retrieve large amounts of data using a fast, seamless, zoom based interface. The technology has since been used to power Microsoft’s 3D photo application Photosynth which was popularized during President Obama’s inauguration event. Microsoft has also used Seadragon technology in applications like Pivot.

Blaise’s talk at TED 2010 last week was met with great applause and excitement from the audience. The Microsoft worker demonstrated stunning integration of augmented reality maps. Blaise demonstrated real-time processing of video taken with a smart phone inside street-view type maps. The demo included a live video overlaid on static images of a market inside of Bing Maps. Photosynth and Worldwide telescope integration was also demonstrated as part of the Bing Maps showcase. Although the features are not widely available yet it provides a glimpse of what Microsoft is currently working on.

Thanks again, Neowin.

All in all, I’d say this is definitely going to give Google a run for it’s money. This is simply brilliant. The work put into this is so perfectly done and I can’t wait to have them open it up to the rest of the world. The way they showed the Pike’s Place Fish Market and the guys in their world famous orange suits, and LIVE to boot. It is fantastic that this is the type of technology we are getting into right now. We really are going to have cameras inside stores. Soon we will be able to map out our shopping trip, “Turn left at Aisle 3, right  down the main aisle..”


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A rootkit has been confirmed to cause all of this Windows XP BSOD madness

by on Feb.18, 2010, under Microsoft, Security

Last week, Microsoft issued an update for Windows XP that made them suddenly get the Blue Screen of Death each and every time you tried to boot up. Microsoft had to try pretty hard to figure out what the problem was, and they found out that it wasn’t technically the patch they put out, but it was some malware that was already inside of thousands of users computers!

Windows XP users who were already infected with the Alureon rootkit would be the ones who experienced these crashes, but only after the update from Microsoft was applied.

Microsoft’s Mike Reavey writes on its TechNet blog:

We wanted to provide you with an update on our ongoing investigation into the “blue screen” issues affecting a limited number of customers who installed MS10-015.  We have been working around the clock with our customers, partners and several teams at Microsoft to determine the cause of these issues.  Our investigation has concluded that the reboot occurs because the system is infected with malware, specifically the Alureon rootkit.  We were able to reach this conclusion after the comprehensive analysis of memory dumps obtained from multiple customer machines and extensive testing against third party applications and software.  The restarts are the result of modifications the Alureon rootkit makes to Windows Kernel binaries, which places these systems in an unstable state.  In every investigated incident, we have not found quality issues with security update MS10-015.  Our guidance remains the same: customers should continue to deploy this month’s security updates and make sure their systems are up-to-date with the latest anti-virus software.

Check out Sophos Anti-Virus for removal of the rootkit, or Contact Me if you are in the Naperville area and you aren’t sure what exactly to do.

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Microsoft and Yahoo are combining! The deal has been approved

by on Feb.18, 2010, under Microsoft, Search Engines

The European Commission and US Department of Justice have both approved a Microsoft and Yahoo deal that will see the software giant acquire the internet search and search advertising businesses of Yahoo.

In a statement on Thursday, the European Commission (EC) concluded that the market shares of both Microsoft and Yahoo were limited. “In the EEA, Microsoft’s and Yahoo’s activities in internet search and online search advertising are very limited with combined market shares generally below 10%. Google, by contrast, generally enjoys market shares above 90%” said an EC spokesperson.

“Implementation of the deal is expected to begin in the coming days and will involve transitioning Yahoo!’s algorithmic and paid search platforms to Microsoft, with Yahoo! becoming the exclusive relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers globally” said both companies in a joint statement.

Microsoft and Yahoo both announced the deal in July 2009, seeking closure and approval for the deal in early 2010. In the coming months, Yahoo! search results will be provided and branded with Bing, “powered by Bing” will likely begin to appear. The term of the agreement is 10 years but each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business and sales force. Rumors that the company would receive European approval circulated last week and many analysts forecast Thursday as the approval date.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was upbeat about the deal approval. “Although we are just at the beginning of this process, we have reached an exciting milestone,” Ballmer said. “I believe that together, Microsoft and Yahoo! will promote more choice, better value and greater innovation to our customers as well as to advertisers and publishers.”

Yahoo provided additional information about the coming integration. In a blog posting, Shashi Seth, Senior VP of Yahoo’s Search Products confirmed that basic search listings and ads will be provided by Microsoft. “Yahoo! will continue to enhance the search result listings as we do for people today” he said.

Seth also confirmed Yahoo will create ways to find things faster using Search Assist technology and weaving search more deeply into other Yahoo products. Yahoo also said it would allow users to explore search results better by providing otpions for organizing search results pages or by showing users interesting search topics based on search results. Productivity apps and other tools for search improvements are also expected to be in the works.

Both companies also launched searchalliance.com where they will detail their progress and provide updates for partners and Yahoo! users in the near future.

The Source? Neowin.

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Microsoft's Hotmail had a security blip earlier.. wow what is going on?!

by on Feb.17, 2010, under Microsoft

A statement isssued by Microsoft revealed that the company is looking into reports that some users of its Hotmail service were accidentally shown other users’ inboxes when attempting to access their mail through their mobile phone. The Windows Live sign-in service was down for an hour yesterday; whether the two events are related is as-yet unknown. The sign-in downtime was purportedly due to a server failure, and left many unable to log in to any Microsoft service dependent on Windows Live IDs, including both Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger.

In its statement, the software giant said “Microsoft takes customers’ privacy seriously, and immediately upon learning of these reports, we started an investigation. We will take appropriate action once we have completed the investigation.”

Reports of the nature of the security breach suggest that it did indeed coincide with the sign-in service failure. Users with the problem describe being presented with an inbox that was not their own; subsequent logins presented a different inbox each time.

With Google’s privacy issues, and now Microsoft, it is beginning to shape up to being an interesting month of February for web mail users! Lookin’ sharp you two!

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Microsoft IE9? When did this come about.. when is this coming out?

by on Feb.16, 2010, under Microsoft

Microsoft’s mid-March Mix 2010 is filling out nicely! Giving us all sorts of nifty information that we really haven’t been talking about much.

Yesterday, the guys from Redmond told us with lots of remaining questions about Windows Phone 7 after yesterday’s unveiling that “all will become clear at Mix.” Now Microsoft is promising to share more details about Internet Explorer (IE) 9 at its designer/developer event, as well.

Microsoft showed off some IE9 powers at the Professional Developers Conference back in November of 2009, and at that time, company officials shared how long a road ahead Microsoft had to make the next version of its browser more standards-compliant, acknowledging that an internal test build was not performing well against the ACID test benchmarks. Microsoft officials also shared that IE 9 would include hardware-accelerated rendering capabilities.

According to a February 16 update on the Mix 10 blog, IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch will be keynoting Mix in Vegas next month to “talk about changes and improvements that have been made to Internet Explorer 9 since PDC09.”

To me, that seems that it might be just about time for an early build of IE9 to be released sometime during the mid-March Mix. Obviously a ship date for IE9 has not been shared, but apparently a lot of people are hoping for it before the end of 2010. Then again a lot are thinking it will come out closer to Windows 8. Rumors are rumors, so who really knows what is going to happen in the end. We will just have to wait and see.

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