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Essays/News On New Web Platforms, Smart Browsing And Technology


The Zune Saga: Microsoft Opens

Microsoft is preparing for the upcoming launch of its iPod killer, Zune and the company revealed, another site that will promote the music player. Microsoft also plans to replace MSN Music store. According to the company, beginning November 14th, 2006, MSN Music will no longer offer music downloads through the MSN Music store. The “Buy” buttons that you are used to seeing on the MSN Music album and artist pages will change to links that connect you to Zune and Real Rhapsody.

November 14 is also the launch date of Zune, which is a 30GB digital media player that features wireless technology, a built-in FM tuner and a bright, 3-inch screen that allows users to not only show off music, pictures and video, but also to customize the experience with personal pictures or themes to truly make the device their own. Zune comes in three colors: black, brown and white. In September Microsoft announced that the retail price of Zune will be $249.99. Also, Microsoft said it will sell a music subscription pass for $14.99 a month, allowing users to listen to any of the songs on Zune Marketplace. It pledges to offer 2 million-plus songs at launch. After the pass expires, users will not be able to access those songs.

In May this year Microsoft launched in collaboration with MTV another musical download service dubbed URGE, which is integrated in Windows Media Player 11.

With its new Zune player and Zune Marketplace, Microsoft hopes to challenge the iPod + iTunes domination, but it won’t a simple task. One by one, Creative, Samsung, Sony and others tried to compete against this iPod phenomenon each with their own players, more or less different from the famous iPod. Bigger storage capacities, more colourful display options, longer battery life compared to the iPod – decided to attack Apple’s player, the producers tried every option and possibility hoping to hit the jackpot.

The Zune follows a successful Microsoft template for challenging market pioneers by entering the market late, relentlessly improving its products and using its huge cash reserves to drive down prices.

User Experience

Windows Vista introduces a breakthrough user experience and is designed to help you feel confident in your ability to view, find, and organize information and to control your computing experience.

The visual sophistication of Windows Vista helps streamline your computing experience by refining common window elements so you can better focus on the content on the screen rather than on how to access it. The desktop experience is more informative, intuitive, and helpful. And new tools bring better clarity to the information on your computer, so you can see what your files contain without opening them, find applications and files instantly, navigate efficiently among open windows, and use wizards and dialog boxes more confidently.

Ease of use

When you start using Windows Vista, you will recognize familiar elements such as the Start menu, which is now faster, more streamlined, and more helpful than in previous versions of Windows. The Start menu features integrated desktop search through a new feature called Instant Search which can help you find and launch almost anything on your PC. Just type in a word, a name, or a phrase, and Instant Search can find the right file for you. But more than that, the new start menu makes it very easy for you to navigate across all of the installed applications on your PC. Eliminating the slow performing, cascading “All Programs” view, the new start menu can help you get something started more quickly than ever.

Instant Search

Use Instant Search to quickly find the information you need.

Better protection from malware

Malware, such as viruses, worms, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software, can cause a wide range of problems, including theft of personal information, slower PC performance, and the appearance of unwanted advertising (such as pop-up ads). The effects of malware can range from mere annoyances to significant problems that take a considerable amount of time and money to fix.

Microsoft believes the best approach to stopping malware is to layer security features. Windows Vista contains many security features that help prevent malware from installing, and that help find and remove malware if it has already been installed:

Windows Vista Security alerts

Security alerts enable you to quickly resolve potentially damaging issues that can harm your Windows Vista PC.

  • Automatic Updates and Windows Security Center can help you keep your PC up to date with the latest security patches, and also alert you when your PC needs to install an update.
  • Windows Vista firewall helps protect you from hackers, viruses, and worms that try to reach your computer over the Internet.
  • Windows Defender helps protect you against spyware and other potentially unwanted software.
  • And the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), delivered through Automatic Updates, periodically scans your PC looking for known prevalent viruses.

Desktop Search

With Windows Vista, you no longer have to remember where you store every file. Instead, to find a file, you need to only remember something about it, such as a word contained within a document, the artist of a song, or the date a picture was taken. Powerful, integrated desktop search capabilities help you find just about anything on your computer quickly, without having to search for it by browsing through folders. For example, in the new Start Menu, it is as simple as typing a word, a phrase, a property, or any part of a file name into the embedded Instant Search box to instantly find the file that you want.

Instant Search in the Pictures file

Instant Search is available in any Explorer window, giving you easy access to your information anytime you need it.

Windows Internet Explorer 7

Windows Vista enhances the Internet Explorer experience. The upcoming release of Internet Explorer 7 not only adds important new security and privacy features, but makes everyday tasks easier through features such as tabbed browsing, inline search, and shrink-to-fit printing.

Windows Internet Explorer 7 with tabbed browsing windows

New Internet Explorer 7 features, like tabbed browsing and live previews, make it easier for you to get to the websites you want to visit.

Windows Sidebar and Gadgets

As you use your computer to access more information, perform more tasks, and interact with more software applications, you increasingly face information overload. You open a web browser just to check the weather, open an application to view your calendar, and open a calculator program to simply add numbers. You need simple, specialized, and lightweight mini-applications that put information and tasks at your fingertips—no matter what you’re doing.

Windows Sidebar boosts your personal productivity by providing instant access to gadgets—a wide variety of engaging, easy-to-use, and customizable mini-applications that offer information at a glance and provide easy access to frequently used tools.

Windows Sidebar

Windows Sidebar gives you quick access to gadgets like picture slide shows, Windows Media Player controls, or news headlines. You pick the gadgets you want to see in Windows Sidebar.

Windows Backup

Windows Vista provides valuable new innovations to help ensure you never lose information that is important to you. Windows Vista offers multiple layers of backup and restore protection from hardware failure, user error, or other issues. These innovations include system restore enhancements, a new feature called Windows Backup, and a related feature: Previous Versions, based on the Volume Shadow Copy technology which was first introduced with the Windows Server product family. These features are presented in a single, unified Windows Backup and Restore Center.

Backup and Restore Center

Windows Vista Provides a single destination where you can access all of the related Backup and Restore features.


Windows Vista includes new networking features that make your network easier to set up, easier to use, and more secure and reliable. Connect wirelessly to your company’s network, share an Internet connection and printers, copy files between computers, or enjoy your favorite entertainment around your home. Whether at home, a small business, or a large enterprise, Windows Vista makes connectivity easier so you can focus on what matters to you.

The Network Center

Check your connection status, see your network visually, or troubleshoot a connection problem in the Network Center.

Network Center also makes it easy to connect your workplace network from home.

Network Setup Wizard Connect to a workplace page

Easily connect to your workplace from home using the Network Center.

Speech Recognition

Speech Recognition in Windows Vista empowers you to interact with your computer by voice. It allows you to significantly limit your use of mouse and keyboard while maintaining or increasing productivity. You can dictate documents and e-mail messages in mainstream applications, fill out forms on the web using voice commands, and seamlessly manage Windows Vista and applications by saying what you see.

Windows Vista Speech Recognition

With Speech Recognition in Windows Vista you can control your computer by voice whether dictating an e-mail or controlling applications.

Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition Training Video


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