Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Is Microsoft Seeing the "Big Picture?"

Published by Sunbelt Software Manage Your Profile Privacy Policy
Vol. 2, # 63 - Mar 19, 2009 - Issue # 72 
 Is Microsoft Seeing the "Big Picture?"

  1. Editor's Corner
    • Is Microsoft Seeing the "Big Picture?"
    • Follow-up: Vista, We Hardly Knew Ye
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Software that allows XP programs to run in Vista
    • A new Surface will surface - but not for a while
    • Energy saving apps for Vista and XP
    • Is Win7 just a "minor revision" of Vista?
  4. How to: Using the New Vista Features
    • How to print IE pages without the headers and footers
  5. Vista Security
    • Facebook malware targets social networkers
  6. Vista Question Corner
    • Different wallpapers on multiple monitors without paying?
  7. Vista Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Can't install a shared printer in Vista
  8. Windows 7 Preview Corner
    • Don't believe the rumor about two RCs for Windows 7
    • Latest Leaked Build of Win 7 hits the 'Net
  9. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  10. Product of the Week
    • Registry First Aid 7.0 - New Release Is Faster, Safer and Even More Effective

My Antivirus Is Killing My Netbook - Now What?

Traditional antivirus products can be terrible resource hogs, literally grabbing hundreds of megabytes in RAM, and maxing out the smaller Netbook CPU. But you cannot leave Netbooks unprotected either. VIPRE Antivirus + Antispyware is the AV you want to run, with it's now famous low resource consumption and practically invisible malware protection. VIPRE now is officially the fastest antimalware on the planet! Get your 15-day eval here and experience VIPRE on your Netbook for yourself:

Editor's Corner

Is Microsoft Seeing the "Big Picture?"

Microsoft finally seems to have hit on an advertising campaign that people actually like. Oh, I knew one or two folks who thought the Seinfeld commercials were hilarious, but I (along with most of my friends) thought they fell flat. Given the popularity of his TV show, obviously there are a lot of people who appreciate Jerry's brand of humor (and Bill Gates is apparently one of them) but somehow it just didn't work for selling Windows. Meanwhile, the Mac guy was over there, flailing away at Vista, and even though he was obnoxious, he was also ... well, funny.

To Microsoft's credit, it didn't take them long to recognize their error and put out a bug fix - in the form of the "I'm a PC" campaign. The initial commercials, which hooked into the ever-popular "diversity" theme, were good, but the new wave of ads that are focused on Windows Photo Gallery are even better. It seems they finally sat down and thought about who their audience is. Not the "cool at any price" set - those are the ones buying Macbooks and iPods. Not the Supergeek - those are the ones running Linux. There are exceptions, of course (hey, I'm both cool and a geek and I prefer Windows), but Microsoft's real customer base is made up of business people and "regular folks" - e.g., Suburban moms and dads and their 1.3 children.

And that's a good thing for the company. There are far, far more of those "regular folks" out there than there are cool dudes/dudettes and comp sci geniuses. Maybe that helps explain why Windows still has over 90 percent of the desktop operating system market despite the fact that Apple has such a great ad campaign and you can get Linux for free.

And those moms and dads (and grandmas and grandpas) absolutely love this new set of commercials, which feature cute little girls using different features of Photo Gallery. The first one showed a darling "four and a half" year old making a picture of her fish, Dorothy, "much better" with Photo Gallery, and then sending copies to her family:

The second in the series features Alexa, a mature seven year old, who takes a bunch of pictures and then stitches them together in a panoramic photo:

Now when I see these sweet little kids, who proudly proclaim "I'm a PC," I imagine that snarky Mac guy making fun of them the way he does with the long-suffering PC guy. Can't you just see them running off, crying, the victims of his adolescent arrogance? The fact is: these ads are brilliant. They hit the target PC audience where they live, and they also highlight a Windows feature that works exactly like it's supposed to. Windows Photo Gallery isn't going to replace PhotoShop for professional photographers and graphic artists, but I can see it cutting into sales of consumer-oriented graphics programs like Paint Shop Pro. It does most of the things that the average amateur photographer wants to do with his/her pictures: you can adjust exposure (brightness, contrast, shadows, highlights - there's even a histogram in the Windows Live version), color (temperature, tint and saturation), crop, straighten, sharpen, apply noise reduction, fix red eye, create black & white or sepia copies. And it's all easy to do - and to undo.

When you're finished "fixing" your photos, you can easily publish them to Flickr or to an album, email them to a friend, make a movie from them, create a blog post with them, turn them into a slide show, or burn them to a DVD or CD. Quite a package of features for a program that you can download free:

If you need more, there are extra add-ons, such as the Image Compositor that gives you more precise control over panoramic stitching, AutoCollage that lets you combine photos easily, and Photosynth, with which you can reconstruct a scene or object from multiple photographs:

Apparently the new commercials are working, as the latest sales figures show Windows gaining ground while sales of Macs dropped dramatically during February. You can read more about that here:

Another interesting development is the way Microsoft seems to be adding the "big view" to a number of their programs lately. I'm a big fan of OneNote, a Microsoft Office component that I use for taking notes in meetings and at conferences. It comes with Office 2007's Home and Student edition and Ultimate edition, or you can get it as a separate application for $99.95:

Recently, Microsoft came out with an add-on for OneNote that's called Canvas. It allows you to see a "canvas view" of your notebooks, as if everything were laid out on a huge board. Then you can zoom in to see individual items and organize things from this "big picture" perspective. It's just for OneNote 2007 running on Vista. You can see videos of how it works or try out the prototype here:

Be forewarned that these are "concept" programs from Microsoft Office Labs. That's like a beta, only more so. They work well on some systems, but not on others. You download and install them at your own risk.

There is another Office add-on that's similar to Canvas, but for PowerPoint. In some ways, it's even more useful because you actually incorporate the canvas view into your presentation. It's called pptPlex and it's designed to run on PowerPoint 2007 on either Vista or XP. You can check it out here:

I find this new focus on the "big picture" - both literally in these program add-ons and more figuratively in regard to the new advertising campaign - an interesting new trend at Microsoft. What do you think? Do you like the Photo Gallery commercials or are they just too sugary sweet for you? And regardless of your personal reaction, do you think they'll be successful at attracting people to Microsoft's product? Have you used the Windows Live version of Photo Gallery, or just the one that comes with Vista? Do you think the improvements in the former are worth the download? Have you dumped your old photo manipulation program for Photo Gallery? If not, what additional features would Microsoft need to add in order to persuade you to do that? Have you tried out Canvas, pptPlex, or any of the other Microsoft Office Labs concept test programs? Did it work for you? Tell us your opinions and experiences at

Follow-up: Vista, We Hardly Knew Ye

In last week's editorial, I observed that - more than I have ever seen with a beta product - many of the techies and even regular computer users I know are already running Windows 7 on their primary machines and have left Vista behind. I talked about some of the reasons for that, including the bad rap that Vista got from the press, and noted that many folks never even got to "know" the OS completely and never discovered many of its best features. Our readers responded with a few observations and comments of their own.

Allison V. said, "I like my Vista although I didn't at first. Things were different and I had to get used to the new way, but now it's grown on me. I'm comfortable with Vista, not sure that I want to go through that 'adjustment' period again so soon to get used to Windows 7, even though I read so many good things about it. I don't listen to the 'bum rap' Vista got from the press. I just know it works for me and that's what matters to me!"

Evan J. offered this viewpoint: "I've been working with PCs for nearly 25 yrs. I've seen users complain every time a new OS comes out. The difference with Vista was the media got on the same bandwagon. Yes drivers were a problem but that's been true with every OS. That was true with XP when it came out, now the same people who complained about it back then think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Windows 7 is another step forward. I like it, but I don't use beta software for my business. I'll use it when it comes out, not before."

Lillie K. said, "I'll keep Vista for a while. Maybe until Windows 7 has service pack 1. Did Vista get a bum rap, yes. I had some problems at first but now it is fine and faster than my XP computer."

Jay S. wrote, "I truly enjoy Windows 7, thank you for informing me of the Beta trials.

But, I will not be upgrading unless the following problems are fixed (I have submitted feedbacks): 1. DreamScene does not work. 2. The Alarm which comes with XP Plus does not work. I am a disabled vet and need multiple alarm clocks through out the day for various medications and appointments. 3. I am not able to pin my email program (Hotmail) to the start menu nor the taskbar which causes me to have to type the address in the each time I want to access my email, too much work. I do not want to create a shortcut on my desktop because I do not have nor do I want any icons on my desktop because I like looking at my beautiful desktop picture(s) without any clutter. I do suffer some sidebar gadgets (weather, clock, & Pidglet)."

I'll address each of those. 1. DreamScene isn't officially supported in Windows 7. It wasn't a big hit in Vista, primarily because although it's pretty cool on a high end system, it doesn't work so great on less powerful computers. Even with my (then) top of the line Dell XPS, I turned it on, said, "wow, that looks neat," and then turned it off after a day or two because it uses way more system resources than (to me) it's worth. 2. There are third party alarm clock utilities, including some gadgets, that do work with Windows 7. 3. If you enable the QuickLaunch bar on Windows 7, you can put an icon for a link to Hotmail on it. For instructions on enabling Quick Launch, see my blog post at

Darrell G. is a little perturbed with me. He said, "You've been telling us how cool Vista is for what? Two years? And now you sound like you're speaking at its funeral. Don't be so quick to write it off yet. Windows 7 might be as good as you say but I'll do what I did with XP and Vista, I'll wait and let other people work out the bugs first and install it when service pack 1 comes out. Until then, Vista isn't dead yet!"

That editorial also brought out some of the anti-Vista folks. Eddie R. said, "I haven't even installed Vista and I never will. I still use XP and I'm not in a hurry to try Windows 7 either. I can't stand Vista so if Windows 7 is 'Vista done right' like you say I don't want Vista done any way. I'll stick with XP."

Finally, Vince H. wrote: "Vista did not get a bad rap, as you say, implying that Vista was and is ok. Is Microsoft paying you and/or your organization for your comment? Or are you really that naive and misinformed and inexperienced with Vista? ... You destroy your credibility and objectivity each and every time you tout Vista, imply it does not deserve its bad has earned that bad rap easily and it retains it. Please write about something you understand, know first-hand and not stuff at which you are guessing, or reading from MS press releases and propaganda, or getting third hand from naive novices."

No, Microsoft doesn't pay me or "my organization" to say nice things about Vista. I have criticized Microsoft products in the past and most likely will do so in the future. I have criticized Vista itself, particularly regarding performance on laptops prior to the release of Service Pack 1. Inexperienced with Vista? Well, let's see. I started using it as my primary operating system (which means working on it from 10 to 14 hours a day, at least 6 days a week) during beta testing, and I had been running it full time for over a year when it was released to the public. I ran it on three desktop computers (upstairs office, downstairs office and bedroom computers) for almost three years and on a Sony laptop for over two years. I've supported it as a consultant. I've written a couple hundred how-to articles about it. You accuse me of guessing or basing my statements on third hand information, all the while making statements about me that are plainly (wrong) guesses. You're entitled to your opinion of Vista. You don't hear me accusing you of being inexperienced or basing your comments on Apple propaganda just because I disagree with you. Please grant me the same courtesy.

Thanks to all of you who wrote on this topic!

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

PS: Did you know this newsletter has a sister publication for XP users called WXPnews? You can subscribe here, and tell your friends:

And for IT pros, there's our "big sister," WServer News, at

Join the VistaNews fan page on Facebook!

Quotes of the Week

No matter how advanced your camera you still need to be responsible for getting it to the right place at the right time and pointing it in the right direction to get the photo you want. - Ken Rockwell

Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light. - Jennie Jerome Churchill

A picture is worth a thousand words. An interface is worth a thousand pictures. - Ben Shneiderman

Keep The Bad Guys Out With The Sunbelt Personal Firewall

Why do I need a firewall? Together with antivirus and antispyware, a firewall is a "must" to protect your computer. PC Magazine gave the Sunbelt Personal Firewall a "Very Good" rating with 4 Stars and a conclusion of "good protection". Check out the Reviews on the site and it will be clear why you need the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to protect your PC. One good example: Unlike the Windows XP and Vista Firewall, you can tell the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to look carefully at the data leaving your browser, so that sensitive information like your credit card numbers, email address, bank account, social security number and PIN code do not get stolen by hackers!

Cool Tools


Ever use a download manager? You might not know what your missing, try this one!

Rip DVDs for your iPhone, iPod touch, Apple TV, or iPod Video Nano. Bundle includes video converter too! Free Trial:

Advanced Vista Optimizer does a great job tweaking Vista for Max performance.

Eliminate your online traces with CyberScrub. Privacy equals security.

Backups? We don't need no stinking backups! Synchronization isn't anything like backing up, it's better! Easy too!

Your Uninstaller! 2008 takes the place of the clunky Windows Control Panel "Add/Remove Programs" and offers many other useful functions

Kill the background tasks belonging to (legitimate) software that run all day. Why? To get your speed back!

One easy to remember password gives automatic access to all my online passwords and usernames. I love the autofill feature.

News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

Software that allows XP programs to run in Vista

If you haven't heard about it yet, you might be interested to know that Microsoft's Enterprise Desktop Virtualization software (MED-V) provides a way to run programs in Vista that previously would work only in XP or Windows 2000. The secret: a virtual machine (VM) that's transparent to the user. Although, as its name indicates, it's designed for use in large companies, some techies may want to give it a try at home. The beta is currently available if you're registered with Microsoft Connect ( You can read more here:

A new Surface will surface - but not for a while

Most of us can't afford Microsoft's cool Surface tabletop computer, which costs ten grand. I'm into "cool," but not quite that far into it. I did get to see one up close and personal while I was on the Microsoft campus during the MVP Summit earlier this month, and if the price were reasonable, I'd love to have one. By that time, the next generation of the Surface will probably be out. Microsoft is already working on Surface 2.0, which is code named SecondLight. Looks like it will be even more futuristic than the first, but we have about two years to wait for it. Meanwhile, check it out at

Energy saving apps for Vista and XP

Want to save on your power bills - or at least know just how much energy your computer is really using? On St. Patrick's Day, CNET published a list of downloadable "green" applications to help you get a handle on your energy usage, from monitoring to automatically shutting down when you forget to. Find out more about them at

Is Win7 just a "minor revision" of Vista?

Well, not really - but you might think so, based on the internal version number (which, instead of 7.0, is 6.1). There's actually a very good reason for that - some applications look for that version number and decide whether they'll run based on it. So for maximum compatibility, it pays not to change the main version number. Read more about it here:

How to: Using the New Vista Features

How to print IE pages without the headers and footers

By default, when you print a web page from IE, you get those annoying headers and footers giving you information (such as the date it was printed) that you may not want to advertise. You can turn off those headers and footers for a particular print job by clicking File | Print Preview and click the icon for "Turn headers and footers on or off" (hover over the icons to find it). If you want to turn them off permanently, here's how:
  1. Click File | Page Setup
  2. In the dialog box, under the section labeled "Headers and Footers," remove the text in the boxes.
  3. Click OK.
Alternatively, you can change the information in the headers and footers. For example, &d or &D is what puts the date in there. Likewise, &t or &T inserts the time. If you want the footer to show the page number only, just put &p in the footer.

Vista Security

Facebook malware targets social networkers

Social networking sites such as Facebook can be great for keeping in touch with old friends and sharing info with business associates, but because of their popularity, they're also favorite venues for attackers, so be careful what you click. And if you're asked to install a "special codec" to watch a movie, just say no. It's likely to be just a ploy to get you download malicious software.

Vista Question Corner

Different wallpapers on multiple monitors without paying?

I know you've written about multiple monitors many times. You talked about a program that lets you do that but I think it costs $30. Is there any freeware version or a hack for this? Thanks! - Stephen R.

For a long time, I used UltraMon to add support for different wallpapers on each monitor to my XP system. Recently I ran across a free download that does the same thing and works in Vista and Windows 7 (as well as XP and even Windows 2000). It's called DisplayFusion. There's also a Pro version for $20 that supports timed wallpaper changes, and it also lets you put a taskbar on each of your monitors, which is another reason many multi-monitor fans buy UltraMon. There are also hot keys to move windows to different monitors and maximize a window to span all monitors, too. You can download it here:

Vista Configuration and Troubleshooting

Can't install a shared printer in Vista

If you try to install a shared network printer in Windows Vista, you might get an error message that says "Windows cannot connect to the printer" or "the specified Print Monitor is unknown." This can happen because the printer has a language monitor as part of its driver package. Oops. You can find workarounds for the problem in KB article 937697 at

Windows 7 Preview Corner

Don't believe the rumor about two RCs for Windows 7

A rumor has been floating around the web, apparently initiated by a Russian web site, that Microsoft is planning to come out with a first Release Candidate of Windows 7 the fourth week of April and then release another, public version (RC2) the last week of May. More recent reports say the rumors aren't true, and Microsoft is sticking with its original development plan, which includes just one RC before the final product is released to manufacturing. Read more here:

Latest Leaked Build of Win 7 hits the 'Net

The latest build of Windows 7 to hit the Internet (but which is not a public release) is 7057. It sports a few changes, includes a fix to the much-publicized UAC security vulnerability, a new Media Center intro tune, and more. You can read more about the new build and see screenshots on Paul Thurrott's site here:

Fav Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

Disclaimer: VistaNews does not assume and cannot be responsible for any liability related to you clicking any of these linked Web sites.

Product of the Week

Registry First Aid 7.0 - New Release Is Faster, Safer and Even More Effective

Registry First Aid is the people's choice when it comes to registry repair. If you are having problems with the Microsoft Windows Registry or want to insure that you keep it fine tuned and error free, download the FREE trial and see how many registry problems are already in your registry. See how easy it can be to repair your registry in a matter of minutes! VistaNews readers get a 10% discount. Download it here.

 About VistaNews

What Our Lawyers Make Us Say
These documents are provided for informational purposes only. The information contained in this document represents the current view of Sunbelt Software on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Sunbelt must respond to changes in market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Sunbelt and Sunbelt cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


This newsletter and website and may contain links to other websites with whom we have a business relationship. Sunbelt Software does not review or screen these sites, and we are not responsible or liable for their privacy or data security practices, or the content of these sites. Additionally, if you register with any of these sites, any information that you provide in the process of registration, such as your email address, credit card number or other personally identifiable information, will be transferred to these sites. For these reasons, you should be careful to review any privacy and data security policies posted on any of these sites before providing information to them.

The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document. This document may be copied and distributed subject to the following conditions: 1) All text must be copied without modification and all pages must be included; 2) All copies must contain Sunbelt's copyright notice and any other notices provided therein; and 3) This document may not be distributed for profit. All trademarks acknowledged. Copyright Sunbelt Software, Inc. 1996-2009.

VistaNews Archives
Looking for a past issue? Missing an issue? Accidently deleted an issue? Trying to find that article that pointed you to that cool site? All our newsletters are archived and are searchable:

About Your Subscription to VistaNews
This is a posting from VistaNews. You are subscribed as
Your personal VSN Number is: O52HI2

To manage your profile, please visit our site by clicking on the following link:

If you have feedback or wish to write to the editor, write to us at

Sunbelt Software
33 North Garden Avenue
Clearwater, Florida USA 33755

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for understanding that we need to prevent the nasties.

Terms of Use

Personal & Educational Use Only This blog consists mainly of FREE newsletters from computer web gurus that I receive. I thought you might like to see them all in one place than try to discover them on your own. A moderate amount of editing may be done to eliminate unrelated repetitious ads or unnecessary text which bloat the post. However I have given the authors full credit and will not remove their site links because you deserve to see where it comes from and they deserve to get credit for what they have written. Your use of this site is simply for educational purposes. For more computer-related help go to: CPEDLEY.COM for free software, advice and tips on low cost products which are very helpful. If you want to contact the editor, please go CPEDLEY.COM and check the Contact page for email address.