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Showing posts from October, 2008

Free Microsoft Software...

...for students

OK. A lot of people knocking off Microsoft and looking at open source software mainly because of their high prices.

I'm not too sure when Microsoft started off this move. But, for some time now they have made a selection of their software freely available for students. This is available as Microsoft DreamSpark.

Getting hold of the software will involve a process of verifying you are a student.

While this may not include all the necessary software (such as Office) there are a number of websites which sell Microsoft software at discounted rates for students and families. The most noteworthy is Software4Students.

Non-student developers, like myself, need not worry as Microsoft has made available Visual Studio Express Editions (as separate packages) so we don't lose out on Visual Studio and SQL Server. Alternatively, there is an open source development tool SharpDevelop which is a decent alternative to Visual Studio allowing you to develop .NET apps as well as for …

GIMP 2.6

The open source image editor GIMP has reached a milestone release of version 2.6, with the Windows installer now available.

This major release includes improvements on the user interface, tools and plugins. There are also some under the hood changes.

Some of the new features are:
The toolbox menubar has been removed and merged with the image window menubar.It is now possible to pan beyond the image border, making image window navigation much less constrainedImproved free select toolBrush dynamicsand more...The Windows installer is available from here

Nokia XpressMusic 5800

Nokia has recently announced the launch of the XpressMusic 5800 music, and is anticipated by them to be their largest release this year.

The phone (dubbed 'the Tube') is released alongside Nokia's "Comes with Music" unlimited music download service and uses a Symbian S60 operating system. Slick indeed.

Just like the iPhone and the Samsung Omnia it is touch screen with the screen size being 3.2". It is more of a music player than a smart phone, supporting MP3, WAV and the AAC format.

The phone also comes with a 3.2 mp camera and an 8GB microSD card to complement the onboard memory of 81MB. It also comes with the usual Bluetooth and the ability to connect to WiFi networks.

My verdict: This phone is definitely a contender for the iPhone.

More information is available from Nokia's website.

Microsoft's iPhone competitor

In a bold move, which has not been confirmed by Steven Ballmer, Microsoft is working on bringing Zune to Windows Mobile to compete with Apple's iPhone.

In the not too distant future we may be looking at a Zune style media player as opposed to the mobile version of Windows Media Player. This may also see the introduction of Windows Mobile devices with a face lift to give a look and feel of the Zune user interface.

Steven Ballmer is pretty tight-lipped about this, but in an interview with CIO Magazine, he said that the Zune is software as well as hardware. He also mentioned that the software will be ported to other platforms.

The interview can be viewed from here.

SoftMaker releases Office for free on Windows and Linux

Having released SoftMaker Office 2008, the makers are making the 2006 version available free of charge to Windows and Linux users. However a small omission is SoftMaker Presentations, the alternative for Microsoft PowerPoint.

This move provides users with another alternative for Microsoft, contending with OpenOffice.org by being able to work directly with Office2007 files.

Linux users are also provided with the opportunity to Beta test the Linux version of SoftMaker Office 2008.

Visit SoftMaker's website for more info.

Silverlight 2 Release Candidate

In preparation for the next release of Microsoft's RIA, Silverlight 2 has been rolled off from Beta into the first Release Candidate.

Silverlight 2 Release Candidate 0 Developer Runtime edition has been made available since last Thursday. The browser plugin is still in Beta, though.

Based on the .NET Framework, Silverlight is intended to be an alternative to Flex for those developing web-based applications.

Still tight-lipped about the product release date, rumour has it that Silverlight will be released in the first week of October. The final release of Silverlight will feature improved "default control template skins" which can be tweaked using Microsoft Expression Blend.

The download, along with other tools are available from the Silverlight website.

Source: Visual Studio Magazine