Vista B2: Integrated Applications

This can be looked on as a continuation of the Vista Beta 2 post that I put up less than an hour ago. In short, this is simply a list of new applications (note, NOT enhancements to Windows, but rather bundled apps) that we have seen.

Microsoft does not offer a list of these features, and some of them are quite extensively hidden beneath the surface but trust us, they are there. Not all of these are new to Beta 2, some of them are in previous versions of Vista, but all are programs that you poor XP-bound people will find interesting…

1) ActiveSync
ActiveSync is no longer that program that some losers use to connect their Windows CE PDA to their Desktop PC. In Vista ActiveSync promises to be the life of the party. Thus far it seems that it will support streaming video to other media consumer electronics, synchronizing MP3 Players, PDAs, Phones, and more. It is VERY different even from ActiveSync 4.0 Beta that we are testing, which, though it is loaded with new features, is still something entirely different.

2) Peer-to-Peer
Nope, you read right. It seems that Beta 2 comes with a P2P Application! We’re still looking into it though. We have managed to get the server up and running, but the client interface is somewhat of a mystery…. We don’t know yet, but we will keep you posted.

3) Windows Media Center
We mentioned this in the last post briefly. In short its a place where everything digital and everything entertaining comes together. You can do almost anything you want here, and it comes with more codecs than Windows ever did before. It also seems to be a sign that Microsoft has stopped its bloated ‘MCE’ line, which was too slow, but had some promising features.

4) Parental Control
I haven’t really looked into this, don’t want to lock myself out of *certain* things, do I? :) But really, its a nice addition. Content locking in Internet Explorer just didn’t cut it, since most webmasters never rated the content of their site. Let’s face it, they do want to corrupt us, right?

5) iSCSI
Just a platform management thing. Not of much interest this far… But we’ll let you know once we have something more definitive.

6) Speech Recognition
Yep. Speech recognition. I cannot wait to see the EU’s action to this blatant violation of antitrust, but I’m with MS on this one… It seems to just be a placeholder: ‘No plugins detected,’ is not really the way to go… But it looks promising.

7) Tablet PC
Part of the ActiveSync program is another app that adds Tablet PC functionality to your Vista, which makes us suspect that Tablet PCs will run the same Windows as everyone else, no preferential treatment :P.

8) MSN Desktop Search
What is now called ‘Indexing and Search’ seems to be MSN search on steroids. Very smooth and minimalistic, giving results without exhausting your PC or making it look unprofessional with all those colors.

9) Solutions to Problems
This is, I guess, more of an enhancement than a program, but its not truly a part of Windows, so here goes. Its a nifty app that sits in your Control Panel and… Well, remember the Windows Error Reporting service that always asks if you want to be informed when a solution is found to your problem? One thing, they never ask for your email, and MS doesn’t collect personal information, so, yes, you guessed it, you never find out what happens. Solutions to Problems (what is up with the name????) keeps track of your error reports, lets you attach bug reports to them, and tells you when a fix or hint is available.

Its interesting to note that all these new things live and thrive in the Control Panel, which has been given new Life. It has a shortcut on the desktop, has a new look, and has millions of new features that make it worthy of the seat on your homepage..

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