29 Oct 2006

Enter Windows Vista RC 1

I finally decided to download and test the upcoming Windows Vista OS that Microsoft's been promising for more than a year.

Last month I was able to download the RC 1 version; RC 2 had been removed from Microsoft's servers. I've been given a license number that may be used on 10 computers. And unfortunately, the license expires on 1st July 2007... And once the software is installed, I have 14 days to activate it, else some things won't run...

There's an excellent review of the new features of Windows Vista at Wikipedia.org. Here's my personal addition though...

The good

  • There's a lot of transparency effects on menu bars
  • There's some nice fading animation when minimising and maximising windows
  • The gadgets seem OK
  • Nice Flip3d
  • New Internet Explorer has tabs
  • New 'cooler' font
  • Here's my desktop:

  • I also like the snipping tool that's good to take part of the desktop's screenshot.

The bad

  • Flip3d is not new; it's a package that exists since a long ago in Linux distro and used in Mac OS X Tiger
  • Gadgets also is an idea from Mac OS X
  • Tabing was introduced by Mozilla Firefox
  • Though the Windows sound setup plays 5.1 surround sound, Windows Media Player 11 does not do so. It plays tracks in 2.0 only!
  • My Wanadoo USB ZTE modem drivers are not compatible, so I can't connect to the Internet (more precisely it's the PPPoA WAN adapter that doesn't work)
  • The new font resembles more like the one used in Mac OS X

Enjoy Vista while it's free! But don't spend on it!

Or more: test it to see why you shouldn't buy the final version!! Use a Linux distro...

25 Oct 2006

Using Windows Live Messenger with other email address accounts

No need to have an email address of the type Hotmail.com or MSN.com to use Windows Live Messenger! You can use the Live Messenger with your existing email address, whether it's of GMail, Yahoo! or any other email address.

By following the steps, you register your email address with the Microsoft's Passport Network service.

The only hic in the Live Messenger: you can't check your mailbox, write new mails, see your contacts in your email's address book...

Step 1: Go to http://www.passport.com

Step 2: In section "
Use an e-mail address you already have", click "Get started"

Step 3: Enter your existing email address and any other relevant details

Step 4: Click "continue"

Follow any other steps required.

In Windows Live Messenger, enter your email that you registered and password.

Bingo! Have fun :)

17 Oct 2006

Envoyé Spécial passe à la guillotine sur la MBC-tv

Cela fait quelque temps déjà que la MBC-tv, la station nationale de télé à Maurie, passe l'émission Envoyé Spécial à la guillotine. En effet hier, le 16 aout, les présentatrices Guillaine Chenu et Françoise Joly ont été tout simplement "couper" afin que l'émission puisse entrer dans la grille de programmation de la chaine locale. Cette pratique donne l'imprésssion que l'émission est un condensé de reportages. On n'a pas pu avoir les commentaires, mises-à-jour et éclaircissements des présentatrices.

De plus, dans les émissions diffusées précédemment, la MBC-tv n'a pas diffusé certains reportages. Nul ne sait si la MBC-tv est en train de censurer certains. Tout ceci ajoute à mon exaspération car déjà les émissions diffusées sont très en retard dès celles diffusées par la chaine France 2.

Peut-être qui'il ne me reste plus qu'à regarder l'émission en direct sur TV5 Monde Afrique! Mais dans ce cas-là, je fais quoi de la redevance télé que je paye chaque mois?

15 Oct 2006

Cascada's Everyime We Touch

While surfing the net, I came across Cascada's Everytime We Touch track. It aroused my interest for the artist since it falls into the trance category. I downloaded the album for preview and I instantly fell in love with the artist and the album. I even love the tracks that are not trance!

Everytime We Touch features 14 magnificent tracks that are worth listening. I am sure that it will suit all those who like dance and trance music. It also features Savage Garden's Truly Madly Deeply, with Cascada's beautiful voice. Here's the tracklist:

01 - Everytime We Touch
02 - How Do You Do
03 - Bad Boy
04 - Miracle
05 - Another You
06 - Ready For Love
07 - Can't Stop the Rain
08 - Kids in America
09 - A Never Ending Dream
10 - Truly Madly Deeply
11 - One More Night
12 - Wouldn't It Be Good
13 - Love Again
14 - Everytime We Touch (Yanou Candlelight Mix)

Her picture gallery and tour dates are available on her official web site. Her blog features testimonials from many MySpace users. Her lyrics may be found here.

We should also give credit to the two producers/DJs who made the superb music - Yanou and DJ Manian. Cascada's real name is Natalie Horler. All of them are German. More.

The music's style makes me think of Alice Deejay, the first trance group that I loved (though their styles are somewhat different). I appreciated Better Off Alone, Will I Ever and Back In My Life, amongst others. Unfortunately, the Dutch group is no more on the scenes. Alice Deejay comprises of producers Pronti, Kalmani and DJ Jurgen. Judith Pronk gives the melodious voice, accompanied by Gaby and Jane. More.

Note: Now, I just want to buy the original album. That is a pain in Mauritius since stores don't yet sell her disks. I hope that I may soon do so before I listen to the album so many times that I would no longer consider this option.

11 Oct 2006

Low-cost laptops in Mauritius

Last year, the MIT make a really nice move to leverage technology and bring some hopes to the poor developing world. In fact, the team at MIT planned to give governments laptops for USD 100 each so that the latter gives them away for FREE to the poor children and students. Details about the project.

The laptops run Linux OS, and have great advantages, as per the specs.

A few weeks ago, the Government of Mauritius announced that it has partnered with Microsoft to sell laptops at MUR 15,000 (USD 450). Report from the local newspaper (sorry, in French).

So how are the Microsoft laptops different from those of MIT? And is the Government making a move to oust MIT and Linux and favour Microsoft? And as it can be seen, the Microsoft laptops are far more expensive than that of the MIT team. So why has the Government chosen such a move which is not logical in an economic point of view and going away from the free software movement?

(As an aside, I have heard that the IT Minister has close links with guys at Microsoft.)

4 Oct 2006

CSE programming contest

The Computer Science and Engineering Department (CSE) at the University of Mauritius is organising a programming contest these days. I think that this is a very good initiative that has been taken. This will bring some fresh air to the department. Students and lecturers will enjoy some sort of interaction apart from classes and the lecturer-student relationship. They will be able to talk other things apart that in the syllabus.

Students and lecturers in the department will also be more friendly I think. It will be time to make new friends and share ideas.

The important thing is to participate and enjoy, not winning! Good luck to you guys (and gals) participating and have a nice time and lots of fun together!

Unfortunately, I'm not able to join them since I'm no more a student. But I'd love to participate in one way or the other.

My.T critic

It has been a few months since the local telco Mauritius Telecom released a new subscription-based service My.T. It has three services bundled together:

My.T Watch
Digital television which includes 6 free TV channels
Video on demand (VOD)
Plus some interactive services

My.T Talk
Lower price rates for international calls

My.T Surf
Internet package

So far, the move is a good one by the telco. In fact, we may argue that MT has done this to maintain its leadership in the sector in Mauritius.

However, the digital TV is nothing than analog programmes being recieved in digital mode. So saying, there's no EPG information associated to the programmes and no choice of language, which I regret.

The Surf option guarantees a 2 Mbps download only for sites residing on MT's servers. Access to international sites remain at a low transfer rate. It's a shame that we say 256 Kbps, 512 Kbps and 1 Mbps "broadband", knowing that my friends studying in the UK enjoy a 12 Mbps access!

However, I do appreciate the move made by MT to stop charging for the extra bytes in excess that we transfer. But still, MT has not said how the lower priority packets are different than the higher priority ones and how will they affect our Internet usage.

The Talk service is only the 'Sesam' scratch cards tariff reloaded in a new service. And those who use their phones only for local calls a lot do not benefit from the service.