11 Apr 2012


SQL Server 2012 is now generally available from Microsoft.  Previously we covered the forthcoming SQL Server 2012 and its requirements.  SQL Server 2012 delivers with new capabilities for mission-critical workloads, business intelligence and hybrid IT across datacenters and public and private clouds as well. 

Some of the features include:

The latest version of SQL Server 2012 can be downloaded here.  Microsoft also has a listing of all things related to SQL Server 2012 in their Virtual Launch Event.  Content from this event is going to be available until June 30th, 2012.

Also Microsoft is announcing their second Preview of the Hadoop based service for Azure.  They have expanded the capacity of this service by 4x to accommodate high demand.  The preview provides "an elastic Hadoop Service" with more reliability through disaster recovery of the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) NameNode and advanced analytics via Hadoop projects such as Mahout.  It also is providing insights through tools like Office and Sharepoint.

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01 Apr 2012

Tech-Stew Podcast Episode 12:  Science Spectacular, recorded on Sunday 04-01-12

Summary:  The Nokia Lumia 900 is coming, Google Drive becomes a reality, Best Buy to close 50 store-fronts, strange clouds on Mars, aliens land in Arizona, SpaceX can get us to Mars for cheap, billions of habitable planets in our galaxy, antibody kills cancer in mice and more  

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28 Mar 2012

 Microsoft is proposing a standard that would speed up the internet, yes a standard folks.  While the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is meeting next week to discuss HTTP 2.0 solutions, Microsoft is proposing their own solution called HTTP Speed+Mobility, they claim it is based on Google's SPDY protocol.

Google's SPDY protocol is one candidate for HTTP 2.0.  It is similar to the existing HTTP protocol, but Google says its 50% faster.  Several browsers already use this technology, those of Chrome and Firefox.  Google and Twitter try to deliver pages using SPDY if possible.

SPDY is being considered by the IETF as a standard, but Microsoft is pitching Speed+Mobility, stating it boasts speed increases like SPDY, but also has elements from HTML5's WebSocket API.  With Microsoft's solution it brings speed to mobile devices and applications as well as desktops.

The co-creator of SPDY, Mike Belshe, has welcomed Microsoft and said he is looking forward to seeing some metrics on their solution.  Belshe also said the talk that SPDY is not for mobile is untrue that developers are happy to use SPDY in mobile apps, but he does go on to state, "it could always be better, of course."

Perhaps we will see both Microsoft and Google working together to create a standard that works for all parties?  It is in the best interest of both companies after all.  We can dream for now at least.

Source:  webmonkey, blogs.msdn.com

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22 Mar 2012

Microsoft was intending to unveil the new Xbox during E3, but according to a BGR source it won't happen.  Microsoft has stated "We can confirm that there will be no talk of new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon."  An insider called "MS Nerd" with a good history of leaking information about Microsoft, says that Microsoft is working on two Xbox consoles to be launched in the next few years.

"My understanding is that we’ll see a Xbox device in late 2013 which does Arcade-style games & all the current & future media apps with Kinect (with near-mode)," MS Nerd wrote on Reddit.  They went on to say "It will be an ARM-based platform price-competitive with the Apple TV (if you own a Kinect already)."

"At some point after that, we’ll see a Xbox Next, a true successor to the 360,” MS Nerd stated. "Details about it are very hazy, except that, like the 360, it will do games for core-audiences & the same media apps as the other device, also with Kinect."  MS Nerd went on to say that the Kinect controller will receive a camera upgrade after the next Xbox launches, with this new Kinect being in 2015.

The Tech-Stew Take Home

These rumors of an ARM-based smaller, cheaper and specialized Xbox actually date back to 2010 and then again in late 2011, but the posts from MS Nerd have been updated as of 2 days ago.  The real question becomes do we really need this type of new Xbox to cater to arcade games and Kinect (if there is even any truth to the rumor).  The Xbox 360 dates back to 2005 that is 7 years, an eternity when it comes to gaming consoles.  I personally would want to see development geared towards a single full-fledged new Xbox console, rather than two new ones.

Source:  bgr.com

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21 Mar 2012

Microsoft at its Convergence conference for Dynamics ERP and CRM customers and partners, has shown off early concepts of what some of these business apps may look like in a Metro-UI.  They are the only company demonstrating Metro based business apps.

Some of the apps include a Windows 8 HTML5 metro-style (WinRT) client that connects to Dynamics ERP and CRM back-ends.  The image below is an example of the Dynamics Start page in Metro.  Each screen can be personalized by end users.


20 Mar 2012

More rumors and speculation are swirling in tech land regarding the Xbox.  This time based on a patent for a virtual helmet that Microsoft filed a patent for in 2010.  The design is similar to that of a helmet, much like the failed Virtual Boy by Nintendo.  Its unclear if it would be for both the old and new Xbox or just the new one alone.  PatentBolt.com outlines how it would work and the workings seem fairly detailed:

"Microsoft states that a compact display system may be coupled into goggles, a helmet, or other eyewear. These configurations enable the wearer to view images from a computer, media player, or other electronic device with privacy and mobility. When adapted to display two different images concurrently--one for each eye--the system may be used for stereoscopic display (e.g., virtual-reality) applications."

Apparently the viewer would see the equivalent of a 21" display with two eyepieces, possibly implying 3D possibilities as well.  There could even be augmented reality (AR) ability, allowing you to see the games HUD through the helmet rather than on a screen.  The other area of possible integration could be with Kinect, imagine the possibilities here, if Microsoft executes and designs this well.

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20 Mar 2012

This October the wait is over for Windows 8 and to fully experience Microsoft's new Metro Start Screen in all its full glory, or torture, depending on what camp you fall in.  Microsoft has stated it will finish Windows 8 this summer and sales of Windows 8 will occur in October.

Initially they will roll out to devices with Intel (INTC) and ARM chips.  Microsoft is effectively using the same types of processors that Apple uses in the iPad, but there will be a limited number of ARM devices at debut, less than five, as opposed to Intel machines at 40.  Microsoft is still planning on shipping both ARM and Intel versions at the same time.

This October time frame will allow Microsoft to gear up for Holiday sales in 2012.  Filling everyone's Christmas wish lists, with Windows 8 touch-screen devices and laptops and desktops.  Microsoft hopes to revitalize the PC market with Windows 8 and gain some ground on the iPad.  

19 Mar 2012

                                                          Goodsir North Tower

Flight Simulator fans rejoice, the new FS Global Ultimate Series has been completed.  "The Americas" and "Europe/Africa" are shipping now and the last part of "Asia/Oceania" are shipping March 24th.  For those unfamiliar, FS Global is a height map mesh for the world.  Imagine the landscape as a grid and at every grid point, the ground gets pulled up or pushed down from sea level to the height of the ground at that location, forming a more accurate height model of the surface of the Earth, adding many levels of detail to the ground.  It literally adds an immense amount of depth and realism to Flight Simulator.  

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