Turning the Pages software gives new meaning to ‘illuminated manuscript’

At the Vista launch in the UK it was also announced that a collaboration with the British Library and Bill Gates will mean that two of Da Vinci’s notebooks are available for online viewing, as reported in the Register.

These and a few other selected books and excerpts are available online here. The software required to get access to this material requires Vista or XP sp2 with .Net framework 3

As David Overton describes in his blog the Turning the Pages application gets as close to a real book experience as possible – pages actually apear to move like paper as you turn them, and gold-leaf even appears to reflect and glint as the sheet moves. Is this what is meant by an ‘illuminated manuscript’ in the 21st century?

Offlines files and folders improved in Vista

If you ever tried to use offline files and folders in Windows 2000 or XP to synchronise server-based files and use them when away from the network, you may have become frustrated that it never did exactly what you wanted.

There have been several improvements in the way Vista handles offline files, for me the most important being the simple separation of users so a user only ever gets to synch their own stuff. This simply makes sense, and certainly fixes lots of access denied errors. They also made it more bandwidth efficient and gave the user some control over whether to work online or offline (to check what is available offline before actually disconnecting).

One bug not mentioned in Jim Allchin’s article is the way XP would handle (or rather, not handle) new folders, as follows:

  • You synchronise a folder and choose “yes, include all subfolders and files”.
  • You happily create and edit folders and files and everything works just fine.
  • A colleague creates a new subfolder and it simply does not get synched on your machine. Not at all.
  • You have to un-synch and re-synch the parent folder of the new folder and waste several minutes, or worse still, you only realise when you are out of the office at the begining of a new month or year and don’t have the latest data to hand.

Basically the CSC database seemed to take a one-time snapchot list of all required folders, and would update this if you created something, but was not aware of anyone else’s actions. Ideally it should be scanning the actual folders you synch to look for new folder creation. I want to test this under Vista and see if it’s fixed, and post back when I do.

Jim Allchin’s retirement plans

Jim Allchin is leaving Microsoft after more than 16 years. His recent work as head of the Windows team has finally delivered Vista, a good time to leave if ever there was one.

His last act as a Microsoft employee was to hit ‘submit’ on this post on the Vista Team blog, in which he outlines how he might see a typical day in the coming months. A great read, both thought provoking and laugh-out-loud funny.

Jim Allchin’s thoughts on retirement from MS

Business Desktop Deployment 2007 released by MS

Microsoft’s BDD 2007 Workbench claims a host of features to help you create an inventory, create and manage system images and deploy these to your machine in a highly managed environment (“Zero Touch” using SMS) or less managed (“Lite Touch”, no SMS) manner.

The workbench includes all the tools you need for this in a single edition (so you get all the same features and guidance, you just choose whether to buy and use SMS) and one download, which also has self-updating features so you don’t miss out on future goodness.

You can create images for Windows XP and Vista, as well as Office 2003 and 2007
Read more on the MS desktop deployment homepage or go straight to the download for BDD 2007.

Securing Windows Vista

Following on from previous security guides with information about best practice, Microsoft have made the Windows Vista Security Guide download available.

The Windows Vista Security Guide provides guidance and tools to further protect Windows Vista against real-live threats such as malware and information theft. This solution accelerator recommends the Enterprise Client (EC) configuration for organizations of all types. Only in extreme security situations does the guide recommend the Specialized Security – Limited Functionality (SSLF) configuration, which considerably limits client computer functionality. The Solution Accelerator includes recommendations about how to use new and enhanced security technologies in Windows Vista to better defend the client computers in your organization against malware. The guide also provides recommendations and best practices on how to use encryption and access control technologies in Windows Vista to protect corporate data.