Microsoft Windows 7

30 03 2009

Well, I know it is a bit too late to talk about this now. But I will of course be touching on the next Release Candidate build of Windows 7 once it is out this May. Behold Microsoft Windows 7!
01-windows7-main-2-copy
In November 2008, Microsoft unveiled Windows 7, the latest of their long-running series of operating systems. Set to be released in January 2010, Windows 7 is supposed to make tasks easier, faster and “user-centric” by adding a bunch of new features.
Basically if your PC is now able to run Windows Vista, you need not worry about upgrading it as Windows 7 is intended to be an incremental upgrade from Vista. The test system that I have used for writing this article is just a humble 2.4Ghz Pentium 4 PC with 2GB of RAM and a Nvidia 7900GS AGP graphic card! That’s how little you need to get Windows 7 up and running on your machine. In this article, I will be talking about some of the new and nifty features available in Windows 7 which will surely please most everyday PC users.

Taskbar

The spanking new Microsoft Windows 7 Taskbar

The spanking new Microsoft Windows 7 Taskbar

Perhaps the most obvious and biggest change both visually and feature-wise on Windows 7 is the Windows Taskbar. Unlike previous Windows taskbars which were meant to store simple quick launches and opened application buttons, the new taskbar now spots an integrated “Applications Pin” which basically works like a “Quick Launch & Application Buttons combination” in previous Windows OSes.

One feature that is sure to increase your productivity would be the Jump List which lists out the most recent and common tasks for a particular program once right-clicked. For example, the Internet Explorer application pin will list the most common websites that you normally visit; the Windows Media application pin will list the most common music or videos that you have played; while the Microsoft Word pin will list down all your previously opened documents. All this is done without you opening the program itself. This Jump List is also accessible from the Start Menu button to provide you with more ways to open up your recent files quickly and easily.

To add up to that, the taskbar also provides previews for opened programs, and placing your mouse over it will provide a full screen preview of the application(s) running.

The Jump List with list of media frequently played using Windows Media Player

The Jump List with list of media frequently played using Windows Media Player

New Aero Features

Flip3D and Aero making a return in Windows 7

Flip3D and Aero making a return in Windows 7

Previously in Windows Vista, Microsoft has introduced the Aero interface which is famously known for the eye-catching Flip 3D to move between applications. In Windows 7, a few more aero user experiences namely Aero Shake, Aero Snap and Aero Peek have been added to satisfy Windows users who are demanding for flashier graphical user interfaces.

Firstly, we have Aero Shake which allows users to instantly minimize all other none-active windows that are opened in the background by shaking the application window. To bring the minimized Windows back to its maximized state, just shake the sole window again. By “shaking” on Windows 7, you will never need to minimize or maximize each and every individual background application ever again.

Another interesting feature which is known as Aero Snap helps simplify comparisons by allowing users to drag an application to both the far left and right of the screen. Windows 7 then automatically resizes them to half to make it easier for comparison purposes. This would allow you to compare your favorite handbag, shoe or books online easily without manually resizing or switching between applications.

Comparing products on eBay is now easier with Aero Snap

Comparing products on eBay is now easier with Aero Snap

Last but not least, we have Aero Peek which in a way replaces the “Show Desktop” function but in a more intuitive manner. By placing your mouse over the bottom right of the screen, you will see a preview of how the desktop will look like when minimized with all the applications’ appearing transparently at the same time. It provides users with a view of the desktop immediately without minimizing any programs opened unlike previous Windows.

Microsoft Aero Peek (Before and after) once mouse is placed over bottom right of the taskbar

Microsoft Aero Peek (Before and after) once mouse is placed over bottom right of the taskbar

Newer programs

Some common Windows programs have also received notable updates and tweaks to increase productivity and performance. Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player 12 are among some of the latest programs to be added to Windows 7. Even Microsoft Paint and Microsoft WordPad which have not been updated since the Windows 98 times have received significant updates with an added “Ribbon” interface and more features.

The latest installment of Windows Media Center on Windows 7

The latest installment of Windows Media Center on Windows 7

Microsoft Paint with the Ribbon Interface and new features (finally!)

Microsoft Paint with the Ribbon Interface and new features (finally!)

Touch-screen support

If you are lucky enough to own a touch-screen based monitor or laptop, you will be happy to know that Microsoft provides multi-touch support for their latest OS. By moving your fingers according to certain gestures a-la iPhone, you will be able to perform tasks more interactively. Zooming, panning and rotating images are several features already available for use on the beta version of Windows 7. More gestures and applications have already been planned and we should see them implemented on the next build.

Rotating, Zooming and Panning photos can be done with Multi-touch on Windows 7

Rotating, Zooming and Panning photos can be done with Multi-touch on Windows 7

With touch-screen monitors being touted as the next generation of monitors to replace current LCD monitors, you can bet that this OS will be a big hitter in the future.

After using Windows 7 for about 3 months since January, stability has never been much of an issue and all I can say is if the beta build is that good, the next few release should only get better. Windows 7 is currently in public beta testing phase. The beta build however, is no more available for download, but if still you are interested to try Windows 7 before its actual release, you can wait for the Release Candidate build which is scheduled for a rumored April – May 2009 release.





Silverlight & WPF: Sharing Skills and Code

13 03 2009

Yesterday, I have presented regarding skills and code sharing in both Silverlight and WPF during Microsoft® Malaysia’s Innovation Day at Cyberjaya’s MSC Innovation Center. By using the same elements to implement the interface which is XAML and backend code which is C#.NET or VB.NET, developers can harness and develop Rich Internet Applications in Silverlight and visually stunning desktop applications in WPF all in one go.

Twitter Sample in WPF(left) and Silverlight(right)</p>

Twitter Sample in WPF(left) and Silverlight(right)

Digg Sample in WPF(left) and Silverlight(right)

Digg Sample in WPF(left) and Silverlight(right)

In this post, I have attached 2 demos, a Twitter demo and another which is a Digg demo. Both applications have been developed both in Silverlight and WPF. Download the Twitter demo source files here (WPF | Silverlight) and the Digg demo source files here (WPF | Silverlight). Both are in C#.

As for the Powerpoint slide that I have used during the presentation, you can get it from here. (Requires Microsoft Office 2007 or the Microsoft Office 2003 plug-in to read Office XML files)

More details regarding this topic will be added soon…





Response.Write(“First WordPress Post: Hello World!”);

12 03 2009
Alternity Prime on Dell Lappy

TF Fever: The All New Transformers Alternity Prime Posing with the Newly Designed Blog

Hello everyone! My name is Derek Chan and I am a system developer specializing in Microsoft .NET technologies such as WPF, Silverlight, ASP.NET and Windows Mobile Development. I  also do presentations mainly on topics covering Silverlight, WPF and Mobile Application Development during Microsoft® Malaysia’s Innovation Day event.

After being pursued for quite some time by my peers, I have decided to take some time off to create a blog on WordPress and insert my inaugural post here on March the 12th 2009 (History in the making I’d say). I hope to use this space to blog mainly regarding software development, latest technologies and maybe a little on Video Games and Transformers!

Designing this blog is pretty simple. All I got was a theme which is already available in WordPress and by using some simple Photoshop, I’ve managed to unveil the interface that you are looking at right now. I am sure that some enhancements could be done soon with some more in-depth research. Keep staying tuned for that to happen…

As for now, just sit back, relax and admire the blog which I have setup so far. 🙂