Archive for the ‘beta’ Category

Vista Sp1 Beta Released – Private

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tafiti – Microsoft’s new search xperience

Update : View this article here.

All that looks boring and simple would be shredded” seems to be Microsoft’s motto. Finally Microsoft is coming up with eye-candy design for all of their major products. Be it Vista or Office2007, the new interfaces are really superb. Then how could their search engine stay behind.

What is tafiti?

Tafiti, meaning “research” in swahili(an African origin), is a new search experience bought in by Microsoft. it combines the power of Microsoft’s Sliverlight and is backed by the Live Search engine. Still in beta we have yet to see a lot of it.

It has got a very attractive yet simple interface, most important for a search site. I guess this “google” idea of a simple design has finally caught fire. Consider the previous yahoo and msn’s search page to present day ones.

What is special in tafiti?

  • tafiti is powered by silverlight, which directly means a wonderful display and also that you need to have silverlight installed on your system(and it doesn’t support safari beta 3)
  • Once you enter a search keyword, you can see the nice animation followed by a categorized search result page(check image below).

  1. As you could see, the search result is displayed in the middle pane.
  2. On the left you have two gadgets, the top one stores different search pages and the other categorizes them into either a web-page, or an Rss feed or as an image.
  3. This is my favorite – On the right you can see blocks called as shelfs, where you can store your search results by simply dragging them. You can store multiple results in one shelf and when activated it could show all in one search result.
  • One not-so-new feature that is added is the “search tree“. You can click the “tree icon” on the centre-top of the page to view it.

This page actually shows the power of sliverlight. It does light up the web and is also light on the browser and eventually on the system. Microsoft has really done a good job on this one.

UP(s):

  • Good interface..
  • Adding the feed search was what i always wanted.
  • Very sleek yet fast.

DOWN(s):

  • A major flaw exists in the beta – “you can’t scroll through the results in the result window using the scroll mouse, you need to manually drag the scrollbar down”

Rating : 3/5

Apart from the frills, Microsoft still needs to do a lot if they wanna set a major breakthrough in search engine technology. Seeing the developments taking place the future looks promising.

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Test Drive the new Windows Live Skydrive (Beta)

Update: View the article here

Very typical of Microsoft, they always start late in business, be it the ZUNE or the SkyDrive, but with their mammoth sized revenue they always make it to the top.

What is Skydrive?

Skydrive is the name given to Microsoft’s online storage solution.

This is the main page of Skydrive.

skydrive

Why Skydrive?

Now this was one thing that Microsoft lagged when compared to Google’s GDrive. In the present era of online business, Microsoft knows that it would loose out if it just sticks with the legacy products, and that’s why you have been hearing a lot of Microsoft online services and that’s where the Windows Live fits in. 

How Skydrive?

Okay so you now know what is Skydrive. Lets have a quick look on the interface and the usability.

Once logged in, you would be presented with the following screen.

Folderview

As you can see, the interface is pretty sleek and clean. Basically three types of folder access are provided, Private, Shared and Public.

A progress-bar at the right top keeps tack of the total and available storage space. Very bad, at present it is just 500Mb. Lets wait and see if Microsoft would give something better when Skydrive is released.

Once you select any field it bring up the file upload/download screen.

Upload

You can either select to upload files one-by-one(5 at a time), by browsing to the file directory, or you ca install an ActiveX control to upload many files at the same time(using drag and drop).

I have installed the ActiveX control and its very easy to upload, just drag and drop files into the window and click upload.

One thing that I like the most is that the upload/download speed is pretty good.

Earlier I used to use 4shared for file sharing, but the speeds would be slower in 4sahred and for the free account, the files are removed after 30 days of inactivity.

You can click on the uploaded file to get the file download link. If you wanna share files to your friends then you should upload the files to the shared location. Remember for your friends to open the file, they should have a Windows Live ID.

Conclusion

Overall I would give it a 6/10(read the pros and cons).

Microsoft is just starting with it, once geared up it will surely prove a good competitor to Google and other online services.

pros

  • Pretty fast uploads and downloads.
  • Compatibility with all the top tier browsers.
  • Pretty descent sharing capabilities.
  • Able to mark files as public or private.
  • Can use it anywhere anytime – much better than any other free service and you don’t have to install any software.

cons

  • Storage space is very less compared to competitors(just 500MB).
  • Can’t upload folders(in Beta).

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