Slate Tablet PCs will be back

With the advent of multi-touch capabilities, and the iPhone popularizing this capability, together with Windows 7 having multi-touch capabilities in-built to the operating system itself, I will expect slate tablets (i.e. no keyboards, just screen) to be back, better than before. For those who have forgotten, slate tablets died out long ago in preference for the convertible tablets (i.e. keyboard and screen).

To get into the market, it first has to be light enough, and a screen wide enough to be comfortable. Together with a “Slate Stand” for desktop usage, this will enhance multi-touch on the desktop itself. We now are seeing laptops so slim (1 inch thick) and so light (2 lbs) with screen sizes of 13.1” or larger, I predict that this will be the critical factors in bringing back the slate tablets.

If somehow, someone is able to integrate a “Slate Stand” as part of the tablet design, that will be awesome.

Imagine a “Slate Stand” being a supporting stand to tilt the tablet in a 20 to 40 degrees angle (adjustable of course) for easy touch screen experience. I’m thinking just a fold under the laptop which can increase and decrease the degree angle as the fold gets closer together. Imagine this: /\ :underneath your laptop, and flattening out: —— :when you don’t need it.

Together with full size keyboard which will “slide in and out” virtually on the screen with a flick of a button (or gesture, or on some text input) and each key is big enough for our fingers, I think we’ve got something pretty good going on here.

Re-engineering applications’ user interactions to make full use of multi-touch, and we have endless possibilities. Hey, that’s what WPF is for. *wink*

Let’s hope to see it out there soon!

Windows Media Player Plugin for Firefox on Windows Server 2008

If anyone tried to install WMP plugin for Firefox on Windows Server 2008 (or any server os), they will get an error stating that server os are not supported. In order to get it working, you need to do the following steps.

  1. Rename wmpfirefoxplugin.exe to
  2. Extract it into a directory.
  3. Type the following command in a console:
    msiexec /a ffplugin.msi
  4. It will install it probably in C:\
  5. Copy this file, np-mswmp.dll, into your plugins directory of Firefox (usually C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\plugins)
Restart Firefox and it should work.

Singularity Source Code Released to CodePlex

From OSNews:

Microsoft has released source code from the Singularity research project onto Codeplex under an academic, non-commercial license. "The Singularity Research Development Kit is based on the Microsoft Research Singularity project. It includes source code, build tools, test suites, design notes, and other background materials. The Singularity RDK is for academic non-commercial use only and is governed by this license."

How cool is that? I'm going to download it and play with it! For those who don't already know, here's a description of what Singularity is.

Singularity is a research project focused on the construction of dependable systems through innovation in the areas of systems, languages, and tools. We are building a research operating system prototype (called Singularity), extending programming languages, and developing new techniques and tools for specifying and verifying program behavior.

Advances in languages, compilers, and tools open the possibility of significantly improving software. For example, Singularity uses type-safe languages and an abstract instruction set to enable what we call Software Isolated Processes (SIPs). SIPs provide the strong isolation guarantees of OS processes (isolated object space, separate GCs, separate runtimes) without the overhead of hardware-enforced protection domains. In the current Singularity prototype SIPs are extremely cheap; they run in ring 0 in the kernel’s address space.

Singularity uses these advances to build more reliable systems and applications. For example, because SIPs are so cheap to create and enforce, Singularity runs each program, device driver, or system extension in its own SIP. SIPs are not allowed to share memory or modify their own code. As a result, we can make strong reliability guarantees about the code running in a SIP. We can verify much broader properties about a SIP at compile or install time than can be done for code running in traditional OS processes. Broader application of static verification is critical to predicting system behaviour and providing users with strong guarantees about reliability.

Process Lasso

I've just installed this to try it out. Here's a description of what it is from jkOnTheRun.


Anyone who has been using mobile devices for very long knows too well the hit and miss scenario caused by multi-tasking.  You have too much running in the background and the CPU grinds up to 100% and it's hard to do much of anything.  Today's Freeware of the Moment is a utility that aims to end that problem once and for all.  Process Lasso sets some rules and runs (with very little resources) in the background and prevents bad things from happening when too much gets going at once.  It watches your CPU resources and when they get tapped out it steps the priority down for processes until the system is running at an even keel.  I have heard many people praise this program but none so well as Steven Hughes of BostonPocket PC who has published a very thorough review of Process Lasso.  Check out the review and then give Process Lasso a try and see how well your older system runs with today's programs.  Note that Process Lasso runs under Windows 2000, XP and Vista and there are both 32 bit and 64 bit versions available.  Be sure and get the right one and you'll be hauling buns in short order.  Don't be intimidated, while Process Lasso has all sorts of technical settings to give you total control over your running environment the defaults will pretty much sort your system out with ease.