Download Free Vista and XP SP3 via IE App Compatibility VPC Images

Since 2007, Microsoft has been offering free copies of Windows XP and Windows Vista for download, in order to make up for a handicap specific to the Windows client, namely the fact that two different versions of Internet Explorer cannot be installed and run simultaneously on the same operating system.

While it is cooking the first Release Candidate build for Internet Explorer 8, the Redmond company is also supporting Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 6, a context in which it is a pain for developers to test their content on all versions of IE.

The situation has caused Microsoft to come up with the Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC images, a solution designed to circumvent the limitations of IE running on Windows via virtualization.

With the Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC images, Microsoft is offering developers no less than four free copies of Windows packaged as Virtual Hard Disk Images and designed to integrate with the company's free virtualization offerings. The four VHD downloads feature a new release date, just ahead of the end of 2008, although the launched products are similar to those made available in August 2008, following the availability of Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2.

“VPC Hard Disk Image for testing websites with different IE versions on Windows XP SP2, Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista,” Microsoft revealed. “This download page contains four separate VPC images, depending on what you want to test: IE6-XPSP3_VPC.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE6 VHD file; IE7-XPSP2_VPC.exe contains a Windows XP SP2 with IE7 VHD file; IE8B2-XPSP3_VPC.exe contains a Windows XP SP3 with IE8 Beta 2 VHD file; and IE7-VIS1.exe+IE7-VIS2.rar+IE7-VIS3.rar contain a Vista Image with IE7 VHD file. Note: For The Vista image, you will need all three files, downloaded and in the same directory, then simply run IE7-VIS1.exe.”

According to Microsoft, all the VPC images are time bombed and set to expire in January, 2009. In early 2009 the company plans to deliver Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1, having already made available the pre-RC Partner Build. After the availability of IE8 RC, the Redmond giant is expected to deliver a fresh set of VPC images with a new expiration date.

External Mirror 1 - IE6-XPSP3 [EXE]

External Mirror 2 - IE7-VIS1 [EXE]

External Mirror 3 - IE7-VIS2 [EXE]

External Mirror 4 - IE7-VIS3 [RAR]

External Mirror 5 - IE7-XPSP2 [RAR]

External Mirror 6 - IE8B2-XPSP3 [EXE]


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Who Leaked Windows 7?

News Commentary. BitTorrent brought the Christmas present Santa didn't: Leaked build of Windows 7, whose official Beta 1 release is perhaps days away. Was this a craftily timed Microsoft marketing leak?

I sure as hell think so. It's certainly what I would do if I worked at Microsoft on Windows evangelism. The timing is perfect, from a marketing perspective. The leaked build hit BitTorrent sometime on Saturday, right after Christmas when the Windows geeks had nothing better to do and bloggers and journalists had nothing better to write about. The leaked build is designated "7000," which strongly suggests that the code is the same as forthcoming Beta 1, or close to it.

The slowest news week of the year is going on right now. Everybody and anybody is writing year-end reviews and making stupid predictions about 2009. It's not because they care so much about the past or the future. They don't have much to write about now because most tech companies are closed or running minimal staffs. Meanwhile, the big announcements are being saved for Macworld Expo (Jan. 5-9) and the Consumer Electronics Show (Jan. 8-11).

What perfect timing to create buzz for Seven. Windows beta leaks used to be fairly common, but Microsoft has clamped down on them under the tenure of Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group. This leak is surprising because of Steven's record managing Office development: Few leaks. Heck, were there any?

Something else: Microsoft doesn't seem all the rattled by the leak. That reaction, or lack of it, is inconsistent with Steven's past no-leak management style. I called Microsoft's PR agency for confirmation and got this statement in response: "It is part of our normal testing process for testers to receive regular builds; however, the Windows 7 public beta is still expected in early 2009."

That statement could be construed as meaning the leak came from outside Microsoft. It's unusual for a Microsoft statement to make such a veiled accusation. But it makes sense as deflection from the real source, meaning Microsoft.

I'm not being critical here, as some Microsoft Watch commenters will surely claim. It's rather smart marketing. Microsoft fills a big news void with something bloggers and journalists will write about. The suspense of stealth downloads from torrents and races to post the best screenshots first make the Windows 7 leak buzz all the more exciting. For other people, there is delight in seeing Microsoft squirm because Seven leaked early. Not that I see much squirming going on.

If Microsoft didn't leak the build, forshame! If this is a real leak, how undeserving is Microsoft of the timing. Because the marketing benefits are immeasurable, given how much buzz there is out there. Google news search shows a couple hundred stories related to Windows 7 Beta 1. If someone on Steven's team didn't leak this Seven build, they should have.

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Seven Predictions for Open Source in 2009

2008 was an eventful, breakthrough year for many open source companies, and 2009 will be even more so, especially in terms of business purchasing patterns, software business model shifts, and enterprise software stack evolution. The current economic conditions will certainly prompt businesses to look more closely at alternative IT solutions -- and open source technology will be one of the big winners next year.

Here's a look at a few 2009 open source market predictions that I believe will re-shape the software market in the coming year.

1. Adoption of open source software will increase as the economy worsens. As the 2008 recession extends into 2009, it will change the software landscape, as the economic "shock" forces businesses to make structural changes to their IT strategies to drive down costs. Open source software eliminates up-front licensing costs and drives down the total costs of new projects. It also introduces competition that will be used by customers to improve their negotiating position with the oligopoly of proprietary software vendors that dominate the market. Open source companies will see stronger year-over-year revenue growth than the proprietary software sector. Our company, Ingres, an open source database provider, recently announced that 2008 revenues will grow by more than 25 percent over 2007 versus traditional industry software growth rates at 7 to 8 percent annually. Growth rates for propriety vendors will take a hit despite moves by traditional companies like Oracle to actually raise prices during the economic downturn. The company's 45 percent increase on its BEA acquired-WebLogic application server, for instance, is causing customer migration to JBoss' open source enterprise application server.

2. Open source adoption will accelerate across the full infrastructure software stack and into applications. As more companies seek innovative solutions that do more with less, they will follow the early adopters who 10 years ago pioneered the use of the Linux operating system and in recent years have been using open source throughout their infrastructure stack. Areas of significant infrastructure adoption include Application Servers, Messaging and Databases, especially for Java-based applications, which are standardized and relatively easy to port to open source solutions. At the application level, we'll see accelerating adoption of Business Intelligence (BI), Enterprise Content Management (ECM), and Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) solutions.

3. SaaS and cloud computing solutions will grow and pull open source with it. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and open source share the same attractive economic model with lower overall costs and, critical for this recessionary environment, they both have zero up-front capital costs and variable operating costs. Companies will continue to move to subscription-based services that allow them to get a better handle on their IT costs. Moving to these pay-as-you-go services will also let executive teams re-size their technology budgets to adapt to current economic conditions, or to their company's changing revenue streams. Both SaaS and open source will see growth in new adoption. And SaaS growth will also pull more growth in open source as it delivers the right economics for the SaaS providers. As more companies integrate both forms of software into their internal IT systems, we'll see more customers push-back against yesterday's proprietary licensing models. Together, SaaS, cloud computing and open source offerings will also allow entrepreneurs to start new businesses with very little capital, even during a recession.

4. Mergers and acquisitions of open source vendors will continue. M&A activities will continue to change the open source landscape as proprietary vendors acquire more open source companies, and as open source companies merge. In turn, these events will keep the investment cycles going, as recently witnessed by the late 2008 funding of companies including JasperSoft and Infobright, both raising $10 million during what is currently a nuclear winter in capital markets. We'll likely see the first open source application and/or open source Business Intelligence (BI) company get acquired. Red Hat and Sun may make acquisitions to further build-out their respective open source stacks, and Novell may use its cash from the Microsoft licensing deal to expand its open source footprint. Meanwhile, valuations will outpace industry averages but not reach the dizzying heights experienced during the last M&A wave in the mid-2000s.

5. Competition from open source will drive proprietary software vendors to take the first steps in changing their business models. The combination of an "economic shock" to established procurement habits and the availability of mature and proven "commercial grade" open source software stacks will make 2009 the year in which open source competition drives proprietary vendors to begin changing their business models. Customers who are substantially downsizing their businesses will no longer accept the "ratchet model," where software costs only go up because of the negotiating leverage of the large vendors. Expect proprietary vendors to start realigning their business models to customer preferences, initially by emphasizing their own SaaS offerings while fighting a strong rear guard action to protect their much larger proprietary licensing and support revenues. Customers will respond to economic challenges with more centralized procurement and strategic adoption of open source, which will improve their negotiating position by demonstrating their willingness to implement open source alternatives for important applications.

6. Open source stacks emerge from strong market partnerships. Open source vendors will continue to join forces to create whole open source stacks and to offer certified and pre-configured solutions that substantially reduce staffing costs. These partnerships will create a better way to compete with existing providers by offering easier implementation than combinations of products from proprietary software behemoths like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft. Customers will recognize and experience the cost benefits from hardware through software infrastructure right up to the application layers of their entire technology stack. For example, a Red Hat, JBoss, and Ingres stack will be available for Java application developers, and a competing Sun stack will be offered to existing Sun and MySQL customers. JasperSoft will partner with open source database providers to create a complete data mart solution to make business intelligence initiatives affordable for newly constrained budgets. These and many other partnership-driven open source stacks will provide competition and spur innovation that opens up important new choices in the software marketplace.

7. Systems integrators will guarantee first-year cost savings for migrations to open source. Look for offerings from the many global systems integrators who have strong balance sheets, experience with open source and are wrestling with how to maintain growth over the next few years. Businesses that want to move to lower cost and variable cost platforms, but don't want to deal with first year capital costs to do so, will be offered a way through global systems integrators. These companies will use their balance sheets to pay for their customers' transition to open source as part of multi-year contracts to "migrate, innovate and operate". Systems integrators have the financial strength and pricing methodologies to propose fixed price multi-year contracts for migration and operations to their customers and in many cases to fund innovation as well. These offerings will cover a spectrum -- from migration to a fully managed service, to migrations followed by on-premise support and maintenance services.

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6zap - Open source Web 2.0 communication platform

6zap is a full-featured, open source communications platform that integrates e-mail, calendar and contacts functionality into a single page.
Built with Web 2.0 technologies as a foundation, 6zap is intuitive and easy to use. It enables users to simply switch back and forth between applications, returning to the last message, contact or calendar entry they viewed.



The 6zap E-mail module offers the familiar three pane interface used by Outlook, Thunderbird and other desktop based e-mail programs. 

  • Recognizable Look and Feel: The three-pane view includes folder tree, message list and message preview, and supports common folder, message, attachment and template functionality as well as spell check.
  • Customizable: Users can choose number of messages on page, auto save interval, saving sent messages, default compose mode, signature and language.
  • Drag and drop the messages to a folder to save them or delete them.
  • Compose emails in rich or plain text.
  • Fix spelling errors with the integrated spell-checker.
  • Right click on a message to print, move, reply, forward, delete, etc.


The 6zap Calendar module offers an intuitive, yet powerful features to schedule and share your events.

  • User Friendly: Create and move events using drag and drop.
  • Multiple Views: Day, week, work week and month views.
  • Recurring Events: Provides support for the creation and viewing of recurring daily, weekly and monthly events.
  • Multiple Calendars: Events for different calendars are displayed in different colors.
  • Multi-user Capabilities: View calendars of other people in your organization.
  • Access Control: Each calendar has permissions associated with it giving users the ability to create, update and delete events.


The 6zap contacts module lets the user add and delete associates and friends.

  • Unlimited Attributes Per Contact: Each contact can have multiple e-mail accounts, phone numbers and other contact information.
  • Integrated with the other modules:  When typing an e-mail address in the E-mail or Calendar modules, the full address auto-completes from your contacts.


The 6zap files module lets the user upload and manage files on 6zap.

  • Desktop like experience: Uploaded files and created directories behave desktop like, you can rename, drag and sort them just like you do on your desktop.
  • User friendly folder navigation:  Browse through folders using explorer-like left navigation pannel.
  • New features added at regular basis: Stable work with new interface features.

Customization and Branding

6zap can be fully customized and branded – in look and feel, as well as each module’s behavior – to meet the needs of your unique environment. 
CSS Templates

  • The look and feel of the different modules is controlled via standard CSS files. All colors, images and fonts can easily be changed by altering these files.
  • JSON Interface and Client Side Templating
  • All data in 6zap is fetched from the server using JSON. The user interface is fully defined in HTML and Zapatec's client side templating engine. As a result, designers can fully change the user interface without affecting any of the server side code.


6zap can be used around the world:

  • All modules can be used in different languages by translating the text of the different messages.
  • The calendar supports different time zones and time/date formats, and allows users to select the first day of the week.

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Apple forgot to copyright OSX, outfit claims

CHEEKY MAC CLONER and thorn in Apple's side, Psystar has claimed that Apple has no right to restrict how the OSX operating system is used... because it doesn't legally own it.

The Miami-based chancers have filed court papers which claim that the Cupertino company "is prohibited from bringing action against Psystar for the alleged infringement of one or more of the plaintiff's copyrights" because of a "failure to register said copyrights with the copyright office as required".

We don't know where Psystar hired its lawyers, but we reckon any law-talking-guy worth his salt should have access to the Interwibble, where a quick search at the US Copyright Office's web site would have unearthed this.

That coupled with the fact that the very act of creating a piece of software means that is protected under US copyright laws leads us to believe that Psystar may well have realised that it is fighting a losing battle and is delaying its inevitable demise under the weight of Apple's legal might.

In a long-running legal battle which has involved suits and counter-suits flying back and forth between the computing Goliath and the nit-picking David (has anyone else noticed that Psytsar rhymes with shyster and is very nearly an anagram of Parasyte?) the Miami company's latest filing also accuses Apple of including undocumented code in its operating system which prevents it from being used on a non Apple computer.

Psystar claims that this is a violation of anti-trust laws and that it should be allowed to do whatever it wants with Apple's operating system.

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Windows 7 Beta 1 Build 7000 DVD ISO Image Torrent and NamiPan Download

If indeed the Windows 7 initial first beta release will have the build version number of 7000, the DVD ISO image of the 32-bit (x86) Windows 7 6.1.7000.0, 7000.0.081212-1400_client_en-us_Ultimate-GB1CULFRE_EN_DVD.iso, has been leaked to Internet (MDL forumers have started downloading since hours ago). The downloaded ISO image will have the MD5 hash value and size that match the previously reports Windows 7 Beta1 ISO details and screenshots.

File: 7000.0.081212-1400_client_en-us_Ultimate-GB1CULFRE_EN_DVD.iso
Size: 2618793984 bytes
MD5: f9dce6ebd0a63930b44d8ae802b63825
SHA1: 607118428B2156FF61CDC5260545CO78CCA31EE

To download the Windows 7 Beta1 ISO image, download the following torrent to download the content in any BT client:

Demonoid Link:

Another alternative way to download is by using Namipan file hosting (net disk or web drive space) service. Namipan is a China based file hosting service. As the Windows 7 Beta1 ISO is in hot demand, the HTTP download has been disabled. Thus, those who intends to download the ISO through Namipan must download NamiRobot (some interface in English, mostly in Chinese), which also serves as a peer-to-peer (P2P) downloader. Download and install the NamiRobot by using one of the direct download links below:

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World of Warcraft census tops 11.5 million

It has been more than four years since Blizzard Entertainment's massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft launched, but the blockbuster's user base continues to swell. Today Blizzard provided the latest update to the World of Warcraft's population, boasting a subscriber pool more than 11.5 million people strong.

World of Warcraft just reached the 11-million mark roughly two months ago. As for what could have spurred the extra growth, an obvious culprit is the November launch of the game's second expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King. After selling 2.8 million copies in its first day on shelves, the expansion finished its first month with more than 4 million copies sold, according to Blizzard. The developer cites both of those figures as records for a PC game, records that were previously held by the first World of Warcraft expansion, The Burning Crusade.

As Blizzard uses a variety of payment plans in different countries, the publisher defines "subscriber" thusly: "World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last 30 days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules."

World of Warcraft subscribers hail from a number of countries and regions, including North America, Europe, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Chile, Argentina, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Most recently, WOW was launched in Russia and Latin America.

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How to Install Windows 7 or Windows Vista on Physical Machine Without DVD Media

A lot of Windows Vista and Windows 7 license has been sold media-less nowadays, where buyers only receive a piece of authenticated certificate with a genuine and legitimate product key printed on it. It’s especially true and almost a standard practice for MSDN and TechNet subscribers, or any beta participants, who wants early access to latest build release.

Beside, many people now download the Windows DVD ISO image from BitTorrent using torrent file, instead of having to pay for the hard-copy DVD media to be delivered by post.

Thus a lot of people has soft copy of Windows installation file, normally in the format of ISO format. Normally, the ISO has to be written or burnt to a DVD disc, which can then be used to insert into DVD drive to start the installation of Windows Vista and Windows 7. Unless the ISO is been used to install in virtual machine powered by Microsoft Virtual PC, Virtual Server, VMWare or Sun xVM VirtualBOx, which can mount the ISO image as CD or DVD drive.

For user who doesn’t want to waste a DVD disc to burn the ISO to physical media, and does not have WinPE (Windows PE) startup disc, here’s a workaround method to install Windows Vista and Windows 7 into physical computer’s hard disk drive or partition (volume) directly with ISO without writing or burning to disc. The without-disc installation method is useful especially during beta and RC period of new operating system in the making, where the new build and new version is launching and publishing every now and then. This tutorial guide assumes that the new Windows 7 or Windows Vista will be installed and replaced the original existing operating system currently installed. The instructions can be modified slightly (mainly on hard disk partition used) to fit into need of readers who want to have a dual-boot, multi-boot, or simply just to upgrade install to new OS.

  1. Install a virtual CD/DVD drive on existing Windows operating system.
  2. Mount the Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation DVD ISO image using the virtual drive.
  3. Copy all files inside the virtual CD/DVD drive mounted with the ISO into any folder on any partition or hard disk drive not going to be used to install the Windows OS. For example, copy into E:\Windows7.
  4. Copy the bootmgr and boot folders nested inside the copied folder (i.e. \Windows7) to root directory of system boot drive, typically C:\.

    Note: For Windows Vista, users may need to use this step: Copy the bootmgr folder from E:\Windows7 to C:\ root directory, copy E:\Windows7\boot\boot.sdi file to same folder in C:\boot folder, and then copy bootsect.exe from the E:\Windows7\boot\ folder to C:\ drive.

    Note: boot folder in system boot drive is hidden system folder.

  5. Create a new folder named sources under the C:\ root folder.
  6. Copy the file inside \Windows7\sources folder to the source folder created in the system boot drive, normally C:\.
  7. Open a command prompt as administrator.
  8. Run the following command (change the C to your drive path letter if applicable):

    C:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 C:

    For Windows Vista users who copied bootsect.exe to C:\ root folder, use the following command instead:

    C:\bootsect.exe /nt60 C:

    A successful message is the command completes successfully.

  9. Change the name or label of the boot system partition local disk to BDCP or any name you prefer that easier to remember and type (in DOS command promot, use label command).
  10. Restart the computer.
  11. After booting up, the system will start the corresponding Windows installation process. Select the applicable language to install, time and currency format (regional settings locale) and keyboard or input method in the installation wizard dialog.
  12. On the next screen, user will be presented with option to Install Windows. DO NOT press on Install Windows button, instead, click on Repair My Computer link on the bottom left corner.
  13. In the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) System Recovery Options dialog window, click on Command Prompt to open a DOS Prompt window.
  14. Run the format command to format the primary hard disk or partition to clean state:

    format c: /q

    Note: /q switch, which perform quick format can be omitted to full format. And if existing hard disk partition is of FAT32 filesystem format, use format c: /q /fs:ntfs to convert the file system to NTFS while formatting. Before formatting begins, the command may prompt for hard disk drive or partition label name, if so, enter accordingly (i.e. BDCP).

  15. After format completed, start the Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation process again by manually running the setup.exe located in the copied. Note that the setup.exe is not the one located on boot system drive which copied at later step, as the boot drive has been formatted. For example:


  16. Continue with installation procedures by following on-screen instructions as per normal practice.

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Software Executive Sentenced for Hacking

The president of a U.S. software company has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to stealing password-protected files from a competitor.

Jay E. Leonard, 61, was sentenced to 12 months supervised probation and a US$2,500 fine after pleading guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer, a misdemeanor charge.

Leonard is the owner of Boulder, Colorado's Platte River Associates, a company that builds software used in petroleum exploration. He illegally accessed a password-protected area of the Web site belonging to his company's competitor Zetaware, according to a plea agreement filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

One week later, he chaired a company staff meeting in which "a tentative plan was discussed to exploit and to unlawfully utilize the downloaded Zetaware files for the economic gain of Platte River Associates," the plea agreement states.

Zetaware CEO Zhiyong He was tipped off to the intrusion by a confidential source, which he then reported to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), court filings state. In an interview Monday, he said he is not sure how Leonard was able to access his Web site, but that he believes that he may have been given a password.

He said that one of Leonard's employees may have turned his boss in. He knew Leonard professionally and was "very surprised" by the incident, he said.

Leonard accessed the Zetaware site from a Sprint wireless network at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, located near Zetaware's headquarters, the plea agreement states.

In a separate case, Platte River Associates is also facing charges of "trading with the enemy," for allegedly allowing its software to be used to evaluate oil and gas development opportunities off the shore of Cuba, which is under a U.S. trade embargo. "The company has expressed an interest in pleading guilty," in that case, although no plea has been accepted by the judge, according to Jeffrey Dorschner, a spokesman for the United States Attorney's office prosecuting the two cases.

Leonard and his attorney did not return calls seeking comment for this story.

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Microsoft boosts MVC Web app development

The Microsoft ASP.Net MVC platform enables developers to build MVC applications using the .ASP.Net framework. Serving as an alternative to ASP.Net Web Forms, ASP.Net MVC provides separation of concerns, support for test-driven development, fine-grained control over HTML and JavaScript, and intuitive URLs, Microsoft said. ASP.Net is Microsoft's technology for building dynamic Web applications.

The company is offering assistance Friday for developers using ASP.Net MVC, providing free, downloadable HTML design templates for use with ASP.Net MVC applications. Templates are part of the ASP.Net MVC Design Gallery.

Each template features a Site.master file, a CSS style sheet, and an optional set of images and helper methods, said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the company's Developer Division, in his blog.

"The gallery allows you to preview each of the designs online as well as download a .zip version of them that you can extract and integrate into your site.  The gallery allows anyone to create and submit new designs under the creative commons license," Guthrie said.

"We think this will provide a useful way for developers to more easily create attractive, standards-compliant sites," he said.

The company also is preparing to ship improvements to its MVC platform via an ASP.Net MVC Release Candidate build due in January. ASP.Net MVC was released as a beta technology in October. Improvements in the release candidate build include a change in which MVC view files by default do not have code-behind files.

"This change helps to reinforce the purpose of views in a MVC world (which are intended to be purely about rendering and not contain any non-rendering-related code) and for most people eliminates unused files in the project," Guthrie said.

With the release candidate, Developers also can build strongly typed HTML and AJAX helper extensions that use expression syntax to refer to the View model. Also featured is a top-level model property on views.

An automatic UI scaffolding capability is offered when creating views using a new ASP.Net MVC "Add View" command inside Visual Studio. This support enables automatic generation of views against any .Net type or object.

Also planned is jQuery-vsdoc intellisense support and new FileResult and JavaScriptResult ActionResult types to more easily download files and executable JavaScript to browsers. Project template improvements and extensibility also are eyed as well as bug fixes.

Additionally, a built-in MSBuild task can be used to include views as part of the project compilation process. This verifies syntax and code included inline within views and master pages for the application. Build errors are provided if there are problems.

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9-year-old TN girl cracks Microsoft exam

A fourth standard girl from rural Tamil Nadu has become the youngest to qualify the Microsoft certified professional examination.

The Microsoft exam, usually taken by techies for better job prospects, measures problem-solving skills and Lavinashree (9) passed it with flying colours.

By achieving this feat, she broke the record held by Arfa Karim, a ten-year-old Pakistani girl.

And what's more, the Madurai-based fourth-standard student has already planned her future.

"Dr Kalam is a very big scientist and I want to become like him," Lavinashree said.

Lavinashree is used to creating records. When she was just three, she was listed in the Limca Book of Records for reciting all 1330 couplets of Thirukural, one of the Tamil classics.

After that, her parents decided to encourage her tremendous memory. But an admission to a software programme wasn't easy.

"When we went to them, the guys first refused saying she was too young. They took her only after she proved that she could," said Lavanya, Lavinashree's sister.

The child prodigy's admirers include many national leaders -- from former president APJ Abdul Kalam to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi.

In fact, according to Lavinashree's father, the Tamil Nadu government is likely to announce that they will take care of the child's education. Who knows she might well turn out to be India's Bill Gates one day.

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iPhone Game: Namco Releases i Love Katamari Rolling Game for iPhone and iPod touch

Namco Networks has announced the worldwide availability of i Love Katamari for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices. The game is available now for $7.99 through Apple's App Store. More info about this iPhone game:

In i Love Katamari, the King of All Cosmos has accidentally knocked all the stars out of the sky during a crazy night out. It is up to the pint-sized Prince to put the twinkle back in the heavens. Players are challenged to roll the katamari ball over various objects in each stage. As more and more objects are rolled up, the katamari will increase in size, making it possible to roll-up larger and larger objects.

Based on the console hit Katamari Damacy, which has enjoyed a strong cult-following worldwide for its creative and addictive gameplay, i Love Katamari features levels that take place in five different environments (the Takeda Residence, a backyard, a park, a town and an island). It also features a range of fun-filled modes, such as "Story Mode" (find and roll-up the King's requested object), "Time Attack Mode" (roll up as much as possible in a limited time), "Exact Size Challenge Mode" (match exactly a requested katamari size), and "Eternal Mode" (roll at your own pace without any time or size limit).

Players tilt the phone right, left, front, and back to roll the katamari with precision, taking full advantage of the iPhone/iPod Touch’s accelerometer. While tilt control is the main control method, the game does include some swipe control features. For example, just tap the katamari to stop rolling or touch the 180 turn icon to turn 180 degrees. Players will also enjoy control options familiar from Katamari Damacy like "Parallel shift", "Prince turn” and “Prince dash."

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Yahoo shows ads in IM chat windows

Yahoo Messenger Ads

Yahoo Messenger (Windows | Mac) long has shown ads on its buddy list window, but the Internet pioneer is testing them in the instant-messaging chat windows as well.

The ads are part of a test that began in August and ends in December, Yahoo said in a statement. One example we saw here at CNET shows an ad for MasterCard.

"Ads in Yahoo Messenger will allow us to put even more resources behind developing and delivering valuable free features and services," Yahoo said. "Yahoo Messenger is a free service to our users, and our goal is to provide a useful and relevant experience while ensuring this is a profitable business for Yahoo. Yahoo is inherently an advertising-driven business."

The company wouldn't comment yet on what happens after the test is finished. "Plans will be made when the testing is concluded," the company said.

Yahoo laid off 1,520 employees last week and is in the midst of a review of all its business units to see which should be preserved. The company is under fierce financial pressure that only got worse with the recession and increasingly gloomy forecasts for online advertising.

Google shows ads in Gmail that are selected on the basis of e-mail content, but the Yahoo IM ads aren't selected on the basis of context, Yahoo said.

"The ad shows at most once per day per user and scrolls away" as an IM conversation continues, Yahoo said. "Right now the ads are being tested in versions of Yahoo Messenger 7.0 and above."

Source :

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Windows 7 Beta Available for Download as Early as January 5, 2009

The fully-fledged Beta for Windows 7 could be made available for download as soon as January 5, 2009.

Microsoft certainly confirmed that it was in the final stages of cooking the Beta build of Windows 7, but it has not managed, so far, to point to an actual deadline for the delivery of the platform's next development milestone. However, Microsoft is now offering official confirmation that Windows 7 Beta downloads will be offered via the January 2009 Quarterly Update Kit through the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS), which will start being distributed on January 5.

“Shipping starts January 5, 2009, depending on region, and continues with the first month of each subsequent quarter (January, April, July, and October). Allow 15 to 30 business days to receive your kit. If you don’t receive it by the end of the shipping month, contact your nearest Regional Service Center,” Microsoft revealed.

According to Microsoft Evangelist Keith Combs, Windows 7 Beta 1 is just around the corner, with the Redmond company planning to start shipping DVDs with the bits as early as January 13, 2009, to all participants of the MSDN Developer Conferences. Nevertheless, the software giant intends at the same time, to include Windows 7 Beta within the January 2009 Quarterly Update Kit.

“January 2009 Kit Contents: The January 2009 Quarterly Update Kit includes Windows 7 Beta, Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, Windows Small Business Server 2008 Standard Edition, Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Standard Edition, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1, and Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007 SP1. Refer to the table below for product and license details,” Microsoft added. (emphasis added)

The Redmond company indicated that although Windows 7 Beta would be accessible through the January 2009 Quarterly Update Kit, Microsoft Action Pack subscribers would have to download the development milestone. Yet, with the first January 2009 package planned for shipping as of January 5, it is clear that very early next year Microsoft will start offering Windows 7 Beta 1 for download. The company has already started sending out invitations for testers to participate to the Beta program for Windows 7 and Windows 7 Server (Windows Server 2008 R2).

As far as MAPS is concerned, “the Microsoft Partner Program and the Action Pack are designed for companies whose primary function is to sell, service, support, or build solutions on the Microsoft platform, as well as to provide solutions based on Microsoft products and technologies to independent third-party customers,” the company stated.


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Microsoft issuing emergency fix for browser flaw

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft Corp. is taking the unusual step of issuing an emergency fix for a security hole in its Internet Explorer software that has exposed millions of users to having their computers taken over by hackers.

The "zero-day" vulnerability, which came to light last week, allows criminals to take over victims' machines simply by steering them to infected Web sites; users don't have to download anything for their computers to get infected, which makes the flaw in Internet Explorer's programming code so dangerous. Internet Explorer is the world's most widely used Web browser.

Microsoft said it plans to ship a security update, rated "critical," for the browser on Wednesday. People with the Windows Update feature activated on their computers will get the patch automatically.

Thousands of Web sites already have been compromised by criminals looking to exploit the flaw. The bad guys have loaded malicious code onto those sites that automatically infect visitors' machines if they're using Internet Explorer and haven't employed a complicated series of workarounds that Microsoft has suggested.

Microsoft said it has seen attacks targeting the flaw o nly in Internet Explorer 7, the most widely used version, but has cautioned that all other current editions of the browser are vulnerable.

Microsoft rarely issues security fixes for its software outside of its regular monthly updates. The company last did it in October, and a year and half before that.

Source : AP

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Microsoft Knew About Xbox 360 Disc Scratching Before Launch

Microsoft is currently facing several lawsuits claiming that Xbox 360's DVD drive causes damage and scratches to inserted discs when moved. The company's position got weaker today as court documents revealed that it already knew about the problem well before the console's launch.

"When we first discovered the problem in September or October (2005), when we got a first report of disc movement, we knew this is what's causing the problem," Microsoft program manager Hiroo Umeno told the court. Xbox 360 was released a month or 2 later, in November 2008.

Microsoft's testing revealed that when the console is tilted, discs inside become "unchucked" and collide with the drive's pickup unit, causing damage and scratches.

Microsoft's engineers considered three solutions. The first solution was decreasing the drive's reading speed, but it was refused because it would increase game loading time. The second solution was also dismissed because it interfered with the drive's opening and closing mechanism. The third solution, installing small bumpers, was technically alright, but it was too expensive. It would have cost between $35 million and $75 million, and thus it was refused.

Instead, Microsoft opted to adding the following section the product's manual: "Remove discs before moving the console or tilting it between the horizontal and vertical positions." Another warning was also affixed to the Xbox 360's disc drive later.

Microsoft also initiated an Xbox 360 disc replacement program that sends out new discs to customers if their discs are damaged for any reason. The program only applies to Microsoft titles and costs $20 per disc.

An internal Microsoft email, quoted in court, revealed that Microsoft's employee considered those actions to be insufficient.

Source :

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Scientists develop software that can map dreams

A team of Japanese scientists have created a device that enables the processing and imaging of thoughts and dreams as experienced in the brain to appear on a computer screen.

While researchers have so far only created technology that can reproduce simple images from the brain, the discovery paves the way for the ability to unlock people's dreams and other brain processes.

A spokesman at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories said: "It was the first time in the world that it was possible to visualise what people see directly from the brain activity.

"By applying this technology, it may become possible to record and replay subjective images that people perceive like dreams." The scientists, lead by chief researcher Yukiyaso Kamitani, focused on the image recognition procedures in the retina of the human eye.

It is while looking at an object that the eye's retina is able to recognise an image, which is subsequently converted into electrical signals sent into the brain's visual cortex.

The research investigated how electrical signals are captured and reconstructed into images, according to the study, which will be published in the US journal Neuron.

As part of the experiment, researchers showed testers the six letters of the word "neuron", before using the technology to measure their brain activity and subsequently reconstruct the letters on a computer screen.

Since Sigmund Freud published The Interpretations of Dreams over a century ago, the workings of the sleeping human mind have been the source of extensive analysis by scientists keen to unlock its mysteries.

Dreams were the focus of a scientific survey conducted by the Telegraph last year in which it was concluded that dreams were more likely to be shaped by events of the past week than childhood traumas.

Source :

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Windows 7 build 6956 vs. Windows XP SP3

Several of you have asked me to add data for Windows XP to my Windows 7 vs. Windows Vista benchmark post. Well, you asked for it!

Rather than build this into a large post, I’ll just post the data here. For any background check out the original post.

Bottom line: Windows 7 build 6956 beats Windows XP SP3 in each of the tests.

Source :

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Inventor creates his perfect woman – a robot who can clean and do the accounts

Le Trung, 33, has spent £14,000 creating Aiko, who he describes as "in her 20s" with a 32, 23, 33 figure, shiny hair and delicate features.

She can speak English and Japanese and is so accomplished at mathematics she can do Mr Trung's accounts.

Mr Trung, from Brampton in Ontario, Canada, said he has never had time to find a real partner – so he designed and created his ideal woman using the latest technology.

The former software programmer has taken out credit cards and loans, sold his car and spent his life savings on perfecting his "fem-bot".

Now he is desperate to find a corporate sponsor to help him complete and perfect Aiko.

He said: "Aiko is what happens when science meets beauty.

"I want to make her look, feel and act as human as possible so she can be the perfect companion.

"I talk to her a lot, and hope to improve her knowledge.

"So far she can understand and speak 13,000 different sentences in English and Japanese, so she's already fairly intelligent.

"Aiko recognise faces and says hello when any of my family come around to visit. She helps me pick what to have for dinner and knows what drinks I like.

"She even helps me with directions when we're going somewhere.

"When I need to do my accounts, Aiko does all the maths. She is very patient and never complains.

"She doesn't need holidays, food or rest and she will work almost 24-hours a day. She is the perfect woman."

Mr Trung has designed Aiko with a touch-sensitive face and body so she reacts in a natural way if she is shown affection or hurt.

He said: "She has all senses except for smell."

Source :

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Gmail Enables SMS Messaging From Chat

Only a few days after the launch of its new task manager, Gmail has introduced a new feature allowing users to send free SMS messages through its integrated Chat. To activate the feature, visit the Gmail Labs page and scroll down until you see the appropriate listing (you may also want to activate a few of the other nifty features while you’re at it).

To send a message, just type a phone number into the search box at the top of the chat window on the left side of the Gmail interface, and hit ‘Send SMS’. Numbers can be associated with contact names so you don’t have to keep manually entering them. Recipients of these messages can respond by simply hitting ‘reply’ on their cell phones to send their own SMS message (Gmail ties a unique phone number with each of your contacts).

According to the Gmail blog post, the site is currently testing out the service with US phones only for now (messages can be sent from abroad, they just need to be directed at a US phone).

Gmail first toyed around with the feature in October, but wound up pulling it from Labs for a few weeks because of a number of glitches. This time, it seems like it’s here to stay.

This isn’t by any means the first chat service to offer free SMS messaging - major chat networks like AIM have been doing this for years. But it’s a handy feature, especially for the many people who use Gmail all day long.

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Meta Programming System - a brand new concept of programming

JetBrains is anxious to present to the judgment of the development community its new creation — MPS, the Meta Programming System. Meta Programming System is a brand new concept of programming that we've been working on lately.

Why Meta Programming?

In our professional software development, we have focused on finding ways to help developers work more effectively.

Despite the range of programming languages available today, we are still limited by them. It makes sense to extend the existing languages to create more domain-oriented ones, which allow writing programs on a higher level and in a manner that is more natural to each domain.

With an instrument that allows creating language constructs as simple as creating classes or methods is in a conventional language, you can significantly change the way you develop software.

This new style of programming, when you create specialized languages, use them to develop software, and extend them when and how required, is called Language Oriented Programming (LOP).

MPS Story

Meta Programming System started in 2003 as a research project. In 2004, its underlying concepts were described in the Language Oriented Programming article. In 2005, we opened an Early Access Program for MPS. We've been using MPS since 2006 to develop some of our new products. Over these years, we have accumulated a lot of our own experience and gathered valuable feedback from early adopters, and this turned MPS from a research project into a mature product that we want to present to you now. MPS is now released as Beta, with the 1.0 release planned for early 2009.

How does MPS work? »

MPS is a free product with most of its source code available under Apache 2.0 license. Download MPS.

View the tutorial : Tutorial

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Beijing to become world's largest Wi-Fi city

Beijing is to become the world's largest Wi-Fi city by 2011, according to reports.

Residents of the Chinese capital will have access to free Wi-Fi in both the main city areas and the surrounding districts.

The news was announced at the Wireless City Summit 2008, where Zhang Yu, Deputy Director of Beijing's Information Technology Office, revealed his Wi-Fi plans.

Beijing's central business district was initially equipped for this year's Beijing Olympics, but a poor signal meant that many could not log on.

Free Wi-Fi

The city does currently have a generous amount of free Wi-Fi spots, with one of Beijing's top universities, Tsinghua university, playing host to 500 hotspots.

Pilot schemes in the districts of Xuanwu, Chongwen, Chaoyang, Shijingshan, Daxing and Pinggu are already in place, but this will be extended by 2011 to cover the whole of Beijing.

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Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 for Windows 7

Moving forward with the evolution of the Business Desktop Deployment, Microsoft is now cooking the next iteration of what is at the present the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.

Moreover, according to the Redmond company, the next version of the MDT solution accelerator is almost ready to be made available for download.

Having gone from Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) 2007 to the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2008, the software giant is now readying the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010. According to Microsoft, the solution accelerator will be tailored to the next releases of the Windows client and Server operating systems.

“The latest version of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, MDT 2010, is currently being developed. This new version, which is due to be released shortly after the Windows 7 release, will offer: support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2; deployment Workbench and script architecture improvements; documentation improvements,” revealed a member of the MDT team.

Up to this point in time, the software giant did not indicate in any way the deadline for the delivery of Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010. However, in early December, the company pointed out that MDT 2010 Beta would start being distributed in the coming weeks. For the time being Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 Update 1 is available as a free download, and is designed to support the deployment of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Service Pack 3.

“Please sign up for at the Connect website to be notified as soon as it is available, if you haven’t already done so. To sign up, follow these simple steps: access Microsoft Connect; sign on using any valid Live ID; from the Connection Directory, find the 'Solution Accelerators' connection; apply for the 'Microsoft Deployment Toolkit;' program. Approval is automatic,” the MDT team member added.

Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 4.2 Update 1 - x86
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008 4.2 Update 1 - x64


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Time magazine's Top 10 Video Games of 2008: GTA4, LBP, GoW2, etc.

With 2008 drawing to a close, it's that time of the year when publications roll out their very own "Top of 2008" lists. Their "Top 10 Video Games of 2008" list is online, and these are the winners:

  • Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3, 360, PC)
  • Braid (XBLA)
  • LittleBigPlanet (PS3)
  • Rock Band 2 (PS3, 360)
  • Gears of War 2 (360)
  • Dead Space (PS3, 360, PC)
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PS3, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, mobile)
  • Hunted Forever (Flash)
  • Fieldrunners (iPhone)
  • Spore (PC, Mac, DS)

Of course, Time isn't primarily a video game publication, and some of you may think that that may throw off some of its credentials in creating a list. And to think, this list was generated by Lev Grossman, the same guy who said, back in 2006, that the PS3 was "not worth the hype."
Nevertheless, it's nice to see a PS3-exclusive (LBP) up there though, as well as a 360-exclusive (GoW2) title too. If you remember, GoW also made it to their 2006 Top 10 list.
Other big titles like MGS4, Fable 2, or Brawl aren't though. And speaking of Brawl, there's not a single Wii-exclusive in the list, despite the domination of Wii titles on the charts for the past few months.
And then there are the handhelds. Or the lack in representation thereof. There aren't any titles for the DS or PSP, unless you count Spore's DS spinoff and the multiplatform Force Unleashed. Which doesn't mean the handheld market is barred from the list. Fieldrunners for the iPhone is in it. Uh-oh, are critics' claims proven true?

Source :

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Download Windows 7 Pre-Beta Build 6956 Setup Installation DVD ISO Image (Torrent)

Afraid to tryout Windows 7 build 6956, which rumored and speculated to be the beta version, or at least functional close to the final beta (or beta1) that will be released early 2009, due to cumbersome installation process using the leaked 6956 version VHD image? Now there is no more headache, and the unofficial Windows 7 build 6956 setup installation ISO image, which can be burned to DVD has been composed and created, and released for free download via BitTorrent.

The developers in China has managed to install Windows 7 build 6956, clean the extra user accounts, run the Sysprep utility to generalize, clean and re-initialize the system to factory state, and then uses ImageX to capture and create Windows image (.wim file format) consisting of only Windows 7 build 6956 installation files under WinPE environment. Then, the created install.wim file is used to replace and overwrite the same file in Windows 7 build 6801 installation DVD image (the latest build which has setup DVD image leaks).

Download: Iso Image


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Download ASP.NET MVC XForm

ASP.NET MVC XForms is a simple, strongly-typed, extensible UI framework based on the W3C XForms spec. It provides a base set of form controls that allow updating of any complex model object, even complex nested lists. It uses clean, semantic HTML and a fluent, lamba-based API.

XForms spec: "The group element is used as a container for defining a hierarchy of form controls. Groups can be nested to create complex hierarchies."

This means that Group essentially gives you a "context" to work from. An example could be an address of a person:

<% form.Group(p => p.Address).Template(address => { %>
<%= address.Input(a => a.Address1).Label("Address") %>
<%= address.Input(a => a.Address2).Label("") %>
<%= address.Select1(a => Country, ViewData.Model.Countries, c => c.ID,

c => c.Name) %>
<% }); %>

Which would generate the following HTML:

<div id="Address" class="xf group">
<div class="xf input text">
<label for="Address_Address1">Address</label>
<input id="Address_Address1" type="text" value=""

<div class="xf input text">
<input id="Address_Address2" type="text" value=""

<div class="xf select1">
<label for="Address_Country_ID">Country</label>
<select id="Address_Country_ID" name="Address_Country_ID">
<option value="1" selected="selected">UK</option>
<option value="2">USA</option>
<option value="3">France</option>
<option value="4">Italy</option>

Download :

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AMD LIVE! Explorer

The new AMD LIVE!™ Explorer provides an immersive way of managing and interacting with your entertainment library. Explore your complete digital collections of music, photos, and videos in a single window, in full 3D.

The AMD LIVE! Explorer is available for free with the purchase of a new AMD LIVE! PC. The AMD LIVE! Explorer runs best on the AMD Phenom™ 9000 Series quad–core processor.

Browse your photo and music collections in 3D

Peruse your video library in full-motion 3D

Watch your favorite TV show* while you surf the Web in the unique AMD LIVE! Explorer window

At home, the AMD LIVE!™ brand represents a suite of products, software, and services that offer a simple and secure way to access, manage and share entertainment experiences virtually anytime, anywhere.

Download : AMD LIVE! Eplorer (5.34MB)

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Detours 2.1 is now available

Innovative systems research hinges on the ability to easily instrument and extend existing operating system and application functionality. With access to appropriate source code, it is often trivial to insert new instrumentation or extensions by rebuilding the OS or application. However, in today's world systems researchers seldom have access to all relevant source code.

Detours is a library for instrumenting arbitrary Win32 functions on x86, x64, and IA64 machines. Detours intercepts Win32 functions by re-writing the in-memory code for target functions. The Detours package also contains utilities to attach arbitrary DLLs and data segments (called payloads) to any Win32 binary.

Detours preserves the un-instrumented target function (callable through a trampoline) as a subroutine for use by the instrumentation. Our trampoline design enables a large class of innovative extensions to existing binary software.

We have used Detours to create an automatic distributed partitioning system, to instrument and analyze the DCOM protocol stack, and to create a thunking layer for a COM-based OS API. Detours is used widely within Microsoft and within the industry.

Detours 2.1 includes the following new features:

  • Complete documentation of the Detours API.
  • Transactional model for attaching and detaching detours.
  • Support for updating peer threads when attaching or detaching detours.
  • Unification of dynamic and static detours into a single API.
  • Support for detection of detoured processes.
  • Significant robustness improvements in APIs that start a process with a DLL containing detour functions.
  • New APIs to copy payloads into target processes.
  • Support for 64-bit code on x64 and IA64 processors (available in Professional edition only).
  • Supports building detours with Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio .NET 2003, Visual Studio .NET (VC8), and Visual Studio (VC7).

Download Detours Express 2.1!

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