Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Windows 7 Theme for Windows XP

If you cannot wait anymore until the release of Windows 7 the Windows 7 theme for Windows XP might ease the pain of waiting another year or so until the new operating system is released to the public. The theme can be installed on any Windows XP version that has a patched uxtheme.dll file. If you do not know how to check or do that read the following article about uxtheme.dll that explains how to patch the file in Windows XP Service Pack 3.

Once the file is patched you can load user made themes and not only the official Microsoft themes. The Windows 7 theme was created by Deviant Art user deskmundo who has created some other excellent themes. The theme is based on the Milestone 1 release of Windows 7 and not on the version that was used for presentation at the D6 conference.

windows 7

I guess that the theme will be updated by Deskmundo soon to reflect the visible changes of the presentation version, for example a change of the start menu button.

Microsoft to kill Encarta later this year

Microsoft has announced that it is discontinuing its Encarta line of products. The software products will be gone by June 2009 and the website will go down October 31, 2009.

When I first saw this, I had to do a double take. I made sure it wasn't April 1 at least three times before I conceded. While looking around Encarta's homepage today, I stumbled on a message that Microsoft was getting rid of MSN Encarta completely: "On October 31, 2009, MSN Encarta Web sites worldwide will be discontinued, with the exception of Encarta Japan, which will be discontinued on December 31, 2009. Additionally, Microsoft will cease to sell Microsoft Student and Encarta Premium software products worldwide by June 2009." Looks like employees at Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica will be throwing parties tonight.

This is all on the FAQ page because Microsoft wants to clarify why it is doing this. The software giant says that the "category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed" and that "people today seek and consume information in considerably different ways." It doesn't go into more detail, e.g., lack of sales or Wikipedia's tremendous growth. The company, however, does mention that it will "develop future technology solutions" but doesn't say anything beyond that. For those users with Encarta on MSN Explorer, the October 31 kill date still applies.



Foobar2000 is an advanced audio player for the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include ReplayGain support, low memory footprint and native support for several popular audio formats.

Main Features:
- Open component architecture allowing third-party developers to extend functionality of the player
- Audio formats supported "out-of-the-box": WAV, AIFF, VOC, AU, SND, Ogg Vorbis, MPC, MP2, MP3
- Audio formats supported through official addons: MPEG-4 AAC, FLAC, OggFLAC, Monkey's Audio, WavPack, Speex, CDDA, TFMX, SPC, various MOD types; extraction on-the-fly from RAR, 7-ZIP & ZIP archives
- Full Unicode support on Windows NT
- ReplayGain support
- Low memory footprint, efficient handling of really large playlists
- Advanced file info processing capabilities (generic file info box and masstagger)
- Highly customizable playlist display
- Customizable keyboard shortcuts
- Most of standard components are opensourced under BSD license.