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Mitch Irsfeld

TechNet Flash, Volume 13, Issue 19 - August 24, 2011
TechNet Flash Editor's Note from Mitch Irsfeld

The Semi-Irregular Summer Cool Things Roundup

It's been a while since I revisited my summer "Cool Things" roundup. A few little things kept getting in the way, like new operating systems and this thing called The Cloud. But with the vacation season in full slackitude, I have a short window, so here goes:

No Place Like Home
Microsoft's showcase Home of the Future has had some interesting remodels since its inception in 1994. The Home of the Future is actually a full-scale, futuristic home, located in the Microsoft's Executive Briefing Center. Watch the video, see how Grace, the Home's computer, can suggest dishes and recipes based on the ingredients and tools placed on the kitchen counter.

Then get some hints regarding how Microsoft plans to expand consumer entertainment options with The Future of the Living Room. Play the video and see how the integration of products and services like Xbox, Kinect, and Bing work together to get the technology out of your way and connect you to the content and the experience you want.

Speaking of Xbox and Kinect, try the little-discussed but surprisingly robust videoconferencing capability called Video Kinect. Sit the entire family on the couch and instantly chat with similarly "Kinected" users.

I've said it before, but no tech-hungry home is complete without Windows Home Server, and now with Windows Home Server 2011, you have more backup options, remote access to your files and PCs, and Silverlight Remote Streaming. You can even stream music and video to Windows Phone 7, using the Windows Server Solutions Phone Connector for Windows Home Server 2011.

Prevent "Reply All" to Your Messages
OK, here's one that you may not have to use too often, but you'll be glad to have it when you need it. Microsoft Research is offering the NoReplyAll Outlook Add-in as a free download. It adds a couple buttons to the Outlook ribbon and uses a facility built into Outlook and Exchange to prevent people from replying to all recipients of your message or forwarding it.

Communicate in Style
Are you using Microsoft Lync for unified voice, IM, video and web conferencing? Even if you're not, you'll enjoy the new LifeChat headsets. The LifeChat LX-4000 for Business and LifeChat LX-6000 for Business are optimized for Lync, with ultra-wideband digital audio providing acoustically accurate sound, and the noise-canceling microphone that lets you be heard in noisy workspaces. The LX-6000 gives it to you in stereo.

If you haven't seen Microsoft's webcams in a while, get a load of the LifeCam line of HD cameras. My favorite is the sweet LifeCam Studio with 1080p HD sensor, precision glass lens, and TrueColor technology.

Check Out Those Curves
If style is important, it's hard to beat the innovative elegance of the new Arc Touch Mouse. It's the perfect fit for your hand and can be flattened to pack. The BlueTrack technology works on virtually any surface and allows you roam 30 feet away with reliable wireless control. Similarly, the new Arc Keyboard offers a sleek design in a foot-long, inch-thick package.

Thanks for reading,

Mitch Irsfeld
Editor, TechNet Flash

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