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A Big Week of Announcements 

Posted By:  Joey Snow 
Publish Date: 2/27/2009

It’s been a busy week around here loaded with all sorts of new announcements.  I’ve decided to put of this post to make sure everyone has the latest.

Item 1: On Wednesday we announced the availability of the Release Candidate (RC) version of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 for our MSDN and TechNet subscribers.  Not a subscriber?  You will have your chance at testing the RC sometime next week.  I’m sure you all are curious about the changes in SP2 and what it means to you.

Both Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP2 include an updated version of Windows Search 4.0 previously available via a separate download.  We also have introduced improved power management that is manageable via Group Policy.  Those of you with those great Blu-Ray DVD burners can take advantage of the ability to natively record data onto those Blu-Ray disks.

For Windows Vista users you get integrated Vista Feature Pack for Wireless that includes support for Bluetooth 2.1 and Windows Connect Now (WCN) updates as well as improved performance with Wi-fi connections after you resume your computer from sleep.

On the Windows Server Side of SP2 we have integrated the RTM version of Hyper-V into Windows Server 2008 including one free daughter OS with Windows Server 2008 Standard, four free licenses with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise and an unlimited number of licenses with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter edition.

For more information on SP2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, take a look the Notable Changes document on TechNet.

Item 2: A new initiative, Elevate America, was announced Monday.  This program is designed to provide up to 2 million people over the next three years with the technology training needed to succeed in the new economy.  The Elevate America website has launched to help individuals understand what types of technical skills they need for the jobs and opportunities for tomorrow as well as the providing the resources to help acquire these skills.

Item 3: Some of you may have missed Volker’s post highlighting that yesterday the SQL team released the Customer Technology Preview (CTP) for Service Pack 1 of SQL Server 2008. The CTP addresses feedback received from many of you who have deployed SQL Server 2008 since our release back in August 2008.  For more details check out the team blog of the Microsoft SQL Server Release Services team.

Item 4: Finally this week, an announcment from the Web side of the house.  Beta availability of of Smooth Streaming for IIS 7 is now available.  This technology adapts the bit rate of video content throughout playback to provide an media experience that starts up instantly, seeks instantly, and delivers the best quality that network and CPU conditions allow for.  Get it here for x86, x64, or using the Web Platform Installer and for more information Check out the extension page, the initial post, or Smooth HD.