Five new Microsoft downloads available this week

Here's a quick round-up of some of the new test releases and final versions of various Microsoft wares rolled out in the past week.

A quick round-up of some of the new test releases and final versions of various Microsoft wares rolled out in the past week:

Windows Live ID software development kit. Windows Live ID is Microsoft's single sign-on authentication technology of which Microsoft Passport is a subset. On August 16, Microsoft released version 1.0 of two SDKs, allowing users to move between Windows Live services without having to log-in multiple times, and to do the same among third-party Web sites that rely on the Windows Live ID technology. The SDK runs not only on Windows, but also on Linux, believe it or not.

Expression Blend 2 August Preview. Microsoft posted for download on August 14 a new test release of the next version of Microsoft's Blend user-interface design tool. The tool fixes issues that some developers dabbling with test versions of Visual Studio 2008 have encountered when trying to build early versions of Silverlight apps.

Office 2007 Service Pack (SP) 1 Beta 1. Microsoft made the first test build of Office 2007 SP1 available to Technology Adoption Program (TAP) participants only. Microsoft declined to discuss plans for the final SP1 ship date or feature set. (One anonymous poster on this blog provided what s/he said was a list of what's included.) Word is the private test build has leaked and is being downloaded illicitly, so I'm expecting we'll hear more sometime soon.

Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Tool 2.1. Another new release of this tool (following by just a few weeks the 2.0 version, announced in early July) includes a number of additional features, including SNMP discovery and IP range scanning. This tool is designed to help companies assess whether their systems are ready to upgrade to Vista and Office 2007. PerformancePoint Community Technology Preview (CTP) 4: As the Microsoft bloggers promised, the company did deliver this week a new test build of Microsoft's forthcoming scorecarding server.

Ooops. Make that seven new downloads. Here are a couple more:

Final version of Office Outlook Connector: On August 14, Microsoft made available for download the final release of the free connector enabling access to Windows Live Hotmail or Office Live Mail from inside Outlook 2003 or 2007. (Microsoft made a beta of this connector available in June.)

Microsoft Update Catalog Version 1.0: The catalog allows users to search for updates available via Microsoft Update and download them. Users also can import updates fromt he catalog into WSUS 3.0, System Center essentials 2007 or System Center Configuration Manager 2007.