A reader has reminded me of
which is Microsoft's gift from the future. It will be a standard part of the next Windows operating system, Windows Vista, formerly known as Longhorn. So I installed it.
The installation of WMP11 is a moderately non-trivial event because the program can only be uninstalled by System Restore. But I assure you that you won't need it. Everything works, everything is smooth, and all bad reviews are invented by anti-capitalist Microsoft haters and should be ignored.
The design of WMP11 is simple and beautiful. When you play a video, the space is used efficiently even outside the fullscreen mode. The way how the songs, albums, and videos are viewed resembles Google Picasa2. In fact, your picture galleries may be viewed, too. Moreover, you may have been annoyed by a small bug of the Windows Explorer: the thumbnails of videos often showed a black rectangle only because it was the first image in the video. That no longer happens inside WMP11: a more intelligent picture from the bulk of the video is chosen instead.
The installation is straightforward and the settings from WMP10 may be kept.
WMP11 is available for all Windows XP Service Pack 2 editions. That includes Windows XP SCBUEB edition, both in the Professional and Home Edition varieties. If you don't know, Windows XP SCBUEB edition is the edition semi-castrated by the upgefuc*ked Eurobureaucrats. Instead of the proper full name, it must be called "Windows XP Professional/Home Edition N" on the territory of the EU in order to indicate that it is as good as the full Windows XP. It does not include any media player at all but the price is the same. ;-) A typical invention of smart eurobrains.
Every continent contributes something to the humankind, according to its innate aptitudes. America gives the world WMP11 - and URGE, a new online music purchase system that won't make Steve Jobs terribly happy - while my old Europe gives the world Windows XP SCBUEB edition. ;-) At least, the eurobrains are not powerful enough to prevent the SCBUEB users from downloading WMP11.
If you have not seen Microsoft's maps for some time, you should look at