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250 Free Microsoft Office Templates

Via Lifehacker, dumb little man compiled a list of links to 250 free templates Microsoft offers for Office. Here they are:

December 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Office, Applications, General | no comments

Zune Drops To Fifth Most Popular Media Device

Microsoft’s Zune, which had a mini-smash debut, taking the number two spot in market share in its first week, dropped down to a tie for fifth place, comprising less than 20% as much market share its second week, despite coinciding with Black Friday. In the week ending November 18, the Zune represented 9% of all portable media device sales, a number that fell to 2.1% the following week.

Overall player sales rose dramatically, while Microsoft sold roughly the same number of players in its second week as it did in the first week. Apple’s iPod was nearly overtaken by Sandisk (which retook its #2 spot), edging out Sandisk in market share 39.4% to 39.3%. Following those two were Creative (#3) and Memorex (#4), with Disney tying Microsoft for fifth.

I can see why this happened. On Black Friday, shoppers are looking for bargains, not popular items per se’, and the Zune wasn’t exactly discounted anywhere. Neither was the iPod, which is why Apple almost got beat. My brother accompanied me to Best Buy on Black Friday, and he was shocked that there were no deals on the all-important iPod, or even the supposedly hot Zune. While there was no way we were going to see a price break on a week-old Zune, it is ridiculous that you can’t get an iPod on sale, ever.

That is what happens when you have a monopoly.

By the by, if anyone at NPD Group (who released these numbers) is a reader, I’d love to do deeper coverage of these reports in the future. Hit the contact links on the right.

December 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Zune, Windows Media, Apple, General | 3 comments

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Where Is Windows In The Movies?

From Idigit Design’s list of 50 things that only ever happen in the movies:

9. No-one, but no-one uses Microsoft Windows – everyone uses unique operating systems. All of these computer systems, however mundane, are full of animated graphics and enormous download bars in the middle of the screen

That’s a really good point. Why do you only rarely see Windows in movies? It can’t be Microsoft’s fault, can it? They wouldn’t be so stupid as to charge licensing fees for their image in films, losing a great source of product placement?

No, more likely (I hope) the movie studios want to get some of that Microsoft money, so they won’t use Windows unless MS ponies up for the product placement. Every time they do it, it distracts from the realism of the film, with fake-looking and dated operating systems, filled with UI decisions that make no sense (like giant progress bars, passwords displayed on the screen).

The solution? If Microsoft wants free product placement, it needs to create a small group that provides assets to movie studios, working for free as consultants to films to ensure their computer systems look real. The group could create futuristic versions of Windows for future films, easy-to-work-with mockups of every previous version of Windows for all contemporary films, and advise filmmakers when their decisions will clash with the audiences expectations of an operating system.

I find it ridiculous when I see horribly fake products in movies and on TV. On Veronica Mars, Veronica may use a Mac (Apple is really good about getting their products out there, as is Dell), but the search engine she prominently uses is “Planet Zowie”. Really? This girl is supposed to be incredibly smart, but she uses Planet Zowie, and not any one of the major search engines? I hope she knows what she’s doing…

Read and enjoy the rest of the top movie cliches, and visit for a complete listing of every movie cliche out there.

December 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor, Windows, General | 4 comments

Microsoft Makes Windows XP “Virtually” Free

Microsoft has done a really cool thing, and made a legal, activated copy of a Windows XP SP2 Virtual PC image available as a free download. The purpose: to give you the means you can launch a virtualized environment of Internet Explorer 6 without spending a dime (not only is the image free, but the Virtual PC software hass been free for a while).

This is a great boon for website developers, who can do their work on just one PC (so long as they don’t care about Safari) but will also be useful to users for many reasons. If you have software you absolutely have to run, but can’t install under Vista, just load up the image and go. The image expires on April 1, 2007, but they plan to release more of these, including with other software configurations, if the program is well-received.

This is a smart move by Microsoft, which is competing with VMWare in the virtualization space. Giving every single web developer a compelling and free reason to install VPC 2004 or 2007 does a lot towards growing your share of the market. Of course, I’ve heard there are VPC > VMWare importers that may allow the competition to run this image, so we’ll see how well that works. Also, the real question on everyone’s mind: Will it run on the Mac OS X version of Virtual PC? And will the free VPC image make Boot Camp a collosal waste of money and time?
(via Neowin)

December 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | XP, Developers, Internet Explorer, Windows, Applications, General | 2 comments

Get The Halo 3 Trailer 2

As promised, Bungie has released the second teaser trailer for Halo 3. Called “Starry Night”, the trailer doesn’t give much info, save to show some kids chatting meaninglessly, plus some sort of grenade shield, but anyone eagerly anticipating Halo 3 should be glad they got at least a tiny handout while they desperately wait for the game.

Here it is on YouTube:

You can also watch higher quality versions at or GameTrailers, or download it on the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Signups are still open for the Halo 3 multiplayer beta. You need an Xbox 360 with a hard drive and an Xbox Live Gold account to be eligible.

December 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Halo, Halo 3, Xbox Live, Xbox 360, Xbox, General | one comment

Windows Live Launches Powerful Mobile Application

The Windows Live folks have released a really cool application for mobile phones, one that makes it easier to check out maps and find driving directions and traffic conditions. The application is available by pointing your mobile browser at, and comes in two version: one for J2ME platforms, and one for Windows Mobile devices.

While you can get maps and directions by going to on most mobile devices, this dedicated application allows for speed and a much richer experience. The maps come in both road and hybrid aerial view, giving the satellite photos that are so popular these days in web maps, and are draggable just by putting your stylus on the touch screen.

Gizmodo has a comparison between this app and Google Maps’ app, and it looks like in their view, the two just don’t compare. Google’s is J2ME only, and a pretty buggy and unstable version at that, with a painful user experience. Windows Live’s maps are smoother, scroll faster, and zoom better, while Google’s were sluggish.

They’ve also released an updated version of their web search for mobiles, at It allows searching the web, local search, maps, news, and Windows Live Spaces, even seeing the top result in each category on one screen. You can test drive the new features and the SMS search feature by going to

LiveSide reports that they’ve also released a browser-based version of Windows Live Messenger for mobile phones, available at (and eventually on the mobile portal). It’s simple and text based, so it should work in any mobile browser, and lets you do IM easier than almost every mobile AOL Instant Messenger I’ve tried. You can run it in your regular web browser, so give it a shot.

December 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Local, Windows Mobile, Live, Windows, Search, General | 6 comments