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New Universal Video Gadget And Other Gadgets

Microsoft has done some more Gadgets for Windows Live Spaces (and anyone who knows how to hack the embed code).

The first Gadget is for embedding videos in you Live Space. While you can already embed such videos, this Gadget lets you place them in the Sidebar or anywhere you can place a Gadget. Plus, it works on Live.com, so you can use it to put a video anywhere on your Live.com homepage. It works with basically any embed code (MSN Soapbox, YouTube, Google Video, IFilm, Yahoo Video), so you have a lot of flexibility.

Next up is a Flickr Gadget which lets you input a Flickr RSS feed or a set of keywords to see a Flickr slideshow. I can’t figure out how to use this one in a blog, since it requires configuration (and as yet, the embed hack doesn’t allow for that).

Finally, they’ve released an improved HTML sandbox Gadget, the one that lets you insert raw HTML (and usually works real well). Since lots of other platforms have ways of embedding their Gadgets externally, you can use this Gadget to put, say, a Google Gadget on your Microsoft blog page. Good deal.

Also, the Soapbox guys have launched Messenger integration. You can now click a “Share” tab under a Soapbox video to IM the video, and it will launch a special activity video in Messenger where you watch an enlarged video, which chatting at the same time.

ALSO, you can now send instant messages to Santa by adding “northpole@live.com” to you Windows Live Messenger contact list. I’m guessing its a bot, but feel free to use it to make your kids happy the day before Christmas. On the other hand, don’t, because Santa might promise some gifts “he” can’t afford.
(this one via Download Squad)

December 21st, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Soapbox, Messenger, Spaces, MSN, Windows, General | no comments



Microsofties Digging Out of Horrible Weather

Seattle was hit bad by violent winds and power outages over the weekend, and Microsoft’s employees blogged their experiences (in many cases only after days of waiting for the power to return). Todd Bishop has a rundown.

Channel 9/10 chief Jeff Sandquist lost power and phones, had no heat, saw a mile-long line at the only gas station with power, and brought his family into work (as did many Microsoft employees). The power eventually returned, after 3-4 days of downtime.

Xbox blogger Major Nelson had no power for four days, as well as heat, cell phone coverage, or internet, and had to update his readers from a Starbucks (which, as we all know, will survive even a nuclear holocaust). He saw power lines in the street, and a skylight in his house blew clear off.

Microsoft Embedded (Windows CE/XP Embedded) blogger Mike Hall has pictures of a power pole that snapped and is just hanging in mid-air and lost power for five days. Luckily, he had a smart phone (and service!) for keeping in touch with the outside world, and an in-car USB charger seems to have been a real-lifesaver.

Keith Combs was proud to say that Microsoft’s servers never went down, no matter how bad things got. Services using Microsoft email, web, database and portal services all running with thousands of servers kept up despite the weather and power problems.

A tree knocked down part of Richard Sprague’s fence, and he says the neighborhood was “littered with downed trees”.

Alex Barnett wrote a particularly chilling post last Thursday about the winds swirling, the power flickering in and out, and general scariness. Thankfully, he updated on Saturday after about 24 hours without power, and he reports that he got to spend quality time with his new cat.

The Slam team (ironic, right?) posted pictures of some of the carnage, with multiple cars and boats smashed into pieces.

Heather Hamilton has a whole bunch of posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), with lots of detail on what she had to go through. For one, thing, she only got power back yesterday! Looks like she spent three days living in the office, using Microsoft showers and a mini-fridge for basic necessities.

Dave Morehouse wrote of a bizarre accident he saw outside his window, and a tree that blocked the entryway to his office.

What a crazy week. Hear any other stories?

December 21st, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Corporate, General | no comments