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The Enchanted Office - Microsoft’s Office 2007 Comic

Enchanted Office

Microsoft has put together an eight-page comic book called “The Enchanted Office“, telling the story of how one princess corporate exec discovered the magical world of Office 2007 and spreads the good word about The Ribbon throughout the magical kingdom.

As weird as that sounds, it’s both hilarious and does a great job advertising Office. Microsoft does a lot of “strange” advertising, but this has got to be one of their more effective attempts. Definitely worth taking a few minutes to read. Plus, we find out the final fate of Clippy!

Funny, but they’ve also done a text-only script version.

And they all lived happily (and productively) ever after.
(via Joe Wilcox)

January 4th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Office, Humor, Applications, General | no comments

Windows Vista Launch Kit

Steve Sinchak got a Windows Vista Launch Kit in the mail, one of just 5,000. Take a look at his Flickr Slideshow:

The kit comes with:

  • Windows Vista Storybook
  • Windows Vista Start Button Mousepad
  • Windows Vista Media DVD
  • Belkin Easy Transfer Cable
  • Windows Live USB Key
  • Microsoft Office Live Trial Card
  • SanDisk Cruzer Micro - 2 GB
  • T-Mobile DayPass
  • Windows Marketplace Info Card
  • Windows Vista Magazine
  • Flight Simulator X

Damn, that’s pretty good! The Easy Transfer cable is pretty useful, and the SanDisk drive can be put to good use for Readyboost. Steve says other Kits may have come with different games.

So, how can I get my hands on one these? Looks like a great keepsake for the launch we’ve all been waiting so long for.

January 4th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | 3 comments

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Copy YouTube and Google Videos in IE

There’s a new useful plugin for Internet Explorer called Zunemytube, which lets you download Google Video and YouTube videos, converts them to WMV format, and deposits them in your My Videos folder for quick syncing to a Zune or other Windows Media compatible device. It’s designed to make Zune life easier, but will work just fine with anything that plays WMV. This is very useful, not just for YouTube (which has no sanctioned method of downloading videos), but also Google Video, which seems oddly convinced that people only watch video on iPods.

Oh, yeah, it’ll work fine for sharing videos to an Xbox 360 (at low quality, natch), if you’ve got Windows Media Connect/WMP11 properly set up.
(via Lifehacker)

January 4th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows Media, Zune, Google, Media Player, Applications, General | 3 comments

Buy Calendar Events and Schedules For Outlook

I found out about this site,, that sells (and gives away, in some cases) calendar schedules for Microsoft Office Outlook. You can buy NHL team schedules for $1.99, or buy the schedule for the entire league for $6.99. Right now, they’re doing a cool thing by giving away importable events of the NFL playoffs for free, making it a click-and-download affair to get this weekend’s games in your schedule (since you know those games are as important an appointment as any meeting with your boss). Besides all sorts of sporting events, they’ve also got sunrise/sunset calendars, holidays and other events, just a .PST file away.

One thing I really wish they’d do: Calendar feeds. I know Outlook 2007 can support such feeds, which would let you pay for a team’s schedule, and then calendar-updates could update the schedule as the season progressed, adding playoff games, moving rescheduled games, and maybe even adding extra information (like projected starters). I’d pay $10 a year for a Mets schedule feed.

Oh, and living in New York, this Sunday is gonna be exciting, and I don’t even like the Giants and Jets! I’ve gotta get the HDTV antenna working before the weekend, because those back-to-back playoff games are all that’s gonna matter come 1 pm Sunday.
(via Jason Langridge)

January 4th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Outlook, Applications, General | 2 comments

Windows Live For TV First Impressions

LiveSide showed off today Windows Live for TV (also known as orbit, previously known as Nemo), an application that lets you browse Windows Live Spaces, have real-time conversations with your Windows Live Messenger buddies, and call landlines with Verizon Web Calling, all using Windows Vista Media Center’s 10-foot interface.

There’s a blog by the Orbit team that includes a bunch of info and screenshots (distributed throughout this post, LiveSide has two cool screenshots as well). The beta waitlist is now open, so get in line and hope you get picked.

Oh, no need for waiting :-). Someone posted the download link in LiveSide’s comments, and here it is:

The download is a mere 600k+, and ran fine for me on Vista RC1. I’m told it won’t run on x64 systems, like the Ferrari laptops Microsoft recently sent out.

Live for TV is built in WPF and requires a version of Windows Vista that has Media Center. That means it won’t run on XP, and it won’t run on Vista Home Basic or Vista Business. While there is a mention in the Orbit blog about it running in IE7 on Vista, it looks like they don’t support it running in those editions.

Orbit is optimized for the Media Center remote, so you don’t need a keyboard, but a keyboard will still be useful if available (like for text chat).

So, first impressions?

The Messenger and Call applications don’t work, leaving you with a “Coming Soon” screen. You can instant message, but it involves finding the person in the Spaces application, and you can call them from there as well.

While Live4TV is graphically really cool, performance is bad. It’s still code-in-progress, so don’t be mad, but it has a ways to go before I would let Bill Gates demo it at CES. Because of the lag, letters are missed while you type, and that can get very annoying. There’s no shift key support in the typing field, so you can’t quickly edit and erase portions.

Besides the performance issues, no complaints about the UI. It looks amazing, the animations are great, and if they get it to work well on a baseline Vista Premium Ready PC, this could be a serious Windows Live killer app.

First impression grade:

UI - A
Performance - D
Overall Grade - C+

I’ve done a screencast showing it off. Come back during the day and I’ll have it here, embedded and ready for everyone to share.

January 4th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows, General | 5 comments