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Windows Live Running Test Site For Spaces Search

Found this website, testmash.com, which the Windows Live folks are using for mockups of future web pages and features. It looks like they were/are working on a very nice search engine for Windows Live Spaces, as well as some popularity features. I’ve found five pages there so far, and here they are (click to enlarge):

1 - Spaces search

The most interesting one is this one, testmash.com/experts.aspx?q=photography, which shows a new Spaces tab in the Windows Live search engine, and features experts in the sidebar that you can send instant messages about the subject you are searching about. It appears that Microsoft is interested in rating experts in certain topics, probably both through their Spaces blog and QnA actions, rating them and placing them in some search results, so that if you want more info on a topic, you can IM the expert instead of wading through search results. Hopefully, Microsoft would pay these experts, or the experts would have means of making something for their service.

2 - advanced search

This next one is an advanced search page. Since you are searching Windows Live Spaces, there are a lot of options, and the advanced search page is more advanced than any I’ve seen. You can search in zones (all of Spaces, home pages, for people, blog entries, photos and lists) and by degrees away from you (all Spaces, just your friends, both, or select friends), searching by display name, first and/or last name, age range, gender, occupation, keyword, interests, location (including by people with 5-15 miles of a location) and date. In the search results, your friends are listed first, followed by all the rest of Spaces.

3 - popular spaces

The next one is a page of popular Spaces, popular people and popular blog entries.

4 - Interests

The next one is a page of interests. It appears to let you choose up to six interests, pick a location, and see on a single page a bunch of people who have each of those interests in your area.

5 - Music videos

Finally, there’s a page of the top 20 videos, all of them from MSN Video (but presumably a final version would use Soapbox.

There’s also a front page mostly with the same content and layout as the current one, just with links to the new pages.

The site is officially owned by Rob Dolin of the Spaces team.

Interesting stuff. If anyone can find more pages, or find out more info why this was created, let me know.

February 7th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows, Spaces, Live | 5 comments

Anthony Cumia Shows You How To Install Vista

I’m a huge fan of the Opie & Anthony radio program on XM Satellite Radio, have been for years, and over the last week, I’ve heard show host Anthony talking about his experiences with Windows Vista. Anthony’s had a lot of trouble, running into unsigned drivers, video card drivers that have worse performance in Vista than in XP, and a constant Blue Screen of Death before every install.

Now, before you think Anthony is some dumb radio jock, understand this: The PC is question is a top of the line brand new system, installed with an impressive four gigabytes of RAM, and Anthony is an experienced PC gamer, meaning he has spent a lot of time upgrading and tweaking computers, so he knows as much as any expert computer user. There’s no reason even a novice shouldn’t be able to install Vista on a computer that shipped with a “Windows Vista Capable” sticker when it was bought.

So, frustrated as all hell, and not needing a refund (he is a millionaire), Anthony did the only logical thing, and in this video, he shows you how he finally installed Windows Vista:

Hilarious!

The video has been watched 1,260,000 times on a variety of sites and been featured on Gizmodo and Microsoft’s own Channel 9. Maybe somebody from Microsoft could take ten minutes to call him (given that millions of people listen to his radio show) and try to figure out the problem?

If you’d like to listen to the show discussion about Vista, I recommend last Tuesday, where before buying Vista, Anthony explains how it is an essential upgrade, and only an idiot would not get it, as well as Wednesday and Friday, where he discusses Microsoft’s awful Indian call center and the hell he went through trying to install it.

February 7th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows, Humor, Vista | 2 comments

Romanian Prez: Piracy Built Our Tech Sector

Bill Gates was in Romania last week, and Romanian President Traian Basescu told him something mighty controversial. With Gates right there at a news conference to celebrate the opening of a Microsoft tech center, Basescu said, “Piracy helped the young generation discover computers. It set off the development of the IT industry in Romania”. Gates said nothing, but at that moment, it was hard not to see both sides of this issue.

While piracy is certainly tantamount to theft for a company like Microsoft, the fact is that when a country is young and poor and inexperienced in IT, piracy may be the only way for them to jump forward into the computer world. If Romania had not been able to pirate Windows, they might not have the IT industry they have today, and might not be able to buy Windows like they do now.

Microsoft can’t endorse piracy outwardly, but that doesn’t mean they don’t understand the benefits of allowing it in some circumstances (and it explains why Microsoft announced yesterday it would not close the Vista upgrade loophole). Piracy helps create a lot of Windows customers down the line, both internationally, and domestically. How many young people in this country became computer enthusiasts on pirated software? Pirating software was a regular event for me when I was younger, and if I hadn’t been able to steal it, I would have done something else.

Microsoft doesn’t always benefit from piracy. Sometimes, the very nature of a country’s economy might make it extremely difficult for citizens to purchase Windows, even though that country has a vibrant and competitive technology sector. I’m talking, of course, of China, where the GDP is $8000 and wages average $160 a month. You can’t expect the typical Chinese person to buy Windows, ever, but you can’t claim the country is destitute and developing like some other nations.

Perhaps the solution is for Microsoft to sell a national license for the duration of Windows Vista to the national government. Microsoft could sell, for the entire product lifetime of Vista (probably 3-5 years), a national license to the government, and the government would distribute the product free, or for a few yuan, as long as the license lasted, until the next version of Windows came out. While the Chinese people can’t afford Windows, the government can spend a few billion of its trillions of dollars to legalize Windows in the country, and an extra billion or so a year would look great in Microsoft’s bottom line.
(via Neowin)

February 7th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows, Vista | no comments

Turn Any Google Gadget Into A Windows Sidebar Gadget

Nice! Someone has written a program that will turn any Google Gadget into a Sidebar Gadget for Windows Vista. The Amnesty Generator (version 0.5b) will take the code for a Google Gadget, or almost any type of web widget, and make it work on Windows Vista. This is exactly the sort of thing I’d hoped someone would do, giving Windows Vista access to the thousands of Google Gadgets without installing a ton of GoogleWare.
(via WinMatrix > Digg)

So, here’s what you need to do:

  • Head to Google’s Gadgets for your Webpage directory
  • Find a Gadget that you like (make sure it renders on the page, otherwise it probably won’t work), configure it, and copy the code to add to your webpage
  • Paste that code into Amnesty Generator’s big text box, press Tab on your keyboard, and Amnesty will auto-fill most of the fields. Fix any as necessary, create a thumbnail if you’d like, and click Generate.
  • Open the Sidebar’s Gadget Gallery by clicking the plus sign at the top of the Sidebar.
  • Find your new Gadget (you did name it, right?) in the Gallery and drag it to the desktop or Sidebar
  • Ta-da! You’re done, baby!

Amnesty Windows Vista Sidebar Gadget

The hilarious thing is that this is designed to bring Google web Gadgets to Windows Vista, but there’s no way to bring Windows Live Gadgets into Vista.

Oh, wait! That’s right, I solved that problem two months ago! Just alter this code with the Windows Live Gadget XML you want and the proportions you need, and you can put Windows Live Gadgets on the Vista Sidebar, too:

< iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="margin:5px 0px 0px 0px;width:150px; height:350px;" allowtransparency="true"
src="http://gadgets.start.com/gadget2.aspx?b=http%3A//shared.live.com/4d8Kgj76eAIxromSOzOn1Q/#view=Custom&host=microsoft.blognewschannel.com&mode=viewer&m=http://download.gallery.start.com/d.dll/1~1~781~6461/gadget.xml&params=%7BshowToolbar%3Afalse%2CthemeGuid%3A'WallClock'%7D" >< /iframe >

Here’s that Gadget, the iPhone Countdown Gadget, running on my desktop:

iPhone Countdown Gadget in Vista

If you get the proportions wrong, don’t sweat it, you can re-generate the Gadget, and as long as it has the same name, it’ll replace the one you made before.

The verdict: I’m seeing some bugs and annoyances, but this is going to be the killer Gadget when it’s done. I can’t wait to see the next version, which should hopefully fix any little problems. A must-have Gadget for the Vista Sidebar connoisseur.

February 7th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows, Google, Vista, Live, Sidebar | one comment

Download Microsoft Consolas Font For Free

Microsoft has put up one of its new Vista/Office 2007 fonts as a free download. Get yourself Consolas, a monospaced font good for text/code editors, from microsoft.com.
(via Digital Media Minute > Found on Findory)

While that’s just one of Microsoft’s high profile fonts, I’ve got a simple way to get all of them in a completely legal way. Just download the free trial of Microsoft Office 2007, which comes with not just Consolas, but Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Constantia, Corbel, Segoe UI and maybe a few other cool fonts you’d like. While your at it, test drive Office 2007 and see if you love it like I do.

By the way, if you were wondering what fonts come with Windows Vista, Michael Kaplan has the whole list. Check it out below (the ones I’ve bolded are the new ones):

February 7th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Applications, Windows, Office, Vista | 2 comments