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Microsoft Meets “Tommy Boy”

Fat guy in a little coat…

Tommy Boy, the story of Chris Farley becoming hard-working salesman (or something) was one of the movie highlights of the 90s, as I remember it, which makes this Microsoft video parody of it so hilarious:

“Brian Boy”

Starring Brian Valentine, Senior VP of Windows Core Operating System Division at Microsoft and Paul Santeler, VP of Enterprise Servers at Compaq, with a special appearance by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Also fun: This recent cartoon of Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs, aired on Current TV:

More videos at Todd Bishop’s blog.

On a less humorous, but very interesting note, check out this video of a Microsoft demonstration of an interactive presentation interface, based on touch screens and gestures:

(via Long)

March 23rd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor | no comments

Microsoft Support Apologizing For Embarrassing Spell Checker

Ed Bott found a strange Knowledge Base article on explaining why Word 2003’s spell checker doesn’t recognize certain words, including Friendster and Obama. The article says that Office 2007 does recognize them, but why is it necessary for Microsoft to explain why these words aren’t recognized, when plenty others aren’t? A commenter figured out it is because the corrections Word suggests might be misconstrued:

  • Friendster becomes Fraudster
  • Klum becomes Klux
  • Nazr becomes Nazi
  • Racicot becomes Racist
  • Obama becomes Osama

Covering all their bases, are they?

Something else strange: Read at Boing Boing about the house built in the middle of Microsoft’s Redmond campus.

March 23rd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Word, Humor, Applications | no comments

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Cute Kittie Captcha

Microsoft Research has developed Asirra, a CAPTCHA system that uses something far more reliable than scrambled letters: Pets! The system presents the user with twelve random photos of cats and dogs pulled from’s database and asks the user to click on the cats, and only the cats. The idea is that only a human, but not a bot, could successfully identify the cats.

It’s a great idea, and easier to understand than some CAPTCHAs (some of which are just awful), but it suffers from a simple problem: You can’t always tell if a cat is not a dog. Some cats, particularly dark ones, are hard to distinguish from dogs, and I even found one photo that had a cat sitting next to a dog! Still, even though I failed twice and my wife failed once, it seems almost impossible that a computer would ever pass it, except through random chance.

You can use Asirra on your website, and Microsoft gives the full instructions. And if you were wondering, Asirra stands for:

Animal Species Image Recognition for Restricting Access

(via the Virtual Earth blog)

March 23rd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor | 4 comments