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CBS To Distribute Content On MSN, Others

CBS has announced it will be distributing free and paid video content with a variety of partners, including MSN, Joost, and AOL, like it currently does on Google’s YouTube and iTunes. Some of the content will be ad-supported, others will be the sales of TV episodes.

From the article on PC World:

Some of the content will be free to consumers and supported by advertising, although premium fee services, such as the purchase of episodes from iTunes Music Store, will remain in place. The expanded initiative, called the CBS Interactive Audience Network, was announced Thursday.

Users will be able to view new episodes and reruns of shows including “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”; “CSI: Miami”; “CSI: NY”; the Showtime series “Fat Actress,” starring Kirstie Alley; and CBS and Showtime sporting events, the online video site Joost said in a separate statement. CBS did not specify whether the shows will be available for download or streaming.

The other distributors named in the agreement are CNet Networks Inc., Comcast Corp., Bebo Inc., Brightcove Inc., Netvibes, Sling Media Inc. and Veoh Networks Inc. Akamai Technologies Inc. will provide the content delivery system, CBS said.

There are no specifics on the MSN side of the deal, whether it will be for clips on MSN Soapbox or MSN Video, or sales of episodes, or even ad-supported free full episodes.
(via Digg)

April 17th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Soapbox, MSN | no comments

Microsoft Fine-Tuning Branding

Microsoft is making several subtle and smart moves to improve its inconsistent and unimaginative branding schemes:

Mary Jo Foley talks about Windows Live branding, which is being pushed to be more consistent and make more sense. Major Windows Live sites are being rebranded as just “Live”, as in “Live Search”, “Live QnA” and “Live Maps”, while other services are being moved to MSN or being unofficially shuttered altogether. Windows Live Academic Search, Book Search and Search Translation are no longer being listed as seperate services, and it might be wise for them to consolidate more services in order to keep things in the realm of sanity.

Microsoft renamed WPF/E to Silverlight. Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere was an enormously wonderful system from Microsoft that allows the use of WPF graphics in web browsers, even Firefox and on Macs, bringing some amazing visuals to web apps, but it had a really crappy name. Now, it’s called Silverlight, and if you don’t think names are important, witness the attention Silverlight is getting on TechMeme. Yeah, now it’s important, whereas no one was paying attention to WPF/E.

Oh, and Microsoft MVP David Silverlight says it was named after him. :-)

Remember Windows Live Barcode? Well, looks like Microsoft realized that it didn’t make sense as a Live service, taken it down, and made the service more interesting. The newly planned barcode, called a High Capacity Color Bar Code, will be in color, four or eight different hues to store significantly more data, and uses neat triangle shapes within the code to look much less jarring than the average bar code. It is designed for high quality printing (DVDs initially, followed by TV and display advertising) and to be read by consumers with camera phones or web cams, not shipping labels.

Finally, a long-standing Windows Live Beta is nearing final release. Windows Live Hotmail (nee’ Mail) is dropping the beta tag next month (and has already done so in Belgium and India). Other countries are getting it first, due to that being easier (smaller userbases), but expect U.S. users to get the final release (which is indistinguishable from release M10) in the first or second week of May.

April 17th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Maps, Live, Hotmail, Windows, Search | no comments

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Good Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets, Issue 7

Oh, it never ends, the barrage of Sidebar Gadgets! Here’s a whole bunch more reviewed and quality-assured for your protections.

Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets Issue 7Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets Issue 7 Hosted on Zooomr

The Siemens Sports Gadget lets you pick a sport (baseball, basketball, hockey, college basketball and soccer) and get a scoreboard of sports scores. The rare Gadget that doesn’t get stupidly gigantic when undocked. One of the best sports Gadgets yet.

The Firefox Clock Gadget is a clock in the shape of the familiar Firefox logo. You can even choose from six logo designs, name multiple clocks and choose time zones. More options than you’d expect for a novelty Gadget, which makes it actually useful.

The Major Nelson Podcast Gadget shows you the latest podcasts from XBox’s Major Nelson. Click a podcast, and it’ll launch in a flyout player within the Gadget, letting you listen to the podcast from the Gadget. One bug: If you click away from the Gadget, it stops playing, but you could launch the podcast externally if you need to.

The Twitter What’s Up Gadget (the speech balloon pictured above) shows you what random people are saying on Twitter. I wish I could set it to show just my friends, since the Twadget I use is not so great.

Speaking of Twadget (the big blue Gadget in the screenshot), it has been updated recently. It’s better, but it’s still too damn big. Still, I can’t live without it. It lets you log in to your Twitter account, post to it, and see what your friends are saying.

The A.I. Engine Gadget is a pretty cool idea. You ask it questions, and other users give answers, creating a database of answers, and giving the system the ability to answer any question. 19,376 questions have already been answered, and you can answer questions from the Gadget, or just view other people’s questions and answers.

The Live Messenger Gadget from Frans_bukviel is very compact, just showing your status. Double-click it and you’ll see your Windows Live Messenger buddy list, and double-click one of them to chat. Pretty nice.

The Triple Play Video Poker Gadget lets you play ten types of video poker, right from the Gadget. It’s freakin huge when undocked. Great game to play from a Gadget.

The TechEd 2007 Countdown Gadget counts the days to this year’s TechEd conference, June 4-8 in Orlando.

The DESlock + Encryption Gadget is pretty cool, doing my favorite thing for Gadgets: Completely replacing a regular utility application. Drag files onto the Gadget to protect them with 256-bit encryption. You can also encrypt folders or the Windows Clipboard. It’s a mini version of the full DESlock + product, so a great way to advertise software, and a real useful addition to many sidebars.

The Google Flyout Search Gadget is another search Gadget, and, like the better search Gadgets, search results appear in a flyout window. I wish there were a way to keep browsing in the flyout, not opening all links in a new browser.

The Universal Converter Gadget lets you convert time, temperature, speed, area and length (but not weight or currency) right in the Gadget. I think. It’s kind of confusing.

The Sidebar Clock Update Gadget is a lot like the default clock that comes with Vista, but with 12 new designs, most inspired by the Vista Start orb.

The iTunes Top 100 Gadget shows a bunch of iTunes top lists, and contains one cool Mac-like mouseover effect.

VistaShout is the gem of this edition. This Gadget creates a chat room with other users of the Gadget, letting you chat with Windows Vista users around the world. The more people that run the Gadget, the more useful it becomes. It’s got several useful features, lets you know when it needs to be updated, and can even run in your browser if you don’t have Vista. I’m really impressed with this one, and I can’t wait to see it after a bunch of people are using it.

The XMRadio Online Gadget lets subscribers to XM Radio Online listen to all of XM Satellite Radio from their Sidebars. Well, it isn’t properly sized for the Sidebar itself, but should be fine on the desktop.

And finally, the Elections Présidentielles 2007 Gadget lets you keep abreast of news about the presidential election in France, I think, in French.

Also, in Windows Live Writer Gadgets, there’s a new Gadget for Writer that adds a “Digg This” button to your posts.

Issue 1
Issue 2
Issue 3
Issue 4
Issue 5
Issue 6

April 17th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Sidebar, Vista, Windows | 2 comments