part of the Blog News Channel

Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston In Awful Windows 95 Video

Back when Friends was just getting started and becoming a hit, Microsoft apparently hired Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston to do a introductory video for Windows 95. It’s cheesy, the jokes are so bad they’re funny, the music is stolen from Seinfeld, and the camera is always sideways for no particular reason. In other words, you absolutely must watch it.

Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

Part four:

This came via Gizmodo, which claims this is the worst Windows video ever:

I’m inclined to agree.

April 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor, Windows | no comments

Live Spaces’ New Mobile Interface

The recent update to Windows Live Spaces contained a new interface for mobile devices, designed to make it easy to see what is going on among your friends while on the go. The Space Craft blog has these screenshots:

Recent updates:

Recent comments:

Navigating a Space:

View info on your friends:

Friend requests:

More friend stuff:

Microsoft is determined to make Spaces a really good blogging service for mainstream users, as well as a serious competitor to MySpace and Facebook, and thus far it is succeeding (based on how many people are using it). It may not be as good as those service sare within their respective spheres, but for more mainstream users, Spaces might be the best service available.

Oh, and Spaces blogs still won’t render right in Opera. Anyone fixing this?

April 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Spaces, Windows | no comments

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy

Gears Of War Movie Treatment Leaked

A 22-page treatment (story to be turned into a screenplay) for the Gears of War movie has leaked to the internet. If you don’t care about spoilers, you can read a look at it at I’m printing a paragraph of it here, and don’t worry, it doesn’t contain any real spoilers, except the shocker that things blow up and people die.

Several choppers go down in flames. Marcus keeps his eyes and his squad on the target. The Ravens touch down and the gears pile out into an insane hail of rocket and gunfire. Most Ravens never even back it back up. This is madness. Bodies are ripped apart. Wounded soldiers scream for their mothers. A grenade annihilates an embedded media crew. Nobody knows where he or she’s supposed to be.

Compelling stuff.


Sarcasm or opinion? You decide.
(via Kotaku)

April 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Gears of War, Xbox 360, Xbox | no comments

New Windows Experience Blog

Brandon LeBlanc, who we’ve seen at MSTechToday, Sidebar Geek, and a bunch of other websites, has found a new (and hopefully permanent) blogging home at Microsoft’s official Windows Vista blog site. Brandon is now working for MS as a vendor blogging about the great experiences you can have with Windows Vista at the new Windows Experience blog.

Brandon’s MSTechToday site suffered massive server failure, and while he’s been blogging at Live Spaces these days, I can’t wait to see what he does at the official blog. Enjoy the new gig!
(via Robert McLaws)

April 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, Blogs, General | no comments

Stats On How The Tech Industry Donates More To Democrats

Robert McLaws has done a great post looking at donations made by employees at major tech companies to the campaigns of 2008 presidential candidates. Not surprisingly, donations to Democrats outnumbered those given to Republicans by about six to one. Microsoftites gave the most, and gave more to Republicans than any other company ($10,950 for the GOP, vs. $30,088 for Dems), but Apple and Adobe were the only companies to give equally to both parties (albeit considerably less money).

I’ve done a post the last two major elections looking at how Google employees donate to campaigns, and the results have always been left leaning. Check out the numbers for the recent midterms, as well as the 2004 Presidential race. I really hope Robert updates his numbers for the 2008 election, because contributions are going to increase drastically as we get closer, and a lot of money is going to be thrown around. If he doesn’t, I probably will.

Todd Bishop has a similar article, breaking down donations by eight companies and eleven candidates.

April 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Corporate, General | one comment

Ray Ozzie Mix 07 Keynote

Ray Ozzie is giving the keynote at Mix 07 in fifteen minutes. You can watch it live at these streams:

I’ll be watching. I won’t be liveblogging, but I will write down some notes here, so you’ll know if there are any bombshells.

By the way, if you need some simple, pretty cool music to listen to, tune in now. The waiting music is really exciting. Maybe Ozzie really is bringing the cool to Microsoft?
(via Long)

UPDATE 12:41: Ozzie basically just called AJAX yesterday’s news. He said that any company that has tried to hard to go all the way to a new platform has failed, referring to Sun before, and Google now. Damn, he’s fighting. Good for him!

UPDATE 1:01: Ozzie talked about how Microsoft is a platform company, creating great platforms for developers to create great applications. He showed off some cool examples, especially Silverlight (which Scott Guthrie is talking now). Silverlight now includes a cross-platform version of the .Net Framework (which is amazing, if you think about it. Microsoft is going to let you run Silverlight stuff on their backend in your sites, and showed it running on Wikipedia. That’s enormously cool.

He showed a lot of Photosynth, showing how it is being built into Silverlight and lets you zoom right into images, like a Google Map, getting amazing quality at amazing speeds, with little downloading initially. He showed it being used in an advertisement on, giving you an idea of how they plan on attacking Google with amazing visual advertising. Scott showed off some of the amazing things Silverlight will be able to do with web video, streaming HD video.

Oh, and Expression Studio launched today.

This is one of the better keynotes I’ve ever seen from Microsoft. Ozzie is clearly a developer guy, and he’s reaching the audience better than Gates ever did. If this is the future of Microsoft, then the future is amazingly bright.

They’ve got Netflix guys onstage now.

UPDATE 1:12: Killer keynote moment: They showed off this amazing, Silverlight-based Netflix player, and then, when asked how long it took to build, the answer was three weeks. That’s amazing. And it runs in Firefox, and on a Mac, and uses Ajax, and has instant messaging, and DVD-like chapter features, and copy protection, and Netflix website features, and collaborative viewing (watch a movie with a friend, over the internet) and DVD info. Un-freakin-believable.

UPDATE 1:19: They’re talking Expression now, how it lets designers and programmers work at the same time, effectively.

Ozzie mentioned earlier API stuff they’re doing. CNet said last week that there would be a lot of API stuff announced at Mix, and that seems to be happening. They said we’d see:

The company will allow outside developers–which can be at commercial enterprises–to build mash-up applications that generate up to one million unique user visits at their sites per month for free. Beyond that, Microsoft will charge 25 cents per user per year or look to establish a business relationship where it can deliver online ads to those sites, company executives said.

In addition, Microsoft will provide APIs to photos or contact information for its Windows Live Spaces users if they give permission. Windows Live Spaces is Microsoft’s social networking site where people can post blogs, share photos and other information.

A criticism of other companies (like Google) and their APIs is that those APIs are not meant to be used for commercial uses, and are usually limited to a number of uses. They keep talking commercial APIs, with paying for more uses, but nobody ever gets it done. If Microsoft does, as they say they are now, developers will be very happy.

More at LiveSide and Mashable

Here are a bunch of Silverlight screencasts.

Here’s info on the just-released Silverlight 1.1 Alpha.

Peter Lau is liveblogging. Turns out they were showing Twitter messages from the audience in real-time on a screen before the keynote.

UPDATE 1:44: They had a guy from CBS, showing off how they can use Silverlight to integrate user generated content and rich streaming video advertising their website, and eventually the newscast. They show a fake version of the local CBS newscast featuring user-generated content in a news story. It’s speculative, which I don’t like, but high quality, with the real news anchors on the real set, so I’ll semi-forgive it.

April 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | no comments

Windows Live Maps Adds Lots Of New/Improved Cities

Calgary 3DCalgary 3D Hosted on Zooomr

The Live Maps blog announced new or improved footage in many areas around the globe:

  • Italy - 73 cities now have more detail, down to 15 cm resolution in some areas
  • Indiana
  • Hawaii
  • Malibu
  • Joiliet
  • Miramar
  • San Francisco
  • Aurora
  • La Jolla
  • Naperville
  • Niagara Falls
  • Beaverton
  • La Mesa
  • Brooklyn
  • Portland
  • Indianapolis
  • Newark
  • Roseville
  • Columbus
  • Dallas Ft. Worth
  • Imperial
  • Juneau
  • Fairbanks
  • Cleveland County OK
  • Chittenden County VT
  • Canadian County OK
  • Bernalillo County NM
  • Oklahoma County OK
  • Suffolk County NY
  • Chesapeake County VA
  • Franklin County NY
  • Wood County OH
  • Riverside County CA
  • Minneapolis Metro MN
  • Yates County NY
  • Douglas County CO
  • Hamilton County IN
  • Bordeaux
  • Montpellier
  • Toulouse
  • Cannes
  • Nice
  • Monte Carlo
  • Toronto
  • Quebec City
  • Puerto Vallarta

And also, new and improved 3D cities:

  • Calgary
  • Redmond
  • Buffalo
  • Beaverton
  • Portland
  • Swindon
  • Brighton

The screenshot above is from Calgary. Calgary! That city looks amazing! If I could spend the rest of my days evangelizing Windows Live Maps, that would be enough for me to be happy.

April 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Maps, Live, Windows, General | one comment

Windows Live Hotmail Has Great Unsubscribe Feature

Didn’t notice this in my wife’s account, but Windows Live Hotmail apparently has this cool unsubscribe feature. Legitimate email marketers (not spammers, but mailing list guys) can add code to their emails that reveals an Unsubscribe button in Hotmail, ensuring that users who don’t want their emails don’t add them to a spam blacklist instead of unsubscribing.

That’s a very cool feature, designed to seperate the good stuff you aren’t interested from the crap you never asked for. They’ve even improved the feature, sending the user to a page on the email marketers website where you can unsubscribe from specific mailing lists, not just all of them.
(Found on Findory)

April 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Hotmail, Windows | 13 comments

Programmers Using And Misusing The Ribbon

Jeremy Wagstaff has an article about usage of the Office 2007 Ribbon by software developers in their user interfaces, something they can do without worry because Microsoft allows it to be licensed royalty-free (with some restrictions). The Ribbon (officially the Office Fluent Ribbon, part of the Office Fluent UI system) is being used by a number of software products Jeremy mentions, a number of which are doing it a disservice by using it in programs it isn’t really useful for, poorly designing it to waste screen real estate, poor function grouping, and other bad decisions.

I feel like even if developers are going to misuse the Ribbon, let them. Plenty of software developers screw up the most simple things, like checkboxes and drop-downs, and no one is going to declare those UI elements bad as a result. As long as Office 2007 exists, the Ribbon is doing something right, and that validates even the worst third-party implementations.

By the way, if you are using the Ribbon well, contact Clint Covington, who will feature your app and send you a free book.

April 30th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Developers, Office, Applications, General | no comments