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Screencast of ThumbWin, Windows Thumbnail Minimizer

Check out this screencast of ThumbWin, a Windows XP/Vista application that lets you minimize windows and have them appear as a bar of thumbnails:

Used properly, ThumbWin could be a cool alternative to a Dock or Start Menu. I particularly like the Bring To Front option, which brings all windows, not just those minimized, to the front as thumbnails. If the development team keeps working on that, especially as it comes to windows effects and hotkeys, it could even be an Alt-Tab replacement. Make this in WPF and I’m sold.
(via CyberNetNews > Download Squad)

November 1st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Windows | no comments

Little Gamers Gets Official XNA Game


Little Gamers, a popular seven-year running webcomic, has gotten an official game, and that game runs entirely on Microsoft’s XNA Framework. That means that the game will run on your PC, and with an XNA Creator’s Club subscription, the same version can run on an Xbox 360. A current build is available for download, a prototype was a finalist in the Dream, Build, Play! competition, and here’s a video of it in action:

The game is a 2D action sidescroller which borrows many gameplay elements from action games such as Metal Slugs and Madness Interactive and mixes them with the webcomic feel and humor of Little Gamers to create a unique cute but deadly combination.

During his travel all around the world, in 16 action-packed levels, Mr. Madsen, the main protagonist, will face many enemies like hippies, zombies, pirates and ninjas. Every weapon held by your opponents (and yes, that includes bosses) can be picked up and used to defend yourself; that includes more than 30 weapons available for the player throughout the game. Many power-ups will be available during his journey, ranging from beer to the deadliest flower ever known to humanity.

(via Walter Stiers)

November 1st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Games For Windows, Developers, Xbox | no comments

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Microsoft Registers Domains For Developer Challenge, VBox, and Xtival

Microsoft never stops registering domains, and the newest ones certainly seem like they could be hinting at plans for the software company. Gary Price has the full list, but the three interesting categories are:

  •,, and associated other domains - Microsoft could be preparing another one of its contests for developers, web developers, people who just love or hate websites, or all of them. Microsoft runs enough challenges, and these domains are too specific, that you can be sure there’s something in the works.
  • Eight different vboxint and vboxprod domains - What the hell is VBox? I’m throwing a wild guess as to something video production related.
  •, and three others - An Xbox festival? If so, it’ll be tough holding X-Tival 07 with only two months left.

Plus, there’s and a bunch more.

November 1st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Xbox | one comment

Sony 200-Disk DVD Changer: Down To $177

Sony’s XL1 200-disk DVD changer, the one-of-a-kind Media Center-connectable daisy-chaining 200-disk DVD player is down to $177 on Amazon, and now might be the time to pull the trigger on this one. Sony’s own store just liquidated its stock, as far as I can tell, by unloading whatever units it had left for a hundred bucks (it’s out of stock already, sorry), which puts a lot of evidence behind speculation that this thing is going away forever, to be replaced either by a newer, better, and far more expensive model, or to just go away forever.

November 1st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

Live Maps Adds Free 3D Modeling

Windows Live Maps continues to do amazing things with its 3D view, adding an experience that in many ways matches or surpasses Google Earth, all while running in nothing more than your regular web browser. The latest new feature is the ability to add 3D models to the map, a feature Google Earth accomplishes with Google SketchUp, and Live Maps now manages with the 3DVIA Technology Preview, a new, free online application developed by Dassault Systèmes.

Getting started is as easy as navigating on the map in 3D and clicking Collections, then “Add a 3D model” (alternatively, you could just go here). The software will prompt you to install 3DVIA, which takes a while, but after that you can right-click on the map at any time to add a 3D model, which will launch the software.

Users can create a quick and easy 3D model of their house or other buildings they know, including adding textures and colors, then upload them back to Live Maps and see the model on the map. User-created 3D models can be shared as collections to show friends, but presumably Microsoft will start adding the best ones to the main Live Maps, increasing their stable of detailed 3D models.

I’m amazed that there are buildings in my neighborhood that have 3D models already. Somehow, Queens College, apartment buildings, even largish synagogues in my little slice of Queens have detailed 3D models, with an amazing amount of intricacy. Even my wife’s old apartment in Brooklyn is modeled. I don’t believe for a second that someone modeled these by hand, not with the curved surfaces and detailed diagonal roofs, which means Microsoft’s automated building tech has gotten really advanced. Good for them.

I haven’t been able to get 3DVIA working, in order to compare it with Google SketchUp, but as soon as I get a chance we’ll see which is easier to use. Either way, its another great step towards making Live Maps the most impressive mapping product on or off the internet.
(via LiveSide)

November 1st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Maps, Live, Windows | no comments

Add Windows Live Messenger To Your Blog

If you’d like to make it easier for people to contact you via your blog (or MySpace or whereever you can post code), Windows Live Messenger has a site where you can create a nice-looking button in seconds that will get them in touch with your Live Messenger screen name. You could even add the button to your email or forum signature, and there are multiple button designs, colors and taglines available to customize it for your needs.

I don’t like that the button’s source code exposes your Live ID, and thus your Hotmail email address, with no effort by Microsoft to obfuscate the email. That’s the kind of mistake Google makes every time it launches a product, and I expect smarter moves from Microsoft. As a result, clicking the button up there will launch an IM window, but you’ll be talking to my good friend, not me.
(via LiveSide)

November 1st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Messenger, Windows | no comments

Windows Live Calendar Public Beta Around The Corner

Three months after Microsoft started testing it internally, Windows Live Calendar is getting ready for a more public beta, according to LiveSide. No word yet on whether it’ll be an invite-only, closed or open public beta, but the support and feedback pages are already active, and LiveSide can say that it includes permission-controlled sharing, RSS and iCal sharing, iCal and Outlook importing and event reminders.

November 1st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows | no comments

Microsoft Stock Up Another $10 Billion

Microsoft stock continues to gain, closing earlier today at $36.81, up another 3 1/2%, up over 19% in the last week since its blowout earnings report. It’s up 23% on the year, 40% over the last two years. The stock hasn’t been this high since June 2000, 88 months ago. Microsoft’s market cap is now just shy of $350 billion.

Amazing, just amazing.

November 1st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Corporate | 5 comments