InsideMicrosoft

part of the Blog News Channel

Protect Yourself From Speed Traps With Live Maps Mashup

Njection has created a mashup that shows you on Windows Live Maps where the cops have set up speed traps, so you can know ahead of time when to slow down as they try to balance the budget. Users add the location of known speed traps to the database (including the type of detection used and how often they are there), and you can browse the map and know where to be careful.

Also, Marc DiGregorio from 3DVIA created some sample 3D houses you can plug into 3DVia and use as a starting point for creating 3D models of your own. Here’s a video showing them off:


Video: Virtual Earth - 3DVIA (Beta)

Finally, 6000 sqaure miles of 3D textured cities were added, including San Bernandino, Calafornia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Fargo; Cleveland; Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Salt Lake City; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Woorcheshessterr*, Massachussets; St. Louis; and Liverpool, U.K.. Also added: 44 new aerial cities, 36 new bird’s eye cities, 26 new European bird’s eye cities, and more.

* - Yeah, I know it’s Worcester, and that it’s pronounced Wooster for some damned reason, but that’s one of the worst place names in the U.S.. Change it.

December 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Maps, Live, Windows | no comments



Microsoft Announces Yet Another 11-Cent Dividend

Microsoft has announced its latest dividend, and yet again it is for 11 cents. Shareholders as of February 21 will receive their dime and a penny on March 13, 2008. With this dividend, Microsoft will have returned $4.61 to shareholders over the last five years.

December 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Corporate | one comment

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy

How Long Have You Been Using Hotmail?

hotmail-account-history.png

I did not know this before, but you can go to your Windows Live ID Account Summary and see the exact day you signed up for Hotmail. Thanks to Ian Moulster (seven years), I now know that I first signed up for Hotmail on May 14, 1998, nine years, seven months, six days ago. I’ve been a Hotmail user for 3,297 days. I can’t wait for my ten year anniversary!

So, who has been using Hotmail the longest? If you’re willing to pay shipping, I’ll send a free DVD to whoever claims the oldest account and can prove it. For the record, it should be impossible to beat July 4, 1996.

December 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Hotmail, Windows | 9 comments

Microsoft Strikes $500 Million Deal With Viacom

As Viacom strikes out with a lawsuit against YouTube, Microsoft has signed a half-billion-dollar deal with the company that bolsters its ad divisions and provides some interesting opportunities. Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft licenses Viacom’s content from properties like MTV, Paramount and Comedy Central for use on MSN and Xbox Live, and Viacom starts using Microsoft’s Atlas ad server (from aQuantive) on their websites, giving Microsoft the right to sell Viacom’s extra ad inventory.

In addition, Microsoft agrees to buy advertising on Viacom’s TV stations and websites over the next five years and work with Viacom on promotions and sponsorships. Viacom will work with Microsoft to become a preferred publishing partner on Microsoft’s casual gaming platforms. This is the sort of deal Google should have signed with Viacom to avoid its current legal problems, if Google had any media properties Viacom was actually interested in.

Microsoft winds up with a strong ad partner and more ways to promote its own properties. The deal ties the MTV and Xbox brands closer together, which can’t hurt their image, and improves Microsoft’s relationship with Comedy Central. All in all, a big win for Microsoft.

photo by mag3737 under CC license

December 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Advertising | no comments

Zune Arts Stays Weird and Original

Here’s the latest video from Zune Arts, the weird site with videos somehow related to the Zune that can become commercials:

As TechCrunch explains, Zune Arts is there to create unique pieces of art with viral potential, instead of more traditional ads. I think they’ve managed to create a unique marketing voice for the Zune, much like Apple has with its iPod ads, doing something so original and out there that when a new one of these comes on TV, it’s unmistakeably Zune.

December 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Marketing, Zune, Windows Media | no comments

Yet Another Awful “I’m A Mac” Ad

You know, these used to be clever-but-pretentious, now they’re just stupid:

Do I need to point out the idiocy of having the competitor’s character relentlessly pushing their product in an ad campaign that relentlessly pushes your product? The ad campaign, which airs every five minutes on some TV stations, begs you to buy a Mac, but it’s the PC character who’s annoying you with plugs at every opportunity trying to plug his product? Who are we kidding here?

mac-pc-holiday-ad.jpg

And can I say that I am digusted that John Hodgman, the actor who plays PC and is certainly not a fat man, is being so grotesquely portrayed by the animators in this commercial. Witness the actual actors next to their stop-motion counterparts:

Let’s forget the heads (though Hodgman’s is swelled up and gifted with an awful combover while Mac Justin Long’s is smaller, rounder and babyish), but look at the bodies. Animation Hodgman’s body is considerable larger than that of the actual actor. He’s all of a sudden become a giant butterball figure, Weighing likely a good 300 pounds, with tiny, woman-like feet and a jacket that all of a sudden won’t close.

Animated Justin Long, on the other hand, is actually thinner than in real life, reduced to anorexic proportions. The figure, if human, would likely weigh under 100 pounds and suffer some sort of malnutrional disease. In real life, Long’s neck is larger than Hodgman’s; in the animation, Long’s character has a miniscule pencil neck and Hodgman’s character is so goddamn obese, he has almost no neck at all.

This just infuriates me, the way they manipulate every detail and try to make statements about him based on his weight. These ads are just embarrassing themselves at this point. I used to find them funny, but now I just hate, hate, hate these ads.

December 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Marketing, Apple, General | 10 comments



IE8 Passes Acid2 Test; Heads Explode

The unthinkable has happened: Enough progress has been made on getting Internet Explorer to meet web standards that IE8, the in-development next version of Microsoft’s web browser, actually passes Acid2. The Acid2 test is a web page designed to test the capabilities of modern browsers, using a number of intricate elements that will only render correctly if the browser plays by the rules, and now, for the first time ever, IE does.

Acid2 doesn’t mean that IE8 is perfect, but it is a significant milestone that other browsers have not necessarily reached (Firefox has tried, but not managed to ship a capable browsing engine). It also means Opera loses half its case in its antitrust complaint, but for the right reason. Expect a beta of IE8 in the first half of 2008.

December 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | one comment

Mobile Live Maps Improved

Microsoft has improved the browser-based mobile version of Live Maps, adding better detailed and navigatable maps, one-click directions for businesses and street addresses, details/photos/reviews of businesses you search for, as well as movie show times, traffic and maps in Search. Take a look at these screenshots from the Virtual Earth blog, or point your phone at m.live.com:

December 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Mobile, Maps, Live, Windows, Search | no comments