part of the Blog News Channel

Microsoft Hacker Blog Renamed As Easter Egg

The Hackers @ Microsoft blog has been renamed, afraid the connotation of the word “hacker” would be misconstrued as something illegal. The new name is %41%43%45%20%54%65%61%6d, which is a cute little hack in and of itself.

What does it mean? Just enter javascript:alert("%41%43%45%20%54%65%61%6d") into any web browser’s address bar and a popup will give you the answer. Or you could just hover your mouse over this link and the destination listed by your browser should tell you what’s what.

Okay, lazy, this screenshot will do it, too:


October 17th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs | one comment

Let Visitors Send IMs From Your Website

LiveSide details a service coming called Messenger Presence, which will allow users on your website/blog to send you messages from a Messenger window. They’ll be able to see when you’re online, send you anonymous messages, and even hold two-way IM conversations all from the web browser. If the service features your Live Messenger status messages, it can present a serious challenge to Twitter, if you ask me.

September 16th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Messenger, Windows, Blogs | one comment

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy

In SF? Want To See Something Cool?

I’m looking for any readers or fellow bloggers in San Francisco to attend a short but important industry event I can’t attend myself (since I’m in New York). I can’t say what it is or when, but you’d have to take a half-day off work, see some really cool stuff, and live blog it (or send quick emails/texts for me to transcribe) for all to enjoy.

The coolness of it should make it a no-brainer once I tell you what it is, but if not, I’ve got a box of DVDs and peripherals that might help sway you. I’d prefer a reader who comments here often or a regular blogger, but the main thing is that it is someone trustworthy. For reasons I can’t explain, employees of three certain technology companies cannot take this opportunity, but employees of a really big tech company can go.

If you are interested, use the contact form listed in the sidebar or just leave a comment. The comment can be anonymous, just leave your email address in the email field (it won’t be shown). Suffice to say, most readers while find this too good to pass up, as its the sort of event I’d run to in a heartbeat.

September 9th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs | no comments

Another Nice Touch: Right-Click For Error Code


Here’s another nice touch in Windows Vista. I was trying to install some updates to Outlook through Windows Update, which I think failed because I was running two installers at once. I didn’t know that, and I wondered how I was going to copy the error code from the Windows Update software in Windows Vista to Google the solution. I knew there was a trick for copying the text in dialog boxes, but this wasn’t a dialog, so I didn’t know what to do.

While it wasn’t obvious, I loved it when it worked. I just right-clicked, and damn if someone didn’t program Vista to know exactly what I needed. That’s a wonderful little help right there.

On a side note, I found out what was causing the popups some of you guys have been seeing. A line including an external stats counter, one I didn’t use, was included in some code for the bstats plugin I use to show the incoming search terms (among other things). The code was occasionally forcing through popups, but I caught it and killed it.

If the maker of this plugin is monetizing it by selling code to spammers, then color me disgusted and incensed. If it was a security violation, then I’ve got a whole other problem to deal with.

August 16th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, Blogs | 3 comments

Is Long Zheng’s Blog Down?


I’m having no luck connecting to, the location of Long Zheng’s blog. I am I the only one with this problem?

Right now, it just returns this string of text: 451 GET :You have not registered 451 User-Agent: :You have not registered 451 Host: :You have not registered 451 Accept: :You have not registered 451 Accept-Language: :You have not registered 451 Accept-Charset: :You have not registered 451 Accept-Encoding: :You have not registered 451 Referer: :You have not registered 451 Cookie: :You have not registered 451 Cookie2: :You have not registered 451 Cache-Control: :You have not registered 451 Connection: :You have not registered 451 TE: :You have not registered
ERROR :Closing Link: [] (Ping timeout)


UPDATE: It’s back. Down for a few hours, though.

August 13th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs | 3 comments

Mazel Tov, Bink!


Stephen Bink got married over the weekend. Congratulations to Stephen, who runs the excellent website, and to his new bride. Stephen’s wife gets the very cool alliteral name of Barbara Bink. Click to the post to see the full picture (looks like an a really nice wedding) and leave your congrats in the comments.

July 23rd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs | no comments

Anyone Seeing Popups?

Michael is telling me that he is seeing popups whenever he visits InsideMicrosoft. Is anyone else having this problem? I need to find out if one of the advertisers/plugins here is playing dirty, if we’ve been hacked, or if I have to deliver to Michael the bad news that he might have spyware. If you have seen a popup on this blog, ever, leave a comment letting me know when it happened.

July 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs, General | 14 comments

InsideMicrosoft Blog Reader Survey

Tech Dispenser, a blog portal run by ComputerWorld that I’m a part of, is asking their blogs to invite their readers to complete a survey so they can understand what kind of people read these blogs. It’s only three questions, and you can win $100 for filling it out, so please do me a favor and take the minute to do it.

There’s a seperate survey for this blog and for InsideGoogle, so if you read both blogs, I’d appreciate if you filled out both surveys. At the very least, you’ll get two chances to win.

July 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs | no comments

Frankenstein’s Hand

So after I wrote that last post on Friday, explaining why I haven’t been blogging much the last few days, and would not be back until Monday, I decided that the smartest thing to do would be to put my hand through a window. Now, I’ve got four hideous stitches in my Frankenstein monster of a hand, totally screwing me on typing for at least a week (and forcing my wife to type this up for me [hello, this is Nathan’s wife, Raquel, happily typing this while Nathan dictates]), I’m left with one all important question that I’m sure everyone is asking:

Should I post pictures?

Anyway, expect a weird week up ahead, as I am going to attempt to do all of my blogging by video (and not drive my wife to murder me in my sleep). If it doesn’t work, well, you’ll know pretty quickly. Enjoy the brief break from the norm.

May 27th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs, General | 5 comments

Back Monday

I’ve been extraordinarily busy the last few days, and have only ran a small number of previously-written posts. I’m gonna call it a week, finish the unrelated project I’ve been working on, and return Monday flying full steam.

Just thought I owed an explanation for the blog lurching to a halt. See ya Monday.

May 25th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs, General | 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

Why Keyboards and Gamepads Suck

Nathan Weinberg is out today. He’ll be back tomorrow night. Till then, here’s a post he wrote yesterday. Yay…

Shawn Hargreaves ran a series on who common input devices suck, a trilogy examining the keyboard, the gamepad, and the mouse (well, not really the mouse, but everything is supposed to be a trilogy for dramatic purposes). What he talks about will give you some interesting talking points at the next big geek dinner (great way to wow the ladies), including how keyboard manufacturers save money and make it impossible to press certain random keys at the same time, and the really cool way XNA manages to keep thumbsticks centered just right.

Also, a hiring department that junks any resume coming from a Hotmail address. Morons. What, do they expect everyone to have an Exchange server or their own domain? Hotmail is incredibly useful.

Also, Windows Live Search had to disable some advanced search operators due to some automated data mining taking advantage of their system. Rumor is they’ll bring them back in a webmaster console that is in development. Cool.

How about: A detailed look at all the little things in the GTA IV trailer.

Okay, I’m outtie. See ya Wednesday night.

April 3rd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs | no comments

Lets Just Do This All At Once, InsideMicrosoft Edition

On the InsideGoogle blog, I did a bit of housecleaning. I’m sick and tired of writing about week-old news, and I think the readers of my blogs deserve up-to-date news and features. As a result, here is every story, leading basically up to today, that has been sitting in close to a hundred browser tabs on my computer.

Enjoy, and I’m getting back to work:

Long Zheng posted this video of Microsoft’s vision of collaboration in 2010:

Video: Microsoft’s Vision of 2010.

Want to take Windows Mobile 6 for a test drive? Microsoft has a Flash demo you can download and see exactly what it looks like in action.

The New York Times is going to start charging for its Reader application, a Windows Presentation Foundation-powered news reader that brings an incredibly powerful and visually amazing way to read the Times. Dopes. Way to blow a chance to bring the Times to a more tech-savvy generation. They really think people will pay a monthly fee for a newspaper that is available free online?

At least it is free for Times subscribers.

Want to preview PDF files in Outlook? Download this!

What is the Zune’s wifi feature useful for? Tracking down Zune thieves, naturally! If there are only two Zunes in an area, and one is stolen, you can use the other to help your buddy out.

Want to select text vertically in Word and other text editors? Just follow Lifehacker’s helpful tip and hold down the ALT key.

Lifehacker also points out a free RSS reader for Windows Vista Media Center and XP MCE.

Todd Bishop has put together an incredible listing of every single major Microsoft blogger he can find, and its so extensive, its scary. I can’t wait for him to finish the OPML, because I am so subscribing. Read his post for links to the Google Co-Op search engines he created for the list.

Microsoft claims it has no plans to buy video game publisher Take 2, but everyone agrees it’d be stupid not to bid. Take 2 makes the Grand Theft Auto series, and if Microsoft bought the company, or at least the GTA franchise, it would have a dramatic effect on Sony’s ability to compete. GTA is one of the biggest system sellers in history, possibly bigger than Microsoft’s own Halo, with more sales than Halo putting a lot of new PS2s in homes.

Rumors are coming out about Apple’s next generation iMac. The iMac is the centerpiece of Apple’s non-portable computer line, but with a built-in screen, it does not appeal to many typical PC buyers (and the Mac Mini is too limiting in the exact opposite respect). Here’s hoping Apple plans a normal PC; I could just buy it!

It has been virtually confirmed that Microsoft will be selling a $480 limited edition black Xbox 360 called the 360 Elite. It will feature a 120 gigabyte hard drive, an HDMI output, all-black accessories, and probably only run a few hundred thousand units. Once it sells out, it may replace the Xbox 360 Premium at $400, in white plastic.

New Line has bought the rights to a Gears of War movie. Stuart Beattie, writer of Collateral and Pirates of the Carribean is attached to write. I hope to god someone does a Crackdown movie.

March 22nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | XP, Vista, Word, Windows Media, Outlook, Gears of War, Zune, Apple, Xbox 360, Blogs, Applications, Windows, Media Center, Office, Xbox, General | no comments

InsideMicrosoft Returns From Exile

If you can read this, then you, you can see that InsideMicrosoft is back online. It took a little over a day, and a lot of emails and phone calls, but GoDaddy got it done. I got off the phone with Noah Plumb, who does PR in the office of the President of GoDaddy, and he was very accomodating. He mentioned my blog post, my many emails to support, and other complaints, and obviously was pretty up on the situation.

Noah basically explained that the taking down of the database that powers InsideMicrosoft was an overzealous mistake by some employee and the lower support levels didn’t communicate properly what was going on and needed to be done. For the future, the database is hosted on a server where there won’t be a problem (although I’m going to turn on wp-cache over the weekend anyway), I will probably be warned of problems before my site is taken offline, and I have a phone number to call to escalate my problem to the right higher-ups who can make sure nothing like this happens again.

I’m glad to see GoDaddy paying attention and responding to my very public complaint and helping smooth things out. It’s already better service than my old host offered, and if they were being sincere today, I don’t think I have anything to worry about (they even gave me a few extra free months). I also learned the value of having two big blogs, since if one goes down, I’ve got the other as a great soapbox. I also realized I’ve been posting more on InsideMicrosoft than InsideGoogle, and neglecting some new things I’ve wanted to try, and things are going to get better around here in the future.

But the most important thing I learned: The blogosphere takes care of its own. I was overwhelmed by the support and offers I received from readers and companies, offering to host my site for free or even pay the bill for a dedicated server. The community I live in, a clean and supposedly friendly community, has never shown the kind of eagerness to help that I saw from you guys, and I won’t forget that the next time someone asks me for a favor.

Thank you all, so much. Now, onward!

March 9th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs, General | one comment

Microsoft, Google, Others Developing Wireless Internet Device

Microsoft, Google, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Intel and Philips are petitioning the FCC to allow them to create a handheld internet device that uses vacated TV airwaves to establish wireless internet access. I’m not exactly sure what the point is, except maybe to use all the now-useless TV rooftop antennas to create a new way of connecting homes to internet service providers, without laying tons of new cable. It’s all confusing, but the main thing is that a certain gadget blog embaressed themselves by prematurely assuming this was all about a Zune phone.

February 15th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Zune, Windows Media, Blogs, General | no comments

Bill Gates Just Doesn’t Command The Attention Steve Jobs Does

Middle of last week, if you subscribed to Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ email list, you got a missive on security in a connected world. It was semi-long, about 3 1/2 pages, and certainly the sort of intelligent and interesting stuff you’d expect from Gates. Problem is, as Amit Agarwal pointed out, Gates got totally upstaged by his counterpart at his most public competitor.

That same day, Steve Jobs decided it was time for him to release an essay on DRM in the digital music industry, stopping just short of telling the music industry to abolish DRM altogether. It was a bold sorta-statement, and it completely removed any chance of people caring about what Bill Gates had to say. Right now, six days later, Technorati tracks 4,032 links to Steve Jobs essay, and a mere 37 links to Bill Gates (six of which were Amit’s article and copies of it).

Bill, you are about to retire, and lost even more of your power to command an audience. It is getting to be time for you to start a blog. You obviously have something to say, so you need to create a place for people to listen to you. Develop a nice readership, and you won’t be ignored next time. There’s no reason the richest man on earth should have 1/10th the links this blog has!

February 12th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Corporate, Blogs, General | 5 comments

Windows Live Relying On Outdated Netscape File

Okay, this one’s a bit technical, so bear with me: A DTD, or Document Type Definition, is a file used to express or define a type of XML file. RSS 0.91, an outdated but still widely supported and sometimes used type of RSS feed, uses a DTD that is supposed to be located at As a result, many RSS readers rely on an external file hosted by an independant company, rather than hosting the file (which has not been changed in the better part of a decade) on their own servers.

Okay, got it? Software and web services are relying on a file hosted on, rather than just doing the job themselves. is the homepage of what was a small company designing an innovative internet browser, then a portal, then a major site part of a divising of AOL, then a portal as part of AOL, a division of Time Warner, and now a social news website, that may or may not be related to AOL, which may or may not be dying a slow death as part of Time Warner.

Naturally, this is a god-awful stupid, short-sighted idea. Relying on a file hosted by anyone else as part of a spec is a stupid decision, one almost designed to fail, simply due to the passage of time. A lot of RSS readers, including Microsoft’s own Windows Live RSS gadget, saw their ability to read RSS 0.91 files fail completely, because they followed the spec and relied on the Netscape file, which Netscape removed as part of a redesign 12 days ago.

Netscape brought back the file, temporarily, but is planning on deleting it again on July 1, 2007, permanently breaking any feed reader’s ability to read RSS 0.91, providing the creator/maintainer of the feed reader is a lazy moron. Presumably, Windows Live has been paying attention (and if they haven’t, seriously?) and they won’t be affected by the changeover, but it illustrates some of the problems with backwards compatibility, particularly when it relies on external factors.

Perhaps this can be used to convince website to stop supporting the older, completely replaced 0.91 version of RSS. Perhaps this will remind developers to always keep it local, that relying on external files is asking for a problem. I don’t blame Netscape, which is so far divorced from the team that originally hosted the file that they bear no responsibility, and just wanted to save the 32 gigabytes per day the file used. No one, not Microsoft or Google or the U.S. government, should be hosting files that other websites rely on, not on this scale.

Oh, and don’t get me on why people shouldn’t even be using RSS 0.91…
(via Randy)

January 19th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Windows, Blogs, General | 2 comments

FeedButton Adds Stats

As far as I can tell, it is beyond difficult to accurately track how many people have subscribed to a blog’s feed, unless you hand over control of your feed to a service like FeedBurner. I’ve been using FeedButton on this site for the last 2-3 months to make it real easy for you guys to subscribe; all you have to do is select the “Add Feed” FeedButton icon in the sidebar and it’ll help you subscribe to this blog in all sorts of popular and unpopular RSS readers.

Now, FeedButton has made using it even more worth it, since they’ve apparently been tracking the stats of people who subscribed to my feed. I’m not sure if they disclosed it, but these stats are totally useful so I don’t mind any of it. My stats page shows a preview of your feed (useful for potential subscribers, as well as the link to a more advanced feed subscription page), lists the top 5 feed readers that have subscribed to your feed. My top 5:

Top 5 Feed Readers:
RSS 41
Google 41
live 25
bloglines 21
newsgator 19
Total: 305

I’m guessing “RSS” means direct subscriptions to the RSS feed, which means many of my readers are savvy enough to run their RSS readers theirselves. Considering I put up the FeedButton 2-3 months ago, 305 new subscribers is a pretty good number for that period. The other cool stat they reveal are the top six other RSS feeds your readers have subscribed to. Mine are:

Top Feeds Read By This Feed’s Audience

I don’t read any of those blogs, but I’m thinking now of checking them out, since my readers have basically recommended them. If you read this blog, and one of those, let me know what makes them so great.

January 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Blogs, General | 2 comments