InsideMicrosoft

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Yes, You Can Make Silverlight Gadgets

Adam Kinney has created an Xbox Live Gamer Tag Gadget, which lets you enter a bunch of Gamer Tags and see who’s online, and click one to see what games their playing and other stats. It’s a fairly useful and well-designed Gadget, but what makes it so good is that the whole thing is built on Silverlight. So, now that we know Silverlight Gadgets work, and work well, imagine how much cooler-looking Gadgets we could be getting in the future.

There’s a demo of it on Channel 9, and you can download it at this link. Make sure you have Silverlight 1.0 installed.

October 31st, 2007 Posted by | Developers, Sidebar, Silverlight, Vista, Windows | one comment



Silverlight 1.0 Final Released

WWE-Silverlight

Microsoft finally released a “gold” version of Silverlight, announcing Silverlight 1.0 (the version without .NET) is ready for its full debut. Along with it, they confirmed a deal with Novell to complete Moonlight, the Linux version of Silverlight (bring 100% compatibility for Windows, Mac and Linux) to Linux browsers Firefox, Konqueror and Opera.

To go with the release of Silverlight 1.0, Microsoft announced some new partners. They include wrestling giant WWE (pictured above), Major League Baseball, the Home Shopping Network, Entertainment Tonight, among others.

September 7th, 2007 Posted by | Developers, Silverlight | no comments

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MSN Election Podium Launches With Silverlight

MSN Election Podium in Silverlight

MSN’s Election 2008 website has launched a new section, called The Podium ’08, which lets you compare the many different candidates running for President. The best part: The whole thing runs on Silverlight, and looks great.

Besides the great animated flag background (how can I make that into a DreamScene?), The Podium lets you choose a candidate at the top and get a list of Windows Live Search results showing the latest news on that candidate. There is a list of issues on the right (abortion, economy, environment, health care, immigration, Iraq and stem cell research), and selecting one of those will switch the results to those that will help you understand that candidate’s stand on that issue.
(via Sean Alexander)


I discovered a curious practice of Silverlight. Apparently, it automatically elevated the priority of Internet Explorer from Normal to Above Normal, and retakes the high priority almost immediately, even if you try to switch it. That is annoying and unnecessary, and if Silverlight can’t run properly without the high priority, then that is a flaw in the software that needs to be fixed, not hacked around.

August 30th, 2007 Posted by | MSN, Silverlight | no comments

What’s Happening With Silverlight For Opera?

I reported three months ago that Silverlight support was coming for the Opera, and it looks like that support is coming pretty quickly. In fact, the previous Opera release, 9.22, is supposed to support the plugin, and the release blog post says, “The Silverlight plugin should now work”, but it doesn’t. All users I have come across, including myself, have said that the Silverlight plugin is now identified by Opera and listed in the plugin list, but Silverlight applications do not run at all.

It looks like they’ve got the plugin working with Opera, but the plugin itself may need an update to actually acknowledge Opera and run there. Otherwise, it may just be that they’ve gotten Silverlight to work, but there’s a lot more bug fixing to be done, so it doesn’t run just yet. Guess we’ll have to wait for more info to know for sure, and to be able to use a single browser for everything.

Thankfully, the new secret beta of _________ runs very well in Opera.

August 23rd, 2007 Posted by | Developers, Silverlight | no comments

Silverlight Plugin For Windows Live Writer

My Opera web browser, normally the king of stability, crashed and completely screwed up my saved tabs, so I’m posting everything old right now, in order to set things right.

There’s a Silverlight Streaming plugin for Windows Live Writer, which allows you to automatically insert Silverlight Streaming applications into your blog posts. It’ll check your Streaming account, give you a list of apps with previews, and let you click to insert. Sweet.
(via Angus Logan)

August 22nd, 2007 Posted by | Developers, Live, Silverlight, Windows, Writer | no comments

Silverlight Sudoku Helper

silverlight-sudoku-helper.pngSudoku is a really fun game, a numbers grid puzzle you find in many newspapers. If you play a lot of Sudoku, you may sometimes need a little help, so you’d appreciate this Silverlight helper application, which lets you enter information about the puzzle you are trying to solve, and it gives you some information that should help you get there faster.

The program keeps track of what possible numbers can be entered in a given cell, which numbers came with the puzzle and which you wrote, makes noise if you make a mistake, and accepts a lot of keyboard input. But what I liked about it: It runs on Silverlight. You’ll need the Silverlight 1.1 Alpha and a compatible system (IE or Firefox on Windows). Enjoy!

The app was written by Microsoft’s Delay (not sure what his/her first name is).

August 21st, 2007 Posted by | Developers, General, Silverlight | no comments



Craig Ferguson On Zune, Microsoft Works To Be Free, Live Search Gets Sitemaps, Silverlight Gets RC1, BSOD Tattoo

Catching up: I had a crazy week, with me and my wife going on a short wedding anniversary vacation, one of my best friends getting married, and my aunt and her family moving forever to another continent. There’s a lot of stuff filling up the queue, so we’re going to go through it double time

Craig Ferguson Pokes Fun At Zune

Craig Ferguson, host of the Late Late Show on CBS, makes fun of Microsoft’s attempts to counter the iPod and iPhone:

I love the way he pronounces Zune.
(via Apple Are)

Microsoft Developing Free Ad-Supported Works Suite

Mary Jo Foley broke the news that Microsoft is preparing the next version of Microsoft Works, Works 9.0, as a free ad-supported product. Works users will get the typical address book, calendar, database, dictionary, PowerPoint Viewer, basic version of Word, and templates, but pay nothing extra. In order for Microsoft to better compete with Google Documents, Works will be free and supported by advertising within the application windows.

Check out possible screenshots here.

Live Search Finally Adds Supports For Sitemaps

Windows Live Search has finally got support for Sitemaps, the growing industry standard for websites to report their full and updated page listing to search engines. Live Search will now use your website’s Sitemap if you point to it in a robots.txt file. They do not support it in any sort of webmaster console, and they do not have a means for websites to ping them with updates. With Microsoft on board, the top four search engines (Google, Yahoo and Ask are the others) now all use Sitemaps.

Silverlight Release Candidate 1.0 Is Out

Microsoft released the first Release Candidate of Silverlight 1.0, moving towards final release. Hopefully, they’ll wrap up 1.0 quickly and be able to put all the resources behind 1.1, which is the version more people are talking about, since it contains many important features, like the mini .NET CLR. Click the link to get all the downloads.

Blue Screen Of Death Tattoo

I can’t imagine there are fans of the Blue Screen of Death, the screen you see when Windows crashes, so this must be some sort of counterculture thing. Witness this man’s tattoo of the famous screen (text only, not blue):

August 8th, 2007 Posted by | Apple, Applications, Developers, Humor, Live, Search, Silverlight, Windows, Windows Media, Word, Zune | no comments

Customize The Office 2007 Ribbon, Information Cards Accepted Here, Microsoft Student 2008, Virtual Earth MapCruncher, Where Silverlight Comes From

I’m in Atlantic City with my wife, celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary, so here’s a post featuring a bunch of items I should have blogged weeks ago.

Add-in Lets You Customize The Office 2007 Ribbon

RibbonCustomizer is a very useful add-in for Microsoft Office 2007 which lets you customize the Ribbon interface in Excel, Powerpoint and Word 2007. In the professional edition, which costs $29.99, you can customize individual commands, create new Ribbon tabs and populate them any way you want, create and share customizations, remove and re-order groups in Ribbon tabs, re-order and remove tabs, pretty much anything you want to change.

ribboncustomizer-classic-ui.png

The free version includes less features, but it does share one feature with the Pro version that might make it all worth it for you: The Classic UI tab. This adds a tab to your Ribbon that has file menus and toolbars, just like the old versions of Office did. You can use this for free to help someone get used to the new interface, by switching back and forth between new and old, until you are ready to use the new one. That feature alone makes this worth installing.
(via Erik Rucker)

“Infomation Cards Accepted Here” Icon Released

information-cards-accepted-here.pngMicrosoft is pushing adoption of Windows CardSpace for digital identity management, so they’re sharing this icon for websites that accept Information Cards. Sites and applications can use this icon if they accept any Information Card, even if it’s not using CardSpace, which is why the icon doesn’t have any corporate info in it. Microsoft just wants people to start using Information Cards, so it can start becoming the one you get your Information Card from.

Microsoft Releases Student 2008 with Encarta Premium

Microsoft released the latest version of Student, and the 2008 package includes Encarta Premium 2008, Microsoft Math 2.0 (with a Graphing Calculator, Step-by-Step Equation Solver, Equation Library) and Foreign Language Help. Not very different from Student 2007 besides the Encarta update, but there is one new program: Learning Essentials 2.0 for Students, which has templates and tutorials that transform Word, PowerPoint and Excel into more student-oriented applications, with tips for creating better papers and other things for class assignments.

MapCruncher Lets You Import And Combine Existing Maps With Virtual Earth
Microsoft Research has this useful program called MapCruncher, which lets you take an existing map, like a map of bus routes, tourist hotspots, or hiking paths, and import it into Virtual Earth. You import the map, whether in vector (PDF, WMF, EMF) or raster (JPG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, BMP) format, find 5-10 landmarks on both the imported and Virtual Earth maps, and it creates a mashup for use on a web page, and image tiles to match up with the road and aerial images in Virtual Earth.

To see how it works, look at this mashup of the Louisville, Kentucky bus map. You can find any bus station or route, and with a click swith between bus map, aerial, and road maps. Very cool.

Where The Silverlight Name Came From

Ever wonder how Microsoft came up with the name “Silverlight” for what was Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere? Sean Alexander had some background on it I missed. Included is that the Silverlight name was settled on in mid/late 2006, but was held back behind an intentionally awful codename of WPF/E so the new Silverlight name would be a bigger hit.

July 31st, 2007 Posted by | Applications, Developers, General, Live, Maps, Office, Silverlight, Virtual Earth, Windows, Word | one comment

Silverlight 1.0 Almost Done, 1.1 Progress Unknown

Microsoft is about to release a Release Candidate of version 1.0 of its Silverlight plugin, with Mary Jo Foley saying to expect it by the end of the month. While version 1 is an excellent bit of technology, version 1.1 is the one more people are interested in, as it contains the mini .NET CLR and support for ASP.Net Ajax, LINQ, JavaScript, Visual Basic, C#, Python and Ruby. No word yet on that one, but expect to find the gold release of 1.0 before the summer is out.

If you have an application built on the beta, Microsoft has a preview SDK to get it ready for final release.

July 16th, 2007 Posted by | Developers, Silverlight | no comments

Barrel O’ Silverlight Games

Silverlight Game - Destroy All Invaders

Chris Bowen has a roundup of games made on the Silverlight platform. There’s Dr. Popper, a familiar ball-popping game, Digger, a tunnel game that I know I played on the NES, Zero Gravity, which I tried out yesterday, Chess played against a JavaScript AI, Silverlight Rocks!, an Asteroids clone, and Sprawl, a tile capture game.

However, the gem is definitely Destroy All Invaders, pictured above. The game uses Windows Live Maps Virtual Earth API, letting you choose any location on the planet and putting your helicopter above its satellite imagery. You fly around the map, shooting down UFOs. This is a brilliant use of both Silverlight and the Windows Live Maps API, created by Andy Beaulieu. Great job, man!

For most of these, the source code is available, so if you want to create a Windows Live Maps-based Silverlight game, check out Andy’s code.

June 29th, 2007 Posted by | Developers, Live, Maps, Silverlight, Virtual Earth, Windows | one comment

Zero Gravity: Silverlight-Based Puzzle Game

Silverlight Game - Zero Gravity

Tim Heuer blogs about Zero Gravity, a good puzzler based in Silverlight. Your job is to guide an astronaut back to his spaceship, but you can’t afford to fly off into space, so you have to make careful use of blocks, tubes, teleporters and other elements in the environment to guide your little guy to the finish. It’d definitely fun, so open your favorite Silverlight-capable browser and try it out.
(via)

Oh, and I’m stuck on Level 9, so somebody help!

June 28th, 2007 Posted by | Developers, Silverlight | no comments



Silverlight Built For Linux In 21 Days

Miguel de Icaza writes about the intense coding work done by his team, working 12-16 hours over the last 21 days to build a version of Microsoft’s Silverlight platform to run under Linux. Calling the project Moonlight, the project was prompted by Microsoft France’s Marc Jalabert, who invited them to do it for the ReMix conference, and the team built the whole thing to run in Firefox under Linux in just three weeks.

They wrote 24,373 lines of C++, 1,367 lines for the C# binding, and 13,207 lines of C# class libraries. It looks like it runs standard Silverlight apps well, which means Silverlight now runs under Windows, Mac and Linux, and under Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. What’s taking so long with the Opera version?
(via TechMeme)

June 27th, 2007 Posted by | Developers, General, Linux, Silverlight | 2 comments

Check Out Windows Live PhotoZoom


Video: Windows Live PhotoZoom Alpha video demo – LiveSide.net

LiveSide showed off this video of PhotoZoom, a Silverlight-powered Windows Live alpha project that uses the very cool PhotoSynth technology to allow for seamless zooming of photos for anybody, a great way to share your favorite pictures.

By the way, if you haven’t experienced PhotoSynth, you don’t know what you are missing. Check it out in action here. It’s nothing short of amazing. Now imagine doing that with your own photos. Kewl.

The website is a 3D photo experience with the BBC, photographic representations of historic sites in the UK.

Viewers will be able to explore Photosynth representations of Ely Cathedral, Burghley House, the Royal Crescent, Bath, the Scottish Parliament buildings and Blackpool Tower Ballroom at http://labs.live.com/photosynth/bbc. The BBC will also have units on location at each of the historic sites to collect images from tourists visiting the sites. The synths will then be updated during the television series with a selection of these images.

(via Resource Shelf)

June 12th, 2007 Posted by | Developers, Live, Silverlight, Windows | no comments

Microsoft Doing Mashup Tools

Microsoft has announced Popfly, a simple way for developers and users to create mashups, gadgets, web pages and other things. Popfly enables taking sources like photos from Windows Live Spaces and Flickr and design nice Silverlight widgets displaying them, complete with tutorials, full HTML code access and editing, a web page creator, and a community for sharing ideas and code, and finding, rating and sharing the best stuff.

Popfly supports JavaScript, AJAX libraries, HTML, XHTML, CSS, WMV, WMA, MP3, Visual Studio Express projects, JPG, PNG, GIF, and EXE on both Internet Explorer and Firefox. More coverage and screenshots at TechCrunch, Mary Jo Foley and the new Popfly blog.

May 22nd, 2007 Posted by | Developers, Silverlight | no comments

Creating Gadgets With Silverlight

Charles Sterling writes the steps required to use Silverlight in a Microsoft Gadget in a Silverlight application. He’s also got a seperate article on including Gadgets in regular WPF, but putting creating Gadgets in with Silverlight has got my mind swimming with cool possibilities for putting creating Gadgets in webapps with rich interfaces. Me like.

UPDATE: I completely misunderstood Charles’ post, but the reality is even better than I thought. How cool are Silverlight Gadgets gonna look? Pretty cool, that’s how much!

May 15th, 2007 Posted by | Developers, Sidebar, Silverlight, Vista, Windows | no comments

Silverlight Coming To Opera!

Completely missed in all the talk at Mix about Silverlight, Microsoft’s amazing development platform for rich applications, is the news that Silverlight is coming to the excellent Opera browser. Opera, which I use and love, is known for having some of the best web standards support of any browser and amazing features not available in any other browser, would be an amazing platform for running Silverlight applications, and the release would guarantee Silverlight compatibility on the top four browsers (IE/Firefox/Opera/Safari) and top operating systems (Windows Vista/XP/2003/2000 and Mac OS X Tiger/Leopard), covering probably over 90% of the market.

Note that I mentioned Windows 2000. Silverlight doesn’t support it right now, but it will, just like it is going to support Opera. I can’t wait to be able to run Silverlight in Opera, since it would eliminate many reasons for loading up IE. With IE8 moving towards web standards, and websites having to follow it there, all sites will eventually run as intended on Opera, and that’s great for everybody, even those on other browsers.

See the compatibility list in the bottom right hand corner of this reference document.

More about the work for Opera compatibility with Silverlight and ASP.net AJAX here.

May 9th, 2007 Posted by | Applications, Developers, Firefox, General, Internet Explorer, Silverlight | 2 comments

Video Of Silverlight Running On Windows Mobile

Microsoft’s exciting (and great looking) Silverlight platform runs on all sorts of browsers and operating systems, but one thing that was kind of overlooked was that Silverlight is coming to Windows Mobile. With Silverlight on mobile phones, we’ll be able to have rich applications on phones, akin to (if not far better) than what has been demoed on the iPhone. Silverlight even uses vector graphics, so developers won’t have to worry about different screen resolutions.

Here’s a video of Major League Baseball’s game tracker running on Silverlight:

Awesome. Just awesome.
(via jkOnTheRun)



May 4th, 2007 Posted by | Developers, General, Silverlight, Windows Mobile | no comments

Details Of The Windows Live Commercial API

The Windows Live Dev news site details the new usage of the Windows Live API, which will let larger websites use the API beyond typical restrictions by paying for it. See, almost all web APIs have a limit of how many uses you get in a certain time period, but many give you no way of paying for more, so Microsoft’s release of a for-pay API is better than nothing at all. The bullet points:

  • For basic usage, the API will always be free
  • Usage up to one million unique users is free, except for:
  • Windows Live Search is free up to 750,000 searches per months
  • Virtual Earth (Live Maps) is free up to 3 million map tiles per month
  • Silverlight video streaming is free up to 4 gigabytes of storage, with free unlimited streaming, and no limits on users
  • Above one million unique users, sites will have to pay 25 cents per user per year
  • For Search and Virtual Earth, sites will need to negotiate a commercial agreement with Microsoft
  • No beta services will charge for usage of the API. You will only have to pay after it leaves beta
  • Users will be averaged out per quarter, so if you have a big spike one month, you won’t have to pay for it

Great stuff, except the negotiating for Search and Virtual Earth. I’d like to know what the process is, and if it is going to be difficult for small websites to make a deal.

Still, four gigabytes of Silverlight storage, with free unlimited streaming, is incredible. It sounds so good that I’m going to have to start using it. I mean, who needs YouTube when you can host the actual video for free like that?
(via the Virtual Earth blog)

May 2nd, 2007 Posted by | Developers, General, Live, Maps, Search, Silverlight, Virtual Earth, Windows | no comments