Thursday, November 30, 2006

My favorite new toy -- and it's free!


Watch this video.

Then, go download:

Windows Live Search Beta for mobile

If you have a phone that supports it (and highspeed data is a bonus too), then you'll probably find this to be a killer app!

I love how easy it was to download/install right from my phone - without having to sync with my PC. Mike and the rest of the Windows Live Mobile team make me proud tonight. :-)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The things we take for granted...

5:26AM Some airport workers I tried to hitchhike with and their sign.Washington is snowed under, iced over.

Sometimes it's the little things in life we take for granted.. like catching a simple ride home from the airport.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New toy.

It's been a long time since I've been truly excited by new computer hardware.. but the latest introduction to the family of computers in my office changes all that:

TWO Dual Core Intel® Xeon® Processors 5160 3.00GHz, 4MB L2,1333

4GB, DDR2 SDRAM FBD Memory, 667MHz, ECC

256MB PCIe x16 nVidia Quadro FX 3500, Dual DVI or Dual VGA or DVI + VGA

160GB SATA, 10K RPM Hard Drive with 16MB DataBurst Cache™

Oh the things I'll miss if I ever decide to leave the empire.. ;-)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rantings of a boxed up software developer on a Sunday night

I vaguely remember waking up just 14 hours ago, and quickly realize I haven't left my home once all day.

In 14 hours, I've showered once, folded 2 loads of laundry, cooked 3 meals, drank 4 cups of tea, watched 2 episodes of House, and 2 episodes of CSI. I spent the rest of the day and night working - pouring through dozens of emails I had flagged for follow-up and skimming through thousands more, watching several pre-recorded internal presentations on new technology, contributing to a patent application, and doing a little "real" work.

On the flipside, I've not turned on my Xbox 360 once, nor have I read any blogs.

Well, actually, I did come across a new blog - a diamond in the rough among the thousands of emails earlier. In fact, it's what got me to sign into Blogger and share this... Minesweeper/Flower Garden:

shell: revealed is an awesome blog by a bunch of the people who work on the Windows shell. The diamond I came across was this post on the redesign of Minesweeper in Windows Vista. Reading it, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cringe - and I'll just stop short of commenting further on the "Microsoft Tax" right now.

Another gem I found was this look into the feature design process in which the author posted a real live version of the Windows Vista Aero Wizard UI Spec.

I've seen a lot of specs across a lot of products at Microsoft - they range from scribbles on napkins to photos of whiteboards to highly structured documents like the one posted on shell: revealed. However, none of them resemble anything I learned to do in college. In order to graduate with a Computer Science degree from the University of Michigan, we had to take several Technical Communications courses. The processes these courses taught us to follow and the documents they taught us to write were a joke - relics from the height of professors' former careers in decades past - completely detached from current or best practices in software development (at Microsoft or otherwise).

And now, off to sleep. G'night.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New Stuff In MicrosoftLand

HD TV and movies on Xbox 360

The Xbox Team blog boasts that in 2 weeks, Xbox 360 owners will be able to download and watch HD TV and movies (before PS3, and without buying yet another box sometime next year).

Engadget has pics. More info on the official Xbox site, NY Times, and

In a less hyped move, the Xbox team also recently released an update to all Xbox 360s that lets them stream video from any PC (not just Media Center edition), supports 1080p, and a bunch of other cool stuff.

Do you need any more excuses to buy one? ;-)

Zune everywhere!

The official Zune site has launched.

I've gotta say this thing is beginning to grow on me. The way they've engaged the music-loving community has blown my mind.

Definitely making its way onto my holiday wishlist right after a new digital camera and this pair of hot snakeskin shoes.

Another new Windows Live Local feature

I'm not sure what this product is even called anymore (Virtual Earth? Windows Live Local?? Live Search???, but it now has some sort of new 3D rendering feature. I can't really appreciate it because it made my monitor at work go black, then gave me an error message. Above is a picture of the Space Needle in Seattle as captured on my Thinkpad here at home. Nifty.

Microsoft Virtual Earth/Windows Live Local powered by Virtual Earth Beta/Live Search happens to be one of the few Microsoft products I just can't bear to use. I've tried - over and over - but the multiple search boxes, the slow bulky constantly-loading UI, the insane number of overlayed windows, the unintuitive navigation paradigm, the clutter of ads and promotion of some baseball player's list of favorite places, and the number of steps it takes me to do something as simple as get driving directions to a restaurant - makes me go back to Google Maps every time.

What Else

This is the first time in a long time I've gone over 2 weeks straight without blogging. My new role at work has been incredibly challenging (in a good, but brain-draining way) and has been keeping me quite busy.

I recently picked up a copy of Phantasy Star Universe for my 360, and it rocks my socks. Highly recommended.

I've realized it takes about 1-2 hours on average each day to read through my blogs and other sources of information just to keep up - not including the stacks of magazines piling up on my coffee table, which will inevitably end up as airplane reading material later this month. Beyond work, a semi-deprived social life, exercise, and absorbing information through blogs, podcasts, etc, I'm left with less and less time and energy for pleasure reading or blogging. Still trying to figure out how to best manage/fix this. Any suggestions? :)