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Saturday, October 29, 2005

What's your favorite flavor?

If you're looking at this post in a browser window, you should have already noticed the change. If you're reading this in an RSS aggregator, come on over to the site.

Yeah, gone are the old backgrounds; e-piphany comes in five new flavors now - Mocha, Orange, Lemon, Mint and Blueberry.

So, what's your favorite flavor? :)

posted at 11:06:00 PM
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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Join The Beta Experience - Vista and Office 12...

OSNN regulars probably saw my post about this on the forums. Here it is for the everyone else. :)

The new generation of Microsoft Windows and Office is about to be launched. Get in on the act right from the start and follow the new products as they go through to the finals. As a member of the Vista and Office Beta Experience you will benefit from valuable resources, specialist knowledge and additional bonus material. In addition, your subscription will include regular issues of the Beta Experience Newsletter containing specialist knowledge all about Windows Vista and Office "12".

By joining the Beta Experience now you will receive:

* A reminder as soon as the beta software is available
* The easy opportunity to download or order the beta software (shipping and handling fee may apply)
* The Beta Experience Newsletter (starting January 2006)
* Exclusive offers, resources and additional downloads

Sign up here!

posted at 7:11:00 PM
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Buy this blog now for just about $15K...

When AOL acquired the Weblogs Inc. network earlier this month (supposedly for somewhere between $25-$40 million), people all over the web began to speculate about how an individual blog is valued in such a sale. An important thing to realize is that the value of a blog is not judged simply by the amount of traffic that it gets but by the conversations it leads to on the web; in other words, how many other blogs respond to something you said and link to you.

Dane Carlson of the Business Opportunities Weblog created a little calculator that figures out how much your blog would be worth based on data from Technorati.

So I filled in my URL and here's what I got:


My blog is worth $14,678.04.
How much is your blog worth?


Wow. Any takers? :D

posted at 12:20:00 PM
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Monday, October 24, 2005

Ordered the last set of parts...

Just placed the order on Newegg for the last set of parts that I needed to finish building the new desktop. This is what it finally looks like:

AMD Athlon64 "ClawHammer" 4000+
ASUS A8N-SLi Deluxe nForce4 board
Zalman CNPS7700-Cu CPU HSF
1GB Corsair PC3200 Dual-Channel DDR SDRAM
256MB eVGA PCI-e GeForce 6800 GT
200GB Seagate UATA HDD w/ 8MB cache
NEC ND-3540A Dual-Layer DVD Burner
Antec Life Style Sonata w/ ATX 2.0 PSU
Dell UltraSharp 1704FPT 17" TFT display

Booyah! :)

posted at 9:46:00 PM
[ Hide comments ]
a very nice system there Kunal :) Was it only the clawhammer that you got for free?
sean, 10.25.2005, 2:15 am
I think he got the 6800 GT, and the motherboard for free too >.<

Now, I think you should add at least another gig of RAM :D
Omar, 10.25.2005, 11:48 am
Sean: the ClawHammer and the 6800 GT are from the WinHEC/x64-launch swag bag. :D

Omar: Not all at once now. Maybe sometime in the future. ;P
Kunal, 10.25.2005, 4:28 pm
ok, so if you want to pay my flights and get me into the next conference with free swag i will make you my personal aquaintence... for life :P

As for the RAM, 1GB is enough :P My desktop is only a 2Ghz Sempron but has 1GB of dual channel RAM and it runs damn fast! the dual channel ram is whats helping though, without it it wouldnt be all that great :P
sean, 10.26.2005, 7:44 am
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The new display is here...

Wow! That was fast!

My dad just called this morning to let me know that the 1704FPT that we ordered on Friday was delivered this morning.

That's one business day delivery, folks. Go Dell! :D

posted at 11:22:00 AM
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On Office 12 UI design decisions...

Jensen Harris has posted Part 5 of his "Why the UI" series in which he talks about the reasons for the big changes made to the Office 12 user interface, including the addition of the new contextual ribbons. If you missed the first four posts, I suggest reading them too.

Harris' candid and open style of writing has made his blog one of my favorite ones, and I enjoy reading every one of his posts. If you're looking forward to Office 12 and are interested in knowing the reasons for the design decisions being made, this is a blog you really should subscribe to.

And by the way, don't the new charts look just superb? I almost feel like taking a bite off that pie chart! :D

posted at 11:11:00 AM
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Control a game character using your mind...

If you thought the ability to control a character in a computer game using your brainwaves was something you'd only see in a science fiction movie, think again.

Crazy impressive stuff!

posted at 12:07:00 AM
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Sunday, October 23, 2005

MSH: Ars Technica's in-depth look...

Ryan Paul of Ars Technica today posted what I think is one of the most comprehensive, well-informed overviews of the Microsoft Command Shell (abbreviated MSH, codenamed "Monad") I have seen so far.

The thirteen-page long "moderately technical" article walks readers through the MSH syntax, demonstrates the ability to leverage the .NET APIs within the command shell, and takes a look at some of the implementation details. I enjoyed reading the section in which he debunks the false claims that MSH poses additional security risks to the OS. Here's an excerpt:

MSH does not pose a greater security risk than any other application, nor does it inherently represent an additional security weakness of any kind, but MSH scripts can and will be used for malicious purposes.

Don't let the potential for malicious use give you the wrong impression about MSH. Scripting languages will always be capable of doing damage, regardless of the platform. The Linux security model is not without its own fallibilities as well, and a malicious Bash script can still do quite a bit of damage to individual user files. With the risks in mind, Microsoft included a number of security features in MSH that help to minimize the potential for destructive employment.

Great stuff! Worth a read. :)

posted at 11:50:00 PM
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Friday, October 21, 2005

Getting a new LCD display...

Dell 1704FPT

One step closer to getting my desktop completed!

My brother just ordered the Dell UltraSharp 1704FPT 17" display for me. It's got solid reviews, a 12 ms response time, and includes DVI input. There's a built-in 4 port USB hub, and it does the fancy 90 degree tilt from landscape to portrait mode.

It should be here by the end of the month. Then there's only the RAM and the DVD burner which I'm hoping to order sometime soon as well. Exciting! :)

Update: The status changed to "Shipped" already! I'm amazed.


posted at 7:27:00 PM
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Tab Preview extension for Firefox...

I really like the idea of having hover-over previews of taskbar tiles in the current Vista beta builds. It solves the taskbar clutter problem and lets users quickly identify which window they're switching focus to.

The same problem extends to the tab bar in all modern browsers, which is where the recently released Tab Preview extension comes in for Firefox. Like the Vista shell feature, this extension shows you a preview of the webpage loaded in the tab when the user hovers over it.

I wonder if this is a planned feature for IE 7. Quick Tabs does solve the "too many tabs" problem in a really nice way, but it takes two clicks - one to generate all the little previews, and one to switch to the tab you're looking for. It would be nice to have at-a-glance hover-over previews of tabs too. After all, it's a natural extension to a UI feature that's already going to be part of the OS itself.

Update: I just cross-posted this to the beta newsgroups. Let's see if I get an official answer. :)

posted at 7:05:00 PM
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MSFT Friday funnies...

Microsoft has a new video up, showcasing a new feature in Vista called WSYP (We Share Your Pain), an extension to the Error Reporting technology in XP.

Amanda Congdon of Rocketboom had too much time on her hands and created a "remix" of the Bill Gates video from Channel 9. :P

Enjoy! :D

posted at 10:50:00 AM
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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Some things I like about Flock...

Played with it some more, and here are some things that I really like about it:

Bookmark Tagging - a really nice way to keep all your bookmarks organized, and much more flexible than using a folder-subfolder hierarchy.

History Search - webpage contents are indexed while you browse and as you start typing a search term into the search box at the top-right corner, you get a list of all the sites that you visited that contained the term. Very nice.

Feed aggregation is done well, although it won't be replacing my regular RSS reader.

Integrated blogging - there's something called the Shelf, which is like a dropbox/scrapbook for web content (text, images etc.) that you want to use in your blog post. Drag stuff onto it, start composing post and drag stuff off as needed. Convenient. Supports Flickr too.

Favorites also auto-sync with del.icio.us. I don't use this personally, but I'm sure there are people who will love this.

Being a beta, there are obviously issues. It tends to get slow and laggy quite often, and I did notice a few bugs, including a rather nasty memory leak. It's not ready for primetime yet, but it's definitely very promising. I'm going to keep my eye on this one. :)

posted at 11:40:00 PM
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Flock: the new browser on the block...

Flock


There's been a lot of talk about this for a while, and it looks like it's finally here. Flock is a a new browser built on the Firefox codebase that's essentially optimized for the web-junkie (heh, they should use that as their tagline). It includes some very powerful features related to RSS, blogging and picture sharing, social bookmarking, and tagging. And because it's built on top of Firefox, you can continue to use all your existing extensions and other customizations.

I've just used it for a little while so far, but there's quite a bit of very impressive stuff and some really significant productivity enhancements. I'm still getting a feel for all the new stuff using the Getting Started guide that's provided.

Go check it out. It's worth a look!


posted at 10:24:00 PM
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Another look at VirtualWiFi...

Looks like Greg Hughes was brave enough to install the VirtualWiFi tool and was able to get it to work! :)

There are some limitations in this release. For example, the current version of VirtualWiFi does not support networks using WEP or 802.1X. Also - be sure to review and follow the install/uninstall instructions carefully and note that this is not production grade software (when they say Microsoft Labs, they actually mean it's, well, experimental). [...]

It works. It's very manual and not for beginners (you have to disable the wireless auto configuration in Windows and manually install the service, set up connections, etc), but it's an interesting technological idea with some interesting possible uses.

Greg also posted a couple of screenshots in his post.

posted at 11:59:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

VirtualWiFi - connect to multiple networks...

Just spotted this over on Bink.nu. It's a MSR project called VirtualWiFi that lets you connect to multiple WiFi networks simulataneously using a single wireless network card.

VirtualWiFi is a virtualization architecture for wireless LAN (WLAN) cards. It abstracts a single WLAN card to appear as multiple virtual WLAN cards to the user. The user can then configure each virtual card to connect to a different wireless network. Therefore, VirtualWiFi allows a user to simultaneously connect his machine to multiple wireless networks using just one WLAN card. This new functionality introduced by VirtualWiFi enables many new applications, which were not possible earlier using a single WLAN card. For example,

* With VirtualWiFi, you can connect to a guest's machine or play games over an ad hoc network, while surfing the web via an infrastructure network.
* You can use VirtualWiFi to connect your ad hoc network, which may contain many nodes, to the Internet using only one node.
* VirtualWiFi can help make your home infrastructure network elastic by extending its access to nodes that are out of range of your home WiFi Access Point.

I doubt this works with the current Vista betas. Anyone with an XP installation willing to try this out and report the results? :) Make sure you look at the FAQ and the instructions first.

posted at 12:53:00 PM
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Microsoft/iDSA PC Design Contest ends...

Many of you might remember the StartSomethingPC teaser trailer that appeared a few days before WinHEC 2005 in April this year, leading to an industrial design contest for the next-generation PC. Well, the contest ended today and starting November 1st, we'll be able to see all the entries on the site and vote for our favorite ones.

Well the competition is now closed. The number of entries were more than double our expectation. If you entered, thank you for your participation. On Oct 27th, 2005, a group of internationally renowned designers will meet at Microsoft to review the entries and select the winner of the Judges’ Award. Beginning November 1st, there will be a whole new look to this site. From November 1st through December 16th, 2005, you will be able to view all the entries from the competition and vote for your favorite. The winners of the 3 categories: Judge’s Award, Chairman’s Award and Public’s Choice Award will be announced at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in early January, 2006. Thank you! From Microsoft and IDSA.

Remember the Athens PC prototype? Something like that, or even better? Can't wait to see what people came up with. :)

Athens PC

posted at 11:01:00 AM
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Monday, October 17, 2005

A subtle difference in the Glass buttons...

Hmm...I was just taking another look at the new WMP11 screenshot that was posted today and I noticed a subtle difference in the Aero Glass buttons. Take a look at this screenshot:


See what I mean? The color of the close button has changed from a bright red to a vermillion shade. But the nice glow that bleeds out from the window in current builds seems to be missing. And of course, the maximize button has clearly changed too.

I don't believe we'll be seeing any radical changes to the UI from this point on like we did in the Whistler betas, but it seems like there's quite a bit of fine-tuning and polishing going on internally. Remember that alternative Start button that accidently slipped out in a screenshot and was hurriedly removed? Wonder what else is in store...

posted at 6:37:00 PM
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Intel could make instant-on a reality...

While Intel has been facing quite a bit of heat from AMD in the desktop processor space due to the Athlon 64 and the dual-core X2's, the company still seems to be doing some cutting-edge stuff in the mobile segment

Intel Corp. today unveiled a new technology that significantly reduces the time it takes for a notebook PC to power up or access programs, while also improving battery life.

Intel's new Robson cache technology ensured an almost immediate start-up of a Centrino-based notebook PC during a live demonstration at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei, while a laptop with identical hardware but without Robson took several seconds to boot up.

The laptop with Robson also opened Adobe Reader in 0.4 seconds, while the other notebook required 5.4 seconds. It opened Quicken in 2.9 seconds, while the laptop without Robson technology needed 8 seconds to do the job.

The secret behind the Robson nonvolatile cache technology is NAND flash memory. Instead of booting from the hard drive, a laptop using Robson would turn to standard NAND flash memory instead. The difference saves time and battery power, according to Intel.


Source: ComputerWorld

posted at 2:30:00 PM
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Testing design changes on Safari...

A couple of months ago, those of you who use Safari on a Mac or Opera on either platform reported that you were seeing a large whitespace between the header and the first post on this blog. As we later found out, it turned out to be a stray piece of code that Blogger automatically added to my template without my knowledge.

So anyway...at that time, I was able to download and install Opera to test any changes that I was making in order to fix the bug, but I had to wait for one of you to check the results on Safari and get back to me before I knew the issue was resolved because I don't have access to a Mac unless I walk down to campus.

Turns out that there are a couple of free services that allow you to get screenshots of what your site (or any other site) looks like on a Mac. I had seen some such services available for a fee, but I hadn't looked for free alternatives. If a similar issue ever crops up in the future, I should be able to fix it faster with the help of one of those sites. Should also be helpful for fellow Windows users with sites/blogs who don't have quick access to Macs either. :)

(Thanks to Dare for the links)

posted at 2:09:00 PM
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Windows Vista Build 5231 released...

The October CTP has finally made it onto Connect for beta testers this morning. As expected, this is a newer build than the one that leaked a couple of weeks ago, although the number is the same.

Unfortunately, I won't get a chance to install it until the weekend, partly because I'm swamped with coursework during the week, and also because I don't have access to a DVD burner (or media) until I go back home on Friday night.

In any case, Paul Thurrott has a review up of some of the new stuff in this build (and there's quite a bit!). Robert McLaws and Brandon LeBlanc over on LonghornBlogs have also blogged about their experiences with this build and what they think of the new features.

It looks like the WMP11 build in 5231 is the same as the one we saw in the leaked screenshots. However, Sean Alexander has a screenshot of the latest internal build that looks much more polished and closer to a finished product.

posted at 1:43:00 PM
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Sunday, October 16, 2005

HEX 168 - Xbox 360 viral marketing...

It looks like a new Xbox 360 viral marketing campaign has begun - HEX 168. Yup, 168 in hex is the number 360 in decimal notation.

Team Xbox has pictures of this "mysterious" sign appearing in various parts of the country, along with the words "The Beginning is nigh"

Finally, the person who contacted us revealed that at noon on October 18, "the true purpose of the sign will be revealed, and the truly committed will have their chance to experience the New Beginning before the rest of the world."

Any guesses? :)

(Thanks Brandon!)

posted at 10:55:00 PM
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The BillG webcast is up...

An on-demand webcast of the talk/presentation at Columbia University is up. The video is about an hour long with a talk, followed by demos of the Xbox 360 and the futuristic 'smart table' prototype developed at MSR, and a Q&A session at the end.

I caught a couple of glimpses of my brother in the video too. :D

posted at 4:55:00 PM
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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Not just WYGIWYS, but BBOP too...

Did that post title just confuse the heck out of you? :D

A couple of days ago, we saw Nielsen's take on a results-oriented UI, or what he cleverly described as What You Get Is What You See (WYGIWYS). Well, today Jan Miksovsky talks about an existing tasks-oriented UI paradigm that hasn't yet received the kind of formal attention that it should have. He christens it "BBOP" (pronounced "bebop") after the paradigm's four hallmarks.

Cool stuff. Miksovsky is a professional user experience designer, and flowstate is another one of my favorite blogs on UX design with plenty of insightful content.

posted at 12:42:00 AM
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

BillG visiting Columbia University today...

Bill Gates is on a college tour this week, visiting six universities in three days to talk about the software industry and to have open discussions with students. He's accompanied by Kevin Schofield who is blogging on the job. When's Bill getting a blog, by the way? :)

So anyway, they're visiting Columbia University in New York city today. My brother's going to be attending and I've asked him to get pictures at the event and post them when he gets back.

More later. Lots of updates posted today, so I'll leave you to read them, digest them and leave your comments, while I go get lunch and head back to class.

posted at 1:11:00 PM
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R.I.P. WYSIWYG, says Nielsen...

This piece has been floating around all over the web during the last couple of days because of the interesting perspective that it offers.

Jakob Nielsen, the useability guru himself, claims that the traditional WYSIWYG approach to user interfaces has reached its limits and needs to be replaced with something better. He believes that the next-generation UI needs to focus on results, and he refers to this new paradigm as WYGIWYS - that's right, What You Get Is What You See.

As an example, Nielsen points to the new contextual ribbons in Office 12 which serve as replacements for the current toolbars-and-menus approach towards getting things done. Jensen Harris should be proud. :)

It's a good read and it's not too long, so take a look.

posted at 1:02:00 PM
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Mac OS X "Tiger" Web Edition...

Hey, maybe this brings us one step closer to the GoogleOS that everyone loves to speculate about. Joking, of course. But here's something really cool.

Fellow Windows users who were into the Mac OS UI emulation craze a couple of years ago might be familiar with the FlyakiteOSX pack for XP. Well, Chris, the creator of this pack (I think that's what his name is), has given his site a major overhaul and has now made it look and feel like an actual online version of Tiger itself. :D

Of course, there are UI imperfections here and there, but damn...that's one superb job! And it's pretty crazy because it doesn't use any Flash at all. Go play with it!

[Hat tip to Steve Rubel for the link]

And then there's Inquisitor, a search engine front-end based on Google, loaded with AJAX-y goodness. Spotlight for the web, so to speak. It's created by David Watanabe, the same guy who does apps like Acquisition and NewsFire for OS X. Oh, and try using your keyboard arrow keys after you type in a search query. Nice! :)

posted at 12:45:00 PM
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Microsoft and Yahoo! announce IM interop...

Microsoft issued a press release yesterday announcing an IM interoperability agreement with Yahoo!

This means that MSN and Yahoo users can sign on using their existing accounts using their IM client of choice and intercommunicate transparently between networks. What's important to note is that the interop is not limited to text messages only. As Dan Rosensweig, chief operating officer at Yahoo!, pointed out during the press teleconference, users will also be able to initiate voice chats across the two networks:

"Users from Yahoo! and MSN will be able to see their friends' online presence, exchange instant messages, share select emoticons, and do all of that with one single ID. We will also enable PC to PC voice calls between the services."

This is great news for IM users in general and a positive step in the right direction. Now if only AOL would jump into the deal, we'd all be able to use our favorite IM clients, while still retaining functionality, rather than having to resort to multi-network clients that are almost always crippled in terms of features.

When the Google Talk beta was released in August this year, the company announced that their ultimate goal was to "federate" all the major IM networks. I wonder how this agreement between MSN and Yahoo is going to affect their strategy and what their next plan of action is going to be.

posted at 12:28:00 PM
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Weird news of the week...

Is it just me, or does anyone else find this really weird? :D

[Via tech.memeorandum]

posted at 12:23:00 PM
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Channel 9 introduces Clipster...

No, it has nothing to do with Clippy, the Office Assistant that nobody loves. :P

The Clipster is a personal video recorder for video blogs like Channel 9 that we’ve integrated into our embedded media player.

It is so easy! We’ve added a red record button to the embedded video player on Channel 9. Select the red record button to start recording. Select it again when you are done. Specify the title of the clip(s) you’ve recorded. Select Save. That is it!

The clips are available from your Channel 9 Profile page. We also provide links to clips below each of our videos to clips we and the community have created. Each clip has its own URL. Link to it from your blog, share your clips with your friends and family.

What a brilliant little gem of a feature! Those of you who have watched any of the Channel 9 videos know that they're typically quite long with intros, discussions, and demos. Sometimes (and this happens to me quite often actually), you just want to share a small part of the video, like a cool demo, with friends or post it on a forum/blog. This PVR-like feature solves the problem easily now.

The caveat is that it only works with Internet Explorer at this stage, but they're looking for suggestions/help to make it work in other browsers as well.

posted at 12:09:00 PM
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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Customize the Vista Start Menu search box...

Here's something fellow Vista beta testers are surely going to appreciate. Marc Miller has just posted a quick guide that shows you how to create custom search commands for the search box in the new Start menu.

I had several of these quick shortcuts stored in my Windows Desktop Search setup on XP and had been hoping for a way to do something similar in the Vista beta builds I've been using, since WDS doesn't install on current Vista builds.

Thanks Marc! This is awesome. :)

posted at 12:59:00 PM
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Features in the new Hotmail Beta...

The MSN folks have launched a new site that gives us a sneak-peek at some of the new features in the Hotmail Beta. The page even includes a link where you can sign up for a chance to beta test.

My favorite features on that list? Drag and Drop and context menus! Outlook Web Access, which is a web-based interface to access an Exchange server has had many of these features for a long time now. Unfortunately, since Exchange and OWA are generally considered corporate/enterprise level products, most home users don't get a chance to see it in action, much less actually use it. I personally like to describe OWA "Outlook in a web browser" and it seems like the upcoming version of Hotmail is moving towards a similar look-and-feel, with a subset of OWA's functionality.

I don't really use my Hotmail account anymore because of the way its currently plastered rather obnoxiously with ads and banners, but more so because I simply prefer using a rich client like Outlook rather than a webmail service. I'm still interested in beta testing the upcoming version though. It definitely looks promising!

Update: A few people IM'd me and asked if they can try OWA somehow, without access to a personal or company Exchange server. Well, here's a live demo from a company that offers managed Exchange hosting. Since it's a public demo, the folders probably get purged every now and then, so if you don't see any emails you can play with when you log in, send a couple to the email address of the account you're logging in with. Try drag-and-drop, keyboard shortcuts, the calendar and tasks sections etc. :)

posted at 12:18:00 PM
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Another look at Google Reader...

So now that the dust has settled after the initial release frenzy, I went ahead and gave Google Reader another shot. The speed has improved dramatically, as one would hope and expect, so that gave me a chance to take a better look at it this time.

To sum it up in two words - I'm disappointed. I expected something better - something creative, but at the same time useable...like Gmail and Google Maps were. And it's definitely creative. It takes a completely different approach from every other web-based aggregator in terms of the UI and layout, but in the process, I think it makes it hard to work with a large number of feeds. Dave hit the nail on the head in a comment he posted earlier - the interface just isn't suited for working efficiently with 100+ feeds. I prefer the more traditional (or what some would call "uninnovative") way that Bloglines and NewsGator Online handle feeds, giving you a "newspaper" view of all the items in a feed and allowing you to mark them all as read if you want to do so. Ed Bott expresses a similar opinion as well, and Dave Winer definitely doesn't seem impressed at all.

My take? If you don't like something about your current aggregator, feel free to give it a try. Just don't get your hopes up. :)

posted at 12:02:00 PM
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Sunday, October 09, 2005

The RSS button for IE 7...

The IE 7 RSS team is looking for feedback on which design they should use for the RSS button in the toolbar, and it seems to have sparked off a big discussion in the comments section and several other blogs on the web. I personally feel #2 is a big no-no, simply because the drop shadow and glow just won't scale well. #1 is nice and simple, although I'm actually leaning towards #3. I like Adam Kinney's idea based on that one even more.

What do you think?

posted at 3:57:00 PM
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The first real screenshot of WMP11...

Some of you might remember the very first pictures of WMP11 that I posted last month from the PDC. Although we were asked to take the pics down, they were mirrored on over a dozen sites within the first hour, this being one of them.

Well, the first real screenshots of WMP11 from the leaked build 5231 have now appeared on the web, and as one can see, there's quite a bit of similarity. It's great to see that what we saw at the PDC then was not just a prototype UI that would never really see the light of day. Sure, the app in the pics looks a lot more polished and unified than the one in the screenshot, but you can clearly see that they're getting there. :)

posted at 3:37:00 PM
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Friday, October 07, 2005

HTC Wizard and Tornado coming to T-Mo USA...

Yes! My repeated prayers for some solid new cellphones from T-Mobile have finally been answered. Well...maybe not yet, but Engadget reports that T-Mo USA will be getting the HTC Wizard and the HTC Tornado in early 2006. They will be sold as the T-Mobile MDA and SDA respectively.

I might finally get a chance to move up from my Nokia 3650 if there are some good deals on next year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! :)

posted at 3:21:00 PM
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Google's new RSS aggregator...

Google just released a new web-based RSS aggregator after an announcement at the Web 2.0 conference. [Via Scoble]

I was pretty eager to check it out, but damn...it's slow, slow, slow. Slow to the point of being completely unusable at this point. Two whole minutes and my OPML file still hasn't been imported yet. I'm just sticking to NewsGator Online for now. There's no fancy AJAX stuff in NGO, but it's hell of a lot more useable.

I'll wait for Google to resolve the performance issues before I even consider looking at the features, UI and other stuff. Very disappointing, but I'm willing to give it another shot when it gets better.

Update: I initially gave this the benefit of the doubt since I'm on a rather slow and laggy wireless connection right now (although that doesn't explain why NGO and Bloglines are working beautifully). But it looks like I'm not the only one experiencing issues. A quick search through the blogosphere reveals similar sentiments across the board. :(

Update 2: The Unofficial Google Weblog has a review up.

posted at 12:17:00 PM
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Here comes the weekend...

...and I need pretty much every minute of it to catch up with coursework!

There's been so much going on this week. We had an ACM officers meeting to plan out our events and activities for this quarter. There's some good stuff coming and we'll be talking about it at the general body meeting next week.

We also set up a table at the ORL Tech Fair on Wednesday. It was basically a two-hour long tech event that was set up by the Office of Residential Life in the dorms. We were invited as the CS student group on campus, and there were the usual big tech companies there talking about their stuff too. It was lots of fun, and we raffled off some prizes to people who were able to solve some riddles that we had. It wasn't as big as the E-Week event last year when we gave away the Sony PSP though. :) Newegg was there and gave away some games and a GeForce 7800GT! Damn, I wish I had dropped my name in the raffle box, but I was too busy at our own table. A certain unnamed company that sells a wildly popular, white device was too cheap to give anything away. :P

My manager from Symantec invited me to a team dinner at the P.F. Chang's in Santa Monica yesterday. A press release for the product I worked on over summer was issued two days ago. It was great meeting the team again and talking about all the stuff that happened there after I left as they pushed towards the release. :)

I missed the first two episodes of Smallville (Season 5) and just realized that today. I need to catch up and start recording it on the DVR from next week.

posted at 11:35:00 AM
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Thursday, October 06, 2005

CNET's Top 100 Blogs...

CNET has picked a list of top 100 blogs.

If you're looking for some new reading material, this might be a good place to start looking. Nice to see some of my favorite blogs on the list. :)

posted at 1:32:00 PM
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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Finished the book...

I finished reading The Da Vinci Code this afternoon. I'm guessing I spent abour 8-9 hours on it in all, including the time on the flight to and from Redmond over the weekend.

Absolutely loved the book. The fusion between fiction and realism was unique, the plot was fast-paced and intriguing, the twists and turns were exciting, and the building suspense just had me hooked once I was a few chapters into the book.

I hope the movie coming out next year does the book justice. I can see it being really awesome if it's done right. If you haven't read the book yet, I highly recommend doing so, even if you plan to watch the movie. There's just something different about reading a good book and leaving it to your imagination to draw it out for you in your head. :)

posted at 10:52:00 PM
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Weblogs Inc. sold to AOL...

Scoble talks about the deal.

Weblogs Inc. is home to some of my favorite blogs on the web, including Engadget, Download Squad, Marc Orchant's Office and TabletPC blogs etc. I'm not quite sure what the AOL acquisition means to these blogs and what changes are expected, but I'm really hoping things continue to move in a positive direction.

posted at 10:41:00 PM
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Monday, October 03, 2005

About the SA Summit...

Had a fun time at the Student Ambassador event in Redmond this weekend. I landed in Seattle late on Friday night, so there wasn't much to do then. Just got to the hotel, met up with Chris and Ryan, and went off to sleep.

Kevin and Tracy from the SA program kept us busy and entertained all through Saturday. The shuttles took us from the hotel to the Microsoft campus at 8AM, where we had breakfast, followed by a series of introductions and presentations until early evening. It was a nice way to meet and interact with the other SA's and OneNote reps from all over the country.

After relaxing at the hotel for about an hour, the shuttles took us to a Go Kart racing place in downtown Seattle where we spent the rest of the evening racing, playing arcade games, talking to people and having dinner. Later that night, Ryan and I met up with Brandon Paddock. It was the first time I met Brandon in person, although I've been reading his blog even before he was a Microsoft/MSN employee because of our common interest in desktop search stuff. :)

On Sunday, I met some more friends in the area before leaving for the airport in the evening. Fun stuff.

I also started reading The Da Vinci Code on the flights to and from Seattle. Damn! It's absolutely captivating. I spent about 4-5 hours on it in total, and I'm already on Chapter 55...more than halfway through the book. I'm probably going to finish it before the weekend, and then I might just pick up a copy of Angels and Demons. :D

The quarter is off to a speedy start already, in terms of classes and events I'm working on as part of ACM and the SA program in the coming weeks. The last two weeks of summer break left me relaxed after about three months of fast-paced summer work at Symantec, and it's time to get back in full gear again.

posted at 7:26:00 PM
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