Monthly Archives: June 2007

Cariadings font now available, bring a wallet

Somewhere in the list of features ‘cut‘ from Longhorn lies Cariadings – a decorative font that was suppose to ship with Longhorn as the next-generation dingbats. Probably because it’s only a font, and a font you can’t read either, no one really paid any attention to its sudden disappearance compared to whatever that WinFS thing was. Except me of course.

Cariadings

Microsoft ClearType CollectionBesides the trademark and patents, all other evidence of Cariadings, the little if any, has been destroyed. Which strikes me as extremely odd since now it appears that Ascender, a company which develops and licenses typefaces has started selling Cariadings together with the rest of the Microsoft ClearType Font Collection. Why didn’t Microsoft ship Cariadings with Windows Vista? Who knows and it’s obviously not going to change.

Designed by Microsoft’s Geraldine Wade, “Cariadings is a decorative symbol font based on simple lines, symmetry and reference to nature. The images are intended as typographic ornaments that can be used as watermarks, border enhancements or icons.”

For $20, you can now buy license Cariadings to get in on a piece of the ornaments and symbols action. The license allows you to use it on up to 5 computers, yeah, like that’s stopped anyone. No details on whether or not this is a royalty-free license – allowing creatives to use the fonts in their work without paying for per eye-ball royalties, potential buyers will have to contact Ascender themselves.

If you’re in a spending mood, you can also buy the entire ClearType collection for $299 if you really love fonts, and I mean really love fonts. Cause I heard, although just an unconfirmed rumor, you can find them in the “C:\Windows\Fonts\” folder. Keep it quiet, just a secret between us okay?

Thanks to Simon from the Microsoft Typography team for the heads up.

Windows Vista SP1 confirmed again by loud-mouth Microsoft Downloads

Windows Vista SP1 second comingMicrosoft Downloads can never keep a good secret, always spilling the beans no matter how many times you point at it (keep it up team!). After all the lies Microsoft had to endure to keep Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (otherwise known as the Second Coming) a forbidden secret, it has been officially confirmed (again) by no other than Microsoft itself. Take that Sinofsky.

A download published only a few hours ago, “Windows Automated Installation Kit Documentation (Windows Server code named “Longhorn” & Windows Vista SP1 Beta 3)“, clearly describes the existence of SP1 not only once, but twice. Here’s proof, just in case it is taken down just as fast as it was published.

Microsoft Downloads confirms Windows Vista SP1
Word document confirms Windows Vista SP1

However don’t let the “Beta 3″ fool you, SP1 is not in Beta 3. The correct name for the download should be, “Windows Automated Installation Kit Documentation (… Windows Vista SP1) Beta 3″ to indicate this is the third beta for the WAIK documentation.

Interestingly enough the Word document has a publish date of February 2007. It could be mislabeled, or it indicates SP1 has been in long in development hiding under our radars – although to no surprise.

Looking through the documentation itself presents no new information which might suggest what features SP1 will bring if any. At least for unattended installs, SP1 seems to be much like if not exactly the same as the current version.

Update: I don’t read WinBeta, but they deserve some credit for finding this first.

Microsoft’s Photosynth finally accepting third-party photographs. Today, Britain. Tomorrow, the world.

PhotosynthIf you’re thinking of taking a picture of yourself exposing some parts of your lower back region in-front of famous landmarks in Britain with the intentions to see it on national TV, then you might have better chances entering in the BBC London 2012 Olympics logo competition.

When Microsoft Live Labs first showcased the Photosynth software back in July of 2006, everybody knew exactly where they were going with this technology. That is, photo-tourism – the ability to browse a vast virtual 3D space of photographs and other visual materials to recreate the effects of being at the location itself. And the second thing that comes to mind is, where can I submit my photos? Well, you couldn’t, until now.

Your Britain in PicturesOn top of the BBC’s existing “Your Britain in PicturesPhotosynth galleries, Microsoft has just announced the ability for camera-happy amateurs and enthusiasts like you and me to submit photographs to expand their collection. Although don’t go jumping outside taking pictures of your neighbors just yet, its only limited for a few historical locations. Currently, and for a limited time, tourists of the Ely Cathedral, Burghley House, the Royal Crescent, Bath, the Scottish Parliament buildings and Blackpool Tower Ballroom can have their photo submitted to specially-marked BBC buses for the opportunity for their work to show up in the Photosynth collections or even national TV. Photos will be manually screened. In addition, no words on whether or not photos from the BBC Flickr group will also be allowed.

Historical and user-submitted images will be integrated into the synths to contrast how people interacted with the locations in the past and present. “This opportunity with the BBC allowed us to test the limits of the Photosynth technology by integrating photographs from decades ago of the UK’s historic sites along with those of the general public today.” said Adam Sheppard, group product manager for Microsoft Live Labs.

Hopefully this is just another small step before the giant leap to open up Photosynth for everyone and anyone to contribute with photographs from anywhere.

    Skyline
    Photograph by Andrew OBrien
  • For anyone who appreciates pictures – imagine being able to wander around entire cities not just from the street-level in the middle of the road looking for obnoxious behavior, but from roof-tops, office windows or even in the air from planes.
  • For shutter-bugs – the difference between uploading your photo and have it appear in the Photosynth world can be just 10 seconds – that’s how long it takes for the software to optimize the parameters for each new photograph. With Flickr‘s amazing storage, tagging and mapping capabilities, similar photos can help expand each other’s meta information with rich information on where the picture was taken and what the picture is of.

But if you’ve already traveled the world and photo-tourism doesn’t interest you one bit, then imagine a real-estate house tour with Photosynth. It would be light years ahead of slide-shows or even more complicated Quicktime VR presentations. No more, “hey that door wasn’t there in the picture” or “this kitchen feels smaller”.

Inside the Insiders: Sandro Villinger of Windows Vista Blog in Germany

Inside the Insiders is a series of interviews with some of the most recognized and outspoken Microsoft influentials, journalists and enthusiasts I know. I plan to go around interviewing as many of these peers as possible to find out more about their background, life outside of Microsoft and their darkest Unix fetishes. At least that’s what I tell them. Little did they know their answers will help me annihilate them and my other competitors.

Sandro Villinger
With such a serious face, I dare not caption anything humorous.

Sandro Villinger was one of the nicest people, out of a whole groups of nice people, whom I had the chance of meeting at this year’s CES show. He’s German, but let not his background fool you. He’s fluent in English, probably more fluent than I am and is one of the top Windows Vista writers in a non-English speaking country with several books and magazines under his belt. But don’t just take my word for it, a lot of other Microsoft bloggers and journalists feel the same way. I had the chance to chat with Sandro to find out exactly what makes him tick.

So who is Sandro Villinger?

I give you some quick key words about me: name – Sandro, Villinger, job – writer/author, self-employed, Microsoft, Vista, magazines, online, Italian food, passionate, traveler. That sums me up really quickly – want more? ;)

Credit card number please. So what do you think makes you a “Microsoft influential”?

I tend to think I influence Microsoft and/or its products a little bit. I’ve been working with a lot of MS employees on a couple of projects that include localization of Windows Vista in Germany, the MS community portal WindowsZone.de (which I’ve helped build/design/maintain from 2004-2007), product feedback via the beta tests, some dialogs with the teams and other smaller projects. It’s not a lot but I hope I made a small impact on the company.

That was more of an “active” way of being influential. Through other media (ex. magazines) I have noticed I have often made a passive impact. For example I often criticized Vista’s performance before RTM on several blogs and in a magazine article and my (passive) feedback was escalated to a couple of the big folks in Redmond.

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How to profit from Microsoft

Step 1. Write a rant about how Microsoft might be shooting itself in the foot.
Step 2. ???
Step 3. Profit!

It’s not cheatingThis March I wrote a post about Microsoft Australia’s “It’s not cheating” offer which sold Office 2007 licenses directly to university students at a 94% discount. At the time I thought whilst it was great for students who would like own a legitimate copy of Office, it was also bad practice on Microsoft’s behalf – for example severely undermining the value of Office. But nevertheless, a discount is a discount.

At the same time, Microsoft was also running a competition called the “Golden Blog Awards” which students could submit their blog entries about “It’s not cheating” for a chance to win a few prizes. The entry criteria stated you must at least include the word “Office” and a link to the website to be eligible, so I thought I might as well give it a chance since I’ve easily met that criteria. With nothing to lose, except my dignity, I entered without thinking twice about it.

Fourth prizeI’d almost forgotten about it, only to find out today that I’ve actually won – fourth prize. The prize is a music downloads subscription plus a Samsung or iRiver MP3 player. Having my beloved iRiver Clix only pass away last night, one might almost call this fate. If it turns out to be not the iRiver Clix, or some non-video-capable Samsung alternative, I might even give it away here. Stay tuned.

But wow, first prize winner Robert Kingston truly deserve something. A whole Lego-animated storyboard about King William (Gates) waging a war against the evil Lord Macintosh and Linux-Hood set in the land of Microsoft. He’s got even more time on his hands than I do.