Monthly Archives: January 2008

Happy first birthday Windows Vista


Windows Vista is growing up so quick and making so many (100 million) friends. It was a little hard fitting at first – everyone still favored her older and more mature sister Ex-Pee, but now everyone’s getting along much better. In fact, it won’t be long until she gets her new pajamas! Maybe then she’ll be the new popular kid on the block. Although rumor has it her parents are already looking to have another one, but doctors don’t know when that one will arrive just yet. Here’s to another year.

Moist and delicious cake kindly provided by the Windows Vista Magazine.

Forever engraved in Microsoft US patent D560,487

Found this slightly amusing. In a patent awarded to Microsoft on 29 January 2008 for their Windows Vista and Office 2007 media packaging design includes a reference to no other than this very blog! The suspect in question is this post I had written in 2006 when I was speculating on the packaging design for Windows Vista after finding some interesting patent applications. Fortunately everything turned out to be true, and I guess Microsoft finally got the patent. My friend Robert McLaws always gets an honorable mention. Here’s to 14 years of fame.

US patent D560,487

Now showing: Microsoft’s “Dangerous Descent”, an animated thriller about counterfeiting airline pilots

You’ve got to give credit to Microsoft for at least coming up with new ways to communicate the effects of counterfeit software, if not, producing these wicked illustrated short movies. For just under a year now, Microsoft has been producing a series of these animated movies, “Genuine Fact Files“, aimed at demonstrating how counterfeit software can have devastating effects on the life of those who purchase them.

Dangerous Descent

The latest of these comic-style movies is called “Dangerous Descent”. It features the story of a pilot who has been pressured by a friend to purchase some Microsoft software from street shops in Shanghai – a story most of us can relate to. Unknowingly, he puts himself, his friends and even his marriage on the line. This suspense thriller will put you on the edge of your seat until the very last second. Rated M for mature.

[flv:dangerous_descent.flv 670 376]

In case you were wondering, this is the wonderful of creative agency DDB Seattle and illustrator Charlie Griak. Charlie’s work has been officially selected in two international film festivals and featured in many animated commercial. He’s also worked on one other movie in the Microsoft campaign called “Suspicious Cargo” and features a similar tone and illustration style. You can view that on YouTube here.

You can find wallpapers and videos for more of these “Genuine Fact Files” at the Microsoft website.

ReStyling MIX08: CSS competition

Mix08Every year since Microsoft has held the MIX conference in Las Vegas, it has also held a CSS web design competition. This year it’s called ReStyle. The premise of the competition is identical to most CSS competitions out there – most notably css Zen Garden. Designers are given a HTML template filled with content to work with, they are limited to only CSS and images linked via CSS to come up with creative ways to style the static content.

Microsoft’s ReStyle competition is ending soon on February 7. A panel of judges will pick three winners based on quality, creativity, and usability of the designs. The winners are awarded with a paid registration to MIX, hotel stay and up to $1000 in travel allowance. Unfortunately that means most visitors outside of the United States will still have to contribute a portion of the travel by themselves, or paddle on a small raft across the ocean.

Last night I had an idea pop into my head. My head’s fine, thanks for your concern. At approximately 11pm I started with this sample template. Spent four hours to end up with this.


Tested for compatibility only in Firefox 2 and IE7. Yep, that is real transparen-see as you can see with the alternative background here (thanks to Squidfingers for the patterned background). It wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it.

Check out some of the other submissions already at the ReStyle Gallery. There’s bound to be more great designs submitted in the next few days since the submission form hadn’t been working for a while. In the chance I do win, I’m hoping to give away the opportunity to attend MIX to a lucky somebody because it looks like I’ll be attending anyway as a guest of Microsoft Australia. Don’t hold your breath.

Bill Gates at Davos World Economic Forum 2008 video

There was a lot of press last week about Bill Gates’ session “A New Approach to Capitalism in the 21st Century ” at the World Economic Forum 2008 in Davos, Switzerland but few if any of which had linked to the YouTube video of the whole session. It’s just one of the many great sessions at Davos this year, on top of the very inspiring “The Davos Question” videos. If you have a spare 30 minutes, check out what Bill has to say about the role of economics in the 21st Century.

At around the 2-minute mark, Bill once again makes fun of himself leaving the full-time position at Microsoft. “As you all may know, in July I’ll make a big career change. I’m not worried; I believe I’m still marketable. I’m a self-starter, I’m proficient in Microsoft Office. I guess that’s it.”

If Bill’s speaking pace makes you unsettled, you can read the transcript yourself here.

Help me microloan $500 $600 on Kiva

I’ve been more than fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to attend so many fun events, meet so many great people and play with the latest cool gadgets as a result of this blog, I really owe it to everybody that’s supported me. This month Google AdSense has served me particularly well thanks to an appearance by a special somebody at CES which drew enough traffic for me to generate a nice chunk of above-average advertising revenue.

I’ve decided not to keep the money because it’s simply not fair to profit so much from someone else’s hard work. In return, I want to give you all the opportunity to help me help the less fortunate people in underdeveloped countries.

Some of you might have heard of the term microfinancing, which is basically providing financial services to the very poor that most banks would otherwise neglect. One of the most exciting aspect of microfinancing is microloans or microcredit. Think of loans but instead of thousands of dollars, think hundreds. That may not seem practical in developed nations, but are great sums of money elsewhere.

KivaOne of the organizations which connect microlenders to entrepreneurs around the world is Kiva. This is a non-profit organization which has been endorsed by the likes of Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey. Microfinancing institutions all around the world collect profiles of local entrepreneurs who are in need of microcredit and posts their profiles to Kiva. Then via PayPal, anyone can lend money to these hopeful entrepreneurs from as little as little as $25.

Kiva is not a charity – you can’t buy people out of poverty. Instead, these entrepreneurs are obligated to repay the loans when they make a profit. The money then could then be withdrawn or re-loaned to another entrepreneur.

I encourage everyone to check out Kiva for themselves and this is where I need your help. Currently listed on Kiva are 84 (and growing) business profiles which are in need of loans.

  • I have a total of $500 $600 I want to lend.
  • Want to support as many businesses as possible.
  • Minimum loan per business is $25, thus maximum of 20 24 businesses.
  • Want you to suggest me businesses to loan to.

I hope everyone could browse the list of businesses profiles on the site, and recommend to me one or more profiles you think I should lend to including a short note why you think it would be a good choice. If there are duplicates, I’ll loan the amount as many times it was suggested.

In the long run, hopefully most of the money will be repaid which means there’ll be more opportunities to loan again. If this trial is successful, I hope to do more of these in the future with the advertising revenue on this site.

Update: What the heck, let’s throw RSS ad revenue in there too. Increased amount to $600.

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