Category Archives: blog

Short: Microsoft Research “Touch Mouse Sensor SDK” available for download, again

Thanks to a heads up from a commenter, after a three month hiatus in the Bahamas, the Microsoft Touch Mouse Sensor SDK has once again resurfaced on the Microsoft Research download site in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. Better grab it before it makes another run for it.

If any developers come up with cool uses for the Touch Mouse, leave a comment for others to check it out. Personally I want to see pinch-to-zoom support in Photoshop. Any takers?

Nokia Windows Phones may use Nokia Pure font for Metro system UI (Update: Nope)

Straight the still-warm presses from PocketNow, some leaked but authentic-looking renders (I believe they’re real) of the upcoming Nokia 800 Windows Phone device reveals potentially one of the first platform differentiators for the lovechild of the Nokia-Microsoft partnership – a new font for the Metro interface.

Nokia Pure, Nokia’s new corporate font was introduced shortly after the Microsoft partnership was announced leaving many to speculate its applicability on Windows Phone, which up until now has had a strict guideline for OEMs that were not allowed to customize any aspects of user experience. It appears Nokia is now an exception.

With a magnifying glass never too far from my reach, I spotted that the font on the tiles were somehow different to what I was used. Upon closer inspection, the “g” gave it away. It was indeed Nokia Pure.

Although I don’t expect Nokia Pure to be the default font forced upon third party apps running in Nokia devices (Segoe WP will most likely exist too), this does makes me wonder what else of the WP7 user experience Nokia may have tweaked, hopefully for the better.

If the rumor-mills are to be believed, more should be revealed at next week’s Nokia World conference.

Update: The Nokia Windows Phones that have since been announced do not feature the Nokia Pure font for the home screen nor anywhere else in the OS.

Microsoft Australia launches Visual Studio LightSwitch with Sydney office buildings lightshow

The guys over at Microsoft Australia are just having too much fun with their marketing campaigns. Australian tech blog TechAU noted the company took control of the lights in two Sydney office buildings for an interesting light show to promote the launch of Visual Studio LightSwitch.

Taking the product name seriously, it appears at least several hundred office lights of the two buildings combined were electronically controlled to form building-sized pixel-based displays. Of course there’s also the possibility they trained monkeys to switch on and off lights in sequence.

Either way, they were able to display several short animations including a stick figure jumping between the two buildings before displaying “LightSwitch” spelled out letter by letter.

Sprinkles of Microsoft’s cancelled “Courier” project now live in Clibe, an app for iPad

The product of Microsoft’s cancelled Courier skunksworks project may never see the light of day, but a new app for no other than the iPad called “Clibe” might just be the closest thing you can find today. Although Microsoft’s not behind the slick looks, there is however a subtle connection to Courier.

When I first came across “Clibe”, I was immediately struck by how much it reminded me of the Courier concept images and videos (emphasis concept). From the way how the digital ink looked to the concept based around journals, I knew there was more to this than meets the eye. And there is.

It turns out the company behind the app is Visere, a digital creative agency who has done contractual design work in the past. You’ve probably worked it out by now that Microsoft was one of their clients.

Since you can never be too sure, I later found the last piece of the puzzle in the resume of Adam Wulf, a director there who claims “our work includes Microsoft’s Courier user experience”. Bingo.

Although Clibe doesn’t do nearly as much as what was envisioned for Courier (which I believe to have been overly exaggerated), it lives within the confines of the iPad, it does take one of the ideas and execute it very well – digital journals.

As an example of how refined it is, users can customize the cover of their journals and even publish them online as an interactive HTML5-powered book (a portrayed feature of Courier too).

With Courier under their belt, I’m confident these can make “Clibe” even better over time. Especially with some of the clipping ideas that’s yet to be integrated, it would be a shame to see some great ideas go to waste. The beta app is free for a limited time.

Bing Image Archive, now with HTML5 video support

Due to popular demand from no less than three people (including myself), I’ve spent a better part of the night adding video support to my (actually) popular Bing Image Archive and now it’s available for your viewing pleasure.

As some people might have saw, a couple of weeks ago Bing announced they will be sprinkling some HTML5 videos to their daily cycle of picturesque background images. Since, there’s been a total of 3 such video loops including one of autumn leaves today.

In case you missed the previous ones, you can now see the Milky Way video and Autumn in Grand Teton National Park video.

Making browsers play video turned out to be a lot harder than expected. Besides obvious format incompatibilities, it’s frustrating Internet Explorer 9, Firefox and Chrome all exhibit unique quirks when handling HTML5 video. It’s no wonder why the HTML5 version of Bing has been delayed time and time again.