Main/News >> News Archives > The week of November 19 (2006) (you
Dino: the kinetic, chromatic, acoustic Messenger egg!
dwergs says ( 24 Nov 2006 ):
Something funny to enter the weekend: behold, a dinosaur egg you can hook up to Windows Live Messenger!
Dino is an ambient display creature conceptualized by James Kim for his "Ambient Visualisation with Devices" class at the University of Sydney, Australia. Just like an unborn baby's physical and emotional connection to its mother, this egg-shaped device creates a sense of a living creature being fed information through its umbilical cable (the USB cable, in fact). Dino visualises MSN/Windows Live Messenger activity through motion, color and sound and to the user as well as present company not engaged in the conversation. For example, Dino will twitch and turn pale blue to indicate that someone is typing a message. If the person sends a smiling emoticon, the device turns green and starts rocking excitedly. If rude words then follow, Dino will become yellow and confused, and maybe even turn red of anger.
Current restrictions in context analysis might make Dino become overjoyed when reading something like "I don't LOVE you", but in defense James says you shouldn't expect too much from "an unborn dinosaur with a brain the size of half a peanut".
James recently completed a working prototype and its demo caught my eye on YouTube. He proudly told me that Dino has been chosen to be displayed in a university exhibition shortly, so those in the Sydney are go check it out. He deserves graduation with honors if you ask me, and some venture capital to put it in production :)
Don't be a gnu, be good and play GnoeGnoe Revolution
dwergs says ( 23 Nov 2006 ):
A new governmental campaign dubbed "What kind of herd follower are you?" was just launched in The Netherlands, encouraging youth to form their own opinions instead of just being one of the herd. It's a sequel to last year's succesful "What kind of asshole are you?" campaign which spurred over a million website visits as well as a lot of discussion about vandalism and violence.
Both the old and the new campaign go together with Messenger-based games. This year's GnoeGnoe Revolution, as the name suggests, is a Dance Dance Revolution clone in which you have to click certain buttons in time to make your gnu follow the herd. This is one of those few games in which the one who makes it till the end isn't necessarily the winner. I've added GnoeGnoe Revolution as well as last year's Baksteen, kaas en eieren (or brick-tac-toe, if you will) to our Messenger Games Launcher to be complete. Both are completely Dutch but you really don't need to understand the language to play the game. There was also another game last year called Vuilniszakkenhonkbal (or garbage baseball), but that one seems to have vanished.
Many Israeli will never realise it, but they might owe their life to a complete stranger living thousands of miles across the globe.
Ali Emmanuel El-shariff Abdallah who runs an Internet-based counselling service from Winnipeg, Canada, got a phone call one morning from a man in Israel. They decided to continue the long-distance conversation on MSN Messenger and it became clear to El-shariff that this man was preparing a deadly suicide bombing mission.
"I told him itís not good to kill people and he agreed with me and decided to leave the mission. I told him to run away. It worked for me."
El-shariff, who escaped Sudan in 1995 and lived in Congo as a political refugee until 1999 when he was accepted into Canada, is well aware that people talk about suicide bombing plans on the Internet so that's where he tries to connect with them.
A few months later, El-shariff received an instant message from the same man: "He thanked me and said heís now safe, living in one of the neighbouring countries and spreading the same message of forgiveness."
Sinterklaas & Santa Claus arrived! (to Windows Live)
dwergs says ( 21 Nov 2006 ):
Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and a few other European countries have Sinterklaas, the rest of the world has Santa. And this year, both generous dressed-in-red men have their own Windows Live presence.
Sinterklaas and his servants, called Zwarte Pieten, can be contacted via Messenger where they love to tell jokes, suggest rhymes, or take your suggestions for their little book of naughty boys & girls. Sinterklaas is also happy to answer personal questions... though in a sometimes quite worrisome kind of way:
dwergs: What food do you like? Sinterklaas: Right now I'm thinking about all the little children who are waiting for me in Holland.
dwergs: Are you married? Sinterklaas: No, I'm not married. I'm too busy with my black servants.
Santa Claus on the other hand already got his own bot address last June (some timing, huh?), but he recently started blogging on his own Windows Live Space. Additionally, Father Christmas is collecting wishlists via the web now. I already let him know about that 42" LCD flatscreen... and you?
Longtime Microsoft employee James Baker has let the world know that he's moving from Windows Live Messenger to Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services after two years of working on the popular IM software. As a Program Manager for Windows Live Messenger, he was involved in the development of Dynamic Display Pictures/Backgrounds, Winks ("THANKS" for that James ;)), Offline IM's, Add-ins, Remote Assistance improvements, Spaces integration, Vista compliance API's, "and MANY MANY more ITEMS!!"
We'd like to wish him good luck in the new team!
>> Listen to the MIX06 Buzzcast #16 to hear James Baker talk about his Mix06 Session about Windows Live Messenger and Robots (March 2006).
Windows Live Messenger Sidebar Gadget for Vista (UPDATED)
dwergs says ( 20 Nov 2006 ):
I just found this Windows Vista Sidebar gadget that integrates your contact list and allows you to initiate conversations. I'm not on Vista yet, but I could imagine this is quite useful for the early adopters out there. It's a public beta and was recently created by Tom from Cener Development.
UPDATE: The upcoming now released 00015 build has a quick list that shows the last 2 people you have talked to and has an improved flyout. It's expected to be released in a week or so It is out now.