Oh, Canada, meet Independence Day: a reading list for a holiday week

Tomorrow is Canada Day so a shout out to my friends north of the boarder as well as the many local Canucks we have on campus, at the Microsoft MCDC and MS Canada. Canada is so much more than Bob and Doug McKenzie (I’m shoring my age).

And with a nod to the Office OFFline Web Comic and to please the kids on this reading list day (published late, or early as I don’t expect to post much of anything later in the week), here’s a little something that I have fun with at home, with reference to the article “Hey Bill, sorry I kept your book since high school” in the Seattle Times Newspaper.  Seems that Bill Gates used the latest word-processing technology available at the time to create his own ex libris: an IBM Selectric typewriter with a rotating typeball that produced italic (by Rami Grunbaum)…


Good to note the importance that employees placed on getting feedback from Bill at Microsoft (Joel Spolsky has a very interesting account of what it was like working as a program manager for Microsoft in 1992).

Have a good week… now on to the reading list:

Bill Gates Retirement Party: Things No One Gives Microsoft Credit For (But Should) — “Microsoft is rarely credited for being why mainstream tech has come this far—a computer on every desk, the explosion of the internet, even the idea of a common UI across applications. Even smarmy Mac and Linux snobs have a lot to thank Microsoft for…”

Also see…

Seth’s Blog: What Dave just did — “Dave Balter, an old friend and colleague, has written a new book. It costs $45 on Amazon. But, for my loyal readers…you can get a copy of the ebook (the entire book) for free here.”… saved by 40 other people

Seth’s Blog: Email checklist — Seth’s says that there are a few things that you shoudl do “Before you hit send on that next email, perhaps you should run down this list, just to be sure…”… saved by 486 other people

Windows Vista Tip: Use the Tab Key to Rename Multiple Files in Vista — Lifehacker reader “provides a tip for anyone who regularly renames groups of pictures, documents, or other files, but doesn’t need a bulk renaming utility to get it done. Just start renaming the first file in a folder or list…”

ICanada: Canadians Write Angry Letter to Steve Jobs Over iPhone Plan in the Great White North — With all due respect to my friends at Rogers: Rogers Communications in Canada “has a data plan that makes AT&T look positively philanthropic: $75/mo… 3-year contract, 100 text messages, 300 weekday minutes, and a 750MB cap on 3G usage.” So Canucks are sending a petition to Jobs himself asking him to “take a look” – the full “Dear Steve” letter on ruinediphone.com — Open Letter to Steve Jobs about the situation.

35,310 Lego Star Wars Mini-Fig Army: 35,310 Lego Star Wars Clone Trooper Army Invades Earth — “What are 35,310 Lego Star Wars Clone Troopers mini-figs doing together, apart from planning a planet invasion after breaking out of the giant Lego storage cathedrals? Raising awareness and funds for autism, that’s what.”

Zune MP3 Player Pilot Podcast (2007/2008 Missouri Teacher of the Year) — Eric Langhorst is the 2008 Missouri Teacher of the Year. On his blog he noted that his class is involved in a student Zune pilot. “Microsoft is providing each of my 25 students in my 3rd period 8th grade American History classroom a 4GB Zune to use…”  More also at Zune in School in Missouri, New Mexico, and at Local public school students get assigned Zunes – Engadget — Liberty, Missouri’s handing out a hundred and change media players — Zunes, to be specific — to local high school and middle school students for listening to lesson-supporting podcasts in the hopes of saving them “lost class time.” (June 29 2008)

How would you change Microsoft if you were Bill Gates? – Engadget’s Darren Murph posted (Jun 27th 2008) the question above and rants and raves ensue. A fun read.

Princeton to start publishing Kindle-edition textbooks – Engadget — Mark and I discussed Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader last night. Today I read that Amazon has won over Princeton University (Jeff Bezos’s alma mater) announcing “plans to publish Kindle version of its textbooks this fall, joining Yale, Oxford, and Berkeley…”

Zappos tries robots on for size | Crave, the gadget blog – CNET reports (June 27, 2008) that “Zappos.com, which now sells more than just shoes, has just finished outfitting it’s Kentucky warehouse with a robotic army to help fill orders, the company supplying the system announced Tuesday.”

AirPiano single-handedly redeems air instruments from irrelevancy (engadget) — I sense a lawsuit brewing in Lo Jolla… 😉 Pat, have you seen the AirPiano? It allows you to “emit beautiful tones without ever touching the “keys.” It’s even smart enough to sustain a note if you hold your hand over a particular area for an extended time.”

Evento’s BuzzBall: your own personal roller coaster — Evento’s BuzzBall is essentially a personal roller coaster, which reportedly features a “single seat inside a large outer ball that’s able to spin and roll independently of the ball itself” alongside a pair of electric motors used to power it.

Cizmo’s CX1730M gaming laptop packs a wallop – Engadget – I’m sure that my old friend, Paul, would love this namesake PC, the Cizmo CX1730M, a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo proc notebook, 2GB + 160GB SATA HDD , 17″ WSXGA+ panel, 2 Mpixel webcam, DVD burner, NVIDIA’s 512MB GeForce 8800M GTX and a plethora of ports.

Creative’s ZEN X-Fi player with WiFi gets a lot more real – Engadget reports that “The Creative kids over at epiZENter have what looks to be a genuine scoop of an unannounced ZEN X-Fi… a new DAP with SD expansion and built-in WiFi, speaker, FM tuner, voice recorder, and the ability to stream media from Creative’s “Public Media Server…”

Credit Report Settlement: Trans Union Corporation Privacy Litigation Home — If you had a credit card, loan or credit account, you could get benefits from a class action settlement.

Real Estate | Credit-report settlement is good for mortgage seekers | Seattle Times Newspaper — Under the terms of a national class-action settlement, you may qualify for six or nine months of daily monitoring of your credit file, plus unrestricted access to your credit report and score, via listclassaction.com. By Kenneth R. Harney

Gizmodo lists Media Center as one of the 10 reasons why Vista isn’t so bad (Connecting you to your media blog) — “Endadget lists Media Center as one of it’s hits (but surprisingly left Clippy out as a miss). Gizmodo lists Media Center as one of the 10 reasons why Vista isn’t so bad, so I guess that puts Media Center +1 on the pundit scale.”

Funny Friday – Charlie Rose ala Samuel Beckett (Pla.NET Southeast) — Although this has been out a few months, many of you may not have seen this yet. Imagine a Charlie Rose interview re-imagined by Samuel Beckett. Surreal piece of filmmaking, this…

Hard to find Windows Vista help and how-to articles (The blog of Rob Margel) — Rob’s post has 2 aims, “firstly to highlight… available [content on the Windows Help and How-to site] and secondly as an experiment to see how quickly after this posting does the content appear in the Windows Live search catalogues.”

Ian Moulster’s blog : Using any email address for your Windows Live ID — IanM says that “you can use any email address to sign up for a Windows Live ID? Which means you can use any email address to access Hotmail or Messenger for example, or SkyDrive or Spaces or any other Windows Live Service.”

Shooting and Editing Better Videos – Expert Help by PC Magazine — I’ve known Jan Ozer for several years and he is a bright guy. In Jan’s experience, the secrets to shooting better video “can be broken down into two rules… and if you abide by them you will save yourself a lot of time and effort.”

Dell Studio 17 and Studio 15 review roundup (Engadget) — Paul Miller at Engadget has coverage of teh new Dell Studio line of laptops that “appear to combine the power of XPS and the prices of Inspiron, with some new perks like HDMI out and slot-loading drives to keep things fresh.”

On the scene: Microsoft’s farewell to Gates (Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog) — Microsoft is holding a town hall meeting here in Redmond this morning to send Bill Gates off into the new era of his life. It starts about 9 a.m. It’s clearly a big moment for people at the company — including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer…”

More states say cellphones and driving don’t mix – Yahoo! News reports (Jun 25, 2008) that “On July 1, California will become the largest state to ban unlimited cellphone use by drivers. The law prohibits drivers under 18 from talking on the phone, and it requires older drivers to use a hands-free headset.”

Geek Girl Blogs – Home — Here’s a central aggregated blog site of “women’s blogs together in one place, to create a wealth of knowledge that covers the amazing strength, agility & force that is Women in IT! We also hope that by sharing our experiences we can encourage & enlighten…”

Windows Live for mobile — Do more from your mobile phone than just talk. Explore all the ways you can connect with your friends and to the information and entertainment you want when you’re on the go.

Sprint | Instinct “Movie” page – too cool for school.

Book Review: Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post Gates Era — “What does someone who’s been covering Microsoft for 25 years think about Bill Gates’ retirement? Ask Mary Jo Foley, or consider her book, Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post Gates Era.”

Xbox.com: Transferring Content Licenses to a New Console — Got a new Xbox 360 console? Great. But maybe you downloaded games or other content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace onto an older Xbox 360 console, and now you want all that content on your new system. Well, now there’s a way to do it.

The original Microsoft ‘family’ (BBC NEWS) — “Albuquerque, New Mexico, there were only a dozen people working for the company – compared with the current number of almost 90,000 employees worldwide. Here we have 11 of the early pioneers…”

Et Tu, Intel? Chip Giant Wont Embrace Microsofts Windows Vista (New York Times Blog) — Steve Lohr of the Times reports that “Intel, the giant chip maker and longtime partner of Microsoft, has decided against upgrading the computers of its own 80,000 employees to Microsoft’s Vista operating system…”

Why I Still Use Windows Despite the Peer Pressure (gizmodo) — Adam Frucci at Gizmodo says that he “still rocks XP, and I’m pretty happy with that. Why haven’t I switched to Macs? Plenty of reasons, not least of which being that I’m just too smart to switch to a Mac… ” … saved by 61 other people \

Welcome to Akihabara News : Akihabaranews.com – add this to your blog roll for teh latest gadgets from across the pond. Apparently this is popular: saved by 980 other people

101 Photoshop Tips in 5 Minutes | dekeOnline — Photoshop enthusiast and frantic video editor Deke McClelland fits 101 tips for Adobe’s premiere product into five minutes of video, and the results are surprisingly watchable. Via Lifehacker… saved by 417 other people

Bill Gates Retirement Party: The Best Bill Gates Parodies Ever — Bill’s semi-retirement is later this week, so gizmodo provides “a mash-up of all these green sweater, glasses wearin’ characters.”

Japanese telco institutes upload caps… of 30GB… daily — By Jacqui Cheng, June 25, 2008 – “Bandwidth caps are coming to Japan, but not in the way to which North Americans are accustomed. OCN, operated by NTT Communications, has decided to impose a daily upload limit beginning on August 1. The limit? 30GB per day.”

Giz Explains: How the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Will Save the World — “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the world’s largest charitable foundation… It’s not your average charity though—and not just because two of its three trustees, Bill and Warren (no last names needed) constantly jockey for the title of world’s richest…”

British Police in High-Speed Chase … With UFO | Autopia from Wired.com — In a close encounter with the future of transportation, a police helicopter almost hit what its crew insists was an alien spacecraft. And then they chased it. Seriously. At least, that’s what Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reports.

Reviews of “Wanted” and “The Happening.” (The New Yorker) by Anthony Lane , June 2008

Dark Knight Director Shuns Digital Effects for the Real Thing — “The Bat-plan was simple: Base-jump off one Hong Kong skyscraper, smash through the window of another, grab the Chinese crime boss, then hitch a drag chute to a passing C-130 cargo plane for a daring aerial escape. And on to Gotham!”

WiiHD: WiiHD’s Homebrew Guide — WiiHD has a good walkthrough teaching you how to get Homebrew onto your Wii, if only for the privilege of playing Quake and various other games… saved by 55 other people

IPhone 3G: iPhone 3G Takes About $173 To Manufacture Says Estimate — iSuppli, an authority on taking electronics apart and figuring how much it costs to build one, has just put preliminary price tag on the iPhone 3G of $173. That’s quite a bit higher from the $100 analysts were quoting earlier.

Annals of Technology: Hello, Hal: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker — John Seabrook wrote a recent feature in The New Yorker about interactive-voice-response systems (I.V.R.) commonly used with customer service and tech support telephone hotlines.

Timepieces: Digimech Clock Does Digital the Old-Fashioned Mechanical Way — “The Di Grisogono Meccanica mechano-digital watch is indeed amazing, but I’m almost as impressed with Duncan Shotton’s Digimech clock (maybe it’s because it looks like I could afford it).”

X-Box 360 handheld console on the way? – www.t3.com — Fancy rocking some GTA IV on-the-go, if T3 get T3’s (no relation 😉 way Microsoft’s Zune MP3 player could be going gaming. Check out their artist’s impressions.

HP TouchSmart IQ504 PC (KQ436AA#ABA) from HP available now — The HP TouchSmart IQ504—an all-in-one 22″ touchscreen PC with a Core 2 Duo processor, integrated graphics and an impressive 4GB of RAM—is shipping now off of HP’s site and retailers like Circuit City

Two New TP1s from Sony : Akihabara News .com — The TP1 is the “Media Center” PC solution from SONY, and today the Japanese giant decided to update its line-up with the VGX-TP1DQ/B and VGX-TP1D. Very cool indeed.

What I’ve Learned: George Carlin (MSN Lifestyle) — “Back in January 2002, George Carlin revealed his intimate thoughts on censorship, racism, and how the IRS saved his comedy career. With his recent passing, we represent his words here.”  Also see George Carlin mourned as counterculture hero, as Carlin died Sunday of heart failure at 71.

The Media Center Extender shootout – Engadget HD — Vista Media Center really sets itself apart from any other DVR solution out there, and the single greatest advantage Vista Media Center (VMC) has over the other options is the ability to have multiple Media Center Extenders. by Ben Drawbaugh.

PC Chipsets Today: Choice and Confusion — Loyd Case at extremetech “thought it was time to take a look at the landscape for core logic, to help you better choose what motherboard may be right for you. What we’ll cover here is not only the speeds and feeds of the different chipsets…”

Coding Horror: The Ultimate Code Kata — “programming every day may not be enough to make you a professional programmer. So what can turn someone into a professional driver or programmer? What do you do to practice? The answer lies in the Scientific American article The Expert Mind.”… saved by 492 other people

Xbox 360: Turn Your Xbox 360 into a Streaming Netflix Player — if you’ve got an Xbox 360 and a Windows Vista PC, lifehacker says that “you don’t have to shell out $99 for Roku’s Netflix Player box to get your Watch Instantly library on your TV screen—you already have everything you need.” Check out the free Windows Media Center plug-in…  But I’ll agrue that Anuthony’s new Roku Netflix Player is worth every penny, and doesn’t require a PC… and saved by 323 other people

SensibleUnits.com — Web site SensibleUnits converts virtually any unit of measure to real-world objects “to help you get a better understanding of the practical size of something.” (via LifeHacker) 537 other people have converted all sorts of things: it would be fund to see what coversions have been particularly popular:


The Guru Pitka | The Love Guru Movie — enough said. GO see it when it’s released if you like Mike Myers‘ comedy.  I predict that his xRank will increase as we near the movie’s release.

Canon HD: Viral Video Superstars

New study compares 360, PS3 consumers – Joystiq’s Scott Jon Siegel (Jun 23rd 2008) says that “a new study released by the Experian Group compares the consumers of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The findings cover age breakdowns, leisurely activities, and personal philosophies about recycling (seriously).”

Marketing Apple: Secrets of the World’s Best Marketing Machine

PC World – Business Center: Nearly Half of IT Workers Snoop in Confidential Files — Carrie-Ann Skinner, PC Advisor – June 21, 2008 – Nearly half of IT workers have admitted to snooping around networks to look at confidential information, according to research from software firm Cyber-Ark.

Tags: Bill Gates, misc, articles, what I read, Windows, Windows 7, Microsoft, Windows Vista, Gartner, Xbox 360, utilities, Zune, podcast, dingalings.