Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Visual Studio 2005 Vista Update Beta

Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista Beta is now available - requires Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1.

For more info see Visual Studio on Windows Vista.

Monday, December 11, 2006

XNA Framework Redistributable Released

To coincide with the release of XNA Game Studio, Microsoft has also released the XNA Framework Redistributable. The XNA Framework Redistributable allows games developed using Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express 1.0 to run on Windows XP SP2 (note that this does not include Windows Vista – which will be added in an update next year).

XNA Game Studio Express Released

Microsoft has released XNA Game Studio Express. For more information see XNA on Channel 9.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Keima HQ Included in Live Data Update

Microsoft has updated their bridseye data. For more information see the Windows Live Local Blog (shouldn't they update the blog name to the official Windows Live Search Maps).

The main update (at least for me) is they've included our company HQ (Keima):

They've also immortalised my R32 (this is the silver one, not the deep blue R32). BTW: my flat is about two thirds of the way up and nearest to the camera.

Incidentally, this is the building that Jack is standing on in Torchwood:

The birdseye view is great, but the grid approach is really annoying. Good news:

"For all you Birds Eye fans - good news! We'll be releasing an update this month with a lot of Birds Eye improvements and among them will be the death of the grid :-)"

(from Frank Gehry's Architecture via Birds Eye).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Microsoft Book Search

During the mid nineties, the UK had a limited debate on what the government should do to celebrate the new millennium. In the end, the government of the day (Conservatives under John Major) and taken forward by Labour under Tony Blair decided to construct a big tent in the middle of London: the Millennium Dome. I was not impressed (and my poor friends have had to put up with me whinging about it for over a decade now). You see, I wanted another project which I was convinced would mark the new millennium, set up research for the next century and allow the UK to give something to the whole world. That idea was to digitize the British Library and make it available to all over the Internet. I thought that such a database, coupled with a good search engine and APIs would be perfect for research, would be ripe for data mining, and just good fun to browse.

Well Microsoft has now done this (so I'll have to find something else to whinge about – not that I'm short of subjects): Microsoft Book Search.

It's in beta at the moment and isn't perfect (e.g. the pages are not selectable text), but it shows what can be done. Most of the searches I've done have all resulted in the option to download the entire book (unlike Google Book Search, Microsoft are only using out-of-copyright books or books whose publishers have granted them the rights to publish). For example, I searched for the term astrophysics and found this book The Riddle of the Universe which has a link to download the entire book.

One interesting thing in the pipeline, according to Danielle Tiedt, the general manager of Live Search Selection for Microsoft, is full integration with web content (via Windows Live Search).

Friday, December 01, 2006

Programmable Matter

The T-1000 from Terminator 2

I've just come across the concept of programmable matter from last year's IEEE Computer. The Claytronics project is a joint effort between researchers at Intel and Carnegie Mellon University.

The core concept of programmable matter is nanoscale, programmable, sensing, locomotive entities called catoms (claytronic atoms – not strictly correct; they have more in common with complex cells).

Download the original article: Programmable Matter.

Note this is not a new concept. Nanomorphs were proposed by science fiction writer David Pulver. They have similar properties to claytronics.