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Microsoft gives away the MSDN library July 29, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Microsoft, Software, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.
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According to this Microsoft blog

Free Download: MSDN Library May 2006 Edition

For the first time, we’re making the MSDN Library freely available for download from Microsoft Downloads. Previously, the Library was only available for download to MSDN subscribers. The current download is the May 2006 Edition and future editions will also be available when we release them.

Is this too good to be true, or just too bad it’s true and doesn’t matter? You decide. If you decide it’s a good thing and you want to download your own copy, you will find it here.

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Microsoft learns new business model from Tom Sawyer July 29, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Microsoft, Technology, Web, Windows/Microsoft.
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Tom Sawyer BookWhen I was young I read the book, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Samuel L. Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. In that book, Tom was given the chore of white-washing (painting) the picket fence that went around the yard. His friends stopped by and he made the job look like so much fun and convinced them that he would only let them paint the fence if they paid him some money, which they gladly did. In that case, Tom not only had his work done for him, but the people doing his work paid him for that privilege.

According to this CNET article, Microsoft has announced that they will allow the public to download and beta test the new version of Office for a fee. Hmm. If I pay them some money, then they will let me do their work. Yup, that sounds a lot like Tom’s school of business and huckstering. The sad part is that there are actually people out there in the world that will pay Microsoft for testing beta software, just like Tom’s friends paying to paint the fence.

My response to that is a quote from P.T. Barnum. “There is a sucker born every minute.”

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(Footnote: According to this web site, P.T. Barnum never said there was a sucker born every minute. It was someone else. I’m not sure what to believe, but the phrase did pop into my head when I read about Microsoft charging the public to test beta software.)

The Sims and CyWorld: Create your own world July 28, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Family, Information Technology, Technology, Web.
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The SimsLast weekend my twelve-year-old son was invited over to a friend’s house to celebrate the friend’s birthday. It was an overnight (sleep-over) party where a bunch of boys stayed up way too late watching movies and playing computer games.

One of the first things my son said to me when I picked him up the next day was that he loved playing The Sims. We have some of the very early simulation games like Sim City and Sim Earth, but not The Sims. So, that was my son’s first experience with the interactive computer generated life simulator. He really found it fascinating and entertaining, which is not surprising since the Sims has been a big hit and sold more copies that I could guess over the past five years.

CyWorld Beta LogoNow, you can take interactive life-situation simulations to the next level by interacting with other people through an online simulator known as CyWorld, which you can read about here. According to this post on the same blog, the web site is now (finally) open for business. In that CyWorld, you get to pay to furnish your simulated room and it’s not fake money. That’s how the CyWorld creators cover their costs and make a healthy profit.

A friend of mine at work has been talking about the fact that the U.S. federal government can tax you on anything of value, including any characters you create and develop through online gaming. Imagine what the IRS will do when it comes to paying taxes in this new virtual world. You may end up filing a CyWorld income tax form. I almost think that people who play in that world would find that to be fun. In real life, filling out the tax forms and paying taxes each year is not fun at all.

MySpace account used by major motion picture distributor July 25, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Technology, Web, Weblog.
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It’s been said that teenagers today spend less time watching mainstream media than they do reading and posting messages on the MySpace web site and other social web sites like it. I suppose that’s why the promoters of the movie Step Up have created a MySpace account and filled their web page with advertising for the new movie. They even included a movie trailer in their page that plays automatically when you visit.

The reason I know about it is their television advertisement ended by telling the viewing audience to go to MySpace.com/StepUpMovie. They are driving people to their MySpace site.

I can’t help but wonder if MySpace is getting anything (like money) for hosting the promotional advertisement for the movie studios. This is probably not the first and it certainly won’t be the last. And, MySpace won’t be the last, either. Coming soon, Blogger and WordPress blog sites for the new summer blockbuster movies.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the StepUpMovieĀ person already has more than 35,000 people who have added them as their ‘friend ‘ on their own MySpace page. Weird!

Humorous bumper stickers July 22, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Humor, Random.
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Today as I was out and about I saw two ammusing bumper stickers. The first mixes beauty and evolution…

“Don’t think of yourself as ugly, think of yourself as a beautiful monkey.”

The second bumper sticker’s humor is a little darker…

“The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But, you are on the list.”

Laugh, if you can. It’s good for your health.

Hair cut ends with a BANG! July 14, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Random, Uncategorized.
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This evening, after I got off work, I went to get my hair cut at a local barber shop. My experience there was pretty normal. Afterwards, while I was stopped at an intersection, my car was hit from behind with a crunch and a bang! OUCH!

The good news is that I was not injured. The bad news is that my rear bumper is damaged. But, that’s not the end of this story. There is moreā€¦

After my car was hit I pulled off to the side and out of the intersection. The red truck that hit me did the same. A few minutes later, while we were looking at the damage and the other driver was trying to convince me that ‘it was nothing’ a car driving by began to slow down and they were rear-ended very hard by a large truck. That car was already moving at around 30 miles an hour and when they were hit it propelled them off the road (about 50 feet past where I was standing). They drove through some hedge rows and over a telephone splice box (which was demolished) and down an embankment to the back of a nearby parking lot.

I had already called 911 to report my minor accident, so when the second accident happened I immediately called the emergency operator, again. This time they dispatched several police cars, three fire trucks, and a couple of ambulances. It was amazing how many emergency and police vehicles arrived. Of course, since nobody was hurt in my accident and because there were injuries in the second accident, they told us to wait until they attended to the other accident victims.

About an hour later the police finally got back to me and I was able to file a police report. I am thankful that my accident wasn’t worse and I’m hopeful that the people in the other accident were not injured seriously. They were very shook up after the accident, but they were able to get out of the car and didn’t seem to have life-threatening injuries. Although, they went to the hospital just to make sure.