Nick MacKechnie
#8 wire kinda guy.....

PhotoSynth – Very cool!

Saturday, 4 April 2009 04:23 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

I've been working a bit with Nigel Parker in our developer evangelist team on some projects and he's always doing cool stuff with our new technologies, so I wanted to see how hard it was for mere mortals to synth photos - It's surprisingly very very easy - I took a few photos of my office at work.. and put this together (or you can view the embedded version below). For more info check out http://photosynth.net/

Nick.

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WorldWide Telescope is Now a Web App

Thursday, 19 March 2009 21:44 by Nick MacKechnie

Starting today, you don’t have to download any software to your PC to enjoy what Microsoft Research’s WorldWide Telescope has to offer – it’s now available online as a web application! This is good news for folks running non-Windows operating systems who were previously unable to use this amazing tool which lets your computer function as a virtual telescope while bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world.

The new WWT web application (alpha) uses Silverlight 2.0 to display the satellite imagery within your browser and it offers most of the features of the desktop application, including the following:

  • Access to hundreds of terabytes of sky, earth and planet data
  • Ability to navigate seamlessly through 3D spherical environments
  • Finder Scope to quickly identify astronomical objects
  • Instant thumbnail previews of tens of thousands of popular astronomical objects
  • Access to billions of objects in web-based astronomical catalogue
  • Loading tours, images and other WorldWide Telescope data files on local machine
  • Real-time positions of planets and moons
  • Move forwards and backwards in time 2000 years
  • View guided tours (without 3D planets)
  • Browsing local user collections
  • Virtual Observatory Cone search/registry look up and SIMBAD search

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A day in history for MS…

Saturday, 24 January 2009 11:00 by Nick MacKechnie

Today Microsoft announced on the back of its 2nd quarter earnings, that it plans to cut 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months - starting with 1400. I found myself today reflecting on the organisation I work for, the job I do, and what I/the company needs to focus on to weather the storm moving forward in the current economic climate. I’ve often joke with colleagues and friends that for me, working for Microsoft is an addiction. I’m never far away from email, a laptop or my cellphone, and I find myself fortunate to be paid to do my hobby. So my sincere thoughts are with those that were let go today and their families.

We had a company meeting in New Zealand today, and it’s clear to me that the company wants to look after it’s strongest assets (the people) while ensuring we meet our shareholders expectations by increasing market share and profitability. Our leadership team did an excellent job in relaying the facts as they currently stand, installing confidence in the job that we do, our contribution as a subsidiary to the corporation as well as New Zealand and how we can play a positive hand in our destiny by the way we engage with our customers and partners and focus on the job at hand.

We can’t be successful unless our customers and partners are, so now is the time more than ever, for us to help identify opportunities to drive costs out of organisations through automation, process improvement, and smart adoption and deployment of technology.

We aren’t a faceless US Corporation, we are Microsoft New Zealand. If you need to drive costs of your business, make sure you are realising the value of the software you currently own, talk to us about the challenges you face - you maybe surprised where we can help.

Nick.

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Live Mesh Mobile Now Open To All

Monday, 15 December 2008 21:25 by Nick MacKechnie

The Live Mesh team recently announced that Live Mesh for Mobile is now available for all countries, so everyone can try it out. Since the mobile service initially launched back on October 30th, the team has updated Live Mesh for Mobile to address many of the reported issues that users had submitted. With those issues out of the way, the mobile version was then ready for wider testing. Although anyone can try Live Mesh for Mobile now, it is worth noting that it works better on 3G networks.

If you want to try it out, you had better hurry: there are only a limited number of spots available. To sign up, go here  and add your Windows Mobile device to your Mesh. (That link will provide you a Live ID for adding a WM phone to the Mesh.) If you were already running the Live Mesh for Mobile client on your device, you should see an update notification the next time you log in. 

Nick.

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Live Search Launches “Big Ticket” promotion

Tuesday, 18 November 2008 00:13 by Nick MacKechnie

Capture The Live Search team has just launched a new search promotion to encourage people to use Live Search. Dubbed “Big Ticket Search,” this promo is a contest that will run from October 31st through December 31st. Every time you perform a search at bigticketsearch.com, you have a chance to win prizes every hour, 24 hours a day. The prizes that will be given away include 2 new Mitsubishi Lancers, Raptors VIP package, Home Entertainment Systems, Laptops, $10,000 cash, Ticketmaster Gift Cards, Zunes, Xboxes, Raptors Season Tickets and Raptors Memorabilia.

After you enter in a search query in the box provided, you’ll be taken to a search results page where you’ll be informed as to whether your search was a winner or not. With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s a great time to try this out because - who knows? – you might just win some cash to go shopping with!

Nick.

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Microsoft Store launched online

Monday, 17 November 2008 23:00 by Nick MacKechnie

CaptureGo to www.MicrosoftStore.com and find the largest selection of Microsoft software, devices and hardware.  There are lots of reasons to visit the store:

· Immediate software download option with the largest download catalog of Microsoft titles

· Simple and secure purchase – all at your fingertips

· Most up-to-date selection of and information on your favorite Microsoft products including Xbox, Zune, Office, Windows and much more

Also checkout the Microsoft Store Contest where you can win weekly prizes.

The Microsoft Store at the .com domain is for the U.S., but the UK, Germany and Korea have their own stores, too. Coming soon are Japan, France, Spain and the Netherlands. Other countries will have stores come online throughout the year.

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WWT Comes To Virtual Earth

Saturday, 11 October 2008 05:42 by Nick MacKechnie

The amazing WorldWide Telescope had a lot of hype pre-launch but we haven’t heard much about in recent days. Although now the WWT is being used by a number of astronomers, scientists, students, and space enthusiasts across the globe, the Microsoft Virtual Earth team decided to give it a little more exposure to the general public. To do so, they’re going to include a little WWT in Virtual Earth.  So, in latest release of the Virtual Earth 3D control, the Virtual Earth team has now included the accurate placement of stars in space. Cool - now we have Earth and Sky in Virtual Earth!

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Windows Live Translator Add-In

Thursday, 2 October 2008 02:52 by Nick MacKechnie

The Windows Live Translator add-in allows international customers whose browsers are set to any of the 11 supported languages (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Russian, Netherlands Dutch) to see the “translate this page” command in their language. Once they click on the link, they will see a side-by-side rendering of your English page with a machine translated version in their language on the right.

The Windows Live Translator add-in is very simple to deploy on a Web page. Follow these two steps:

Go to: http://www.windowslivetranslator.com/AddIn.aspx. You will see the page below; follow the instructions on the page.

Place the add-in on your Web page in a prominent place – and bobs your uncle…

Nick

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Encarta on MSN Mobile!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008 21:31 by Nick MacKechnie

MSN Mobile 2.0 has launched and with it, an Encarta channel!  If you have a smart phone, you can check it out by going to MSN.com and in the channel menu, select “All”, then “Encarta”.  You can see the Quote of the Day, peruse three editorially-programmed articles of the day, take a quiz, guess the Mystery Picture of the day, and do an Encarta article search.

Have a look and spread the word!  If you don’t have a smart phone, you can view it here.

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New Version of Virtual Earth-3DVIA Arrives

Monday, 29 September 2008 21:34 by Nick MacKechnie

Recently the latest version of Microsoft Virtual Earth-3DVIA was announced. This software combines Microsoft’s mapping platform (Virtual Earth) with the 3D modeling and visualization platform provided by 3DVIA. The end result is a tool that lets you easily design and create 3D scenes of your own or make mashups using the content already posted online at 3DVIA.com, an online content creation community where users make and share their 3D models.  For making these mashups, the latest release of Microsoft Virtual Earth-3DVIA introduces a new “remix” feature. Now, instead of having to learn how to make 3D models yourself, you can just search 3DVIA.com for the models you need and then import those directly into your Virtual Earth projects. With these online models, you can build houses, buildings, or even your own neighborhood, if you so desire, among many other things.

To get you started with the new 3D remix functionality, there are interactive tutorials and videos that teach you how you can build a house in 5 minutes or less. The new version also includes an updated UI and navigation, both of which make the software easier to use.  If you want to start building your own 3D models for Virtual Earth, just download the application from http://maps.live.com/Help/en-us/VE3DVIADownload.htm.

Nick.

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