Nick MacKechnie
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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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Microsoft & CNN to make historians out of inaugural attendees

Wednesday, 21 January 2009 05:00 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

Using Photosynth, CNN will stitch photos together into "the most detailed experience of a single moment ever".

CNN.com has put out a call for the millions of people attending President-Elect Barack Obama's inauguration at noon on Tuesday (6am on Wednesday, New Zealand time). Anyone there can send in their digital pictures of the moment Obama takes the oath of office and, using Microsoft's Photosynth technology, CNN will stitch the photos together into what it's hoping will be "the most detailed experience of a single moment ever”.

Very cool – you will be able to view the photos by visiting  cnn.com/themoment.

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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Windows Live ID Becomes OpenID Provider

Tuesday, 28 October 2008 23:37 by Nick MacKechnie

According to this post on the Windows Live Dev Team blog, starting today, Windows Live ID is publicly committing to support the OpenID digital identity framework - GREAT! OpenID, in case you don’t know, is a decentralized framework for authenticating users across the web. For sites that support OpenID, users can choose to log in with their OpenID instead of having to create yet another account and then have to remember a username and password. With OpenID, instead, there’s only one thing to remember: your OpenID.

To get an OpenID, there are already a ton of mainstream channels you can use. For example, if you have an account at one of the following services, you already have an OpenID:

  • AOL - openid.aol.com/screenname
  • Blogger - username.blogger.com
  • Bloglines - d.bloglines.com/username
  • Flickr - www.flickr.com/photos/username
  • LiveDoor - profile.livedoor.com/username
  • LiveJournal - username.livejournal.com
  • Vox - member.vox.com
  • Yahoo - http://openid.yahoo.com
  • WordPress.com - username.wordpress.com

    There are many others, too, and even if you don’t have an account at any of those services, there are a ton of places where you can sign up to get an OpenID of your own.

    Now that Windows Live is supporting OpenID, you will soon be able to use your Windows Live ID as your OpenID!

    Those interested in testing the new Windows Live ID Integration environment can do so here: https://login.live-int.com/beta/ManageOpenID.srf where you can set up your OpenID alias on a test account. However, it’s recommended that this is used for test purposes only. Users are encouraged to wait to set up their Live ID OpenIDs until the service goes into production.

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    Redfly: A Netbook Entirely Powered By Your Windows Mobile Phone

    Tuesday, 28 October 2008 23:30 by Nick MacKechnie

    A company called Celiocorp has launched a completely different take on the netbook phenomenon. Instead of offering a lightweight computer running either Linux or XP like today’s netbooks do, this notebook PC is entirely powered by a device you already own: your smartphone. Dubbed a “mobile companion,” the Redfly device has an 8-inch screen, a full-sized keyboard and touch pad, and is connected to your smartphone via a USB cable or Bluetooth.

    To use the Redfly notebook, all you need to do is install the Redfly driver on your phone (see supported phones here). You can then use the netbook like any computer. Its bigger screen makes it easier to read documents, write emails, or surf the web. Redfly supports remote desktop, virtualization and other cloud-based environments like Citrix, GoToMyPC, LogMeIn, Microsoft’s Remote Desktop protocol, stoneware, inc., and others. The netbook also features a VGA connector so you can connect your Redfly netbook to a projector for presentations.

    As you use the Redfly device, you can be charging your smartphone too, assuming it’s plugged in via the USB cable. The Redfly battery works for up to 8 hours, according to the company.

    This is a very cool device!!

    Nick.

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    Remote Gaming: Play YOUR Xbox from anywhere in the world!

    Thursday, 16 October 2008 21:33 by Nick MacKechnie

     


    Remote Gaming: Play YOUR Xbox from anywhere in the world!

    Imagine...you are on a trip to Yawnsville, USA and you find yourself bored in your hotel room. Wouldn't it be GREAT if you just had your 360 with you and you could finish that level in Dead Space? Well, Vircion is going to make that possible. With their new product called Sero- you can tap into your console at home and access all your media and games with just a regular internet connection. You'll be able to finish that game you were playing and even jump into an online game and play with friends.

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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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    Recycle your old PC or mobile this weekend

    Friday, 3 October 2008 00:07 by Nick MacKechnie

    Kiwis can get rid of their unwanted computer bits and still be nice to the environment this Saturday with the country's annual computer recycling day.

    Hard drives, monitors, keyboards, printers, games consoles, mobile phones and other computer gear can be dropped off at collection points in 28 cities between 9am and 3pm, where they will be disposed of in an environmentally sustainable way.

    There is no charge for the recycling. A full list of accepted waste is available here.

    Wellingtonians can get rid of computer gears at the Westpac Stadium car park. Aucklanders should use they Tamaki campus of the University of Auckland drop-off spot, while Christchurch has a drop-off at the Papanui Club.

    The annual "eDay" is organised by the Computer Access Trust.

    More information at www.eDay.org.nz

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    Live TV To Your PC or Mobile Phone

    Tuesday, 23 September 2008 21:24 by Nick MacKechnie

    Hi All,

    You don’t have to have a Media Center PC to have access to TV on your PC. In addition to web sites like Hulu and Joost, there are desktop programs like Livestation and AnyTV which can bring TV shows right to your Windows desktop. Recently, the How-to-Geek featured another application which does the same.  It's called TVUPlayer and it lets you watch channels from all over the world.

    If you’re running XP or Vista and have Media Player 9 or later installed, you can access TV programming, including live channels, right from your PC. I was surprised to see that the big channels like NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX were supported. But what’s even cooler is that there’s a mobile version of this app which works on Windows Mobile 5, 6, or 6.1 phones (they recommend the Samsung i780, HTC Diamond, HTC Touch Cruise, and ATT Tilt). There’s a video of the mobile version on YouTube if you want to see this software in action.

    So check out TVUPlayer -  download here: TVUPlayer For Windows

    Nick.

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    Video Voicemail With Windows Live Video Messages

    Friday, 19 September 2008 23:25 by Nick MacKechnie

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    Recently, a new Windows Live site called Windows Live Video Messages was revealed. Here you can record and send personalized videos to your friends and family which they can access from anywhere they have an internet connection. The Video Messages website is set up very much like an email inbox, with folders for Received, Sent, and Unviewed messages. It will also display the counts of your unviewed messages and the total messages you have in your inbox.

    The site will automatically import your Windows Live Messenger buddy lists, which is certainly a handy feature. You can use then use those buddy lists to create your “top 6 list,” which features your favourite contacts and is located in the left sidebar above the rest of your buddies.

    The site itself is very simple to use – you just click the giant green plus sign to create a new video message. If the webcam is a Microsoft LifeCam (such as one of the two brand-new ones just released), it will be automatically detected. However, you can use your own webcam too. There are two different views for seeing your messages – an organized grid view and a more fun “scattered” view that displays the videos strewn across the web page. You get 2 GB of storage for saving messages and a recycle bin for clearing out older videos.

    To use the site, you’ll need to be running Silverlight. It  requires an ActiveX plugin – So have fun!

    Nick.

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