Category Archives: Technology

Facebook Chat comes to Windows Live Messenger

Now, I try not to bore you too often with posts about work, but every so often we do something I can’t help but brag about.  Today was one of those days.

Around noon Pacific, we released an update to the Windows Live Messenger beta adding Facebook chat.  Now you can IM your Facebook friends from inside Messenger.  All you have to do is connect Facebook to Windows Live, fire up the Messenger beta, and chat away.  Facebook Chat in Messenger is starting out in 6 regions (Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US).

Here’s what it looks like:


Chat joins the Messenger social view updates from May to make Messenger a great way to keep up with what’s going on in Facebook.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Hey!  That Messenger screenshot looks familiar.  It came from one of my PowerPoints!

Gogo for free. [in-flight Internet, that is]

As we approach the holiday travel season, many of you will undoubtedly take to the skies to get where you’re going.  It’s so peaceful, flying up there on an airplane, disconnected from the world. 

But you can’t keep your head in the clouds forever.  Just as smartphones ruined e-mail-free commutes (don’t do that), inevitably someone would wire up planes to the grid and pull you back to earth.  That someone was Gogo.

At least they’re doing something nice for us in return.

To spread the word about their service and get more people to get addicted give it a try, they’re offering a code for FREE Internet.  Yes you heard right, that’s FREE.  Just take your computer on your next flight, once the plane hits 10,000 feet and you’re cleared to use portable electronic devices, launch your browser and head to  Create an account and enter this code:


You’ll get free wi-fi access for the duration of your flight.  It should work on any Air Canada, AirTran, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, or Virgin America flight that features a wi-fi sticker on the outside of the plane.  There are more details on which airlines and which routes feature Gogo at their site.

So enjoy the free Interweb access in the sky.  Use the time to do something productive, something fun, or something like starting a blog.  The sky’s the limit (I’m sorry, I’ll stop now).


Disclaimer: Just like with the Amazon referral deal before it, this Gogo referral deal also involves me getting something in return for referring you to Gogo.  This time, if you use the free Internet credit, I get a free Internet credit.  Of course, I wouldn’t be doing this if the free Internet credit wasn’t worthwhile for you.  I could just take the code they gave me and use it ad infinitum via different free e-mail addresses. Hmm…  Wonder if is taken yet?  I hope the Gogo folks planned for that contingency.  Anyway, happy free Interneting.  The code expires 1/7/2010.  But that’s not ‘til next year…

My first two months at Microsoft – a communication introspective

I started work at Microsoft on 9/8/2009.  So far, I’m thoroughly enjoying working with great colleagues on a great product, the web half of Windows Live (specifically the social networking part). Things are off to an exciting start — I’ve already survived a cougar invasion, my first release to production, and an onslaught of more than 10,000 e-mails.  Through it all, I’ve been able to keep my wits about me (mostly) and my Inbox hovering around 20 items.

To mark the end of my second month (way back on 11/8), I decided to examine my communication patterns and how they had shifted over my first several weeks at work.  As much as it was to be an exercise in reflection, it would also serve as an exercise in upkeep; after all, I need to keep those Illustrator skills sharp.  It took a bit longer to complete than planned (it’s been a busy month), but it’s finally done.   Without further ado, I present a look at my communication patterns over the first two months of work:

Any thoughts?  To other new grads starting work, how does it compare to your new jobs?

Got a website? Grade it.

websitegraderI’ve been getting a decent amount of traffic via search engines, which reminded me about a tool I used to use on website projects.  I’ve found it useful for the past few years, so figured I’d pass it along.

It’s called Website Grader and it helps you take care of some basic optimization for search engines.   Don’t worry, this isn’t the slimy, keyword-stuffing, link-whoring version of SEO.  This tool, made by the good people at HubSpot in Boston, just runs a bunch of tests on your site to see if how it fares in the eyes of a search engine.

When I was getting started looking at search engine performance, the advice on using the .htaccess file to unify the http://www. version of your site with the http:// one was particularly useful for me.  It also never hurts to have a tool remind you that you forgot to add meta tags to a page.

Anyway, give it a try and see how your sites fare.  You’ll either get a number to brag about or some insights in how to make your site easier on a search engine’s eyes.

I noticed today while perusing the site that HubSpot has set up a whole mess of graders on, anyone tried out any of the other graders?

The score for