Tag Archives: Microsoft

Windows Phone tip: Stop your calendar from showing Monday’s meetings on Saturday nights

My Windows Phone treats me well; it’s great at e-mail, I love my Zune Pass, and there are lots of great apps.  It also has a very efficient lock screen that gives you the date and time; notifications for missed calls, new texts, and new e-mails (by account); and music playback controls all in one glance.  Plus, when I’m at work, the lock screen always helps me find my way to the next meeting on my calendar: what it’s called, when it starts, and where I should go.

That’s great during the week, but not so much on Saturday night.

You see, the logic for appointments showing on the lock screen is pretty simple. If there are any appointments the same day or the next day, they appear on the screen.  Perfect for knowing what’s next for the day or what’s coming tomorrow morning.  Except when it comes to Saturday nights.  After midnight on Saturday (a.k.a. Sunday morning), that two-day window of time includes Monday morning.  And Monday morning’s meetings.

Nothing like enjoying a bit of a respite from work and being reminded that Monday’s coming up soon.

But luckily there’s a really easy solution to the problem (without doing anything weird to your phone):  set up a recurring weekly appointment on Sunday nights to serve as your next appointment over the weekend.  I have my phone show “Happy Weekend!” until Sundays at 10pm.  No longer does your weekend have to hasten to a premature end.

LockScreen
A much nicer picture to spend your Sunday with.

To make it easier to get set up on your phone, here are some .ics event files I made that  you can add to your own calendar (in Eastern or Pacific time zone flavor).  If you’re using the calendar that comes with your Windows Live ID via Hotmail, just import that file on this page to get it synced to your phone.  Of course, you can customize the message and the timing for when it’s OK for Monday morning meetings to start showing up.

Happy Weekend! :-)

New web activities debut on Windows Live

So today was an exciting day at work.  Bright and early this morning we released 19 new web activity partners (the first release I’ve been around for!).

For the uninitiated, Windows Live helps you keep all your friends up-to-date with what you’re doing across the interwebs.  You just add web activities to your profile to import what you’re doing on sites like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, and Twitter into Windows Live for your Messenger friends to see.  That way they can keep up with your online escapades in one easy place.

Today’s release brings the total number of partners up to 74.  Here are the new partners and their home countries (but you can add them to Windows Live wherever you are in the world):

4Travel Japan Azbuz Turkey Baby Kingdom Hong Kong
Biip.no Norway Break.com US BuscaPe Brazil
CNET US L’internaute Copains France Doctissimo Community France
IRC-Galleria Finland Libimseti.cz Czech Republic lokalisten.de Germany
Multiply US MyVIP Hungary Neogen Romania
PIXNET Taiwan Qype Germany Wat.tv France
  YouTube US  

A screenshot of some YouTube activity in the What’s New feed:

What's new feed with YouTube web activity on the web
Your friends on Windows Live can see what you’ve been up to on YouTube (or on 73 other partner sites) with web activities.  Cool, huh? PS – That’s one of my coworker’s legs in the test video :-)

So that’s a bit of what I work on.  Glad to be able to talk about it now. :-)

MSN begins preview of a new design & logo

11-03MSNLogo_smTonight, MSN announced a preview of the a new design for the site at http://www.msn.com/preview.aspx.  The new look is much cleaner and sports an updated logo.

One of the most exciting parts (aside from looking much nicer than its predecessor) is that it integrates social networking feeds (including Windows Live!) right into the page.  You can see what’s going on with your Messenger friends on the Windows Live tab, as well as look at your latest mail from Hotmail, see your Facebook newsfeed, and follow what your friends (or the prince of spam) are saying on Twitter.
11-03MSNHomePage_lg
Some casual testing also reveals it to load about twice as fast as the current version.  I still think more options for customization would be good (I certainly don’t need so much Entertainment news), but the addition of local content and a local edition are cool.

All in all, a nice new look for one of the most visited sites on the Internet.

College Puzzle Challenge is coming

Yesterday I got to participate in the the Beta test for the 2009 Microsoft College Puzzle Challenge and really enjoyed the event.  Thought I’d share some info.Microsoft College Puzzle Challenge 2009

The College Puzzle Challenge takes place at universities across the US and Canada each year.  Teams of four students each spend a Saturday solving puzzles and competing to win prizes.  Members of the top team nationwide each receive an XBox 360 and a Zune HD.  1st through 3rd at each school also win prizes.  Not bad for a day that’s pretty fun in and of itself.

The 2009 event is scheduled for November 14 at 25 schools, but before it all goes live, the puzzles need to be tested to get the kinks ironed out.  That’s where the beta event comes in.  My team of 4 (along with twenty or so other teams of relatively new Microsoft employees) spent yesterday in a test run of the competition, solving the puzzles and giving feedback to the puzzle writers on how reasonable (or not so reasonable) their puzzles were.

Our team placed fourth, solving the second-most puzzles overall (1st and 2nd tied, we tied with 3rd).  We really enjoyed the majority of the puzzles and the theme held things together nicely (while the theme is still under wraps for now, note the website’s stylings as a major hint :-)).  We didn’t get to test the meta-puzzle (they’re still finishing putting it together), but it promises to make things even more interesting.

Anyway, if you’re a student at one of the 25 universities where this event is taking place, I highly recommend getting a team together.  Registration is free, you get to compete with students from across the US and Canada, there are great prizes, and its fun.  Plus food is provided all day.  Can’t beat that.