Mia'cova Mia'cova

Niner since 2005


  • Windows Live Messenger - What. How. Why.

    One thing I'd love to see is a trouble-shooter for P2P. It's frustrating to take down my firewall, be directly connected to the internet, and still not being able to establish a direct connection (seemingly). Perhaps it fails once and won't retry. Will it escalate to a better mode once a transfer has started? If I start sending a 10mb file through the server, then drop my firewall, it'd be nice to be able to see it transition into TCP. Uploading every second file I want to send to my webserver and messaging links is annoying enough. Now some people are conditioned to assume link=virus so they wouldn’t even accept media that way. (And don’t get me started about messenger deleting .mp3 files for my protection when I click Open after they’ve downloaded… what is going on there? Is that a plugin or is that actually what’s going on? After a 20 min send for a 3mb file through the relay from a friend in the dorm next door on our 10mbit connections… ahhhh! Sorry Smiley )

    In regards to advertising, no one will ever be happy or comfortable with it shipping that way as part of windows. It seemed a little easier to justify when there was an ads-free windows messenger available. With the death of Windows Messenger, that will change. I suppose the revenue is too much to ignore. If I was on the Messenger team, I'd be looking on ways to make the premium content more attractive as it doesn't seem to be doing as well as it could. But so long as the mess patch, etc can cleanly remove ads, their inclusion shouldn't bother the power users much. Otherwise there really needs to be a premium no-ads mode somewhere. I use messenger far too much to allow it to subject me to constant advertisement. But thanks for keeping it minimally obtrusive.

    That all said, Messenger is always going to be an exciting product. Keep pushing ahead. I like the balance you've all found in Live Messenger. With offline messages and multiple messages under a name, it's starting to feel like a far more mature product and platform. Losing offline messages functionality has irked me since getting forced into switching from ICQ to MSN by market share. The only option has been to stay connected in away mode. I can almost bring myself to sign off from messenger now... well.. we'll wait another year until everyone's upgraded Wink

    Final note, the team interview was hilarious. I loved all the funny "ummmms" and such when the common suggestions (more statuses, etc) came up. Gotta love being stuck with an architecture and some HCI reqs Smiley


  • Seventeen Minutes With Bill

    I'd like to send a little overall feedback to bill about how I'm feeling these days, and where we're all headed. Being his first Channel 9 interview, I figure he'll be reading the comments like the rest of us. (And a nice interview too). Okay, Microsoft has been quite rightly been putting a significant focus on the visual appeal of their operating system and products this round. The continued commitment to usability/HCI as seen in Office 12 is outstanding. I also appreciate all the work that has gone into security, such as with full hard drive encryption and lowered-rights mode. But Microsoft has certainly held back. There has been no big push towards encrypted email and instant messaging. Although I don't doubt this has more to do with Microsoft's position next to the US government. But hopefully MS is leaving the door open for products like Skype to bring added privacy to the masses. It'd be hard for me to swallow a monopoly on instant messaging that shuts the door on end-to-end encryption.

    Second, I have a huge personal interest in machine learning and social networking. I'm finishing up my undergrad in cpsc and am hoping to find a place among the ranks at Microsoft in Mountain View. I see amazing strides being made in the academic world by applying machine learning in the real world. The darpa challenge is one obvious example. Reading through post mortems is filled with hopes of extending their work towards self-navigating vehicles and the safety/reliability it would bring. A friend of mine died in a car accident a little over a month back which drove home the point of just how badly we need machines to be able to work in the real world. Driving is perhaps the single biggest danger in our 1st world nations. Consider also how integrating small smart shuttles into public transit systems could absolutely revolutionize public transportation, especially in rural cities that make traditional bussing systems slow and impractical. Basically, a greater understanding of this field is needed throughout computer science.

    And to people who are criticizing the 3D amazon comment of bill's. The virtual online 3D amazon book store idea has been floating for quite some time, and similar ideas such as virtual art galleries. Those kinds of examples started showing up right from the get go with VRML a decade ago. My take is that it's almost completely without merit. I don't want a static 3D world. It simply doesn't offer me any benefit beyond eye candy. It really struck home with me when I was trying to create a more visually way of viewing google image search results using PCA / MDS algorithms. It works fine where you can build an interface where images with similar features would be closer together. You can pull features like like colour composition or tagged info like people or dates. Then much with what features are important in real time and have the images slide around to match. But where that's really fun, it's hard to really make major gains out of it. Surprisingly, a raw page of thumbnails with descriptions is actually pretty information rich. You can skim a page and move on without requiring much aid. Plus, the results after a few pages are typically garbage for all but the most general searches.

    Anyways, thanks again Bill. Keep up the good work at MS, donations to medical and 3rd world, advocacy, commentary, etc. We all like to see that happen. And hey, I'd like to see microsoft get into medical software at some point. I'd like to get into bioinformatics at some point which seems to limit my options with regards to Microsoft. MS is such a hotbed of talent that I feel could be put to so many kinds of good beyond consumer products.

    -James Railton