Here is Charlie Owen from the Windows Media Center team showing a demo of the new Windows Vista Media Center (Diamond)
The new interface looks really slick, however I am concerned since they seem to have reduced font sizes a little.
– Via Charlie Owen
For the off chance you’ve been living under a rock for the last month and you haven’t heard of Microsoft’s soon to be released iPod competitor, heres the quick synopsis.
I found an interesting video today of Scoble interviewing the project manager of Zune. Its worth noting the way he handled references to their main competitor, the iPod, in a very respectful way.
In other news, over the last week I finally got my living room system under control with Wndows Media Center fully controllable through my main remote (I’ll post some pictures soon). This has got me really excited about Microsofts future products and their plans to integrate them for a better “connected entertainment” experience. There is no denying that the iPod will be the best portable music player and the Xbox 360 will continue to have very tough competetion in the video gaming market; but Microsoft is poised to be the only company that has a real chance of creating a fully integrated system.
One thing that I believe that the iPod got right, that I fear Microsoft will stumble on, is that the iPod’s DRM is just good enough to keep the recording industry happy, but just weak enough for people to get around. Unfortunately Microsofts huge emphasis on their own DRM might be the Zunes downfall.
I have always had some respect for Apple’s products, although you would rarely hear me admit it in public. However, I have never really been a fan of company’s who criticize their competitors to get ahead. Their advertising campaign recently has really been on the tacky side.
But after the posting on their website recently, its pretty clear that they need to hire people with a little more class. If you haven’t read about it yet..
“We recently discovered that a small number – less than 1% – of the Video iPods available for purchase after September 12, 2006, left our contract manufacturer carrying the Windows RavMonE.exe virus. This known virus affects only Windows computers, and up to date anti-virus software which is included with most Windows computers should detect and remove it. So far we have seen less than 25 reports concerning this problem. The iPod nano, iPod shuffle and Mac OS X are not affected, and all Video iPods now shipping are virus free. As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.”
Huh? They released iPods with a virus and suddenly its Microsoft’s fault. Whatever happened to quality testing?
I found some interesting videos yesterday of the Microsoft interview process.
Zoe Goldring and Gretchen Ledgard – What is it like to interview at Microsoft? (Video)
Zoe Goldring and Gretchen Ledgard – Riding the Recruiting Shuttle (Video)
Gary Daniels and Evan Goldring – Mock whiteboard problem (Video)
The third one is by far the most interesting since it disects one of the technical interview questions. Although I am pretty sure anyone who has got to that position knows how to write algorithms and convert them into code, I could see how it allows the interviewer to get into the mind of the candidate.
Since I am no C programmer, and therefore would not use pointers, the technical purpose of the question would be lost on me. I found one of the responses at Channel9 to be particularily interesting…
“How is the algorithm to handle punctuation and whitespace? My thoughts are to strip them off prior to the forward/reverse iterative checking loop.
When dealing with TCHAR’s the issue of internationalization needs addressed; this introduces some other interesting concepts.
Should case be considered? Some languages have single character lower case but that same “character” in upper case is actually two characters (ala the German ß (sharp-s). This makes for interesting buffer manipulation.
Should accented characters be accepted as equivalent to non-accented characters? In Turkish, there are four representations of the letter ‘i’ that are all equivalent if you are ignoring case.
Should we even consider the culture of the source string, or assume the current culture?
Last, but not least, is the issue of string length. These days, I am surprised that the interviewer/interviewee did not add a string length parameter, stipulate the string is null-terminated, or better yet #include strsafe.h above the function prototype.”
I’m also wondering if asking for these types of clarifications is too much – the interviewer may be thinking “get on with it already, I just want to know if you understand pointer arithmetic!””
Since Microsoft creates software for an international community I doubt analysis like this would be lost on the interviewer. It also shows that the candidate is comfortable enough with programming (and pointers in this case) to move on and solve the real problem.
The last time I blogged was June 25th 2005 after our website Quente Cafe covered Wired magazine’s Next Fest, and although it was very a exciting time for Quente Cafe, it also marked its languid demise. Maybe we lost interest or maybe we realized that we couldn’t keep up the commitment we had invested, and keep our day jobs.
However, for some reason nowadays I feel the need to write about technology again. So I decided to start writing a more discrete blog under my own name. Unlike Quente Cafe I will be writing less about consumer technology and definitely less often. However, I hope to focus more on quality posts about programming, graphic design and other things that catch my interest.