If you happen to be at Mix and want to chat about Windows Media Center head over to the Sandbox area and ask for Eric Voetberg, Jason Suess or Andrew Adamyk. While there you can pick up a DVD chock full of resources for those wanting to learn more about developing for Windows Media Center in managed code and / or Media Center Markup Language. It includes the latest rev of the SDK (it's already posted to MSDN online and will be going up to the download center in the next day or two) as well as some fairly extensive training materials.

Categories: Mix | Windows Media Center | Comments [4] | # | Posted on Monday, April 30, 2007 5:38:12 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)   

This seems really dorky to blog about, but at least 5 folks are interested so this is for them. What tipped it over the scales was this from Romland, one of our regular participants over on http://discuss.mediacentersandbox.com: "Seriously, that picture is the main reason I wouldn't argue with you about anything at the Mediacenter Sandbox. It scares me."


Anywho, I hooked up the new Canon EF 50mm f1.4 lens (thanks for the tip Thomas) and went out on the porch and had my wife shoot about 30 shots, then sit down with me to pick a good one. Without further adieu, here it is (and already posted to our discussion alias and Channel9)...

And here were the runner ups (for funsies).


You should have seen the other rejects -- those were truly scary. :-)

Categories: Humor | Comments [5] | # | Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 6:12:45 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)   

W3bbo and alwaysmc2 over in a Channel9 forum post both think the picture I use online could use some work...

W3bbo: "Your avatar is genuinely scary."

alwaysmc2: "It's your mix between crazed and really, really happy expression that makes it scary."

So, here is the picture -- I don't think it's *that* scary, and as I told those guys, it's the face I was born with.

What do you think? Time to get a fresh picture to use online? Got any recommendations about which direction I should go (artsy, playful, avant garde, folksy)?

Categories: Humor | Comments [6] | # | Posted on Friday, April 6, 2007 7:12:20 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)   

I absolutely LOVE IT when my peers get involved in community efforts. I was floored the other day when I learned Jessica Zahn (Program Manager on the Windows Media Center TV team) has her own forum over on thegreenbutton.com called Ask Jessica and it has over 200 posts, all of which she has read and a majority of which she has replied to directly. Makes my Mailbag feature here on the blog seem like the American Idol tryouts...the epitome of amateur!

She is also getting other Windows Media Center team members involved, like Noah.

Categories: Windows Media Center | Community | Comments [2] | # | Posted on Friday, April 6, 2007 6:59:12 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)   

Accessibility is pretty important to us, and we want to make Windows Media Center easy to use for visually impaired folks. The default experience in Windows Media Center makes your digital media much more accessible to start with compared to Windows Media Player, iTunes or Zune -- because everything is bigger (your album art, the text, selectable items, etc.). There are some high contrast accessibility features you can turn on which make it even easier to read and navigate Windows Media Center if you are vision impaired. Get to them via Tasks > Settings > General > Visual and Sound Effects > Color Scheme. Here is what they look like.

High Contrast - White

High Contrast Black

Categories: Mailbag | Windows Media Center | Accessibility | Comments [1] | # | Posted on Friday, April 6, 2007 5:40:50 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)   
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Shortly after Thomas Hawk got a Mac I began to think I was really missing something, thinking maybe they had been able to catch up in the 7 or so years it took us to get Windows Vista out the door. So, right before the Christmas holidays (December 13) while visiting the Apple store in Portland, OR I succumbed to the commercials and bought myself a white MacBook. I will admit to being a little ashamed -- and really couldn't bring myself to let folks know I even had the thing. But then had coffee with Steve Makofsky at Redmond Town Center and he made me feel better, helping me understand it's perfectly OK and natural to like the Mac. Needless to say, it's been wonderful ever since and I couldn't even think of going back to Windows.

Categories: Apple | Mac | Comments [4] | # | Posted on Monday, April 2, 2007 4:13:39 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)   
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