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Monthly Archives: September 2005

Talking about http://mail.start.com

The new Hotmail (codenamed Kahuna) is coming along nicely.

As well as the quote below, take some time to watch the Channel 9 video in the Omar Shahine and team – New Hotmail "Kahuna" thread.


http://mail.start.com ?

From Omar Shahine’s post mail.start.com we learn

Well, we launched Kahuna Milestone 3 (M3) yesterday with a new URL (http://mail.start.com). We are building Kahuna iteratively, and plan on releasing much goodness on a frequent basis. This is very different from the way that Hotmail and MSN has typically released software, but we feel it’s the best way to achieve success.

As I mentioned recently I’ve been using the Hotmail beta for a while now and it’s a phenomenal improvement over the current version. Below is a screenshot of the beta in action.

Hotmail Beta screenshot

If you’d like invites to the beta, you should keep an eye on the Hotmail team’s space. You can also find more screenshots of the Hotmail beta on their space as well.

Talking about MSN Search’s WebLog : MSN Search Plugins for Firefox

MSN Search have released a plug-in for Firefox users so they have access to MSN Search as a choice of search engines in their browser. More on the link below. 


MSN Search’s WebLog : MSN Search Plugins for Firefox

New HP iPAQ handhelds

HP announced new models featuring Windows Mobile 5 OS about a week ago (the Palm Treo 700w was also big news in the same week).
See HP’s press release and a search will quickly find plenty of reviews.

The Palm Treo 700w

There are plenty of reviews by now of Palm’s new "machine" running Windows Mobile 5.
Here’s the link to Engadget’s preview from a week or so ago (plenty of photos to whet your appetite)

Get into Hotmail via Start.com

You can now get into your Hotmail via Start.com.
Just go to http://mail.start.com/ and sign in and… there it is!

Talking about MSN Messneger 7.5.0306

 MSN Messenger has been updated to version 7.5 build 0306 (I’m still at build 0299 for comparison so I should get the update soon).


If you’re interested to see what’s been fixed (you may have experienced one or more the following little nuisances), read on…


MSN Messneger 7.5.0306

.50306…You know, they should make a TV show out of that – one that will rival the likes of Bevery Hills 90201. I’d watch. Starting today, when you dowload MSN Messenger 7.5, you’ll be getting this updated build.


"What’s updated!?" You ask. I thought you’d never. Answer: Just some good quality bug fixes:


If you can’t even stand to look at your display picture, your face is probably out of the question…

Pre-Conditions: You don’t have a webcam

Steps: You hide your display picture in a conversation window

Bug: The “Get a Webcam” link should hide as well.

Fix: Now it hides with your picture.   


Down with dialogues! Just work, d*mn it!

Steps: You attempt to upgrade to a release that uses patching as the upgrade mechanism (like this upgrade!)

Bug: When start the process, you’d see a Repair/Remove Dialogue

Fix: If the current build and the patch match up, then the patch will just work.  If a user tries to install any other patch, they will get an error. So no dialogue is needed.


Read the full post at IMUnplugged


“Publish Entry” sometimes gives a catastrophic error

 This post from Jason Antonelli, Dev Manager on MSN Spaces, gives some info about how the team is going about making sure that the "Publish Entry" process works and our work isn’t lost if there’s an error on the Spaces servers.


A Spaces Post … Finally

Yesterday afternoon we propped a fix that adds resiliency to posting of blog entries.  Both internally and externally we have been hearing about reports of content not being posted.  A lot of this was being chalked up to availability problems — which was consistent to the types of reports that we were seeing.  If for example a backend system isn’t available when you click "Publish" the post is going to fail and you are going to be screwed.
However I still personally read each incoming bug report or suggestion and often try to repro the problem myself.  As I drilled into each report I began to think something else was amiss — that people were talking about partial or old content being submitted, not just posts were failing.  This was more consistent with a problem in the client-side code as opposed to an availability issue.  I started talking to Scott, the guy that developed the editor that released in early July and he came up with a fix that adds additional resiliency to how we grab the content out of the editor in order to post back to the server.  This fix got propped to spaces.msn.com last night.
In addition, in our next major release, we are going to change how Publish Entry and Save as Draft work.  Right now, they aren’t resilient to a backend failure — so if you click Publish and there’s an unexpected server error — you often lose your post data since you’ll be looking at an error page, not your blog entry page.  This is akin to clicking "Save" in Microsoft Word and losing your document.  It’s just not cool.  Instead of doing a "form-post" that both submits the blog entry and then refreshes the page which has this design flaw– we’ll be moving to an "AJAX-call" which will post an async submit using FireAnt and if successful, redirect you back to the correct page.  If the FireAnt call fails — we’ll keep you where you are at and you’ll still have all your work up to that point untouched.  (Walter, a lead developer on the next version of Hotmail which is going to be super-awesome, talked about FireAnt at the PDC.)
We’ve been also been super-focused on increasing our availability of Spaces.  As the service has grown from a puny little beta in the Japan market only with a couple of hundred thousand spaces to tens of millions of spaces and who knows how many page views and unique visitors — we’ve had to scale out very fast to handle the load on both the frontends and backends over the last 12 months.  Availability has suffered in the meantime — and although we have made great improvements over the last couple of weeks — we are going to continue working on this as a top-most priority until we are confident that availability is where it should be.

Virtually There – Hurricane Rita

MSNBC News has another site, Virtually There, giving information about the progress and impace of Hurricane Rita using Virtual Earth.
Using the Help panel on the right-hand side of the screen, you can jump immediately to points of interest.
Hovering your mouse over the different icons placed on the map gives information about the location of reporters in the area or photos taken at different times and places.

Hurricane Rita + Virtual Earth + MSNBC

launched an application for tracking the current and predicted position of the upcoming Hurricane Rita. Take a look now.

This is the first tracking site on the web using Virtual Earth! Make sure you keep watching because we will be adding more features to this application over the coming hours.


Let your mouse hover the hurricane icon for speed and wind speed.

The camera icon enables access to live traffic cams around Houston.

Start.com goes international

Good news!

Australian users will see feeds from various Australian RSS feeds. Of course, you can keep them or remove them and replace them with your own.

See webDotWiz Online for 22-Sep-05 for some ideas and how to set up your own feeds. Remember that these feeds are automatically updated while you remain online. 



start.com goes international

Salut! start.com has been released in 9 markets 🙂
JA-JP, EN-US, ES-ES, EN-UK, FR-FR, IT-IT, ES-ES, DE-DE and EN-AU. You will now see a language option in the upper right hand corner and we will also respect your browser language/locale setting. This has been one of our most requested customer features and we hope to expand to more markets soon. 
As usual, we want to hear from you.  Please send us your feedback, email startfb or leave a comment.
enjoy! and tell all your friends abroad.