Aquarium Blog

Monday, December 27, 2004

Tsunami accounts

I have just read blogs posts from people that have lived through the Asian tsunami, here, here and there. Also the report by CNN. Tsunamis have been my worst nightmare all my life, not for any particular reason. I lived most of my life protected of the ocean by high mountains. I have been trough earthquakes, though. I cannot even grasp the level of pain this has caused to so many.

Thanks to Scoble for the links. And by the way Robert, your previous post really looked bad in the context of more than 10,000 (now 21,000) people dead. You better accept it. However, I still don't think you are really insensitive. Perhaps you didn't wake up to it at first.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

I found something better than blogging

  • I think it is the ideal hobby for any geek.
  • I get a lot of wonderful peer feedback.
  • I would be absolutely happy if I got paid for it.
  • I would do it full time.
  • It is not sex.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Why am I selling my car in my blog and buying a SUV?

Coincidently, Robert is driving a SUV, and giving good arguments against it. I agree with him. It reminds me of when Philip Greenspun compared Java with SUVs. Of course, compared with SUVs, Java is not abominable at all.

I have considered SUVs a monstrosity for years, and I am craving for a new Mazda3 right now.

All that said, I have been living in the city of Santo Domingo for two years. There are so many SUVs here that it is unsafe to go out driving in my tiny sedan. It kills my nerves everytime my wife goes out in it with my young son. Add to this the terrible condition of the pavement, and the very aggressive driving style of the natives (and the well adapted non-natives).

Those are the reasons I am selling my car today, in my blog, and looking for a SUV right now.

Taking advantage of my PageRank?

I want to sell my car, a Chrysler Neon 1996. I don't have much time because I am travelling soon. I tried to upload it to a local car selling site but it is taking time. So I decided to make the experiment of selling it in my blog. I will see what happens, and I will take this post down on a later date.

The car works well, it has good mateinance (I found a great garage owned by two brazilians), and even when it has had a crash, the engine wasn't touched and the repair was so good, now it runs better than before the crash. I am asking a little less than what others are asking for this car here, that is RD$ 150,000.

See for yourself. It is not a new car, not jewelry, but if you live in Santo Domingo, it is great value for your money.

For more details, see my email address in my Profile.

Friday, December 17, 2004


What drives an Argentinean geek to check the NBA news? to the San Antonio Spurs site? Manu Ginobili does. Everybody loves Manu, and one gets this need to congratulate him for caring so much about what he does.

Updated June 30th, 2005: I have noticed in my stats that many women (I assume), living specially in Texas, come to my blog by searching things like "does Manu Ginobili have a wife?". Well, I don't want to spoil it Manu, but yes girls, I think he does ;)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Is this real realpolitik?

I was looking for a nice definition of realpolitik in English, and I go to this post and this blog. I haven't checked the video referred by the post by myself, but in it, a Muslim preacher in a Mosque located in Germany says:

These Germans, these atheists, these Europeans don't shave under their arms and their sweat collects under their hair with a revolting smell and they stink... Hell lives for the infidels! Down with all democracies and all democrats!

Reminds me of the sad events that happened in the Netherlands regarding the murder of Theo Van Gogh. It is sad that in a country so tolerant the intolerant find a place to preach their hate.

My view is that the video exposes what the extreme right of the Islam thinks about the rest of the world. First clue: It is not at all different of what the extreme right thinks, regardless of country or culture: My cause is the cause of god, yours is the cause of evil. Second clue: Extreme ideology is self-justifying, and once you are inside, you just can't see the alternatives.

This is the reason that the owner of that blog chooses to think his biased politic view can be categorized as realpolitik. While I appreciate that he is not as extreme and cartoonesque as the preacher, I think it cannot.

Hewlett Packard Pavilion zd8000 is out

It seems that I will still need around US$ 3000 to get the Laptop I want. I have been thinking, however, that maybe it is time to jump to a 64 bits machine. Any 17" Laptops with AMD64 CPU that you would recommend?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Idea for improving Microsoft Office

Now that is clear that it is ok to shamelessly clone ideas, and specially now that Microsoft and Sun are friends... While I was reading about improvements in 2.0 , I found one that in my opinion Microsoft's product really needs:

Recently-used file list extended to 10 items

For me 4 items is not enough. I loose a lot of time navigating my huge folder structure because my recent files are not at hand. I don't care if there is a supported setting, or perhaps a registry hack somewhere (is it, anywhere?) I want it to be by default 10, at least.

Reasons to use OpenOffice

Going to Tim Bray's blog a few seconds ago, I found this comment about the reasons to use software.

I would like to add the sole reason that makes me install it in my computer:

OpenOffice is a great for opening corrupted files that otherwise brutally crash Microsoft Office applications.

This i what I usually do when I have a problem:
  1. Setup OpenOffice.
  2. Open my corrupted file.
  3. Save it, usually with all content intact.
  4. Uninstall OpenOffice.

The moral of the story is that, for Microsoft, having such a high quality, independent implementation of their file formats is a plus.

I understand and, to some extent, agree with many of the reasons exposed in that article, but I must admit that it is not use for me to switch to a different product. I like Microsoft Office, and I know how to do my work with it. If my everyday environment weren't Windows, I would probably think different. If I worked for Sun... you bet! ;)


I have to mention that I have added AdSense adds to my blog a few days ago. Otherwise, Scoble would make me feel like a bitch ;) Fortunatelly for me, Tim Bray has it too, and that makes me feel way better.

I hope you will appreciate the work I did on the color scheme and placing. I also tried some CSS code to scale it, but Firefox doesn't support it.

By the way, I am not expecting that you actually click on it, whoever you are. Let's say, as Robert says, that I only do it for the fun of it!

Desktop Search Wars II: Attack of the Deskbars

I have been using MSN Toolbar Suite for some days, but I avoided posting about it. As seen in this Robert's blog entry, blogspace is full of noise about the product already.

There are many things to like about the MSN Toolbar Suite but it also shows little glitches from time to time.

I hope developers will work better the hide buttons hack. In the current version you can save valuable screen space by hidding the button, but then you loose access to some convenient menu items.

The Toolbar Suite refuses to install in Windows 2003 Server, which many developers use as a Desktop Operating system.

In general, I like the idea of having a Deskbar, but I have to admit that I still don't get used to it. If just the Windows Taskbar would be more flexible... If it allowed to distribute things better...

What really makes me smile about the product is how similar it is to the Google Deskbar that have been available for some time, both trough Google's site, and trough Microsoft's site (Microsoft's distributes Google Deskbar as part of Microsoft's Partner Pack. Here I found a good explanation of it. In short, Google's Deskbar is a .NET product, a very useful one, and it helps get the .NET word out there).

Google's Deskbar and MSN Deskbar are so much alike, I think they look more like a product of some collaboration than of fierce competition. They both have this nice background logo (different logos off course), they both let you do customized searches in other sites. Google's version also integrates with Google Desktop, giving you the same functionality of MSN Toolbar Suite, albeit I am not sure how well that works.

I think it is worthy to try both suites, the MSN Toolbar Suite, and Google Deskbar + Google Desktop. But don't forget that having two desktop search engines in a computer will kill its performance and use a lot of hard disk space.

Friday, December 10, 2004

What is good what not so about The Code Room?

Update on 12/13/2004: I have read my post again, and I feel now that it is too harsh on the people that make The Code Room. So, for anyone interested in my feedback, have you ever had a bad day? I still think you need a turn in the direction I state in the post, but you are not that far. Apologizes.

Today, Robert Scoble pointed us to the debut video of a new MSDN TV show called The Code Room. Right now, the first episode is only available at TheServerSide.NET.

So the wave of reality shows has finally arrived to computer geeks? Actually, there are a number of things I don't like about the video. I have already posted too many comments on Scoble's blog (sorry Robert!), so I will use my own blog to elaborate a little bit.

I think you could understand the issue just looking at The Code Room's logo.

The small text under the title reads:


I can picture the designer feeling very geeky when he did that. The problem is:

  1. It is wrong, you need to close the quotation marks at the end for this to make sense.
  2. If you look at the actual code of the home page, it says src="images/thecoderoom_logo.jpg".

I know this is just a couple of stupid details, but from a geek's perspective, it is a a shame. It means that the text in the logo is like an "Access Granted" sign covering all the screen of a computer in a stupid Hollywood movie! A chill goes all the way trough the spine. Are you trying to sell me something? Are you trying to wash my brain?

I read on TheServerSide.NET that there is actually Hollywood people involved. This is no surprise. It reminds me of the day I saw Independence Day. Not only it was one of the worst "science fiction" movies I have ever seen. When they connected a laptop to an alien mainframe using TCP/IP and infected it with a virus, I almost vomited.

So, it is ok guys if you are not geeks, just don't pretend to look like geeks, or it will only make you look fake.

Finally, I have to mention that as it was the case with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, the three "human" participants trapped in the code room looked like cool, plain normal, real life geeks. Of the three, Chris Menegay and Scott Bellware have blogs, and I am reading them right now.

It is not clear for me what the target audience of the program is. In any case, if MSDN TV wants to improve it, perhaps having some geeks to "sanitize" the show will do it. Otherwise they can try asking the directors to make it more Dogme 95 like (what Scoble & co. do at Channel 9), or perhaps recording some extreme programming scenes using bullet-time effects ;).

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I gave up on my first blog on MSN Spaces

Well, then only solution I found was delete it. Maybe the address will be available again in 60 days.

I wasn't able to do anything on it, so I had to use a little hack:

  • Logged to my main passport account, I waited for the "Space temporarily unavailable" message
  • I trimmed the URL in the address bar, up to, but not including my alias, and added "/SpaceSettings.aspx" to it. I was able then to click on the "Delete this Space" button.

My hypothesis is that when I created the site, it was to early and not everything was working well. Hence, some critical files weren't copied to the right folder, including "PersonalSpace.aspx". However, some pages were copied, like "SpaceSettings.aspx", "ThemeSettings.aspx" and "PermissionSettings.aspx".

So I was able to delete it, only because I was lucky and I got access to "SpaceSettings.aspx". Otherwise I would have needed to figure out a way to run "SpaceDelete.aspx".

Besides, I never received further news from MSN Support after the email from Abraham saying that they were working on MSN Spaces to make them work for everybody. Maybe they are too busy chasing bad words ;)

UPDATED 12/08/2004: I received a message from Blas at MSN Spaces support. It is a little bit late for him to help me, but I maybe I could still help others by describing to him the symptoms I experienced and my hypothesis on how the problem occurred.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Ideas for extending the usefulness of OPML to web bookmarks and NNTP subscriptions

I had the honor to receive email from Dmitry Jemerov, Omea's Project Leader at JetBrains today, regarding a piece of feedback I sent yesterday. My original message contained a feature requests and a suggestion. First I was asking if importing Outlook Express Newsgroups subscriptions would be possible in future Omea Reader versions. The suggestion was about including NNTP type subscriptions in OPML files.

In case you don't know the product here is a description from the product's page:

Omea Reader is an easy to use, all-in-one RSS/ATOM feed reader, newsgroup reader, and web bookmark manager. But what really makes it unique is the level of information organization and management features including lightning-fast searches, flexible filing, contextual access, and extensibility.

Omea Pro, still under development, goes even further:

Omea is an extremely powerful yet simple to use Integrated Information Environment. With Omea, you can access, organize, and quickly search all your digital resources, including e-mails, syndicated Web feeds, instant messaging conversations, newsgroup articles, favorite web sites, personal contacts, and even locally stored files (.doc, .pdf, .txt, etc.), all in one easy to use composite interface that's well organized and efficient to navigate.

Thinking a little bit more about my feedback, I think my suggestion of putting NNTP links inside OPML is the most interesting part. So I developed it a little bit more. I will include a slightly edited version of the email I sent to Dmitry as a reply today:

Hello Dmitry,

It is great to receive your answer! The news about OE newsgroups importing are great, even if you cannot make promises.

About putting newsgroup items in OPML, one possible gain I can think of is that OPML would then become Omea's standard format for exchange and backup of all kind of resources (needless to say, you can do exactly the same with your web favorites).

Users could then use OPML files to exchange, backup and restore their complete subscription sets, without going through three separated processes: copying an OPML file for feeds, manually recreating newsgroups servers and subscriptions, and finally copying their browser favorite's folder.

I see how Internet Explorer, Firefox and other browsers deal today with exchanging bookmark information, and it is clear that aggregators are doing by far a better job with OPML. I have changed the aggregator I use many times in the last months and I have had no problems (almost no problems, BlogLines OPML import feature really gave me problems!).

I finally settled with Omea Reader not only because it is fast, friendly and free, but because I believe it is very promising. I see a lot of convergence coming very soon in the area of browsers, feed readers, email, global, and local search engines (call it personal information management, or whatever you want) and Omea seems to be extremely well positioned with its resource plug-ins architecture.

Another gain: If nobody else is doing it, then you can be the one that kicks the ball first. Later, when other aggregators, newsgroups readers and even browsers are ready, they can catch up with your use of OPML.

Once again, thanks for listening.


Off course, the problem with this is that if the idea is good, I cannot be the first to rise it. I just don't want to do the search, because I am sure I will find the answer in the first results page.

UPDATED 12/16/2004: I want to make clear that it is not Omea’s feature of importing BlogLines subscriptions what sucks. I was talking about BlogLines’s own feature of importing OPML files. Everytime I try, it hoses the groups I have defined.

Not as polite as

Be warned that you could find the content in this link very insulting. Insult is not intended on my side. The page uses extremely offensive language, as the title hints: F* . But still, if you are a liberal American, or if you are not american (my case), or if you live in one of the blue states, or at least voted Kerry, you coud have much fun reading it. It raises many interesting facts indeed.

Blogging frenzy, acute addiction

I don't know why, but I am blogging like crazy tonight and I have already beaten my own record. Perhaps I even surpassed Scoble, but I know it is only because he went to sleep early, or something ;^) Let me see, whatever the cause is, it is obviously in his blog! Oh, he is off to Sillicon Valley. Yeah, he spelled Sillicon wrong, with double "l". Maybe he meant "Silly-con". I wonder why I cannot spot my own errors.

Somewhat impressed by SQL Express Manager, but not too much

I have problems connecting to local SQL Server 2000 or MSDE 2000 databases because an incorrect parameter in a call to the shared memory provider. Hopefully this will get solved when I upgrade my beta version of SQL Server 2005 to the latest (December) CTP code.

I am delighted to see that the program is really as lightweight as it should be, resource-wise. But I think it still lacks many fundamental productivity features like being able to copy an INSERT, DELETE or UPDATE script to the clipboard on a couple of mouse clicks.

I have had some lucrative datamining jobs in which the main goal was to some straight historical information from multigigabyte, badly normalized, customers billing databases. Lots of addhot queries, views, temp tables, replacements, data validation, interminable scripts, etc. For this kind of job I use a combinaton of Query Analyzer, Enterprise Manager and Access Data Projects, rocks.

Rigth now, I cannot imagine myself completing the same job either with the full fledged SQL Server Management Studio nor with its slim cousin.

I hope Express Manager will improve before version 1, but maybe Microsoft is taking the approach of making it only a toy, so to avoid the free product of competing with Studio Manager.

If this is the case: WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! (sorry, but you have to deal like this with people so smart ;). You are not competing with yourselves, but with the rest of the industry in this case. You want to ship products that are super usable and super functional, so people want to use them like crazy.

Well, maybe they are time constrained. In this case, ok, I understand.

UPDATE: From the SQL Express Manager December CTP Whitepapter:

Note Express Manager December 2004 Community Technology Preview (CTP) is not supported on a local computer that is running SQL Server 2000.

This explains that the shared memory provider is not working with SQL Server 2000. I will see later if this can be "hacked" by disabling this provider.

And yes, the rest of the whitepaper explains very well the situation. It also ask for customer feedback at their blog: Isn't blog the word of the year?

Microsoft's, Yahoo's and Google's synergism

I found this link today in a MSN Space (darn, I cannot remember whose blog it was, but I recall that it was a guy from Peru). It is an interesting 8 minute flash movie about Google, Amazon, Blogger, and their users debunking the press media by 2014. It is not that I agree with every hypothesis, but it is fun and provoking to see.

This movie helped me glue together some thoughts that I have had lately. So did the launch of MSN Spaces and MSN Messenger 7's reminiscences of Yahoo Messenger 6.

Just for email, currently I have a Hotmail account, a Yahoo Mail account (that I seldom use), also a GMail account, and I also have other two personal email accounts.

Fortunately, right now I can manage all my email in a single place: mostly Microsoft Outlook, or the web browser when my desktop is inaccessible. I keep a couple of MSN Groups and I have visited some Yahoo groups in the past.

I have an account in Orkut, I have been expecting a Wallop invitation from Robert (I have just learned that it was my fault, I didn't give him my email address, shame on me, I am so sorry Robert!).

Google has separate profiles in Blogger and in Orkut. MSN is doing now contact cards and Yahoo has been doing profiles for a while.

All of them are in the search engine business, although, Google is currently dominant by far.

I have only recently experimented the joy of Froogle, and MSN Shopping in the same day.

I think I can see clearly what the name of the game is for these companies, and I certainly can appreciate how huge it is. I am not meaning that I won't be surprised by their next moves.

But I also see some pieces still not there or still not glued enough. Orkut for instance is very experimental, and Wallop very closed. Inside Google properties, only Froogle seems to share authentication with GMail. Yahoo and Microsoft have unified authentication for their properties. Yahoo lacks, to my knowledge pictures uploading and good blogging tools. MSN Spaces lacks collaborative group blogging. Some companies outside this group, like Apple and Amazon, seem to have some pieces that these three companies would like to have. Yahoo and Microsoft seem to have the lead in mobile space. Hopefully one of them will think about buying Plaxo, and the others will clone some of its functionality. I hope Wallop goes public soon.

Google shares earning with you by allowing AdSense in your blog. MSN, on the other hand fills both sides of your blog with their own ads.

Perhaps in a couple of years it will be very difficult to tell one service from the other, and most people will either choose one company or have an account in each of them, as I do right now. I believe each of these companies will provide the frame for a huge amount of commercial transactions. Perhaps the day will come in which we will see the world dominated by Google, MSN and Yahoo branded Visas and MasterCards and micropayment services will flourish (I think right now Yahoo has the lead with PayPal).

It is almost like the Internet bubble, but this time for real and with only a few big players, as it was predictable to happened, actually.

One painful aspect of this is having to keep a different identity for each company. While the Internet is only one, and SMTP is only one, I still need maintain three different profiles, many different email accounts, and start two messengers (so far) if I want to be fully "wired". I hope in the next years this change. If just these companies realize that they have to work some things together and play nice, maybe they will shift their business models a little bit to match "the business model of their users".

I already feel the Internet as the extension of my mind and my life, and here is a guy that belongs to a generation that grew up watching TV (I seldom do nowadays), not surfing the net. So imagine what this will mean for our sons. Some kind of science fiction begins to look not too unreasonable.

I wonder what my universal information management tool will look like. This is the next grail for me. Will everything run inside Outook like NewsGator and Plaxo, or perhaps Omea, the next FireFox with more feed subscription power, or perhaps an Onfolio that doesn't crash when I try to import my "Stuff" folder from My Favorites? Will "Stuff I have Seen" ever see the light? Will A9 evolve to a more usable Web based information management solution? Or perhaps we will see something new and fantastic from Novell/Ximian? Once again, the pieces are scattered there and until they are glued together, there is no synergy.

Right now, the only thing that keeps me off saying that this is fantastic times to live is that tomorrow is not granted. If this nosense, brutal, mediaeval, stupid, tribal, religious violence doesn't stop, we will have nothing.

MSN Spaces Censorship

I am sure it is not the case with my never available MSN Space, but I have had some fun reading this article about how MSN Spaces censors the title of your blog. The funny part is that "Butt Sex is Awesome" got in unnoticed, while "Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov" (perhaps the problem is that Nobokov is misspelled?) was rejected.

I understand the root of the problem is that computers made with current technology lack common sense. Actually, if Marvin Minsky is listening, he could add this new case as a good example of it.

Practically speaking what I think would be a good solution would be to let you mark your space as adult oriented and have some basic mechanism to keep minors out, the same way MSN Groups and Yahoo Groups do, and the same way Yahoo Profiles and MSN Contact Cards do.

By the way, I want to send some warm greetings to my dear and young cousin Vladimir Novikov. I have just remembered you ;) If you look for your name in the Internet anytime soon, I hope you will find this page. And see you on January!

Changed comments system, leaving HaloScan for now

I have been using HaloScan for more than a year, and now they are announcing that they reached 100,000 customers. Congratulations! I am very grateful with you. The fact that I am trying now to live with the less sophisticated Blogger comments system has nothing to do with user dissatisfaction.

The actual cause is I suffer some kind of split personality thing, software-wise. On one hand I can enjoy like crazy while tuning code to make the most of every CPU cycle, or the most of every network round-trip in a distributed application, but regarding other things like blogging, I like just to be a spoiled user, and I don't want to look under the hood for simple tasks. This makes me some hybrid category of developer. Actually, when I develop something, I am not satisfied until everything that can be automated is automated, because as a user, I am so lazy!

This is the reason I have decided to minimize template manteinance. If I had the time and the patience right now to apply many patches to every new template I choose, I would instead build my own blogging engine and solve the problem once and forever!

So, what does HaloScan gives me that Blogger doesn't? I can only think of trackback. I have rarely used trackback, and never that I know has anybody tried to ping me. So, I won't miss it much. And MSN Spaces support trackback, so I guess Blogger will have to do it soon.

On the other hand, Blogger does a more beautiful job placing comments in post pages and showing the post text (for free), in the comments posting form.

The thing that I will resent the most is the collection of old comments itself. This is no art, howoever, loosing them forever feels like forgetting how to play a song I have composed (it has happened to me, too many times, believe me, and it hurts).

So I guess the right thing would be to donate something to HaloScan as a way to say thanks, and at the same time upgrade my free account with them so I can download all my old comments in a file.

By the way, Blogger does not import comments in any format. Shame.

Friday, December 03, 2004

MSN Space still unavailable

I still get the same error. I got an answer from customer support, but the problems are still uncorrected. I am not sure if they got the issue right from my explanation (my English could be even worse than I think). I never got to my space, so I still have no first-hand idea of what is the fun about.

Yeah, I know, I could open a new passport account and try again, but then, it feels like anti-ecological to create a passport account just for that. I am the kind of guy that feels guilty because pictures sent to bloggerbot cannot be deleted. Ok, ok, I will create it, try to do nothing cool with my space, and then I will ditch it so MSN can recycle it all.
The only thing I need now is some spare time this weekend.

Running on Omea Reader now

I tried the beta version of the JetBrain's program a few months ago and I have the perception that performance and resource usage has improved dramatically since then. Version 1.02 has become my main feed aggregator and newsgroups reader. I had been using Sauce Reader for some weeks and I can only now realize how much pain I have been experimenting because of its sluggish startup performance. I am sure that the Australian makers of Sauce Reader will get it right eventually, but the Czech have right now the advantage, and so I am giving them my hard disk space (both readers are free for personal use).

I also downloaded a trial of ReSharper, another interesting product made by JetBrains that adds some refactoring capabilities to Visual Studio 2003. I hope I will have time to test it in the weekend.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

MSN Space temporarily unavailable

After a couple of hours, I still cannot reach my MSN Space.

Space not available
This space is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Hundreds have already posted to their spaces. I had the idea that I was going to be one of the first. After all, when I first reached the page the "New Spaces" panel was empty. Maybe that is the problem.

UPDATE: Now it is the morning, and seven hours later I still get the same error message all the time. Maybe something went wrong when I created the space. Any way to get somebody at MSN Spaces to clean things up?

Anyway, I agree completely with Scoble says. There are some limitations to Spaces that are big turn offs for advanced users. Actually, even Blogger is a lot more extensible. I would add two items to the list of big limitations:

  • No colaborative group blogs.
  • No multiple blogs for the same passport account (I am not really sure about this).

UPDATE 2: A few minutes later I filled the feedback form and a message to support-by-mail for Spaces. We will see what happens.

Why we blog

I agree mostly with Dave Winer's answer.

Once I started blogging it got addictive. So the most direct answer would be "I blog because I am addicted to blogging."
I also like the idea that I can have a dinner with people I don't know in almost any city in the world.

The dinning part hasn't happened to me yet, though.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Changes to Links on MSN Hotmail

I noticed that since a couple of weeks ago links in Hotmail messages have changed. Now they use a script call but they open the clean original URL in a new window. This should make Peter happy, given he still cares.

More on MSN Messenger and MSN Hotmail

From Dare Obasanjo's main blog, new features for your Passport account:

  • Get attention. Consumers can reach out to friends and family by sending a "Nudge," an alert that shakes the contact's conversation window with an audible notification, or a "Wink," animated pictures that include sound and that can be virtually "thrown" onto the screen of a contact's Internet message (IM) window. New emoticons, backgrounds and theme packs from Microsoft Corp., including advertiser-sponsored packs such as for "Halo® 2",* round out the experience.
  • Stay connected. Through integration with MSN Messenger, consumers can automatically let their contacts know that they have updated their MSN Space. The MSN Messenger Contact icon "gleams" when an update is made, notifying others to visit the Space via the Contact Card.
  • Access the Web anywhere. MSN Web Messenger, shipping in 25 markets and 15 languages, enables consumers to access their MSN Messenger account and contacts from virtually any PC with an Internet connection.
  • Choose your online status. The beta release of MSN Messenger gives consumers more control over how they're seen online by enabling them to choose their availability status before logging into Messenger.


  • View online status anywhere. Through integration between MSN Hotmail and MSN Web Messenger, in select markets, consumers are able to see Messenger availability status even on PCs that don't have MSN Messenger client software.
  • Learn more about Contacts. MSN Hotmail consumers who have an MSN Spaces site will have a Contact Card visible in the Hotmail address book, providing friends, family and other online contacts with one-click access to their Spaces site.
  • Looks to me as if MSN is getting on par with what Yahoo has been offering for a long time already.

    UPDATE: Thinking a little bit more about it, MSN Web Messenger is different from anything else I know.

    New MSN Spaces and Updated MSN Messenger

    I have just received the notification via Scoble's LiveMessage. I cannot believe the ammount of work that Microsoft has been keeping in secret. Actually, we will see how much is it once I get this working. Yes, off course I already created my own space, but it says "Space not available" as of now. And Robert, you are rigth, it's gonna be a bloggy nigth! ;)