Simon Willison’s Weblog

92 items tagged “microsoft”


Why I can’t put Tibet in my Hotmail address. Apparently it’s because “TIB” is name of a bank in Florida, and Microsoft are trying to prevent phishers from creating e-mail addresses that include the names of financial institutions. # 10th August 2008, 10:41 pm

IE8 Security Part IV: The XSS Filter (via) IE8 will include an XSS filter to identify and neutralise “reflected” XSS attacks (where malicious code in a query string is rendered to the page), turned on by default. Sounds like a good idea to me, and site authors can disable it using Yet Another Custom HTTP header (X-XSS-Protection: 0). # 3rd July 2008, 9:37 am

Bill Gates has pulled off one of the greatest hacks in technology and business history, by turning Microsoft’s success into a force for social responsibility. Imagine imposing a tax on every corporation in the developed world, collecting $100 per white-collar worker per year, and then directing one third of the proceeds to curing AIDS and malaria.

Anil Dash # 26th June 2008, 5:17 pm

The point of “Open” in OpenID

TechCrunch report that Microsoft are accepting OpenID for their new HealthVault site, but with a catch: you can only use OpenIDs from two providers: Trustbearer (who offer two-factor authentication using a hardware token) and Verisign. "Whatever happened to the Open in OpenID?", asks TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid.

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Velocity: A Distributed In-Memory Cache from Microsoft. I’d been wondering what Microsoft ecosystem developers were using in the absence of memcached. Is Velocity the first Windows platform implementation of this idea? # 6th June 2008, 9:52 pm

The Machine That Changed the World: The Paperback Computer. This third episode (the second has also been published) is awesome—Sketchpad (the first GUI), NLS, Xerox PARC, the Homebrew Computer Club, Apple and the Macintosh, Lotus 123, Microsoft, and Virtual Reality presented as the “future” of computing. Worth investing an hour to watch it. # 6th June 2008, 8:18 pm

CSS Compatibility and Internet Explorer (via) Official Microsoft guide to which CSS properties are supported by which versions of IE. This is the kind of documentation browser vendors should be providing as a matter of course. # 2nd April 2008, 8:05 pm

IronPython, MS SQL, and PEP 249. How Dino Viehland got Django’s ORM to talk to the .NET database layer. # 19th March 2008, 9:46 am

Django on IronPython. Dino Viehland demonstrated Django running on IronPython and SQL Server at PyCon. # 17th March 2008, 4:05 pm

Windows Live ID Delegated Authentication. Would make life a lot simpler if they just supported OAuth, but at least they include sample code in Python, Ruby and PHP. # 8th March 2008, 3:19 pm

Windows Live Contacts API (via) I didn’t realise Microsoft already have a contacts API for Live (which presumably covers hotmail as well). # 7th March 2008, 5:57 pm

Introducing the Google Contacts Data API. Brilliant! (and about time)—now there’s no excuse for asking your users for their Gmail username and password so you can import contacts from their address book. Yahoo! and Microsoft need to catch up on this one fast. # 6th March 2008, 11:29 pm

Principles and Legality. Eric Meyer notes that language about legality in Microsoft’s recent IE announcement suggests that Opera’s much criticised EU threat may have helped positively influence the result. # 4th March 2008, 7:45 pm

In a recent [ASP.NET] MVC design meeting someone said something like “we’ll need a Repeater control” and a powerful and very technical boss-type said: “We’ve got a repeater control, it’s called a foreach loop.”

Scott Hanselman # 25th January 2008, 6:59 am

.aspx considered harmful. Jon Udell: “I guess I’m extra-sensitive to the .aspx thing now that I work for Microsoft, because I know that to folks outside the Microsoft ecosystem it screams: We don’t get the web.”—he goes on to mention that smart URL rewriting is thankfully built in to the upcoming ASP.NET MVC framework. # 17th January 2008, 6:01 pm

Schools and colleges should make pupils, teachers and parents aware of the range of free-to-use products (such as office productivity suites) that are available, and how to use them.

Becta # 12th January 2008, 10:35 am

From my perspective, it is crucial for Linux to have good support for Silverlight because I do not want Linux on the desktop to become a second class citizen ever again. [...] The core of the debate is whether Microsoft will succeed in establishing Silverlight as a RIA platform or not. You believe that without Moonlight they would not have a chance of success, and I believe that they would have regardless of us.

Miguel de Icaza # 4th January 2008, 12:42 pm

The Dark Side Of The Moon (via) Robert O’Callahan believes that Moonlight is a strategic mistake, because it gives credibility to Microsoft’s entry to a new market which they will use to “keep the competition on a treadmill”; Moonlight can also never be entirely free due to the need for a proprietary codec (VC-1) available only as a binary blob. # 4th January 2008, 12:41 pm

The strain due to the fact that most business desktops are locked into the Microsoft platform, at a time when both the Apple and GNU/Linux alternatives are qualitatively safer, better, and cheaper to operate, will start to become impossible to ignore.

Tim Bray # 3rd January 2008, 1:08 pm

Everyone applauds when Google goes after Microsoft’s Office monopoly [...] but when they start to go after web non-profits like Wikipedia, you see where the ineluctible logic leads. As Google’s growth slows, as inevitably it will, it will need to consume more and more of the web ecosystem, trading against its former suppliers, rather than distributing attention to them.

Tim O'Reilly # 1st January 2008, 11:29 am


EU: Microsoft’s Last Stand Against Google’s Acquisition of DoubleClick. Notable for some truly incomprehensible chartjunk from Microsoft. # 27th December 2007, 12:26 pm

The companies that couldn’t beat Microsoft have all died, and evolution has resulted in three very different types of companies that are each immune to Microsoft’s strategies in their own way. Yet all are still vulnerable to the same thing: a better product. For the end users, this is a good position for the industry to be in.

Ian Hickson # 6th December 2007, 3:43 pm

Conversation with Bill Gates about IE8 and Microsoft Transparency. Molly asks the tough questions about IE8—it looks like there should be a lot of IE8 material at MIX08 next year. # 6th December 2007, 11:47 am

A Little Laptop With Big Ambitions. I hadn’t realised how much competition OLPC faced from Microsoft and Intel’s Classmate. It would be amazing to see a generation grow up understanding that computers are open tools that they can control themselves rather than closed black boxes. # 24th November 2007, 10:47 pm

ASP.NET MVC Framework. This looks pretty good. It includes clean URL support that’s very similar to how Django does things (with a nice alternative syntax for developers who don’t like regular expressions). # 22nd October 2007, 1:45 pm

Questioning Steve Ballmer

This morning I attended a half day briefing at Microsoft UK entitled “The Online Opportunity—What Makes a Successful Web 2.0 Start-Up?”. Despite the buzzword laden title the event was well worth the trip up from Brighton, mainly due to the Q&A with Steve Ballmer (a pretty rare opportunity).

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Halo 3 Site Demonstrates Flaws in SilverLight. The Halo 3 “interactive manual” is like a throwback to Flash in the late 90s—“skip intro”, pointless transitions, text you can’t select or enlarge, links that aren’t links—all wrapped up in an ugly blob (only this time it’s XML instead of binary data). # 27th September 2007, 2:38 pm

My own favorites were Cuba voting “yes” to the fast-tracking of OOXML, even though Microsoft is prohibited by the US Government from selling any software on the island that might even be able to read and write the new format, and Azerbaijan’s “yes” vote, even though OOXML as defined isn’t able to express a Web URL address in Azeri, their official language.

Jeremy Allison # 15th September 2007, 10:40 am

Silly MS-DOS 5 Promo Video. I can’t decide if this is better or worse than the Windows 386 rap. # 13th September 2007, 10:10 am

Corrupt countries were more likely to support the OOXML document format. “We used the 2006 CPI index (Corruption Perceptions Index) as a measure of corruption.”—a statistical study by Electronic Frontier Finland. # 7th September 2007, 11:30 pm