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[warning: if you are reading in an aggregator, this post has some video, so visit the site if you can’t see it]

well, some cool stuff hapening in the land of heat.  two really smart guys have been working on a project that one of them alluded to earlier this year.

well, i’ve been invited to beta test the site/product.  this isn’t necessarily a review of the product…i’ll have to download the end result and get motivated to exercise first :-), but i thought their use of technology use is cool and they are microsoft developers who are passionate about technology.

i think simon got motivate when came out at and wanted to leverage some of the features, but didn’t see any really helpful ui stuff until some of the things came out — i’m paraphrasing for him of course…he’s not here to defend himself, so there.

so what is ? basically it’s a ‘create-your-own-audio-workout-designed-by-you-for-your-designated-workout’ thingy.  seriously, check out their site for the real scoop.

so where are they using ?  well when you create a workout, you can see the and :

and when you choose what to add to your workout, here’s some :

there are some other places where it is used (updatepanel goodness, etc.) but these are some of the control uses.  i’ve seen other versions of the workout page and i know they are working on some interesting interactions, so there will be more to come i’m sure.  what is cool about this is that the site/user experience is *enhanced* by these implementations and didn’t take much effort to drop some of them in — creating a much nicer experience as you are editing your workouts.

the other cool use of the technology…the audio mixing.  this is being done dynamically, based on *your* chosen workout schedule, etc.  the audio beats, etc. are merged together when you mix the workout — it’s pretty cool.  i’m confident there are some high-tech oompa loompas working hard to mix your music to your workout…i haven’t seen them, but i know they are there — and they work fast.

anyhow, kudos to the team — it’s an intriguing idea and great use of microsoft technologies.  it uses (at least i’m pretty confident simon didn’t map .aspx extensions to something crazy like ruby or php ;-)), profile, membership, , sql server, whiz bang widget stuff, etc.  it’s all good.

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the latest valleyschwag shipment came -- check out the goods!

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eweek labs did a bake off recently and published some findings yesterday in their eWEEK Labs Bakeoff: Open Source Versus .Net Stacks article.

some soundblogbytes:

Even if the .Net stack had bombed convincingly in these tests, it would probably still maintain popularity in many companies. But its strong showing should give companies confidence that the .Net stack will handle most high-level enterprise needs.

the one thing that i didn’t like about the article was the raw publishing of the test results…

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a while back and i saw some stuff about meebo while at a conference.  today i just saw that was released.  same concept really, a web-based-super-nifty-ajax-enabled messenger ‘client’ that enables access to all messenger clients.

one thing that strikes me as odd is how willing we’d be to give a third party our login information…isn’t that one reason why everyone hated the passport idea?

anywhoo…check it out:

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Microsoft preparing launch of iPod rival

well, i can honestly say i don’t know anything about these plans…but i can say i *hope* microsoft gets it right…and by that i mean:

  • don’t just have wmv/wma as the only supported formats: if this is the case, it will fail.  it will fail for me immediately.  mp3 is a decent format.  okay, okay, stand back drm hounds…but seriously…would you buy any music media device that doesn’t support mp3?  and video…let’s make sure it plays mpeg, avi, wmv, mov, etc.
  • size: seriously…with the lessons learned from ipod, it should be clear that size matters ;-) — i hope it is relatively small enough so that i don’t feel like i’m carrying a huge device, but also big enough for a decent screen
  • capacity: let’s not make the same mistake that the other ipod rivals did — yeah, 64MB mp3 players…NOT!  if this is a music/video media device than IMO 5GB is the *minimum*
  • wifi?! — sweet…that would be really cool for podcast subscriptions…now you don’t have to sync/copy/whatever — you subscribe…and when you are in-range, it downloads — great idea
  • partner with 3rd party integrators: i have an older car (2000) and i hate that there are no integrated hookups.  i mean, i have all the other features: navigation, cd changer, etc. — just nobody is making them for older cars (that integrate with the headunit — i don’t want to see my ipod in my car)

i really hope design-wise they take a lesson from apple (and from past designs).  i have an ipod.  i like my ipod.  why?  because it serves a single purpose for me…play audio.  it is lightweight and small enough that i make sure i bring it with me to places.

well, i hope we get it right…i really do — i’d love to see a cool microsoft device.  but my fear is that we are a software company, not a hardware one…it always concerns me when we enter these arenas, as a user, technologist, and a shareholder (how much are we losing on each xbox sold?).  sometimes it isn’t enough just to enter the market…we have to be smart about it.