Microsoft isn't completely shielded from our economies issues but I still have a job and still get free soda. While that's all still the case, I decided to test Sarah's claimed ability to differentiate between Pepsi, Coke, and their diet counterparts by taste alone. I poured the four sodas into marked cups and Sarah and I each took two runs through the cups with the following guesses.
|Guess 1||Guess 2||Guess 1||Guess 2|
|Diet Coke||Diet Coke||Diet Pepsi||Diet Coke||Diet Coke|
|Diet Pepsi||Diet Pepsi||Diet Coke||Diet Pepsi||Pepsi|
|Total (out of 8)||6||3|
As you can see from the results, Sarah's claimed ability to identify Coke and Pepsi by taste is confirmed. The first run through she got completely correct and on the second run only mistook Diet Pepsi for Diet Coke. Her excuse for the error on the second run was a tainted palate from the first run. I on the other hand was mostly incorrect. Surprisingly though my incorrect answers were mostly consistent between run one and two. For instance I thought Pepsi was Coke in both runs.
Windows allows for application protocols in which, through the registry, you specify a URL scheme and a command line to have that URL passed to your application. Its an easy way to hook a webbrowser up to your application. Anyone can read the doc above and then walk through the registry and pick out the application protocols but just from that info you can't tell what the application expects these URLs to look like. I did a bit of research on some of the application protocols I've seen which is listed below. Good places to look for information on URI schemes: Wikipedia URI scheme, and ESW Wiki UriSchemes.
|search-ms||Windows Search Protocol||
The search-ms application protocol is a convention for querying the Windows Search index. The protocol enables applications, like Microsoft Windows Explorer, to query the index with
parameter-value arguments, including property arguments, previously saved searches, Advanced Query Syntax, Natural Query Syntax, and language code identifiers (LCIDs) for both the Indexer and
the query itself. See the MSDN docs for search-ms for more info.
From the OneNote help:
ESW Wiki Info on callto
Skype callto info
NetMeeting callto info
Tells iTunes to subscribe to an indicated podcast. iTunes documentation.
C:\Program Files\iTunes\iTunes.exe /url "%1"
|Magnet||Magnet URI||Magnet URL scheme described by Wikipedia. Magnet URLs identify a resource by a hash of that resource so that when used in P2P scenarios no central authority is necessary to create URIs for a resource.|
RFC 2368 - Mailto URL Scheme.
Opens mail programs with new message with some parameters filled in, such as the to, from, subject, and body.
Example: mailto:?email@example.com&subject=test&body=Test of mailto syntax
MSDN describes associated protocols.
Wikipedia describes MMS.
"C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe" "%L"
Also appears to be related to MMS cellphone messages: MMS IETF Draft.
Opens SecondLife to the specified location, user, etc.
SecondLife Wiki description of the URL scheme.
"C:\Program Files\SecondLife\SecondLife.exe" -set SystemLanguage en-us -url "%1"
Open Skype to call a user or phone number.
Wikipedia summary of skype URL scheme
"C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe" "/uri:%l"
|skype-plugin||Skype Plugin Protocol Handler||
Something to do with adding plugins to skype? Maybe.
"C:\Program Files\Skype\Plugin Manager\skypePM.exe" "/uri:%1"
Opens TortoiseSVN to browse the repository URL specified in the URL.
C:\Program Files\TortoiseSVN\bin\TortoiseProc.exe /command:repobrowser /path:"%1"
Wikipedia describes webcal URL scheme.
Webcal URL scheme description.
A URL that starts with webcal:// points to an Internet location that contains a calendar in iCalendar format.
"C:\Program Files\Windows Calendar\wincal.exe" /webcal "%1"
Provides access to some Zune operations such as podcast subscription (via Zune Insider).
"c:\Program Files\Zune\Zune.exe" -link:"%1"
|feed||Outlook Add RSS Feed||
Identify a resource that is a feed such as Atom or RSS. Implemented by Outlook to add the indicated feed to Outlook.
Feed URI scheme pre-draft document
"C:\PROGRA~2\MICROS~1\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /share "%1"
RFC 3860 IM URI scheme description
Like mailto but for instant messaging clients.
Registered by Office Communicator but I was unable to get it to work as described in RFC 3860.
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office Communicator\Communicator.exe" "%1"
RFC 5341 - tel URI scheme IANA assignment
RFC 3966 - tel URI scheme description
Call phone numbers via the tel URI scheme. Implemented by Office Communicator.
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office Communicator\Communicator.exe" "%1"
I just upgraded to the Zune 3.0 software which includes games and purchasing music on the Zune via WiFi and once again I'm thrilled that the new firmware is available for old Zunes like mine. Rooting around looking at the new features I noticed Zune Badges for the first time. They're like Xbox Achievements, for example I have a Pixies Silver Artist Power Listener award for listening to the Pixies over 1000 times. I know its ridiculous but I like it, and now I want achievements for everything.
Achievements everywhere would require more developments in self-tracking. Self-trackers, folks who keep statistics on exactly when and what they eat, when and how much they exercise, anything one may track about one's self, were the topic of a Kevin Kelly Quantified Self blog post (also check out Cory Doctorow's SF short story The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away featuring a colony of self-trackers). For someone like me with a medium length attention span the data collection needs to be completely automatic or I will lose interest and stop collecting within a week. For instance, Nike iPod shoes that keep track of how many steps the wearer takes. I'll also need software to analyze, display, and share this data on a website like Mycrocosm. I don't want to have to spend extreme amounts of time to create something as wonderful as the Feltron Report (check out his statistic on how many daily measurements he takes for the report). Once we have the data we can give out achievements for everything!
Eat at least ten different kinds of animals.
Meet at least 10% of the residents in your home town.
Visit a city in every country.
Survive at least 80 years of life.
Of course none of the above is practical yet, but how about Delicious achievements based on the public Delicious feeds? That should be doable...
More ideas stolen from me in the same vein as my stolen OpenID thoughts.
Fast Pedestrian Crossing on Four Way Stops. In college I didn't have a car and every weekend I had weekly poker with friends who lived nearby so I would end up waiting to cross from one corner of a traffic lit four way stop to the opposite corner. Waiting there in the cold gave me plenty of time to consider the fastest method of getting to the opposite corner of a four-way stop. My plan was to hit the pedestrian crossing button for both directions and travel on the first one available. This only seems like a bad choice if the pedestrian crossing signal travels clockwise or counter clockwise around the four way stop. In those two cases its better to take the later of the two pedestrian signal crossings, but I have yet to see those two patterns on a real life traffic stop. I decided recently to see if my plan was actually sound and looked up info on traffic signals. But the info didn't say much other than "its complicated" and "it depends" (I'm paraphrasing). Then I found some guy's analysis of this problem. So I'm done with this and I'll continue pressing both buttons and crossing on the first pedestrian signal. Incidentally on one such night when I was waiting to cross this intersection I heard a loud multi-click sound and realized that the woman in the SUV waiting to cross the intersection next to me had just locked her doors. I guess my thinking-about-crossing-the-street face is intimidating.
Windows Searching Windows Media Center Recorded TV's Closed Captions. An Ars-Technica article on a fancy DVR described one of the DVRs features: full text search over the subtitles of the recorded TV shows. I thought implementing this for Windows Media Center recorded TV shows and Windows Search would be an interesting project to learn about video files, and extending Windows Search. As it turns out though some guy, Stephen Toub implemented Windows Search over MCE closed captions already. Stephen Toub's article is very long and describes some other very interesting related projects including 'summarizing video files' which you may want to read.