Yesterday there was a news article on MSNBC that claimed 1 in 6 now owe more on their mortgage then their property is worth. The article states

The relentless slide in home prices has left nearly one in six U.S. homeowners owing more on a mortgage than the home is worth, raising the possibility of a rise in defaults — the very misfortune that touched off the credit crisis last year. The result of homeowners being "underwater" is more pressure on an economy that is already in a downturn. No longer having equity in their homes makes people feel less rich and thus less inclined to shop at the mall.

And having more homeowners underwater is likely to mean more eventual foreclosures, because it is hard for borrowers in financial trouble to refinance or sell their homes and pay off their mortgage if their debt exceeds the home's value. A foreclosed home, in turn, tends to lower the value of other homes in its neighborhood.

Among people who bought within the past five years, it's worse: 29 percent are underwater on their mortgages, according to an estimate by real-estate Web site

According to Zillow, our home is one of those that is currently "underwater" because it's estimated value has dropped $25,000 since we bought it according to their algorithms. Given that we bought our home last year I don't doubt that we are underwater and in fact I expect our home value to only go down further. This is because the disparity between median house values and median incomes is still fairly stark even with the current depreciation in the neighborhood.

Here's what I mean; according to Zillow the median household income in the area is about $46,000 while the median home price is around $345,000. This disparity is shocking when you apply some of the basic rules from the "old days" before we had the flood of easy credit which led up to the current crises. For argument's sake, let's assume that everyone that moves to the area actually pays the traditional 20% down payment even though the personal savings rate of the average American is in the negative. This means they need a mortgage of $276,000. Plugging that number into a simple mortgage calculator assuming a 30 year loan at 5.75% interest gives a monthly mortgage payment of over $1600.

Using the traditional debt-to-income ratio of 0.28 a person with $46,000 in gross income shouldn't get a mortgage that over $1100 because they are hard pressed to afford it. Using another metric, the authors of the Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying and Selling a Home argue that you shouldn't get a mortgage over 2 1/2 times your household income which still has us with around $150,000 being the appropriate size of a mortgage that someone that lives in my neighborhood can afford.

However you slice it even assuming a 20% down payment, the people in my neighborhood live in homes that they couldn't afford to get a legitimate mortgage on at today's prices. That is fundamentally broken. 

Things get particularly clear when you look at the chart below and realize that house prices rose over $100,000 dollars in the past five years. 

A lot of people have started talking about "stabilizing home prices" and "bailing out home owners" because of underwater mortgages. In truth, easy credit caused houses to become overpriced especially when you consider that house prices were rising at a much faster rate than wages. Despite the current drop, house prices are still unrealistic and will need to come down further. Trying to prevent that from happening is like trying to have our cake and eat it too. You just can't.

I expect that more banks will end up having to create programs like Bank of America's Nationwide Homeownership Retention for CountryWide Customers which will modify mortgage principals and interest rates downwards in a move that will end up costing them over $8.6 billion but will make it more likely that their customers can afford to pay their mortgages. I'm surprised that it took a class action lawsuit to get this to happen instead of common sense. Then again it is 8.6 BILLION dollars. 

Note Now Playing: 50 Cent - When It Rains It Pours Note


Categories: Current Affairs | Personal

October 7, 2008
@ 03:37 PM

I logged in to my 401K account today and was greeted by the following message

Personal Rate of Return from 01/01/2008 to 10/06/2008 is -23.5%

Of course, it could have been worse,  I could have had it all in the stock market.

I've been chatting with co-workers who've only posted single digit percentage loses (i.e. their 401K is down less than 10% this year) and been surprised that every single person in that position had hedged their bets by having a large chunk of their 401K as cash. I remember Joshua advising me to do this a couple of months ago when things started looking bad but I took it as paranoia, now I wish I had listened.

Of course, I'd still have the problem of having to trust the institution that was holding the cash like the guy from the MSNBC article excerpted below

Mani Behimehr, a home designer living in Tustin, Calif., isn't feeling reassured after what happened to WaMu and Wachovia. After he heard the news that WaMu had been seized and sold to JP Morgan, he rushed out to withdraw about $150,000 in savings and opened a new account at Wachovia only to learn about its sale to Citigroup two days later.

"I thought this is the strongest economy in the world; nothing like that happens in this country," said Behimehr, 46, who is originally from Iran.

At least I don't have to worry about living off of my 401(k) anytime soon.

Update: A commenter brought up that I should explain what a 401(k) account is for non-US readers. From wikipedia; in the United States of America, a 401(k) plan allows a worker to save for retirement while deferring income taxes on the saved money and earnings until withdrawal. The employee elects to have a portion of his or her wage paid directly, or "deferred," into his or her 401(k) account. In participant-directed plans (the most common option), the employee can select from a number of investment options, usually an assortment of mutual funds that emphasize stocks, bonds, money market investments, or some mix of the above.

Note Now Playing: Abba - Money, Money, Money Note


Categories: Current Affairs | Personal

A common practice among social networking sites is to ask users to import their contacts from one of the big email service providers (e.g. Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail or Gmail) as part of the sign up process. This is often seen as a way to bootstrap the user's social network on the site by telling the user who in their email address book is also a user of the site they have just joined. However, there is one problem with this practice which Jeremy Keith described as the password anti-pattern and I quote

The problems start when web apps start replicating bad design patterns as if they were viruses. I want to call attention to the most egregious of these anti-patterns.

Allowing users to import contact lists from other services is a useful feature. But the means have to justify the ends. Empowering the user to import data through an authentication layer like OAuth is the correct way to export data. On the other hand, asking users to input their email address and password from a third-party site like GMail or Yahoo Mail is completely unacceptable. Here’s why:

It teaches people how to be phished.

The reason these social networks request login credentials for new users is because they log-in to the user's email account and then screen scrape the contents of their address books. For a long time, the argument for doing this has been that the big email services have not given them an alternative and are thus holding user data hostage.

This may have been true once but it isn't anymore. Google has the Contacts Data API, Yahoo! has their Address Book API and Microsoft has the Windows Live Contacts API. Each of these is provides a user-centric authorization model where instead of a user giving their email address and password to random sites, they log-in at their email provider's site and then delegate authority to access their address book to the social network site. 

The only problem that remains is that each site that provides an address book or social graph API is reinventing the wheel both with regards to the delegated auth model they implement and the actual API for retrieving a user's contacts. This means that social networking sites that want to implement a contact import feature have to support a different API and delegated authorization model for each service they want to talk to even though each API and delegated auth model effectively does the same thing.

Just as OAuth has slowly been increasing in buzz as the standard that will sweep away the various proprietary delegated auth models that we have on the Web today, there has been a similar effort underway by a similar set of dedicated individuals intent on standardizing contacts and social graph APIs on the Web. The primary output from this effort is the Portable Contacts API.

I've read been reading latest draft specification of the Portable Contacts API and below are some of the highlights as well as some thoughts on them

  • A service's Portable Contacts API endpoint needs to be auto-discoverable using XRDS-Simple (formerly YADIS).

  • The API supports either direct authorization where a caller provides a username and password as well as delegated authorization where the caller passes a delegation token obtained by the application out-of-band. The former MUST support HTTP Basic Authentication while the latter MUST support OAuth. My initial thinking is that there must be some kind of mistake and the spec meant to say HTTP Digest Authentication not HTTP Basic Authentication (which is described as insecure in the very RFC that defines at it).

  • The API defines a specific URL structure that sites must expose. Specifically /@me/@all which returns all of a user's contacts, /@me/@all/{id} which returns the contact with the given ID, and /@me/@self which returns contact info for the user must all be supported when appended to the base URI that is the Portable Contacts API end point. In general being prescriptive about how services should structure their URI space is to be discouraged as explained in Joe Gregorio's post No Fishing - or - Why 'robots.txt and 'favicon.ico' are bad ideas and shouldn't be emulated but since the service gets to control the base URI via XRDS-Simple this isn't as bad as the situation we have today with robots.txt and favicon.ico

  • The API defines a set of query parameters for filtering (filterBy, filterOp & filterValue) and sorting (sortBy & sortOrder) of results. The API wisely acknowledges that it may be infeasible or expensive for services to support these operations and so supporting them is optional. However services MUST indicate which parameters were ignored/not supported when returning responses to requests containing the aforementioned parameters. I definitely like the approach of having services indicate which parameter was ignored in a request because it wasn't supported. However it would be nice to get an explicit mechanism for determining which features are supported by the provider in a without having to resort to seeing which parameters to various API calls were ignored.

  • The API also defines query parameters for pagination (startIndex & count). These are pretty straightforward and are also optional to support.

  • There are query parameters to indicate which fields to return (fields parameter whose value is a comma delimited list) and what data format to return (format parameter can be either JSON or XML). The definition of the XML format is full of errors but seems to be a simplistic mapping of JSON to XML. It also isn't terribly clear how type information is conveyed in the XML format. It clearly seems like the having the API support XML is currently a half baked afterthought within the spec.

  • Each result set begins with a series of numeric values; startIndex, itemsPerPage and totalResults which are taken from OpenSearch followed by a series of entries corresponding to each contact in the users address book.

  • The API defines the schema as a contact as the union of fields from the vCard data format and those from OpenSocial. This means a contact can have the basic fields like name, gender and birthday as well as more exotic fields like happiestWhen, profileSong and scaredOf. Interesting data models they are building over there in OpenSocial land. :)

Except for the subpar work with regards to defining an XML serialization for the contacts schema this seems like a decent spec.

If anything, I'm concerned by the growing number of interdependent specs that seem poised to have a significant impact on the Web and yet are being defined outside of formal standards bodies in closed processes funded by big companies. For example, about half of the references in the Portable Contacts API specs are to IETF RFCs while the other half are to specs primarily authored by Google and Yahoo! employees outside of any standards body (OpenSocial, OAuth, OpenSearch, XRDS-Simple, etc). I've previously questioned the rise of semi-closed, vendor driven consortiums in the area of Web specifications given that we have perfectly good and open standards bodies like IETF for defining the Open Web but this led to personal attacks on TechCrunch with no real reasons given for why Web standards need to go in this direction. I find that worrying. 

Note Now Playing: Madonna - Don't Cry For Me Argentina Note


Nick O'Neil of recently posted a blog entry entitled The Future of Widgets on Facebook: Dead where he wrote

As a joke I created the Bush Countdown Clock when the platform launched and amazingly I attracted close to 50,000 users. While the application was nothing more than a simple flash badge, it helped a lot of people express themselves. Expression is not Facebook’s purpose though, sharing is. Widgets or badges that help users express their personal beliefs, ideals, and personality are now harder to find with the new design.

Thanks to the redesign all the badges which were “cluttering” the profile have been moved to a “Boxes” tab which most people don’t visit apparently. When the new profile was first rolled out, the traffic to my application actually jumped a little but oddly enough on September 11th, things took a turn for the worse. I’m not sure what happened but my guess is that a lot of the profiles started to get shifted over.
It’s clear though that widgets have not survived the shift over and my guess is that within a matter of weeks we will see most top-performing widget applications practically disappear.

-Bush Countdown Clock Daily Traffic Graph-

This is one aspect of the Facebook redesign that I didn't consider in my original post on What You Can Learn from the Facebook Redesign. Although moving the various applications which are basically badges for self expression like Bumper Sticker does reduce page load times, by relegating them to an infrequently visited tab they are guaranteed to be less useful (people don't see them on my profile) and less likely to be spread virally (people don't see them on my profile and say "I gotta have that"). On the other hand, applications that are primarily about users interacting with each other such as Scrabble and We're Related should still do fine.

Application developers have already started inventing workarounds to Facebook's changes which penalize their apps. For example, the Bumper Sticker application now focuses on adding items to your Mini-Feed instead of adding a badge/box to your profile. This gives it valuable placement on your profile (if only for a short time) and a small chance that it will show up in the News Feeds of your friends.

This aspect of the redesign has definitely attacked what many had started calling the MySpace-ization of Facebook which resulted in the need for a  Facebook Profile Clean Up Tool. It will be interesting what this will lead to new classes of applications becoming popular on the site or whether it just another chapter in the cat & mouse game that is spreading virally on the Facebook platform.

Note Now Playing: Game - We Don't Play No Games (feat. G-Unit) Note


Categories: Social Software

For a hot, pre-IPO startup I'm surprised that Facebook seems to be going through an exodus of co-founders (how many do they have?) and well-respected key employees. Just this year alone we've seen the following exits

If you combine the list above with the New York Times article, The Facebooker Who Friended Obama which states

Mr. [Chris] Hughes, 24, was one of four founders of Facebook. In early 2007, he left the company to work in Chicago on Senator Obama’s new-media campaign. Leaving behind his company at such a critical time would appear to require some cognitive dissonance: political campaigns, after all, are built on handshakes and persuasion, not computer servers, and Mr. Hughes has watched, sometimes ruefully, as Facebook has marketed new products that he helped develop.

That's three departures from people named as co-founders of Facebook. Of course, it isn't unusual for co-founders to leave a business they helped start even if the business is on the path to being super successful (see Paul Allen) but it is still an interesting trend nonetheless.

Note Now Playing: T.I. - My Life, Your Entertainment (Ft. Usher) Note


October 1, 2008
@ 04:22 PM

Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, writes in his blog post Expanding the Cloud: Microsoft Windows Server on Amazon EC2 that

With today's announcement that Microsoft Windows Server is available on Amazon EC2 we can now run the majority of popular software systems in the cloud. Windows Server ranked very high on the list of requests by customers so we are happy that we will be able to provide this.

One particular area that customers have been asking for Amazon EC2 with Windows Server was for Windows Media transcoding and streaming. There is a range of excellent codecs available for Windows Media and there is a large amount of legacy content in those formats. In past weeks I met with a number of folks from the entertainment industry and often their first question was: when can we run on windows?

There are many different reasons why customers have requested Windows Server; for example many customers want to run ASP.NET websites using Internet Information Server and use Microsoft SQL Server as their database. Amazon EC2 running Windows Server enables this scenario for building scalable websites. In addition, several customers would like to maintain a global single Windows-based desktop environment using Microsoft Remote Desktop, and Amazon EC2 is a scalable and dependable platform on which to do so.

This is great news. I'm starting a month long vacation as a precursor to my paternity leave since the baby is due next week and was looking to do some long overdue hacking in-between burping the baby and changing diapers. My choices were

  • Facebook platform app
  • Google App Engine app
  • EC2/S3/EBS app

The problem with Amazon was the need to use Linux which I haven't seriously messed with since my college days running SuSe. If I could use Windows Server and ASP.NET while still learning the nuances of EC2/S3/EBS that would be quite sweet.

I wonder how who I need to holler at to get in the Windows Server on EC2 beta? Maybe Derek can hook me up. Hmmmmm.

Note Now Playing: Lil Wayne - Best Rapper Alive [Explicit] Note


Categories: Platforms | Web Development

I'm sure y'all have seen this link floating around the Internet's already but I wanted to have this here for posterity. Below is an excerpt from a 1999 article in the New York Times by Steven Holmes titled Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending 

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

Although the article is particularly prescient there is one thing it didn't predict, which is how much this risk of failure would be compounded while remaining hidden due to the rise of Mortgage Backed Securities. Still, it is definitely interesting reading to see that someone called the current clusterfuck as far back as 1999.

Way to go Clinton administration, as always the road to hell was paved with good intentions.

Note Now Playing: Young Jeezy - The Recession (Intro) Note


Categories: Current Affairs

September 28, 2008
@ 09:51 PM

I'm in the market for a new phone and I've been considering getting an iPhone 3G to replace my AT&T Tilt (aka HTC Kaiser). The Tilt is a great PDA (thanks to Windows Mobile 6) and I love the slide out QWERTY keyboard. My main problems with it are the relatively huge physical size, small amount of storage space and needing two hands if I want to send email or text messages.

Although I've recently seen a lot of hype around Google's Android operating system and T-Mobile G1 (aka the HTC Dream), I haven't had any interest in it since it has no support for integrating with Microsoft Exchange which is the only reason I want a smart phone in the first place. However I have found it interesting that a lot of recent blog posts about the iPhone are about how it is in a weak position against Android because Google's open approach will trump Apple's closed approach with regards to their developer platform.

A typical example of this trend in iPhone coverage is Antionio Cangiano's blog post entitled Don't Alienate Developers which is excerpted below

Apple, a company that is generally considered far from “sinister” or “evil”, on the other hand, is trying their best to alienate developers.

Their first idiotic move was to place an NDA on a finished product like the iPhone SDK (including the final version).

Apple then decided that it was a good idea to charge people for the privilege to develop for the iPhone: $99

These were two blatant mistakes, but, if you can believe it, Apple managed to alienate developers further still. A few thousand people put up with the NDA on the SDK, with the cost of the Standard Program, and with the lengthy and bureaucratic process it takes to access the only viable distribution channel, the iPhone App Store. Some of them spent months trying to create excellent, innovative applications for the iPhone, only to see their work rejected for no good reason other than that it competed with Apple’s own products (e.g. Podcaster) or was inconvenient for their business partner AT&T (e.g. NetShare).

I fail to see Apple’s usual business insight and only see blind greed, the kind that acts as a highly effective cautionary tale against developing for Apple’s platforms. This all comes at a time when Google is promoting a truly open platform, Android, which poses a few challenges due to the heterogeneous nature of the devices it will be deployed on, but is equally interesting from a technical standpoint. Google even went so far as to award ten million dollars in prize money through a contest that they held, to attract new developers and applications. Android is definitely welcoming new developers and it’s doing so free from glaring restrictions and limitations. I suspect that many will put up with Java, to get a cup of freedom.

This kind of thinking is particularly naive because it fails to consider why developers adopt platforms in the first place. Developers go where the users are. Users go where they can get the best user experience for the right price. Openness of the platform only helps if it improves the user experience, thus attracting more users and reinforcing the virtuous cycle.

Rory Blyth recently a very insightful which compared to "open" approach taken with the Windows Mobile developer ecosystem with the "closed" approach of Apple's iPhone ecosystem. In his post entitled iPhone vs. Windows Mobile - Apple vs. Microsoft - It's the Little Things Rory wrote

Here, from what I've learned, is how iPhone and Windows Mobile rate against these criteria.

---- Windows Mobile

  • My access to your money: If you have a WM device, you probably have money. Even with carrier "discounts" they're not cheap. If you know what to get, it's worth the moolah, and you'll take advantage of what your chosen device has to offer by downloading apps that make use of it. This is as easy as:
    1. Trying to figure out where the big app stores are. There are a few, and they don't all support Windows Mobile, nor do they all have apps that will run on whatever version of WM you've got. It can be frustrating because Microsoft's practice of renaming products and slapping weird version numbers on things that are meaningless without context can easily leave you wondering what version of Windows Mobile you have (and wondering if what you've got is  the same as/compatible with PocketPC, WinCE, PPC, etc.).
    2. If not big stores, then searching the small independents where devs post their stuff on sites that look like they were made with a beta release of the first version of FrontPage.
    3. When you find an app, you go through whatever arbitrary transaction process the store/dev is using. This might mean creating an account with a site you'll never return to, handing your credit card info over to an independent whose trustworthiness is unknown, or even going through PayPal and then having to wait for the dev to check his email and manually respond with a serial number (or whatever).
    4. Run the app on your desktop which will kick off ActiveSync's install bits that install stuff on your PC in addition to the device.
    5. After clicking "Yes" or "I think so" or "Sure" on a few dialog boxes that pop up on the desktop and on the device, a CAB file is opened on the device and a local installer runs. This can mean more dialog boxes, and it can also mean having to make choices about things you don't understand (many users aren't going to comprehend the impact/difference between installing to the device's memory or to an expansion card).
    6. Run the app! Easy as 1-2-3-4-5-6!

  • App distribution options and ease of install for the customer: As you may have figured out from my "Easy as 1-2-3-4-5-6!" list above, finding, buying, and installing apps on WM devices has always been a pain in the ass. Going back to my first PocketPC (the first iPaq (the 3630)), I wondered why I needed ActiveSync just to install some stupid little app. ActiveSync makes sense if, say, I'm syncing something with the desktop like mail or calendar data, but it doesn't make sense if I'm installing Super Solitaire 5000 Deluxe Color Edition. Where do you sell your app? How do you get the word out? I haven't looked into it for a while because it frustrated me so much in the past. I'm going to take a look again, and, because I plan to target one specific platform for my app, I also plan to develop for others. In the case of Windows Mobile, I'm hoping Microsoft copies Apple's model.

    ---- Apple's iPhone

  • App distribution options and ease of install for the customer: Apple users have been bitching about using iTunes to install iPhone software. If they had any idea what it's like with other platforms, they'd shut it. While iTunes as an app store feels wrong and stupid and lame and stupid to me, at least iTunes is an app everybody has nowadays (aight - not everybody, but many, and that's good enough). Not that it matters much - with the introduction of Apple's App Store, you can browse apps on your phone, pay for, and install them without having to do some stupid syncing thing. You could be out at a bar where Jolene Blalock is hitting on you, and without having to run home to your iMac, you can buy, install, and run a crossword game before you've even had the chance to realize you've just made the biggest mistake in your life by ignoring her. And when you do realize it, and you see Jolene running off with another man, at least you'll have your crossword puzzles.
  • This is just one example of how a "closed" approach where a vendor supplies the entire end-to-end user experience provides a superior experience to an "open" approach where the vendor leaves it up to other developers to fill in the gaps. Apple's approach seems to be working well for developers some of whom are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month thanks to how good of a job Apple has done in making it easy for users to find, purchase and install applications on their iPhones.

    The key thing Apple has brought to the table is building a user experience that its customers love to use instead of one that they merely tolerate. Getting this right is way more important than the "openness" of the ecosystem. Customers and developers can put up with a closed ecosystem that limits choice as long as it improves the quality of the user experience. Where Google Android has to shine is in building a better user experience for the same price or a comparable experience at a lower price. Everything else is just noise.

    Don't take my word for it, here's what the John Wang of HTC [Chief Marketing Officer of the company that is shipping the first Google Android phone] has to say about the topic in an article from Digitimes

    Some believe the success of Android handsets will rely on their open source platform. However, this is not true since Linux-based handsets have already been on the market for a while, Wang argued.

    The key element is innovation, said Wang, noting that the T-Mobile G1 is being rolled by combining Google's Internet services, HTC's proven capability in smartphone manufacturing, and T-Mobile's telecom network resources.

    Apple is definitely ticking off developers but until another vendor shows up with a phone whose hardware and software provides a better experience for customers then it will continue to get the lions share of attention from top mobile developers.

    Note Now Playing: T.I. - Whatever You Like Note

    Categories: Platforms

    jQuery is an Open Source Javascript framework that is very popular among Web developers. John Resig, lead developer of the project has a blog post with some interesting news with regards to Microsoft and jQuery where he writes

    Microsoft is looking to make jQuery part of their official development platform. Their JavaScript offering today includes the ASP.NET Ajax Framework and they’re looking to expand it with the use of jQuery. This means that jQuery will be distributed with Visual Studio (which will include jQuery intellisense, snippets, examples, and documentation).

    Additionally Microsoft will be developing additional controls, or widgets, to run on top of jQuery that will be easily deployable within your .NET applications. jQuery helpers will also be included in the server-side portion of .NET development (in addition to the existing helpers) providing complementary functions to existing ASP.NET AJAX capabilities.

    John's announcement has been followed up by a blog post from Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET developer division at Microsoft, entitled jQuery and Microsoft where he writes

    I'm excited today to announce that Microsoft will be shipping jQuery with Visual Studio going forward.  We will distribute the jQuery JavaScript library as-is, and will not be forking or changing the source from the main jQuery branch.  The files will continue to use and ship under the existing jQuery MIT license.

    We will also distribute intellisense-annotated versions that provide great Visual Studio intellisense and help-integration at design-time.  For example:

    and with a chained command:

    The jQuery intellisense annotation support will be available as a free web-download in a few weeks (and will work great with VS 2008 SP1 and the free Visual Web Developer 2008 Express SP1).  The new ASP.NET MVC download will also distribute it, and add the jQuery library by default to all new projects.

    We will also extend Microsoft product support to jQuery beginning later this year, which will enable developers and enterprises to call and open jQuery support cases 24x7 with Microsoft PSS.

    This is great news for Web developers everywhere. Kudos to everyone involved in making this happen.

    Note Now Playing: T.I. - Swagga Like Us (Ft. Kanye West, Jay Z & Lil Wayne) Note 


    A few days ago, Omar Shahine wrote about the new features of Windows Live Calendar in a post entitled Windows Live Calendar gets To Dos where he writes

    At long last, we have shipped To Dos. It’s been a long time since I worked on Windows Live Calendar and we were talking about building To Dos. The best part about To Dos is that they work with Shared Calendars. In other words, if you and your spouse have a “Family Calendar” you can now create and manage a shared task list… something Google Calendar still doesn’t have.

    With the new release of Windows Live Calendar and the new Beta releases of the Windows Live Suite there is a ton of great end to end Calendar functionality.

    1. Outlook Connector to sync all your Windows Live Calendars to Outlook, including your Birthday Calendar for all your Contacts.
    2. Windows Live Mail now with Calendar Sync will also sync all your Windows Live Calendars
    3. Shared Calendars that you can create, share and manage with other Windows Live Users
    4. Calendar Subscriptions to public internet calendars that you can subscribe and sync to all the products above.

    And of course now To Dos. Dare should be happy about this. He’ll need it when the baby comes :-).

    One thing has been frustrating me for months is that there was no easy way to incorporate shared calendaring into my wife and I's workflow even though we both used calendaring products from Microsoft. Typically my wife would add an item to her calendar (in Windows Calendar) and then have to literally tell me about the appointment at which point I'd either enter it into my Windows Mobile phone which would synchronize it with Outlook + Exchange or I'd fire up my laptop and enter it directly into Outlook. The big problem with this "approach" is when she tells me about something and I don't immediately enter it into my phone (e.g. when i don't want to be inappropriate at our midwife appointments) in which case I forget and end up being late or missing shared appointments.

    This has all changed with the usage of two free products from Microsoft. The first is the newest version of Windows Live Mail (Wave 3 beta) which now has a built in calendar with synchronizes with Windows Live Calendar which my wife now uses. The second is Microsoft Office Outlook Connector which allows you to synchronize email with Windows Live Hotmail and calendars from Windows Live Calendar directly into Outlook which I use at work.

    Besides installing both pieces of software the only setup step needed was for my wife to share her calendar with me from Windows Live Calendar. Now that my wife has begun her maternity leave in preparation for the birth of our son, I'm glad I can fire up Outlook and see what's going on with her during my work day. For example, looking in my Outlook calendar for tomorrow shows an appointment I'd almost forgotten

    That would have been embarrassing. Smile

    Now Playing: Stevie Wonder - I Was Made To Love Her


    Categories: Windows Live