A non-InfoPath post

Since most InfoPath posts would be better off in the InfoPath Team blog, I thought should blog about some non-InfoPath related things. One great thing I really like about working at Microsoft is that I have access to most of Microsoft's products. One thing that I've been playing with recently that I really likeĀ is Microsoft's Windows Media Center. What is this you ask? Well, you can read info about it on the website. At first glance, it might seem like just another tivo, replaytv or mythtv competition, but I think Microsoft is doing something great with Media Center that the others are missing (yes, I work here so my views might be a tad biased, but read on). I actually do have a Tivo at home too, so I have some frame of reference. Media Center, to me, seems more like a platform for delivering multimedia content to the home (wow, that sounds almost like a marketing line). IMO, they accomplish this in a variety of ways. First, there is an SDK to develop your own applications. I've seen a few 3rd party apps floating around. I've played with one that transcodes the MPEG2 to WMV (which reduces the file size), some that provide weather, some that provide news, etc... Second, the online spotlight is pretty cool. The online spotlight allows users to pull content from the web, for example Napster (which is like iTunes now) will let people buy a subscription to listen to the entire catalog via streaming. This makes Media Center a really huge jukebox for more music than you can fill your time with. Also, for the lazy, you can rent movies by downloading them.

I'll write more later. I get to play with betas for the next build. I wonder what I'm allowed to talk about and what I'm not allowed to. I think I can say that Media center has a lot of potential with their Extenders, which I get to play with as well. More specifically, I got a copy of the Xbox media extender.