MSN Soapbox and NineMSN User Generated Content?

A few days ago I noticed a new post on Techcrunch about a rumoured new Microsoft service to be called MSN Soapbox.

They say it’s a YouTube clone, to that I say, yeah sure it seems like it. But that’s not the interesting part to me.

The TechCrunchers were also wondering why the service was being branded as a MSN service as opposed to a Windows Live. It still could be in time.

But the thing is, MSN has several localised sites for places like Australia. We call it, NineMSN (a partnership between the local TV network Channel 9, and Microsoft). Windows Live does not have a local equivalent in this market. I doubt Nine and Microsoft would consider replacing the name NineMSN with something like NineLive (though that does sound catchy after awhile).

Anyway, my guess is this MSN Soapbox service will be localised. So over here in Australia, we can expect something like NineMSN Soapbox as the localised brand.

This goes hand in hand with the Internet Video plans by Channel 9 Australia I read in the Australian IT (read the article via Mick Stanic’s blog post last month).

Okay, so if my guesses are on the right track (only time will tell how close to the track the guesses are), we’ll be seeing user generated content (in this case videos/photos/etc) as part of NineMSN before too long. And taking a wild stab in the dark, perhaps a section on tv called “NineMSN SoapBox”. Where they will show a bit of footage from various things people have posted onto the NineMSN soapbox.

One curious thought though, given the recent outtage of Lonelygirl15 as being basically a “fraud” (by that I mean, the product of .

For more information on Lonelygirl15, have a look at the following articles:,0,7634766.story?coll=la-home-headlines

This is one issue that one has to be wary of with user generated content.

A quote from one of the creators of Lonelygirl15 (via the LA Times article)

“We did this with zero resources. Anybody could do what we did,” Flinders said Tuesday. The sum total of the equipment they used to create a sensation on the Internet, as well as perhaps the Web’s biggest homegrown mystery: “Two desk lamps, one broken, an open window and a $130 camera.”

So really, anyone could potentially do what they did. If you look at current mobile phones with in-built cameras, many which also have video recording capabilities and just let your imagination run wild. Would it be that difficult to create a hoax?

A bit closer to home, there’s been reports this year about rumours which start from footy (AFL) fansites and somehow end up in the mainstream media. These rumours could be potentially created as videos and uploaded onto one of these services. Then again, some could actually be real. How do you find out?

Note: Much of this post is mixed with facts and pure speculation on my part 🙂

Cya Brocky

There’s been a lot written about Peter Brock, on the web (blogs, news websites etc), on tv.

A great Aussie, who did what he loved best. It is a sad loss of a life. As it was with Steve Irwin earlier in the week.

After reading many of the articles in both Melbourne papers (The Age and Herald Sun), one of the facts about him that I remember from several of the articles on him was that he was a Vegetarian. Why? Well, I’m a Vegetarian too. As are a growing number of people around the world (for various reasons).

Did a bit of a web search and came up with this quote attributed to Peter Brock.

At many functions I am given plates of lettuce and little else! There is a poor understanding of what constitutes being vegetarian or vegan.


Another quote that I like is the following one from an interview he did with Andrew Denton on Enough Rope.

I don’t think you should just try and fit in because you want, you know, peer approval. I mean, too many of us live in fear of the disapproval of those around us, so I’ve always worked very hard at just being comfortable with who I am.

Goodbye Steve Irwin

Woah, this is a bit hard to believe.

Steve Irwin (aka the Croc Hunter) has died at around noon (AEST – GMT+10) whilst filming a doco.

Apparently he got stung through the heart by a string ray.

For more, check out the ABC News article.

It’s certainly got the Aussie web buzzing (just take a look at TechTalkBlogs right now). I first heard about it when Adam Cogan messaged me on Windows Live Messenger.

TechTalkBlogs @ 4:35PM 04/09/2006

I think the hard to believe part is that he seemed to tempt fate so many times, and now it seems fate has caught up.

IE7 Issue Becomes a Non-Issue

My previous issue with IE 7 has been resolved.

All I had to do was add the site to the “Local Intranet” zone (which it should’ve been anyway), and all seemed to work as it did previously.

A bit more investigation revealed a security setting named “Include local directory when uploading files to a server”.

IE7 security settings dialog

As for other browsers? Well, since this is an intranet app, it’s not important for the time being.

But if I were to implement something, it would probably be a custom dialog box where the end user could paste in the path to their document on mapped drives (or somethiing similar depending on how much time I had).

Google Maps and Visitor Stats

I got an email the other day from my the company (StatCounter) that provides the hits stats to this blog that they’re now using Google maps to show us where our visitors are from!

Statcounter's Google Map of Visitors

Pretty cool, you just click on one of those red “pins” and it’ll give you expanded information on that particular visitor (data which they already provide you in another view).

I’m sure you could do the same with other map providers like Windows Live Local or Yahoo Maps.

IE7 “improvement” turns into a bug for us

This is an interesting one that I just came across today.

One of our users has downloaded the latest IE7 Beta release and has found that one of the features that she relies on no longer behaves the same way.

I got her to try to use that feature on another PC (which has IE6), and it worked.

The bug?

Our web app depends on the File upload Html Control, and it’s ability to grab the user selected file and directory. It then creates a link to that file (which is usually on a mapped network drive). Users can then click on the document link in their browser, and the document is opened in-browser.

It does seem a little bit of an overkill though to use the File upload control to simply create a link to a document.
But it worked fine at the time.

Here’s some C# code to illustrate what we had:

if (FileUplaoder.PostedFile.FileName != string.empty)
string fileName = FileUploader.PostedFile.FileName;

In IE6, the fileName string would be something like: c:\docs\doc1.doc
Ie IE7 though, the fileName string would be: doc1.doc

Eric Lawrence, of the Internet Explorer team posted a response to this question on the IEBlog saying that it was a “by-design change for privacy reasons. IE7’s behavior matches that of other browsers”.

I’ll need to come up with a new solution to this problem. Although only 2 users of the system are using IE7, it’s better to come up with a solution to this problem than let it sit until everyone is about to upgrade to IE7.

The CodePlex

Just stumbled across this site called the CodePlex, via

What is CodePlex?

CodePlex is an online software development environment for open and shared source developers to create, host and manage projects throughout the project lifecycle. It has been written from the ground up in C# using .NET 2.0 technology with Team Foundation Server on the back end. CodePlex is open to the public free of charge.

CodePlex includes the following features:

  • Release Management
  • Work Item Tracking
  • Source Code Dissemination
  • Wiki-based Project Team Communications
  • Project Forums
  • News Feed Aggregation


Sounds like SourceForge and GotDotNet. Sounds interesting, oh, and it’s Microsoft site (and is currently in beta), so perhaps it is a GotDotNET replacement? (Just speculating here)

I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about this sooner, rather than later. News spreads really fast in the blogosphere 🙂

Mobile Client Software Factory (aka Mobile Baseline Architecture Toolkit)

Just noticed that there’s a Compact Framework version of the Smart Client Baseline Architecture Toolkit called the Mobile Client Software Factory available now.

Francis K. Cheung has a series of posts on his blog about issues relating to porting to the Compact Framework.

On a side note, is anyone else heading to MEDC 2006 in Melbourne?

Edit: Looks like Nick Randolph has a series of posts on the Mobile Client Software Factory.

ASP.NET Web Hosting recommendations wanted

Does anyone have personal recommendations for web hosting providers?

My requirements are:
– ASP.NET 2.0
– SQL Server 2000 (or 2005)
– Up to 5 domains
– 1GB web space

I guess i’ll leave it at that as the base requirements.

As for price range, probably no more than $30AUD.

So far, I’ve looked at:
Studio Coast

Although WebHost4Life seems to be offering more, at this stage, Studio Coast seems a better option because I’ve read much negative reviews about WebHost4Life (and Studio Coast is an Aussie company — supporting something local is always good!).

But i’m welcome to any other thoughts others out there may have on other providers within a reasonable price range?