Microsoft does a poor job of advertising new products, especially those in beta. Often this leads to the impression that Microsoft does not innovate. Here are some new products I’ve been playing with/using that are pretty cool.

  1. PowerPoint Plex (pptPlex) from Office Labs ( you’ve ever wished your slideshow could be something more than a linear series of slides, this is for you. You can can arrange your slides on a canvas, zoom in and out of slides and set your path for navigating through the slides. This means that you can have long code samples in your presentations and zoom into the sections you need as you need them. I can’t imagine going back to linear slides.
    An earlier version of Plex was used in this demo of Touch Wall.
  2. Script# ( is the result of an independent project by Nikhil Kothari, an software architect in the .Net developer platform. Using the script# compiler, you can compile C# code into JavaScript (it does with C# what Google Web Toolkit does for Java). Here’s a blurb from Nikhil’s site.

    Script# brings productivity to Ajax and JavaScript development. Script# is a free tool that enables developers to author C# source code and subsequently compile it into regular script that works across all modern browsers, and in doing so, leverage the productivity and power of existing .NET tools as well as the Visual Studio IDE. Script# empowers you with a development methodology and approach that brings software engineering, long term maintainability and scalable development approaches for your Ajax applications, components and frameworks.

    With Script#, you can design your AJAX applications just as you would .Net applications – complete with object inheritance, namespaces, interfaces, event receivers, private methods etc. The JavaScript produced is browser independent, meaning that you get insulated from all the little browser quirks.

    You also get a lot of code re-use, just as with regular OOP. Script# provides its own base libraries for Ajax development, mirroring the libraries provided in the .Net platform. Alternatively, you can use base libraries from ASP.Net AJAX, or third party platforms like ExtJS(via Ext#). Script# produces a DLL with the JavaScript at compilation so your DLLs can be used in future projects as reference assemblies.

  3. Photosynth( product from Microsoft Live Labs takes  set of photos and constructs a 3D model. The effects are pretty astounding.
  4. Songsmith( falls neatly into the toy category. This product from Microsoft Research allows you to hum or sing a tune and it generates an accompaniment. ArsTechnica had a really good article on this. There are some YouTube videos providing songsmith re-arrangements of classic tunes. My favorite is the remake of Roxanne by the Police.


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