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Monthly Archives: October 2007

Microsoft Silverlight logoWe’ve just announced a public preview of a publishing plug-in that allows Expression Encoder to encode and publish Silverlight content directly to the Silverlight Streaming service.

You can download the plug-in directly from the Microsoft download section.

To recap, Silverlight Streaming is a content hosting service that has been launched by the Windows Live team (currently in Alpha). As part of the Alpha service you get 4GB of FREE storage which allows you to host Silverlight Applications including videos and unlimited streaming.

There are a couple of limitations on the videos that you can use during the alpha phase, the video can be up to 10 minutes in length and encoded at up to 700Kbps. When the service moves towards release and leaves beta you’ll still have 4GB worth of FREE storage and up to 1 million minutes of FREE streaming. Unlimited streaming will also be available for FREE with advertising, or with payment of a nominal fee for the service for use without advertising.

So what do you need:

Expression Media Encoder (Please note this now comes with a 180 day trial key!)

Silverlight Streaming Account

Silverlight Streaming Plug-in Preview (for Expression Media Encoder)

There’s also a plug-in for Windows Live Writer available here, (thanks to James Clarke for making it happen) that allows you to insert Silverlight Streaming applications directly into your blog.

This service will definitely be one to watch over the coming months.


Expression Design receives it’s first service pack you can read the full detail on the Expression Design blog but in brief… much better XAML exporting for Silverlight 1.0.

You can download the Service pack from either the Expression Web site or from MSDN.


Yes it’s true. We are now in the process of rolling out the first ‘Mercury’ kits!

If you’ve been working with us over the last 12 months during this early phase of Silverlight and Expression, attended one of the agencies events we’ve held in London or had one to one briefings with us then keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of weeks for your kit to arrive.

Acceptance to Mercury in the UK is through nomination only, via either John Allwright, Expression Product Manager, Jon Harris – User Experience Evangelist or Emma Bateson – Channel Development Manager.

As a member you get access to:

• Free Expression Studio via Mercury Agency Kit

• Local Instructor Lead Workshops & Online Training

• Demos/Samples/Access to ‘How-to Content’

• Free Design & Web Developer Support

• Partner Marketing & PR

• Conference Sponsorship

The home for Mercury is: – which is only available to Mercury members.

There is also a site available for people in the broader design community –

Look forward to seeing you in the forums soon 🙂

xbox gadget


This should be a hit come xmas time for all xbox fans. … a Vista sidebar gadget for tracking your XBOX Live pals. Good stuff from Adam Kinney.

Just make sure that before you run the gadget you install Silverlight 1.0, otherwise the gadget will not work. 🙂


Just made available …. 23 hours of Video from MIX:UK now live on

…. and of course its a Silverlight player!

As well as the keynote the videos include :

  • 4 hours of Scott Guthrie on Silverlight and ASP.NET.
  • 2 Hours of Windows Live with Danny Thorpe and Angus Logan
  • Agencies covering Viral Gaming, Silverlight, Video and getting started with Silverlight (Kerb, Metaliq, Kempt, Conchango)
  • Iron Python, Tablet and mobile, Accessibility, SEO
  • Community sessions
  • Inspirational Sessions

And apparently we still have a further 13 hours still to be posted!! 🙂

We are heading up to Scotland this week and Blognation has picked up our visit. Looking forward to meeting lots of people in the User Experience market in Scotland!

Microsoft to Speak at Edinburgh’s Third Tuesday

Ewan Spence –


Edinburgh’s Third Tuesday meetings continue to gather pace and some great guests. The next meeting will be this week in Home House at 7.30pm.

As always there will be time mix and mingle before the main presentation, which this month is from a team at Microsoft, including Emma Bateson, Solution Channel Development Manager. We’re told that topics will include the user experience, and new technologies including the Silverlight rich internet application framework for developer. This is a good step from Microsoft as the central belt of Scotland (Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow) are becoming strong players in some of the Web 2.0 spaces, including casual online gaming.

Head over to the Third Tuesday Calendar to RSVP.


A great demo of the capability of Silverlight video streaming

Take a look

Those of you that have recently attended MIX:UK or our Community event will have seen us talk about Seadragon.

What is this all about?

Take a look at this great demo.




I recently caught up with Andy Hood from AKQA to ask him what he has been up to. AKQA have been working closely with Microsoft on our new User Experience solutions and have a great customer example….


Can you tell us what you do at AKQA?

I lead the Creative Research & Development team here.  This is a team that focuses on rich front-end technology, across multiple platforms – it’s a development team, working in a very creative domain.  We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated people with creative flair and insight, and the development skills to make real the visions of our design team. We are involved right from the outset of any piece of work, offering insight into the latest technologies and techniques available and providing input into the conceptual side before development even begins.  It is a rare thing to find developers who are really aware of the creative side, and it is this synergy of creative and development that defines the team, and is the reason why the team has won many awards over the years.

What makes AKQA stand out in this marketplace?

AKQA is not a design company or a technology company so much as it is an ideas company with the ability to translate innovative ideas into beautiful work due to gifted design and development teams who collaborate from the outset of a project.  AKQA not only has a multi-award winning Creative team, including specialists in motion graphics and user experience, but also a Microsoft Gold Certified team of software engineers and technical architects, which has enabled us to deliver an extremely diverse series of solutions: AKQA created the user interface for the Xbox 360, but also developed and maintain Orange’s e-commerce platform for example.  At the end of the day it is the passion for innovation and attention to detail that have lead to AKQA being declared “Agency of the Decade” and “Agency of the Year” at the Revolution awards in 2006, and “Agency of the Year” by Marketing Magazine.

Tell us about a cool solution you have recently worked on

We have been working with Microsoft on both Silverlight and WPF technologies since the very earliest days of their development, and an opportunity arose earlier this year to develop a prototype Silverlight application for BBC Radio 1 to be showcased during the keynote at Microsoft Mix in Las Vegas.  It was still in beta at the time, so it was a significant challenge to develop this application in only 4 weeks.  The close collaboration of the design and development teams together with an enthusiastic client made the challenge achievable and all parties were extremely pleased with the results – the feedback has been tremendously positive and we look forward to producing more innovative work with this technology.

Where do you see the future of User Experience?

Big question!  One answer, (of many), is that the user experience, and the development of ever more engaging and innovative software user interfaces, will come to define the product itself as the edges of advertising vrs product development become increasingly blurred.  John Maeda, Associate Director of Research at MIT put in very well when he said “Communication itself will be the primary core of consumer products, not the technology.” 

Any “top tips” for users of this technology?

Collaboration – it’s more vital now than ever.  Good development and design teams should work together to create engaging rich user experiences, and learn much from each other in the process.

Any advice for partners looking at this new technology?

Our creative developers were able to pick up Silverlight and WPF as technologies and run with them very quickly to produce proof of concept and prototype apps, there is nothing to be wary about.  There are so many avenues open for help and training, but the best way is to learn by experience.

What blogs do you regularly read?

I would read Richard Leggett’s blog ( or Rick Williams blog ( but given that I sit next to them there isn’t too much point!  The team here are always throwing around the latest news and ideas – I learn more in a day just being around them than I would from hours of sifting through blogs.  Most of them do keep their own blogs, and that practice certainly encourages people to keep themselves informed.

If you weren’t sitting at your desk right now where would you like to be and why? (holiday location)

Las Vegas or Tokyo.   I live in a small seaside town in Sussex but I work in London and spend much of my time in the insanity of big cities, which I need.  In Vegas you would probably find me playing poker in Caesars Palace or The Venetian – I hope Mix is there again next year…

For those of you that might have missed our Mix:UK event a couple of weeks ago – the BBC has released a Digital Planet Podcast on the BBC News Technology page.

This is a 27 minute programme that was broadcast on the BBC World Service and is dedicated to the Mix:UK event and Microsoft’s web technologies.

Download (12.2mb)

Digital Planet