More Hotmail News

Looks like the news has spread far and wide. Zdnet, Cnet and a bunch of others are carrying the it. Here is the offical Microsoft press release. We’ve been talking about here in the office that we want to be in the game not to make it about storage but about the software we make and the service we offer. So, yep, we’ll give you 250 megs for free. We’ll even bump it up to 2 gigs if you want to pay for it. But we’re going to do a lot more to make you stay with or join Hotmail on top of storage. Anti virus cleaning is going to be free to all users soon, putting Hotmail at the top of the pack for securing our end users from malicious attacks. Reeves blogs on the same thing as well. We’ll be delivering a lot of cool stuff, such as making Calendar free again (which has awesome sharing features that used to be only available to MSN subscribers) to all the anti-spam stuff such as Sender ID and our SmartScreen technology. It’s just the beginning.

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Back from Las Vegas

Ami and I went to Las Vegas (pictures) this weekend. Had a great time. We left Friday afternoon to get on the 3:30 out of San Jose. I had gotten pulled in to a conference call that went from 2 until 3 so I called in from my cell at 2 and Ami showed up at 2:15. I left the office on my phone and stayed on the call all the way until 3, which entailed the drive to the airport (including giving Ami directions), parking in long term parking, the shuttle to the airport, the security checkpoint (phone left on mute as it went through the x-ray scanner) and to the seats near the gate.

We arrived at Paris around 6, had dinner at Le Provencial in the hotel, which featured a farily annoying set of waiters/waitresses that sung as a part of the ‘entertainment’. After dinner, I went and gambled a bit at a roulette table. I put $60 down on the cheapest table ($1 chips and a $5 minimum inside/outside). I stayed alive for about 45 minutes, in which time I don’t think I broke above $60 at all. Bad luck for sure. Ami managed to make $6 last the same amount of time on nickel slots. We went back to the hotel room and hung out for a while then went out to Risque, the club in Paris. We got there a bit early so we were dancing in a smaller group for a while, but the place quickly filled up. I quite liked Risque. The crowd was good, not the usual fare of tooled out guys and girls, and the music was off the hook. The drinks were stiff (as were the prices — $19 for a martini and an amareto sour), which was an unexpected plus. We left the club around 2:30AM and passed out.

Saturday had us waking up around noon. We went to the Desert Stops at Aladin to get a bathing suit for me then had burgers at Cheeseburger in the Oasis (of the Maui Cheeseburger in Paradise fame/brand). We came back to Paris and went out to the pool, which was on the 3rd floor and afforded a great view of the Eiffel tower. Wierd thing about pools in Vegas which Ami and I both noticed as a trend from previous trips: people just stand in the pool without much action. Quite odd. When we’d been to Playa del Carmen or Maui people seemed to be active in the pools like swimming or at a very minimum, moving. Odd for sure. In any case, the pool was nice relief from the damning 100 degrees heat. After the swimming we made it back to the room, then headed back across the Strip from Paris enroute to Luxor to catch the Blue Man Group. Little did I realize how exactly far it was so we ended up getting to Luxor at 7:15 thinking we were going to be only sort of late to pick up tickets from will call only to realize that I had written down the start time for the show incorrectly and and rather than cutting it close, we were 15 minutes late. Aparently the show had started late so we didn’t miss much and the part that we did see was awesome. I’m going to pick up the CD. After the show I ended up playing more roulette ($1 chips $5 mins) and took $40 and made it in to $88, cutting my losses to $12. Nice. We took a cab back to Paris and got a guest pass to Light (which was not valid after midnight) from the cabbie. We went over to Bellagio to get in line for the club around 11:30. Lo and behold, no line. Just a mass of human pushing and shoving in a NYC-style clusterf*. Fourty-five minutes later with no entry and a high level of frustration (especially when we would have gotten in it would be $50 in cover for the both of us), we bailed, went back to the Napolean bar in Paris (notice a theme here?), listened to the live jazz and called it a night.

On Sunday we had a late check out so we had brunch around 11 at Le Cafe in Paris, left out bags with the bellhop and I went back to gambling. About 15 minutes later and $40 poorer, I decided I hate gambling in Paris since it take all my money. We killed part of the afternoon by walking up the Strip, ending the walk at the Venetian and going to the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum. The exhibit on tour was “A Century of Painting” which was a look at the shape of art from 1871 to 1971, including artists such as Monet, Seraut, Miro, Picasso and Pollack. The size of the museum was small, but the collection was nice and included some fablous Picasso pieces as well as some quasi-cubist Russian painters I’d never seen before. On the walk back, we stopped in the Flamingo to escape the heat and yet again I was drawn by those damned roulette tables (I’m incapable of learning). While waiting for Ami, I watched a guy play on three spins and on each turn must have had something like $500 down on the table. While not incredibly crazy (we’ve all seem dumber things in Vegas), he was blowing these big dollars in the Flamingo. Hello? If you’re going to blow $500 a table, do it a the Bellagio or somewhere like that where you might get a comp you’ll actually like. In any case, I sat down at the table next to him ($1 chips, $5 min total) and turned $40 to $78, making my earlier losses feel much better, bringing my losses to a total of $14 for the weekend, a much more bearable sum (which was the same amount Ami lost on slots). After Flamingo, went back to Paris, picked up our bags, went to the airport and I flew out for San Jose and Ami for San Diego. Great trip to Vegas, can’t wait to go back.

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9/11 Commission Report

The 9/11 Commission report is finally coming out in bits and pieces. It paints a pretty frightening picture of our command structure and the apparent ineptitude of our leadership. The juicy bits:

  • The commission is reporting the Iraq and al-Qaeda had no links
  • The commission criticized the FBI and CIA and might recommend a new intelligence agency modeled after the British MI5
  • The 9/11 plot had been under works since 1996
  • There were incredible communication breakdowns
  • The attack timeline

Of course, Bush is already on the defensive, disputing the lack of ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Hopefully people will understand the damning nature of the report and what it really tells us about our current leadership.

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Ever wondering about blowfish (or fugu as it’s known in Japanese)? Check this article out. Aparently it’s the only food not allowed to be eaten by Emperor.

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Graduation Weekend

Graduation for the rest of the Cather folks was on Sunday. Ethan, Jamus and I took the old air horns from last year and blasted the hell out of the ceremonies when Justin, Dan and Shane’s names were called. After the Revelle graduation I went with Ami’s mom to the graduate school graduation for Ami’s ceremonies. Six hours after starting this graduation marathon, I got back home and went with Justin and Austin to Rock Bottom to watch the Lakers game (which they lost), then came home and hung out and celebrated the fact that we’re all finished with everybody. Long long and tiring weekend. Now, back to work!

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Sister in Paris

My sister is going to spend a year in France and got in to Sciences Po, aparently the same school that Jacques Chirac went to. She’s also going to be teaching English near Versailles. Time to take a visit to Paris sometime next year. Go sister!

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