Information for designers and interactive developers - Issue 1 - February 2008
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InkSeine, a joy for every tablet
Just recently, I downloaded and installed the latest InkSeine version. Freshly delivered to my desktop and straight from the deep dark labs of Microsoft Research. InkSeine is a prototype ink application designed from the ground up to have a user interface uniquely tailored to pen input. This program is recommended for Windows Vista if you want it to perform at its best and works only on pc's with tablet support. It does run on Windows XP too though, so for those who still haven't migrated, there's still some joy to be caught. However, I really recommend a Vista experience, because there are a lot of goodies that come with this OS that need quite some tweaking of your XP if you want to have an equally good experience.


InkSeine has the ability to easily search the web or your local computer directly from your inking workspace. The search interface is very unique and, agreed, requires a little bit of training to get full control since the motion gestures are new. But if you follow the tutorial, you'll get the hang of it in a matter of minutes. The search function has the ability to narrow or expand the results based on file type or date with a simple flick of the pen. InkSeine lets you search all the stuff from your tablet, and then lets you gather what you select from your search back in the notes you were making. Simply by searching the words you've written down, you can select search functions from the pie menu and define the search areas.

If you want to look for information on the web, a nifty small browser window opens up the Live Search and you can select any result and drag it to your workspace. InkSeine offers a tiny floating tool ring, that's always semi-transparent. Just by hovering it, it becomes active and allows you to snip a screenshot for instance, just like you would do with the snipping tool from Vista. If you want to perform a personal search to link some documents to a few things you've written down, it works in the same way except that you now search your entire tablet for related information. This information can come from any Office documents, e-mails or other files, and is linked to the notes by selecting the 'add to notes' function in the search results interface.

Obviously you can also open the document of the folder it is contained in, in case you need to verify the content before linking it to your work sheet. InkSeine is one of the best things I've seen and really made me enjoy using the tablet function of my beloved Toshiba M7. I have to admit, I rarely used my pen functions before, but this application brought me fun and ease of use like no other app, and as soon as I trained myself in using it, it became my first choice of taking notes in meetings or during conference calls. One of the cool features the team added to the release is the fact it's now compatible to OneNote, which makes it very easy to swiftly share and send out the notes you've made and all the additional information attached to it.

InkSeine's was publicly released on February 15th. Additional information can be found on the blog of Ken Hinckley, one of the key researchers driving the development of this wonderful inky toy. If you want to download it and give it a spin, head for MSR's website.
MIX essentials
Save the date! MIX Essentials is coming to Belgium on the 24th of April 2008. Get the very best of MIX (sold out) in a 1-day 'MIX Essentials' conference with great local & international professional speakers. And a special guest keynote by Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corporation. Registration and detailed info in the next edition of this newsletter!
MSDN Designer Academic Alliance
The Designer Academic Alliance is the recent addition to the MSDN Academic Alliance program which is the easiest and most inexpensive way for students and faculty to get the latest Microsoft software they need for teaching and research purposes.
Lynda.com online training
From understanding the concept of smart web design, to creating, editing, and maintaining web site, instructor Joe Marini, Group Product Manager at Microsoft, gives his insider tips for real-world web site design using Expression Web.
Microsoft