Office Blinds

I’m nearing the end of my plans for the new home office. For several years I’d been thinking about getting top down bottom up blinds for the room that used to be my office. With both rooms being at the front of the house I didn’t want people looking in while I was at my desk, I didn’t want to be distracted all day by neighbors moving about their yards, and I wanted to let more light in. So when I needed blinds for the new room, I ordered some. They came in this week, were easy to install, and work great. Now that I have them set I’m not sure I’ll ever touch them unless I want to open the windows.

These two windows are pretty big, with the blinds being 76×65 and 52×65. Smith & Noble wanted almost $900! I found some from SelectBlinds for $430. Both of those are before sales/discounts. It was an easy choice (they’re just blinds!) and the final price was $292 total for the two blinds. I’ve also ordered one for a tall window next to my front door ($92), which is directly in my line of sight while working.

I’m not sure I’ll buy another type of blind again. These don’t have any strings to fight with and no wands to turn. You raise/lower the top or bottom by grabbing a couple of handles and moving them where you want. It’s so easy and gives you more options.

The last thing I have planned for the office is going to be a challenging build for me, so I’m excited to take it on and see how it turns out. Stay tuned!

WordPress.com for Windows 8

Today, Microsoft released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and with it, the Windows Store. And if you haven’t already heard, I’m proud to say that WordPress.com for Windows 8 is available today.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been working on the team at Automattic that’s been building the app. We were lucky enough to get some great support from Microsoft along the way, especially Jeff Sandquist, James Senior, Ben Thompson, Jaime Rodriguez, Lora Heiny, and Nazia Zaman who gave us everything we needed to make the app shine, including hands-on help from Microsoft developers and designers. We decided to focus on showcasing the best of WordPress.com for our first version of the app, and what better way to do that than with Freshly Pressed? We’ve been highlighting WordPress.com bloggers there for several years now, and all of that great content is now accessible in our app.

via WordPress.com for Windows 8 | Matt Thomas

It was a lot of fun working on this app. The last time I did any development for Windows was about 10 years ago using Visual Basic. We’ve come a long way! The Metro interface in completely different from anything you’ve ever seen out of Windows and I’m interested to see where it goes. If you have a blog on WordPress.com or you like reading cool content, check out our new app and let us know what you think.

Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition and Xbox 360

Over the past few days I installed Windows Media Center Edition on my PC and configured it to connect to my Xbox 360. Let me tell you, this is one slick system for streaming media to your TV. The Xbox 360 works as an extender for the Media Center and can be set to access any of the pictures, music, or videos you have on your computer.

When I started looking into this, I was surprised to find out that Microsoft doesn’t even sell Windows Media Center Edition. The only legal way to get it is by purchasing a new computer which has it installed. I think this is a huge marketing mistake by Microsoft.

I think another mistake is the fact that the Xbox 360 only supports a few video types. Transcode 360 is a free piece of software you can download to get around this limitation though. It allows you to stream a wide range of video formats from MCE to the Xbox 360 by converting a file on-the-fly as you watch it. The speed and quality is excellent.

I did have some trouble installing the Xbox 360 Media Center Extender software on my computer, but that’s probably because of the way I installed MCE in the first place. In order to get the software installed, I had to extract all of the files out of the installation exe, then extract again out of one of the update files. From there I tried to install updates one by one until I found the errors and could download the missing updates. It was a real pain in the ass, but it’s working great now.