A code monkey in Research

One developer's view of (a little bit of) Microsoft Research, Cambridge

Connecting with Facebook

There are several ways to integrate your application with Facebook: you can have a standalone application (which uses Facebook for authentication but has a UI totally separate from Facebook apart from login), and there can be two flavours of that, a “desktop” experience and a “mobile” one; or you can create a “canvas application” in… Read more

NoReplyAll Add-In 2.4.0

A new version of the add-in is now available – head to http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/60860f41-88ab-4bb4-8104-765feca9cfed/default.aspx to get hold of it. Only two changes since 2.3.3: yet another button rearrangement, since the dropdown was just too confusing; and a fix for a problem whereby emails would not be sent if youo had the Outbox open. All comments about it… Read more

The core of the game service

Last time, I gave an outline of our Facebook game: now I’m going to take a look at the “game engine.” The game logic is pretty straightforward: Player one initiates a game by selecting an opponent and specifying the five allocations Player two responds to the game by submitting his/her five allocations Calculate game outcome, update… Read more

Introduction to Project Waterloo

As I hinted earlier, I’m finally getting round to describing how we implemented our first Facebook game, Microsoft Research Project Waterloo. The game is between two players, each having one turn. The game board is a number of fields of play – in our case, the five cities; each player has some number of resources,… Read more

Careful with that Outbox, Eugene

Someone called Chris_is_tired alerted me to a problem with my NoReplyAll Outlook add-in recently: if you happen to have the Outbox in view and send an email, it seems to never leave the Outbox when the add-in is loaded. Without the add-in, it’s fine. A bit of web searching found lots of references to emails… Read more

Want to be a developer at Microsoft Research in Cambridge?

Socio-Digital Systems, one of the teams I work with, has an opening for a developer if anyone’s interested in coming to work here in Cambridge, England. The job ad reads: The Socio-Digital Systems (SDS) group at Microsoft Research in Cambridge is a vibrant, multi-disciplinary team focused on the creation of a broad set of new… Read more

Hidden vs Minimized

Writing that post about pausing audio playback reminded me of a little utility I wrote, uh, over a decade ago, which would hide rather than minimize windows, so that I could free up a bit of space on the task bar by not showing the window’s icon there and I thought I’m talk about that here…. Read more

Visual Studio macro to update version numbers

My first few blog posts were essentially about taking a macro (almost) solution and reimplementing it in C#: this time I’m taking an approach to a problem usually solved using some compiled language and implementing it as a cheap and cheerful macro. It’s a bit unfortunate that I’m posting this at the same time as… Read more


If you’ve got music playing on your PC and then you lock the desktop, the music keeps playing. Sometimes this is what you want, and sometimes it’s not… I was dogfooding the recent release of a certain media playing software not so long ago, which meant I had stuff playing more of the time than… Read more

Microsoft Research Project Waterloo

The Research Games team in Microsoft Research, of which I’m a member, has just published its first game, Project Waterloo (or, to give it it’s full, if somewhat verbose, name, Microsoft Research Project Waterloo). This is an example of a Colonel Blotto style game, one of many economic games we want to investigate. Placing it on… Read more