Echoing Scoble, my congratulations to my friends on the Office team, who shipped Office 2003 today. Coordinating that many applications—plus OneNote and InfoPath, and Office LiveMeeting—together into a single release counts as a major accomplishment in anyone’s book.

I won’t comment on the release itself except to say that PowerPoint is now consistently stable for me, and that I love cached mode in Outlook…

Deep linking strategies for iTunes

There appear to be three ways to do deep links on the iTMS without rolling your own URLs: one is to drag any hyperlink (not individual music tracks, but underlined artist or album names) to an application that supports drag and drop. You can also right click on a hyperlink or an individual track and choose the Copy Music Store URL option. That’t how I constructed the links last night. Doing either one results in a hyperlink using HTTP that goes to

The third is the iTMS Link Maker, a web app on that walks you through a wizard to build links and gives you a JavaScript-based URL to go to the link. It also incorporates an IE plug-in control called the iTunes Detector that is loaded as part of the JavaScript solution that makes clicked hyperlinks behave “intelligently”—that is, when clicked, the links either open the selection in the iTunes Music Store, or take the user to a download page where they can get iTunes if they don’t already have it installed.

I’m less enthralled with this for a number of reasons. Number one, it requires embedding the script detector in the head of each page that bears the links—not a big deal when all pages on your blog are generated dynamically, but still something of a hassle. Number two, the iTunes Detector may be a lightweight piece of code, but it is not a lightweight user experience. I think I would rather have a link fail than pop an installer dialog over my blog pages.

That said, I’m not sure the direct link methods are any better of a user experience. The page on that is opened by these methods calls iTunes and then sends the user back to the calling page on Internet Explorer for Windows; on Safari, it appears to automatically close the calling page or tab. (Verification welcomed; I’ve only tested on my own machine.)

(Updates: See the comment from Greg about pulling a direct link from the deep link tool, and see the expanded version of this post with context at Blogcritics.)

4AD, Too Pure, Beggars Banquet on iTunes

I appear to have been too eager last night when I posted the list of artists whose songs weren’t showing up in the iTunes Music Store. Though I was unable to follow the links I posted to get to actual music from home before 8 am, by the time I got to work they all worked and sent me reliably to fully populated albums. So 4AD, Beggars Banquet, and Too Pure (otherwise known as the Beggars Group) appear to have climbed aboard; I hope this means more Dead Can Dance, Mojave 3, Breeders, and Badly Drawn Boy tracks soon.