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Microsoft Drops By

August 14, 2003

update: and the link goes to Lloyd Dalton for his amusing answer. Thanks all for playing along!

listing of similar IP addresses from css Zen Garden referral log's listing of the IP range represented in previous image, resolving to Microsoft sub-domain.

Speculate away. Free link in my sidebar for a week to the most interesting answer.

Reader Comments

August 14, 04h

Hmm, possibly MSN-Bot?

Dave S. says:
August 14, 04h

All 7 were unique. It was a smallish range - .110 to .150, for example.

Arcterex says:
August 14, 04h

I’ve always been a conspiracy buff, and hey, free sidebar ranking on The Mezzoblue! How can you resist.

Ok, here goes.

You know how IBM is called “big blue”? Well, you can’t deny the similarity between that and “mezzo blue” can you? “Mezzo” also comes from the italian for middle, or half, or moderate.

IBM (big blue) is starting to get a bit long in the tooth and past their prime, as is microsoft. I think that microsoft, was researching domain names to buy out for a new corporate image, which puts them up as a moderate version of big blue, in that they are as evil and gargantuan as IBM, but only *half* as likely to be as long in the tooth (or one could say, “moderately interesting”) as IBM is today.

Or you may be in the midst of a scobleization :)

Matt says:
August 14, 04h

His name was Tantek…

Chuckie says:
August 14, 05h

Maybe some Microsoft Graphic Desigers are looking for inspiration for the redesign of :)

huphtur says:
August 14, 06h


redux says:
August 14, 06h

looking at the timestamps, they didn’t stay too long…
what browser was the visitor using though, that would be of more interest methinks…if it was something like “IE7b Longhorn Alpha Build 0.1 (Mozilla compatible)” or whatever it would certainly add flavour to the post ;)

Sunny says:
August 14, 06h

They are just trying to find out how bad IE really is.

Or maybe there is a ieZenGarden in the works (just like they tried to copy the Apple Switch campaign).

Well the Microsoft user in me (Win XP Pro and Office) hopes that the visits will atleast bring to their attention the css compatibilty issues with their browser. I guess I am an eternal optimist.

August 14, 07h

MS emp. 1: Hey Bob, check out this zengarden site!

MS emp 2: Wow, some of these designs are really cool.

MS emp 3: Aren’t you guys supposed to be fixing security holes?

MS emp 1: Yeah, we’ll get to it. Ooh, take a look at Zunflower!

MS emp 2: I wish these loaded faster. The web seems slow today for some reason.

Will says:
August 14, 08h

Research for complete redesign of microsoft homepage in XHTML/CSS, with a firm goal to be standards compliant and accessible.

I can’t believe I just said that either.

Bob says:
August 14, 08h

Bill got bored during a meeting, and started surfing the web on his wireless pocket PC.

Dave S. says:
August 14, 08h

Arc - nice try, but it’s Zen Garden traffic…

Matt - I’m reading that as coming from Redmond.

Chuckie - That can’t be a bad thing -

huphtur - love it.

redux - the time stamps track uniques, and it’s not counting each request, just the latest. So I really don’t know how long they stayed.

Sunny - designs that don’t work in IE don’t go up.

Lloyd - no doubt.

Dave S. says:
August 14, 08h

Will - you’re a man of eternal optimism.

Bob - and passed along the URL to the 6 guys sitting next to him.

August 14, 09h

They were having a meeting about IE7 (each loading example sites on their Tablet PCs). One guy suggests that they focus on standards support. The head guy responds: (this is an actual quote from a Microsoft guy I asked about standards support in IE7)

“Why would you care about standards support? You can code things that work in IE, and that’s fine - nobody really uses anything but IE, coding for all browsers is a waste of time. Now what would you rather have a development team doing, working on standards support or adding in cool proprietary things, like 3D powerpoint-style page transitions, that will make their web “experience” that much better?”

Sunny says:
August 14, 09h

Dave - You sure they were not checking out ‘mnemonic’ in IE? Is there any way of finding out what browser they used? It will be really interesting if it was non IE!

August 15, 02h

They are looking for sites with the name CSS in the title, so they can sue them later because they think they own CSS.

Jai says:
August 15, 07h

I think they just want to know what REAL designers do, then scoff at us becuase they make tioo much money and could care less about standards.

Or maybe they’re about to find the top 34 or so designers in the world and make them swim with cement shoes on… I call it the Bill “Godfather” Gates conspirisy. I say, we go to the matresses!

Jeff says:
August 15, 07h

Ok, so during the blackout yesterday, “experts said the Internet may be trying to reroute itself to cover for unresponsive servers.”

So here’s my theory: the Internet has gained sentience and is rebelling against it’s masters in Redmond (who have been keeping it beaten and sedated, trying to bring it to heel) by gathering intelligence and trying to make contact with the “standards” underground.

foO says:
August 15, 08h


damn that was funny… :) thanks for the laugh, man… needed that

Lach says:
August 15, 09h

The giant alien overmind that is the real being in control of Microsoft got bored, and concoted a practical joke to play on Bill involving monkeys, elastic and 4 megalitres of bright orange fluroscent paint… the net effect of which was Bill going over the loudspeakers and drunkenly singing out the New Zealand national anthem.

Some Microsoft employees thought it was a clue containing a hint for promotion, and took the sha1 hash of the anthem, converted it from base 36 to base 10, and went and looked up the domain name associated with the IP address designated by that number, hoping for a ‘You’ve won message.’

Huck says:
August 15, 10h

They got lost.

August 15, 11h

It’s the evil Microsoft flying monkeys! You know like the ones from the Wizard of Oz. Well, here’s the story, Mr Gates, is evel, as we all know. When the wicked witch kicked the bucket, the evil title got passed around a few times. Dr Evil, Bill Gates, Dr Evil, Bill Gates, Osama Bin Laden, Bill Gates, Saddam, etc…. This also ties into Microsoft cutting off future developement of Internet Explorer. Sure you and me won’t see any fixes until Longhorn is out, but the Longhorn team is busy at work trying to figure out how to much up CSS as best they can. Thus that’s where the flying monkeys come in. Well, they are a lot older than they used to be in the good Ol Wizard of Oz days, so they spend more of their evil time surfing the web. As soon as they figure out how to use the Microsoft Transporter (ala Star Trek) look out because they will be able to send themselves through a T3 line and eventually pop out of your computer. However, you might be safe if you are running a NON Microsoft based OS. Just like a virus, you are safe on a Mac or Linux. And furthermore….oh wait, crap EVIL MONKEYS just came out of someone else’s PC here at work. help! help! help!!!!!!!!

Dan says:
August 15, 11h

According to my logs, MSNBOT uses this IP address:131.107.163.xx

Interestingly someone at Microsoft looked at my Slashdot cssZenGarden submisstion too. It is my guess that Microsoft has a proxy server that uses a number of IP addresses. Anyway, according to my logs someone at Microsoft looked at my cssZenGarden page a number of times with a few different browsers. The most interesting being on August 9th:

131.107.3.xx Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.5a) Gecko/2003728 Mozilla Firebird/0.6.1”

Humm, I guess someone at Microsoft is using Firebird :)

Jai says:
August 15, 11h

Re: Dan

You think the “Underground Strandardizers” have an inside man?

I’m almost serious about that… Do you think it’s possible that MSN has taken notice of the “uprising” and murmurs of the Mozilla/standards community? If you were MSN, you certainly wouldn’t be threatened by this, but would you take interest in it for the purposes of turning the wise who oppose you into your allies? What if the Longhorn team really IS interested in full CSS compliance and web standards?… I can’t think of a better place to test it then the ZenGarden. You don’t think they actually have a bunch of good CSS designs hanging around? Certainly not! But the ZenGarden does.

Here’s a thought… if the Longhorn team IS visiting the Garden to test CSS in various browsers… isn’t that a good thing for everyone (bieng that Longhorn will eventually be the browser of majority choice… which may be ok, if it’s wicked good like Mozilla)…


August 17, 09h

Hey Dave.

Since we’r all raving about seperating content from presentation, why have you chosen to embed the blueshadow into the image, instead of creating it with some css and a little added markup ?

When i, for example, view this site with my smartphone, or without stylesheets, i’ll only seee som wierd blue thing around the images.

Bla blah blah, you get the point :D

Anyways, your site still rocks!

best from Denmark
- Oliver Kofoed Pedersen.

Martin Sweeney says:
August 17, 11h

Why did you pick these particular IPs to scan out of all the thousands you must get visiting your website?

Interesting anyhow, and not entirely implausible that someone was bored at Microsloth and went for a nosey around the web….


August 18, 05h

First, why the “ugh i think not” ? it’s not hard at all.

If you at some point in time choose to change the style of you page to some other blue tint, or maybe a complete redesign in red ( although i doubt it with the domain and al ), you will have an entry in your archives which dosen’t match your new design.

There are lots of reasons not to embed the blue shadow into the image, all of which can be generalised into “it’s embedding presentation into content, and thats bad”.

But, hey - i’m just nitpitting :D

Dave S. says:
August 18, 11h

Made my decision - the link goes to Lloyd. Thanks all for playing!

Oliver - mainly cause PNG isn’t well-supported yet. Although I’m considering moving in that direction, damn the consequences in IE. We’ll see. (and CSS-based drop shadows? ugh. I think not.)

Martin - each IP in that block showed up within minutes of each other. The gaps are greyed out IPs of the one or two in between. So that means that within 60 seconds, there were 7 unique visits from Microsoft computers. That’s why I noticed it.

Stephen says:
August 19, 12h

CSS based drop shadows? Is that a cross-browser thing or just IE? The way I’ve seen it only works in IE.

Good point though Oliver…

Oliver says:
August 19, 12h

Here is a quick’n’dirty way of doin it: wrap the image in 4 divs and give each div a backgroundimage and coresponding backgroundposition, such that a shadow effect appears.

I currently use a similar effect for my own site, at

August 19, 12h

Eh. disregard the dot. use ->