May 2008 - Posts - Jon Galloway

May 2008 - Posts

Technology Round Table Podcast #2 - AJAX Frameworks

Last week I posted the first in a new podcast series with K. Scott Allen (a.k.a. OdeToCode), Scott Koon (a.k.a. LazyCoder), and Kevin Dente. We got some great feedback, but we decided to ignore it and continue the podcast. So here's another one!

But seriously, this one's a lot shorter (too short?) and you'll hopefully find the sound quality's improved. We've also heard from several people that, while it's easy for a group of geeks to criticize anything and everything, that doesn't necessarily transfer into useful information.

Show #2 - Topics

  1. Google's announcement that they'll host several popular AJAX libraries
  2. ASP.NET AJAX
  3. AJAX Control Toolkit
  4. Misc. IE8 issues, including changes to how they'll handle JavaScript loading

Subscribe

Here's our temporary podcast feed. This is temporary, we'll get this on Feedburner when we've got the website set up.

Listen

Technology Round Table #3: Should developers learn C? + TechEd 2008 Announcements

Posted by Jon Galloway | 3 comment(s)
Filed under:

Technology Round Table Podcast - "Hello World" Edition

We're starting up a technology round table podcast. By we, I mean:

Our goal here is to provide you with some interesting discussions loosely centered around the world of development on the Microsoft platform. We've just finished our first show, and - while we're aware that it's not ready for prime-time, we're looking for some alpha testers to give it a listen and give us some feedback.

Let's start with our four known issues:

  1. It's way too long - I edited this down to one hour, but our goal is to keep these in the 1/2 hour range.
  2. Audio levels - My voice is quieter than everyone else's. Maybe that's a good thing.
  3. We're just getting used to the format - None of us has done a podcast before. I've edited out several awkward pauses and the like, but it's not at all polished just yet.
  4. No branding - We'll probably come up with some kind of catchy name, set up a website, and maybe include a 2 second musical bumper at the beginning. And maybe get a blimp and a mascot. But that's all later.

So, you're warned. Want to alpha test it and give us some feedback?

Show #1 - Topics

  1. .NET 3.5 SP1 Beta 1
  2. Entity Framework and OR/M's in general
  3. Twitter-bashing (easy, but fun!)
  4. Ninject dependency injection framework

Listen

Technology Round Table #1: .NET 3.5 SP1, Twitter, ORM's, and Ninject

Errata: I said in passing that SubSonic is under MIT license. It's not, it's under Mozilla Public License.

Using Vista Previous Versions to Restore Files You Thought You'd Lost

I'm a big fan of being productive by not losing work. I don't care how optimized your system and development tools are; if you have to do work to get back to where you were at a half hour ago, you're going backwards. I've previously written about using TimeSnapper as screen recorder so I can retrace my steps to anything that's happened on my screen in the past month. TimeSnapper continues to be one of the first tools I install on a new system.

But there are some things that slip through the cracks. For instance, what happens if a file gets corrupted, or if I accidentally save some new modifications over an old file which was previously working? We've got the recycle bin for accidentally deleted files, but until now if a file was overwritten the original version was just gone.

That's when I turn to a sadly ignored but very cool feature in Windows Vista: Previous Versions (a.k.a. Shadow Copy). If you're running Vista Ultimate or Business editions, you've got Shadow Copy and can right click any file or folder to look for a previous version, as pictured below. Previous Versions is like an informal source control system for files you hadn't thought to back up.

Note: If you're running another version of Windows Vista that doesn't have Shadow Copy, don't lose heart - there are still ways to take advantage of this feature. We'll get to those in a bit.Vista Previous Versions

So if an important file like applicationHost.config is corrupted, the first thing I do is check for a previous version. In the above case, I had 11 backup copies of the folder in three months, so it's likely that I could find a good copy. I could either just restore (the file or the entire folder) or I wanted to be a little more sure of things I could open or copy the files in question and compare them with the current version. It's easy to just make a copy of the folder at a point in time and merge it with the current version using a merge tool (e.g WinMerge).

Not Just For Klutzes

I'm often using Previous Versions to recover files I didn't personally overwrite. For example:

  • My team was installing software on demo machines late at night before a conference when some application specific files got overwritten. We were looking at having to reinstall a lot of software, which would have taken an hour or more. I recommended that we check for a previous version of the folder. Sure enough, it was there, and we were back in business within two minutes.
  • I rely on Firefox's session restore pretty heavily. I've had my session store get corrupted a few times over the past year. Each time, I've been able to recover it by restoring the following file: "C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[random].default\sessionstore.js"
  • I make incorrect assumptions on what Visual Studio Team System will do with my files based on my background using Subversion. I think the basic problem is that I'll make changes to files outside of Visual Studio, so Team System doesn't know I've made changes and overwrites without prompting the next time I do a checkout. I think I've learned my lessons here, but there have been several times this past year that I've recovered overwritten changes by restoring a Previous Version
  • Occasionally I'll shift-delete a bunch of files (shift-delete destroys the files immediately, bypassing the recycle bin), then realize I needed the file for some reason. Yeah, that's a klutz move. Previous Versions works there, too.

Hey, this sounds like System Restore

You're right! Previous Versions is related to System Restore since Windows uses the Volume Shadow copy service to create backups used by both System Restore and Previous Versions. System Restore is used for operating system specific files, while Previous Versions is used for everything else. System Restore was actually included in Windows ME, but don't hold that against it. System Restore is a great way to save a good computer gone bad.

I was first shown this when my wife's cousin and his friends - a bunch of college kids - stayed at our house a few years ago. I'd thoroughly borked our family's Media Center 2004 computer and was anticipating weeks of late nights trying to find stable drivers, when I came home from work to find the spring break kids watching TV. When I asked how they'd fixed the computer, they gave me the same look I probably give my parents when they lose e-mail attachments and said, "We just restored to a few days ago." Uh, right, I was planning to do that... Truth is, I'd bought the line the hipsters were selling me and had ignored System Restore. But in this case, it was exactly the right answer - rather than spend a week trying to manually restore my system to the way it had been the day before, they spent 10 minutes restoring the files and made it in time for Wapner.

What's Not To Like?

I've had discussions with friends who continue to dismiss the Previous Versions feature, and recommend turning it off. I don't think any of the arguments make sense, especially when you've lost a file you need. Here's a brief rundown on the pro's and con's:

Volume Shadow Copy performance impact

It's minimal, because it usually only runs when your machine is idle. System upgrades or software installation can request a restore point be created, which could take a few seconds. Bottom line - I haven't seen any facts behind the urban legend that Previous Versions or System Restore actually affect system performance in a negative way. I know that, like Raymond Chen, when I find the occasional use for them, they save me days of work. That seems like a pretty solid bet.

Volume Shadow Copy uses up disk space

By default, Vista uses 15% of the drive or 30% of the free space (whichever is less). That might be an issue if disk space wasn't so cheap as to be essentially free. But even if you're stuck on a small drive, you can modify the space Windows uses for System Restore with a simple registry tweak.

It's only included in Vista Business and Vista Ultimate

That's a bit of a a setback. Vista's got way too many versions, and if yours isn't Business or Ultimate, you've got a lousy deal in the Volume Shadow Copy area. That's because Vista still ships with the Volume Shadow Copy service enabled, but without a user interface to access it. So it's filling up 15% of your drive with files you can't access, which is less than optimal.

But we're not going to let a roadblock like that stop us, are we? Those files are there, and we're totally going to get them.

Option One - Shadow Explorer

Shadow Explorer is a free program which provides a user interface to your Previous Version files. It's not pretty, but we want our file pretty bad so we'll let it slide.

Shadow Explorer

Option Two - Show the files in Explorer with two Console Commands

Probably the quickest solution is to use some command-line trickery to make the Volume Shadow copies show up in Explorer. Adi Oltean wrote a nice post on this a bit ago - I'll summarize the steps, but you should really read his post to understand what he's doing. While the actual commands may look a bit scary, it's actually incredibly easy. There are just three steps:

  1. From an elevated command prompt, run the following: vssadmin list shadows |more
  2. Find the shadow copy set with the creation date you want and copy the Shadow Copy Volume line from set, which should look like this: \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy10
  3. Create a symbolic to the the above path, with the following command (substituting in the correct info): mklink /d c:\shadowcopy \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy10\

Pay attention to that last line! You've got to get the /d switch (to create a directory link) and you need to get that trailing backslash. But, you should be able to do the above three steps in about a minute, at which point you can browse through the shadow copy via command-line or the Windows Explorer.

Shadow Copy Symlink

This all works because the files were always stored on your hard drive, they just weren't visible because they weren't associated with a drive letter. Creating a symbolic link takes care of that. When you're done, just delete the folder in Explorer and the link is destroyed.

Option Three - Upgrade to Vista Business or Ultimate

You can use Vista Anytime Upgrade to upgrade to a version of Vista which includes the Previous Versions user interface. Remember that Vista's been making these file snapshots since you installed it, it just hasn't provided you a user interface to get to them. Upgrading will take care of that, and if you've got the budget or really need the files, it might be worth the $159 to $199 (depending on your current version) to just get to Ultimate.

There are three ways to look at this:

  1. How thoughtful of Vista to make shadow copies for me in all versions of Vista, so if I upgrade I'll have a backup history!
  2. Data recovery is a lame feature to use as an upsell - it should have been in all versions.
  3. This is "data blackmail" since someone who's lost a file is kind of being extorted into upgrading to get the files back.

Take your pick. I think I wind up on the second one - the Previous Versions UI should be in all versions. But again, this argument is academic when you've lost a file and want it back.

Posted by Jon Galloway | 28 comment(s)
Filed under: , ,

Jon's News Wrapup - May 8, 2008 Edition

Here's another monthly installment in my news wrapup series. I've fallen into publishing them at the end of the first week of the month, because so much stuff seems to happen in the first week of each month that it'd be a shame to sit on it for three weeks.

Please comment if these are wrapup posts are valuable to you. I'm harvesting them from my ma.gnolia feed, so if few people are reading them, I'll just point you over to that feed and dispense with all the html formatting, organization, and comment. Let me know if I missed any big news this month, too.

Microsoft + Yahoo? Nope.

After a few months of negotiating with a Yahoo! who clearly didn't want to merge, Microsoft withdrew their offer. Yahoo! took some pretty extreme measures to prevent a hostile takeover, indicating that they'd essentially rather give their business to Google than merge with Microsoft. There's some speculation that Microsoft's just doing this to drive Yahoo's stock price down so they can buy them cheaper, but my guess is that they're done here.

Hey, straw poll: Do you actually use Yahoo! search? I don't know anyone that does.

  • Microsoft Withdraws Proposal to Acquire Yahoo!

    Microsoft Withdraws Proposal to Acquire Yahoo!
    “We continue to believe that our proposed acquisition made sense for Microsoft, Yahoo! and the market as a whole. Our goal in pursuing a combination with Yahoo! was to provide greater choice and innovation in the marketplace and create real value for our respective stockholders and employees,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Despite our best efforts, including raising our bid by roughly $5 billion, Yahoo! has not moved toward accepting our offer. After careful consideration, we believe the economics demanded by Yahoo! do not make sense for us, and it is in the best interests of Microsoft stockholders, employees and other stakeholders to withdraw our proposal,” said Ballmer.
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 03, 2008 at 05:27 PM
    • May 03, 2008 at 05:27 PM
  • Microsoft To Yahoo: Take a Hike! - GigaOM

    Microsoft To Yahoo: Take a Hike! - GigaOM
    "A few days ago I had pointed out that Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo was a checkmate kind of a move: Yahoo couldn’t win from this attack. Today, by pulling its bid for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based search company, Microsoft proved that again, and showed why it is still the Prince Machiavelli of Technology."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:36 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:36 PM
  • Mary Jo Foley on the MicroHoo near-miss

    Mary Jo Foley on the MicroHoo near-miss
    "Some — probably many — are going to portray Microsoft’s decision announced on May 3 to withdraw its Yahoo bid as a victory for Yahoo and a defeat for Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer & Co. Me? I see this as the smartest thing Microsoft could do. In fact, I’d go so far as to say Microsoft’s decision to walk restores my faith in the future of the company."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 09:53 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 09:53 PM
  • The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Ballmer's brilliant move

    The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Ballmer's brilliant move
    "This fantastic bait-and-switch maneuver on Yahoo just proves it. In one fell swoop Ballmer has upended this entire market space, roiled up everyone, forced all of his competitors into more difficult positions -- and none more so than Jerry Yang of Yahoo who looks more foolish than ever right now."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 03:42 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 03:42 PM

The Cloudy Mesh

After years of vague PowerPoints, we finally get a look at Mesh. I have to say I'm impressed, although I'm suspicious of any software that takes years to ship a beta these days. The web-based remote desktop thing was a cool surprise. I guess we'll need to see what's being built on this platform to see the real value here.

  • Ray Ozzie: Introducing Live Mesh

    Ray Ozzie: Introducing Live Mesh
    "In his first Channel9 interview, Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's Chief Software Architect sits down with Jon Udell to talk about Live Mesh, a new technology and platform that enables synchronization and storage "to the cloud." You'll hear about the history of Live Mesh, how it has been influenced by Ray's previous work on products like Groove and Lotus Notes. Ray also discusses the core technology that forms the basis for Live Mesh including REST APIs, XML, and synchronization APIs that enable you sync your Mesh across multiple devices."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:25 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:25 PM
  • Hands on with Live Mesh | Channel 10

    Hands on with Live Mesh | Channel 10
    "Live Mesh is a new piece of technology from Microsoft that allows you to do all this and more including a 5GB Live Desktop 'in the cloud'. George Moromisato and Noah Edelstein from the Live Mesh team came into the Channel 10 studios and gave us a demo of the Live Mesh Technical Preview"
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:24 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:24 PM
  • Mary Jo Foley's wrapup on Mesh.com

    Mary Jo Foley's wrapup on Mesh.com
    "Microsoft took the wraps off Live Mesh at 9 p.m. PDT on April 22, just ahead of the service’s official debut at the Web 2.0 Expo this week. Live Mesh is an ambitious initiative — a combination of a platform and a service — and one that’s been more than two years in the making, according to company officials with whom I spoke earlier this week. I’d go so far as to say Live Mesh will be Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie’s “make it or break it” project, given Ozzie has been setting the stage for Live Mesh since October 2005, when he outlined his pie-in-the-sky goals for it (without calling it Live Mesh) in his “Internet Services Disruption” memo to the troops."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:12 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:12 PM
  • The Ozzie Memo: Software is Dead, Long Live the Web

    The Ozzie Memo: Software is Dead, Long Live the Web
    "In a remarkable strategy memo to employees (embedded below), Ozzie essentially shifts Microsoft’s mission from one of creating software for the PC and stand-alone servers to creating an interconnecting mesh between devices and people. He is not abandoning Windows or Office, but he is saying that the value of Microsoft’s software will increasingly depend less on what it can do on its own than what it can do with others."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:42 AM
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:42 AM
  • Microsoft Live Mesh to get more competition — from Sun | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com

    Microsoft Live Mesh to get more competition — from Sun | All about Microsoft | ZDNet.com
    "At the opening day of JavaOne on May 6, Sun officials began laying out their vision for a future cloud-computing platform, code-named Hydrazine, that Sun plans to field against competitive offerings from Microsoft, Google, Amazon and others. Robert Brewin, Sun Chief Technology Officer and Distinguished Engineer, described Hydrazine to me as a combination of Amazon’s Elastic Cloud, Microsoft’s Live Mesh and Google Analytics all rolled into one. It’s a platform that Sun is building on top of JavaFX, which is Sun’s rough equivalent to Adobe AIR and Microsoft’s Silverlight. Sun announced JavaFX a year ago."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 08, 2008 at 12:30 AM
    • May 08, 2008 at 12:30 AM
  • Architecture astronauts take over - Joel on Software

    Architecture astronauts take over - Joel on Software

    "The hallmark of an architecture astronaut is that they don't solve an actual problem... they solve something that appears to be the template of a lot of problems. Or at least, they try. Since 1988 many prominent architecture astronauts have been convinced that the biggest problem to solve is synchronization."

    Note: This is one of those Joel posts that's so poorly written I close the browser in disgust and come back to it several times to actually finish it. Nevertheless, I think his general point here is worth considering.

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 08, 2008 at 01:26 AM
    • May 08, 2008 at 01:26 AM

Xobni Goes To Public Beta, But Not To Redmond

I've been using the Xobni Outlook plugin for a while, and I've gotten totally hooked on it. It's hard to imagine using Outlook with out it. Microsoft offered to buy them, but Xobni turned it down. I think that was a dumb move, because I think that their only proven value is in an Outlook plugin, and nobody's going to pay them more for it than Microsoft. Anyhow, Xobni is in an open beta now, so give it a shot.

  • Xobni makes Outlook better, but where's the business? | Webware : Cool Web apps for everyone

    Xobni makes Outlook better, but where's the business? | Webware : Cool Web apps for everyone
    "Here's what Xobni has up its sleeve: Xobni the app runs on Xobni the platform. This platform has hooks deep into Outlook. The platform is what enables Xobni to graft a viewing pane into Outlook, something other plug-ins can't do. It can also integrate into Outlook's default search bar (it doesn't, yet). The platform is what gives Xobni access to all the message data that it uses without bogging down the Outlook host app. Xobni plans to do two interesting things with the platform: First, write hooks into other e-mail apps (like Yahoo Mail and Gmail), and second, make the platform available to other vendors. So, for example, if Salesforce.com wants to write a plug-in that tightly integrates its CRM data into Outlook or whatever e-mail app its customers are using, Xobni's toolkit could make that work. Salesforce presumably would make money from such a feature, which Xobni would profit from as well."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:18 PM
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:18 PM
  • Xobni opens public beta

    Xobni opens public beta
    "Xobni, a company that solves the growing email overload problem, today launched its highly-anticipated Microsoft Outlook add-on that organizes your inbox by relationships. With email volume growing rapidly and monopolizing many people's workdays, Xobni helps users quickly find and understand what's in their inbox, freeing up wasted time. Displayed as a sidebar in Outlook, Xobni's proprietary technology analyzes email in the same way your brain naturally understands communication. The rich data provided by Xobni offers a quick glimpse into your contacts--how you've communicated with them, how they've interacted with each other and what files have been exchanged. This unique set of data, personalized for each user's set of contacts, exposes the social architecture buried in every inbox."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 11:16 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 11:16 PM
  • Xobni Walks Away From A Microsoft Deal

    Xobni Walks Away From A Microsoft Deal
    "After negotiating over the past few weeks with Microsoft and signing a letter of intent to be acquired, e-mail startup Xobni has walked from the deal, according to a source close to the negotiations. The deal would have been a natural for Microsoft, which was offering to buy the two-year old startup for somewhere in the $20-million range."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 11:14 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 11:14 PM

.NET News

Nothing too exciting happened in the .NET world. A few scattered announcements and releases:

  • ASP.NET MVC Source Refresh Preview - ScottGu's Blog

    ASP.NET MVC Source Refresh Preview - ScottGu's Blog
    "This update includes a number of improvements to ASP.NET MVC. Some of these include:
    1. In addition to posting the source code for the ASP.NET MVC framework, we are also posting the source code for the unit tests that we use to test it. These tests are implemented using MSTest and the open source Moq mocking framework. A VS 2008 project file for the unit tests is included to make it easy to build and run them locally within your VS 2008 IDE.
    2. Significantly easier support for testing Controller classes. You can now unit test common Controller scenarios without having to mock any objects.
    3. Several nice feature additions and usability improvements to the URL routing system"
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 06, 2008 at 12:36 AM
    • May 06, 2008 at 12:36 AM
  • Visual Linq query builder for Linq to Sql

    Visual Linq query builder for Linq to Sql
    "The Visual Linq query builder is a Visual Studio 2008 addin. It's a designer that helps you create Linq to Sql queries in your application. Both C# and VB projects are supported."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:12 PM
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:12 PM
  • XNA Team Blog : Announcing: XNA Game Studio 3.0 Community Technical Preview (CTP)

    XNA Team Blog : Announcing: XNA Game Studio 3.0 Community Technical Preview (CTP)
    "Today, we are delivering the first Community Technical Preview (CTP) of XNA Game Studio 3.0, giving you the ability to build games for the entire family of Zune media devices. This feature gives you access to the majority of the XNA framework APIs while retaining a seamless sense of integration with the Zune media experience. In addition, this release now requires either Visual Studio 2008 Standard Edition and higher (C# language support must be installed), or Visual C# 2008 Express Edition. Keeping with Zune media experience, the XNA Game Studio 3.0 integration includes discoverability/access to user’s non-DRM music – allowing you to customize background soundtracks or create real-time visualizations. In addition, we’ve announced the ability to have multiple nearby Zunes wirelessly engage in an ad-hoc social gaming experience."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 07, 2008 at 02:52 PM
    • May 07, 2008 at 02:52 PM
  • Introducing LINQ To Regex (Roy Osherove)

    Introducing LINQ To Regex (Roy Osherove)

    Roy Osherove wrote a LINQ provider that builds regular expressions using a fluent language syntax:

    RegexQuery.Against(input) where match.Word.Repeat.AtLeast(1).IsTrue() select match;

    See my previous post on Regex's and fluent interfaces. 

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 07, 2008 at 09:14 AM
    • May 07, 2008 at 09:14 AM
  • Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - The Weekly Source Code 25 - OpenID Edition

    Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - The Weekly Source Code 25 - OpenID Edition
    Scott Hanselman has the definitive writeup on how to implement OpenID in .NET circa May 2008.
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 04:04 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 04:04 PM

General Microsoft News

  • Windows XP Service Pack 3 includes IE6

    IEBlog : IE and Windows XP Service Pack 3

    "XPSP3 will continue to ship with IE6 and contains a roll-up of the latest security updates for IE6. If you are still running Internet Explorer 6, then XPSP3 will be offered to you via Windows Update as a high priority update. You can safely install XPSP3 and will have an updated version of IE6 with all your personal preferences, such as home pages and favorites, still intact."

    XP Service Pack 3 will include IE6. That's frustrating, because this was a good opportunity to migrate millions of upgrade-averse folks to IE7 in the name of security (and, incidentally, eliminating a huge amount of web developer pain).

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:59 PM
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:59 PM
  • Mass scripted SQL Injection Attacks on IIS Web Servers

    Mass scripted SQL Injection Attacks on IIS Web Servers
    "You may have seen recent reports that have surfaced stating that web sites running on Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 have been compromised. These reports allude to a possible vulnerability in IIS or issues related to Security Advisory 951306 which was released last week. Microsoft has investigated these reports and determined that the attacks are not related to the recent Microsoft Security Advisory (951306) or any known security issues related to IIS 6.0, ASP, ASP.Net or Microsoft SQL technologies."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:30 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:30 PM
  • Microsoft hires Photoshop guru from Adobe

    Microsoft hires Photoshop guru from Adobe
    "Mark Hamburg has decided to leave Adobe after having worked at the company for over 17 years. Mark joined Adobe in the Fall of 1990, not long after Photoshop 1.0 was released and was instrumental in devising many of the ‘wow’ features we have all come to love and rely on daily when we work with Photoshop. Mark left the Photoshop team after Photoshop 7 shipped and went to work developing a new paradigm in image processing which would finally ship as the product named Adobe Photoshop Lightroom."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:10 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:10 PM

Rich Internet Applications

  • An update on JavaFX

    JavaOne: Sun rolls out JavaFX | Outside the Lines - CNET News.com
    "Sun introduced JavaFX, a rich Internet application environment set to compete with Adobe Systems' AIR and Microsoft's Silverlight."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 08, 2008 at 12:31 AM
    • May 08, 2008 at 12:31 AM
  • Adobe Open Screen Project - Open Specifications and Open Technology to Help Expand Flash Player Reach

    Adobe Open Screen Project - Open Specifications and Open Technology to Help Expand Flash Player Reach
    "The biggest part of the announcement in my mind is that we’re finally removing the restriction on the use of not only the SWF specification but also the FLV and F4V specification. We think we’ve gotten to a point where users don’t want different versions of a Flash Player and that there isn’t much incentive to create one, so opening up and removing the restrictions on the SWF, FLV, and F4V spec is a way to show that."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 06, 2008 at 12:26 AM
    • May 06, 2008 at 12:26 AM
  • An Update to Deep Zoom Composer

    An Update to Deep Zoom Composer

    "Ever since we released Deep Zoom Composer during MIX, there has been a ton of great feedback you have all sent us on what you liked and what you would like to see improved in future versions. To give you a sneak peek at where we are currently, we're releasing an updated version of Deep Zoom Composer for you all to play with."

    Feature overview:

    • Improved Exporting
    • Better Design Experience
    • Updated Collections Export
    • Greater Access to Help
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:17 PM
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:17 PM
  • Silverlight Roadmap questions

    Silverlight Roadmap questions
    Some info on codecs, image support (no GIF), release timing, etc.
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:16 PM
    • May 05, 2008 at 11:16 PM

Software You Should Know About

  • OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta is available

    OpenOffice.org 3.0 Beta is available
    "OpenOffice.org 3.0 will support the upcoming OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 standard, and is capable of opening files created with MS-Office 2007 or MS-Office 2008 for Mac OS X (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.). This is in addition to read and write support for the MS-Office binary file formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt, etc.). OpenOffice.org 3.0 will be the first version to run on Mac OS X without X11, with the look and feel of any other Aqua application. It introduces partial VBA support to this platform. In addition, OpenOffice.org 3.0 integrates well with the Mac OS X accessibility APIs, and thus offers better accessibility support than many other Mac OS X applications."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 07, 2008 at 09:27 AM
    • May 07, 2008 at 09:27 AM
  • Search Commands

    Search Commands
    "Search Commands helps you find commands, options, wizards, and galleries in Microsoft Office 2007 Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Just type what you’re looking for in your own words and click the command you need. Search Commands also includes Guided Help, which acts as a tour guide for specific tasks."
    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:37 AM
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:37 AM
  • Pointui, the coolest thing I've installed on my Windows Mobile Phone, gets an update.

    Pointui, the definitive user interface for mobile devices.

    "Pointui (pronounced point-you-i) has been built from the ground up and sets the benchmark in pioneering the delivery of total user experience, never before achieved on a Windows Mobile device."

    Pointui is a great addon for Windows Mobile phones. It's free, it's a simple program that doesn't involve any frightening ROM flashes or the like, and it completely changes the way you use your phone.

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:41 AM
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:41 AM
  • Start++ Updated

    Start++ Updated

    "Start++ is an enhancement for the Start Menu in Windows Vista. It also extends the Run box and the command-line with customizable commands. For example, typing "w Windows Vista" will take you to the Windows Vista page on Wikipedia!"

    I've been using Start++ for a while; there's a new update out. It turns the Vista Start Menu into a pretty nice application launcher.

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:40 AM
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:40 AM

Miscellany

  • Clay Shirkey on Social Surplus: Explaining why people are giving so much away for free

    Clay Shirkey on Social Surplus: Explaining why people are giving so much away for free

    "And what's astonished people who were committed to the structure of the previous society, prior to trying to take this surplus and do something interesting, is that they're discovering that when you offer people the opportunity to produce and to share, they'll take you up on that offer. It doesn't mean that we'll never sit around mindlessly watching Scrubs on the couch. It just means we'll do it less."

    A common response to the open source model is "How can people give work away for free?" I think this is a pretty good answer: there are a lot of talented people with time on their hands who are happy to have something better to do with it than watch sitcoms.

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:39 AM
    • Apr 29, 2008 at 12:39 AM
  • RumorL AT&T to cut the price of Apple’s new iPhone

    RumorL AT&T to cut the price of Apple’s new iPhone

    "When the 3G iPhone is introduced this summer, AT&T, the exclusive U.S. iPhone sales partner with Apple, will cut the price by as much as $200, according to a person familiar with the strategy. AT&T is preparing to subsidize $200 of the cost of a new iPhone, bringing the price down to $199 for customers who sign two-year contracts, the source says. Apple is expected to have two versions of the new iPhone, an 8-gigabyte-memory and a 16-gigabyte-memory model with price tags widely expected to be $399 and $499. AT&T and Apple declined to comment."

    I still think the iPhone is a sucker deal at this point. They could give them away for free and it would still be a ripoff, given the exorbitant prices they charge for the data plans. But hopefully now you'll get ripped off on the payment plan, and this time you'll at least get 3G with it.

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:17 PM
    • May 04, 2008 at 10:17 PM
  • SourceForge Now OpenID-Friendly

    SourceForge Now OpenID-Friendly

    "SourceForge, an immense base of open software development and discussion, today announces its newly instated mechanism for accepting OpenID users. According to an estimate provided by the website, this enables some 250,000,000 potential OpenID registrants to join the collaborative, which SourceForge already counts to be some 1.84 million strong. Naturally, the chair of the OpenID Foundation, Scott Kveton said that this move will be a huge step forward for the organization’s efforts."

    Passwords are slowly dying. Hurrah!

    • 1_32 jongalloway
    • May 07, 2008 at 01:37 PM
    • May 07, 2008 at 01:37 PM

[Utility] TeraCopy removes the file copy pain from Windows Vista

Last September, I asked why aren't Windows file copies restartable? It's a huge productivity killer - and very frustrating - when you're copying a large file from a network share or over a VPN and the copy fails when it was 80% complete. At that point, your file copy has just failed. Try again and hope it works this time.

And I'm not the first person to notice that  file copying is horribly slow in Windows Vista. To be fair, file copying has been substantially improved in Vista SP1, but it's still not quick.

TeraCopy makes file copies work... and it makes them fun!

Well, as fun as you can have copying files, anyhow...

Back in January, Ralph linked to TeraCopy. I gave it a shot and found that it really did work pretty well. Being difficult, I just had to look around for something else. I tried a bunch of alternatives including Copy Handler and various Robocopy GUI's. TeraCopy's my favorite.

TeraCopy's shell integration into Explorer is really smooth. For instance, I'll select a bunch of big files in one Explorer window and hit control-c, then hit control-v in another Explorer window and TeraCopy's copy dialog pops up. Here we can see the progress of each file as well as the entire group:

TeraCopy

Notice that nice Pause button. Also nice is that, should my VPN drop or the copy fail for any other reason, that button changes to Resume and I can continue the copy from where it left off. Hitting the More button in the lower left expands the dialog to show the complete status of the copy:

TeraCopy-More

The latest official release of TeraCopy is 1.22, although there is a TeraCopy 2 beta release available which adds some nice new features - it's nice to use a product that's under pretty active development. I've been really happy with TeraCopy - give it a shot!

Posted by Jon Galloway | 17 comment(s)
Filed under: ,
More Posts