Julia Lerman Blog

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November 2003 - Posts

Notes from the BatCave

Robert McLaws was a little curious if any one took offense at what may have come across as a self-appointed title of “Boy Wonder”, a title he explains was earned from his co-workers after working in a his low-lit office fondly referred to as the Bat Cave - ergo “Robin” aka Boy-Wonder. I had always wondered about that “Boy Wonder .NET” thing and admit to having jumped to a particular conclusion myself. Now I'm waiting for a sub-sub title of “notes from the BatCave”!

I don't particularly see the blog title as a branding thing which seems to be Robert's concern. I think he's remembered for his name (and his comments) more than the blog title. I know I want to change mine, but I haven't thought of a replacement. Probably the word “blabbing” has to stay. My husband might suggest “yibbidy yibbidy yibbidy” - what he thinks me and a few of my girlfriends sound like when we get together. :-)

My best teacher - a guy none of you know!

As I'm sitting here typing code, I can't tell you how frequently when implement something an a little voice in my head says “Thanks Dave!”. Although I have programmed alone for many years, I did take a “real” job when I first moved to Vermont for a wonderfully cool ISV called Synergy Software for about 6 or 8 months. I worked very closedly with the first “REAL” programmer I had ever worked with in my life. A guy named Dave Dapkiewicz. Dave is a really cool guy and SO smart  - I could never get over it and I haven't even talked with him in years but I'm always saying “thanks Dave” still!

Dave is an architect more than anything. We would work all day. then he would go home devour books all night and much to the chagrin of his business partner (who had to make sure we stayed within our deadlines!) would drag me into his office in front of his whiteboard and rearchitect the whole solution. Every new idea was brilliant. It was so much fun to just THINK about design and amazing to see the ideas coming out of his head -- just making it better and better. We would hash through ideas - what if this what if that. He was designing patterns, thinking about a better class factory, hammering out performance testing. It was FUN (except when someone would come to see how I was progressing with the U.I. which I would have to re-work each time Dave rolled out a who new set of classes that I had to rip out and replace). He completely changed the way I programmed and because of what I learned from him on this VB6 project - I was as prepared as any VB6 developer could be for .NET because I was already using many of the correct OO and coding techniques.

I have STILL have not managed to lure Dave to one of our user group meetings, but have had a number of his new disciples there.

Posted: Nov 20 2003, 02:32 PM by jlerman | with no comments
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Microsoft, INETA and User Groups
From Rob Zelt (who attends meetings at www.trinug.org in North Carolina) (and via yet another Robert Scoble post), more affirmation on how great user groups are and how Microsoft and anyone can be part of the effort to keep them great.
Posted: Nov 20 2003, 10:13 AM by jlerman | with no comments
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Ink Blogging - next step - hotspots for hyperlinks??

The InkBlog (actually it's called “InkLog“) is here  - tablet pc team's test site (by way of TabulaPC). When I took my notes in ink at PDC and then posted them, besides the fact that my handwriting was horrific (bad to start with and then writing too fast) I realized that Journal wouldn't let me embed links. So that wasn't really what I expect of a blog post - since linking is the key ingredient of blogging. I was using Journal and then saving the journal and ftp'ing up to my domain and then providing a link from a standard blog post.

Now the ink(b)log is obviously very cool. They must have a UI where they capture the ink and then it converts it to a GIF (just point to the ink and right click: save picture as comes up and the default file type of “gif“.) 

But in the posts that I looked at I still don't see hyperlinks (yet, of course... since this is just a work in progress and I“m happy to see it already!) So - the gif makes sense, it's a file with a small footprint. But how would linking work in there? My guess to accomplish this would be to use a selection tool that is as smart as the lasso in Journal - because it can actually grab the outlines of the letters and then create a hotspot and associate a hyperlink to that. And it would need some type of visual clue there that says “hyperlink is HERE folks“. I felt a little silly running my mouse over the entire area of the ink blogs to see if there was a hyperlink anywhere! :-) Since they are using gif's, that's a good start, because you can create hotspots in gif's.

Not much to be done about the handwriting though! Hee hee.

Posted: Nov 20 2003, 08:42 AM by jlerman | with 3 comment(s)
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Comdex & Tablets - The reflection begins

It's fun to read all the excitement in the posts of the tablet folks who are now on their way home from Comdex and starting to mull over all that they saw. Since I am so new to this area, I have a lot to learn and these people have been involved with tablets for a long time. These folks are SO pumped up about what's coming out for TabletPC and they are positioned to really understand the importance of it all. I'm still pretty wide-eyed and impressed by anything.

So if you have any interest in tablets as a user or a developer, keep an eye at least on these places (and I'm happy to be educated to any that should also be listed here)

TabletTalkPC (Chris deHererra)
TabletPC2 (Linda Epstein)
Tabula PC (Peter Rysavy)
What Is New (Lora Heiny with help from Chris Coulter)
TabletPCBuzz (multiple folks - see this for more)

certainly there are more, but this is what has been very visible to me during Comdex. The flow of info is incredible. But now comes the analysis which will be really interesting.

Posted: Nov 19 2003, 10:22 PM by jlerman | with no comments
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Tablet Emulator for VS.NET?
This is a question I have seen now in my comments and over in the forums on TabletPCDeveloper.com. There is a bunch of functionality in the Tablet OS that lies between what is in the SDK and actual pen/ink usage on a tablet surface that could be solved with an emulator such as the ones for PocketPC and Mobile development. I haven't really worried about that area because I am fortunate enough to have a tablet to experiment on. Read here and here for more. Is it just that it's too hard to do? It could mean another step for MS in getting more developers to write Tablet apps.
Posted: Nov 19 2003, 04:21 PM by jlerman | with 2 comment(s)
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Tablet UI - Designing in VS.NET on a desktop limits form height

I ran into a problem with form height in VS.NET design mode a while back and just had to jump over it unsolved. The same problem was addressed in a question on the TabletPCDeveloper forums <g> so I thought I would put it out where it might get some more visibility.

When you are in VS.NET, it seems that it is not possible to have a windowsform design surface with a height greater than 780. If you open up VS.NET on a tablet and the tablet is in portrait mode, then you have access to the full height of the tablet. Chris deHerrera (TabletPCTalk.com) showed this solution to me when I was in L.A.

It is definitely a problem for someone doing UI design [on a desktop] who wants to create a portrait screen that leverages the full height of the tablet (1002) and be able to place controls on that design surface at design time.

Another - gotta go check it in Whidbey- scenario.


Posted: Nov 19 2003, 03:46 PM by jlerman | with 10 comment(s)
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Winforms - DataBinding on list controls

Why is this?

(from MSDN Library) In Visual Basic 6.0, a Combobox or ListBox control could be bound to a database using ADO; when a value in the control was changed, the database was updated. In Visual Basic .NET, data binding for the Combobox Control (Windows Forms) and ListBox Control (Windows Forms) controls is read-only when a user changes the value by selecting an item from the list. When the value in the database changes, the control is updated, but when the value in the control is changed, the database is not updated.

So I have the properties of an particular class bound to various controls, some textboxes some comboboxes. When the user changes the text box, it gets back to the property SET method for that property, but not if the user makes a selection in the combobox. I don't mind writing the additional lines of code to change the property value in combobox_selectedIndexchanged. I'm just curious.

Now I have to go see how this behaves in Whidbey! I'll report back.

Posted: Nov 19 2003, 02:54 PM by jlerman | with 2 comment(s)
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Cool! A Killer Tablet App for UI Developers!

I know it's been around for a while, but it's the first I saw of it because I am new to the Tablet world. That is why I chose to tone down my original posting title.

Thank you Barry Gervin for pointing me to this and the associated video!!!!!! More later - but really... I HAVE TO WORK! So many tempations! :-)

Posted: Nov 19 2003, 01:30 PM by jlerman | with no comments
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"The Goods" - how the bits were packaged for PDC Attendees
Bill Evjen did something I had been meaning to do. The package of DVD's for Longhorn, Yukon and Whidbey that we received at PDC was a pretty groovy little production. Bill shows you what it looked like.
Posted: Nov 19 2003, 12:15 PM by jlerman | with 1 comment(s)
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