Archives / 2003 / May
  • Move to

    As one might have expected, the move to the new domain wreaked havoc with NewsGator. I had to play yet another round of "clean up the duplicates" - a game which is growing quite tiresome. The whole problem of duplicate posts is really my only big issue with the blog experience. NewsGator does it's best to deal with the problem, but it can only do so much (in this case even the GUIDs changed). Hopefully incremental feeds will help alleviate this problem.


  • Setec Astronomy

    And as long as I'm ranting, let me mention how tedious it is to see "I know something I can't tell" posts from Microsofties. If you can't tell, than be quiet.

        - Mike Gunderloy, The Daily Grind

    Amen, brother. Glad to see I'm not the only one getting tired of this trend.



  • ZIP in the .NET framework

    The fact that this article needs to exist is just wrong. ZIP compression support should be a part of the core framework. Hell, it's been in Java since 1.0.


  • Caught up

    Whew. Just finished catching up with my unread blog entries. Though not by reading all 966 posts, of course.

    The end result? A half-dozen new blogs added to my blogroll. *sigh*


  • The stagnation of IE

    E&A post about the comatose state of IE's evolution at Microsoft. I've been thinking about posting on the very same topic - I see I'm not the only one feeling this way. This, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly the problem with monopolies. Microsoft now dominates the browser market, and have little reason to innovate. I'm looking for an excuse to switch off of IE, but I haven't found it yet. I continue to evaluate Mozilla from time to time, but I still find it too piggy. And I still like IE's ability to run multiple instances of the browser process (maybe there's a way to do this in Moz but I haven't found it). Firebird has potential, as it seems design address the bloat factor of Mozilla. I'll be keeping an eye on it.

    A completely revamped Favorites system (the file system/shortcut-based model SUCKS - Netscape had a better system in 1.0, for God's sake), popup killing, full support for the DOM APIs (including events), better developer tools in the browser (ala Mozilla) - these are the things I would kill for.

    Oh yeah, and fixing that stupid bug that causes new browser windows to take an eternity to launch if you have multiple IE windows open. Geez, that bugs me.


  • RSS - the bad

    Hi, my name is Kevin, and I'm a blogaholic.

    I just got back from a conference that kept me out of the office for a week and a half. I had 966 new blog postings to read.

    Clearly my blogroll is out of control. Drastic action may be required.


  • Trick for command-line junkies

    I'm still very much a command-line kind of guy. I get around the Windows UI just fine, but frequently I find it quicker to just drop to a command prompt to accomplish certain tasks (especially since Explorer generally sucks at launching apps with command line params). I like the "My Documents" feature of Windows, as it keeps documents easily accessible in from the Windows Explorer. However, when I want to perform a command line operation in My Documents, it's a pain to navigate there, even with path completion. Plus, C:\Documents and Settings\Kevind\My Documents is a long string, so my cursor starts 2/3 of the way over in the window before I've typed a single character.

    I recently hit upon the idea to create an NTFS junction point off the root directory (I called in mydocs) that points to the "My Documents" directory. I used the Junction tool from the wizards at Sysinternals. It worked like a charm, and made "My Documents" much more accessible from the command line. Of course, this solution wouldn't work too well on a machine that is shared amongst multiple people. But for me it works peachy.




  • Virtual PC at Microsoft

    Several of the Microsofties have been singing the praises of Virtual PC for development work recently. As a long time VMWare user, I share their enthusiasm for this type of technology. For me, it falls into the "how did we ever live without it" category. My biggest hope is that Microsoft comes up with a sensible licensing policy around the thing. The "each VM requires an OS license" model imposed for VMWare users is exceedingly onerous.
    Unfortunately, there's a chance Microsoft will now be able to license-and-support-policy VMWare right out of existence. Let's hope that doesn't happen. Those VMWare guys do incredible things with software, and I have massive respect for them.


  • What's going on here?

    First InfoWorld and eWeek, then Microsoft's MSDN site, and now PC Magazine. It seems like everybody is going through a major site redesign these days. Is it the first hint of spring in the air (at least in the Bay Area, where winter is just ending finally)? A case of "the other guy is doing it"? Or is everybody just feeling stale at the same time? Wackiness.
    One disturbing trend is that the sites seem to be moving toward smaller fonts and packing more text on the screen.  Personally, I find the new multi-column eWeek layout to be difficult to read. They also don't seem to adjust their text size based on the browser font preference (although maybe they never did). Also, PCMag's site is a fixed width, it doesn't grow with the width of the browser window. Tre lame.


  • MSDN .Net Show

    These shows kind of amaze me. I mean, I appreciate Microsoft's general strategy of carpet-bombing developer's with technical information on a new platform like .NET. And the human face that these videos present are a good thing. But does anyone actually have time to watch an hour and a half video on IIS 6? That violates the most important principle of technical communication - scanability. There's way too much information out there to process for this kind of thing.

    The quicky 10-minute seminar MSDN videos are of a more reasonable length. Anything longer than that and forget it. Fortunately Microsoft eventually gets around to posting the transcripts for those long MSDN videos. Unfortunately, by the time they're posted I've long since forgotten about it.



  • Recently used applications....grrrr

    The recently used applications list in WinXP is a great idea (although not a new one...wasn't that feature in the early betas of Win95 but removed because it wasn't "data centric"?). The problem is that the list is in exactly the wrong place. Putting it at the top level of the Start Menu completely breaks keyboard navigation of the Start Menu. It makes the keyboard accelerators non-deterministic - I can't hit Ctrl-Esc, C to launch the Control Panel because I might have recently run CardScan.

    I guess most people don't use the keyboard to navigate the Start Menu, but doing so has kept me free from RSI so far, and damn it, I'm sticking with it (it's faster than using the mouse anyway). Microsoft, why do you punish us keyboarders?

    Why this list isn't under a My Recent Applications submenu, similar to My Recent Documents, is a mystery to me. Anyone know of any hacks to relocate the list to a submenu off of the Start Menu?



  • Registration Free COM Activation

    I've only recently become aware of the registration-free COM activation feature of Windows XP (aka side-by-side deployment). Very interesting. The idea is that you have an application manifest which describes all of the COM types that an application uses. Sort of an application-scoped XML file version of HKCR. Of course, Microsoft has all kinds of caveats about how the COM objects should work to support this mode of deployment, so I'm not sure if it our existing COM API would just work in a production environment. But it could be super-cool for testing different versions of our API on a single machine.

    Generating the manifest file is painful for a project with a lot of types, however. Next on the list - write a little tool to generate it automatically by inspecting a type library.


  • VS.Net 2002/2003 Open With...the real answer

    OK, I did a little regmon-ing, and I'm finally starting to understand the workings of Open With a little better (this stuff has gotten a lot more complicated since I last looked at it). Keep in mind that I'm working in XP here - don't know if the same applies for W2K, I haven't installed VS2003 there yet.

    Under HKCR, there are keys for each registered file extension. Each key contains a subkey called OpenWithProgids, and the contents of this key seems to determine what shows up in the Open With list. Each value in in the OpenWithProgids points to another key in HKCU which tells the system how to actually open the file. For example, on my system the OpenWithProgids has a single value in it, called VisualStudio.csfile.7.1. There's a key called HKCR\VisualStudio.csfile.7.1 which points to the VS.Net 2003 executable.

    So here's the crux of the problem. It seems that on my machine, the .cs and .csproj keys had only the VS2003 keys (VisualStudio.csfile.7.1 and VisualStudio.csprojfile.7.1) listed in the OpenWithProgids list. It didn't have the old VS2002 keys (csfile and csprojfile). Once I added those to the list, presto, Open With worked as expected. Interestingly, the .aspx, .vb, .sln, etc extensions seemed to be OK - it was only .cs and .csproj (which of course are the ones I use the most) were messed up. At least so far - I probably haven't looked at every extension the VS has registered yet.

    I'm not sure if there was some sort of configuration glitch on my machine that caused this, or if it's actually a bug with the install that other people are seeing. If the latter, it's easy to work around. Just save the following into a file with the .reg extension and then run it:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00