September 2003 - Posts
Well, it happened. The DotNetMagic UI library went commercial. Very sad, as the "free tool" community really needs something like this. Fortunately, the free last version will continue to be available, it just won't be enhanced.
Interestingly, from my quicky reading of the license there's nothing to prevent someone else from taking that snapshot of the source code and continuing it as a free open source library. But maybe I'm misinterpreting.
I just ran across this article about a new fanless PC. After several years running a mega-tower with 2 10K SCSI drives that sound roughly akin to an F-14 taking off from an aircraft carrier, this speaks to me. I'm seriously interested in my next home PC being quiet.
Sometimes you run into a task that should be easy but ends up being hard. Today I hit a big one. I was trying to dynamically generate an image with a transparent background that could be displayed in a web browser using GDI+ in the .NET framework. I was working with GIFs, since I had read previously that IE doesn't support transparent PNGs (unless you use the filter hack).
At first look it didn't seem hard - create a Bitmap, draw my image, call Bitmap.MakeTransparent, and save the result. Easy...but it didn't work. The image rendered as a solid black rectangle. Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Google I go.
Unfortunately, my Googling confirmed that lots of other people have encountered the same issue. Apparently when you save the bitmap, the transparency information is lost. The only solution I've found is a nasty chunk of code that does a bunch of low-level byte manipulations to build a new GIF with the correct palette information. Ick. Ugly, and requires creating a second copy of the image.
Since IE doesn't support transparent PNGs and .NET doesn't support transparent GIFs, I'm pretty well screwed. I guess I'll have to use the bitmap rebuilding hack. I hope Microsoft considers this a bug to be fixed in some future version of the framework. Or how about fixing IE to support transparent PNGs? Oh, right, I forgot, IE doesn't need improving anymore.
The Sysinternals folks have released version 7 of Process Explorer. It's wicked cool. The new thread view (with call stacks and debug symbols) is unbelievably awesome. I can't imagine my life as a developer without the tools those folks provide, and they've done it again.