Archives

Archives / 2007 / March
  • Zune tips and tricks

    How to use the Zune as a hard drive:
    http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/portable-media/how-to-use-the-zune-as-a-hard-drive-217024.php

     

    The Guest Zune Hack : Make your Zune sync on multi PC:
    http://www.zuneboards.com/content/view/52/2/

     

    How to convert Divx/Xvid AVI files to Zune format WMV:
    http://vinodunny.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!F162DB18909CE884!305.entry

     

    Hack to make your DivX/XviD files sync enable and auto-convert :
    http://www.zunescene.com/zune-divx/

     

    Build a TV out cable yourself! (french):
    http://ebartcodes.info/temp/ZuneCableAV.pdf

     

    Also see my previous post on Zune backgrounds and themes:
    http://weblogs.asp.net/lduveau/archive/2007/03/31/zune-backgrounds-and-themes.aspx

  • Great ASP.NET Cheat Sheets

    Dave Child from www.ilovejackdaniels.com has created a very nice set of cheat sheets on various dev topics.

    By looking around I found different ones from other web site.
    These are really useful as they fit in one printed page to show all the features.
    I put them all together so my links covers every subject that an ASP.NET developer deals with on his day to day job :

    • ASP.NET AJAX Library
    • Regular Expressions
    • CSS
    • XHTML
    • JavaScript
    • HTML Character
    • .NET Format String
    • VS 2005 Built-in Code Snippets (C#)
    • VS 2005 Keyboard Shortcuts (C#)
    • VS 2005 Keyboard Shortcuts (VB)

    Each Cheat Sheet is available to download and print.
    Some of them are really awesome like the "ASP.NET Page LifeCycle", check them out!!
    You'll find all the links on the left column of my blog, as I keep them updated there.

    Do you know another one, comment !

  • Zune: My feedback

    I came back from the Summit at Seattle with a brand new Zune.
    After 2 weeks of use, I found that I could be interesting to share my experience with the device, so here is my test !

    Cons
    - It is like an iPod, but uglier. None of the 3 colors version are attractive to me. Looks like a piece of plastic, cheap (one's man opinion).
    - Can't use wireless to transfert music from my computer : SO SO SO BAD!!!!!!!
    - Do not play DivX or XviD : BAD BAD BAD!!!
    - Do not work with DRM other than Microsoft
    - Do not display date or time, not a big deal but it would be nice. My 1998 cellular phone do it.
    - Use a software on top of Windows Media Player. I would prefer Media Player only and that's all, thanks.
    - No podcast section on software or device
    - Earphones are so cheap! Real music lovers have to change them quickly.
    - Current listening music is stopped while sharing songs wireless : this is SOOoo bad!!!! Why would I share music this way ?? I want to LISTEN to my music first.
    - Accessories are VERY expensives.
    - Battery life is so short while playing videos!!
    - When you have a LOT of music like me, search is not efficient at all, in albums view, you can sort by artists/genres/albums/single/playlists but you can't jump to a specific letter... The Creative Zen Vision has a far better system for that.
    - Do not provide data storage (external drive) by default, but there is a hack for that purpose.
    - Movies only plays on landscape format, this is ok but I'd like the screen to switch automatically landscape/portrait layout while watching pictures/movies, like my Canon Ixus digital camera.
    - Only 1 zoom level on pictures
    - Do not keep track of last played song
    - Proprietary USB cable
    - Case is too slim to be usable
    - Software/firmware needs an update the day you buy it, it's a Microsoft product ;-)

    Pros
    + Screen is just perfect!!
    + Accesories are cool
    + 30 Gb
    + UI and menus are impressive, specially for pictures
    + Zune do not exist in the country where I live : geek effect garanteed!
    + Works with Vista
    + Auto software and firmware update
    + Display music tags and information
    + Display album art!
    + Less expensive than iPod (note this is the only comparison point with an iPod here)
    + Scroll long titles: little detail but important to me
    + RDS tuner: radio displays station and tunes names
    + Video player can resume any previous played movie

    Conclusion
    Should this guy buy a Zune? Is it good ? is it bad ?
    Read my list above to help make yourself an idea, reality is Zune is a young product and there is a LOT to do to beat an iPod, because this is the only goal, right? I would definitly not (yet) recommand it to "standard" user (dad or sisters). Go buy an iPod nano and you'll be just fine.
    Anyway I like my Zune because it does exactly what I expect : allows me to keep a lot of music anytime, and watch movies/webcasts in public transportation. It takes care of my existing Windows Media Player library and plays wmv videos files.
    Some features like pictures zoom levels, date and time, external drive, podcast sync, will probably comes with next software/firmware updates.
    Moreover I'm not a "standard" user, I'm a Microsoft geek, I hate mov and Quicktime and I will never install iTunes. So I'm currently happy with my Zune! Hope to get lots of updates soon...


    Final words

    If you also have a Zune, you should be happy to learn that the Zune team is waiting for your feedback!
    Look at the bottom of each page on Zune.net and click "feedback". Or, here's the Direct Feedback link. I'm going to send them a link to this post.


    Note

    I do not work either for Microsoft or with the Zune team, this post express my personal opinion, comments are welcome, but constructives comments only please.

  • MSDN Application Platform Tour 2007 in Montreal

    For those in Montreal area, this is tomorrow.

    Language(s): English.
    Product(s): BizTalk Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio and Windows.
    Audience(s): Developer and IT Professional.
    Related Industry: Education,Financial Services,Government,Professional Services,Telecommunications.

    Event Overview


    Winter Tour 2006 – Application Platform

    Keeping up with the latest tools, techniques and best practices is tough when your fulltime job keeps you in the trenches and heads down. Take this opportunity to learn the best practices in designing, developing, testing, deploying and managing data driven applications. If you are working with the Microsoft based platform or technologies such as SQL Server, Windows, Visual Studio or BizTalk, then this event will help you!  The four sessions will look at real world scenarios of building and deploying an internet application and walk through common challenges and solutions that many companies and individuals face. You will leave this event with a better understanding of the key Microsoft based technologies and best practices to help you with your job and provide you with a great opportunity to network with your peers in the industry.

    There will be a common session in the morning; followed by two separate afternoon tracks to allow for a deeper discussion on role specific needs.

    Morning Sessions (combined audiences):

    Session 1 – Designing the architecture

    Session 2 – Building, deploying and maintaining the application

    MSDN Afternoon Track (for developers)

    Session 3 – Developing a web based application on the Microsoft-based applicationplatform

    Session 4 – Building a strong data foundation to your application

    TechNet Afternoon Track (for IT Pros)

    Session 3 – Enhancing Scalability and Availability of the Microsoft Application Platform

    Session 4 – Managing and Monitoring the Microsoft Application Platform


    AGENDA

    8:00 AM  Registration

    9:00 AM  Presentation

    Event Overview


    Winter Tour 2006 – Application Platform

    Keeping up with the latest tools, techniques and best practices is tough when your fulltime job keeps you in the trenches and heads down. Take this opportunity to learn the best practices in designing, developing, testing, deploying and managing data driven applications. If you are working with the Microsoft based platform or technologies such as SQL Server, Windows, Visual Studio or BizTalk, then this event will help you!  The four sessions will look at real world scenarios of building and deploying an internet application and walk through common challenges and solutions that many companies and individuals face. You will leave this event with a better understanding of the key Microsoft based technologies and best practices to help you with your job and provide you with a great opportunity to network with your peers in the industry.

    There will be a common session in the morning; followed by two separate afternoon tracks to allow for a deeper discussion on role specific needs.

    Morning Sessions (combined audiences):

    Session 1 – Designing the architecture

    Session 2 – Building, deploying and maintaining the application

    MSDN Afternoon Track (for developers)

    Session 3 – Developing a web based application on the Microsoft-based applicationplatform

    Session 4 – Building a strong data foundation to your application

    TechNet Afternoon Track (for IT Pros)

    Session 3 – Enhancing Scalability and Availability of the Microsoft Application Platform

    Session 4 – Managing and Monitoring the Microsoft Application Platform


    AGENDA

    8:00 AM  Registration

    9:00 AM  Presentation

    https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/eventdetail.aspx?culture=en-ca&eventid=1032319202

  • HttpHandler and "Save As" prompt

    These days I work a lot with Reporting Services and an ASP.NET application which serve reports on an aspx page.

    The first implementation was to put a button on the page and call the Reporting Services web service to render the report.

    But now the customer asked to change the file name of the generated pdf reports, more than this he wants the file name to change dynamically depending on parameters.
    By default the exported report file name is the name of the report (the rdl file), and I don't see anything on the Reporting Web Service to change this.

    But RS web service also expose one method to render the report as an array of bytes. So I created a HttpHandler to fetch the report's bytes and flush it in the response content. The HttpHandler allows me to control the generated file name.
    The problem is pdf is a known file type so the browser open Adobe Acrobat instead of asking the user to save the file. I knew this is possible so I was happy to google and find this entry from Andrew L. Van Slaars :
    Forcing an "open, save" prompt for known file types

    Hope this will bring more exposure to the tip.

    I end up with this piece of code for my HttpHandler :

    public class ReportHandler : IHttpHandler
    {
      public void ProcessRequest(HttpContext context)
      {
        string reportName = context.Request["reportName"];
        string fileName = string.Empty;
        byte[] buffer = null;
    
        // Method from the business layer
        // Get the report as an array of bytes
        // Build the file name
        buffer = GetQuoteReportAsPdfUrl(reportName, out fileName);
    
        context.Response.Clear();
        context.Response.ContentType = "application/pdf";
    
        // This line opens the Save prompt instead of Adobe Acrobat
        context.Response.AddHeader("Content-Disposition",
            "attachment;filename=" + fileName);
        context.Response.AddHeader("Content-Length",
            buffer.Length.ToString());
       context.Response.OutputStream.Write(buffer,0,buffer.Length);
       context.Response.End();
      }
    
      public bool IsReusable
      {
        get { return true; }
      }
    }
  • Visual Studio 2005 Update for Windows Vista

    The Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista addresses areas of Visual Studio impacted by Windows Vista enhancements.
    For anyone using Visual Studio 2005 on Windows Vista, it is highly recommend to install this update as it solves some key bugs that you might be running into.

    Apply this on top of VS2005 SP1.

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=90e2942d-3ad1-4873-a2ee-4acc0aace5b6&displaylang=en

    Uninstall the beta first if needed.

    Via Your Websites, Our Passion!

  • Vista Desktop Manager with 3D Cube effect!!


    This is awesome!!

    Yodm3D Vista virtual desktop manager

    Yod'm 3D (Yet anOther Desktop Manager 3D): this little piece of software allows you to have virtual desktops with a 3D cube effect for the transitions. Note that it works on XP and Vista. It behave very well on my laptop and is not CPU consuming.

    [edit: this is no more free...]

    More info and download :
    http://www.otakusoftware.com/deskspace/index.html

    Someone to write this in WPF to have vectorial rendering and live preview during cube spinning ?

  • Canadians rules the MVP Summit!

    Canadians MVPs totally blow out this Summit at Seattle !
    Our MVP Lead, Sasha Krsmanovic had the brilliant idea to make Microsoft Canada offer the Canadian National Hockey Team Official Jersey used for the Olympic Games to all Canadian MVP who attendee the Summit. As we stand all together in red at the Bill Gates keynote, this was a monster effect, we stole the show!!

    Canadian National Hockey Jersey

    After that:
    - Everybody talked about Canadians MVPs!
    - Everybody asked for a hockey jersey!!!

    This was awesome, thanks again Sasha, the jersey will remain a good memory for all of us!

    Montreal MVP crew

    "Les Boys" - Montreal MVPs Team

  • Going to the MVP Summit!

    This week I'll be at Seattle for the MVP Global Summit event.
    This is my first time in Seattle, first MVP Summit, first time to meet Bill Gates, first time on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, this should be a blast!

    MVP Global Summit Countdown Sidebar GadgetMicrosoft has booked 7 hotels in Seattle to welcome 1700 MVPs from all around the world!! This is a unique opportunity to get together and talk with Microsoft product teams about various topics as well as getting a preview of upcoming technologies and products. I travel there with others MVPs from Montreal, and hope to meet lots of interesting guys and specially those from France...

    If you plan to go there also, be prepared to see something special with us Canadian MVPs but I can't say more...

    Green Badge Power!!!

  • AJAX Control Toolkit now support theming!

    This was amazing that all the AJAX Toolkit Controls was not designed to support Theme and Skins !! Most of them are extenders and should respect the idea of decoupling design from behaviours like regular ASP.NET 2.0 controls.
    I voted for the issue on early february
    http://www.codeplex.com/WorkItem/View.aspx?ProjectName=AtlasControlToolkit&WorkItemId=6838
    and I'm glad to know that this has been processed!
    David Anson did the work and checked in support for real ASP.NET Theme/Skin since build 19000 that shipped on march 01, 2007.

    Note that this release of the toolkit also brings good things such as localization support and two new controls (ListSearch and SlideShow), along with a number of fixes.

    Why am I blogging this ?
    The point here is when you find a bug or you would like to add a feature, juste ask for it!
    For sure you can modify the source code, BUT I think it is far better to ask for the feature to the dev team, so it will be added to the library and you won't loose your changes on the next update.

    How to ask for a feature or report a bug ?
    Feel free to add an item in the official issue tracker :
    http://www.codeplex.com/AtlasControlToolkit/WorkItem/AdvancedList.aspx
    This can be voted by everyone, checked and prioritized by the team and hopefully processed on a futur version.

    In the same idea
    As you know AJAX Control Toolkit is a free library of controls that are built by both Microsoft and non-Microsoft developers. So you can develop your own control and bring your addition to the library (after validation by Microsoft team)!

    Note: In case you wonder I'm not (but maybe one day) part of the AJAX Control Toolkit team.
    If you need more informations please go to the official project website:
    http://www.codeplex.com/AtlasControlToolkit/