Microsoft opened a beta Tuesday for a new Live service : Windows Live Folders
It allows you to store your personal files and share them with chosen friends or anyone on the Internet.
Every type of file is allowed (document, music, video) and you get 500 MB for free (50 MB max per file). Maybe later you'll have an option to pay for additional storage.
You can set 3 permissions level on your folders (cannot set permissions to files) :
You can use Personal folders to back up important files and get them from any computer with Internet access by signing in with your Windows Live ID.
Give access to your Shared folders to selected Windows Live Contact and set role to Readers (read only) or Contributors (add, change, delete).
Public folders are accessible to anyone on the Internet (read only).
Files transfers in private and shared folders are protected using Secure Socket Layers (SSL).
So you can store music files there.... but like for other file type, you have to upload them through the web form, so be patient...
This would need a real desktop sync tool for efficiency, but I'm sure they have plan for this (still in beta.. so send your feedback!). I think Live Folders will never have success without an associated backup tool.
Note that your files are not directly browsable through http, so you can't store your blog files there, for each file the provided link send you to a page like this:
Live Folders beta seems to be only available from USA, the trick to get into Live Folders from anywhere is just to change your languages options in IE7, and set en-US as your first option.
My "cool links of the week" related to ASP.NET :
Add variables to standard CSS stylesheets in ASP.NET
Mads Kristensen made a very nice HttpHandler to add Variables and Scripting capabilities to your css.
Web Site or Web Application?
Susan Warren wrote a very good article to compare Web Site and Web Application for ASP.NET 2.0 project. This was to be done, nice job!
Here my goal is just to show you the few steps involved during the creation of a complete mashup with Popfly, for those of you who do not want to bother asking for an invitation nor watching a webcast, or maybe fed up with beta things?
Just look below and discover how to build a Blaugh carousel in 35 sec (4 steps)!!
One of the options in the home page at www.popfly.ms is to "Create a Mashup", and is kindly enough to remind us the definition of a mashup.
Building a mashup with Popfly is just a matter of using at last two existing blocks and link them together.
So here we go, click on "Create a mashup" !!
1. From the Blocks list on the left pane, drag and drop the Blaugh block on the work surface.
Note: the list is already impressive, an easy way to find a block is to begin typing letters in the search box and results appears live in an AJAX way.
The block appears with a 3d effect (Silverlight), and can be configured with the wrench icon (but we do not even need that now).
Click on the bulb icon to get a list of blocks which would work well with the current one.
2. Add a Carousel block.
3. Link both blocks together by clicking on the blue disc:
4. You are done!
Note that the work area's background displays a preview of your mashup :
Click on preview to test your mashup : the page shows a 3d carousel displaying last 20 Blaugh pictures!
Advanced steps ;-) click on the wrench to configure a block :
You can customize inputs (parameters) of each available operations (web service). By default, you see that my carousel's parameters has been filled with data output from the Blaugh's block : very smart!!
See you on a next post to learn what you can do with your mashup.
Here is a great new website for you "expression-scary developers" :
It provides tutorials on how to build rich web experiences and applications using Silverlight and Blend.
Each tutorial is a very simple step-by-step so don't be afraid to test your designer skills...
Note that the website itself and tutorials are entirely done with Silverlight by Celso Gomes, one of the top design engineers in Redmond.
Just a little update on my Is It Friday? incredible gadget for Vista :
- Now you have a setting to change your preferred day (what about monday... you love your boss?).
- The gadget is now localized in 3 languages, depending on your system's regional settings, it will translate well in english, french and..... french canadian (quebec ostie)!
The new version is available free to download in Windows Live Gallery.
And you, what is your bloody day ?
You have created a Vista Sidebar Gadget, but when you try to install the gadget on your system nothing happens and in your directory(C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets) there's a folder named : mygadget.gadget.~0000
2 possible problems :
- The Zip package: don't zip your gadget root folder directly, instead go inside it and zip up all its contents (files and folders) with right-click / Sent To / Compressed (zipped) Folder.
- Special chars in manifest file: you must encode special chars like accents in gadget.xml.
Sample chars to replace:
é by é
è by è
, (comma) by ,
! by !
? by ?
@ by @
You can find a good list of special chars codes there :
Story: one day Guy Barrette told me that it will be nice to have www.isitfriday.net as a gadget. So here it is! This gadget sits on your Vista Sidebar and notify nicely if today is the day you have been waiting for... friday!
Admit that it is completely useful, now I'm sure to win the competition!
Download it for free on the Windows Live Gallery.
Please read the requirements and note that one of them is "sens of humour"... so don't bother with comments like "Your gadget is a crap, you made it in 15 min." You'll be right, worst than that I made it in 1 hour... and the idea is not even from me!
Update: removed link to www.isitfriday.net as it appears that the website is no more live.
MSDN Canada runs a Gadget VS Gadget competition.
Create a great Windows Vista Gadget and you have the opportunity to win great prizes such as a Samsung 40” WideScreen LCD HD TV, Xbox 360 Pro, and a Dell UltraSharp 24-inch Flat Panel LCD Monitor!
Competition closes July 16, 2007 5:00 pm EST.
Register your gadget in the Windows Live Gallery and submit it there:
If you plan to participate, here are some links to resources that might help to distinguish your gadget:
Call a .NET class from a Gadget (without regasm.exe):
Write your gadget in C# !
To push things further you could add a spice of Silverlight in your gadget!
Gavin Gear has a great tutorial on how to create a Silverlight-enabled gadget:
Duncan Mackenzie wrote some tips you need to know for creating backgrounds pictures for your Zune.
As you know Zune screen is 240x320, but also has a little zoom effect when browsing menus, and another size when using TV out. This article describe all you need to know to create an appropriate picture :
At last you've got Expression Studio, nice, now what?
I can't resist to quote my friend Etienne: "I downloaded Expression Studio, I installed Expression Blend, I launch it, and then.... that's all!"
If you are a real developer you feel the same. You feel uncomfortable with these new designers tools in your hands... this is pretty funny! (I feel quite the same unless I have a strong flash background)
Good news devs, after tools, now you've got free training : Lynda.com provides video training on Expression Blend 1 and Expression Design.
- Expression Blend Beta Preview (3 hrs)
- Getting Started with Expression Blend (3 hrs)
- Getting Started with Expression Design (6 hrs)
Also available free videos training on Expression website by Total Training :
- Expression Web Training Video
- Expression Blend Training Video
- Expression Design Training Video
- Expression Media Training Video
What do you want now ?? a T-shirt ? ;-)
I've received my invitation for Popfly, so here we go!
This is a private alpha and you can store up to 25 Mb, request your invitation at www.popfly.ms
Popfly is a fun, easy way to build and share mashups, gadgets, Silverlight experiences and web pages using pre-built “Blocks” that connect to online services. Popfly consists of two parts:
- Popfly Creator is a set of online visual tools for building Web pages and mashups.
- Popfly Space is an online community of creators where you can host, share, rate, comment and even remix creations from other Popfly users.
Read the full announcement on Soma Segar's blog.
Not only you can build power Mashups in seconds, but NON-DEVELOPERS DO!
There is a 15 minutes screencast to learn more about using Popfly : Popfly Screencast, at the beginning they show how to build a mashup that display your World of Warcraft guild's members in a Photo Tiles in about 10 seconds!!!
I built my first mashup with the online GUI without code or tools.
Features offered by the online visual tool is just amazing, we clearly see the benefits of Silverlight.
Here is another one I made following the tutorial :
Get last 2 entries from Twitter (Twitter block) every 5 seconds (Timer block), Get GPS coordinates (GeoNames block) to display entries on a map (Virtual Earth block).
And you immediatly get the results :
A feature I like is that it keeps track of your developers keys, like Flickr, Google, etc... so you set them once and they are available for all your mashups.
Later I will make another post to show how to build a mashup in a few steps and use it in a web page without any code : that's fun!
Energize IT 2007 conference will be held in Toronto on June 16th bringing together IT Pros, Developers, Designers, Enthusiasts, IT Managers and anyone else interested in technology.
This is a Saturday and this is free!
An action packed day of innovation, technology, community, and learning. Re-energize your IT career and your IT passion. If you are an IT professional, developer, designer, student or simply a geek at heart, this Saturday June 16, 2007 is dedicated to you! Get your geek on!
For more information on tracks, sessions and registration, visit:
Note: You could see me there as I'll be at the Ask The Expert community zone (and you will hear that my english is far better when writting).
Now in final version!
The Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar provides several features for exploring and understanding Web pages. These features enable you to:
- Explore and modify the document object model (DOM) of a Web page.
- Locate and select specific elements on a Web page through a variety of techniques.
- Selectively disable Internet Explorer settings.
- View HTML object class names, ID's, and details such as link paths, tab index values, and access keys.
- Outline tables, table cells, images, or selected tags.
- Validate HTML, CSS, WAI, and RSS web feed links.
- Display image dimensions, file sizes, path information, and alternate (ALT) text.
- Immediately resize the browser window to a new resolution.
- Selectively clear the browser cache and saved cookies. Choose from all objects or those associated with a given domain.
- Display a fully featured design ruler to help accurately align and measure objects on your pages.
- Find the style rules used to set specific style values on an element.
- View the formatted and syntax colored source of HTML and CSS.
After installing the Developer Toolbar, restart Internet Explorer and click the Developer Toolbar icon in the command bar to display or hide the Developer Toolbar.
You can also open the View menu and then use the Explorer Bar menu. In Internet Explorer 7, open the Tools menu and then use Toolbars->Explorer Bars to display or hide the Developer Toolbar.
Free download from Microsoft :
Download details- Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar
[via Laurent Kempé]
Wow, here is a really cool Vista Sidebar gadget !
The Zune gadget acts just like a music player in the side bar, that looks and behaves just like the Zune!
It displays informations from your music library (pictures, tags, ...), is fully customizable and can be used with keyboard.
The layout is fantastic for a gadget and it provides lots of settings :
Read the review on ZuneInfo.com:
[via Renaud Comte]
Windows Live Writer just got an update!
In case you don't know, this is a really fantastic tool for bloggers !!
Unfortunately still in beta...
First thing I did after the install is to check if they fixes a bad bug I reported 10 months ago (WLW crash if you insert a picture in a folder with accents, like "Montréal") but.... still crashing!
"This release incorporates a ton of feedback from our discussion forums and your blogs."
- Hey guys, you still forgot this one...
So I sent my feedback again, and I advise anyone to do so, to make this tool event better!
Anyway, this version introduce some nice improvements like a new look and feel, paste special, inline spell checker, blog capabilities, ...
Read the full post here :
Download it there :