June 2007 - Posts

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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) :

  • Personal
  • Shared
  • Public

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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.

 Fun while waiting? hmm not sure...

 

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!

 

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If you don't know what is Popfly, please read my previous post for an introduction : Popfly: Let's have fun!

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!!

Also hungry coders will be happy to read that you can add custom code in your mashup, so you can tweak the generated JavaScript to fit your needs.

See you on a next post to learn what you can do with your mashup.

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Here is a great new website for you "expression-scary developers" :

http://www.nibblestutorials.net/

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.

[via Canadian User Experience blog]

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Is it friday Vista gadget

Just a little update on my Is It Friday? incredible gadget for Vista :

  1. Now you have a setting to change your preferred day (what about monday... you love your boss?).
  2. 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 ?

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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 :
http://resources.bravenet.com/quickref/special_chars

Here is my contribution to the Gadget vs Gadget competition : Is It Friday?

Is it friday? Vista Gadget

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.

Posted by pluginbaby | with no comments

gadgetvsgadget

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:
http://www.microsoft.com/canada/msdn/gadgetvsgadget/default.aspx


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):
http://blogs.msdn.com/fredeq/pages/call-a-net-class-from-a-gadget-without-regasm-exe.aspx

 

Write your gadget in C# !
http://projects.nikhilk.net/Projects/ScriptSharp.aspx

 

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:

http://blogs.msdn.com/gavingear/archive/2007/06/07/how-to-create-an-ink-enabled-sidebar-gadget-using-silverlight.aspx


Good Luck!

Latest addition to my Funny Microsoft Websites list : Easy easier!
Funny commercials on Microsoft Forefront.

forefront

alien

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Creating Zune backgrounds

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 :

http://www.duncanmackenzie.net/blog/creating-backgrounds-for-your-zune/

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