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<?import namespace="xp" implementation="xpc.button.htc">
<?import namespace="xp" implementation="xpc.gallery.htc">
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In our test code, a html file containing the above code, everything worked just fine. Time to integrate in our server side code!
After integration we were getting a strange error message about a missing object. After hours of debugging and creating completely similar minimal files with one derived from out test html file and one derived from our server generated code we were clueless.
Time for WinDiff, and to our surprise the server generated file started with four strange characters!
The problem was that the htc files and test html file are all in ANSI, while the server generated code is UTF-8. Problems occur when you import htc files in ANSI format in a UTF8 format html file!!!
I am one of those disorganized people that have their documents and source code scattered over multiple computers, often multiple hard disks per computer, and some (incomplete) backups on CD-ROM, floppy and tapes. Most of the time I forget to make backups, so I lost the source code to numerous projects I started (and sometimes even completed!), and numerous documents with "bright" ideas. Every hard disk crash is a great cleanup of a loads of hours hard work.
I am a bit used to this chaos because it is the same with all my non-digital paperwork and stuff like photo's, legal documents, bills etc. in my personal life! Advantage of non-digital stuff is that it is somewhere in your house, and your house does not burns down as often as your hard disks… ;-) For now I don't really bother about the non-digital stuff… I will fix that when I'm retired!
Time to get organized a bit on the digital stuff… but how?
Using my web log is one way… Although I find it fun that other people are reading my web log entries, and that I even get a reaction sometimes, it is also a great way to collect information that does not get lost. I sometimes even get back at my own info when I'm using Google to find something… And now pray that Scott has a good backup procedure for weblogs.asp.net!!!
I really like the Wiki that I did set up at my company using OpenWiki (www.openwiki.com). A great place to just start typing and dump down your ideas, links you collected, code snippets etc. and see others complete your information and add their own ideas and code. Not so long ago we introduced our new incarnation of our Intranet based on SharePoint Portal Server 2003. A great system, especially for collaboration in teams. Problem is that we now have two system that have some overlap, and everyone seems a bit 'lost" about where to put which information, resulting in a slow down of information sharing within our company.
Problem is that I have a lot of my own stuff that I want to organize, especially in the following categories: links, quick notes, photo's, personal documents, work/technical document, source code, my website, my addresses and my mobile phone from which I lost my collection telephone numbers more than once;-).
A short requirement analysis of the features I need on the different types of content, and some brain dump on how the "problem' could be solved:
I would like to have the following data available about links: title, url, description.
On every computer I log on to I want to have the same collection of links (in my IE favorites), and if I add a link, it must be replicated to all computers I work on.
A colleague of mine is working on such a system, it works really well. All your favorites are synchronized/merged through a web site, and automatically updated on all your computers linked to the internet.
Another implementation is PowerMarks from www.kylon.com. I did not spend much time with it yet, but what I did not like is that a linear list of all my favorites is displayed, and that added links are not automatically synchronized to my favorites.
Another great feature would be to have both public and private nodes in the favorites tree, and the ability to have merges of the favorites trees of different people. The personal links should have different types: personal links that stay at only this computer, personal links that are replicated only to my personal computers, personal links that are replicated to all computers I work on (including company computers).
Problem with the IE favorites is that they are so bare. A description that is displayed as a tooltip is not even supported.. The tooltip is there but... it displays the title of the favorite and the URL!?!.The information could be stored in the files that are constructed for your favorites… they are in the format of a Windows INI file and those files don't bother about additional info that other tools could pick up. For some info on the content of favorites files (couldn't find much info at Microsoft): http://www.cpcug.org/user/clemenzi/technical/ie/IE_Favorites.htm, http://vbnet.mvps.org/index.html?code/internet/inetfavinfo.htm.
If you look at SharePoint Portal Server and the areas… this is actually a really big favorites system. Could be fun to make a synchronization system to your favorites for fast access of information. Might even be a better approach than the area browser I'm currently creating in Flash… hmm.. another project!
Enough about links… on to…
I really like the Wiki concept (http://c2.com/cgi/wiki). I have been thinking about setting up my personal Wiki, just to keep track of all my personal notes, brain dumps, initial starts of new posts, articles etc. A great way to collect knowledge over time. Problem is that a Wiki must be centrally hosted. I don't have a public website where I can host applications, I can only have static pages. Besides the hosting problem that can be easily overcome by throwing some money at a hosting company, or hosting a Wiki at a Wiki farm (http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiFarms), it is difficult to take your Wiki (offline) with you (although a system like OpenWiki can store everything in a simple access database that is "portable"). Another approach would be to use OneNote… actually, I'm writing this story in OneNote, and I actually like it a lot!!! OneNote saves each section (the tabs at the top) in a separate .one file in you’re My Documents/My Notebook directory. Problem is that I want to be able to work with my Notes on all computers I work with….
There could be multiple approaches to this problem. For example by copying the files to a central location that could be reached from all my computers. This could either be the computer at work, or my internet provider where I can have storage up to 50MB (supports ftp, rsh). The computer at works is maybe the best approach (250 MB storage), because this is also the place where I am most of the time. There must be a way to synchronize the My Documents directories… I actually never looked into this, but I assume this happens automatically. I have a VPN connection to work, so this should be no problem. Another approach could be a piece of software written by "A frustrated man" as he calls himself: http://www.waka.dk/Blog/PermaLink,guid,cf191c12-1062-486a-9480-df727521b19b.aspx. I did not look into this yet.
Problem is that there are more files that probably need to go the same route, so the "My Documents" route seems right.
But…. At my company we are working with SharePoint, and we probably are trying to replace file shares with SharePoint (s is the vision of Microsoft), so "My Documents" should probably end up in "My Site". This will work fine for Office documents, but how about all those other software that does not know a thing about WEBDAV and the web services to communicate with SharePoint.
Any ideas? Maybe some software to synchronize My Documents with My Site, but what if file shares are not supported anymore, where do I place My Documents? Locally? No more support for roaming profiles? I never looked into this, so just call me stupid if I oversee something.
This is a difficult one. Easiest thing is just somewhere in the file system. I now have them in directories with the date that I copied them from my digital camera to my hard disk. The hard disk is big enough (250GB external drive), but I can never find the photo I am looking for… I want relationships! I want to organize my photo's over more than one axis (the folder structure). I want…. WinFS!!!!! Any good practices on this one?
I am currently looking into Macromedia Contribute 2, together with templates made in Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 to create my website… these tools could be , but those tools are not usable to get Wiki like potential.
Personal documents, work/technical document, source code:
This is an interesting one… I have so many 'My Documents" directories, on both my 5 different installed operating systems (either Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows 2003), on swappable disks (I have two hard disks with my laptop, one with two operating systems, one with one operating system). Besides that I have LOADS of "project" directories scattered over all those hard disks and backups…. I'm lost (and so are my documents and code). I would prefer to have one single system to store all this documents, with it's storage preferably on a server accessible over http(s). Probably the best place: the "My Documents" at the company. Should I use Visual SourceSafe for this? I hate the fact that you can only have files checked out once (well you can check out multiple times, but not much support for merging). SourceSafe 2004 seems to be better in this, but it comes with Whidbey, I don't want Whidbey on all my systems, there is not much documentation yet, it's still very beta, and you shouldn't trust this job to beta software. Microsoft itself uses software from www.perforce.com. Looks great, can also handle binary data, is free for up to two users. This seems a problem when working from more than one computer, where you should have a different user for each computer so you see which computer has which files checked out. Licenses for perforce are pricy, at least for personal use. And… does perforce work with Visual Studio 2003? It also needs a server running, and I don't let my home computer running when I'm at work an vice versa. I could run a server at home and a server at work, pointing to the same database on the file system, located in the My Documents at work… Are you lost already? I am!
Because I can only host plain HTML files, no ASP.NET etc, and only have ftp and rsh access to it I'm currently looking into Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 and Contribute 2. Seems like a powerful combination. Create the temples in Dreamweaver, add content with Contribute. I will let you know how this works out.
Currently in the Exchange Server 2003 at work. Works great, so seems the way to go. Now also using Plaxo (www.plaxo.com) to keep my contacts up to date… interesting software, integrates perfectly into Outlook. Have a look at it!
My mobile phone:
Hmmm… this one should be easy, install the Nokia software that came with the phone and sync the phone numbers with something like Outlook. Problem is that this is a manual action, has to be done on my laptop (is the only one with infrared) that has no contact to the internet when I'm at home (never got it working over my null-modem Ethernet connection to my desktop that is connected to my ADSL Ethernet modem, I have two network cards…. Anyone?).
As you can see: a lot of ideas, nothing concrete yet, and a lot of work to do. If you have any ideas or pointer on how to get all (or part) of this accomplished…. let me know!