Archive for the_time('F Y')

Avalon Graphics
31 July 2005 in Windows | Comments (0)

James Story has beaten me to it and started playing around with Avalon in the Vista Beta. This week I will have to do some catching up.

While I was browsing around I’ve found a couple of decent sites for Avalon information (this entry is as much a reminder for myself as it is for any other would-be Avalon fiddlers).

Tool to export from Adobe Illustrator directly to XAML:
http://www.mikeswanson.com/XAMLExport/Eye%20Candy.htm

A site with samples and controls:
http://xamlshare.com/

A good Microsoft site that talks about developing for Avalon:
http://winfx.msdn.microsoft.com/library/

Also just to remind people, Avalon has officially been renamed the “Windows Presentation Foundation”.

- JD

Updated Links
31 July 2005 in Blogging | Comments (0)

I’ve updated the links for my blog by adding a couple of my good friends.

Bonita’s Blog,
Kylie Legg’s Blog

These aren’t technical blogs but hopefully those of you that know Bonita and Kylie and didn’t know they had blogs can catch up with them :-) Also Bonita’s blog is mostly in Chinese so good luck understanding that one ;-)

– JD

The Google Curse
29 July 2005 in Search Technology | Comments (2)

People may not be aware of it, but there is a major problem with Google. I call it the Google Curse.

For those of you that aren’t aware of it, I work as a developer at Intergen. Primarily I work on websites for various clients and with almost every website you have a search function. For most people the search functionality is an after thought and because of this often a simple search solution is implemented.

Search in the market has been taking off – thanks mostly to Google. Due to the nature of Microsoft, they want to ensure that Google doesn’t get too far ahead so they’ve started pouring resources into search too. All of this just leads to increased noise about the important of great search. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s really great as it’s only proving that competition is good for the consumer.

What is bad, is that now everyone wants to their search to “Work like Google“. I hate those words. I would need more fingers to count up how many times a client wants to match the power of Google.

It’s really quite amusing – non-tech people don’t seem to realise just how much effort Google has put into their search engine. They don’t seem to quite understand why you can’t put together a solution that could compete with Google’s search capabilities for a tiny budget. There are some very good search engines out there however it is a case of getting what you pay for – and New Zealand business is often priced out of the market.

I would love to know how much Microsoft has needed to spend to even try and match Google with MSN search.

Don’t misunderstand me on this – Google is simply one of the greatest pieces of technology currently available, however it’s also a curse to website developers trying to reach that unbelievably high bar.

– JD

P.S. It’s actually a testament to Google’s simplicity that everyday people seem to think it’s so basic that anyone could build an equivalent product.

Vista – the first night
29 July 2005 in Windows | Comments (1)

So I’ve just finished installing Vista on my home machine. First impressions: good.

I’m pleased to see that for a beta is performs reasonably well, doesn’t seem to hate my hardware and isn’t over the top with it’s new chrome. There are literally hundreds of small things which are cool which many of you will undoubtedly find yourself.

Search is everywhere! This all looks good for when the WinFS add-on comes out and will hopefully unify all of this search functionality. The Virtual Folders functionality looks very promising in slowly moving away from the idea of drives and folders – even if only hinting at it. At the end of the day – why does it matter where something is?

One thing that I personally look forward to seeing in our production environment – the enhanced EventViewer. You now have your three core system logs (System, Application and Security) and then another folder called “Application Logs” which has a log for each application. For example, at the moment, I can read the log for the Kernels PnP layer from it’s own folder. I really am looking forward to trying out my own applications and seeing if it logs correctly to it’s own application log.

IE 7.0 doesn’t appear to be all that great. Sure, there are tabs, but that’s just catch up. The only feature so far that does look unique and done well with IE is the RSS viewer – very clean layout, easy to read – I hope they don’t change it.

One thing I am a bit let down about however is the lack of translucent boarders on my windows. It might be a feature that I would turn off after I get bored with it however in all the screenshots I’ve seen show translucent boarders. It is very possible I just can’t find the right option but I don’t see it. Does anyone know how to get this working?

UPDATE: I found the answer to the translucent windows and posted an answer here

– JD

Recycled Windows?
28 July 2005 in General | Comments (0)

This is just a bit of a geek thought.

What would happen if you installed a new copy of Windows to C:\Recycler\ ?

– JD

Build awareness with your blog
26 July 2005 in Business | Comments (0)

I saw something interesting over on the WordPress blog (WordPress are the open source group who make the blog software I’m using here).

They’re sponsoring a conference on business blogging and are offering a $100 discount to any person that provides a trackback (this notifies them that somebody has linked to their entry). Seems like quite a clever way of boosting the awareness of your event by getting people to post blog entries about it.

– JD