# Saturday, 29 November 2003

We Do Not See Why A Consumer Downloading Music From The Internet To Make A Private Copy For Personal And Noncomme

We do not see why a consumer downloading music from the Internet to make a private copy for personal and noncommercial use should be prosecuted at all [via InfoWorld: Breach of copyright no crime under draft E.U. law: November 28, 2003: By : E-business Strategies]

 Well, its a view. Should one be disturbed that they don't see why? In the good ol' days, we all knew we were doing wrong borrowing friends LPs and taping them, but we did it anyway 'cos we was wild and the odds of getting 'done' were incredibly small.

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As It Turns Out Its Possible To Replace The Battery For As Little As 49 Using Thirdparty Kits Apple Itself O

As it turns out, it's possible to replace the battery for as little as $49 using third-party kits. Apple itself offers a battery-replacement service for about $106 including mailing, with a 90-day guarantee on materials and workmanship. Apple's program was introduced only in the past two weeks.  [via iPod's 'dirty secret' wins Web fans | CNET News.com]

 What a wonderful statement of new industrialism - a product life of 18months. My shaver has a longer lifespan than this, what's up with these gadgets, it must be 'by design'?

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# Friday, 28 November 2003

Radeox Render Engine API REA REA Is A Lightweight Standard API For

Radeox Render Engine API (REA)

REA is a lightweight standard API for Wiki rendering engines. This makes it easy to plug a rendering engine that suits your needs into your wiki. Or this makes the rendering engine from your wiki available to others. Using REA you can make wiki engines exchangeable. The API is LGPL (lighter license like Apache possible) and written for Java.

 [via Radeox :: Radeox]

 

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# Thursday, 27 November 2003

XAML For NET 11 Nbsp You Read That

XAML for .NET 1.1.  
You read that right, Chris Sells points to a company that has created a version of XAML for 1.1. [Andrew Stopford]
Man, that was fast. Program with XAML today. Looks pretty cool.
 [via LonghornBlogs.com]

 Worth a look.

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# Wednesday, 26 November 2003

Httpwwwdecafbadcomblogtechdynamicpollingfreqtoohtml My Aggregator At Present Pays Attent

http://www.decafbad.com/blog/tech/dynamic_polling_freq_too.html

My aggregator, at present, pays attention to whether or not it found new items at the last poll of a feed. If it didn't, it gradually backs off from polling (adding 1 hour to the interval, with a max of 24 hours). If it does find new items, it jumps to attention (dividing the interval in half, with a min of 1 hour.)

Posted by: l.m.orchard on November 25, 2003 10:14 AM 
[via TeledyN: The End of RSS]

 This is essentially what iMunch does.

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# Friday, 21 November 2003

So The Problem Is Not J2EE Itself Its Just That The People Who Use It To Build Applications Dont Know How

... So the problem is not J2EE itself, it's just that the people who use it to build applications don't know how to network, are lousy programmers, and can't cope when things go wrong.... [via Loosely Coupled weblog - J2EE 'grossly unreliable']

So who is going to do the analysis that says Windows is not reliable, but the problem is not Windows itself but the people who use it to build applications.... Perhaps that's already been done, perhaps MS hope the solution is called Longhorn (the one where 10K lines of code reduces to 1, of course if it is then unrealiable, it's MSs' fault - except of course the one line has a ton of attributes and if you don't use those right...).

 

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# Tuesday, 18 November 2003

Scientists Find Mystery Part

Scientists find mystery particle.  Researchers find one of the basic building blocks of matter, but it does not fit with current particle theory. [via BBC News | News Front Page | UK Edition]

 Ahhh, ye goode olde quark, strangeness and charm. Surely they could have come up with a better name than X(3872).

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Confusing Hy

Confusing Hype with Reality.  ...... Robert Scoble writes ... Blogging and RSS feeds are nice, but they are the icing on the cake of interacting with and satisfying your customer needs not the end all and be all of them.  [via Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life]

 Dare seems to have taken it on as a mission to try and undo the senseless hype - its an amusing battle.

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Aussies Blown Away By Poms Rugby Style NbspTh

Aussies blown away by Poms rugby style.  The online poll never lies [via The Register]

 Vote, vote, vote! At the time of this writing upto 82000 votes and still holding good at 83%, which means some must also be in there trying to up the dull rating. The vote is here.

 

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Mozilla Et Al Have A New Sitenbspdesign And Very Nice It Is Too

Mozilla et al have a new site design, and very nice it is too.
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Meanwhile Programmers Are Finding Their Own Way Often Using Simple Scripting Tools To Develop The Web Applicat

Meanwhile, programmers are finding their own way, often using simple scripting tools, to develop the Web applications they need fast.  [via Developers show their independent streak - Computerworld]

 Something here for the marketting folks to use?

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# Monday, 17 November 2003

A Hrefhttpwwwinfoworldcomcgibinredirectsourcerssampurlhttpwwwinfoworldcomarticle0311174

Weblogs address authentication, security - Infoworld Staff.  Weblog vendors are steering the technology toward corporate collaboration needs with the addition of security, personalization, and integration features. [via InfoWorld: Top News]

 Ignore the security stuff - couple of references to apps - I wonder whether these appear in browsers or custom "rich clients".

 

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An Interesting DHTML Behavior Allows B

An interesting DHTML behavior; allows binding to XML as a data grid. [via Better Living Through Software]

 Pretty good, and unusual for being in VBScript.

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We Should Applaud Microsoft For Taking The Initiative In Doing Longhorn And WinFS For Two Reasons They Can U

We should applaud Microsoft for taking the initiative in doing Longhorn and WinFS for two reasons: they can uniquely afford to make the staggering investment required to build this stuff, and they are uniquely in a position to create client-side network effects - not only to their sole benefit, but also openly to the benefit of the customer and solution ecosystem. But the latter will only happen if other developers actively participate in leveraging common WinFS schemas, extending them in domain-specific ways, and standardizing additional types. It will be interesting to see whether this activity ultimately comes from the big players (as has the more recent WS work) or from smaller players/disruptors (as has RSS).

 [via 640KB ought to be enough for anyone]

 Interesting from the point of view that metadata isn't about search its about multiple applications being able to work on the same stuff/interoperate because they all understand it at a high level.

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The Focus Of The Microsoft ISV Buddy Program Is To Make It Easy For ISVs Independent Software Vendors To Engage

The focus of the Microsoft ISV Buddy program is to make it easy for ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) to engage with Microsoft and to draw ISVs to higher levels of involvement with Microsoft.

 Apparently.

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# Friday, 14 November 2003

I'm sorry.

Mr Scoble has been irritating me for a while, I ought to stop reading it
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# Thursday, 13 November 2003

UK Govt Calls For 100 Broadband Coverage By 2005A

UK govt calls for 100% broadband coverage by 2005.  Easy to say, harder to do [via The Register]

 Only 2 years 2 months to wait here then (given that where I am will probably be the last place to be wired up).

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While That Might Be True According To Ons Research Only 24 Of Companies Have Migrated Over Half Their Desktop

While that might be true, according to On's research, only 24% of companies have migrated over half their desktops to Windows XP, almost two full years after the product was officially launched.  [via The Register]

 The sort of statistic that is "worrying" for Longhorn with its "lets start again with how we develop applications" approach. Granted Longhorn will (we reasonably presume) run 'old apps' to take 'full advantage' of Longhorn seems to be not add a bit of conditional code but re-write your app for Longhorn only. Will market size support this and if so when? Don't bet your company on it.

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# Wednesday, 12 November 2003

An Old Colleague Has A New Web Site If You Are Looking For Someone Who Knows About And Is Enthusiastic About The Innovative

An old colleague has a new web site; if you are looking for someone who knows about and is enthusiastic about the innovative use of ICT in education then David Perry Associates is where to go.

A word of warning however, David describes the site as idiosyncratic, and he's not joking. It does seem rather odd to create a site that one admits won't work with pop-up blockers when they are all the rage and IE6 SP2 is about to get them. I don't think Google et al index Flash files either, though I might be wrong.

 

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Portal Software Makers Plumtree Software Documentum BEA Systems And Sun Microsystems On Monday Announced Th

Portal software makers Plumtree Software, Documentum, BEA Systems and Sun Microsystems on Monday announced the creation of an online library of open-source portal applications, or portlets. The site, called the Portlet Open-Source Trading (POST) site, is intended to spur the adoption of portlets that adhere to the Java and Web services portal specifications.

The site is hosted at development Web site SourceForge.net. The sponsoring companies will provide feedback and recommendations on how to create portal applications that comply with the two standards--called JSR 168 and Web Services for Remote Portlets--for improving interoperability between portals from different providers.

 [via Portal providers create 'portlet' library | CNET News.com]

 

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# Tuesday, 11 November 2003

The Sun Said Mr Soleys Decision To Air The Claims Without Knowing Whether They Were True Was Extraordinary

The Sun said Mr Soley's decision to air the claims without knowing whether they were true was "extraordinary".  [via BBC NEWS | Politics | Sun editor accused of 'threats']

 Pot calling kettle black syndrome.

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Internet Explorer To St

Internet Explorer to stomp pop-ups.  Microsoft plans to add pop-up blocking features to Internet Explorer next year as part of its update for Windows XP, a move that would go far toward stamping out the Web advertisements. [via CNET News.com - Front Door]

 At least one feature SP2 will get, as well as enhanced security - I presume pop-up blocking will be available to the webbrowser control as well. I wonder what css changes, if any, there will be. Looks to me like IE7 code is coming back into SP2.

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Linux Developers A Fr

Linux Developers:

A friend of mine at the Microsoft PDC conference who is an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) made a few observations: the continuous breakage of the Linux development platform is hurting them. Linux is still a small market compared to the Windows and Mac markets. In most cases, the revenue opportunities for the small and medium ISVs are too small to make a Linux port worthwhile, and when it is, the staffing requirements for maintaining and testing their software for a dozen of distributions and release versions quickly becomes a big burden......

 [via Miguel de Icaza's Activity Log]

 Pause for thought. I also see (via Dare Obasanjo) that dasBlog is making breaking changes to its system - not clever, not clever at all.

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Search Company Google Is Testing Software That Lets People Navigate The Web Without Opening Up An Internet

Search company Google is testing software that lets people navigate the Web without opening up an Internet browser, placing itself in a field that Microsoft has designs on--desktop search.  [via Google tests desktop search | CNET News.com]

Gawd blimey, loads of these things have been around for ages (there was a UK company who had a nifty UI on their search engine, since gone bust) - perhaps you just need to be Google to do these things.

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Introduc

Introducing Client Application Deployment with "ClickOnce".  Discover how "ClickOnce" provides safe, easy deployment and automatic updates for your Whidbey applications. [via MSDN: .NET Framework and CLR]

Hmmm, they really are into banging the browser on the head - browsers are for reach, .NET is for Windows - IE is dead, long live .NET. I really want to know what, if anything (new) is in IE 7 (and what it is writen in).

Also of interest, this is fairly typically upbeat about solves all known problems, yet, and tragically we are all (well some of us) becoming cynical about the claims MS have for "new technology" - deployment problems are mostly due to stonkingly bad support for deployment scenarios within the OS, I'm not sure that the sandbox is going to solve them - just move the problems to somewhere else. (e.g. clickonce seems to be OK if your app will run within the sandbox, but if not, there seems to be no relief from the current deployment problems - aka you need to be an administrator to install anything). Its not an easy problem to solve, but I'm not convinced this is the solution.

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# Saturday, 08 November 2003

Longhorn Versus The Light Of Day Nbsp

Longhorn versus the light of day.  

Some people are absolutely gushing about the latest vaporware from Microsoft. Enjoy the fantasy while it lasts because it will be a very long time before any of this sees the light of day, and even then it will be years more before it's stable enough to use in a production environment. [via BitWorking]

A very very negative view of Longhorn - some of the points well made (especially the observation about yet another incarnation of the "solves all problems known to developers" gush). But, some of the stuff will make it through and (surely) there is more to WinFS than metadata, or at least there will be (I'm not sure its Cairo either, Cairo was supposed to be the object orientated file system supporting an object orientated UI, we seem to have lost all that along the line and gone back to applications rather than documents or processes). XAML would seem to be the long mooted "Universal Canvas". I am still unclear as to the demarkation between the .NET libraries and XAML; i.e. you should be able to write a .NET application that does exactly the same thing as an application described in XAML but some articles I've seen seem to deny this - oh well we shall see. The point is, 'markup' is easier for programs to produce than code, markup can describe more than just code and in theory at least, for example, a Word document could become a XAML document - quite where this gets you I don't know, perhaps back to the object orientated file system as documents carry around 'object' descriptions.

In the meantime, a huge number of developers in the world seem to have, at least temporarily, ground to a halt trying to absorb/get excited about this stuff - at some point they are going to have to get back to doing real work in the real world. But, MS seems to have abandoned us, all the program teams are interested in .NET/Longhorn only - very odd and someone upstairs at Microsoft seems to have lost control.

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# Friday, 07 November 2003

Introducing Cust

Introducing Customer Debug Probes and CLR SPY.  

Version 1.1 of the .NET Framework introduces a handy feature called Customer Debug Probes (CDP).  These probes enable you to find and diagnose difficult bugs lurking in managed code, even in a production environment.

I'll share the details of each probe in future blog entries, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, I've uploaded a tool (with source code) to gotdotnet.com called CLR SPY that makes it easy to use the probes.  To get a feel for the tool, add any managed application to the "Monitored Applications" list and run it with the Marshaling probe enabled.  You should see a flurry of messages appear as parameters get marshaled to unmanaged code.

This dynamic analysis tool is a great complement to FxCop's static analysis for writing high-quality managed code.  Use it to find your bugs before your customers do!  Let me know what you think of the tool!

 [via Adam Nathan's Interop-Centric CLR Blog]

 

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Multiple Internet Explorers Nbsp In P

Multiple Internet Explorers.  

In possibly the best news web designers will hear this year, Joe Maddalone of Insert Title Web Designs has discovered a way of running multiple versions of Internet Explorer on one installation of Windows! The problem of testing in different versions of IE has plagued developers for years, and it's fantastic to see a solution that doesn't involve running multiple partitions with separate Windows installations or shelling out for VMWare or VirtualPC.

Unsurprisingly, Joe's revelation is causing quite a stir in the web development community. Matthew Haughey is asking why Microsoft didn't tell us about this themselves, Luke Redpath has released some funky coloured icons to distinguish between versions and Ryan Parman has taken the risky (from a bandwidth point of view) step of packaging the minimum files needed to run versions 5.01 and 5.5 up in to zip files. Amazingly, they're 2.92 MB and 3.25 MB respectively. I'm running them now and they seem to work just fine - major kudos to Joe for the discovery, and Ryan for making it so easy to take advantage of.

 [via Simon Willison's Weblog]

 Same subject, more useful links.

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Ian Hanschennbspnbspnbspnow Hes Digging Into

Ian Hanschen ...  now he's digging into Longhorn on his blog and finding and doing things I don't think we ever expected.

[via The Scobleizer Weblog]

This is a seriously scary attitude from Microsoft. Although one might suspect it has always been their attitude, Mr Hanschen has 'simply' been through the C header files and seen the new. Clearly MS never expected anyone to do this, but lets face it, given the totally shocking state of MS documentation, you frequently have no choice but to go to the header files. Perhaps MS don't expect anyone to look at header files anymore because they are supposed to be using .NET.

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Oh I See A Weblogger H

Oh, I see a weblogger has figured out how to install different versions of IE on the same computer and now others are wondering why we didn't tell them how to do that. I don't know. I like the trick, though. Gotta try that out here at home.

 [via The Scobleizer Weblog]

 Really, really, really, really useful.

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BBC Turns On Microsoft For Education The BBC Has Chosen Microsoft

BBC turns on Microsoft for education

The BBC has chosen Microsoft to develop the infrastructure for the corporation's free online education programme.

Microsoft will build the core software platform based on its .Net platform, with Windows Server 2003, SQL Server and SharePoint portal server at its heart.

David Burrows, director of education for Microsoft, said: "We are using industry standards such as XML and Simple Object Access Protocol to make the platform fully extensible."

[via vnunet.com BBC turns on Microsoft for education]

Could be interesting - this wasn't how they intended to do it (the BBC) as far as I understood. What is key is what We are using industry standards such as XML... means; how much one will be able to grab "learning objects" and put them together in your own way, how much those standards are the standards for storage/use of "learning objects".

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# Thursday, 06 November 2003

The Richer Interface NbspOn More Tha

The “Richer” Interface.  On more than a few occasions—most recently in the context of Avalon—I’ve observed here that both IT admins and end-users prefer browser-based apps to traditional compiled clients, for everything except content creation. Every time, I get emails and incoming pointers from people saying “You just don’t get it, the Web interfaces are so tired, we really need a richer UI paradigm.” The interesting thing is that these reactions are always—every time, without exception—from developers. Not once has an end-user type person written in saying they wished they could have a richer interface like the kind they used to have in compiled desktop apps. I work for a company that sells a damn snappy, highly interactive user interface that’s entirely in and of the browser (and BTW is very standards-compliant); so it can be done. I have all sorts of theories about whose interests are being served by these efforts to take us back to the client/server era, but I know for sure that it’s not about making users happy. Nor the IT staff either. [via ongoing]

Just on the subject, that's all. I'm beginning to think more and more that the 'new feature list' of Longhorn is aimed at developers; the big question is how much new has been added as opposed to the old having been given a new face.

 

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MSDN Annotations

Something odd going on here - every Longhorn orientated page I visit at MS gives me "Do you want to install MSDN Annotations", even if I said yes on the previous page visited. Happening to anyone else?
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# Wednesday, 05 November 2003

XAML - Longhorn - Its what the product does.....

Put some "Sparkle" In your UI.  

Flashkiller, eh? Only if Macromedia sits on their rear ends for the next two years, with thumbs firmly implanted in their anal cavity. Something tells me that won't happen though. Still, it will be extremely cool to have a compelling UI designer right in Visual Studio.

I've heard a lot of people talking about (since the whole XAML conversation came around) how UI designers should be the ones working on interfaces first, then programmers write the logic and wire up the UI later. The funny thing is, those guys are totally missing the point. The point in Microsoft bringing about the kind of disconnected-development paradigm from ASP.NET to the Smart Client, is to be able to, God forbid, PLAN your requirements, and have your UI guy go build the UI (in AfterEffects or “Sparkle” or whatever) and have the programmer develop the logic AT THE SAME TIME. Your development goes much faster, because you're not relient on one person or another to do your job.

Windows developers don't get that yet. That's because the VB.NET WinForms RAD environment has been the same for 10 years: Changing the designer only changes declarations inside the code... there is no duality between forms and logic. This new development model is just plain better and Microsoft really is trying to take the best of Windows development and the best of Web development and put them together. And it is a win for everyone. Even Macromedia.

So “Sparkle” may kill flash. Every product has a lifecycle. The key will be to see whether or not Adobe or Macromedia can adapt and evolve to this new environment. That is the true test of any business.

 [via LonghornBlogs.com]

and from the linked article (Flashkiller)

Microsoft has also said that the new Longhorn API's (define) will enable developers to easily build rich user interfaces and applications with the graphics classes that provide animation, effects and "visually exciting images that exploit hardware acceleration."

There seems to be some view afoot that "rich user interfaces" (aka gloss) will breath life where there was none before - twaddle. I well remember the launch of Apple Lisa, a fantastic machine with a huge number of innovative features, far more than Longhorn has (whose innovative features seem to be, errr, um, a file system with meta data) and it went down like a lead ballon with our customers. Partly because it was so expensive but also because they couldn't see productivity from those features - I can't see visually exciting images getting the customer to reach for their cheque books (and before Scoble leaps in, no I don't want to watch a video while I'm playing a game, I don't want x-y and z going on at the same time; I, like most people, can visually concentrate on a single thing at once).

The reason I wrote Zeepe was I was fed up to the back teeth spending so much time writing repetive UI code, a program was containing more UI code than code that does actual work. I fear that the way Longhorn, XAML et al are being promoted is that developers are supposed to spend most time on the "visual appeal" of their application and stuff whether it actually does anything useful. A UI should stay out the way, I don't want a screen full of crap getting in the way of what I am trying to do, I don't want to have to buy a 40 inch monitor because 20 inches are taken up by rubbish.

UIs should be minimalist.

This post was written using an application written with about 200K of ECMAScript and HTML, about 90% of that code is code that does things, update databases, read rss feeds, generate displays, perform webservice based updating of this web log etc. It wires together a bunch of system services - database access, http access and underlying UI widgety. Over 95% of my display is taken up by the editing panel I am working in - some tools are there if I want to get posh with the presentation, like a spot of coloured bold but otherwise it stays out the way.

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# Tuesday, 04 November 2003

Mike Sanders I

Mike Sanders: "I would love to hear somebody (maybe Scoble or Joshua Allen) make the cost-justifiable business case to follow Microsoft along the Rich User Client path."

Too bad you missed the demo done by Merck. They saw enough business value in doing a rich client. They see that it'll save millions in the development of new drugs. Why? Because it lets them build apps that simply are impossible to build in a browser. We'll have a LOT more to say on the business justification behind this stuff, believe me.

Or, ask Amazon. They see that Longhorn experiences will increase revenues. They were up on stage during the keynotes too. Or Adobe. They see that their customers will be able to build new kinds of apps that simply are very difficult, if not impossible, to build today.

The business justification actually is very simple to make. [via The Scobleizer Weblog]

We'll ignore drug company saves millions by not developing html pages since we're not sure of the context of this claim (but just hope that they really haven't been trying to do molecule modelling in the DOM). More interesting Amazon - MS want to get them away from the web browser and use rich client apps. It would seem MS want away from the browser - there have been quite a few comments around of "we tried that, it was crap". Hmmmm.

 

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Now That Everyone Well A Bunch Of Em Anyway Are Going Ape About An OS At Least 2 Years Away I Wonder If Those Of Us Still

Now that everyone, well a bunch of 'em anyway, are going ape about an OS at least 2 years away, I wonder if those of us still dealing with the legacy customers can leverage The Microsoft Shared Source Initiative productively. I've not wandered through the myriad plans, perhaps it is worth while to do so?

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Alright Ive Slept Off The PDC But Itll Be A While Before I Really Get Back In The Swing Of Things I See

Alright, I've slept off the PDC, but it'll be a while before I really get back in the swing of things. I see that some of you are digging into Longhorn. A great rant was done by Ole Eichorn, who is taking Longhorn to task on performance and reliability.

Oh, and he also says that "important apps" aren't being done in .NET. That is absolutely NOT true. I can name several apps done in .NET, including my favorite news aggregator.

 [via The Scobleizer Weblog]

The man said "important apps", i.e. big complex beasts from a commercial vendor (who is not scared that all their code can be inspected really rather easily). And if the favorite news aggregator is RRSBandit - have you seen the startup time on that beast?

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# Monday, 03 November 2003

What I Dont Get About XAML If You Toolup And Use An IDE To Develop Your UI And The Thing Has To Be Compiled To Run Effect

What I don't get about XAML: If you tool-up and use an IDE to develop your UI and the thing has to be compiled to run (effectively) then, at the end of the day, what is the difference between XAML and WinForms? If XAML gives you more features, why are they not in WinForms? If XAML is so hard to write using notepad that you need an IDE, what is the point?

 

 

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Ole Eichorn Returns From Microsoft

Ole Eichorn returns from Microsoft's devcon with questions about performance and reliability of the new OS code. [via Scripting News]

 Some goods points are made here. Amongst the wishes:

  1. Paging that works.  Why can Unix boxes and (to a lessor extent) Macs easily run working sets larger than physical memory, whereas on a PC as soon as you start paging, the machine turns to crap?

Absolutely.

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