# Monday, 22 December 2003

Economy Business Investment Nbsp12 Fall In

Economy: Business Investment.  1.2% fall in third quarter 2003 [via National Statistics Online]

 Business investment falls - but the £5bn tax take from pensions was supposed to increase this so that our pensions grew.....

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Wes Speculates On Avalon Nbsp It Appears That

Wes speculates on Avalon.  

It appears that Avalon won’t support some of the features we use today:

…it seems that Microsoft is primarily focused on web-like navigation-based applications. I've also heard from sources some traditional controls, like the toolbar won't even be available, because of schedule restrictions and the fact that their functionality can be duplicated to some degree with other Avalon panels.... [via LonghornBlogs.com]

Well there's a thing, so the demo screen shots produced in the beta UI guide (the HealthCare database) was not done using Avalon (it has a menu, a toolbar) - so what was it done with then, or was it done with duplicated functionality to some degree"? I think we should be told.

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# Sunday, 21 December 2003

Scoble kicks everyone out of the sandpit.

The Future of Computing?.  

Robert Heverly took a lot of time out to write a blog post titled "what Scoble doesn't get." I highly recommend everyone at Microsoft read it.

I want a computer with a wide range of scenarios supported out of the box. I want "average users" to be able to do things like watch a video on CNN.com. Send email. Participate in newsgroups. Subscribe to RSS feeds. Read a web page. Watch a DVD. Listen to music. Use a calculator. Instant message with friends. Play some games. And much more.

Most importantly I want these scenarios to be enabled out of the box.

I also want users to always have the latest versions of these apps. Why? Because we'll add features. Fix bugs. Improve experiences and performance. And, add new scenarios.

 [via The Scobleizer Weblog]

I attended the UK developer launch of Windows 95 - during which it was said (I paraphrase) "... and this bit of the sandpit here is where you developers can play...", that bit was about the size of a grain of sand. Winows 95 needed new apps to be developed, the 'official' MS view was they should do most of it, and there is this ickle, didee bitty over there for the rest of you. We wondered why we were there (on a side note, one of the presenters was very rude about Steve Jobs and was booed, he was also forced to apologise after the number of complaints that were made during the lunch break, they also claimed the sandpit analogy wasn't right, but the damage had been done by then).

And here's Scoble at it again. RSS out of the box, DVD music etc out of the box, games and much much more out of the box - and who puts everything into the box, and who wants to update those apps "we" do, which since this is Scoble, means Microsoft.

And this man is an evangelist?

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# Saturday, 20 December 2003

Atom is not very friendly is it?

Atom v0.3.  

I've updated my Atom feed to v0.3, note that it's now at a new location. The feed validator says its not valid, I disagree, the spec says that xml:base should be applied, so relative URL's shoudl be fine.

 [via Simon Fell]

Clever dicks write a spec, and then argue over it and the result is something that may be "clever dick" right but will be, IMHO,  a pain to sort out for aggregators; they are going to have to resolve the relative references before they display the links. What is the point?

Looks like one is going to need Atom specific code as well, this is progress; a spec that says that thou shalt not write html in titles unless you saying you are going to - that seems to be about all we have gained, which from the coding point of view is nothing.

 

 

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Take Yo

Take Your Web Pages to the Next Dimension with FastScript3D.  Rocket-power your Web pages with the new Java technology from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  [via DevX: Latest Web Development Content]

 

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# Friday, 19 December 2003

Yes Theres Java In There Somewhere But Java Desktop System Is Really A Distribution Of The Linux Operating Sy

"Yes, there's Java in there somewhere, but Java Desktop System is really a distribution of the Linux operating system and a collection of open-source applications that anyone can easily use," said programmer Mark Fahley. "Why Sun opted to call it Java Desktop is simply beyond me -- even something as silly as Stoned Beaver would have been a better name."  [via Wired News: Sun Linux a Good Rival to Windows]

 Well, stoopid old me thought it was based on Java - oops! Ah well, it turns out to be just another Linux (JAL) that 'rocks' and just a bit cheaper than Windows.

"This is where Sun blows it badly," said Sweeney. "There is nothing in the documentation that explains just what or where the heck is this code or password. ... It turns out that your serial number is the 'code' needed and should be used also for the password. The word 'moronic' comes to mind for this little exercise. Bad Sun. Bad, bad Sun." ... "JDS rocks, and I don't say that lightly. It's Microsoft's worse nightmare come true."

Time will tell.

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Open Source O

Open source outfit releases patch for IE vulnerability.  What a kind, festive thought... [via The Register]

Yep, the source for the patch indicates a) All your navigations are converted to navigations to http://www.openwares.org/cgi-bin/exploit.cgi and b) it has more buffer overrun opportunites in fewer lines of code than I've seen in a while, c) it probably stops forms posting working and d) the install program must be doing more that they have release source for (I presume it installs as a BHO). But, they've got a lot of publicity.

Avoid.

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ADAM West Nbsp The

ADAM West.  
The AD team is going wild!
 
I just found ADAM - an AD implementation that doesn't require domain controllers or a server OS.
 
I also ran into our DSMLv2 implementation that works just fine with ADAM.
 
I now have a SOAP-enabled directory service running on my puny little XP laptop.
 
Now all I need to do is figure out how to get MSMQ to use ADAM as its queue directory and I'm cooking with gas!!
 [via Don Box's Spoutlet]

 Got to be of ujse some time.

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# Sunday, 14 December 2003

To Dispel Fears That The Moving Of MSFT Blogs From Blogsgotdotnetcom To Weblogsaspnet Is A Sign That We

To dispel fears that the moving of MSFT blogs from blogs.gotdotnet.com to weblogs.asp.net is a sign that we're trying to keep blogs off of MSFT properties, check out the DNS info on weblogs.asp.net.
 
Registrant: Microsoft Corporation Address: One Microsoft Way..... First Registered: January 06, 1996 [via Don Box's Spoutlet]

WOW! asp.net predates PDC '96 and not long after BillG's December 1995 turn the boat around, and MS recognised that 'weblogs' would be a "big thing" back then too (is the implication to the casual reader). Respect!

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# Friday, 12 December 2003

Chang

Changes to Functionality in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2.  This document focuses on the changes in Windows XP Service Pack 2 and its implications for developers. Examples and details are provided for several of the technologies that are experiencing the biggest changes. Future versions of this document will cover all new and changed technologies. [via Microsoft Download Center]

Significantly more detailed than the web page available previously.....

Users will be able to view, enable, and disable the add-ons used by Internet Explorer, and identify add-ons that might be related to Internet Explorer crashes. Administrators can enforce a list of add-ons that are allowed or disallowed and restrict the ability of users to manage add-ons..... Windows Error Reporting data has shown that add-ons are a major cause of stability issues in Internet Explorer.

But this is really weird:

The concept of a disabled add-on only applies to instances of Internet Explorer (Iexplore.exe) and Windows Explorer (Explorer.exe). Currently, other programs based on Internet Explorer components, such as the WebBrowser control, do not respect the disabled state.

Begs the question why, and where this functionality is being implemented.

Note that the binary behaviours change has been fed through to custom security managers.

This feature dramatically restricts HTML in the Local Machine zone and HTML that is hosted in Internet Explorer. This helps to mitigate attacks where the Local Machine zone is used as an attack vector to load malicious HTML code. All application developers should review this feature. Applications that host local HTML files in Internet Explorer are likely to be impacted. Developers of stand-alone applications should plan to adopt changes in their applications that host Internet Explorer.

And finally......

By default, the Pop-up Manager functionality does not apply to applications that host the WebBrowser control or MSHTML. These applications have the ability to use or extend Pop-up Manager, use their own pop-up manager, or disable pop-up management for their application through the INewWindowManager interface.

Sounds like fun, but no documentation available.

Lots of people are going to need to get the beta and check their stuff ain't broken.

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Avalon API too big?

Adam Kinney on Avalon's NineGridBrush.  Once I noticed the NineGridBrush, I was very impressed and excited to use it.  ...

I hadn't come across this class yet. The Avalon API is soooo huge. It's pretty neat little implementation, so I figured I'd add a quick link to Adam's sample for everyone to check out. For all the documentation reading freaks like myself, you can also check out what the SDK has to say about this class right here.

 [via Drew's Blog]

Now, here I quoted: "Win32 has like 76,000 APIs, and they're taking it down to 8,000 with Longhorn technology," said one source familiar with the plans."

So what happened to that? Avalon API is huge, not easily understood is a comment seen more than once - it would appear that Longhorn misses at least one design brief. And this could be a really bad one to miss, if the mountain is too high, too many people may not be bothered to climb. I'm also seeing too much complexity to do really simple things.

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# Wednesday, 10 December 2003

Windows T

Windows Template Library (WTL) 7.1.  Download a library for developing Windows® applications and UI components. Extends ATL (Active Template Library) and provides a set of classes for controls, dialogs, frame windows, GDI objects, and more. This version provides full support for Visual Studio .NET 2003 and Windows XP and CE. [via Microsoft Download Center]

 Goody.

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If The Automobile Industry Used The Same Approach The Reverse Gear Shift Would Be Hidden In The Trunk Somewhere

If the automobile industry used the same approach, the Reverse gear shift would be hidden in the trunk somewhere because "it confuses beginners" and "it isn't used often" and "you can work around it by just driving forward in a circle." [via Randomize]

Good article on UI design. One might argue (I do) that if an application has so many toolbars that it is unusable, so you have to hide things away to make it usable, leaving them for 'advanced' users then you application is a) badly designed or b) actually doing too much or c) not targetted at the users properly. Personally, all this Office stuff of hiding less frequently used options drives me nuts, I am not advanced but it takes away options I used moderately frequently (yes, there's probably an option to turn all this off, but where is it....).

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# Friday, 05 December 2003

FreeImage Is An Open

FreeImage is an Open Source library project for developers who would like to support popular graphics image formats like PNG, BMP, JPEG, TIFF and others as needed by today's multimedia applications. The library comes in two versions: a binary distribution that can be linked against any 32-bit C/C++ compiler and a source distribution. Workspace files for Microsoft Visual C++ 6 are provided, as well as makefiles for Linux.

From january 2000 to july 2002, FreeImage was designed and mainly developed by Floris van den Berg. FreeImage is now maintained by Hervé Drolon.
 [via .NET Weblogs @ ASP.NET]

 

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# Thursday, 04 December 2003

Joe Beda Goes In Depth About Avalons Vis

Joe Beda goes in depth about Avalon's visuals. Are weblogs changing the kinds of information available from within Microsoft? Here's the answer. Joe's on the Avalon team. He's practicing conversational marketing for his team's technology. [via The Scobleizer Weblog]

Ah, so when Joe appears in my comments, he's marketting his team's technology at me. Nope, I hadn't looked at it like that at all, but now Scoble points it out...... So, the next PDC will be full of marketing people, not developers - I know someone who will be happy.

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# Wednesday, 03 December 2003

When It Comes Time To Render Scheduled Via The Dispatcher Class And Coordinated With The Animation System And La

When it comes time to render (scheduled via the Dispatcher class and coordinated with the animation system and layout) the system will walk the tree and decide what is and isn't on screen.  It will then call render on any RetainedVisuals as necessary and cache the result.  It also updates the data on the other thread for what is on screen so that the render can happen async from what is going on on the UI thread.  In this way, there is no "render" happening on the UI thread in the normal case.  Instead we are "compiling" the scene graph down to a simpler representation to run asynchronously on another thread or on another machine.  [via Joe Beda's EightyPercent.Net]

Fine and dandy, maybe. This is seemingly taking a lot of (tedious) stuff away from the developer, but I hope the coders are better than the guys who worked on Word (2002) which has the wonderful problem of not recognising overflows at a page boundary so you end up typing white text on a white background. Similarly strange redraw problems occur in Internet Explorer, which you can usually work around by a bit of style kludging. But if the core Avalon implementation is wrong and doesn't recognise properly what is and is not on screen (something that in complex cases is oddly difficult to do), well, you're stuffed.

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More Love For XAML Syntax Dotted Element

More Love for XAML Syntax: Dotted Element Names.  

Don Box simplified my XAML code ... what you're looking at is a more convenient way of specifying an XML attribute using XML element syntax. For example, while you can specify a menu item like s

<MenuItem Header="New" />

However, if you're doing anything fancy, like specifying an access key, you can do this using the dotted element name syntax:

<MenuItem>
  <MenuItem.Header>

    <FlowPanel>
      <AccessKey Key="N" />
      <SimpleText>ew</SimpleText>
    </FlowPanel>
  </MenuItem.Header>
</MenuItem>

In the first case, we're just specifying a string, so declaring the Header attribute inline makes sense. In the second case, we're composing the Header for the MenuItem as a FlowPanel, combining an AccessKey and a SimpleText element.... [via Marquee de Sells: Chris's insight outlet]

Heck, I hope its not really going to be this verbose otherwise we are just back to IDE based editing only; is this possible, and if not why not?

<MenuItem Text="&amp;New" AccessKey="N" />
I wouldn't have said that an access key on a menu is 'fancy'.
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A ContentEditablefalse Hrefht

IIS 5.0 Process Recycling Tool.  The IIS 5.0 Process Recycling Tool (IIS5Recycle), version 1.0, runs as a service on a computer running Windows 2000 and Internet Information Server 5.0. [via Microsoft Download Center]

Probably very useful - I remember several years ago spending days chasing down a memory leak in my ASP based framework to find that it was in Response.AddHeader (if memory serves me right). Not alot one can do then except wait for MS to fix it (they did), but it does illustrate the problems of reliance on others code, and these days we are reliant on more and more MS originated code (to which one doesn't have the source - using MFC/ATL et al, not VB, if there was a problem you could a) see it and b) write a fix - the .NET framework classes (gazzillions of 'em) are not available as source are they?).

 

 

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# Tuesday, 02 December 2003

Even Though The User Interface Do

Even though the user interface does not provide a means for recategorization, your system administrator can modify your registry to recategorize your services. [via Office Developer Center: Recategorize Research Services in the Research Task Pane (Microsoft Office 2003 Technical Articles)]
Good flippin' grief, the MS evangelists are wibbling on and on and on about how dull UIs are no longer acceptable with Longhorn, its all got to be graphically intense and wonderful looking, and yet here we have a product not months old and to re-categorise your research services you've got to modify the registry (with the obligatory warning that modding the registry is potentially dangerous). Will XAML per se remove this dependency, no. Will making your UI not dull remove this dependency, no. Adding the required UI will, independent of the platform providing that UI (yes I know I'm still to do right click context menu on Munch).
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# Monday, 01 December 2003

In Recent Years The Government Has Attempted To Raise The Prof

In recent years, the Government has attempted to raise the profile of consultation and improve the way it is undertaken, for example by producing the Code of Practice on Written Consultation in November 2000. The Code set out minimum standards of written consultation for central government. Quoted in the forward to the Code, the Prime Minister Tony Blair said "I believe that the message is spreading throughout the administration that better consultation means better results". A report by the National Audit Office argued: "it is important that in order to develop a clear understanding of the issue, departments consult…those who will benefit from the policy or those affected indirectly and those who may have to implement the policy" [From VIEWFINDER: A POLICY MAKER’S GUIDE TO PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT - note: PDF document]

How very interesting given that they admit that Foundation Hospitals and University Fees were policies put together without sufficient consultation - it would appear that they should have listened to their own advice. Also odd to read the above and then hear Peter Hain say variable rate fees are non-negotiable - odd way to do a consultation.

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