# Wednesday, 28 September 2005

Finally, the real test

As MS releases new frameworks, folks always ask "Does MS use this?" Of course, MS has tons of existing apps that would be silly to rewrite, but when we build new stuff, we generally use the latest frameworks that make sense.

Towards that end, John Gosman continues his history of Expression Interactive Designer aka Sparkle, mentioning the percentage of managed code in  (100%) and the number of P/Invoke calls (1 -- HtmlHelp) to get what is probably the most amazing app I've seen in years, whether managed or not.  [via Marquee de Sells: Chris's insight outlet]

I can't think of another 'major' desktop app from MS that is anywhere near 100% managed code. So, how long before someone reverse engineers it - do they care, do they actually want them to? The other apps in the Expression suite, are they managed and if not, why not?

 

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# Friday, 23 September 2005

LAME settings

Chris points to some geeky settings for LAME, one of those things on my list to play with:

MP3 encoding.  Here's an aide-memoire of some working MP3 encoder settings [via Loft Blog - a blog aloft]

Talking of playing, if anyone has any recommendations for converting vinyl to digital (Ogg Vorbis preferably) I'll be glad to hear 'em.

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# Wednesday, 14 September 2005

Be scared part II

110 namespaces in .NET 1.0

260 WinFx namespaces

100,000 fields and methods in WinFX

Knowlegde shock is alive and well.

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Be very scared

Here's a fact from PDC '05 about Windows Vista:

Beta 1 had 4000 new unmanaged APIs

Beta 2 so far as 1500 additional ones over beta 1, and counting.......

No wonder the SDK is going to weigh in at 900GB.

The good news - I quote, "I know we have said in the past unmanaged development is dead - we don't think that anymore"

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# Monday, 12 September 2005

New Zeepe makes great looking desktop widgets

A little while ago one of our Zeepe customers asked about being able to draw alpha-blended to the desktop shadows on their skinned hardware interface widget that had been developed in Zeepe. Then I saw the BBC Listen Live Player for Apple computers, it looks like this:

Someone at the BBC had tried to duplicate this for Windows using Konfabulator, but failed.

My interest was two fold - here was a widget that listed 'official' access urls to the listen live feeds from the BBC and here was a difficult thing to do for Windows but for which, by downloading the BBC's prototype, there was source HTML+script+css, albeit intended for Apple Dashboard.

Here's what our technical development clone for Windows looks like:

Now, because the clone uses the BBC imagery we can't make it available, but here is another player widget:

Written entirely in HTML+script+css this player relies on Real Player being installed and Zeepe 7.2.2 - the BBC have not, do not and probably will not endorse this player but if you want to play, it is availabe on the Zeepe samples page.

Back to the BBC Listen Live clone - what is interesting is that to produce this clone required re-jigging the graphics files a bit, some edits to the HTML for Zeepe, some minor edits to the script to work for Windows rather than Apple and some dynamic html stuff didn't work with Web browser on windows and voila.

And finally - our player is delivered from the web site - once you have the Zeepe framework installed, no downloads, just follow a link.

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# Saturday, 10 September 2005

Questions for Microsoft at the PDC - Part II

Quick one, and one of my favourites - an SDK for IE 7 Beta? There are at least new actions going through on ProcessUrlAction() calls and presumably there is a fair bit more.

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# Thursday, 08 September 2005

Questions for Microsoft at the PDC - Part I

Yep, goin' to this one. Haven't been for a while, perhaps they missed me?

Q1. Internet Explorer 7 seems to have introduced a new format for Internet shortcut (.url) files - why? Or more pertinently, why are old files not supported and in particular the IconFile parameter? The ability to write .url files as a simple text file without having to get into silly API calls is useful and described in many, many places on the web.

Q2. Any chance that the Vista fix for layered windows (WS_EX_LAYERED extended style) disappearing when the user chooses Start Menu -> Turn off and the prompt is displayed being back ported to XP? There are a number of widget makers out there, e.g. Konfabulator and the soon to be released Zeepe with a loverly look, that are negatively affected by this.

More as I think of them....

(BTW -  Beta 1 of Vista is not doing any favours to the look of 'legacy' applications - the system rebars/toolbars in Beta look aweful).

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