August 2005 Blog Posts

By the way, as Robert Scoble noted, PDC is very close to selling out - if you want to go you've probably only got a day or so to buy a ticket.

I'm lucky enough to be able to post with the following image:

PDC'05 - Developer Powered

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else heading to PDC 2005 in Los Angeles in just over 5 weeks time.

A plethora of build tasks compatible with MSBuild from Whidbey Beta 2.

If you struggle with FxCop complaining about code that was generated for you, say from WSDL or XSD, then help is (well, will be) at hand. In .NET 2.0 (RTM), the tools generating this code will introduce a [GeneratedCode] attribute that signals to FxCop that it should relax its rules. Since you don't have any control over the generated code, FxCop is really generally useful for the times when you can do something to fix the warning you're being given. If you write your own tools that generate code, you'll be able to emit this attribute in the same way.

Sam Gentile has the most succinct review of IE7 I've seen yet: "It certainly sucks a lot less now." Praise indeed, and I certainly hope it is at least that good. :o)

As far as headlines go, however, this one takes some beating.

The Presence Controls are designed to provide presence information and real time collaboration options to Microsoft Windows Forms, Web Forms and GUI applications that are based on the Microsoft Win32 application programming interface. The controls provide developers of these applications with the ability to drag-and-drop the control from the toolbox in Visual Studio onto applications and provide access to the capabilities of Communicator in an easy to incorporate manner.

I'm one of those people who has followed the exploits of Eric Mack with his new Toshiba Tecra M4. In fact, I've been a fan of the concept of a tablet since it was first announced. That said, I use my laptop as a desktop replacement so although I really wanted a tablet, I wanted one that was at least as good as my existing laptop, but with ink too.

With the launch of the Tecra M4 I finally found a tablet with the desired graphics resolution matched with an appropriate screen size, fast enough processor, and a decent graphics card that will run with Longh..., erm, Windows Vista that was also getting decent reviews. So last week, buoyed by Scoble's interview with Chris Jones outlining that although ink isn't supported in the public Beta 1 of Vista, tablet builds do exist internally, I was checking out the specs for the M4 and looking to buy.

Unfortunately, the UK Toshiba site only shows one model for the M4 whereas the US site has a multitude of options for processor speed, graphics memory, hard disk size, optical drive... (you get the idea). Now, I want to buy a machine that's going to last - it's got to do me at least two years and preferably three - so I want to buy the best that I can get. That means the best processor, the most video memory, essentially the best for anything you can't upgrade later. I called the sales line for Toshiba this morning planning to give them my money, but they only sell that one model and they don't do any custom builds. You either like the one they ship the way it comes out of the box or you don't buy it. I was told I could order a custom build from the US site but my warranty would be registered in the US and that doesn't sound like a such great deal to me.

This leaves me with the choice to buy a processor running at 80% of the clock speed of the one that I was looking at, with only half the video memory and the most basic optical disk. This isn't something I want to do. After having decided to take the plunge, I'm now left feeling disappointed. Maybe Toshiba don't think us Brits can cope with the top of the range model.

Seeing Mike Stall's post about how his black Lab reminded him of race conditions provides me with an opportunity to mention the contribution my dog has made to my career.

Holly is a Border Collie cross and she's approaching 10 years old now, though she hasn't quite learned how to act like it yet. She was a rescue dog and I've had her since she was 4 months old.

Many people talk about having ideas or solving problems in the shower or while out jogging. I've done most of my best work out with the dog wandering through the fields or along country lanes. I've thought through the solutions to technical problems, come up with project strategies, and developed business plans amongst many other things as a consequence. Practicing presentations usually generates about 10-15 minutes interest before she wanders off for some piece and quiet. I just have to hope the real audience last a little longer.

Not only man's best friend, but also an important professional development tool. :o)

Now that we've released IE7 Beta 1 to a developer audience, Markus posted about the improvements we've made in printing. He's written up a good overview and I just want to emphasise what you'll probably see highlighted most everywhere about both IE7 Beta 1 and Windows Vista Beta 1: this is just the beginning.

We want to hear feedback about the changes we've made in Beta 1 but I'm also looking forward to when we can show off the further improvements we've made since then. Hopefully, with the new print template in place fitting content to the page width, there's a corner of a forest somewhere breathing a sigh of relief.

Keith Brown posts his tip to make the base image of a set of differencing disks to read-only. Good idea.

SyncToy is apparently a new power toy for Windows XP to make synchronising files between computers easier. It's not available for download yet but will be freely available from microsoft.com once released.

For now, there is a whitepaper that explains what SyncToy is and what it does for you:

SyncToy is a free PowerToy for Microsoft Windows XP that provides is an easy to use, highly customizable program that helps users to do the heavy lifting involved with the copying, moving, and synchronization of different directories. Most common operations can be performed with just a few clicks of the mouse, and additional customization is available without adding complexity. SyncToy can manage multiple sets of directories at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another. Unlike other applications, SyncToy keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder.

Update: SyncToy is now available to download.