Ang3lFir3 – Life as a Code Poet

May 27, 2006

Windows Vista Beta2: first impressions

Filed under: Microsoft, technology, Uncategorized, Windows Vista — ang3lfir3 @ 6:41 pm

So, as hopefully some of you already know I was waiting on hardware for a dedicated Vista test box. Well it arrived ontime on Thursday (Newegg always on time) but I've been really busy at work with my current project going beta in a few days.

This weekend however I've had some time to install Vista Beta2 and get some first impressions.

And, I'm pretty excited. Still there are a few things that I'm not too keen on (No listview for folders?) and many more things I'm really excited about. I've been playing with the Vista Ultimate edition since there is no reason to see anything else (least not for me..always install the best). You may also remember that I am very excited for the inclusion of Media Center in Vista. So after playing with the main OS for awhile, which is mostly just me fiddling with settings. I decided to install my Media Center hardware. Namely a VisionTek Theatre Pro 550 TV Tuner to go along with the Nvidia 6200TC (I do suggest something better for a more perminant solution) I'll be using for viewing on this test box.

Being a beta product I expected a lot of hassle with drivers not working and things like that. There is the distinct possibility that there may be no usable drivers for the hardware yet. Which is no fault of Microsoft's or even the hardware vendor's at this point. But, to my surprise and delight I had zero problems. The best part was the NV drivers were nicely preinstalled (gota love that) and when I decided to take the plunge with my onboard Realtek audio driver installation and the drivers for the Theatre Pro card I used the online driver search utility. Which worked like a charm. Anyone using XPSP2 can tell you that finding drivers with the included XP online tool can be difficult for modern hardware. In this case it was a snap and I was up and running in a matter of minutes.

I hit "The Green Button" on my MCE remote and stepped through the configuration wizard and was watching live TV on my Vista Media Center in a matter of minutes. It was such a pleasurable experience that I really thought I should share it with you all. Ohh, and Vista Media Center…. yeah I'm in love. Though the Guide listing for my channels wasn't always 100% correct about what was on, for the most part it got it right and with the scheduling options for recording I had my favorite series (wow what's the plural for series?) scheduled and ready to go in just a few minutes.

I'll speak to the Vista UI in a future post. For the most part after a few minutes of reconfiguration I was closer to what I wanted with not too much pain. I do however want my listview back. Maybe even some opinions on Office2007 though I'm sure there are enough floating around out there without me trying to same something intelligent.

May 23, 2006

Windows Vista Beta2 Released!!!

Filed under: Microsoft, technology, Uncategorized, Windows Vista — ang3lfir3 @ 1:04 pm

I'm excited about today. Sometime after the WinHec presentation (hey i was having lunch) Microsoft Windows Vista Beta2 was released to MSDN subscribers and possibly on connect.microsoft.com (not totally sure about that). This is way exciting news! PressRelease

With the arrival of my new hardware on Thursday I will finally have a dedicated Vista test platform to run Beta2 on.

I'm silly excited that I can barely think of much to say. Lets hope that Vista Beta2 is everything we were promised and then some. Wouldn't that be a shocker! Either way after my 12hr Download from MSDN finishes you can be assured I'll be searching out a machine to become victim in the mean time between now and Thursday.

Apperantly Office 2007 beta is out too…. lol but I'm less excited about that than maybe I should be.

May 16, 2006

LINQ CTP (MAY 2006) Released

Filed under: Microsoft, technology, Uncategorized, Visual Studio 2005, Windows Vista — ang3lfir3 @ 2:01 pm

The LINQ (Language Integrated Query) CTP for May 2006 was released recently for VS codenamed "Orcas".

Excerpt from The LINQ Homepage:

"Following the vision setting preview released at the 2005 PDC, the May 2006 preview of Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) shows the progress made towards realizing that vision, and sets the trajectory for Visual Studio code name “Orcas”. "

As a VB.NET Dev the prospect of LINQ is super exciting to me. It's one of those things you always said "I should just be able to do this as easy as SQL". Well now you can. Want to query a collection of objects? Go right ahead and write a quick LINQ statement and get the job done. Need to find only the strings with length of 5 characters in a string array? LINQ can handle that easily.

Its one of those extra little things that MS has been advancing in recent times to really make my life as a dev that much more simple. Check out this Video on Channel 9 for more info.

When I get the chance in the near future I'll give it a try on my Demo box. EWD, LINQ and hopefully more all this month. Awesome!

May 15, 2006

Expression Web Designer CTP 1

Filed under: Expression Web Designer, Microsoft, Uncategorized — ang3lfir3 @ 12:45 pm

Microsoft has finally released  Expression Web Designer (Codename: Quartz) CTP1  . I plan on spending some time with it real soon. From the screen shots I've seen the interface will be familiar to anyone who has ever used a Visual Studio product. Which to me is great. It also looks like Microsoft have really made some great improvements in the ways of website design tools. 

Download EWD (Expression Web Designer) and give it a try.

System requirements include .Net 2.0 and a min XP SP2 … but honestly what hasn't in the last few months.

May 11, 2006

Awesome 3D Projection System (Anyone wanna buy me one?)

Filed under: technology, Uncategorized — ang3lfir3 @ 2:04 pm

Checking out one of my favorite blogs, by Charlie Owen , today I discovered that his brother just got into blogging as well. (w00t! we have something in common lol :) )

While reading Charlie's brother's blog I noticed an article about this killer 3D projection system for trade show booths. The product is produced by IO2 Technology and the M2i version of their projection system includes an interactive interface. Checkout the images and video and be prepared to be amazed.

Anyone want to buy me one of these for my living room? Hmmm, I wonder if I could find a way to get Media Center to run on one of these. If the IO2 Tech guys are listening I would be willing to give it a shot if you want to drop one off at my house.  :)

May 10, 2006

Giving Ruby On Rails a try

Filed under: Ruby on Rails, Ruby/Rails, RubyOnRails, Uncategorized — ang3lfir3 @ 10:14 am

So after watching the screen casts from the Ruby on Rails website. I got really excited about Ruby and Rails. Watching someone create a basic weblog in 15mins and 58 lines of code is exciting. The Screencasts go really fast so don't blink. The screencasts are .movs but on windows you can use the QT_Alternative (not a big fan of the bloat that comes with QT now) and watch them through WMP.

I'm really excited to start working with Ruby on Rails. We'll see how fast it can make my development. Also, after reading a little from  Why's Poignant Guide (which is hillarious and informative at the same time) i've got to say that Ruby is truly a beautiful form of "codespeak" as he likes to put it.

Ironicly while writing this my playlist decided to jump to Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train … so I am taking that as a sign. A good sign too.

More to come on this as I begin to work with/learn Ruby….

May 7, 2006

Tabs in Visual Studio 2005 (Arrrgh!! stop that!)

Filed under: Microsoft, Uncategorized, Visual Studio 2005 — ang3lfir3 @ 9:47 pm

Something has been bugging me ever since the launch event for VS2005. I've been waiting for MS to do something about it as well as searching out a hack to solve the problem. All to no avail.

So "What is this problem?" you ask. Well, its the Tabs in the main code editor window for VS2K5. They are backwards, rediculously backwards even. Its not logical to have new tabs opening against the far left edge of the tab row. This does two things that make me LESS PRODUCTIVE!!!

The first is that is shifts all the tabs i had been clicking through before one position to the right. That means I have to re-learn where the code windows while trying to actually get work done. As I often close code windows periodicly when done with them this causes my tabs to be going all over the place.

The second is that this means I have to go to the far edge of the screen (literally across the whole screen) to move the new tab to a more normal position. [figure 2] This highly annoying behavior can be a real pain when you are trying to work quickly and still maintain some UI sanity.

Figure 1 below shows the tabs before opening a new document (the one highlighted in white is the current document)

VS_tabs_before
click to enlarge

Figure 2 below shows the location of a new tab (highlighted in white) after opening another document. The red arrow shows where the tab SHOULD open in a more logical workflow.

VS_tabs_after
click to enlarge

If someone knows of a Hack to fix this problem, or if Microsoft would be so kind as to make this a configurable option at least, that would be awesome. I mean come on Visual Studio is a Developers Environement. If anyone can handle (and would demand) every possible configuration option available, its gunna be us developers. And furthermore no one likes this reodering and destruction of the tab order.

I really am wondering who's idea this was, I sure would like to have a conversation with them.

May 5, 2006

Microsoft Consolas a ClearType Font for VS2005

Filed under: Microsoft, Uncategorized, Visual Studio 2005 — ang3lfir3 @ 7:07 pm

Just the other day Microsoft released the Consolas ClearType Font. This Monospaced font was designed to be used in VS2005 (Visual Studio 2005) or any other environment where a monospaced font is desirable.

It is so easy to read and with the Clear Type Tuner PowerToy fixing any fuzzyness issues you may have is totally easy. I'm currently viewing it on a pair of 19" Acer 1912B 's.

As McD's would say "I'm Lovin' It"

MS: Access and why I hate it

Filed under: Microsoft, Uncategorized — ang3lfir3 @ 4:58 pm

So yet again today i realize another reason why I don’t like MS:Access. Don’t get me wrong it has its place and its uses but for the most part they are few and far between.

Having run into a problem with a client needing me to automate the execution of a macro in an existing Access application (that resides on a fileserver) and automate the emailing of the results to a third party, I’m frustrated. It really gets on my nerves when I have to come in and try and make this stuff work. Though it is fun sometimes, when it involves an Access application that is rarely the case.

I won’t go into the goary details of it all, at least not today, I just wanted to mention how absolutely irritating it is to see MS:Access being put to use in such mission critical applications as the one I am having to work with.

Hopping on the bandwagon

Filed under: Uncategorized — ang3lfir3 @ 1:05 am

Well it looks like I have decided to hop on the blogging bandwagon. Not too sure how i feel about all that. But we'll see as the days go by. Either way we'll see how interesting my life might actually be.

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