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Sunday, May 28, 2006

WPF Polarium clone updated to May CTP of WinFX

To get my hands wet with a little WPF code I decided to update my Polarium clone to the May CTP of WinFX Beta 2. There were minor changes related to the namespaces as detailed in this blog post. In addition I had to update the namespaces related to the Expression Interactive Designer (EID). For that I created a sample EID project and looked at the generated XAML code to get the namespaces.

Here is the direct link to the Source and Binaries.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A simple iBlok Mod

After getting my WinFX runtime installed, I decided to try out the iBloks Beta (yet another of all the floating Betas!). iBloks looks more of an app for kids. It provides a pretty simple interface to drag and drop media content onto a MOD. Currently there are a couple of mods available like Dancing Man, Hearts, Cube, etc. Each of these mods have one or more plain surfaces onto which one can drag media content (photos, videos, text).

Choosing the media is also pretty straightforward. On the lower part of the window, there is a tabbed interface to switch between videos, photos, text, audio, etc. Once you have all of the media attached to the MOD, one can also share it or simply save to the local drive. Of all the mods I personally like the Dancing Man…for a simple reason…it has more surfaces to drag content to ;)

Dancing Man on the Ocean Theme

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Day of the install

Today has been pretty busy right from the morning. It all started from yesterday evening after the announcement of the betas (Vista, Office 2007 and WinFX). I decided to try out Office and WinFX. Fortunately Microsoft put out the Office betas out in the public (i.e. not requiring a MSDN subscription). I downloaded the installers for Office professional, Visio and OneNote. Late in the night when I had all of the office installers I loaded them onto my laptop. The installation was smooth without any hitch. I was already impressed looking at the Channel9 video of Outlook 2007 and then the official Office 2007 videos.

Today morning was the time for WinFX. I got rid of the previous versions of the runtime (Feb CTP), Windows SDK, Expression Interactive Designer (EID) and the Expression Graphic Designer (EGD). Just to be on the safer side I also downloaded the uninstall utility and ran it over after I had manually uninstalled from the Add/Remove programs. Meanwhile I was downloading the applications as per the links in this post. Once I had the installers I started with the WinFX installation. It ran fine for about 2 mins and then it crashed. I looked into the logs (stored in the %temp% directory) and found that it was crashing for Windows Communication Foundation (WCF). I did a quick search on the MSDN forums and found that people had faced similar problems. That however didn’t help me, even after restarting installation a few times. I guess the problem has to be with an earlier install of Microsoft MAX. MAX installs its own WinFX runtime and I am thinking there must have been some sparks flying in the registry because of that.

After many failed attempts I decided to take the most drastic step…reinstall the OS. This was anyway long overdue. I had a ton of software piled up and I was also having some performance problems. Plus it always gives me a sublime feeling of starting on a clean OS ;) So there I was with my recovery disks, backing up data, formatting hard disks, reinstalling OS and then followed by a ton of software installs (betas of course included). With all that behind me, I am now typing this blog post …with a sign of relief…zzzzzZZZZZ

Word 2007 test post

This is a test post sent using the Word 2007’s Blog Post feature.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

iBloks early access

I mentioned sometime back that iBloks would be the next cool app after the North Face demo. iBloks is built using the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). In their own words:
"Welcome to the only way to create 3D personalized, multimedia, entertainment and game experiences to share with others. You can use your own digital media content or check out the iBloks shop for cool content from iBloks, and our partners. It's a fun, easy and totally new way to express yourself."
iBloks was first announced at the MIX 06. They also had a beta sign-up program where one would get early access to the software. Today I got a mail saying that I can now download the application. It is available on their download page. Check it out!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Expression Web Designer for Download

Finally, the Expression Web Designer (EWD) is available for download. In fact it was supposed to have released a few days earlier but there were some problems with the site. Now its here -- Download

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

They say "Seeing is Believing", Wii says "Playing is Believing"

The E3 is underway and the 3 big players: Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are off to demo some of the cool titles for their systems. Somehow my attention is all for Nintendo; for the Wii. I can't be blamed. I have been playing Nintendo games since I was a kid: Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, then GameCube and more recently Nintendo DS. For me its all about fun and fascinatingly Nintendo delivers just that!

Wii comes out in Q4 of 2006. Until then I'll hang around this place. For the latest and greatest at E3, go here. There is a cool Wii Tennis video with Miyamoto, waiting for you!

BTW, the inspiration for this post comes from this press article.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The last Redesign

As I approach towards my last day as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), I got assigned a final redesign task for sprucing up an email. This was going to be a memo that would be sent out to all the faculty at the Bauer School of Business (the place where I am a GTA). Since I had already done similar tasks before I got picked up for doing this...just when I thought I could catch a nap...@#@$#%#$ :-)


This is how the webpage looks before the redesign. Some of the things I had to change was the layout, images, header, and most importantly CSS-ifying the page.

The page was having a complex table-structure for layout -- which is definitely something the Web-Standards gurus won't appreciate. Plus, the markup was not semantic and had lot of elements just for styling (think lot of <FONT> tags). This really bloated the markup and the file size was about 7 Kb.

I am guessing somebody must have used FrontPage for this design ;-)


For the redesign, I decided to stick to a 2-column layout with the main-content in the left-column and a sidebar for the faculty testimonials. All the styling was done in CSS and the markup was made more semantic. This brought down the file size to around 3 Kb. The images were also changed: a new image for the Director and also a new banner image for the header. The images were floated to give the effect of flowing text. I also added some rounded corners for style.

Since the "Key Features" list was expanded to more than two, the page became longer and required scrolling. I have a couple of ways for dealing with that but for now I'll leave it as it is.

As an aside, I used the Consolas font for writing the markup and CSS. I think I like this font a lot and I am going to switch to that for my regular coding.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

MAC takes on PC

Apple really seems to be getting together to challenge the PC world. First it was the Ad at the MacWorld Keynote 2006 -- "Intel chips: so far were dull little machines running dull little tasks". Now they have a new set of Ads where they pit two guys, one is a MAC and the other is a PC. I like the Restarting Ad.

[Update]: Translations available for the Networking Ad. Go here.

The MacBook Pros are out: 15.4" and 17". So I'll see you at my Birthday Party ;)