Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
For a long time now, I've been using mapquest.com for maps of places I am going to. I have no real complaints with it, so I haven't been looking to see what else there is. Sure, it's a little annoying that I have to click Maps when I first get there if I want a Canadian map, and then there's a really annoying refresh when you choose Canada and it changes State to Province, which can wipe out everything you typed if you're on a slow line, but those are pretty minor, really.
Last night Dwayne was talking about Mappoint Location Server, which is an enterprise-focused technology for seeing where your people or deliveries or whatnot are, using a map, but of course he showed a lot of Mappoint maps along the way. And you know what? They're nice-looking. Really nice-looking.
So tonight someone phoned me to ask where a particular building was, and said Mapquest couldn't find the address she gave it. (Turned out she was spelling the street incorrectly so no marks off to Mapquest on that.) I tried Mappoint and -wow! These are beautiful maps that get more beautiful as you drill in.
It felt a little more dial-up friendly, too. The printable map is especially nice. Mapquest reduces the amount of chrome when you go for a printable map, but not to zero. At least for now the printable Mappoint map is pretty much chrome-free. I tried a few places where the streets are denser (downtown Toronto) and liked that, too.
For now it seems to be North America only, so I'll use MapQuest for my Europe planning. Up to now I've been using a 40 year old atlas for that, which is working fine really since London, Paris, Venice etc tend not to move around and I only need to know things like how far apart they are. Sooner or later I'll want a touch more detail, and Internet maps are perfect for that.
[Update Sept 23rd: Europe is in there. I'm a 100% Mappoint girl now...]
Monday, August 16, 2004
The East of Toronto .NET Users Group is meeting tomorrow night, Tuesday the 17th. Come and hear Dwayne Lamb and discover all the wonders of adding location information to a mobile application. Please register at gtaeast.torontoug.net so we know how many to expect.
Come out and get a look inside Microsoft's latest addition to the MapPoint family of products - Microsoft MapPoint Location Server. With MLS's SOAP interface, developers can easily integrate the real-time location of a mobile phone into their applications. Fleet management, Mobile CRM, asset tracking, buddy finding and much more are now possible. MLS's Plugin architecture allows for integration with a number of sources of real-time location information from Wireless operator networks to Wi-Fi hotspots and GPS devices. Come out and hear about the new location services that mobile operators are offering and find out how .NET programmers can integrate them into their solutions.
Dwayne Lamb, Visual Byte Inc. is a 15-year veteran of the computer industry and an experienced technology instructor, writer, presenter and developer. Through his work at Visual Byte, and his active involvement in the developer and user communities, he has become a leader and industry specialist in the area of mobile application development and design and has been recognized by Microsoft as a Mobile Device MVP.
In other exciting user group news, I have a room through the fall for the group -- in the same building, but a different room. Starting with the September meeting (which will feature a presentation on building applications for mobile devices from the MSDN Canada team) we will be in UA 2120. But tomorrow it's still UA 1350. See you there!
Friday, August 06, 2004
Clearly some sort of internal milestone has been reached by the C++ product team, because Stan and Herb are blogging again. Stan has quite a long entry on why C++/CLI supports both templates and generics, from an insider/designer point of view. It's not a skim-through-while-you-eat-your-breakfast post, but if you care about C++ you'll be glad you read it.
Admit it, you'd like a Tablet PC, wouldn't you? Then you could know what Julie Lerman and other ink-lovers are talking about all the time. Or if you already have one, with a second one you could give it away and get someone else hooked on tablet development. Well, Carl Franklin of .NET Rocks (and my fellow RD) wants some insight into what developers care about, and he's willing to give away this lovely Toshiba M200 to get it. Fill out a quick and confidential survey and you're all set. Contest ends August 26th, so don't dilly-dally.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
I get a lot of fake bounce messages these days, either because mail that was spoofed as being from me has bounced or because viruses are pretending to be bounce messages. I also get a fair number of OOF and vacation messages from strangers, for much the same reasons I suppose. I ignore them, and usually delete them unread. But this one I read, because it had no attachment and I didn't know what the subject (Congés) meant. What I found is worthy of mention:
Je serais de retour de congés le 23 août 2004.
En mon absence, je vous invite à contacter Steve xxxxxxxxx (email@example.com).
Coordonnées du standard : 01 41 97 xx xx
Je me tiens à votre disposition à mon retour.
(I elided the name and email of the standin, Steve, and the phone number.) Just look at the phrasing! He invites me to contact Steve. He's going to put himself at my disposition on his return. He even signs it Cordially! Is it just that the French language lends itself to that kind of phrasing, or is didier a truly gracious person? I'll never know. But if I ever get a vacation, I think I will be wording my message a little differently now...
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Almost two months ago now, Joel Semeniuk blogged about responding to RFPs and how awful it is. The thing is, it's really hard to keep a business larger than one person afloat without ever responding to them. And once in a while, you get the contract, which is fantastic but keeps you from blogging .
Gregory Consulting is in the midst of not one but two contracts landed through RFPs right now, and I just can't help myself, I'm responding to another, this to get on a Vendor of Record list for, er, a major provincial government. About two years ago this ministry built a list and the RFP had a due date for responses of December 23rd. The first Q & A session was full of questions about the deadline, would it be postponed, and the answers were oh no, absolutely not, there's plenty of time for you to make a good response in that time. Every Q & A after that, the same question, the same answer. Until two weeks before the deadline when they announced a four week or so extension. So here we go again in 2004 and the due date was July 29th, and the Q & A literally complained “the government is ruining my vacation” and the answer was “we are ruining our own as well but there will be no extension.” Again and again people asked and were told the deadline was immutable.
I've been busy doing the work I landed but I settled down last night to pull the whole RFP package together so it could be printed and bound today and hand delivered tomorrow. And with a horrible sinking feeling I was realizing I had hours of work writing project profiles and filling out checklists. I got to the bit where you have to list all the addenda you have seen, popped up to merx to get the most recent addenda (I've been busy, remember?) and -- hey! This thing closes August 19th now!
At least I found out before I stayed up all night.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Last night Adam Gallant came (from his sickbed) to speak on game and media development at the East of Toronto .NET User Group. For the summer, we meet in a snazzy new lecture hall at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Adam wanted to draw some diagrams -- with a pen, on paper. That's pretty low tech. But so everyone could see what he was doing, the room has a document camera hooked up to the projector. Fun toys!
You can see in the background there are both whiteboards and blackboards as well. It was never like this when I was a student (my University of Waterloo student number, which I still know, starts 77.)
It will really hurt to give up this room in September when the students come back. Sigh.
Monday, July 19, 2004
The East of Toronto User Group is meeting tomorrow at Durham College / OUIT once again. Please come and see Adam Gallant talk about game and media development:
A lot of software developers have realized the benefits of moving to the managed code environment provided by .NET, and are writing applications using C# and VB.NET. However, one of the most of the most exciting new technologies available to .NET developers is the availability of Managed DirectX, which provides managed access to building rich 3D application and games to .NET developers. Not a poor second cousin, Managed DirectX provides almost identical performance as native DirectX code. In this session, we will introduce DirectX concepts, the Managed DirectX classes, and demonstrate a managed game written in C#.
Please visit http://gtaeast.torontoug.net/UG_Events/627.aspx to register.
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