Saturday, November 28, 2009
I've wanted one of these since I saw it on Steve Clayton's blog (twice). And now I have one - lucky me.
One of the reasons I'll use a big mouse (compared to the gosh-that's-tiny notebook style) is the magnify button on the side. Just as I usually don't want to get off the keyboard to use the mouse to, say, save my document, I don't want to get off the mouse and use the keyboard to zoom and stop zooming when I'm presenting. I had a nice Microsoft mouse a few years back but the magnify button wouldn't work with the beta of Vista I was using and I ended up letting someone else use that mouse. So I'm super happy that the magnify button on this mouse works just beautifully with Windows 7.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I teach a course at Trent University on Object Oriented Analysis and Design with UML, and have done since the last century. I teach my students how to make decisions about the systems they will some day build, and how to draw diagrams that communicate those decisions to others. We find as often as not that the act of trying to make the diagram leads us through the thought processes that are needed to make good decisions. That brings huge value even if you never show the diagram to anyone else and never update it.
I've never been a big fan of "technical documentation" in the form of a giant binder that some poor person has to keep up to date any time the code changes. If you want to know all the methods of the Employee class, why not use Intellisense or the Object Browser or the like? But that doesn't mean I don't like making those diagrams at the beginning, when they help me to do my thinking. I also make them when I have something to explain, including when I bring a new person onto a project. So how much do I love this quote?
the UML ... was to be a language for visualizing, specifying, constructing,
and documenting the artifacts of a software-intensive system—in short, a
graphical language to help reason about the design of a system as it unfolds.
Most diagrams should be thrown away, but there are a few that should be
preserved, and in all, one should only use a graphical notation for those things
that cannot easily be reasoned about in code.
It's in an interview I already linked to, but it took Patrick Smacchia to point our those sentences to me. As I wind up the last few weeks of the course, it's nice to know that my position on the point of the diagrams and deliverables is aligned with one of my heroes.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Pete Brown has a terrific two part series on sensor programming in Windows 7. Part 1 has a link for where to get the board, and fills you in on the new architecture. Lots of helpful links and screenshots here, including one to Pietro Bambrati that includes some changes to the racing game sample to make the accelerometer work and one to his video showing you how to install and test it.
Part 2 starts with this nice summary of your options as a developer:
There are three different ways you can use the accelerometer API. You can, of
course, go directly against the COM API and generate your own wrappers and
pinvokes. You can use the managed wrappers provided in the SDK, or you can use
the Windows API Code Pack which includes support for the sensor
API and a number of other Windows 7-specific enhancements. In this case, I decided to use the code pack in concert with WPF 4.
Hard to argue with that! Pete has written an AccelerometerJoystick you can use in any "controller" situation - and be sure to think beyond just games!
Definitely read and watch, and let Pete and Pietro save you some time!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I saw this on Scott Hanselman's blog:
It's three little meters - memory, CPU, and Disk IO. Each has a jump list with the obvious tasks - starting Task Manager, for example. It's really simple to do (read the code yourself) thanks to Code Pack.
What will you do over a weekend with it?
Friday, November 20, 2009
It's time for another release of the Windows® API Code
Pack for Microsoft® .NET Framework. Yay! This is a pretty small release (which is why the version just went from 1.0 to 1.0.1) with some bug fixes, performance improvements, and more documentation and samples. It's getting a little attention
- Yochay gives the excellent advice to "consider this library as if you wrote it yourself, as if it is your
own code" and reminds you that while it's "the closest thing to an “official” managed API for Windows", it is not a supported product you can call somebody for help with.
- Mahmoud, who's actually running a Code Pack blog (though I think both Yochay and I have more Code Pack posts).
- Sasha, like me a friend of the Code Pack, also has a summary of Yochay's PDC talk - you should download and watch it.
- Kevin Griffin wrote a nice Code Pack article a day before the new version was announced, but all his praise is still valid
If you're already a Code Pack fan, just go get the latest version. If you're not, you should be - it means just a line or two of code to make your application look and behave like a real Windows 7 app.
And are you wondering what's next for Code Pack?
See why I said to download and watch Yochay's talk?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Developer Night in Canada is a fun podcast from John Bristowe and Joey deVilla of Microsoft Canada.
Episode 1 - my friend Joel Semeniuk. He's talking about the tool formerly known as Team Systems, and about the way he makes software. The Work Item Manager I told you about gets a mention too. Worth a listen!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Nice blog post from Scott Guthrie while I was getting ready for Tech Ed Europe. It has a whole laundry list of good stuff in WPF 4, but what jumped out for me was the Windows 7 light up content.
What can you expect? Jumplists (items and tasks), icon overlays and progress bar, thumbnail buttons, thumbnail clipping, all of it. Nice.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I had to check Wikipedia to be sure how to spell that . I thought this was a good post to pull some images off my camera and be a little touristy.
Here is the U-Bahn (subway) station nearest the hotel. We rode the subways back and forth each day, about 30 minutes each way including changing lines, and all free thanks to a transit pass that I believe Kylie ("I'm 4 and a half and I'm a PC") might have created for us. Mine got crumpled and soggy but worked perfectly.
Here we all are headed into the Messe one morning. Big, isn't it?
This one shows you a little more of what we were up against. The big round thing is just the entrance to the complex. The red brick building with a big 2 on it had the speaker room in it. Behind it are other buildings of the same size with the exhibition halls, pavilions etc, and past that the food rooms. The blue-grey building with the 7 on it is the one that held all the breakouts. And yes, we had to go outside (and it rained a fair bit) when going from building to building - but only for 20 or 30 feet.
I have a bit of a running joke on my blog about donuts. Some Tech Eds have 'em ... and some don't. This one did. Apparently they're not called Berliners in Berlin. (And btw, JFK didn't say what you're thinking.)
Finally, here's all that's left of the wall in most spots:
And the Brandenburg Gate at night makes a very compelling image. We walked through, East to West.
Next year? I sure hope so.
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