# Monday, 17 March 2014

Office Lens went live in the Windows Phone Store today. I happened to have a list of things to do on a whiteboard in my office, so I gave it a try. I had already taken a picture of the whiteboard to transcribe but I went back to the board with the app installed to see if I could save some time.

Here's the picture Office Lens took (resized to 400 pixels wide)

Here's how that looked when Office Lens cleaned it up and put it in a OneNote document for me (I copied the picture out of OneNote, cropped it and resized it):

Much nicer - the glare spots are gone and the background is cleaner. The skew that resulted from taking the picture on an angle (a defensive action to keep the glare out of the important parts of the image) is also gone. As is, this can go into an email. If my handwriting was neater, One Note could have tried to extract the text from it. But this is a lovely improvement and Office Lens is free, so why not give it a try?


Monday, 17 March 2014 11:19:16 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, 07 March 2014
Over the years I've used a lot of tools to get screenshots. My old standby is Paint Shop Pro (copyright 1991-1997 it says on the splash screen, and I recall I deliberately didn't stick with an upgrade that introduced complicated stuff I didn't want, like layers.) I like it because I can set up a time delay for a shot which lets me get tooltips and the like ready when the capture happens.

Alas, on this Windows 8 machine with a second screen, something confuses Paint Shop and it doesn't capture the whole screen. I experimented a bit with the Snipping Tool that comes with Windows, but it doesn't have a time delay or a keystroke, so I can't get tooltips, context menus, or anything else that requires me to interact with the app before the shot.

I got desparate and started using the PrtScrn button on my keyboard. Your keyboard probably has one. I often type Shirt-PrtScrn but I just checked and the Shift is unnecessary. This captures the whole screen (or both if you have two) and puts it in the clipboard buffer. From there I can paste into whatever I edit images with (usually Paint Shop to be honest) and then crop to the part I want.

So far this is boring. I mean really, this is what you could have done TWENTY YEARS ago. And it's been fine for me except that cropping part. But yesterday I learned about Alt PrtScrn. It gets you just the current window! And if you let go of Alt before Prt Scrn, the alt is not passed along to the underlying app either. This is going to save me some seriously annoying cropping.


Friday, 07 March 2014 13:00:36 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3]
# Friday, 28 February 2014

I have updated my Visual Studio Pluralsight course for Visual Studio 2013 and Part 1 is now live. It covers features that were newly added in the 2013 release as well as older material (so you don't need to take the 2012 courses before you take this one.) It focuses on how to work Visual Studio rather than on the mechanics of a particular programming language or framework. The demos are all in C# but almost all of it applies to other languages equally well. (As C++ developers know, some things we don't get, but we're used to that.)

A number of people who've been using Visual Studio for years have reported to me that they decided to watch the course just to see what features I felt were worth covering - and then accidentally learned something! Chances are you will, too, so why not watch on double speed and see if something comes up you didn't know before?


Friday, 28 February 2014 12:49:26 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, 23 February 2014

I was invited to speak to some Imagine Cup contestants in Calgary and delighted to accept. I spoke to the teams informally for quite a while about judging and judges and general team tips. I was really happy to see some teams from previous years so I could hear what happened after they entered. If you're a student (undergrad or grad) and would like to enter, there is theoretically still time, but realistically it would have been better to start several months ago since you do have to build working software. Why not take a look at the contest (there are over a million dollars in prizes, and you can get a cool trip somewhere and meet some industry high flyers) and start pulling together a team for next year? There's a pretty good introduction for Canadians on the Microsoft Canada blog.

For those of you who were at the sessions, here are the slides I used in the afternoon. I talked about the new C++ features and why they matter, and demoed C++ AMP as a great motivator for using C++. (I wanted to upload the pptx files, but they're too big for the blog, so I've exported PDFs.)


GregoryCppAMP.pdf (1.65 MB)

Cpp11and14.pdf (556.51 KB)

Sunday, 23 February 2014 13:17:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [3]
# Wednesday, 01 January 2014

I'm a January 1st MVP, which means that while dealing with email that has piled up over the holiday break, I'm usually surprised to find my MVP renewal amongst the hundreds of other messages coming in. This year is no exception.

According to the MVP blog, there are 1011 of us awarded today. I'm happy to be included once again!


Wednesday, 01 January 2014 13:13:38 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, 28 November 2013

In a word, it was exhausting. But it was also cool from a technical point of view. Here's a still of us I grabbed from the video recording:

The screens in front of us are touch screens. I forgot how much fun it is to demo Hilo on a touch screen. Here's how it looked from my side (sorry about the lunch mess):

And a better view of all three cameras:

You can see that part of my job was to imagine people who wanted to learn C++ on the other side of those cameras. And finally, here's James hard at work getting something onto the demo machine:

I believe this picture immortalizes the moment he tweets about here:

Great day and good fun. Hope everyone learned a lot!

Thursday, 28 November 2013 18:41:15 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Channel 9 has all 7 pieces of the MVA Day I did with James McNellis available online now!

We went very fast through this one day introduction. If you'd like a slightly saner pace, please check out my Pluralsight courses, C++ Fundamentals and C++ Fundamentals - Part 2. If you're not a programmer, and you'd like to "begin at the beginning" with C++, try Learn How to Program with C++. There is a free trial for the Pluralsight courses to get you started.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013 14:44:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, 23 November 2013
The C++ Jumpstart full day event on Tuesday was a blast! James and I really enjoyed ourselves and from the looks of the chat room, so did the attendees. We had literally thousands of people registered for the event and in a few weeks the recording should be available (check http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/Live-Training-Events for a recording link - scroll past Live Events to Recorded Events) for even more people to view.


Saturday, 23 November 2013 13:44:50 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]