Life of a techno-guru
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
  Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0 C# Express Orcas Beta
Hey everyone! Microsoft has released a free, beta version of Visual Studio, known as Visual Studio Express, that allows you to visually develop applications based on the Windows Presentation Foundation! This is amazing news, especially for beginning programmers, and even for myself, as I use the Express edition of Visual Studio on several other computers that I use on a regular basis, where I don't have access to my copy of Visual Studio 2005 Standard. Unfortunately, installing the Fall CTP of the Orcas extensions for VS2005 didn't work on VS Express 2005, so I guess this required them releasing a new version to fix (which they did!). Remember, it's only a beta, and I've already noticed that 30 seconds in, the XAML element tag completion isn't working (when you close the opening tag, it doesn't insert a closing tag), but I'm sure they'll have this fixed. I posted in the MSDN forums about this problem so that it hopefully gets full attention from the Visual Studio development team.
Monday, April 23, 2007
  Free VBscript COM Objects
Just to make you all aware, and for the purposes of documenting this for myself, here is a link to the Toolsack Baseline 1.0 Components. This is a free product that consists of 30 COM objects for visual basic scripters. Some of the tools include:
To be fully honest, I haven't actually used these yet, but I have been aware of their existence for some time. It came up in a Google search a few months ago when I was looking for "VBscript sockets." Enjoy!
Saturday, April 21, 2007
  Programming Using the Windows Presentation Foundation
Well guys, sorry I haven't posted recently, but I've been learning some new tricks to stuff up my sleeve ;-)

One of the primary things I have been studying recently, is the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) component of the Microsoft .NET Framework version 3.0. WPF is an extremely powerful framework for building rich, interactive user interfaces both quickly and easily for Microsoft Windows systems. The separation of user interface design and procedural code is a very significant change between the .NET 2.0 and .NET 3.0 frameworks, however, I believe that it is for the better. The tools I have been using to learn about the Windows Presentation Foundation include the (very extensive) Windows SDK documentation, and a book I purchased from Amazon last week called Windows Presentation Foundation: Unleashed by Adam Nathan.

I figured that I would show you all (if anyone really reads my blog, I'd be surprised ;-) ) a screenshot of one proof-of-concept application that I put together really quick. It basically proves my earlier point of being able to build rich UIs without much effort at all. In fact, this entire example was built using XAML, and I wrote absolutely zero lines of procedural code. The purpose of this example was mostly to show the capabilities of embedding WPF controls inside of other WPF controls, to show how much you can do in WPF without procedural code, and also I wanted to show off the performance of WPF-based applications. I believe that Microsoft has done an excellent job of making the .NET 3.0 framework the most powerful and easy to use software development framework, and I can't say that I have any reservations about using it exclusively for any major application development.

This application is very simple. It has a Button control, and a couple labels, and two Slider controls. On the Button control, is a StackPanel that hosts a TreeView control and a MediaElement control. One Slider control controls the rotation of the Button, and the other controls the rotation of the MediaElement directly on top of the Button, independently. The Treeview control is host to a few MenuItems, and it also has a ContextMenu, that has a couple MenuItems, but one of those MenuItems contains yet another MediaElement control that's independent of the one on the Button. Yes, that's all kind of confusing, but just look at the screenshot and you'll see for yourself!

Edit: E-mail me for the XAML if you're curious to see how I did it. Hint: It's really, really easy ... I just think it's cool ;-)

Google Mail: pcgeek86

Edit2: Here's a link to the Binding Markup Extension I used to bind the output value from the Slider controls to the Angle property of the RotateTransform objects. This is mainly what kept me from having to use any C#
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
  Dell Service Tag Converter
Just so you all are aware, in the event that you call Dell Gold Tech Support (1-866-876-3355), and you are requested to input an Express Service Code number, there's a handy utility at this website, that allows you to convert a Service Tag to an Express Service Code.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007
  Novell Groupwise [is lame]
This will be a very short post. I simply would like to express my extreme discontent and frustration with the Novell Groupwise system. It is buggy, very slow when your mailbox fills up, and best of all, when the Groupwise server in question is having problems (read: slow), it locks up the Groupwise client on all your client systems as well. Isn't that nice?

It reminds me of using Outlook/Exchange at my old job. Exchange server goes down? Continue working. Exchange server comes back online? Continue working, and all your pending mail gets sent in the background. It's just a much better stream-lined interface. Novell fails at enterprise-level software development.
My life of learning various things about technology including network administration, development, and 3D design

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
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