Apple just released their new version of Max OS X (10.5) called Leopard, which of course has a real neat user interface and really cool experience - the Apple trademark. I have seen a lot of people moving on to the Mac platform the last years, but then we talk about personal and niche users and so far the Apple OS X share is about 4% compared to XP's 80% and Vistas 8%.
I'm not a Mac expert nor user but I read as much as I can about new and impressive products to get a wide perspective on the area. During my read up on OS X 10.5 I have read about users getting, the Windows patented, Blue Screen of Death - which caused me some laughs.
Today I read about the OS X 10.5 network icons. Apparently when you browse the network with Leopard you will get an icon of Windows computers that is representing an old-school CRT monitor with a BSOD . This gives me an impression that Apple still wants OS X to be a niche product and I think it's pretty childish and arrogant.
Here are instructions on how you change it to a "normal" icon: http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/30/mini-how-to-remove-the-windows-bsod-icon-in-leopard-make-os-x-a-little-less-smug
Yes, it is kind of funny at first sight...
Finally the Windows Vista Ultimate Extras team released the remaining 19 language packs for Windows Vista Ultimate. The language packs allows Vista Ultimate users to easily switch between different languages in the Vista user interface.
The language packs are maybe not the most exciting feature for Windows Vista and I believe that this should not just be an exclusive add-on for high-end users (the ones who buy the, as of today, very expensive Ultimate version) of Vista. This feature should be a part of all Vista editions, maybe with an additional minor charge for each language pack.
But on the other side, who will use this feature - not me anyway!
Now that the Extras team have released all of the announced Extras the Windows Vista Ultimate Director Barry Goffe says:
"Given our track record, it would be unwise to provide details of what comes next until I am 100% confident in our ability to deliver. Please rest assured, though, that our team is working on hard to deliver on our promise to Ultimate customers. I look forward to announcing the next Ultimate Extra. Please stay tuned… "
I really hope, and that soon, that they will have something really Extra up their sleeve so the extra cost for Windows Vista Ultimate finally will be worth something. Today the only thing that is extra with Vista Ultimate is the cost...
The new version, 3.0, will include an updated interface as well as some requested features and some major changes that msfeedicon users have asked/begged me about.
This is how the notification window currently looks like.
I will need a few, 3 or 4 to start with, beta testers to make sure that I have a good release once it's final, please contact me if you are interested and explain why you should be one of the beta testers. All beta testers will of course get credit in the application!
Yesterday I wrote about Internet Explorer 7 starting to behave like mad when reading feeds with the built-in Feeds functionality. This morning when reading my feeds I specifically studied the usage of GDI Objects in the Task Manager, and these are my findings:
GDI Objects Action 1.656 After started IE7 and watched first feed 6.037 After reading about 20 different feeds, in the same IE7 tab 811 Browsed to a non-feed site in the same tab 1.054 Continued reading feeds in the same tab 622 Opened a new site in a new tab and closed the one I used for reading feeds
As you can see the number of GDI objects is really getting high numbers when reading feeds using Internet Explorer 7, but browsing ordinary sites does not get that high numbers. This behavior affects me a lot since I usually read feeds in one tab and opens up the posts I need to read more on in a new tab, which of course causes even more GDI Objects.
There must be some bug in IE7 which causes the document/tab not to release the objects while browsing feeds, and my guess is that it has something to do with the XSL transformation.
So a tip, or workaround for now, is that once in a while close the tab you are using for reading feeds - or why not restart Internet Explorer 7 more often...
Every morning when I get to the office I have a few hundred of unread items to go through, see sample statistics from msfeedicon to the right.
I have a pretty modern Dell XPS m1210 machine with 2 GB of memory and as I start reading these feeds Windows starts to trash and finally totally goes nuts. Just watch the images below, which I will guide you through.
Then when I start reading the feeds, Internet Explorer starts to consume more and more memory and the CPU is going wild, until Windows Vista stops showing menus, content of windows etc.
Just look at the Task Manager below. You can see, at the yellow arrow where I start to read my feeds how the memory usage steadily increases until there are no more free memory (white and red arrows).
As the memory usage increases Vista and Internet Explorer acts more slowly and slowly until you have no other option than to kill the IE process, look at the image below and the blue arrow what happens then.
I think there are something fundamentally wrong with the feed management in Internet Explorer 7, I have not investigated it more thoroughly but I will send in a support case to Microsoft and see what will happen. My guess is that there are some leaks in the XSL transformation process.
Do you have the same experiences with Internet Explorer 7?
Today Microsoft announced that it will be extending Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with new enterprise social computing capabilities, by adding features from the partners NewsGator (Press release) and Atlassian.
SharePoint Connector for Confluence
This connector will integrate the Atlassian product called Confluence which is an enterprise wiki that makes it easy for your team to collaborate and share knowledge. The connector is allowing you to create more advanced wikis and blogs than the standard features of SharePoint or you can include SharePoint lists into Confluence, it even allows you to search both SharePoint content and documents as well as the Confluence content in one location.
Every SharePoint user will get their own personal blog and wiki, which will enhance the possibility of making a great Enterprise 2.0 site.
This connector is currently available as beta at no cost.
Newsgator Social Sites
NewsGator Social Sites is a set of site templates, Web parts and middleware to enhance the social computing for Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. Here you will find even better feed/blog management, tag clouds, feed statistics and more.
These are great additions to SharePoint, I have not yet tried them out, but it's on my agenda for sure! I have for a long time talked warmly about the enterprise version of Web 2.0 called Enterprise 2.0. At least here in Sweden it is difficult to get this concept going but this tool will surely get us in the right direction.
The Microsoft SharePoint blog has a new post called "Known issue: Office 2007 on Windows Vista prompts for user credentials when opening documents in a SharePoint 2007 site". The article is a result of many reported support cases on this issue and contains a few possible (I repeat possible) workarounds.
We have had this problem ourselves and on several customers. In some cases these workarounds really work, but most of the times not. And the problem is not only with SharePoint 2007, we also see it for SharePoint 2003 installations so I think it's more related to Vista, and its new security features, than SharePoint (the problem does not appear on Windows XP with IE7).
Let's hope for a long time fix.
Certificate problems with Windows Mobile and Active Sync seems to be a pretty common cause of not being able to synchronize you mobile phone with Microsoft Exchange, but despite the number of web pages and posts found around the net there are no simple solutions or shortcuts.
I previously had some problems installing my certificate on to my Windows Mobile 5 phone, but now it's upgraded to Windows Mobile 6, which has support for handling certificates. Today I had to update the certificate on our Exchange server since it was not valid anymore and after that my WM6 phone stopped syncing and giving me this error: The security certificate on the server has expired. Check that the date and time on your device are correct and the error code 0x80072f05. The Microsoft KB article 927465 did not help but led me to look for a utility called SslChainSaver which I found on the Windows Mobile Team Blog. The SslChainSaver utility traces all certificates to your server and saves them as files on your machine. It also produces an XML file which you can turn into a CAB file (instructions here) to install them on your Windows Mobile phone.
This worked like a charm and now I'm 24/7 online once again...
A few links on XML Paper Specification that I stumbled upon the last few days.
View XPS documents using Acrobat 8
Note: it's not supported in Acrobat Reader 8.1.
A new set of XPS tools from SANAtech
- XPSViewer is an ActiveX control for embedding XPS capabilities (viewing and printing) into applications.
- XPSRenderer 1.0 is a multi-platform library for rendering and printing XPS documents, it's available for AIX, Linux, OS/X and other Unix derivatives. This library is the core of the XPSViewer ActiveX control.
- XPSToolkit 1.0 is a not yet released multi-platform toolkit to fiddle with your XPS documents
These tools looks promising. I have not had the chance to test them, except for the viewer - sorry Maged, I will as soon as possible, to much work right now.
NiXPS Library v 1.5 SDK is released
NiXPS, pioneers in XPS tools, has released their C/C++ XPS library available for a free trial download with great documentation. The library allows you to create and modify XPS documents on almost any kind of platform and a C/C++ compiler/linker, it even allows you to render your XPS documents into an image buffer or TIFF file.
The news that Microsoft will be releasing the .NET 3.5 framework libraries source code for everyone. The code is under the Microsoft Reference License (MS-RL) which means that the code is available for you to use as a reference or for debugging, not to modify or extend (if you simplify it...a lot), i.e. it's not open source.
What's in it for us?
Scott Guthrie has all the goodies in his post, where he explains how this release of source code integrates into Visual Studio 2008, and how you can debug into (for example) the ASP.NET framework. Whenever you decide to step in to a .NET Core library or ASP.NET method Visual Studio will download the appropriate source code and allow you to dig in to it deeper.
You have been able to do this "manually" before using Reflector (which has been a lot of help in certain situations), but now everything gets easier.
Anything bad with this?
I don't think so, as long as Microsoft is not using it in a SCO manner and hitting back on us developers.
What about the future?
Since it's not real open source we are not allowed to edit this code, but it will not stop us from suggesting better implementations or sending in code to Microsoft on how to fix certain bugs or security holes. I will not be surprised if we will get a bug-database built in to the MSDN library which I think eventually will have not only the .NET documentation but even the .NET source code for easy access. The MSDN library already today contains the possibility for you to write your own comments using the Community Content.
The interesting stuff is that the re-release will not have any Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) check during installation. My humble guess is that Microsoft is trying to get all non-legal copies of Windows XP to update to the more secure version of Internet Explorer.
I have not seen any official words yet on this and it's not available on Windows Update, but I'll update this post as soon as I get more news.
Update 2007-10-05: The Internet Explorer team has now made it official.
Microsoft has released three more updates for Windows Vista mainly targeting performance, stability and reliability, one thing that Microsoft and Vista currently lacks. Service Pack 1 is in beta, but will not be ready for launch for several months, but to get get back some credibility for Windows Vista and to get the sales back on track I think Microsoft will continuously release these kind of updates. And of course they will get a wider target area for testing them.
It seems like Microsoft has abandoned the Patch Tuesday for the Windows Vista program to get these patches out as soon as possible.
The updates are not yet on Windows Update, but you have the links below.
Update for Windows Vista (KB941649) This update improves the compatibility, reliability, and stability of Windows Vista. Contains for example these improvements:
- It extends the battery life for mobile devices
- It shortens the startup time of Windows Vista by using a better timing structure - this is long awaited
- It shortens the recovery time after Windows Vista experiences a period of inactivity - this has really annoyed me a lot!
Cumulative update rollup for USB core components in Windows Vista (KB941600)This update focuses on a lot of USB problems, such as hibernation and sleep problems related to USB devices and various STOP errors.
Update for Windows Vista (KB941651 not published yet)This is a Windows Media Player patch that improves the reliability of Windows Media Player 11 for Windows Vista in certain scenarios.
It's still a beta but called Joost 1.0 beta and it's getting better and more importantly it's getting more channels and content (more than 15.000 shows). So if you have not tried Joost, head on over and download it.
The one thing I think is missing, is a seamless Media Center Integration - wouldn't that be something? Microsoft currently released Internet TV Beta for Media Center (only for the US customers, so us living up north in Sweden are left out as usual...) which I would like to test and compare to Joost - anyone have any interesting comparisons, is it a competitor or can they cooperate?
A few weeks ago I met a friend of a friend at a party who started to work for Accenture as a programmer a few months a go. After some talking we started discussion jobs, and I was wondering what she did at Accenture; what kind of development and projects. As a programmer I was eager to know what she was programming and stuff like that, I know that she had studied C++ at the university and that she had worked with that for a while. At Accenture she had entered the Java world and now she was developing a SOA application - interesting I thought and started to fire some more questions.
She started telling me that she used some tool and drawing up the services, a bit disappointed that a lot was automatically generated and she did not understand what happened under the hood. I asked what tools are you using? Uhhh, something with Websphere she told me. Do you use Eclipse as IDE, was another question. Uhhh, it says Websphere in the window title. The discussion went on like this for a while...
This talk really surprised me; first of all, she is a really nice and smart girl and she probably have a bright future, but I think that a programmer/developer must know their environment, what tools they are using and why they are using it. If you are going to be a good programmer, not a bread-and-butter programmer, the first thing you should do is dig in to the automatically generated code and check what's happening behind the scenes.
Then, at least me, had high expectations on Accenture programmers, I thought they were more drilled and skilled than this. Accenture uses Tiger Woods in their commercials and stating We know what it takes to be a Tiger - I think Tiger Woods knows the brand and model of his clubs.