Microsoft has released a new Windows Presentation Foundation demo sample that is a reader application for The Architecture Journal. The Architecture Journal is a quarterly online magazine focused on IT-architecture and contains nice articles and gives you some good reading. It is available online and as PDF (why not XPS?).
The Architecture Journal Reader is a WPF sample, very much like the New York Times Reader that was one of the first killer-apps for WPF, that you can use for offline reading of The Architecture Journal.
I really like this kind of applications. It has a rich, but simple user interface, with the look and feel of a paper magazine. You have a front page of each issue with small abstracts of the articles, all adjusting to the size of your window. You can easily click on an article and continue reading it.
The article also looks like a "real" magazine, instead of writing the text from left to right filling out the whole page it's divided into columns with a nice image layout, which gives you a good reading experience on the screen. You can adjust the text size easily and write your own annotations, either using text or ink. If you don't have time to read the article you can send it to your Reading List for later reading.
The application is based on RSS feeds with an extension namespace and the articles in News Industry Text Format (NITF).
Download it here and try it out for yourself. I hope the source code will be released.
I love to see more of these applications and I think this is what the future will look like for news papers and magazines.
Bye bye Visual Studio 2005...
Neowin.net has posted a picture of suggestions of features for future versions of Windows, gathered from the Windows Early Feedback program. The list contains the top 61 suggestions which is to be presented to the Windows 7 team.
I think it's great that Microsoft tries to listen to the community, but a lot of these suggestions should have been in Windows by now or earlier!
Just take a look at these few examples:
Desktop icons arrangement - allow me to save (247142) This one has been bugging me for years, it should be included in Vista not in Windows 7 that is light years away!
Auto clean up of Temp folders (296526) Cleaning the temp folders is one of the annoying tasks that you manually have to do to often to keep your machine working ok.
IE should have a close button on each tab (250961) The tabs in IE is a great feature but using them efficient is a mess. I would also like a close button on each tab, so you don't have to activate the tab to close it (or right-click). I also would like to have the possibility to configure ctrl-tab to switch to the last used tab instead of always switch to the next. I posted an article a long time ago, that Microsoft should look over all of their tab-designs, read it.
Then you have some interesting suggestions which makes me think where's that focus (remember this is the top 61 suggestions): Include Pinball into next version of Windows...
Some day I will write my own list of future Windows suggestions - I got quite a few!
On Monday TechNet Edge will open at http://edge.technet.com. The Edge is a (social) network for Microsoft IT Professionals to connect with people at Microsoft "in an informal way", as Jeff Sandquist says in one of the first forum posts on the site.
There are no content so far, but the ReadMe.txt states that the site will contain screen casts, interviews and a discussion forums. It's basically the same as Channel 9, but this time for IT-professionals. Great!
Microsoft has announced their new enterprise search setup of server products, which include the Microsoft Search Server 2008 together with an Express version, that are free (currently a release candidate). This new server product is an evolution of the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Search.
This is great news since the Search Server (MSS) has great possibilities to integrate to other search engines or data sources (something that you only could do with some heavy BDC programming using MOSS 2007 Enterprise Edition). MSS is based on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and it can extend your WSS installations with better search, even cross-site which has been the major factor to upgrade to MOSS.
For small, and even medium, businesses this can have a huge impact, since they can now get great enterprise search for a minimum investment (MOSS 2007 for Search has a huge license cost, which I never can recommend anyone...).
The Express version is announced to be free, with the following restrictions; installation only on one server i.e. no load balancing and high availability. But I think most small or medium businesses can live with that, if you don't - upgrade to the standard version of MSS 2008. I have not found any license information for the MSS or MSS Express yet, and I would really like to read the fine prints before cheering to loud...
The Search Server can be extended using Search Connectors and/or IFilters. Search Connectors is based on OpenSearch which returns results in RSS or Atom format, so integration will be fast and easy. It's as easy as creating a Federated Location Definition File (.fld), which is an extended OpenSearch XML definition file and configure it in your MSS.
I would have preferred to use IFilter integration, but building IFilter in .Net is not supported yet (Microsoft - please give me that now...)
The great blogging application Windows Live Writer has left the beta phase and is now released, as a part of the Windows Live Wave 2, with version 12.0.1366.1026.
Below is the previous About screen and as you can see there are no Beta remark anymore...
I have not yet found any information on what's new or what's updated, but I guess we will soon here about it!
Update 2007-11-07: The Writer team has written a post about this new release "Windows Live Writer: Out of Beta". There you have it all!
Published with Windows Live Writer - non beta!
When using BitLocker or encrypting your file system with EFS on Windows Vista, you will be using certificates and/or passwords. If these certificates or passwords are lost the chance that you loose the information and data on the disks that are protected is very likely. The certificates can of course be backed up on removable media or similar. But storing these kind of crucial information bits on a remote location is of course the best way and you should do that. You can store it in any kind of web-storage such as SkyDrive, but the best way is to use a service called the Digital Locker by Microsoft.
The Digital Locker is a remote and safe way to store software product keys and certificates and it is integrated into the Windows Marketplace so your purchase history is automatically appended to your Digital Locker.
The Digital Locker is accessible from the Internet at https://digitallocker.windowsmarketplace.com/ and you sign in using your Windows Live ID. From there you can access your software. You may enter notes on each product, view license information and download the product.
You also have the possibility to archive your software for later use.
Windows Vista integration
Windows Vista comes with a Digital Locker integration for storing your BitLocker recovery password and/or your EFS recovery certificate. You can easily backup this information by using the Control Panel and then select what you would like to backup. You may keep all of your certificates, from all your Vista machines, at the same location.
Windows Vista also contains direct access to the Digital Locker via the Digital Locker Assistant, found in the Control Panel.
According to the documentation it should be possible to back the Digital Locker up to a CD/DVD, but I have not found where to do that yet.
The Digital Locker is a part of the Windows Marketplace so whenever you add something to your cart in Windows Marketplace it is added to your Digital Locker. For example if you buy a product you can easily later on reinstall it by downloading it once again and using the product key stored in the Digital Locker.
Adding your own software
With the Digital Locker you can backup your own software securely. You can with a few steps add all your software, purchased from anywhere, to the Digital Locker together with an optional product key and download location. I previously stored all this information in a document stored on my hard disk, but now I try to keep all this information in the Digital Locker.
If you use Windows XP, you can download and install the Digital Locker assistant to get direct access from you desktop to the Digital Locker.