Tag Archives : Office


Morning Coffee 161

  • Huge perk of the new job: new hardware. I had to give up my Dell workstation but I got a Lenovo T61p dual core widescreen laptop, an HP dc7800 dual monitor quad core desktop and a Polycom CX700 IP phone. I’m really digging the Lenovo’s integrated fingerprint reader – no more password login – but I’m most impressed with their integrated driver management software. Sure beats the heck out of hunting for dozens of updated drivers all over the place like most vendors for you to.
  • Minor downside to all my new toys: I spent most of my first week on the job installing and configuring said new toys.
  • Caps will face the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs which starts Friday. I have a feeling that I’ll be feeling poorly Friday around 3pm and have to head home early. :)

DyLang Stuff

  • Apparently, Michael Foord isn’t getting enough exposure on this blog. :) He left a comment to remind me to mention the IronPython URLs link blog he writes along with Mark Rees and Seo Sanghyeon.
  • Speaking of Michael, his employer Resolver Systems just launched a new product: Resolver One Quant.
  • Still speaking of Michael, he’s quoted in the InternetNews article Python Fans Take Aim at the Enterprise.
  • My teammate Jimmy Schementi posts a preview of his spare time project “Silverlight on Rails”. This RoR plugin lets you declaratively specify if you want your RoR controller code to be accessed remotely via AJAX and run on the server or if you want that code to be downloaded to the client and run in SilverLight. Very cool stuff.

Other Stuff

  • Don Syme provides some insight into the F# producization process. There’s going to be an update to the “Research release” later this month and a CTP of the “Product release” later this summer (Brian McNamara has the CTP details). I am looking forward to these releases, though I’ll probably be too busy w/ IPy to experiment much with them.
  • Speaking of F#, Matt Podwysocki continues his adventures with F# with a look at tuples, records and discriminated unions. Of the three, I find discriminated unions the most interesting since there isn’t anything like it in other languages I’ve used.
  • Gregori and Chris both announce the release of Unity 1.0. Congrats guys! But if I don’t have time to hack around with the latest F# release, you can imagine I won’t be getting to Unity any time soon…
  • Jeff Atwood recommends you build your application UI first. Furthermore, he does a good job selling the value of paper prototyping as well as introducing the concept of PowerPoint prototyping. Money quote: “You don’t want something too powerful.”
  • Via LiveSide I discovered James Hamilton’s blog. Normally, hardware infrastructure isn’t really my bag, but I find his ideas around using ISO standard shipping containers as modular data center building blocks fascinating. For example, check out this post that suggests sticking modular data centers in condos would be cheaper than building data centers!Subscribed.
  • Speaking of ISO, you may have heard Open Office XML was ratified as an ISO standard. Obviously, there was a lot of controversy around this, but Miguel de Icaza lists of what he considers major community wins from the standardization process. Anything that “pushed Microsoft into more open directions” is a good thing IMO.

Morning Coffee 148

  • As I predicted yesterday, Microsoft announced that “For the first time, community games will be distributed through Xbox Live.” I haven’t seen a press release yet, but it looks like this will allow any XNA developer to publish on XBL. Joystiq has a few details. According to Major Nelson, six community games will be available on XBL later today. Also, it looks like you’ll be able to make XNA games for your Zune as well. Details to follow.
  • Speaking of yesterday, I referred to President Bush as “President 30% Approval”. This was incorrect. From now on, I’ll refer to him as “President 19% Approval“.
  • Speaking of politics, two more big wins for Obama yesterday. The Clinton camp, looking more desperate every day, unveiled a new website purporting to provide the “facts and myths about the race for delegates”. Memo to HRC: “Florida and Michigan should count” isn’t a fact, it’s an opinion. I can’t see how this site helps her cause.
  • Joel on Software, who used to work on the Excel team, provides a facinating look into why the Office File Formats are so complicated. Nothing more to add, I just thought it was an interesting discussion of “real-world” complications to something that seems like it should be simpler.
  • Scott Guthrie provides a client product post .NET 3.5 roadmap, much like he did for web products a few months ago. Unlike the web roadmap, which includes exciting stuff like Silverlight 2.0, IIS 7.0 and ASP.NET Extensions (including MVC), the client roadmap includes: better setup, better perf for WPF, better memory utilization and startup time, WPF designer improvements, and some new WPF control. Color me under whelmed.
  • My old team recently launched the Software + Services Architecture Center. S+S guru Gianpaolo Carraro recently wrote about the different perspectives this new site is trying cater to. S+S hasn’t been on my personal radar, but it’s something I really would like to dig more into.
  • In a recent charity hockey game, Team Cure beat Team Hope 2,250 to 2,223. No, that’s not a typo. The two teams of twenty faced off for 240 straight hours of hockey in sub-zero weather to raise $300,000 for cancer research. That’s frakking dedication to a cause.

Morning Coffee 128

  • After using Outlook 2007 as my RSS reader for a few months, I’ve gone back to RSS Bandit. I run two work machines (desktop + laptop) and I finally got tired duplicated blog entries because each copy of Outlook downloads the same post. Also, for some reason Outlook downloads the same Technorati posts over and over again.
  • ADO.NET Entity Framework Beta 3 was released. The latest CTP of the EF Tools is also available. And as per the press release, EF has gained support from “Core Lab, DataDirect Technologies, Firebird Foundation Inc., IBM Corp., MySQL AB, Npgsql , OpenLink Software Inc., Phoenix Software International, Sybase Inc. and VistaDB Software Inc”. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but I guess you’ll be able to LINQ to Entities on a wide variety of DB platforms. Interesting Oracle isn’t on that list. Not really surprising, but interesting.
  • Here’s a new ASP.NET MVC article from Scott Guthrie, this one on views and how you pass data to one from a controller. Using generics to get strongly-typed ViewData is pretty sweet. But where’s the MVC CTP that was supposed to be here this week?
  • In news about web app tool previews that did ship this week, Live Labs announces Volta. Haven’t installed or played with it yet, but I did read the fundamentals page. It primarily looks like a tool to compile MSIL -> JavaScript, so you can write your code in C# but execute it in the browser. Sam and Jesus are excited, Arnon not so much. Arnon’s argument that being able to postponing architectural decisions is to good to be true is fairly compelling, and not just because he quotes me to support his argument. But I’ll download it and provide further comment after I experiment with it myself.
  • Simple Sharing Extensions is now FeedSync. Not sure what else is new about it, other than it’s been blessed with “1.0″ status. The Live FeedSync Dev Center has an introduction, a tutorial and the spec. (via LiveSide)
  • Dare likes tuples. Me too. I also like symbols.

Hawkeye on Office Communicator 2007

I’ve been running Office Communicator 2007 (aka OC07) and the Polycom CX200 phone for a couple of weeks now. Here are a few thoughts on the experience.

  • Multiple Points of Presence. I’ve got OC07 installed on both my desktop and laptop. Unlike WL Messenger with it’s “you’ve signed in on another machine” messages, OC07 happily lets me log in both places. If I get an IM, it pops up on both screens. If my phone rings, I can answer it on either machine.
  • Simultaneous Ring: When I get a call, both my machines and my mobile phone ring. I can answer in whatever place I want. For the most part, people know my mobile phone number, so I’ll need to get out the word to call my work number instead. (First step: re-program my work number in my wife’s phone.) I can also choose to forward my work calls directly to my mobile phone, though I tend to be better about checking work voice mail so I doubt I’ll use that feature.
  • Outlook Integration: The previous version of OC had PBX system integration and Outlook. So you could call someone simply by right clicking on their name in Outlook, OC would talk to your PBX system to place the call. Unfortunately, when we moved offices we also got new IP phones that didn’t integrate with OC05. Now that I’m on OC07, my computer is my phone and all the Outlook integration works again.
  • Status Indicator on the Phone: It’s minor, but the USB handset has the OC logo that lights up the same as your status. If you’re available, the logo is green. Busy? The logo is red. Do Not Disturb? Logo flashes red. Nice touch.
  • Missed Conversations: The other day when I was in training, a colleague IMed me but I was away from my desk and my laptop was turned off. The IM conversation ended up in my inbox like an email. Doesn’t help for “You there?” IMs, but when he realized I wasn’t there, he just wrote the information he wanted me to know and I got it the next time I logged in.
  • No Clock: A very minor sticking point, but the old phone system had a clock on the phone so you could easily see what time it is, even if your machine is locked. The USB handset doesn’t have a clock and I miss it. Not nearly enough to go back to my old phone, but enough that I’m going to go buy a little desk clock.
  • No Keypad: I didn’t miss it right off the bat, but the lack of a keypad is a hassle. If I have to look a phone number up, having the ability to place the call inside of Outlook is slick. If I know the number off the top of my head (home, wife’s cell phone, helpdesk) then having to type it into Communicator is a pain. Also, if you’re calling one of those automated systems, keying the numbers on the software keypad is a real hassle.
  • IM to Phone: Since I have to look my wife up in Communicator to call her anyway, I can shoot her an IM beforeĀ  call her. The kids nap in the afternoon, so if I catch her online, it avoids a potentially waking ring.
  • Extra Speaker: When you set up the USB phone, it sets itself up as the default speaker. That’s typically not what you want, but it’s easy enough to change in the sound control panel. However, when my earphones broke and I found myself sans audio, I changed it back until I could get new earphones. The only problem with this approach is that in a cube environment (like I work in), the noise from the phone speaker is a bit loud. You can pick up the receiver and listen that way without bugging your neighbors, but after about 20 seconds, it reverts back to speaker phone for no apparent reason.

OneNote Rocks

I need a better microphone for my laptop, but the ability to record the audio for a meeting and sync that audio with the notes you’re taking is brilliant. I’m using the 2007 version, but I think at least some of this functionality was available in the 2003 version.