Digital Thoughts Personal musings on life, the universe and everything as well as some commentary on my software and digital graphicshttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/atom.aspx Community Server2006-02-10T16:07:00ZGeek 2.0 http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/05/26/731.aspx2006-05-26T08:35:00Z2006-05-26T08:35:00Z<img src="/photos/digital_pictures/images/730/original.html" border="0" class="leftimage"><p>These days if you've got a new(ish) idea then it's got to be Something 2.0. <a href="#topofpage">SOA 2.0</a>, <a href="#topofpage">Web 2.0</a>, and so on. It doesn't necessarily mean it's really new, but there's a new spin to it. Well last night I think we came up with Geek 2.0!</p> <p><a href="#topofpage">James Governor</a> was kind enough to invite me down to London for a <a href="#topofpage">Web 2.0 chat</a> with a few other people. Mysyteriously there wasn't a <a href="#topofpage">geek pride T-shirt</a> in sight (at first :P), we were all dressed in a smart casual fashion, and there was no <a href="#topofpage">schwag</a> either, just lot's of red wine.</p> <p>We all travalled down to <a href="#topofpage">Bedale's Wineshop</a> just up the road from Liverpool Street station (the one we were at isn't on their web site, but <a href="#topofpage">James is there a lot</a>!) and by mutual consensus starting with some red wine and didn't change. We started with a "Fat pino", moved on to a "Really fat pinot" (James' descriptions, not mine), whose name's escape me, but they were both from New Zealand (i'm a bit of peasant when it comes to wine, but I like it!), though one was called "Shaky Bridge". After that came a 1982 Chateau Neuf du Pape, which I think was the one that smelt of leather! There was another French wine after that, which I think cost about £35 per bottle and was actually very nice :D</p> <p>Besides all the very nice wine, I did have a really good time. There were some really great people there from Microsoft, Adobe, IBM and more besides. We didn't talk about anything specific and there was no agenda, but we did all have a good chinwag and enjoyed the wine.</p> <p>So, my thanks to James for the invite and his excellent choices of wine. Thanks must also go to Ben Watson from Adobe, who actually paid for it all! Thanks for the conversation to Peter Bell (Developer Relations at Microsoft), Roo, Darren, and Rob (all Emerging Technologies at IBM, have a very nice looking blog called <a href="#topofpage">eightbar</a>, and have a bizarre fascination with the virtual world <a href="#topofpage">Second Life</a>). <a href="#topofpage">Tink</a> and a few others were also there, but I didn't much chance to chat with them. Maybe next time.</p> <p>All in all we had a good time, great wine, and a good tech chat. The only schwag I ended up was an <a href="#topofpage">invitation to</a> <a href="#topofpage">Stringfellows in Soho</a> from a girl outside Liverpool Street station, but for me this is the way forward for geek meets. Forget your geek pride T-shirts and bring out the wine!</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_731.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxSQL Prompt - Intellisense for SQL Server http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/05/23/727.aspx2006-05-23T08:21:00Z2006-05-23T08:21:00Z<p>Those clever guys over at <a href="#topofpage">Red-Gate</a> have been at it again. This time with <a href="#topofpage">SQL Prompt</a>, an add-in for SQL Server that gives you Intellisense code completion.</p> <blockquote>"<strong>SQL Prompt </strong>provides Intellisense<sup>®</sup> style auto-completion for Microsoft SQL Server editors. It will tell you the exact formatting you should use for your SQL commands, while you are writing them and will therefore help you write <strong>fast, perfectly formatted </strong> SQL statements. SQL Prompt improves the productivity of all SQL script creation. <a href="#topofpage">SQL Prompt can be downloaded free</a> until 1st September 2006 and we are providing forum support on the <a href="#topofpage">SQL Prompt support forum</a>."</blockquote> <p>Features include : </p> <ul><li>Table/View name completion </li><li> Column name completion </li><li> Stored procedure name completion <strong></strong></li><li>USE completion </li><li>JOIN/JOIN ON completion </li><li>Auto-uppercasing of keywords</li><li>Auto-popup after keywords</li></ul> <blockquote>"SQL Prompt works with Microsoft Query Analyzer, SQL Server 2005 Management Studio, Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio .NET 2003, SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Manager, UltraEdit32. Please note that Intellisense is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation, we have a dedicated web page describing <a href="#topofpage">Red Gate's relationship with Microsoft</a>."</blockquote> Just trying out this kick counter from <a href="#topofpage">DotNetKicks</a> as well: <a href="#topofpage"><img src="http://www.dotnetkicks.com/Services/Images/KickItImageGenerator.ashx?url=http://www.red-gate.com/products/SQL_Prompt/index.htm" alt="TODO" border="0"></a><img src="/aggbug_PostID_727.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxSpore at E3 http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/05/11/721.aspx2006-05-11T08:48:00Z2006-05-11T08:48:00Z<img src="http://blog.polyceta.com/photos/digital_pictures/images/original/spore_demo.aspx" class="leftimage" border="0"><p>The guys at Electronics Arts/Maxis have been giving a demo of the much anticipated new game from Will Wright: <a href="#topofpage">SPORE</a>. IGN have a <a href="#topofpage">download of the video</a> of the demo given at E3 and it is awesome! It shows off the game selection screen, where you choose which of the 6 levels to start playing, from the Tide Pool Phase up to the Space Phase.</p> <p>There is a separate editor associated with each level giving the user complete control over how their creature looks from the number of arms and legs, to the colour and texture of the skin.</p> <img src="http://blog.polyceta.com/photos/digital_pictures/images/original/spore_trailer.aspx" class="rightimage" border="0"><p>The SPORE website has also been updated with new information from E3. This includes a set of <a href="#topofpage">in-game screenshots</a>, the video trailer for Spore, and some screenshots of creatures recently created by the SPORE game team.</p> <p>The only disappointing thing for me is the news that SPORE most likely won't be released until 2007, given that it does not feature in the fiscal details for 2006, meaning it won't be released until at the earliest April 2006. In the mean time I'll just have to make do with the completely awesome trailer and demo.</p> <div class="clearfix"></div><img src="/aggbug_PostID_721.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxWindows Live Mail Beta Invites http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/05/10/716.aspx2006-05-10T10:57:00Z2006-05-10T10:57:00Z<img src="/photos/digital_pictures/images/original/windowslivemail.html" border="0" class="leftimage"><p>I've got five invites to give out for the Windows Live Mail Beta. You must have a hotmail account for me to send the invite to, as the beta is only available to @hotmail.com/.co.uk addresses and you must be in one of the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Brazil and China.</p><p>Usual rules apply: first 5 to comment get an invite.</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_716.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxFlexWiki 2.0 http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/05/04/714.aspx2006-05-04T14:25:00Z2006-05-04T14:25:00ZThis happened quite a while back now and even more progress has been made, but I still think it's worth mentioning. Thanks to the herculean efforts by <a href="#topofpage">Craig Andera</a>, FlexWiki has been branched in CVS to give a new branch that is built using .NET 2.0.<br><blockquote>One of the things I've been working on - a little at a time, usually about half an hour a day - is a fairly extensive rewrite of <a href="#topofpage">FlexWiki</a>. We're calling it <a title="FlexWiki" href="#topofpage">FlexWiki</a> 2.0, and not coincidentally, it involves an upgrade to .NET/ASP.NET 2.0.<br></blockquote><blockquote>This partial rewrite was driven by the desire to give <a title="FlexWiki" href="#topofpage">FlexWiki</a> a better authorization model. I still haven't even started on that part of it - first I had to untangle the existing caching code from the storage engine, and separate out a bunch of special processing that deals with something called "backing topics". Don't ask.<br></blockquote>Many thanks to Craig for his continued involvements and effort on the FlexWiki project. Once 2.0 finally hits the streets I expect to be getting more involved with some of the mods I was working on a while ago. I felt that it wasn't worth committing them while Craig was doing such a major re-write.<br><img src="/aggbug_PostID_714.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxCatching Up http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/05/04/713.aspx2006-05-04T14:04:00Z2006-05-04T14:04:00ZI've been particularly bad at blogging here on Digital Thoughts recently and for this I apologise. I have been (barely) managing to keep up with my posting over on <a href="#topofpage">Bill's Baby</a> and <a href="#topofpage">Web 2.0 Blog</a>, but things have been particularly slack here.<br><br>The reason for my blogging absence is that I've actually been <b>really</b> busy. I quit my dull day job that has been boring me to tears for the last 18 months and have set up my own company, <a href="#topofpage">Polyceta Limited</a>. I now work from the comfort of my own home on new and exciting things with great people like those at <a href="#topofpage">Content Master</a>, for whom I am currently working.<br><br>The salamandersoftware.co.uk domain name will gradually be phased out and replaced with the new polyceta.com domain name. The <a href="#topofpage">FeedBurner feed</a> for this blog was updated ages ago and you can currently use http://blog.polyceta.com and http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk to get to Digital Thoughts.<br><img src="/aggbug_PostID_713.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxNew Version of GoogleTalk http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/04/07/712.aspx2006-04-07T11:03:00Z2006-04-07T11:03:00Z<img src="http://blog.polyceta.com/photos/digital_pictures/images/711/original.aspx" class="leftimage" border="0">A <a href="#topofpage">new version of Google Talk</a> is now available for download. I tend not to use the main interface much I just respond to chat windows that popup when someone chat's with me (often from the GMail chat window), so I didn't know there was a new version until I saw <a href="#topofpage">Forget Foo's post</a>.<br><br>The immediately obvious change is the support for avatars (see the screenshot) and a few are included with the new version, though you can use your own. Something that I'm not sure is new or not is the ability to change the appearance of the chat window in respect of how chat's are presented. Presumably it was there before, but now you can choose to include pictures or not.<br><br>Another new feature is the support for Blackberry devices now as well.<br> <blockquote>Get Google Talk on your BlackBerry and chat with your friends on the go for free. You can even keep emailing and playing BrickBreaker while you chat. Download it at <b>www.blackberry.com/googletalk</b> (most commonly accessed via your BlackBerry).<br></blockquote> <p>Judging by the <a href="#topofpage">What's New page</a> the chat window appearance stuff is new, too.</p><p>Google Talk was originally praised for it's clean, simple, uncluttered approach to IM (as well as the voice functionality). I wonder if the MSN Messenger bashers will be as happy with Google Talk now?<br></p> <div class="clearfix"></div><img src="/aggbug_PostID_712.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxComputers and the Internet According to &quot;normal&quot; People http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/04/06/710.aspx2006-04-06T10:44:00Z2006-04-06T10:44:00ZI just got sent this link about how <a href="#topofpage">"normal" people perceive computers and the Internet</a>. Here's some of the funny ones (they're funny becuase they're true!)<br><blockquote><ul><li>Computers get slower and slower with time; this is perfectly normal, and the only thing to do is to go to the store, and get them to format and reinstall everything (which isn't a problem, because other than Windows, Office, all those cool toolbars and that nice purple ape buddy, there isn't anything installed).</li><li>Keyboards have some piece of magical technology which makes keys move around from time to time, when you're not looking; for that reason, you <span>always</span> look attentively at the keys when typing, even after a decade or more.</li><li>Computers ask <span>"Are you sure?"</span>, and similar questions, all the time, because they're made for idiots. Since you're an intelligent and educated person, you know that you can <span><span>always</span></span> simply click on "Yes", without reading. It certainly saves time.</li><li><span>"What do you mean, my computer can't handle Windows Vista? It was top of the line when I bought it 8 years ago! I bet you're deceiving me!"</span></li><li>Buying stuff through the Internet is an absurd idea; some evil hacker would get your credit card's number the exact moment you used it. <span>"What am I, insane?"</span></li><li>Email messages should be kept <span>forever</span>, and in the Inbox. Even ads for penis enlargement pills (you never know when they might be useful, after all). When, after a while, your mailbox "breaks", you simply get yourself another one, and tell everyone that you've changed email addresses.</li></ul></blockquote><img src="/aggbug_PostID_710.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxMIX 'o6 in Vegas http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/04/05/708.aspx2006-04-05T12:37:00Z2006-04-05T12:37:00Z<p>I wasn't fortunate enough to go myself, but my good friend <a href="#topofpage">Paul</a> did go and has <a href="#topofpage">written up his report</a> of the sessions he attended.</p> <p>Maybe it's just Paul's <strike>twisted</strike> <strike>peculiar</strike> <strike>strange</strike> <strike>different</strike> unique outlook on life, but his <a href="#topofpage">experiences in Las Vegas</a> aren't quite what I would have expected.</p> <blockquote>I am not jaded. I am not cynical or wordly wise, I am easy to please for Pete's sake but Las Vegas in that first hour was underwhelming. I knew by the time we got to our hotel that Vegas had been commercialised. Sure, it has always been about the money but back then the money was dirty and the streets dirtier. 100 dollar bills were rolled up and used properly back then, they weren't exchanged for a quarter-pounder and 90 in change. When you couldn't pay your debts you had to talk to Luigi or Mario, not phone the gamblers helpline and get a three year residual loan at favourable rates. McDonalds, Dennys, StarBucks. Commercialised by the same bland, generic-Viagra using, Westernised globalisation mega-brands that make 100 chain outlets a niche experience.</blockquote><img src="/aggbug_PostID_708.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxOptimising Windows Vista under Virtual PC http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/03/21/707.aspx2006-03-21T11:14:00Z2006-03-21T11:14:00ZFor those of you that don't have the spare hardware to try out Windows Vista on a separate box Virtual PC makes an ideal alternative. Ben Armstrong has a great post on how to <a href="#topofpage">optimise Virtual PC for running Windows Vista</a>.<br><blockquote><ol><li>The more memory you can assign to the virtual machine - the better.&nbsp; Though make sure you <a href="#topofpage">leave enough memory for the host operating system</a>. </li><li>Install the Virtual Machine Additions that come with Virtual Server 2005 R2 - these make a world of difference. </li><li>Turn off most of the advanced video animation.&nbsp; You can do this by going to: <ol><li><strong><em>'Start menu'</em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; right click <strong><em>'Computer' </em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; <strong><em>'Properties' </em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; <strong><em>'Advanced System Settings'</em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; hit the <strong><em>'Settings'</em></strong> button under the <strong><em>'Performance' </em></strong>section </li><li>--&gt; Uncheck everything except <strong><em>'Smooth edges of screen fonts'</em></strong>, <strong><em>'Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop'</em></strong> and <strong><em>'Use visual styles on windows and buttons'</em></strong> and then hit <strong><em>'OK'</em></strong><br></li></ol> </li><li>While you have the Advanced System Settings open - go to the <strong><em>'System Protection'</em></strong> tab and disable this feature (you can use undo disks to get the same level of protection)<br> </li><li>Stop explorer from searching the network at odd times by going to: <ol><li><strong><em>'Start menu'</em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; left click <strong><em>'Computer' </em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; select the<strong><em> 'Tools'</em></strong> menu </li><li>--&gt; <strong><em>'Folder Options'</em></strong> </li><li>--&gt; select the <strong><em>'View'</em></strong> tab </li><li>--&gt; Uncheck <strong><em>'Automatically search for network printers'</em></strong><br></li></ol> </li><li>Finally - if you are using Virtual Server - do not use a desktop background</li></ol></blockquote><img src="/aggbug_PostID_707.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxVisitor Map http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/03/14/706.aspx2006-03-14T15:43:00Z2006-03-14T15:43:00Z<p>If you want a map on your website of where your visitors come from, check out zipwise.com. You just add a simple graphic to your website that links back to them to show the map. The default looks like this, but you can use your own image:</p> <p><a href="#topofpage"><img src="http://www.zipwise.com/images/geomap.jpg" alt="ZIP Code Database"></a><img src="http://www.zipwise.com/ip_search.gif" alt="" height="1" width="1"></p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_706.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxStargate Worlds Website http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/03/02/687.aspx2006-03-02T12:04:00Z2006-03-02T12:04:00Z<img src="/photos/digital_pictures/images/686/original.html" class="leftimage" border="0">The <a href="#topofpage">official website for Stargate Worlds</a> (that I <a href="/archive/2006/02/01/663.html">talked about before</a>) has now been launched.<br><br>The content is a bit limited at the moment, but over time this will obviously grow. The forums have already been running for a while now and is a much better resource at the moment than the website. A good example of this is the interview with world builder Josh Kurtz, which beyond telling us a bit about Josh doesn't actually tell us anything about the game. Every game related question was met with a "we'll tell you more later" type response.<a href="/files/25/digital_thoughts_images/entry685.html" target="_blank"><br></a> <div class="clearfix"></div><img src="/aggbug_PostID_687.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxSocial Bug Tracking http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/02/23/683.aspx2006-02-23T10:27:00Z2006-02-23T10:27:00Z<div class="entry"> <p><a href="#topofpage">Axosoft</a> are trying a little <a href="#topofpage">marketing experiment</a> with their Bug Tracking product OnTime 2006.</p> <p>For just $5 you can get a 5 license version of their Small Team Edition of OnTime 2006, which is available for Windows, Web and VS.NET 2003/2005. Ordinarily the cost would be $495 and to make the experiment even better the proceeds are all being donated to the American Red Cross.</p> <blockquote><p>Axosoft is conducting a social marketing experiment. We are giving away 5-User copies of OnTime 2006 Small Team Edition, a product we sell for $495 for just $5 ($1 per user!) . This offer is just available through social marketing sites and there are no links to this page on the Axosoft web site.</p></blockquote> <p>When I visited the site to get my copy the donations to the American Red Cross stood at $4,555, which is pretty darned impressive in itself, but if this value reaches $5000 then Axosoft will add an additional $1000 themselves.</p> <p>There is a 10-license version of OnTime 2006 STE as well and the discount of $490 can also be applied to that.</p> <p>It will be interesting to see if this viral marketing approach is successful and to see if it catches on anywhere else. It’s very heartwarming to see that the proceeds of the experiment are going to charity.</p> <p><a href="#topofpage">Digg it</a> </p> </div><img src="/aggbug_PostID_683.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxSite Upgrade http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/02/22/681.aspx2006-02-22T11:46:00Z2006-02-22T11:46:00ZApologies for the outages over the last 24 hours or so, this was due to the upgrade in progress to Community Server 2.0. I had a couple of glitches, which I have now resolved.<br><br>Due to time constraints I won't be upgrading the skin for a while, but I'm sure I won't be able to resist the temptation for long!<br><img src="/aggbug_PostID_681.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspxHoliday Time http://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/archive/2006/02/10/679.aspx2006-02-10T16:07:00Z2006-02-10T16:07:00Z<p>I'm off to Vancouver for a week so I won't be posting here until I come back.</p> <p>Until then enjoy the view:<br /> <a href="#topofpage" title="Vancouver"><img src="http://static.flickr.com/1/303840_d3a5d45d78.jpg" alt="Vancouver" class="centeredimage" /></a></p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_679.html" width="1" height="1">Derek Lakinhttp://blog.salamandersoftware.co.uk/members/Derek+Lakin.aspx