Digital Thoughts : Web relating to web development using .NET or other technologies.en-GBCommunityServer 2.0 (Build: 60217.2664)Windows Live Writer (Beta), 15 Aug 2006 23:22:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:781Derek Lakin0<p>I've already posted this over on Bill's Baby and Web 2.0 Blog, but I'm having such fun playing with this tool that I thought I may as well post it over here too! Interestingly enough Community Server (the blogging engine I use here) needed more hand holding to work with Windows Live Writer, and it also couldn't provide the editing template, so I don't get the post presented in my blogs style. In all honesty I haven't been overly impressed with Community Server from a blogging perspective, and given how much fun it was to blog from Windows Live Writer to something like WordPress, it is becoming quite compelling to switch away from Community Server.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE: </strong>After specifying an FTP upload account for this blog in WLW I could then start using the blog style as discussed below. This extra step was required for uploading the map image, presumably because CS doesn't support the newMediaObject API.</p> <p>I've been away from blogging for what seems like an age, but work has been keeping me <strong>very</strong> busy lately. I happen to be sat in a B&amp;B at the moment relaxing after a hard day at the office (the second of three rare days in the office now that I work from home) and with WiFi access from my room I just happened to notice that Microsoft has released a great new beta tool: <a href="#topofpage">Windows Live Writer</a>.</p> <p>Windows Live Writer is a desktop blogging tool that provides <strong>real</strong> WYSIWYG blog posting by presenting the blog post in the current style of your blog. I can say from experience that it directly supports blogging to Windows Live Spaces and also WordPress, but it also supports blogger, LiveJournal,&nbsp;TypePad, and more besides. The Windows Live Spaces and WordPress blogging that I've tried simply required the URL&nbsp;of the blog and my username and password. It&nbsp;couldn't have been easier to setup.&nbsp;</p> <p><a title="Flickr4Writer-sample" href="#topofpage"><img class="leftimage" alt="Flickr4Writer-sample" hspace="0" src="" border="0"></a></p> <p>In addition to the standard tool's own style and HTML view of your blog post there is also the Web Layout mode. I am completely in awe of how brilliant it is at presenting your blog's style for you when you are creating a blog post. This Web Layout mode even goes as far as using your blog's CSS to present the blog layout and the blog post, so that the image to the left is actually floated to the left because of the <strong>leftimage</strong> CSS lass that I have applied to it! If that wasn't cool enough there is also the Web Preview mode, which shows your current draft&nbsp;post&nbsp;<strong>and</strong> the rest of your existing blog posts and sidebars, etc.&nbsp;I think you really have to see it to appreciate just how cool it is.</p> <p>It includes the standard formatting features, links, inserting pictures, spell checking, etc, but also provides an SDK to allow you to provide other plugins, such as <a href="#topofpage">Flickr4Writer</a> and <a href="#topofpage">Tags4Writer</a> by Tim Heuer.</p> <p>Built-in plugins also include Photo Publishing that allows direct uploading of photos&nbsp; if your blogging engine supports the <a href="#topofpage">newMediaObject</a> API or to an FTP server and Map Publishing using <a href="#topofpage">Windows Live Local</a>.</p> <p><a title="Flickr4Writer-sample" href="#topofpage"></a>&nbsp;</p> <p></p> <div class="wlWriterSmartContent" id="84E294D0-71C9-4bd0-A0FE-95764E0368D9:c89ed208-2bab-4b1e-8f0d-88c67a559fbd"><a href="#topofpage" id="map-42384490-a056-499d-9199-6f61a04eab8e" title="Click to view this map on"><img src="" width="320" height="240"></a><br>Kings College, Cambridge</div> <p></p> <p>tags: <a href="#topofpage" rel="tag">microsoft</a>, <a href="#topofpage" rel="tag">windows+live</a>, <a href="#topofpage" rel="tag">windows+live+writer</a>, <a href="#topofpage" rel="tag">windows+live+spaces</a>, <a href="#topofpage" rel="tag">blogging</a>, <a href="#topofpage" rel="tag">tools</a>, <a href="#topofpage" rel="tag">beta</a></p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_781.html" width="1" height="1">BlogSoftwareWebWindows Live Mail Beta Invites, 10 May 2006 10:57:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:716Derek Lakin12<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 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">WebFlexWiki 2.0, 04 May 2006 14:25:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:714Derek Lakin0 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">SoftwareWeb.NET 2.0Computers and the Internet According to &quot;normal&quot; People, 06 Apr 2006 10:44:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:710Derek Lakin0 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">WebOtherMIX 'o6 in Vegas, 05 Apr 2006 12:37:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:708Derek Lakin1<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">WebOtherVisitor Map, 14 Mar 2006 15:43:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:706Derek Lakin0<p>If you want a map on your website of where your visitors come from, check out 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="" alt="ZIP Code Database"></a><img src="" alt="" height="1" width="1"></p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_706.html" width="1" height="1">WebWindows Live Messenger Invites Part 3, 01 Feb 2006 09:57:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:662Derek Lakin14<p>It looks like the Windows Live Messenger (MSN Messenger 8) beta program is ramping up even more again as I've got 5 invitations again on each of the two accounts I use (so that's ten in total).</p> <p>Same rules as before: first ten to comment get an invite.</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_662.html" width="1" height="1">WebFree eBooks from Apress, 23 Jan 2006 11:24:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:654Derek Lakin0<P>Apress have a <A href="#topofpage">selection of programming books available for free download</A> in PDF format. The titles available at the moment are:</P> <UL> <LI><SPAN>A Programmer's Introduction to PHP 4.0</SPAN></LI> <LI><SPAN><SPAN>Writing Perl Modules for CPAN</SPAN></SPAN></LI> <LI><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN>Programming VB .NET: A Guide For Experienced Programmers</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></LI> <LI><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN>COM and .NET Interoperability</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></LI> <LI><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN>XML Programming: Web Applications and Web Services With JSP and ASP</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></LI> <LI><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN>Google, Amazon, and Beyond: Creating and Consuming Web Services</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></LI> <LI><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN>Practical Common Lisp</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></LI> <LI><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN><SPAN>Dissecting a C# Application: Inside SharpDevelop</SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></SPAN></LI></UL><img src="/aggbug_PostID_654.html" width="1" height="1">SoftwareWebWindows Live Messenger Beta, 05 Jan 2006 20:35:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:615Derek Lakin3<p><IMG alt="Windows Live Messenger" src="/images/windows_live_messenger.jpg" align="left">I just received that all important invitation to join the Windows Live Beta program! w00t!</P> <P>It needs a reboot after installation, so I guess I'll have to blog more about it later.</P><img src="/aggbug_PostID_615.html" width="1" height="1">WebAJAX without the Postbacks, 24 Dec 2005 11:48:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:609Derek Lakin0 to self: if you're trying to do asynchronous calls in an AJAX way don't use an <CODE>&lt;input /&gt;</CODE> element of any type as the trigger for an action as they cause a postback, which defeats the object.<img src="/aggbug_PostID_609.html" width="1" height="1">WebAdwords A-Go-Go, 01 Dec 2005 14:44:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:594Derek Lakin5 analysis of the visitor stats for my blog (using Google's <A href="#topofpage">Analytics</A> service has indicated that I have significantly higher traffic from search engine hits than I have from persistent readers, which is quite disappointing in some respects as it means that the majority of readers find me by accident and relatively few visit because they like what I post. On the other hand it means that this site has potential to earn my some money as new visitors from search engines make google advert clickers. As a result I've added Adwords to the site layout. They're quite discreet so hopefully my repeat visitors won't be too upset.<img src="/aggbug_PostID_594.html" width="1" height="1">BlogWebExtending the Atlas Wiki Part I - Adding Email Support, 29 Nov 2005 12:48:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:592Derek Lakin0<P><A href="#topofpage"><IMG alt="Atlas Wiki Registration Form" src="" align=left border=0></A>I just posted <A href="#topofpage">an article</A> over on <A href="#topofpage">Bill's Baby</A>&nbsp;that describes how to add email support to the <A href="#topofpage">ASP.NET "Atlas" Wiki</A>. It describes how to get emails sent to new users when the register and how to notify an administrator when new users have registered.</P> <P>The article includes listings for all the code you'll need to accomplish these tasks and forms the basis of a series of articles that will extend and enhance the Atlas Wiki.</P> <P>Future articles in the series will focus as much as possible on the actual Atlas parts of the wiki, if nothing else to help me get a better understanding of what it is and what it can do.</P><img src="/aggbug_PostID_592.html" width="1" height="1">Web.NET 2.0Uninstalling the Betas, 28 Nov 2005 10:35:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:590Derek Lakin0 you haven't yet installed the release version of one of the Visual Studio 2005 editions then you may find <A href="#topofpage">this Microsoft&nbsp;page</A>&nbsp;particularly useful as it includes a link to an auto-uninstall tool for automatically removing any previous beta releases. It also includes manual uninstall instructions.<img src="/aggbug_PostID_590.html" width="1" height="1">SoftwareWeb.NET 2.0Caching in Windows Applications, 24 Nov 2005 09:54:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:586Derek Lakin1<P>I've often heard that you can use the ASP.NET caching features&nbsp;provided by&nbsp;the .NET Framework in Windows applications, but never tried it. Well, today I read <A href="#topofpage">a post by the great Scott Hanselman</A>&nbsp;that confirms it:</P> <BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr> <P>&nbsp;I also started a conversation on a list server and here's what came of that:</P> <P dir=ltr><A href="#topofpage">Rob Howard said:</A> </P> <BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr> <P><EM>Yes, it's fairly common (and easy) to do. You just have to include a reference to the System.Web assembly in non-web applications; which may have led to your "creep out" – for what it’s worth it used to do the same to me&nbsp;:)</EM><EM>&nbsp;<BR></EM><EM>FWIW, I believe (from memory) the recommended way you grab a reference outside of a web application is:<BR></EM><EM>using System.Web;<BR></EM><EM>using System.Web.Caching;<BR></EM><EM>…<BR></EM><EM>Cache cache = HttpRuntime.Cache;<BR></EM><EM>&lt;snip&gt;...the Cache is just too important of a feature to only belong to ASP.NET.</EM></P></BLOCKQUOTE></BLOCKQUOTE> <P dir=ltr>It seems that the biggest obstacle most people come across is a psychological one of actually adding a reference to System.Web and System.Web.Caching! Once you can get over that then you have access to the great lightweight caching features, including the cache expiration stuff.</P> <P dir=ltr>One commenter did suggest that you could always use the <A href="#topofpage">Enterprise Library Caching Block</A> from the <A href="#topofpage">Microsoft patterns &amp; practices website</A>, but I would tend to agree with Scott: there's just too much going on with the caching block and probably a bit too heavyweight for a lot of applications.</P> <P dir=ltr>Now I can't wait to try this out in my next Windows application!</P><img src="/aggbug_PostID_586.html" width="1" height="1">SoftwareWeb.NET 2.0Encarta Instant Answers, 23 Nov 2005 10:17:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:583Derek Lakin2<BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr> <P>If you add <A href="mailto:&#101&#110&#99&#97&#114&#116&#97&#64&#99&#111&#110&#118&#101&#114&#115&#97&#103&#101&#110&#116&#46&#99&#111&#109">&#101&#110&#99&#97&#114&#116&#97&#64&#99&#111&#110&#118&#101&#114&#115&#97&#103&#101&#110&#116&#46&#99&#111&#109</A>&nbsp;to your MSN IM contacts list, you can ask it questions, e.g.</P> <LI>What is the size of Mexico?</LI> <LI>When was Leonardo da Vinci born?</LI> <LI>How many calories are there in an orange?</LI> <LI>I want to see the map of Italy.</LI> <LI>When was Abraham Lincoln born?</LI> <LI>Solve 2x^2+7x=5</LI> <UL></UL> <P>I especial love the "solve" thing. If I could figure out how to give it simultaneous equations, most of my boys' math home would be solved in IM...</P></BLOCKQUOTE> <P>Found this over on <A href="#topofpage">Chris Sell's site</A>. Encarta Instant Answers allows you to ask questions of the Encarta encyclopaedia and (surprise, surprise) get instant answers. I live in a little heard of place called Ely, here in the UK, so I was quite impressed to find that when asked "Where is Ely?" Encarta Instant Answers replied:</P> <BLOCKQUOTE dir=ltr> <P><SPAN>Ely, town in East Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, eastern England, on the Ouse River. Located in an agricultural region, Ely has.... Let me take you to a map of Ely. =&gt;</SPAN></P></BLOCKQUOTE> <P>Which is completely accurate and correct and it even pulled up an Encarta browser next to my chat window (once I accepted the invitation) to show me a map using MapPoint:</P> <P><IMG alt="Encarta Instant Answers" src="/images/encarta_instant_answers.jpg"></P><img src="/aggbug_PostID_583.html" width="1" height="1">WebOther