Monday, June 26, 2006

MSN Spaces --> Windows Live Spaces

The Space Craft: Windows Live Spaces is coming!

You’ll notice some changes we’ve made to the header, including the replacement of the current text ad links with banner ads across the top. Of course, as always, if you prefer to see no ads at all in your space, remember you always have the option to switch them off as a subscriber.

The Space Craft: Windows Live Spaces is coming!

The quote is only included because it's a hiliarious backstep -- everyone on the 'net is embracing relevant text ads because they get more clickthroughs, but here Microsoft is, falling back on the old-school banner ad concept. I'd love to know what their reasoning is. Who still intentionally clicks on completely random banner ads? The only ads this past year I've intentionally hit have been Google and Yahoo contextual text ads, mostly because they're faster than jumping on a search engine and sifting through the results.



Yeah, OK. Anyway.

I used to have an MSN Spaces account -- its, uh, if that's the URL format. I migrated over to Blogger because the technical restrictions, frankly, were starting to piss me off.

What got me most was the censorship -- back when I used MSN Spaces, I believe it wouldn't let me post a blog topic because it had the work "fuck" in it, or some such nonsense. I was like, what the fuck? Dude, dude, dude, I just wanna blog, is that not cool with you or something? I'll admit that MSN Spaces has a lot more features to offer than does, but at least minds its own business with regards to what I post.

Now, its too late -- I'm already firmly entrenched with and there's no going back. I already have two journals -- a personal Live Journal and this "tech" journal -- and there's no room for a third powered by Live. Sorry. :/

(side-note: Flock's blogging feature just stopped working. wtf?)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

60 seconds with Ubuntu 6.16 = 5 bugs.

Gnome doesn't remove shared folder references from smb.conf if I delete the folder without manually unsharing the folder first.

The concept of a folder name with a space in it is so reality-warping and tortured that Gnome refuses to awknowledge their existance, and so trying to share one with samba means that it crops the folder name: sharing "/home/arron/My Documents" is translated into "/home/arron" which isn't very useful.

Samba broke because some way, some how, during the upgrade process, smb.conf had inserted into it a section that had no name -- it was simply [] and broke the parser, hence all of Samba failing.

Samba still doesn't work after I've gone to all the effort of rolling up my sleeves and fixing all these problems by hand, so now my patience has run dry and I'm going to boot back into Windows XP. <--- show stopper, all of my audio and video is housed on this desktop machine, shared to my own little world.

The fifth bug is that I could probably break samba just by trying to share a folder named "printers" or "cdrom" since there doesn't appear to be any way to delimit a foldername from a special section name. Theoretical, but I'm sure it works.

This is why, no matter how irritating Microsoft Windows is, I won't be switching to Gnome any time soon. I'll take the less painful of the two, thanks.

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Blogged with Flock

Microsoft is slowly starting to piss me off.

Little by little, but yeah, they're getting there. First, it was Visual Web Developer being a piece of shit -- freezing constantly, dragging the system to its heels every time I try to save a page, the visual designer actually inserting *BAD HTML* that fucked up the document when I switched from design to source view then back again.

Now it's fucking around with Windows Vista.

First, Internet Explorer is suddenly "broken" and ActiveX just doesn't work with it anymore. At all. So that means I can't use the ActiveX Akamai downloader for Vista beta 2. So what do I do? I try to download it manually, via GetRight. Except that the server I connect to DOES NOT SUPPORT RESUME, which I didn't notice until, cleverly, my connection dropped and the download suddenly started over from 0. Oh, but the kicker is I was at 3.0 gigs when the connection dropped, two hours into the download. Thanks.

So, annoyed, I spin up Firefox, deciding that I'll use the Java Akamai downloader, right? Except that when I log in and try to get to the download page, all of the sudden its telling me that I ran out of product keys, so I can't download Windows Vista anymore. What the hell do product keys have to do with downloading Windows Vista? Why can't you just say you can't give me any more product keys and let me grab Vista. Why don't you even tell me where I can find out how many product keys I already have and what they are?

So, finally, after having to SEARCH THROUGH MY BROWSERS HISTORY PANE like a freaking internet savage, I find the download link. I pop it into Firefox, the system freezes as Java lumbers into memory, and then, finally, the Akamai Java download manager is up and running.

Except its broken. Because the directory browser doesn't work, at all, unless I use the default 'My Documents' location. Thanks, Akamai. Or Sun. I'd like to think its a combination of both and just a sprinkle of poor design.

So, what happens after I finally quit meddling with trying to pick my download location and just start the download?


Frankly, I'm just going to give the "manual" download link another shot. If it doesn't work, I'm just not going to bother with Vista, at all, until it comes with my next desktop.

It feels like every element of Microsoft is just slowly falling apart. I was really hoping that Vista would be the turning point, a corner stone in the foundation of more robust software development, but they can't even get the software to me without fucking it up six ways from Sunday.

God, you guys suck.

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Blogged with Flock

Saturday, June 24, 2006

WinFS is The Dead.

What's in Store : WinFS Update

I just read this blog article a few minutes ago. Here's a few choice quotes:

As most people who read this blog know, WinFS has always been about many things – a new model to enrich how users manage information, rich storage technology, and sometimes also a packaging of technology. The real change I am addressing today is in the packaging strategy.

What's in Store : WinFS Update

These changes do mean that we are not pursuing a separate delivery of WinFS, including the previously planned Beta 2 release. With most of our effort now working towards productizing mature aspects of the WinFS project into SQL and ADO.NET, we do not need to deliver a separate WinFS offering.

What's in Store : WinFS Update

That, my friends, is a really fancy way of saying that "WinFS is dead."

Look, I hate to break it to you, but you set out to build a "relational file system."

You're not delivering that product anymore.

That means its dead. How you managed to write -- lemme count -- 7 paragraphs about it is beyond me, because most of them are composed of, "Yeah, its dead, BUT..."

What you did do is gut an existing product, salvaged as much as you could, and abandoned the rest. That's admirable, but the original product -- and its dream -- is still dead. Just cop to it already.

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Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Day 2 with Flock / Blueshell for the win.

I'm still using Flock as my default browser.

Frankly, I couldn't do it at all if it weren't for the excellent Flock'd browser extension. I don't know how it works and frankly I don't care; all I know is that all my essential browser extensions work with Flock, so kudos to the extension author.

It's actually a really nice browser. I like the "Front Page" and rss feed view. Way better than Sage + Firefox, comparable to the RSS viewer that comes with IE7. So, yeah, that bit is pretty awesome.

A side-effect of using Flock is that I'm inclined to blog a little more, since its so "easy" -- quoting someone is as simple as doing a drag-and-drop. That's it, I'm done, moving on. I'm not a real hard-core blogger, so that's a definite bonus in my book. The blog editor it uses could be a little more... sophisticated, though.


For the past week I've been doing some minor contract work; someone wanted me to whip them up a quick ASP.NET site, right? The technology we decided on was ASP.NET 2.0 / SQL Server 2005, so cracking out the site itself was a real breeze. But the one thing I've learned is that writing software is easy. Deploying it is hell on Earth.

So, what happens when I try to deploy on this guy's web server? Problems after problems after problems -- and all of them are because of his web host. Finally, we get most of them sorted out, but there's one big blocker left--it turns out the web host doesn't support SQL Server 2005.

Who hosts ASP.NET 2.0 but not SQL Server 2005? What crack are you smoking? Why, man, for God's sake, why?

So now I'm in some real trouble, right? Everything's been built for SQL Server 2005, all the tables have been populated, all the data binding uses SQL Server 2005...

Then Blueshell comes to the rescue. Specifically, Blueshell Data Guy. It's this real cheesy looking application, but it works perfect. It connected to SQL Server 2005, and let me export it to a multitude of database formats -- I used Access 2000, since I needed a lot of recent features.

So now it's like *snap-snap-snap* your fingers and everything is back up and running again.

So, yeah. Awesome software.

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Flock 0.7

So, somehow I got around to hearing that Flock 0.7 finally came out. I made a mental note to myself to try it soon and, well, soon is here. I've been using it for a few hours. Not too shabby. it's got a helluva lot more polish than the last release.

So far, so good. There's an extension called "Flock'd" which somehow transmogrifies Firefox extensions into supporting Flock. Anyway, it's really awesome for blogging.

Watch this:

Flock: The web browser for you and your friends.

Drag and drop, from the browser to the editing pane. Pretty cool, I think.

I have quite a few Live Bookmarks that I use to keep up with my favorite online comics. The automagic importer didn't really put them into the awesome My News sidebar, so I had to import them by hand. UNPLEASANT.

Anyway, try it today. Doesn't hurt, right?

Try the Flock Browser Version 0.7.

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, June 04, 2006

TopDesk: incredible software for the win.

But really, what a crazy name.

Can't really blame them on the name game, though. Occasionally I start projects with ridiculious names because, in an IDE, you have to put *something* for the project name. Then you start using it here, referring to it there, modeling your namespace hierarchy with references to it as the product name...

Good thing the software rocks. TopDesk an "Expose clone" for Windows. Really terrific software. Fast, stable, and intuitive.

I've got it set up to show me all the windows when I move my mouse to the right edge of the screen, and show me the desktop when I move it to the upper left side of the screen. Pretty sweet.

Ever since I started using it, I've relied on alt+tab less and less. It's just quicker to "ram" the mouse cursor into the target area and get thumbnails for all the open windows. Real-time window updates, too, though there seems to be a problem with Firefox stealing keyboard input. To solve that I had to turn off "begin searchig as I type" in the Firefox preferences panel. Never liked that functionality anyway, but was too lazy to turn it off until it started buggering things up.

TopDesk great software, and with a price point of $9.99, I think I'll be buying this little gem. With price-range comes a set of expected functionality, and TopDesk in my opinion is worth every dollar of that $9.99.