Articles from February 2008

Google Chart API

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:12 AM :: 1670 Views :: Development, Technology, Tools/Utilities, En Español :: Digg it!

This is old news, but it's still worth mentioning. Google has always been known for its simplicity, which is one thing I wish Microsoft would learn, and the announcement they made back in December is no different. Surprisingly, I haven't seen much adoption of the service, but Google's new chart API looks pretty nice. The fact that you can build charts with relatively simple URLs is pretty nice. Admittedly, maximizing SQL Server Reporting Services is a much richer experience with much more options, but this API is still nice for smaller scale needs. If you haven't already, check it out. There are still some kinks that need to be worked out and parts that are harder to grasp than is really necessary, but they have made a huge improvement on something that just about every developer could use.

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El Titulo en Español

En Español

Ésta es noticias viejas, pero vale el mencionar. Google se conoce para la simplicidad, cuál es algo yo desee que Microsoft aprendiera, y el anuncio que hicieron en Diciembre no es diferente. Asombrosamente, no veo mucho adopción del servicio, pero la nueva API de gráfico de Google parece bastante bueno. El hecho que crea gráficos con un URL simple es mucho bueno. Yo admito que SQL Server Reporting Services es una experiencia más rica con mucho más opciones, pero este API es bueno para las necesidades pequeñas. Si no tiene, lea sobre él. Todavía hay algunas torceduras que necesidad de ser fijado y piezas que son más duras de agarrar que realmente necesarias, pero tienen crear un servicio que es una mejora enorme que los todos desarrollos podría utilizar.


Toshiba Announcement == More Zune Storage

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:01 AM :: 2120 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Predictions, En Español :: Digg it!

Zune 80 -- will it be the Zune 120?

First off, I have to say this is completely off -the-cuff. I have no insight into the Zune team or its plans. This is one of those teams that keeps a lot to themselves. While I hate this because I'm just as curious as other consumers are, there's a time and place for any announcement, and it seems some teams are leaning towards less transparency than others to avoid over-promising and under-delivering. Anyway, Toshiba just announced the availability of 120 GB 1.8" hard drives. Seeing as tho Toshiba manufactures the Zune, I can only imagine this means we'll be seeing 120 GB Zunes this holiday season. Of course, there's always an option for those of us who are less patient. At first I was hoping this meant smaller Zunes, but it looks like they already use 1.8" drives.

Anuncio de Toshiba == Más Almacenaje de Zune

En Español

Antes de que proceda, tengo que decir que no tengo ninguna penetración en el equipo de Zune o sus planes. Éste es uno de esos equipos que guardan secretos. Mientras que odio esto porque soy apenas tan curioso como otros consumidores, hay una época y un lugar para cualquier anuncio, y parece que algunos equipos están anunciando menos a evitar prometiendo demasiado y la entrega de demasiado poco. Toshiba anunció los discos duros de 1,8 pulgadas con 120 GB de almacenaje. Desde entonces Toshiba crea el Zune, creo que Microsoft va a lanzar el Zune con 120 GB de almacenaje este año. Por supuesto, hay una opción para la gente impaciente. Inicialmente, esperaba para un Zune más pequeño, pero usan discos duros de 1,8 pulgadas ahora.


SkyDrive's Official Release

By Michael Flanakin @ 5:18 AM :: 1917 Views :: Microsoft, Tools/Utilities, En Español :: Digg it!

Windows Live SkyDrive

I looked at Windows Live SkyDrive a while ago and, while it has a nice UI, it wasn't quite enough. One of my complaints was the measly 500 MB of storage. Well, with the official release of the service, we now have 5 GB of storage, which seems to be standard nowadays. I was actually hoping for more integration between SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Spaces, but that hasn't panned out, yet. I was glad to see there's a bulk upload utility included. This was perhaps the main reason I hadn't uploaded the majority of my content. Now that it's there, I'm going to start uploading some graphic files I use for development. I don't think SkyDrive is ready to be central to my life, yet, but it's on its way. Integration with FolderShare is probably the next step, if you ask me. With that, I'd definitely start using it more. Of course, I've seen a preview of the next version of FolderShare and that doesn't seem to be an option. Of course, the update is very minimal, so I'm not sure how complete it is. The same team manages FolderShare and SkyDrive, so integration is going to happen without a doubt; it's just the time in which that's going to happen that's the real question. Speaking of questions, there's also a new service on the horizon (no pun intended, for those in the know). I don't have details, but it looks like a promising sync service with lofty, yet realistic goals. I can't wait to hear more.

Lanzamiento Oficial de SkyDrive

En Español

Repasé Windows Live SkyDrive hace un rato y, mientras que es bonito, no era absolutamente bastante. Una de mis quejas era el 500 MB de almacenaje. Con el lanzamiento oficial, tenemos 5 GB. Esperaba más integración entre SkyDrive, Hotmail, y Spaces, pero eso no ha sucedido. Me gusto la utilidad de carga masiva. Ésta es la razón principal que no carga mi contenido. Ahora, voy a iniciar la carga de gráficos. No creo que SkyDrive está acabado, todavía, pero está mejor. Integración con FolderShare es probablemente el paso siguiente. Comenzaría definitivamente a usarlo más con eso. Ha utilizado una versión preliminar de la siguiente versión de FolderShare y no tiene la integración. Parece la verión es muy mínimo, tan no creo que haya finalizado. El mismo equipo desarrollo ambos, tan integración va definitivamente a suceder; pero no conocemos cuando. Mientras que estoy en el tema, Microsoft está trabajando en un nuevo servicio de la sinc. No tengo detalles, pero parece agradable. No puedo esperar para oír más.


XNA Game Studio Announcements

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:57 AM :: 1444 Views :: .NET, Development, Technology, Microsoft :: Digg it!

Xbox Live Community Games

There are two significant gaming announcments that came out recently at the Game Developers' Conference (GDC) 2008. First, Xbox Live Community Games is the official release XNA Game Studio was intended for. Now, small-time game developers can play and share their games with others. This is pretty sweet for anyone interested in gaming, which is perhaps every developer at one point or another in their career. I know small-time gaming is what initially caught my interest.

Zune Games

The second announcement, made during the same keynote at GDC 2008, was that we'll be seeing games for the Zune in the future. What's nice is that the games will also be supported on first gen Zunes. Microsoft has been pretty good about supporting early adopters with respect to the Zune. I'm not sure how long that will last, but it's much appreciated... especially since I have 2 Zune 30s and don't feel like the second gen Zunes add enough to warrant an upgrade. I'll be looking at the third gen Zune for sure, tho. Microsoft stated that we'll see another release of XNA Game Studio to support the Zune in the spring. There haven't been many details about this admittedly early announcement, but I'm sure we'll hear more in the coming months.

One thing that gets me about this is the distribution model to be used for Zune. The fact that Microsoft has Windows Marketplace, Xbox Live Marketplace, and Zune Marketplace annoys the crap out of me. Microsoft needs to come out with a generic marketplace with "channels" specific to Windows, Xbox, and Zune. Sure, having something specific to your market is nice, but it just seems like overkill. The fact that each has its own purchasing model has to be even more frustrating to people who use more than one of these services. I guess I want something a little more integrated. That's not too much to ask for, is it? I'd like to see Zune games released or managed via Xbox Live Marketplace, but that probably won't happen, since they'll most likely be distributed via Zune Marketplace. Hopefully, this will drive the first integration between the two services.


Get Vista SP1 Now

By Michael Flanakin @ 1:21 PM :: 1226 Views :: Technology :: Digg it!

While Windows Vista SP1 is supposedly on MSDN, I couldn't find it. I've heard good and bad about it, but decided that I'd rather get it now, since it's in its final state. If you want it, you're just 6 steps away from getting it yourself.

  1. Save this batch file to your computer (right-click, select Save Target As...)
  2. Right click EnableVistaSP1.bat, select Run as administrator
  3. Run Windows Update -- on my x64 system, I had 6 updates
  4. Reboot -- only if required by updates in step 3
  5. Run Windows Update -- should only have 1 update
  6. Wait ~15 mins and run Windows Update again -- this should be SP1

SP1 is 120 MB, so it'll probably take a while to download and install. The other updates are rather quick. I've already noticed some slight improvements, including with performance. Enjoy!

Consigue SP1 de Vista Ahora

En Español

SP1 de Windows Vista está supuesto en MSDN, pero no podría encontrarlo. He oído bueno y malo sobre SP1, pero decidí transferirlo ahora, puesto que ha acabado. Si usted lo quiere, haga estas 6 pasos.

  1. Ahorra este archivo al computadora
  2. Haga clic con el botón secundario del mouse en el archivo y ejecutar como administrador
  3. Ejecuta Actualización de Windows
  4. Reinicie la computadora (solamente si paso 3 requiere
  5. Ejecuta Actualización de Windows -- debe tener 1 actualización
  6. Espera cerca de 15 minutos y ejecuta Actualización de Windows una otra vez -- debe tener SP1

SP1 es 120 MB, así que tardará un rato a transferir y instalar. Las otras actualizaciónes son rápidas. He notado ya algunas mejoras. ¡Goce!


Code Coverage and Generated Code

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:45 AM :: 1489 Views :: .NET, En Español :: Digg it!

If you've used the code coverage feature in Visual Studio 2005 or 2008 in projects that consume services, you've probably realized the proxy class VS generates for you counts against you for code coverage. Normally, I'd say this is completely fine, since all code, whether generated by a tool or by hand, should be tested. In my case, however, I was consuming a service with around 10 service methods, while I was only using one. Since I never plan on using the others, I didn't want them bringing my code coverage down. With the help of a few people from the VS team, I was able to find a good solution. It turns out everything counts against code coverage unless it's marked with either the DebuggerNonUserCode or DebuggerHidden attribute. The important thing to note is that, if you mark your code with either of these attributes, you won't be able to debug into them. Assuming you're fine with that, you're all set... for the most part. The only problem is if you update the service reference, the code would be re-generated without the attribute changes.

Cobertura de Código y Código Generado

En Español

Si usa la carecterística de cobertura de código en proyectos de Visual Studio 2005 o 2008 que usan servicios, es probablemente que ha realizado que la clase la clase representativa generada cerca VS cuenta contra usted para cobertura de código. Normalmente, diría que esto es bueno, desde todo el código, si generado por una herramienta o manualmente, debe ser probado. En mi caso, usé un servicio con 10 métodos, pero solamente usado uno. Puesto que nunca planeo usar los otros, no quise reducir mi cobertura del código. Con la ayuda de algunas personas desde el equipo de VS, encontré una buena solución. Resulta todo reduce cobertura del código, a menos que haya marcado con el DebuggerNonUserCodeDebuggerHidden atributo. Es importante que sepa es que si marca su código con cualquiera de estos atributos, no podrá depurar en estos ellos. Si eso es aceptable, usted tiene su respuesta... sobre todo. El único problema es que si renova la referencia del servicio, el código sería generado otra vez sin los cambios a los atributos.


Microsoft's Official Position on UML

By Michael Flanakin @ 3:44 AM :: 1828 Views :: Development, Architecture, Microsoft, Open Source/Standards :: Digg it!

I made a few comments about Microsoft's work around MDA and how I don't quite understand Microsoft's official position on UML. David Cutler pointed out that I should take some initiative and dig around for some reasoning behind that. Well I did, and I found out that things are changing. Visual Studio "Rosario" will have a number of UML designers built on the DSL Tools designer framework. I'm very glad to hear this because I've been looking for them for quite a while and remember scoffing Microsoft for not investing more than a class diagram in Visual Studio 2005. I had hoped Visual Studio 2008 would have included some new designers, but alas, it didn't. The November 2007 CTP includes two new designers in Team Edition for Architects (Team Arch) and obviously the all-up Team Suite. I haven't used the new sequence or logical class designer, yet, but I'm definitely intrigued by them. I doubt the sequence diagram will be auto-generating at first, but you never know. Either way, I'm glad to see Microsoft is embracing UML more.

Of course, this doesn't answer the question of what Microsoft's official position on UML is. That's a hard one to answer, considering we're a company of individuals who have individual thoughts and ideals, just like any other company. Most of the people I talked to were the vocal few, but it's clear that UML isn't the unanimous terror that Microsoft seems to have made it out to be. I'm glad I'm not the only one to believe that. While I'm not making any anouncements today, I can say that we will get a clearer message of where Microsoft is going with respect to UML. As I understand it, there will be more designers on the books for the next CTP in the March/April time frame, so I think I can finally say we're on the right track. Better late than never, right?


Send 'em In

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:05 AM :: 1356 Views :: Technology, En Español :: Digg it!

One thing I find funny is how so many people gripe about recurring problems in Windows yet they fail to report the problem using the built-in Wndows Error Reporting feature. This is perhaps the best part of Windows. Think about it, a feature that complains for you and in more detail than you could provide yourself, empowering Microsoft to solve your exact problem quicker. What more could you ask for? All you need to do is click a button. If you don't, you have no right ot complain. As I understand it, these random problems don't get investigated until they are reported at least 500 times. This seems like nothing, considering the install-base for Windows, but the more a problem is reported, the more imporant it will be to resolve. Pretty obvious. If you're not already, send 'em in!

Envíelos

En Español

Mucha gente se queja por problemas que se repiten en Windows, pero no los divulgan usando Wndows Error Reporting. Ésta es quizás la mejor característica. Piense, una característica que queja para usted y más detalladamente, permitiendo Microsoft resolver la problema más rápido y más fácil. ¿Qué más podría usted pedir? Todo necesita hacer es presiona un botón. Si no hace, no tiene ninguna capacidad de quejarse. Como lo entiendo, no investigan problemas divulgados hasta que les divulguen 500 veces. Éste no es nada, considerando el número de usuarios de Windows, pero si divulga el más un problema, será fijado más pronto. Bastante obvio. Si no lo hace hoy, envíelos.


What to Expect with Open XML

By Michael Flanakin @ 3:29 AM :: 1525 Views :: Technology, Microsoft, Predictions, Open Source/Standards :: Digg it!

If you're not familiar with the story behind Open XML to date, Rob Weir Syndicated feed of IBM has a decent overview. I'd be remissed if I didn't say he was somewhat biased, tho. An example of this is a comment he made about how he believes Microsoft will drive change in Open XML with every release of Office. This, in itself, shows how little he understands about the Open XML format and why its proponents believe in it as a superior format to ODF. I have no doubt Microsoft will try to push modifications as more and more customers ask for new and innovative features, but that's exactly why Open XML is better -- it was built with extensibility in mind, unlike ODF.

Here we are, waiting for the last leg of the process to kick off at the end of this month and some skeptics say, "While you're waiting [for the ISO decision on standardization], don't save in OOXML format." Should you listen? Probably not. There are some seemingly logical arguments behind the comment, but the position is flawed. He states that you should use the legacy binary formats to ensure a truly "open" experience. To word that another way, you should use a proprietary binary format instead of one based on open standards, such as ZIP and XML. I'm sorry, but I'll stick with my Open XML file formats, which I have full control over and can get data out should I need it, unlike formats like the legacy DOC and PDF formats, which require binary interpreters. I can get my data out of Open XML files without any document reader. I simply need a tool to extract the content and read text files -- not that I expect everyone to feel this way. Also, with more and more format converters out there, I fail to see the importance of constantly saving to a format your tool of choice doesn't natively support without translation. You'll get a much better experience working in native formats and only converting to another when you need to publish or share your content externally.

We're not looking at all bad news, tho. With the 3522 comments made on the original specification, most overlapping on similar concerns, 662 responses have been made. I don't know if there was truly that much overlap that would support 662 answers to 3522 comments, but you can browse the comments and responses online. In another attempt to ease the community into the new formats, Microsoft has also published the legacy binary formats.

What's perhaps more interesting is the fact that, in a truly independent study, the Burton Group Syndicated feed found Open XML to be a superior format. You can get that report online, but I doubt most people will see it. Perhaps developers at traditional Open XML opposing companies like IBM and Google read it, tho, seeing as their products seem to support the new formats. Of course, I think this is a must-have. You can't have a tool that neglects the native file format for the de-facto standard when it comes to productivity applications.

What do I expect? I expect the format to be approved. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a doubt in my mind, but the evidence is there that it's a superior format. The fact that these open source companies are so up-in-arms about Microsoft wanting to push its own formats thru the standardization process says something about their motives. Microsoft wants options and, with that, extensibility. If the format is judged on the merits, like all good arguments, the answer is clear. If you ask me, the worst thing about Open XML is Microsoft's name on it. If that weren't there, it'd already be a standard.


Online Movie Rentals

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:08 AM :: 1429 Views :: Digg it!

At MacWorld, Steve Jobs announced two things I'm interested in: iTunes movie rentals and Apple TV 2. Being a Netflix user, I'm glad to see competition heating up, since it will undoubtedly drive innovation and more competitive pricing. Netflix's reaction was to provide unlimited online movie watching, which I have to admit I love, since I've maxed out my online viewing hours the past few months. While I'm very happy to see my hours upped, this doesn't solve a big problem Netflix has: most of the movies and TV shows you can watch online suck. What's worse is quite a few of the TV series are missing episodes, so you have to rent those individual discs, which interrupts your online viewing experience. Well, that's if you realize it. If not, you simply miss episodes and wonder why you get the sneaky suspicion you're missing something. So, to sum it all up, there's definitely room for improvement on Netflix's side.

What does Apple do to compete with Netflix? They offer up movie downloads for $4, with HD content being an extra $1. Just looking at the numbers, this isn't worth it. With the second smallest Netflix plan, you can get 5-10 DVD rentals and unlimited online viewing for $9, depending on how much you watch. Let's just say you only get a chance to watch one of those rented DVD's a week. That'd cost $16 a month or $20 for HD content and we haven't even touched the unlimited online viewing.

If you're looking at the dollars and cents (or is it sense), it's a no-brainer: Netflix is the winner. There are big trade-offs, tho. Until Netflix proves otherwise, I expect iTunes to have better content available online. Plus, in concert with the Apple TV 2, having the ability to watch your movies directly on your TV by simply plugging in a single device seems very nice. For me, Apple TV isn't convincing enough and I'm not the only one, but it's nice to see Apple's making some improvements, especially since you can upgrade your existing system, albeit for $230. The best answer we have today is to setup Windows Media Center with a Media Center Extender. I haven't taken the time to investigate what's necessary there, but Apple's approach has a certain simplicity to it that I have to appreciate.

Alquiler de las Películas en la Web

En Español

A MacWorld, Steve Jobs anunció dos cosas estoy interesado adentro: alquiler de las películas de iTunes y Apple TV 2. Como usuario de Netflix, estoy alegre allí soy más competición, puesto que conducirá indudablemente la innovación y una tasación más competitiva. La reacción de Netflix era proporcionar la película ilimitada que miraba en la Web, que amo, puesto que he usado todas mis horas en línea de la visión el último pocos meses. Mientras que me plazco muy ver mis horas crecientes, esto no soluciona un problema grande Netflix tiene: la mayor parte de las películas y las demostraciones de TV que usted puede mirar en el Web son horribles. Cuál es peor es absolutamente algunas de la serie TV es episodios que falta, tiene que alquilar tan esos discos individuales, cuál interrumpe su experiencia en línea de la visión. Pero, ése solamente es si lo realiza. Si no, falta simplemente episodios y se pregunta porqué consigue la suspicacia disimulada que falta algo. Hay definitivamente sitio para la mejora.

¿Qué Apple hace para competir con Netflix? Ofrecen para arriba las transferencias directas de la película para $4, con el contenido de HD siendo $1 adicionales. Apenas mirada de los números, no está digno de él. Con el segundo plan más pequeño de Netflix, usted puede conseguir 5-10 alquileres de DVD y la visión en línea ilimitada para $9, dependiendo de cuánto usted mira. Si se asume que le solamente reloj uno una semana, costaría $16 por mes o $20 para el contenido y ése de HD no cuenta la visión en línea ilimitada.

Si mira al dinero, es obvio. Pero, hay compensaciones grandes. Hasta Netflix prueba de otra manera, espero que los iTunes tengan mejor accesible en línea contento. Y con Apple TV 2, puede mirar películas en su TV simplemente tapando en un solo dispositivo, que es muy agradable. Para mi, Apple TV no es bastante convincentemente y es no sólo yo, pero soy Apple alegre estoy llevando a cabo mejoras, especialmente puesto que puede aumentar su sistema existente, no obstante para $230. La mejor respuesta que tenemos es hoy fijar Windows Media Center con un suplemento de Media Center. No he tardado la época de investigar cuál es necesario allí, pero el acercamiento de Apple tiene cierta simplicidad a él que tengo que apreciar.