Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

April 2005 - Posts

  • The Coverage Continues...

    I think it's so funny that my traffic over the past few days has been driven by the AdSense news and not our WinHEC coverage. Of course, I haven't posted that much (yet) about WinHEC, but oh well. I'll post a ton of pictures and videos soon.

    Anyways, eWeek and are covering the AdSense news. I wanted to clarify a couple of errors that were in the articles. First, in eWeek, it was reported that the RSS in ads concept didn't start until I started talking to them. That was slightly misreprented, at least as far as I know. Whether or not RSS was on their radar before I talked to them, I can't say. But the test with LonghornBlogs started when they approached me to put ads on this site. I was able to get in front of the right people to make the case to let me try it. It just worked out in my favor that we launched first. I'll talk much more about it very soon. said that the AdSense public beta would be in two weeks. Stephanie misheard me. I said it would start in "a few" weeks. There are still issues that need to be worked out before the general public can use it -- that's the nature of a test.

    At any rate, we went live so we could get feedback on the experience. So please feel free to comment in this blog, or link to us in your own, and let us know if there are any problems. I'll be updating code and what not soon. And I apologize if it keeps marking your entries as new. We're working to stop that from happening.

  • AdSense in RSS - Explained

    So many of you might have already noticed that we have Google AdSense in our RSS feeds. I'm not going to go into detail on the how or why, at least not yet. But I do want to answer a couple of questions that have already come up:

    Q: What is Google doing?
    A: I can't talk a whole lot about this yet. I can tell you that this is a pilot program for a new AdSense product that Google is looking into. Like all of their tests, it may disappear for a while, or be discontinued altogether.

    Q: Is anyone else currently testing this technology?
    A: No. Right now is the only site running this test. That will probably change in the next few days as their other alpha testers bring their systems online, but for now, we're it.

    Q: How are you putting ads in the feeds?
    A: I can't talk at all about implementation yet, because the system is not finalized. It's just a test to determine how well the current thought process works, the performance bottlenecks, and to discover any barriers to others using it. I CAN tell you that it isn't using Javascript.

    Q: When can I start putting ads in MY feeds?
    A: IF Google decides to launch this product, you can expect to see a wider public beta in the next few weeks. I wouldn't waste my time trying to figure out the current implementation yet. It will most likely change, and your AdSense account won't have the proper permissions from their servers to display contextual ads anyways.

    The story on how and why this came about is a very interesting one, and is something that I have been working very hard on for quite a long time. When I'm given the OK to talk about it in detail, I'll give everyone the full run-down. For now I just wanted to curtail speculation on some of the things that I am able to discuss. In the meantime, please leave me feedback in this entry if you are experiencing problems related to viewing or clicking-through to any of the ads.

  • IE7 Details Starting to Emerge

    Chris Wilson talks IE7 details on the "official" IEBlog. In brief:

    • Microsoft has fixed IE's PNG support
    • CSS will be made more consistent

    Hey, it's a start :).

  • Microsoft Wants Your Feedback on Networking Scenarios

    I just received this letter from Michael Surkan, Program Manager for Networking and Devices on Longhorn. So I thought I'd pass it along.


    I am trying to collect customer input on some networking features Microsoft is considering in Longhorn that I thought you might want to pass on to some of your blog readers. If you think the current project I am working on would be of interest to your blog readers, I would love it if you could post my survey link. If you don't think this would be of interest to your readers that's ok.

    The Microsoft network product team is investigating ways of resolving peer-to-peer connectivity problems in Longhorn, and we would like to get customer feedback to help validate some of the design proposals.

    Today, there are many situations where users are unable to run such functions as remote assistance, voice/video conversations, and many other peer-to-peer functions because of firewalls, NATs and other network configuration problems. Our goal is to build networking technology into the operating system that will overcome many of these problems, allowing these peer-to-peer scenarios to "just work".

    This survey outlines some of the proposals for resolving these connectivity problems, and asks for feedback on them. We would love to get the opinions from a wide range of users, and markets (e.g. consumers, large IT departments, etc) since this would have implications for everyone.

    Michael Surkan

    Program Manager,
    Networking & Devices

    Your wish is my command :). Take a few minutes and let Microsoft know how you want your networking experience to "just work".
  • Indigo 'Elevates the Architectural Dialog'

    Rocky discusses why Indigo is a compelling platform. In his words:

    By merging these technologies into a single API, Indigo may allow us to elevate the level of dialog. Rather than having inane debates between Web services and Remoting, we can have intelligent discussions about the pros and cons of n-tier vs SOA. We can apply rational thought as to how each distributed architecture concept applies to the various parts of our application.
    He goes on to say...
    There are a lot of very hard problems to solve in distributed computing. Unfortunately our underlying communications protocols never seem to stay in place long enough for anyone to really address the more interesting problems. Instead, for many years now we’ve just watched as vendors reinvent the concept of remote procedure calls over and over again: RPC, IIOP, DCOM, RMI, Remoting, Web services, Indigo.

    That is frustrating. It is frustrating because we never really move beyond RPC. While there’s no doubt that Indigo is much easier to use and more clear than any previous RPC scheme, it is also quite true that Indigo merely lets us do what we could already do.

    What I’m hoping (perhaps foolishly) is that Indigo will be the end. That we’ll finally have an RPC technology that is stable and flexible enough that it won’t need to be replaced so rapidly. And being stable and flexible, it will allow the pursuit of solutions to the harder problems.

    Well said Rocky. Read the rest here. [Via Randy Holloway]
  • Remote Desktop Assistant 1.0

    I know this isn't Longhorn-related, but I wanted to post it where as many people would see it as possible.

    The other day, I needed to connect to my new web server, and noticed that my Remote Desktop Connection list was cluttered up with old servers that I didn't deal with anymore. I tried deleting them by hovering over the server I wanted to delete from the list and hitting the delete key (works in IE), but that didn't work. So I looked it up in the MS Knowledge Base, and came up with this article.

    I figured I wasn't the only one who would want to clean up their list, and so I wrote a little tool to help me (and others) out. It's called the Remote Desktop Assistant, and it's super easy. Here's what it looks like:

    You can add computers, delete computers, and change the order they appear in the list. Your changes are not saved until you tell it to.

    It should be really straightforward, so this version does not have any instructions. If people say they need some, I'll write one up and add it in. You can download it here. It requires the .NET Framework 1.1 installed on your system. Please note that it is not an officially supported product, but you can leave comments in this post and I'll fix any problems with it.

    And hey Microsoft - maybe you could add this functionality to the RDC client in Longhorn?

  • Here Comes WinHEC 2005!

    WinHEC 2005 is almost upon us, and soon we'll get to see what Microsoft's been working on with Longhorn. It's the first public build in quite some time, and the'll be plenty to show off. will be there in force, with extensive coverage of the conference. I'm still working with Microsoft's PR people on interesting ways to deliver this information. In the meantime, I'm looking for a few people who are already going, that would like to help me cover the event. Contact me offline if you're interested, and we'll discuss it.

    See you at WinHEC!

  • Take With You

    I'm pleased to announce that the new Mobile Edition is now live! This is a stripped-down version of specifically designed for Windows devices. When you click the new tab in the header, or visit with your PocketPC or Smartphone, it will automatically redirect you to our Mobile version. Here's what it looks like:

    Windows Mobile 2003 Smartphone 2003

    Each title is a hyperlink to the full article, with font sizes and layout optimized for small screens. I'll be adding support for other OSes soon. I'll also be adding features to the Mobile Edition over the coming weeks, to let you see older entries, and view comments on those entries. If you have any problems with it, or want to make a feature request, please post a comment.


  • 10 Features Longhorn Should Have

    Brad Wardell tells us the 10 things he thinks Longhorn must have to be widely adopted. He thinks Windows XP is just a facelift of Windows 2000 (which I don't totally agree with, but oh well) and that Longhorn needs a lot more (we agree there). Without further ado, take it away Brad.