Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

April 2006 - Posts

  • Yes Brandon, the Sidebar Will Support WPF!

    I'm sure the SidebarGeek will be doing cartwheels over this: mszCool from Microsoft (a name would be nice, but oh well) discovered a workaround (that works now and will work for RTM) that lets you create a WPF Browser Application Project, which you can then reference in an IFRAME in your Gadget code.

    I have to admit, I thought Avalon gave the Sidebar it's biggest potential. I was extremely disappointed when they took it out. Thanks to this loophole, it's back!

  • Mount an ISO in Vista 5365

    I have been unable to mount an ISO in any Vista build since the December CTP. The Windows XP Utility from Microsoft has never worked, and DaemonTools stopped working a while ago. Well, I finally found a program that works with all the recent builds of Vista (even some that haven't been released publicly).

    MagicDisc is a free utility from Magic Tools (who also created Magic ISO Maker, which lets you convert BIN to ISO files, among other things). I verified that it works in Windows Vista 5365, and installs without incident. If you need to deal with CD ROM images in Windows, you should definitely download this tool.

  • Glass-Enable Your WinForms Apps

    Tim Sneath has a great write-up on what it takes to give you app some Glass. It's surprisingly simple. I've been wearing my developer hat a lot more often lately, so I might have to try it out myself.

    Head on over to find out how to do it, and download the sample app (with source).

  • Microsoft's "Live": Taking a Good Idea Too Far

    Microsoft's Live brand is the new ".NET".

    You remember back in 2001 when we first started hearing about .NET? As a brand name, I liked it. But then Microsoft marketing team got their hands on it, and all of a sudden, every Enterprise server had the .NET name and logo attached to it. Even the ones that didn't interact with the .NET Framework AT ALL.

    It seems like history tends to repeat itself. Clothing cycles every 30 years, major wars happen every 20... and every 5 years Microsoft repeats it's own history. Enter "Live". As in, "software that's not dead."

    The "Live" concept was cool once. With Live Messenger, I was like "hey, this is a new UI... maybe they'll put a new spin on instant messaging." It was fresh, was different, even though it used the same underlying protocols. This would last, right? WRONG. The next version was all corporate, and now what appeared to be WLM 1.0 is now nothing more than MSN Messenger 8 with a new name.

    Windows Live Messenger is not the only "Live" lipstick to be put on the MSN pig. Take a look at a sample of everything else that currently has the "Live" treatment.

    MSN Messenger = Windows Live Messenger
    MSN Hotmail = Windows Live Mail
    MSN Search = Windows Live Search
    Microsoft bCentral = Office Live Personalized home page =
    MSN Shopping = Windows Live Shopping
    MSN Spaces = Windows Live Spaces
    Passport = Windows Live ID

    This trend will continue, at a much more alarming rate. I would not be surprised if we started to see the situation evolve as follows:

    Microsoft Digital Image Suite = Windows Live Pictures (to compete with Flickr)
    FolderShare = Windows Live Files
    Hotmail Calendar = Windows Live Calendar
    Windows Media Player = Windows Live Media (Combines the player with MSN Music)
    MSN Direct = Windows Live Time
    MSN TV2 = Windows Live Television
    Visual Studio "Orcas" = Windows Live Developer
    SQL Server = Windows Live Data
    Streets & Trips = Windows Live Directions
    Encarta = Windows Live Encyclopedia
    Money = Windows Live Financials
    "Frontbridge" = Windows Live Exchange
    Windows Vista R2 = Windows Live OS

    It's just too bad they sold Expedia or they'd have Windows Live Travel ready to go.

    I really can't wait for the Windows Live Defragmenter, though. Seriously, I can't. I really want to be able to schedule a defragmentation of my computer in Phoenix while I'm in vacation in Prague. Bring on the connected future!!!

    The point is, the concept of rapid software development and delivery is a strategy, not necessarily a brand name. If you're going to develop software faster... just do it!!! You don't need to lump every dam product under that brand. It shouldn't be "Windows", "Office", and "Everything Else".

  • Native VHD Mounting in Vista?

    I just received an e-mail stating that the bug I entered in a while back, suggesting that Microsoft add the ability to natively mount a Virtual PC's VHD file as a hard drive, has been resolved. Could this mean that we'll see support for this by Beta 2? I hope so!!!
  • Understanding WDDM and DWM

    Greg Schechter has an interesting write-up on the Role of WDDM in the Desktop Window Manager. His blog is fantastic if you're looking for information on the presentation subsystem in Windows Vista.