Tag Archives: microsoft

How to track savings bonds in MS Money 2007

I recently upgraded to Microsoft Money 2007, and decided to finally add in some treasury bonds that I have had for years. I couldn’t figure out, how to do it, however, until I came across this FAQ.


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ClearType is like a new pair of glasses

Many have said it already, but let me just add my voice: ClearType technology is the most wonderful thing to hit Windows in a long time. I recently received a new computer at work (3.4Ghz hyperthreaded, 1 GB RAM, 80/200 GB disks–a screaming machine, at least compared to what I used to have). and during the setup process (3 versions of Visual Studio, Office, dozens of developer tools) I remembered that I needed to turn ClearType on.

Wow. It’s like the same difference when you’ve been needing glasses for a while and finally get them and realize that the world isn’t that blurry after all.*

It doubles the perceived resolution of LCDs.

(* only a little ironic that ClearType works by deliberately “blurring” edges through antialiasing.)


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Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Linux Reality Check

Over at Slashdot, Fedora Project Leader Max Spevack responds to some frank question about the Fedora project.

He talks about a number of topics:

  1. Unified package managers across distros
  2. Propritetary drivers
  3. Differences in Linux over time
  4. Fedora’s biggest weakness
  5. Threat of Vista
  6. inclusion of NTFS driver in kernel
  7. Wacky package dependencies
  8. a few others…

What his article demontrates to me is that Linux is going through some growing pains and that the community is realizing the difficulties that Apple and Microsoft have already dealt with in their own ways.

For example,

I guess the “problem” with package managers is that they are so integral to the rest of a distro that it’s a major endeavor to switch them. One reason is that a switch of that kind would break the upgrade chain.

Welcome to the real world of computing. Upgrading, advancing, improving are all important issues for real users using their computers. The only reason we still use the x86 architecture is backward compatibility. The only reason Windows has universal marketshare is that it works with basically everything ever written.

Another fundamental issue:

In terms of getting people to use Linux instead of proprietary operating systems — I think that battle is best fought in the world of people who are new to computers. People will tend to be loyal to the first thing that *just works* and doesn’t cause them pain. Making that first experience for people a Linux one as opposed to a proprietary one — that’s the challenge.

How true. It’s been a while since I’ve installed Linux, but my memories of it were not all that pleasant. It worked well enough, I suppose, but it certainly isn’t as polished or streamlined as it should be. MS and Apple are still years ahead of Linux in this regard.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Microsoft Sandcastle Released

Now that NDoc is officially dead, and without support for .Net 2.0, it is a relief to many that Microsoft has released Sandcastle, the tool that they use to build MSDN documentation.

Update: A FAQ/blog is available. I couldn’t subscribe to the feeds in RSS Bandit, however. It may be a temporary problem.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Windows Media Player 11 continued…

Some things I really like about the new media player:

  • It is a LOT faster. I have at least 15,000 songs I’ve ripped from my large CD collection. WMP 10 took far too long enumerating albums and songs.
  • The instant search may become my primary way of finding specific music to listen to.
  • I like the tile view — it makes the experience of picking music to play sort of like browsing a physical array of CDs. I have so much music that I often don’t know what I want to listen to–browsing is essential.
  • Very intuitive–I figured out how to navigate among the new views very easily.
  • The shuffle/repeat options is much more prominent on the play-control bar. I switch shuffle on and off constantly.

Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

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Windows Media Player 11

The best media player just got better.

At work, I just downloaded the new version of Windows Media Player 11 in beta. From what little I’ve used it, it’s a HUGE improvement.

One potential thing I slightly miss is that I can’t view albums in the left-hand “browser” and the tracks in the right-hand “content” view. This allowed me to easily move tracks to differently-named albums during editing. But maybe there is a way to do it, or a completely different technique altogether that works just as well.

Also, the readme notes that there are potential problems with IE7 Beta 2, which I have at home. I’ll give it a try anyway and blog my results.

 


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

The web in a box

I was reading an interview of Gary Flake who works with MSN search. The following quote stood out to me:

 However, there is an even richer class of algorithms that can only be efficiently built on a 64 bit system because you essentially have to have a significant part of the web stored close to a single CPU. So, 64 bit systems pave the way for entirely new forms of relevance that look at how pages relate to one another.

That is just cool.

Microsoft announced recently that in a few months they would reveal a new search engine that is better than Google. This looks like part of it.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Editing Tracks in Windows Media Player

I recently embarked on a complete overhaul of my digital music library–including re-ripping all of my hundreds of CDs into WMA at 192 Kbps. It took a few weeks to get through  that, and now I’m going through each album “normalizing” it–fixing up names, album artists, composers, etc. It’s quite an effort and very tedious at times.

I just discovered yesterday that the keyboard is your friend in Windows Media Player. Using the mouse, you have to higlight a track, and then click again to enter the field (but be careful not to double-click, or it will start playing that track instead).

With the keyboard, you highlight a track, hit F2 to edit the first field (track number in my case). Don’t hit enter when you’re done editing a field, but use the tab/shift-tab keys to move between fields and the up/down arrow keys to move between tracks. This is saving a ton of time.

So why didn’t I realize this before? Part of me wants to say it’s my fault: I’m very computer-saavy and use the keyboard whenever I can and I ought to have tried something. However, another part of me is thinking that the interface does not indicate that the keyboard is a viable option here.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Credibility

One thing I cannot stand that is so prevalent in the computer industry is criticism by people of ideas, products, and technologies that they don’t understand. You see this a lot in the OS wars–especially of Windows, but Linux and Apple are not immune.

In very few cases do people have a well-reasoned and thought out explanation for their feelings. People who bash other ideas for their “religious” reasons are not intelligent–they are freaks who should not be trusted to make good decisions about technology.

Sure, there are horribly bad products out there, but those are mostly ignored and quickly die off. Religious wars start over successful products. A little study and research into the reasons for various design decisions would go a lot towards increasing the intelligence of most of these people.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Yankee Group vs. Linux Zealots

There is a wonderful little article about the Yankee Group’s reaction to criticism of their surveys.

I’m not as forgiving as Laura DiDio. My entire undergraduate education was heavily Linux-based, and as I saw it, there were very few reasonable opinions. It was either love linux above all else and bash Microsoft with idiotic assertions, or be quiet.

Linux might be cool and fun to geek around with, but I mostly want to get work done. Linux doesn’t do it as well as Microsoft.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order: