Windows *Live* Photo Gallery

How about that – Vista’s Photo Gallery (which I love) is getting an update as a Live asset.  I suppose they believe that it makes sense to have a strong web connection for that feature.  It seems like we’re ending up with two versions for some features in Vista – the one that shipped with the OS, plus another version with Live in the name.  Window Mail; Windows Live Mail Desktop.  Windows Photo Gallery; Windows Live Photo Gallery.  More to come?

Other than edging into the Sentence Name area, this change includes easy photo publishing to spaces, panoramic stitching and more. 🙂

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3 new debugger tricks: continuous stepping applied (x2) and symbol typo protection

Posted in msdn crosspost | 1 Comment

Talking about RELEASE: Family.Show – a free Family Geneology application based on Windows Presentation Foundation



RELEASE: Family.Show – a free Family Geneology application based on Windows Presentation Foundation

Description taken from the web site:

"For a hobby that revolves around dead people, genealogy is remarkably popular: it’s the fastest growing scene in North America. And a perfect study for Vertigo’s next Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) reference application for Microsoft.

Our designers employed every trick in the WPF book– styles, resources, templates, data binding, animation, transforms– to present an innovative visualization of the classic family tree, freeing our developers to concentrate on behind-the-scenes features like XPS, P/Invoke wrapper for Windows Vista common dialogs, and ClickOnce for WPF."

A couple comments:

1)  1.63MBThis is once again, a tiny WPF-based application at only 1.63MB in download size for Windows Vista, demonstrating once again, how application libraries are built directly into the operating system making WPF applications slim and optimal by taking advantage of the native services and functions within the OS.

2)  DRAG & DROP PHOTOS:  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the developers designed drag & drop correctly:  All you have to do to bring in a photo into the program is drag and drop it onto the "blank" photo frame for an individual and you’re finished.

3)  XML & GEDCOM EXPORT:  Geek moment here, but all data is saved in XML making it very easy to read into other applications.  And what’s more, it will also export into GEDCOM format so that it can be read & displayed in basically any other geneology software.

4)  SAVE TO XPS:  Want to send your family tree to someone else to see?  Create a read-only XPS document out of it and have them view the content the way itwas meant to be viewed.

5)  BEAUTIFUL!:   This is just a gorgeous program.  The graphics are extremely scalable, the visuals and animations are smooth an appealing, and the overall program design is just so well done.  Good job, Vertigo.  Folks, if this doesn’t demonstrate to you how Windows Vista is simply an awesome platform for next generation applications, I don’t know what will. 



(This isn’t the only application by Vertigo that leverages .NET and the Windows Presentation Foundation.  Check out there other creations at

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Bring back the love – Mr. Advertisers; Mrs. Consumer

I absolutely loved this clip talking about how traditional advertising is losing touch with today’s consumers.  It recasts the consumer/advertiser relationship as a marriage (well, a pending divorce) and is fun to watch.  I think it probably applies even more to me than to most folks.

It’s a Microsoft video (I generally don’t like our marketing, but this is great), and I think it’s related to Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions.

Posted in Funny | 1 Comment

Writing on water – shades of the Abyss

Super cool – they use standing waves to write on water.  They’re going to put it in amusement parks and the like – I’d love to see it hooked up to a camera (not sure if it’s capable of that – it’s a funny-shaped ‘S’).  It’s odd that it seems to be so calm except the letter.

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Making an MSI that doesn’t need a UAC/LUA prompt

The goal

I think that most things don’t need to require a UAC prompt to install – just install it for that user.  Why not make the MSI so it doesn’t prompt and your users get a smoother experience?  (Also, I feel much better installing a program that doesn’t require elevation to install – at a minimum I know it’s not disabling my anti-malware software.)  Ideally, with that same package you could optionally install per-machine (which requires elevation).  Here’s some information on how to make it happen

Posted in msdn crosspost | 4 Comments

Book (Abstract) Review – The people’s tycoon.

On my trip to UCSD, I caught up with some reading of (chiefly) business abstracts.  I read an awful lot for work, so sometimes these pile up.  I think it’s important to always be challenging your mind, and I hope that it helps round me out to read more books about business, sales, and new ideas (new to me, anyway).  I’ll be adding these to my book list with a brief takeaway (summary of an abstract – hmmm).  For some, I may add a blog entry if it stirs much thought.

The first:  The People’s Tycoon.
Clearly not a Ford fan, the author seems to delight in shining light on the "other side" of Ford’s past. 

I’m not sure I learned anything practical here, although there’s plenty to think about.  Some of Ford’s failings (is that useful?).  It’s briefly interesting to consider – although a certain amount of it would certainly come from his nature and upbringing, I wonder how much of it can be ascribed to the pressures of success (and pressure for continued success) on the successful – as it says in the Bible "it is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle, than to get into heaven."

I mostly found myself thinking about the author (consider the source, as they say).  As with any history, I wonder how much is true, how much is a matter of perspective, and how I can expect to understand which is which well enough to come to my own conclusions.  (Centralized media doesn’t do anything to help me in this plight, although blogging has shown that decentralized media isn’t exactly a cure, either…  I think information’s power to enable those that provide either it, authority or notoriety will always lead to issues.)  Here’s an example – while in France, I was friends with a lovely old lady (Mme. Bâtard) whose husband was a reporter – she had entirely stopped reading the news because what she read was so different from what she witnessed.  I would never recommend that approach, but it is telling.  What made her (an insider of sorts) feel so strongly – was it reporters’ different perspective that left out points she found critical and/or focused on what she found meaningless/misleading?  Was it different exposure to those populations (e.g.. Perhaps a reporter commented on character in business or political dealings while she observed character in personal dealings)?  Deliberate bias?  Probably a mixture as the differences in perspective and exposure are inescapable, and manipulating a bias seems to be the nature of those in power.  This is even a point in the book – talking about how Ford used his power to expertly maneuver media.  ("History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it" – Winston Churchill)

I also wonder what the author got from the book – he probably needed something with visceral enough details to sell the book, advance some issue, gain reputation and notoriety and to sell enough copies to satisfy some economic goal.  These pressures would have led to certain predictable outcomes.  An example of this is how (I’m told) many articles come from press releases written by companies – easy copy, which is adopted because it’s easy.  Eye-catching if slightly misleading headlines (ahem –  Or, if there isn’t clarity between two possible  histories, wouldn’t authors tend to choose those which would sell more books, or which advance their cause?  Anyway, those sorts of basic pressures impact history (past, present, and future). 

I wonder how those natural principles also apply to the internet – I’ll watch with interest, but I don’t pretend to understand it: As a programmer I’m more focused on producing sound bits than deeply understanding sound bites;  as someone making use of what seems to be increasingly biased (persuasive?) information, I feel obliged to spend at least some time trying.

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