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Friday, September 30, 2005

Time to start reading...

Got the book I was waiting for a couple of days ago last night. It's a nice, almost brand-new hardbound version. I'm going to start reading it at the airport and on the flight later today and on the way back on Sunday. Hopefully I can finish reading it before the coursework load starts piling on in the coming weeks.

I'm leaving for the airport in two hours. Probably won't be blogging until Monday, so catch you all when I get back. :)

posted at 2:20:00 PM
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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Back from one trip, off on another...

We got back from Big Bear this morning. Had to wake up at 5:30AM this morning so that we could get back in time for Engineering Welcome Day at 10AM on campus and set up an ACM information booth. The place we stayed at was awesome, and we had a really good time - hiking, BBQ'ing, playing dodgeball with paper balls across two floors of the cabin, playing videogames and "Mafia" and planning events and projects for next quarter, of course. :D

I didn't take my camera along this time, but we did have two cameras and a video cam, so I'll post pics when I get them.

Classes start tomorrow (sort of...it's Zero Week), and just as I'm back from one trip, I'm off on another. I'll be heading up to Redmond on Friday evening and returning on Sunday night. Will be on the Microsoft campus with about a hundred other people from across the country for the Student Ambassadors kick-off event. Looks like there's a lot of fun stuff planned for Saturday. :)

posted at 7:52:00 PM
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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Going to Big Bear Lake...

I'm leaving for Big Bear tomorrow with this year's ACM team. We'll be staying there for three days (two nights), returning on Wednesday evening. Should be fun. :)

The quarter then starts off on Thursday. It's officially the end of summer break...

posted at 12:22:00 PM
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Friday, September 23, 2005

What makes Vista different for Microsoft...

The WSJ has a very informative report today about the complete organizational overhaul that the Longhorn build and quality control processes went through during the last couple of years. On one hand, these major changes led to delays in the development cycle; on the other hand, they were absolutely necessary in order to get a solid, yet agile and flexible product out of the door.

The article is longer than most daily news reports, but it's wonderfully written and well worth a read. :)

posted at 9:44:00 PM
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

I've been Scobleized!

And twice in one post! (See the first and last links)

*Watches the traffic spike* :D

posted at 12:07:00 PM
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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Da Vinci Code...

I know I'm probably more than a year behind most people who read this book back when it was first released, but hey, better late than never, right? :)

I've been meaning to read it for months now, but I've just never had the time to do it with so many other things going on. Now that I have about a week and a half left before I go back to uni, I thought it would be the perfect time to check it out.

So I've ordered a nice hardcover copy from Amazon. Unfortunately, it can take between 4 (let's hope!) and 14 days to arrive by Media Mail. Hopefully, I'll have the copy before summer break ends!

posted at 11:23:00 PM
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Experiencing the magnitude of the PDC...

My reports on our PDC blog were focused mainly around the content of the keynotes and all the different sessions that I attended during the week. I did get a few pictures of the Convention Center on Friday evening after the conference ended, but I couldn't really capture what it feels like to be at such a large scale event.

Robert and Jeff from the Channel9 team spent some time on Wednesday night walking around the Convention Center, capturing everything on video. The clips are now up on Channel9. Check them out to really a get a feel for the sheer magnitude of the conference! I can't even imagine how much effort and planning must have gone into making it the success that it was.


posted at 10:41:00 PM
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The Office 12 User Interface...

I discovered Jensen Harris' blog on MSDN a few days ago, and I've been following along his posts on the new Office 12 UI. If the demos during the PDC keynotes piqued your interest, this is definitely a blog to subscribe to. Jensen talks about the motivation behind the changes made to the UI and how these changes enhance the functionality of the product instead of being just pretty looking.

The contextual ribbons, which are replacements for the traditional toolbars in Office 2003 and its predecessors, really help to make the numerous features in Office more discoverable and less confusing. More importantly, they add to the efficiency of the UI by putting commonly performed tasks just a click or two away. Jensen's posts help you to understand how it all comes together, and he also clears up several misconceptions in a great post called Mythbusters. :)

Although there are several screenshots on the blog, there's no better way to appreciate the power and efficiency of the new UI than to see it in action. The keynote gave us a quick glimpse. Channel9 also has a great video that's worth watching. Can't wait for the O12 beta program to begin!

posted at 1:54:00 PM
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Monday, September 19, 2005

Plans for winter break...

Summer break isn't even over yet and I already have my plans for winter break finalized. :)

Just got my flight tickets to NYC confirmed yesterday. I'll be spending about 20 days there with my bro between December 17th and January 5th. I've never actually been to NYC during winter, so it should be quite an experience with the cold weather, the snow and all that good stuff. The best part is that I'll be there during Christmas and New Year, which is probably the best time to be in a place like NYC anyway. Looking forward to it!

posted at 2:28:00 PM
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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Testing out NewsGator Online...

Those of you who have been regular readers of this blog for long enough might remember a post I made about NewsGator, an RSS aggregator plugin for Outlook, almost exactly a year ago. I really liked the app, but I later moved onto Bloglines, mainly because I was looking for an aggregator that could stay in sync when I moved between computers.

I had a chance to listen to Greg Reinacker, the founder of NewsGator, during a panel discussion about RSS at the PDC on Friday, and that reminded me to take a look at NewsGator Online, a web-based aggregator similar to Bloglines, which I had been meaning to try out ever since it became a free service.

So I'm now taking NGO for a test drive. It has all the features that I love and use in Bloglines - like being able to publish a blogroll, being able to save selected posts as clippings, etc. I like the UI quite a bit more. It feels cleaner and more polished, and the separation of consecutive posts by alternating the background color between white and a light shade of blue adds a nice touch - it's subtle, but the differentiation between posts is clear enough. Another nice thing about it is that if I check the "Only unread items" box, any feeds that don't have new content are hidden away, again adding to the clean feeling of the interface.

I'm going to try it for a few more days to see if I notice any quirks, but it looks like I may be moving over soon. :)

posted at 11:32:00 PM
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The Avalon poster...

Avalon - Evolve!


Update: Clearer versions - PNG and PDF. Courtesy of Kevin Moore :)

posted at 4:40:00 PM
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The end of an awesome conference...

I don't think PDC '05 could be any better from an organizational standpoint. Putting something of this magnitude (as you can tell from the pics of the place!) together is not an easy task, and it was planned and executed just brilliantly. The keynotes were exciting (and no glitches this time!), the breakout sessions were fun and very informative, the track lounges were always filled with MSFT PM's and Devs who were always there to answer any questions and help people out. Free food and drinks were aplenty, and there were a whole lot of freebies given away almost everyday. I really don't think I could ask for anything more from a tech conference. :P

One of the most interesting things I noticed was the kind of presence Channel9 had at this year's conference. I still remember C9 when it first started off - it was just a small site started by five guys with a goal to give a human face to a corporation. It's really come a long way since then, and I think it's safe to say it's been a big success. There was a Channel9 lounge at the PDC, C9 videos running constantly on the LCD displays outside each session room throughout the day, and a boatload of videos were posted this week, especially for those who were unable to attend the conference. Scoble, Jeff, Charles, Adam and the rest of the team must be proud! They've been doing a killer job! :)

Several people have been asking me about all the swag I collected during the last four days, so I'm just going to post a list of everything here.

- PDC '05 shoulder bag
- Three Windows Vista posters
- Tech magazines: The Architecture Journal, Plug Code and Go, SQL Server Magazine, MSDN Magazine, and Code.
- A PDC '05 notepad
- A Channel9 foam guy
- The official PDC '05 T-shirt
- Two more T-shirts, courtesy of C9 - one says: "No, I will not fix your computer...until after PDC '05" and the other says "Avalon ~ all about U and I" :)
- A cap from Computer Associates (CA)
- A full retail version of CA's eTrust Internet Security Suite - antivirus, firewall, antispam, antispyware
- A Windows Vista CD case/tin
- A WinFX coffee mug
- An Indigo CD
- An Avalon poster - this one's really cool! I'll post a picture soon.
- An MSN Messenger branded 64MB USB flash drive
- "The Goods" - a collection of six DVD's with over 30GB of bits in one beautiful case: Windows Vista Beta 1 (5112), Vista 5219, Windows Server Longhorn 5219, Visual Studio 2005 Team System Beta 2, SQL Server 2005 Sept CTP, Virtual PC 2004 (full license), Virtual Server 2005 Enterprise (full license), Virtual Server 2005 R2 Beta, Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise RC0, WinFX SDK and runtimes, WinFS Beta 1, LINQ Tech Preview and so on...
- Visual Studio 2005 Release Candidate DVD
- A voucher for the full retail version of SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition when it's released in November.
- Invitation to the Hotmail beta program
- Invitation to the Office 12 Beta program, whenever that begins. Woo!

Phew! I think that covers it. :P


posted at 3:36:00 PM
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Monday, September 12, 2005

Google loves the OSNN PDC blog...

I was just checking the logs for the OSNN PDC '05 blog and noticed that, as of this time, we're on the first page of Google search results for:

Windows Vista Build 5219
Build 5219
PDC 05

...and the #1 search result for:

PDC 05 Build 5219
PDC 05 Blog

Wow! Going to have to make sure I keep the quality of posts high over the course of the week. The fun begins tomorrow at 8:30AM. Don't forget to watch the live BillG keynote video stream if you're not at the conference! :)

posted at 12:13:00 PM
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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Remembering 9/11...

I watched a documentary earlier today on the Discovery Channel, and they talked to the family members of each of the passengers on Flight 93. My heart really sank after watching it. :(

Remember Sept 11

posted at 7:53:00 PM
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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Vista product editions revealed?

I'll be posting anything related to Vista, Office 12, WinFX and the PDC, in general, on the OSNN blog this coming week, but this bit of news was interesting enough to repeat here.

Paul Thurrott has just revealed that there will be a total of seven (you read that right) editions when Windows Vista ships next year!

There will be two general categories of Windows Vista editions, which map closely to the two that exist today for XP ("Home," which comprises Starter, Home, and Media Center Editions, Pro, which includes Professional, Professional x64, and Tablet PC Editions). In Windows Vista, the two categories are Home and Business. In the Home category, Microsoft will create four product editions: Windows Vista Starter Edition, Windows Vista Home Basic Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium Edition, and Windows Vista Ultimate Edition (previously known as "Uber" Edition). In the Business category, there will are three editions: Windows Vista Small Business Edition, Windows Vista Professional Edition, and Windows Vista Enterprise Edition. In all, there are 7 product editions planned for Windows Vista

Check out a breakdown of each of the seven editions and the differences between them in Paul's article.

I can only echo what Omar said on the forums - "Windows Vista Ultimate Edition - Gimme! :D"

posted at 1:33:00 PM
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Mail, lots and lots of mail...

So I finally got access to my laptop again today...after a week. One of the first things I did was to fire up Outlook and pull down all my mail (much of which I had already been checking through webmail during the week...yuck!), and what did I see?

Lots of email


posted at 1:48:00 AM
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Friday, September 09, 2005

Last day at Symantec...

Today is the last day of my internship here at Symantec. I really enjoyed the three months I spent here, and I'm going to miss the people and the place. :(

Summer's almost coming to an end...

posted at 11:29:00 AM
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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Just played with the iPod Nano...

One of the guys here at work just picked up a black iPod Nano from the Apple Store on 3rd Street. Very slick little device, and these things invariably end up being smaller than I expect them to be based on stock pictures etc.

I would have taken a picture, but I left my phone at my desk. Good stuff though. Unlike the Shuffle or the "iTunes phone," I'm pretty impressed with this thing. :)

Edit: Got a pic, but I have no way of uploading it at the moment. :P

posted at 2:37:00 PM
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Channel9 interviews BillG...

Scoble just announced that he will be posting a video interview with Bill Gates on Channel9 today at 3PM. It's something everyone on C9 had been waiting for. Should be fun. :)

Update: It's up!

posted at 10:36:00 AM
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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Want to join the Windows OneCare Beta program?

Just got this in my mailbox today and thought I'd post a relevent excerpt here for anyone who is interested in officially beta testing OneCare. :)

Dear Windows OneCare™ Beta Testers,

First, a huge thanks to everyone for your great feedback and ideas! We've been hard at work fixing bugs and implementing new features based on the valuable input you have provided. This newsletter contains information on upcoming product improvements, the first in a series of top tester awards, and how you can help expand our beta program.

Invite your friends and family to signup for the Windows OneCare Beta!
Do you know others who are interested in trying out Windows OneCare? We are now at the point where we would like to expand our group of beta testers. We encourage you to extend Windows OneCare beta invitations to your friends and family. Just have them go to http://beta.microsoft.com/, sign in with their Microsoft® Passport Network credentials, type in OneCare (case sensitive) when prompted for the guest ID, and follow the instructions from there.

posted at 7:17:00 PM
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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No laptop for a week...


Due to a rather strange turn of events, I am without a computer this week (except when I'm at work...like now). There was a bit of miscommunication between my dad and bro in Las Vegas, and each one assumed the other had checked the hotel room before we checked out. Turns out my bro's laptop bag got left behind in a drawer in the room and since we both have the same laptops, they somehow got swapped...so I brought back his with me and mine got left behind. Thankfully, the hotel still has it and it's being couriered back sometime this week.

posted at 11:48:00 AM
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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Leaving for Vegas...

Be back on Monday evening. :)

posted at 9:06:00 AM
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Thursday, September 01, 2005

"Freeze Dry" for Windows Vista...

Windows Vista will include a new technology known as Freeze Dry designed to maintain application states and unsaved documents even when patches are automatically applied and PCs are rebooted.

Speaking at the Australian Tech Ed conference on the Gold Coast in Queensland this week, senior product manager Amy Stephan offered a preview of the Freeze Dry technology.

Many IT managers plan to automatically install patches and updates on machines during periods when they are inactive, such as overnight or on weekends. However, as some patches require machines to reboot, users who leave documents open and unsaved run the risk of losing that data if the machine is automatically updated. Freeze Dry eliminates that problem by automatically saving application state and documents and then restoring them once the system restarts, Stephan said.

Source: ZDNet AU

Hell yeah! This should have been a part of Automatic Update all along. My brother just experienced this problem first-hand about a month ago. He had a couple of MATLAB simulations running for a few days and an automatic update was about to restart the machine without warning. Luckily he was able to stop it in time.

This is one of the main reasons why I don't currently leave AU enabled. I choose the "notify me before downloading and installing" option instead. With "Freeze Dry" there's one less reason to leave it disabled...

posted at 12:08:00 PM
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