Friday, June 30, 2006
Gnomedex 6 Day One Impressions


Okay, one full day of Gnomedex6 down, except for the product launches and the evening party. Other folks are doing a great job coming up with detailed descriptions of each presenter and you can find more by looking up the Gnomedex tag (RSS link). Here are some of the things that stood out for me today:

Microsoft presented a signed, framed take down notice to Chris regarding that whole Vista Beta2 "eh! stop doing that!" torrent episode. Sort of a "Sorry we had to do that," kind of thing. Now, given that Microsoft is a key sponsor of Gnomedex and are giving out lots of Microsoft Vista goodies in the gift bag and such, I'm super super surprised that there is almost zero Microsoft presence. No one here to show off Vista or Office. Well, there's an Xbox games room but wouldn't it be more useful for some of the leaders in Vista or Office to be here to hear feedback from some of the innovation leadership here?

Maybe we're just keeping a low - and generous - profile.

Today I got to discover that Marc Canter is a hoot and just a little bit of a coot. He certainly had a rather base way of asking Senator Edwards some questions. He then later talked about Open Standards and how openness is better than... closedness. Derek made the best basic point in that he wants to easily get his data in and out, and that's what openness, and open standards, allows. But I think that open standards become more of an issue than a help when the standards precede the implementation or the need for the implementation.

Chris wasn't too pleased with how Senator Edwards presentation turned out. He was hoping for a more geeky-level of questions and conversation with the Senator so that this crowd could assist an influential politician, and most likely Presidential Candidate, understand important technical issues, like Net Neutrality, and how best to leverage technology as part of having an open and transparent relationship with society. Anyway, too much in the way of political questions and not a whole lot in the world of deep tech.

I was really interested in learning, once and for all, what good all this localized and non-spreading excitement is over the Attention Economy since all I've been able to conjure up, reading about it, is what-the-eff? Steve Gillmor got up there and talked about it, but all I can say after he talked and answered questions is double-what-the-eff? He seems to be up there singing the praise of some religion that I can't get the slightest foggiest notion about. I mean, I read the attention based economy paper and understood the basics there: the more people pay attention to what you do gives you more power and influence in today's information economy. But what Gillmor is trying to flip that into is muddled. He's hoping Ray Ozzie steps into this. Well, if this is important I guess I do, too, because I trust Ray to bring clarity and implementation to it.

Okay, Canter is a little bit of a coot. Steve is full-on coot, and cranky, to boot.

Scoble asked on Microsoft Office, now that he's post-Microsoft: "It's not dead yet, but its death is coming." I think there was an "unless... web..." in there, but folks pretty much asked the mic to be yanked.




For Chris: TechMeme hacked. Part of an expirement at Gnomedex to see how well we can elevate a TechMeme listing.

Thursday, June 29, 2006
Gnomedex Outlook Contacts from the Gnomedex OPML


Gnomedex 6 starts tonight and I'm excited. For the past couple of years I've been looking forward to a regional conference / geek-together given all the great things going on in Seattle and Portland. Usually, though, things are just too crazy at work or I'm out of town. Fortunately, Gnomedex is now in Seattle and my schedule aligned and I signed up as soon as I could.

I'm going as an enthused individual, not officially representing Microsoft.

Here's something interesting for the other attendees: Chris released the OPML of the folks registered for Gnomedex. Dave pointed to a directory listing web page created out of the OPML. Over the weekend and a few recent late nights, I ran a script to get the OPML into Outlook as contacts and then decided to put snapshots of the various speakers into the contact cards, along with throwing in categories for Gnomedex and Gnomedex-Speaker.

Then I gave the mouse a cookie.

I decided, hey, why not get to know all of your fellow attendees by visiting their given web page. And, hey, if they have a headshot, why not throw that into their contact info. Oh, and, hey, if they have a bio or such, why not throw that into their contact details.

This got a little carried away. So I'd like to share it, if I could:

Outlook contacts for Gnomedex06:

That is a ZIP file containing an Outlook 2003 PST which contains a contact folder called Gnomedex06. Import this PST into your Outlook - as a folder off of your Outlook root - and you'll have all the attendee contact info that I've put together during the past few nights. I have not filled in a lot of gory details (no email, no phone) and have not gone and Google-stalked folks or anything; if your given web page led to a quick bio or representative snippet, I pasted it. Along with a headshot.

That's all.

You might find it useful. Feel free to use, and if you need to convert it to some other format go right ahead. If you share that let me know and I'll add a pointer to it, too.

And let me apologize if I didn't fill out your info or if you're well known to a lot of people and I missed putting in your info. I was browsing, copying, and pasting as fast as I could for nearly 300 people (with a glass or two of fine Woodinville red wine in me). I also didn't fill in much for the speakers since they are well known.

Drop me a line at Eric_Richards at ericri dot com if you have any comments / feedback.

Update: Chris notes this doesn't work with Outlook 2000. Sorry.

gnomedex - gnomedex6 - gnomedex2006 - gnomedex06 - Eric Richards

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Via Mary Jo: what an interesting article to read, given my thoughts as Gnomedex 06 gets closer and closer:Dealing with Microsoft Haters

That's right, I've got the open-source zealot heebie-jeebies. The last time I introduced myself to a OSZ, in a casino bar wind-down after a great marriage ceremony we all attended, he shocked me by saying, "We just shouldn't talk to each other," and walked away. And that was him mustering all of his abilities to be civil!

Anyway... I'm quite proud of who I work for so Thu / Fri / Sat may or may not have some more interesting moments for one Microsoftie...

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Q: Did IE6 Make Web 2.0 Possible?

A: yes.

Oh, and as an extra, here's a link to my latest Web 2.0 exercise-wear from Mule Design.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Scott Roberts has a tips and tricks post around the Office 2007 Contact Selector control that you can add to your InfoPath form: InfoPath Team Blog : Open your rolodex from InfoPath using the Contact Selector

It is not a built-in, first-class control, meaning that you'll have to do some work to get it integrated into your form 100%. But it's a lot easier doing all that vs. writing your own control from scratch.



I've always kept an eye out for Intuit, curious if they would ever start towards the e-forms market: Intuit's upgraded QuickBase hastens competition with Microsoft, Google

Monday, June 19, 2006


I've always said that if someone asked me to code up the binary search algorithm as part of an interview, I'd bonk them on the nose. Why? Why get so upset over an obvious algorithm that anyone can explain? Because there are always bugs: Official Google Research Blog: Extra, Extra - Read All About It: Nearly All Binary Searches and Mergesorts are Broken

Now a whole new class of bugs: integer overflow.

Hmm. Now I'm almost hoping someone does ask me to code up a binary search at my next interview, just so that I can do a safe mid-point calculation and see them contemplate whether or not to ask me why in the world the line is coded that way.



Wellll, who am I to disagree with Forrester Research, especially given this delicious title: Forrester Research: Microsoft InfoPath: A Strong Performer In e-Forms Leveraging MS Office?

The report hasn't made its way to our internal market research repository yet. I look forward to the read...

Updated: read it. Lesson: don't get too cocky from the title of a report. While InfoPath ranked "Strong Performer" IBM and Adobe's products got ranked as the higher "Leader" products. The report was well done, just I didn't agree with the weightings used to come up with the final metrics.

Friday, June 16, 2006


There is nothing better for learning a new product or features or such than a practical example. David has two parts so far to his "Building Permit" example:

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Along comes the Sysinternals PowerShell IDE - dang. I'm in the middle of learning some Python via IronPython. I thought about learning PowerShell (aka Monad) but have put it off. Now this. Hmm.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Want to know about some of the deeper aspects of InfoPath integration in Office 2007? Here's a good collection: Andrew May's WebLog : InfoPath Forms in Office SharePoint Server 2007

This also includes pointers to:

Actually, the master topic for that last bullet is here: InfoPath Forms for Workflows.



Here's an excellent overview of how to use the new InfoPath designer feature to create a template part in InfoPath 2007: InfoPath 2007: Creating a Template Part.

What's a good use for a template part? The blog post picks one of the best examples: contact information. Perhaps when you design your forms, you find yourself over and over again dealing with the same constructs (like, say, patient name and address information). You can design a template part to make that part of the form design quick.



Oh, man... I'm so sorry for all of our customers, partners, and Microsoft co-workers in Boston: TechEd Bus Drivers Go on Strike.



Here's a one-stop collection of Microsoft InfoPath resources: Office Developer Center: InfoPath Community.

It even has - right now - a video of an amazing collection of good looking InfoPath team members introducing you to some of the new features in InfoPath 2007.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I'm still waiting and hoping that the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer game for Xbox will one day show up on the 360 backwards compatibility list... but I'm not holding my breath too much. I'm a big Buffy fan and it was a great game, though Willow looked a little scary.

I havemany found memories of playing it late into the night, all alone in Graham, with Bella up on the couch snuggled next to me and Beauregard sleeping down on the floor. They made it through lots of noises, but didn't care for the howls of the vampire dogs.

At least Chaos Bleeds is available: Xbox 360 - Original Xbox Games on Xbox 360

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Here's an MSDN article to give you more of a taste of using the new hostable InfoPath control within a WinForm application: Hosting the InfoPath Form Editing Environment in a Custom Windows Form Application - by Mike Talley.

It includes a link to the sample application, too, showing how one would write a simple shell around the InfoPath form control.

One thing new that this article touches on is the Submit to Host data adapter: perhaps when the user presses "submit" you want your hosting infrastructure to do something with that resultant XML. This is basically a hosting specific adapter to let you do so.

Additionally, the article calls out some of the features not supported in hosted InfoPath. If this causes you grief, please blog about it or share with us your scenarios so that we can better understand what's going on for you.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Powertoys WebLog : Consolas - a New Font for the Visual Studio 2005 Editor: "Consolas "

I'm trying this out to see how it does in my code editor. (Shh! It's not VS2005)

Friday, June 02, 2006


Oh, no, now here comes this review of the SanDisk Sansa e2** series SanDisk Sansa e260 review - Engadget: they likie!

I think I'll just need to see if I can download the manual and then play with it. I want it a lot less given that work handed out some very nifty tiny 1GB MP3/WMA players. Perhaps if I can get a good deal...

Eric Richards' place of techno (as in technology) happiness, rants, and corporate love. I work in Microsoft Office as a development lead.

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email: Eric_Richards at ericri dot com

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Disclaimer: The postings (and comments) here represent personal point of views and in no way represent the point of view or official opinions of my employer (Microsoft Corporation). The postings here are provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. And if you're reading this blog, you're not only incredibly discerning, you're also knee-weakening good looking.

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