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Showing posts from March, 2006

MIX 2006

Mix 06 happened in Vegas from March 20-22 2006.

A lot of upcoming technology was discussed- from Atlas, AJAX to MS Expression, WPF etc.

For the ones who are interested to download the presentations and HoLs of the MIX you can do so from:
http://content.mix06.com/ or
https://content.mix06.com/content/sessions.aspx

now isn't this cool :)
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Bluehat - Exploring Security Vunerability

Bluehat events are held to discover how hackers and security penetration experts work and tools they use. The invitees to the event are hand picked and the presentations also not publically available.

IMHO, the idea is to integrate the security best practices in various MS Products and Services.

Here's a blog that would be of immense interest to people working in security area from the bluehat team:
http://blogs.technet.com/bluehat/
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Security Shootout - Some insights

I recently saw the ticker on CNN - IBN that talked about a security contest called "Security Shootout" that was giving away a Scorpio as its first prize. WOW! this was cool.. and i set to investigate the contest..

Some cool things about the contest:

1. The contest is being run and sponosred by Microsoft India.
2. The contest is geared towards the Microsoft developers. Almost 50% of the questions can be attempted by anyone in any technology but the rest of them need deep knowledge of the Microsoft Development using .NET
2. The total worth of prizes for this contest is almost INR 45,00,000/- ... contrast this with the Code Jam Contest (http://www.topcoder.com/pl/?module=Static&d1=gicj06&d2=overview) being run by Google that has its prize money as mere INR 14,60,000/-..

currently the contest is open for Ist phase and i cudn't resist participating in it (though i am not eligible for the same!)... Phase I gave out 30 questions for me to attempt.. the questions were of eas…

Windows Live Mail

I have been running Windows Live Custom Domains BETA for sometime now. for all the domains that i create, i also get some invites for Windows Live Mail. I had converted my domain's MX record for Live Service and finally was upgraded to the Live Mail BETA.

The Live Mail BETA looks very similar to the Outlook Web Access (OWA) and currently delivers a raw look (it is BETA!)...

the good thing is that it is open to accepting feedback from the community as you can see here: http://join.msn.com/mailbeta/feedback .

Some new features that are available include:
Contextual menus that open when you right-click an item.
Automatic updating of your inbox as new messages are received.
A preview pane that allows you to read and respond to mail without leaving the inbox.
A lighter, cleaner look and faster performance. Hope by the time Live Mail is launched it incorporates the requested features.

P.S.: I have recently seen Yahoo Mail doing their BETA as well but haven't received the invite from them ye…

Vista and Office Ship dates

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There was a internal competition within Microsoft for providing pictures for Windows Vista. I missed sending any. Here is my entry (unofficial of course!):

There are rumors that the ship dates of Vista and Office have slipped.

Office and Vista teams are co-ordinating their release dates. From what i have come to understand, there are 2 waves of releases:
Launch for Volume Licensing Partners (essentially RTM - when product is ready) Launch for Retail customers and OEM (wide availability)Vista:
RTM and Volume License Customer - Late October 2006 (probably around Oct 25th)
Retail & OEM - January 2007.http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/mar06/03-21WindowsVistaDeliveryPR.mspxMicrosoft Office System 2007:
RTM and Volume License Customer availability in October 2006.
Retail & OEM availability in January 2007.http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/mar06/03-24OfficeTimingPR.mspxThe Beta 2 of both the products should also be forthcoming around June 2006. Keep watching!


Back from Srinagar Trip

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This is the reason why Kashmir is the heaven on earth !




I was there from 18 March to 26 March.. a truly unforgettable journey..

from snowfall, high mountains, lakes, snow covered hutments, fresh water streams, green forests -the sheer beauty overwhelms your senses...

My tip - "Make it to Kashmir!"




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Deciphering early adopter programs in Microsoft

In Microsoft each product release is preceded by controlled Betas and early adopter programs. there programs provide the development teams with loads of feedback and help focus on issues most critical to customers. The major drawback here is that these programs are more reactive - you have to take a finished product and comment on it. the engagement with MVPs is much deeper where the engagement might begin right from drawing board stage.

Here is the guide to the early adopter programs available from MS:

Technology Adoption Program (TAP)
TAP provides depth support, labs and training for a select group of few companies that are already well advanced in developing using particular technology. TAP commences and will runs until RTM.
It is focussed on enterprises, ISVs and VARs.
It might contain more specific programs focussed on user experience, app compatability within the larger TAP.


Enterprise GO
Enterprise GO enables companies to experience the value of Microsoft’s next generation technolog…

.NET usage Data within MS

Here is something that has been on back of my mind and i am glad to find some data for the same..
the thing is whether .NET has been adopted within MS or not? largely for platform products the language of choice still remains C/ C++. However, tools on the products e.g. reporting tools, websites, MMC etc can be built on .NET. As an illustration of how deep is .NET in MS products, here are some hard facts:

oVisual Studio 2005: 7.5 million lines oSQL Server 2005: 3 million lines oBizTalk Server: 2 million lines oVisual Studio Team System: 1.7 million lines oWindows Presentation Foundation: 900K lines oWindows Sharepoint Services: 750K lines oExpression Interactive Designer: 250K lines oSharepoint Portal Server: 200K lines oContent Management Server: 100K linesOf my personal experience, working on BTS Rosettanet and Financial Services accelerator, quite a bit was .NET (almost 90%). one time we had to consider COM was when writing MMC that was still not available in .NET version …

My IE 7 is back ONLINE

After being tormented by FireFox for almost a day, I have gotten my IE 7.0 back ... what a relief!!

Well I just used the utility available (IE Fix) on http://windowsxp.mvps.org/IEFIX.htm and reinstalled IE 6.0. Once this was working I just started the IE 7.o Beta 2 Preview installer that set the IE 7.0 back to its full glory!!
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My IE7 gave away

After the whole day of trying to activate my windows unsuccessfully, i took the last resort of again installing Windows over the current install. this did start activation properly and retained my data on the machine.

However, following things are broken:
Hindi LIP reverted back tin English. Reinstalling and restarting the machine worked fine.Windows Upate located appropriate updates and upated the system.Office 2003 broke. The installation CD provided an option of Detect and Repair that repaired the office installtion. though it took some lengthy minutes checking if any PST file got corrupted.Here's the WORST of them all - My IE 7 got corrupted beyond recognition. clicking on the IE EXE returns the error - "the procedure entry point InternetGetSecurityInfoByURLW could not be located in the dynamic link library WININET.dll"So I got stuck with no Internet Browser on my machine and did what any information worker would do - found an alternative. this time it is FireFox!
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My laptop has activation issues

My Windows Explorer would crash from time to time and so today morning i decided to reinstall Windows on my machine - in retrospection that was a decision that would cost me a day!

Post successful reinstall (so i thought), i couldn't work on my machine as each time i would log into the machine, I would be told that i need to activate my machine. But pressing the "OK" button just logged me out instead of taking me to the Activation Wizard. And so i was totally logged out of my machine.

Few things i have learnt:
Safe mode doesn't support activationActivation is a process that is greek to even the support folksSo here I am at the end of the day and trying to reinstall another copy of windows on the current windows in hope that this windows will let me log into the machine and would activate successfully.------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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WPF Everywhere!

Windows Presentation Foundation, is the new API for Vista suite of products. WPF is the framework for all user interfaces on the Vista.

The next step is ubiquity of WPF. Not only on Vista running on PCs but also on Mac and other mobile devices. This leap is being taken by WPF/E (WPF - Everywhere) which is a subset runtime of WPF. It would include "almost" all of the WPF features availalble for the PC platform.

ActiveX and plug-ins for WPF/E will be provided for browsers.

One will have choice of the technology for use amongst Atlas, Direct 3D, Win forms, WPF.

One thing is sure - going forward WPF/E would be the underlying technology for everything including Atlas, ability of Win forms to host WPF. And XAML is going be the way forward for presentation.
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Infopath 2007: More Useful than before

Infopath 20O7 has enhanced features for simplifying the distribution of Infopath forms. ln nfopath 2003 you could only send the form as an email attachment. Upon receipt of the email the user would have to fire Infopath on local machine to fill the form.
In Infopath 2007, fom ditribtion is greatly enhanced. Now the forms can be distributed in two ways :
1. Sending forms as embedded form within Outlook. User will be able to just reply to the email without having to fire up Infopath separately.
2. Publishing form on the web as a thin client/normal web form. User will not have to have Infopath on his machine. Uses will be able to fill and submit the form at one go. This feature comes at no extra design time effort for the dev. This is called "design once" feature.

what's even better is that lnfopathwill now even support mobileforms.

More details on this feature can be found at:
http://blogs.msdn.com/tudort/
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Office Liven Access

I have been able to get access to Office Live website on a trial basis. I will be revewing the same and sharing more details about the service shortly :)

the external facing front end to the service is: www.sacommunity.com
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Managed provider for NNTP

Here is something interesting - A managed wrapper for NNTP:
http://ryanfarley.com/blog/archive/2004/05/21/701.aspx
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This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.