Brian Johnson's Startup Developer Blog

June, 2004


    Windows XP SP2 RC2 Available

    Release Canadidate 2 of Windows XP Service Pack 2 is now available for download. Here's a link and a bit about it:
    Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 Preview
    To aid IT professionals in planning and testing for the deployment of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Microsoft is making available this preview, based on Release Candidate 2 (RC2) of SP2. Additionally, we have established 11 newsgroups for sharing information.

    Windows Media Player 10 Stuff

    So I've been playing with the Windows Media Player 10 Technical Beta and it's pretty impressive. I haven't owned a dedicated MP3 player since I sold all my Macs and iPod last year, and so I was interested to see how the new media player would work with one. I dropped by Radio Shack today and spent 89 dollars on an RCA Lyra. I chose that model because it was on the list of devices that supported Auto Sync and because it had a slot for an SD card. I got the player home, hooked it up to my PC, and installed the latest firmware. I was then pleasantly surprised to find that I didn't have to install any drivers on the PC to get the player recognized. I added a 256 meg SD card and I was able to Auto Sync my 4 and 5 star playlist easily.

    As far as the device goes, it's really tiny. I was interested in experimenting with the idea that we would all be using multiple devices, depending on what we were doing, in the near future. I can buy into that. This player is about 2 ounces. I carry a gig and a half worth of music and video on my Pocket PC, but that machine is something like 12 ounces, and so it's not really convenient for working out. The Lyra seems like a perfect size and weight for the gym.


    Kate Gregory's Latest Column on CodeGuru

    Kate Gregory's latest column is up on CodeGuru. In it, she talks about the language changes in Visual C++ 2005.
    C++ Language Changes for Visual Studio 2005
    The next version of Visual Studio (formerly Whidbey, now Visual Studio 2005) is rich in improvements to the libraries and the usual sort of "behind the scenes" cleanups and speedups that don't get a lot of press. It has plenty of companion tools and new functionalities that will make the lives of developers simpler and happier. But to me, all of that pales in comparison to what Visual Studio 2005 has done with C++. In this column, I highlight some of the C++ language changes awaiting you in the next Visual Studio version.

    Rakesh Namineni has a Weblog

    Rakesh Namineni owns the Class Designer for Visual C++, and so this is a blog I'll be watching closely. In this first post, Rakesh lays out a lot of important information about this feature, so you'll want to take a look:
    What is Visual Studio 2005 Class Designer?
    The Visual Studio Class Designer lets you visualize the structure and relationships of classes and other types. Changes made to the visual designer are immediately reflected in code, and changes made to the code immediately affect the appearance of the designer. Members of a type can be visualized as compartments within the type. Members can be added and modified through a tool window called the Class Details Window that accompanies the Class Designer.

    Big News...

    The Visual Studio 2005 Developer Center is live! The Visual Studio 2005 Beta will be available for MSDN subscribers to download in a few days. Non-subscribers will be able to order the beta in a few weeks.

    In the meantime, check out the new Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition Beta. You can download that right now.

    Here are blog entries from various MSDN people with more information:
    Sara Williams
    Duncan Mackenzie
    Kent Sharkey

    And finally, be sure to check out the Channel 9 Summer of Express Contest. Lots of good information and cool prizes.


    State of the Site

    I took over as content strategist for the Visual C++ Developer Center just before the PDC last year and with the help of Visual C++ team members like Ami Vora and Product Manager Nick Hodapp, we've been able to steadily build the regular audience for the site so that we've now doubled the number of montly page views since the PDC. I heard from a few customers at TechEd that they were continuing to use C++ in their organizations because it had become obvious to them that Microsoft was indeed committed to supporting C++ as a key language in the future.

    With that, I think that the first part of our job (continuing to drive interest in C++) is coming along really well. Now what I want to do is take our efforts to the next level and I need some help from the regular visitors to the site. I'm planning content for the July through December timeframe and what I would like to know is what you want to see on the site. What topics do you want covered in articles about C++? What potential new features of the site would be useful to you? How can I help you make the most of Visual C++?

    You can leave comments on this post, or feel free to drop me a note anytime at As always, thanks for your feedback and support.

    Rebecca Norlander Demos XPSP2

    There's a great XPSP2 multimedia demo done by Rebecca Norlander on Channel 9. If you haven't installed the preview yet, take a look at the demo and see what the experience is going to be like for users:
    Rebecca Norlander - Demo of XPSP2
    There are two other pieces that discuss various aspects of the upcoming service pack including a question about security improvements and one about the size of the service pack:
    Rebecca Norlander - What are the big security improvements in the upcoming Windows XP Service Pack 2?

    Rebecca Norlander - why is XPSP2 so big?

    MSDN Labs: What's New in Visual C++ 2005

    Duncan links to the Visual Studio 2005 alpha documentation up on MSDN Labs. The Visual C++ 2005 documentation is up there also. Note that this is all very pre-release and we're still hammering out the bugs in the docs. Here's a good place to start if you want to know more about changes to the tools and language:
    What's New in Visual C++

    Crypto Chat on Wednesday

    There's a crypto programming chat on Wednesday, June 22 at 3:00 PM (PST). Click here to add this to your Outlook calendar. Here's a link to the chat list and a bit more about it:
    Programming with the Cryptography APIs
    Join Microsoft experts on June 23rd, 2004 to ask questions about techniques and best practices in using the Cryptographic APIs to help secure your applications. Let us know what changes you would like to see in the CryptoAPI and its documentation on MSDN.

    Windows XP SP2 RC2 Platform SDK Posted

    This weekend we posted RC 2 of the Windows XP SP2 Platform SDK. You can use this to get the headers and other files you need to do XPSP2 related development until the service pack is released.
    Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 Platform SDK RC2
    This is the Platform SDK for Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2. Developers can use this to build and test pre-release applications for Windows XP Service pack 2.
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