Brian Johnson's Startup Developer Blog


    Halo 2 vs. Half-Life 2


    Well, it's not really like that, but Steve posted that he's tempted to get an Xbox simply to play Halo 2. I'm having similar pains over Half-Life 2. My beautiful wife picked up a copy of Halo 2 for me this morning at Target. On my home PC, I've got a ready to activate copy of Half-Life 2. The problem is, after playing the source beta for Counter-Strike 2, I find that my video card isn't quite up to snuff for the HL2 release. So my conundrum is, do I buy a new video card so that I can play HL2, or do I save myself 250 bucks and just get some of the other great new Xbox games that are coming out this fall? The mind reels...

    Update: I'm going to get a new video card and at get the game.(Eventually) I didn't mean to start a Vi vs. Emacs war, my only point was that I don't have to screw with the console games at all. I can just pop a disk in and play it. The PC is a little tougher, as I want to play wide screen and I want it to run well. I love playing Counter-Strike, so there was never really a question that I would get the software. I'm also looking forward to playing with the source code and maybe building a level or two. :)


    Windows XP Service Pack 2 Chat

    There's a Windows XP SP2 chat scheduled for Wednesday, August 25th at 3:00 PM PST. Here's link to the chats page:
    Windows XP Service Pack 2
    Join Microsoft Experts in an online chat to discuss Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). Learn what you need to know about deploying SP2 for Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional.
    You can add this event to your Outlook Calender by clicking here.

    Visual C++ Toolkit 2003

    Yesterday we posted the Visual C++ Toolkit 2003. This toolkit includes the full Visual C++ 2003 optimizing compiler. If you're already using Visual Studio .NET 2003, then you don't need to download this toolkit unless you just want to see what this is all about. The information page for the toolkit includes links to 4 articles that are designed to show different features of the compiler and it also includes a small FAQ that describes the toolkit in more detail. Here's a link:

    Visual C++ Toolkit 2003

    I see they picked this up already at ActiveWin. I'll add a headline link to the Visual C++ Developer Center on Monday.

    Visual C++ 6 Service Pack 6 Available


    A lot of stuff went on while I was away on vacation. Visual Studio 6, Service Pack 6 is now available for download, or you can order it on CD for the price of shipping.

    Service Pack 6
    Microsoft Service Pack 6 for Visual Basic 6.0, Visual C++ 6.0 with Visual SourceSafe 6.0d addresses known issues with Visual Basic 6.0, Visual C++ 6.0 and Visual Source Safe 6.0. This service pack does not contain fixes for Visual InterDev 6.0, Visual FoxPro 6.0, and Visual J++ 6.0, as the mainstream life-cycle for these products has ended.


    Microsoft Response to Hurricane Katrina

    The Microsoft Disaster Relief Page was updated tonight with a statement about Hurricane Katrina.
    Microsoft Response to Hurricane Katrina
    Published: August 31, 2005
    Every one of us at Microsoft is deeply saddened by the destruction of property and personal lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and our hearts go out to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been affected by the storm and its aftermath.
    This page has links to many different relief agencies, so this is a good place to start if you're considering a contribution.

    Visual C++ FAQ

    Today we updated the Visual C++ Frequently Asked Questions page. If you have any questions that you want added to the list, go ahead and ask them here and I'll try to get them added to the list.

    Building Win32 Applications Using Visual C++ 2005 Express


    A number of people have asked about building Win32 applications using the Visual C++ 2005 Express beta. I'll take you through the basic steps here and I'll try to get a more detailed page posted early this week.

    Building Win32 applications with express is a three step process:

    1. Install the Platform SDK
    2. Set the paths for the bin, include, and lib folders.
    3. Add a few options to the linker dependencies in the corewin_express.vsprops file.

    To install the Platform SDK, visit SDK Update and install the core components of the Platform SDK. Once that's accomplished, open the Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition IDE and open the Options dialog box. Navigate to Projects and Solutions and then Visual C++ Directories and add the following to the top of each the appropriate sections:

    Executable Files: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK\bin
    Include Files:  C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK\include
    Library Files: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDK\lib

    Once all that is done, you just need to take one more step to make the Win32 template work in express. You need to edit the corewin_express.vsprops file (found in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\VC\VCProjectDefaults) and change the string that reads:



    AdditionalDependencies="kernel32.lib user32.lib gdi32.lib winspool.lib comdlg32.lib advapi32.lib shell32.lib ole32.lib oleaut32.lib uuid.lib odbc32.lib odbccp32.lib"

    At this point you should be able to generate a Win32 application from the New Project dialog box. If you have trouble with this, drop me a note at and I'll see if I can make that clearer. After I test things out a bit, I'll add some instructions for using the DirectX SDK with express.


    MSN Explorer 9

    I've been using the new MSN Explorer 9 browser as part of my MSN Premium membership for a few weeks ago and it's pretty impressive. There's a popup blocker and the dashboard feature is really good for quick info. Most impressive to me is how much better MSN Search is. I'm actually finding good stuff on the first try. :)

    One thing to note is that it's somewhat difficult to use this as my main browser on my work machines. I've got it installed, but I find that it gets in the way of some of our internal applications.

    The thing that really makes this software for me is the persistent Favorites across multiple machines. Very slick. I told my mom about it and she subscribed as an upgrade to her Hotmail extra storage. She hasn't had time to install the new software yet. I'll be interested to hear what she has to say about it.


    Troubleshooting Visual C++ Issues

    Yesterday, I attended a meeting where MSDN Product Manager Justin Grant went over some of the pain points that customers are having when they visit MSDN. One of these points had to do with searching for the right answer when troubleshooting a problem. I think the issue is that the documentation and papers we post on MSDN aren't really oriented toward troubleshooting issues for the most part.

    What we do have though, is a great product support site that's dedicated to troubleshooting issues.
    Microsoft Visual C++ .NET 2003 Support
    With that in mind I'm going to add a troubleshooting link to the home page Visual C++ Developer Center and I'll also take a look at adding something like a top knowledge base articles control to the home page. Does a KB control sound like something useful on the site? Post a response to this thread and let me know.

    Best small camera?

    I've been on vaction this week, happily snapping photos with my old Canon PowerShot S110. This is a great camera, but I bought it when it first came out a few years ago and at 2.1 megapixels, the camera is starting to show it's age. So I think that I want to find something smaller, higher resolution, and with a really good video capability. Is there anything like that availalbe for under $400? Are the newer PowerShot cameras still as good as the S110?
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