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Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

(I came, I saw, I got stuck!)

February, 2007

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    PDF Preview plug-in for Outlook 2007


    A colleague of mine released a plug-in for Outlook 2007 which will extend the ‘Preview’ functionality to PDF’s. For those of you who use Office 2007, Outlook 2007 in particular will understand how cool this functionality is!

    It once again shows how easy it is to write extensions and customize your Office platform. Anyway, get the plug in from Foxit PDF Preview Handler

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Launch Event resources and other tidbits!



    Thanks for attending Vista and Office launch events! Hope you got enough information about both of these platforms to start building some cool applications! :)

    I’ve assimilated some information below to help you get more information about the launch events. It includes some notes about the presentations, demos and products. I’ve also included some resources for you to download and begin playing with these products.


    The presentation downloaded from – Vista and Office Slide Deck

    The information below doesn’t necessarily follow the flow of my presentation. The first demo that you guys saw was the German online fashion designer/retailer – Otto on Vista ( Their main web site is Otto). Here’s a list of other live applications that are running on the Windows Vista platform - live on Vista

    Some of the UX features that I showcased during the presentation are:

    · The Search functionality which is incorporated into the ‘Start Menu’. This is the Integrated Search functionality that lets you search not only for applications installed on your computer but also, for documents, media files, presentations, etc that match the submitted query. You also have the ability to search the Internet from here. To use: Click on the ‘Start Menu’ and type in your query to start the ‘Search’! It’s a great little feature!

    · Rich Preview – Rich preview of applications on the task bar, Folders, Explorer, and also thumbnail previews. Just hover over on the task bar and u will see details about the open application just by previewing it. One cool thing is, it also allows streaming of videos while previewing from the Task bar. Another salient feature to notice is the Alt+tab functionality has been now extended to offer a ‘richer’ view of the applications, use the Windows+tab combination to get a ‘Flip 3D view’ (Notice, that the video will continue to stream even in this preview mode)

    · Files and Media organizer: All your files and Media is organized in a very meaningful way. Now, you don’t have to create separate folders for each set of files. The OS takes care of it. There are multiple views in which your files can be organized and viewed from. All of this is possible from ‘Views’ Menu. One easy to miss feature is the ‘Sort’ functionality. You can actually ‘Sort’ your files based on ‘Date’, ‘Size’ or ‘Tags’ again, this is very different from the previous sort functionality. You can actually click on the column names and get a drop down to create a custom ‘Sort’ query for each column. Also note that a lot of metadata can be added to your files and media (Pictures and video). To add a Tag all you have to do is, edit/enter the tags from the ‘Details pane’ (You can get the details pane from Organizational Details pane). This is a very cool feature and the value add is tremendous once you start using it.

    · Ready boost: This is a really cool feature and is available only on Windows Vista. Essentially, this allows you to use a simple USB key or a flash/Secure Digital (SD) card or any other external memory media to act as a ‘Page file’ extension. This increases the page file size and also increases the system performance significantly. It essentially, improves the Systems Memory and increases the systems performance. For more information on Ready Boost please refer: Ready Boost

    · Reliability and Performance monitor – This is the hybrid Task Manager that I was talking about. I also showed you how ‘Ready Boost’ was being used by the system to do the read/write operations. To invoke the Reliability and Performance Monitor just type in the same in the Search Menu and this’ll be the first option in the Programs Section.

    · Sidebar gadgets can now be developed in Managed code. Here’s how you can do it using C# via Script#

    Fabrikam: This was one of the main demos in the presentation. Several different technologies were showcased during this demo. WPF, WCF, WF and finally the Smart Mobility (Power Checker) feature in the Windows Vista Platform. You can download this demo from Here – Fabrikam Demo

    New York Times Reader: This is a very cool application and is currently downloadable from the New York Times web site - New York Times Reader. It showcases the XPS (XML Paper Specification) format in WPF and also some cool WCF features which will change the way you read the Newspaper. Please note that this is a live application and we cannot release any code for this particular application.

    Feature Montage: This application showcases most of the standard features that you are able to do using WPF. The source code and demo application can be downloaded from – Feature Montage (Note, it’s a big download, primarily because of the embedded video!)

    There is also a video by Filipe Fortes from Microsoft showcasing this application at MIX 06 – Watch it! Or you can also watch another video from Rob Relyea showcasing the same at TechEd 06 you can Watch it here!

    You can also download the designer tool – Microsoft Expression Blend (Beta2) from the Expression suite of products. – Blend Beta2

    North face demo: This demo cannot be downloaded as it is a live demo running at several kiosks in the North face stores. However, a video of the same can be found on Channel 9 – North Face Video. You can also find a white paper highlighting the various technologies and code snippets that make this demo so cool! Get the White paper HERE

    One more cool thing about this demo is the Carousel control! This Carousel control was built by a partner. Get more information about this Carousel control from Infragisitics - Infragisitics WPF carousel controls

    AllScripts Patients Monitoring Application: This is by far my favorite demo and showcases almost all of the WPF components. Click here to download the Demo Video and the Source Code for this application. Once you download the demo be sure to go through the ‘Power Checker’ option. This will give you a very good understanding of how your application can be smart enough to use less system resources when running on a battery/limited power supply mode. Another thing to sift through is the Gadget file in this application. This showcases how you can write a Windows Vista Gadget for your application.

    • Vista Power Management open the solution in VS and look at PowerChecker.cs in AvalonPatientMonitoring.sln
    • WPF - Open Patient Monitoring in (downloadable) Blend Beta 2 look at AppWindow.xaml, watch video on Channel 9 2d on 3d, XPS info, read whitepaper

    Woodgrove Finance Explorer application: This application shows you how to build a finance application and use WPF to showcase data in a rich 3D format. Although this application uses static data it is really easy to link this with a Web Service and still have the same rich functionality. Another important thing to notice in this application is everything is componentized therefore you can just use bits and pieces of this application and build your own custom application with nominal ease. Download the Woodgrove finance explorer

    Custom Ribbon and Custom Task Pane: To write Add in’s or to extend and customize Ribbon functionality in Office 2007 you will need to install Visual Studio Tools for Office - Second Edition. This can be downloaded from the MSDN Site – VSTO SE

    Watch this simple demo of customizing the Office Ribbon using VSTO SE - DEMO

    To add/remove the custom add in’s from your applications (Word, PowerPoint or any other office app) Eg: To remove the custom buttons from the ribbon in word, Click on the Office button-->Word Options-->Add-Ins-->Under Manage dropdown select-->Com Add-Ins-->Click on Edit as needed

    Also, Download Open XML VS code snippetscode snippets

    All of the items below are from the DinnerNow sample, which can be downloaded

    • AJAX - open Web.sln, look at OrderStatus.aspx - UpdatePanel control, more on AJAX, including tutorials
    • LINQ - open Data.sln, look at the files in the Contracts folder and for 'var=...' SQL-like syntax in Queries.cs, more info on LINQ on MSDN - LINQ on MSDN
    • WCF - open Hosts.sln, look at Program.cs and app.config (open with WCF config tool), get WCF samples and tutorials
    • WPF - open Management.sln, look at GetWorkflow.cs, get WPF samples and tutorials
    • WF - open OrderProcessing.sln, look at ProcessRestaurantOrder.xoml, ProcessOrder.xoml, get WF samples and tutorials, build a custom WF Activity, play with the VirtualEarth interactive SDK
    • CardSpace - open Web.sln, look at CardSpaceControls folder - all files, particularly TokenProccessor.cs, for more on Cardspace (deep dive) watch on Channel 9, get Cardspace samples and tutorials
    • Gadget - save to desktop, open with notepad to examine code, how to build a gadget
    • IIS 7.0 handler - open IISHandler.sln, look at  open IIS MMC, look at Handler section, solution uses ImageCopyright Service (for .jpg), try out IIS 7.0 on Virtual Labs, also IIS 7.0 FAQ FAQ

    Miscellaneous resources:

    Please let me know if you need any more information! Again, thanks for attending this event.

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Virtual PC 2007 goes Gold!


    I am pleased to announce that Virtual PC 2007 is now Gold!! You can download it from HERE. I use this extensively in my job and it’s great to have the final version of it. Peace finally! :)

    While you are on the website, here are some of the key things to notice:

    1) See the demo”: A new autorun demonstration that explains the two key application compatibility tools Virtual PC 2007 and ACT 5.0 in detail.

    2) Virtual PC 2007 Application Compatibility Whitepaper” describing how Virtual PC 2007 assists users with their application compatibility issues.

    3) Virtual PC 2007 Technical overview” - Explains some key concepts and also explains some differentiating factors from Virtual PC 2004


    Go ahead virtualize yourself!!


    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Microsoft DevCares...


    I’ve been presenting at a lot of launch events across the country and one of the areas that excite people the most is the Office Platform. People just love the extensibility that Office System 2007 offers as a platform. Couple it with SharePoint Portal Server 2007 and you have a very powerful custom app authoring environment with unparalleled platform and tool support .

    If you would like to get free training in Office Development come join us at DevCares! Here, we’ll show you how you can use .Net and Office to build a whole new set of tools for your enterprise. Some examples include Extending Outlook, Creating Apps in Excel and of course, we’ll also show you how to write Custom Workflow Solutions in SharePoint. As you can see, with the advent of Office System 2007, the world of office development takes a quantum leap ahead in power and flexibility!


    Come join us!!




    Visit the registration site at http://www.devcares.com for city near you! 

    (Register today for your chance to Win a ZUNE!)


    -Mithun Dhar


  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Get ready for changes in Daylight Savings Time (DST)...


    Off late, I have been seeing a lot of mails floating around within the company to ‘Get ready' for the new DST. So, I decided to learn what the commotion was all about:

    The U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by the U.S. Congress July, 2005, extended Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the U.S. by approximately four weeks. As a result, beginning in 2007, DST will start three weeks earlier on March 11, 2007, and end one week later on November 4, 2007, resulting in a new DST period that is four weeks longer than previously observed. These four weeks are referred to in this article as the "extended DST period". Visit MSN Encarta for more general information on DST.

    Previously DST started on:

    With the new law, DST will start on:

    First Sunday of April (04/01/07)

    Second Sunday of March (03/11/07)

    Previous DST ended on:

    With the new law, DST will end on:

    Last Sunday of October (10/28/07)

    First Sunday of November 11/04/07

    Unless certain updates are applied to your computer, it is possible that the time zone settings for your computer's system clock may be incorrect during this four week period. This depends on where you live and which time zone you have selected. To see the time zone settings on your computer, follow these directions.

    When your time zone settings are incorrect your clock may be off by one hour, and certain applications running on your Windows based computer may not display the correct time. To address this, Microsoft is providing many free updates and tools that will update your system automatically.

    While the change in daylight saving time applies to U.S. and Canada, the change may impact customers based outside North America. Companies or organizations with operations, customers or vendors based in North America may be affected. In addition customers who interact or integrate with systems that are based in North America or rely on date/time calculations may be impacted. Customers who live outside North America and yet are impacted should follow the guidance provided on this site to prepare for the adjusted daylight saving time.

    Please note that Mexico will not be following the new DST 2007 rules with the U.S. and Canada. Accordingly such systems configured to use U.S. time zones (for example, Pacific Time) will need to change their system configurations to use the new Mexico time zones.


    If you are running Windows Mobile 5 - Download and install the following .cab files from HERE  (If you are running a Windows Mobile 6 device then no action is required!)

    The links below provide information on Microsoft products and resources to help businesses prepare for the US Government-mandated change to Daylight Saving Time.

    Here's a webcast from the DST Team at Microsoft:

    Preparing for Daylight Saving Time: How To Make The DST Transition Step-By-Step
    Microsoft DST team members walk through how to utilize the Windows, Exchange and Outlook updates and tools to help your business prepare for the transition to daylight saving time. To register: click HERE

    Exchange & Outlook Team Webcasts:

    "The impact of daylight saving time on Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office Outlook" on Friday, February 02, 2007 at 1:00 PM Pacific Time (US & Canada).  The LiveMeeting stream is available HERE

     For More information visit: http://www.microsoft.com/dst2007.

    Hope this helps!

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Serious pie...


    Everything that I like can be classified as either Immoral, Illegal or fattening! This valentine’s wish was in the fattening category! J

    We had reservations to go eat at a nice, small and cozy restaurant. Nothing fancy! The reservations were at 9:00 PM which is a very abnormal hour for dinner. Anyway, I couldn’t do it before as work demanded my presence up until then. We got to Pasta Freska at about 9:10 PM and it was packed crazy!! I just couldn’t believe that people were willing to wait for 50 minutes or more before they got their dinner served. The chef was really sweet and he took us to his boat (which was docked by the side of the restaurant) and offered wine and appetizers on the house! Although, the offer was tempting, I wasn’t willing to wait for another 50 minutes. This restaurant will surely get its due some other time.

    Just when we were deciding on another restaurant I remembered about Tom Douglas’s new restaurant – Serious Pie! We walked in without any reservations and got seated in less than 30 seconds. This came as a good surprise, given that they always have a long line up on weekends. Several things screamed at me as soon as I entered, the place is very small, cozy and nice. Very upscale but very bare bones! (It’s sorta like the W hotel.) Simple menu, great food, and lots of vegetarian options! J We got seated at the corner by the window (well, almost!), comfy bar stools and a candle! Just can’t beat it!

    We ordered a nice, yum vegetarian pizza. It was served on the pizza pan itself, which by the way was a rectangular pan. We got two clear glass plates and some silverware. The pizza was thin crust and rectangle shaped. It was topped with caramelized onions, olives, and something like broccoli stems (I don’t remember the real fancy name!)With lots of gorgonzola cheese melted over it. The sight was as tantalizing as the taste! It was yumilicious! Followed by this we shared a dessert which again was a very special one. It was an affogato, hazelnut, honey ice cream. Simply put, it was honey ice cream, with two shots of hot espresso poured over it just before serving. The result – Extraordinary! It’s very unique because, the coffee is steaming hot and the ice cream is cold. So when you take a bite you have something bitter and hot mixed with something really sweet and cold floating in your mouth and confusing the hell out of your taste buds. None the less, I loved it… I finally drowned it all with a good cuppa joe! What a fantastic evening!                                                                                                                    

    Its simple joys like this that keeps you wanting to love life! As George Bernard Shaw once said, Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself!

    Hope every one of you had a nice Valentine’s Day too!

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Write Sidebar gadgets in C#....


    I woke up to a very nice snippet on Nikhil Kothari’s blog this morning –  It’s now possible to write side bar gadgets in Windows Vista using C#! (C# via Script#)

    As soon as I read this I was grinning ear to ear. I am not a big fan of Jscript or HTML!


    Anyway, here's your Treat (Click)


    His blog shows you a very simple example of how to write a small gadget The sample gadget included allows you to enter a search term or phrase that is queried against MSDN. It based on the MSDN search gadget sample written by Tim Heuer. It also has ‘Fly out’ functionality.



    The latest version of Script# can be found Script#, included in this release is a Project Template and a Sample gadget.


    Can’t wait to see the slew of new gadgets…


    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Launch Content/Resources site!


    Hello Everyone,

    Please find the launch resources and demos posted at http://msdnevents.com/resources/2007-Vista-and-Office-Launch-Resources.aspx 

    This is an awesome site and gives you access to the actual demos, the code bits and any whitepapers/documentation.

    Let me know if you guys have any questions.  

    Now, go and make merry! :)

    -Mithun Dhar


  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Microsoft Speech Server 2007 - Channel 9 video...


    I did a channel 9 video In my previous gig as a Product Manager with Microsoft Speech Server, Check it out here: http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=208891 

    The product is now part of the bigger Unified Communications platform. I think it's just awesome!!

     Let me know if you guys have any questions.

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Vista, makes it 'One happy Family'...


    Here's how you can have a happy family :))



    Buy Windows Vista Ultimate for $399 and then you can buy two  Home Premiums for additional machines for $50 each. For more information and how to qualify etc, please refer to the link above.

     This is one sweet deal! WOW! 

    -Mithun Dhar 


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