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Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

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

August, 2007

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    VSTO Resources...


    I just came across this mail on one of my DL's, and I think it's an awesome compile of all the VSTO resources! Enjoy...

    VSTO Resources

    Bits & bytes

    · Get Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the 2007 Microsoft Office System

    · Visit the Visual Studio Tools for Office Forum

    · Visit the VSTO Developer Center

    · Get the OBA/VSTO Starter Kit v. 1.0

    · Try the O2 OBA Challenge

    · Visit OBA Central


    · MSDN Webcast: Visual Studio Tools for Office Straight from the Experts: Ken Getz (Level 200)

    · MSDN Webcast: Visual Studio Tools for Office Straight from the Experts: Robert Green (Level 200)

    · MSDN Webcast: Visual Studio Tools for Office Straight from the Experts: Tim Huckaby (Level 200)

    · MSDN Webcast: Visual Studio Tools for Office Straight from the Experts: Paul Ballard (Level 200)


    · The nicest man at MSFT (and he plays a mean guitar too): Mike Hernandez Blog

    · VSTO2 blog

    · Best of VSTO blogs

    · Brian Goldfarb, Group Product Manager – he can demo a fetching VSTO

    · Chris Castillo's WebLog

    · John Durant

    · Tim Huckaby

    · Ken Getz blog

    · Kathleen McGrath

    · Paul Stubbs

    · Paul Ballard

    Tech talks

    · VSTO and security – Eric Lippert, VSTO team, senior software dev engineer

    · Scope of VSTO Martin Sawicki, program manager VSTO

    · Why a VSTO Runtime? Thomas “TQ” Quinn – Principal Architect & Christin Boyd – Customer Program Manager (she KNOWS things, just ask her)


    · Video Demo: VSTO and VBA Interop

    · How Do I Videos

    · VSTO demo Catherine Heller, Technical Evangelist – Windows Live

    · Extend VBA with .NET Eric Schnepp, Principal Program Manager in the VSTO team


    · MSDN Virtual Lab: Building Custom Office Applications Using Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office Part 1 - Data Binding with Word Content Controls

    · MSDN Virtual Lab: Building Custom Office Applications Using Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office Part 2 - Create an Outlook Add-in with a Form Region

    · MSDN Virtual Lab: Building Custom Office Applications Using Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office Part 3 - Build an Excel Add-in with Ribbon and Custom Task Pane Integration

    · MSDN Virtual Lab: Building Custom Office Applications Using Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office Part 4 - Create a SharePoint Workflow

    White Papers

    · Deploying Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Solutions Using Windows Installer (Part 1 of 2)

    · Deploying Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Solutions Using Windows Installer: Walkthroughs (Part 2 of 2)


    · VSTO Security MSDN documentation

    · VSTO Deployment MSDN documentation

    · Security and Deployment walk through's

    · Visual Studio 2005 Bootstrapper

    · VSTO Outlook add-in architecture

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Best & Worst cities to live in...


    Living in the Pacific Northwest is a blessing - as long as it's summer! The other days when it's a wee bit gloomy, we have Vancouver, BC which is a saving grace for Seattle, WA. I've been living in Seattle for almost 6 years now, Long enough to know that a beautiful day after two shitty days is called Monday.

    Anyway, I stumbled upon the Economist's top 10 Best & Worst cities to live in article and interestingly it had Vancouver, BC as the #1 city to live in. I can totally see why this would be true:

    • Beautiful City
    • Beautiful People (Although, it's no Montreal or Paris)
    • Wonderful People
    • Peaceful coexistence of all religions, all castes, all creeds!
    • Home to a lot of Rich people - Lot's of them are immigrants from HK (When HK became part of PRC)
    • Great food
    • Greater shopping
    • Cannabis is almost legal. (It's Canada!)

    The only thing which perplexes me is, this city is ridiculously expensive. Expensive, at least when compared to Seattle. But there's never been a single time that I've not had fun when in Vancouver. And, there's a huge Indian community with almost authentic Indian food!

    I know where I am headed this weekend!! :) TGIF!

    Here's the Economist's article:

    With low crime, little threat from instability or terrorism and a highly developed transport and communications infrastructure, Canada and Australia are home to the most liveable destinations in the world. Four of the ten most liveable cities surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit are in Australia, and two of the top five are Canadian. Vancouver is the most attractive destination, with a liveability index of just 1.3% (see table).

    Very Nice, aye!

    -Mithun Dhar


    Isn't it surprising that US has the highest Per Capita in the world but not a single city in the top 10 list. Coincidence? Perhaps not! :)

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Great memory deal...


    Thank God, I wasn't alive to see these days...




    -Mithun Dhar

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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Flash/Flex vs Silverlight...


    I was cleaning up my inbox earlier today and came across this awesome slide that highlights the key benefits and differences between Silverlight and Flash/Flex model. I just finished the Adobe 360 Flex conference in Seattle yesterday and this slide helps me understand both the platforms much better. A quick search on the web also points me to Michael Schawarz's blog which has a more detailed slide and a very active discussion. None the less, I thought this would serve as a good slide as I talk about Silverlight in my events this quarter.

    Features/Benefits Silverlight .NET Flash/Flex
    Rich 2D animation/graphics with audio and video yes yes yes
    Industry standard video codec yes yes no 
    Scalable video format from HD to mobile yes yes no 
    Hardware-assisted editing and encoding solutions yes yes no 
    XML (XAML)-based presentation layer for SEO yes no  no 
    Choice of standards-based and high-performance languages yes yes no 
    End-to-end server and application platform yes yes no 
    Media server licensing (unlimited bandwidth) $999 $999 $4500
    Content access protection (DRM) yes yes no 
    Client side playlists for ad-insertion yes yes yes
    Robust video publishing tools and third-party ecosystem yes yes no 
    High-performance, multi-core enabled client yes yes no 
    Scalable full screen video up to HD (720p) yes yes no 
    Native support for device-based video yes yes no
    Offline, document support no  yes no
    Data Exchange with Web Server (Ajax, Web Service) yes yes yes
    Encrypted Content no yes no 
    Binary or Text Format text 1 binary binary
    Easy Installation Support for Platform Requirements yes  no yes 
    Tools yes (Beta/CTP)  yes yes 
    3D Support no yes no
    3rd Party Controls yes 2 yes yes
    Client size ~2MB ~50MB ~2MB
    Supported operating systems Windows/Mac
    Mobile (light)

    1 maybe will be changed later; currently you could GZIP the content to reduce size of XAML code
    2 using wpfeControl.createFromXaml(xamlstring); 
    3 Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, Windows Internet Explorer 7, Firefox and 2.0.x; Apple Mac OS X, Firefox and 2.0.x, Apple Safari 2.0.4
    4 .NET 2.0: Windows 2000 Service Pack 3, Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista; .NET 3.0: Windows Vista and Windows XP Service Pack 2; Internet Explorer 6, Windows Internet Explorer 7. 
    5 Flash Player 8: Windows Vista and Windows XP; Internet Explorer 6 and Windows Internet Explorer 7; Windows 2000 with Internet Explorer 5.x; Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape 7.x or later, AOL 9, Opera 7.11 or later; Mac OS X, Internet Explorer 5.2, Mozilla 1.x, Firefox 1.x, Safari 1.x or later.
    Go on, Light on the web with more confidence!
    While you are at it, also read the article '10 Things You Should Know About Microsoft's Silverlight' published in Computer World. Here's a succinct compile of the 10 things that the article talks about... 

    1. Silverlight Avoids Cross-Browser/OS Issues

    2. Silverlight 1.1 Is the Real Story

    3. Silverlight Uses Technologies Your Developers Already Know

    4. Silverlight UI Is just Markup -- Like HTML

    5. Silverlight and AJAX Technologies Are Complementary

    6. Silverlight Allows Developers and Designers to Work Together

    7. Silverlight Deliverables Are Not Atomic

    8. Silverlight Is New

    9. Silverlight XAML versus WPF XAML

    10. Silverlight Is a Great Way to Learn XAML

    -Mithun Dhar
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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Avoid flying Alaska Airlines - like the plague!


    There comes a point when you just lose your cool! And this often doesn’t happen to me except when god fucking damn Alaska Airlines decide to reschedule the flight 3 times without giving a prior notice! Here’s the scoop…

    For the last four times, Alaska Airlines has been cancelling/rescheduling their flights without prior notice. And the delays have always been 3 or more hours. Unfortunately for me, I live in Seattle where Alaska is the dominant airline as it’s their hub. They don’t tell you what the problem is and they just announce on the PA that the flight is delayed and the new boarding time is _ _:_ _! This just irks me! After a repeating this a couple of times, they then tell you they have a technical problem and the engineers are trying to fix it. The exact sequence of events was in play again last evening when I was trying to catch a flight to come to the Bay area.

    The original flight was supposed to depart at 6:46PM and then they kept on rescheduling this until I could take it no longer and I had to kick a fuss! I am usually not like that and have a great deal of patience. I seldom cuss but everybody has their limits. I went to the counter and cried bullshit to the agent and told her I have to be compensated for this inconvenience. At which point she threatens to call security. It’s authority like this I fucking detest and makes my blood boil with rage! I’ve been waiting at the godforsaken airport for more than 3 hours now and she calmly tells us that the flight is delayed and the new boarding time is 8:45 PM which means the flight will depart at 9:15 PM. The past four times, I’ve had the same experience…everytime, its either the crew has not arrived (Ridiculous!) or the bathrooms are not working, or there are some technical problems. I mean come on! If your flights are not being maintained properly don’t fly them or make sure to repair them. Once is fine, twice is OK but if this becomes a habit you are really pissing a lot of people.

    Adding insult to injury, she offered a $6 coupon that can be used only on the day of the flight and in the same airport. Let’s back up, $6 for a 3 hour delay? Ie., $2 an hour? For gig’s I called Alaska Air and asked them if I can reschedule my flight for another one which was leaving an hour 10 after…and they wanted $100 for putting me on that. I think justice needs to go both ways…if your time’s worth money – so is mine! If you are charging $100 to reschedule me to put me on a flight that flies after an hour and 10 mins I expect the same to be compensated to me – if my flight is delayed by more than an hour. When I bought that up with the agent she just told me, that it was company policy and there’s nothing I can do about it…

    It’s helplessness like this that makes me mad! They can’t get away like this…I really wish I could recuperate my $94 somehow. In all that rage, I wished I had a permanent marker to leave some nice graffiti in their planes. I bet that would cost them more than $94 to clean up…aargh!! But of course, my conscience is a little more mightier than that...

    But, someone has to bell the cat!

    A very very annoyed,

    Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...



    Some days, I love more than others! And today is one of those days…not just because it’s a Friday but also because I was humored by some real good surprises by my manager!

    I got my review today and had a very strong FY07. It totally came out of the blue when my manager preponed his vacation to talk to me about my past year’s performance! Since we are an agile company, I had a couple managers do my review and boy oh boy, was I happy or what! I was grinning from ear to ear. This review has been my best review so far in my career here at Microsoft! The compensation was great, the package was sweet, the stocks were singing sweet tunes! All in all, it was nothing short of perfect! There was very little left to disagree…

    Everything is going great for me today. On my way back from San Jose, CA – Alaska Airlines was delayed, again, of course! But I was in for a sweet surprise when I was called to the podium (without my name being bastardized!), a very sweet looking Indian girl told me that she upgraded me to First class! Ah!

    The stars, I tell you – they are great when they are aligned the right way! J

    I am Just happy to be alive and grinning….

    Looking forward to a great FY08!

    -Mithun Dhar

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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    What is Tafiti?


    Well, Tafiti in Swahili means 'Do Research'! But at Microsoft, it's just another code name for the new Silverlight web search portal that is powered by Live Search! It's still an experimental web site and ties in two new trends: Specialization of Search & Richer User Experience.

    I think it's pretty cool for a first shot, I like the fact that it can be used to store your search results on a dashboard and use the same search query to find all types of results in one query (eg, To see related blogs, or RSS feeds, or Pics, or News items etc you can just click on the categories)

    It's mainly used for research projects etc...my best use: I am right now in the market for a Camera, and Tafiti is pretty cool...for it! Be sure to check out the podcast about Tafiti on Channel 9 and a video on on10.net

    Get to know Tafiti following these simple steps:

    ·         Go to http://www.tafiti.com

    ·         Enter a search query

    ·         Drag interesting results to the shelf on the right.  Each box on the shelf can be used to save a related set of results.  Shelf contents can be saved and shared. 

    ·         Use the carousel at the bottom left to do different types of searches (image, blog, etc.)

    ·         Visualize your results using the Tafiti Tree View. (Very Coool!!)

    While you are at it, add a Silverlight Streaming Video Player to your page in 3 easy steps (Tafiti Walkthrough Eg):

    1) Add the following script references to the page header section

    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://agappdom.net/h/silverlight.js"></script>

    <script type="text/javascript" src="CreateSilverlight.js" mce_src="CreateSilverlight.js"></script>

    2) Insert the following HTML where you want the application to appear in the body of the page

    <div id="Wrapper_TafitiWalkthru" style="width:500px; height:400px; overflow:hidden;"></div>

    <script type="text/javascript">

    var Wrapper_TafitiWalkthru = document.getElementById("Wrapper_TafitiWalkthru");



    Note: This will display the player at a size of 500x400. If you would like the video player to be larger size, change the width and height values, for example, to show the player at 1024x768

    <div id="Wrapper_TafitiWalkthru" style="width:1024px; height:768px; overflow:hidden;"></div>

    3. Save the following script in a new file named "CreateSilverlight.js" and place it in the same directory on the server as the page.

    function CreateSilverlight(){


    source: "streaming:/23180/TafitiWalkthru",parentElement: Wrapper_TafitiWalkthru});


    Happy Searching!

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    VS Live 2007 dates and venues announced...


    Register by the Early Bird deadlines to take advantage of available VSLive savings. Hurry—spaces are limited.

    New York - September 16-19

    The New York Marriott
    at the Brooklyn Bridge
    New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
    333 Adams Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11201
    Lock in our discounted rate of $219.00 per night by calling (718) 246-7000
    or (888) 436-3759.

    VSLive New York is your choice if you are
    interested in:

    • ASP.NET (including ASP.NET AJAX, formerly “Atlas”),
    • SQL Server (including four breakout sessions on the forthcoming SQL Server 2008 release, presented by product group members themselves), and
    • .NET 3.0 (including WCF, WPF, Windows Workflow and CardSpace).

    View the full conference agenda here.

    You can still save $200 if you register by August 15th—take advantage of our special discount by registering online today or call (800) 280-6218
    to register by phone.

    VSLive Las Vegas October 15-18 2007

    Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino
    Rio Hotel and Casino
    3700 W. Flamingo Road
    Las Vegas, NV 89103
    Lock-in the special attendee rate of $169/night by calling 888-746-6955 and referencing VSLive.

    You’ll want to be a part of VSLive Las Vegas if you are interested in:

    • ASP.NET (including ASP.NET AJAX, formerly “Atlas”),
    • Team Foundation Server (including future releases), and
    • Best Practices, and .NET 3.0 (including WCF, WPF, Windows Workflow and CardSpace).

    VSLive Las Vegas will also be co-located with TechMentor and TechPartner conferences. View the full conference agenda and information here.

    You can save $200 on our all-access pass if you register by September 12th. Or, pick a package that works for you. Register online today or call (800) 280-6218 to register by phone.

    VSLive Austin Texas - November 12-15

    Sheraton Austin Hotel, Texas
    Sheraton Austin
    701 East 11th Street
    Austin, Texas 78701
    Call (800) 325-3535 or (512) 478-1111 to take advantage of the special attendee rate of $169/night.

    Austin is the location for you if you would like to learn all about:

    • ASP.NET,
    • WPF, WCF,
    • Best Practices, and
    • LINQ.

    View the full agenda for VSLive Austin here.

    You can save $300 on a Gold Passport, all-access pass if you register by September 7. Register online today or call (800) 280-6218 to register by phone.

    Time to Save is Limited

    At all three VSLive conferences, you’ll get a practical developer-focused education that is unsurpassed in the industry. Make your decision fast—savings are only available for a limited time.

    We hope to see you in New York, Las Vegas, or Austin.

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Peek inside the Space Shuttle, Courtesy - Microsoft Photosynth


    Microsoft Offers 3-D Look at Space Shuttle

    Shuttle PhotoSynth

    NASA is using Microsoft's Photosynth photo-presentation technology to give the public a unique view of the space shuttle Endeavour as it is prepared for liftoff, which is set for later this week. More »

    Related: Take a 3-D Look at Endeavour

    Related: Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth

    Related: Video: The Making of Photosynth

    This is why I find working at Microsoft soooooo cool! some days you wake up and feel like saying it loud, just like Ballmer - I love this Company!

    -Mithun Dhar

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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Channel 8 is now Live!


    Channel 8 is live! 

    Channel 8, a video/blog portal focused on technical students, went live on July 21st and has started with content focused on the upcoming Imagine Cup.

    Visit the site, it's really cool! I think our graphic designers finally stopped smoking crack! I'm kidding! :)

    Channel 8











    -Mithun Dhar

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