A beta version of the Google Desktop is available for download that enables you to search through all of your Outlook/Outlook Express, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, text, and AOL Instant Messenger files and data. It even searches through your Internet Explorer browser cache so you can view matching web pages when you're not online. As an added bonus, it indexes filenames, so a search for "dad" would find your "Mom and Dad.jpg" and "Dad's New Car.jpg" photos, even though you haven't tagged those files with any metadata.
The Google Desktop installs an icon in your system tray and indexes your data during idle time. To search, you simply double-click the tray icon and a browser window appears that looks very similar to the Google web site. The results page also looks just like a typical Google search. And, if you can't find what you're looking for in your own data, you can click on a "Search the Web" button to submit the same search for an online query.
It's a very fast search that seems to give results that are similar in quality to the online experience. Overall, I think they've done a fantastic job with this. I hope that our upcoming search technologies can equal or exceed what they've demonstrated here. For more information, read this O'Reilly Network article.
There's a new two hour episode of The .NET Show on Connected Systems that features Don Box, Doug Purdy, Eric Schmidt, and Richard Turner. The talk discusses "how today's networking infrastructure can be utilized in order to create a Connected System environment, and why this is important." Since information is becoming more and more distributed and connectivity can almost be assumed—at least in the more common scenarios—this is a timely topic. Plus, as usual, the second half of the show features some coding demonstrations. Guess I know what I'll be doing for the next two hours...
Also, I've been catching up on past episodes of .NET Rocks! during my daily 40-minute commute. Since you can download all of the episodes, it's convenient to copy them to a digital audio player for easy listening in the car. The latest episode features Chris Sells as he talks about "Longhorn and WinFX, Longhorn features on XP, working on the MSDN Smart Client DevCenter, VS.NET 2005, learning about new technologies, learning by teaching, and Avalon." Whew! I'll be listening to this one tomorrow morning.
Here's a release that will make many of you very, very happy. If you've installed Windows XP Service Pack 2 as a guest operating system in a virtual machine, you've no doubt noticed that the performance of the virtual machine is incredibly poor (and I'm being nice). Well, you can now download Virtual PC 2004 Service Pack 1, which will fix that very annoying issue. Here's the summary:
Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 Service Pack 1 (SP1) contains the latest software updates for Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 that improve the reliability, performance and manageability of Virtual PC. Updates have been made to improve the performance of Windows XP Service Pack 2 as a guest in Virtual PC, to improve the manageability of virtual machines when used with SMS 2003 Service Pack 1, and to provide support for running Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition as the host operating system.
My virtual machine images have become useful again!
For those that requested some fall-themed macro photos for wallpaper, here you go. They're not quite up to my normal standards, but I have a feeling you'll like them anyway. Each image is 1280 x 1024 and weighs in at around 230KB in size. I hope you enjoy them.
By the way, if you missed the first two sets, check out Macro Wallpaper and Macro Wallpaper 2.