Mike Swanson

August, 2005

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Show Off at PDC 2005

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    Although I haven't had the time to blog about my experience, I attended SIGGRAPH 2005 at the Los Angeles Convention Center last week, and it was an amazing show. On Tuesday night, I attended a 2-hour event called the Electronic Theater where a sold-out audience of thousands watched short video clips of the latest and greatest work in computer generated animation. While waiting (in the long line) to get into the room, people were buzzing with excitement about what they would see and who would be showing their work. The presentations were short, and each video segment introduced the artists, the project, and the tools that were used. Not only was this a great way to see what could be accomplished with specific toolsets, but it was also very inspirational. Each clip ended with generous applause and a showing of strong support. About half-way through the show I wondered: "why don't we do something like this at the PDC?"

    Fortunately, we have a very cool PDC committee who connected with the idea almost instantly (it's great to work at this company!). So, with a nod to SIGGRAPH's Electronic Theater, we propose a PDC 2005 2-hour session called Show Off. The concept: "Why demo your cool application to a few friends, when you can Show Off to thousands of your peers at the PDC?"

    The important bits:

    • You and/or your team put together a single WMV file that shows off something cool about your application, tool, technique (or whatever).
    • This is a Microsoft developer conference, so make sure that it uses at least some of our technology. :-)
    • Videos are limited to 5 minutes.
    • It's content that counts. A Channel 9 "guerilla-style" hand-held video format is perfect.
    • If you want to use a screen capture application like Camtasia Studio or HyperCam (or even mix it with real video), go for it!
    • Be creative. Show something cool that would excite your peers.
    • You'd privately host the WMV file yourself, let us know where it is, and we'd collect it for consideration.
    • We reserve the right to pick which videos we show at the PDC for completely arbitrary and geeky reasons.
    • At some point, possibly right after the Show Off session at the PDC, you'd allow us to link from Channel 9 to your video for the whole world to see.

    During the submission process, we'd collect any project/team names, developer details, tools used, and contact information (if you want others to be able to contact you about your awesome work). If we show your clip at the event, we'll include this information at the start of the video.

    So, what do you think? Would you participate? We're trying to gauge interest before we spend a bunch of time on this. Please share this link with your developer friends, regardless of their ability to attend the PDC. Leave comments. Send e-mail.

    Is this a good idea?

    Update: In case you're wondering, you can pretty much show off anything with a Microsoft developer story. Maybe you have a 5-minute tour of awesome scripting or keyboard shortcuts in Visual Studio 2005. Or perhaps you created a cool XAML animation for the Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly known as "Avalon"). Or, you've come up with a great way to automate your build and testing cycle. Or think of it this way: if you had five minutes to show off some tip, technique, tool, code sample, or project to your developer friends, what would it be? We obviously don't want commercials, but if it's something geeky about a commercial product, that's good too!

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    SyncToy for Windows XP

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    If you're like me, you probably have thousands of digital photos and documents that you want to backup or copy to external media. In my case, I copy everything to an external 160GB XIMETA NetDisk for safe keeping. I have used the free version of Allway Sync in the past, and I've had very good results. However, we recently released a handy tool for Windows XP called SyncToy, and based on my few days of experience, it appears to do everything I need. Here are a few of its features:

    • Provides easy and flexible copying, moving, and synchronization of files in different directories
    • Manages multiple sets of directories at the same time
    • Can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another
    • Keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder

    Configuring SyncToy is as easy as setting up one or more folder pairs and corresponding actions for each pair. For example, I might setup one pair to synchronize changes between two folders (which works both ways) and setup another pair to simply echo changes from one folder to another (echo is the action I use for backup purposes). If you want to get more specific, there are additional options that can be configured.

    If you'd like to know what operations SyncToy would perform on your folder pairs, you can run the convenient preview feature. The preview feature analyzes the folders, then tells you what it would do if it ran, but—most importantly—it doesn't actually make any of the changes. This is a great way to get comfortable with the tool before letting it loose on your precious files. And if you want to automatically process your folder pairs, there's even a topic in the help file (lookup Schedule in the index) that explains how to schedule SyncToy to run on a periodic basis.

    Download SyncToy v1 Beta for Windows XP or to learn more, grab the whitepaper titled: Synchronizing Images and Files in Windows XP Using Microsoft SyncToy.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Visual Studio Extensions for WinFX Beta 1

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    If you've installed the WinFX Runtime Components Beta 1 and the associated WinFX SDK, and you're wondering where the Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly known as "Avalon") and Windows Communication Foundation (formerly known as "Indigo") project types are in Visual Studio 2005, you need to download the Visual Studio Extensions for WinFX Beta 1. The extensions add support for XAML Intellisense and various project templates for both technologies. The extensions work with Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2.
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