Mike Swanson

July, 2006

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Sandcastle July 2006 CTP Available for Download

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    Seems like just yesterday (okay, almost yesterday) that I blogged about the imminent availability of the Sandcastle documentation compiler. Well, you can already download the Sandcastle July 2006 CTP. It's also worth visiting the Sandcastle blog to read some FAQs and build instructions.

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    Photosynth, WPF Performance, and Sandcastle

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    Three completely unrelated items that are worth your attention...

    First, if you want to see an extremely innovative application that takes vast photo collections (whether they're your photos or not), automatically figures out how they relate to each other, and seamlessly stitches them together in a reconstructed and navigable 3D space, you need to watch the videos for Photosynth. I tried to grab a screenshot that illustrates the concept, but frankly, you're just not going to "get it" until you watch one of the videos. Way cool!

    Second, if you're looking to improve the performance of your WPF applications, check out Tim Cahill and Henry Hahn's 17 minute MSDN TV talk on WPF performance.

    Third, read Anand's post about the Sandcastle documentation compiler. It sounds a lot like NDoc. Think of this as a tool that can reflect over your assemblies, integrate your XML comments, and automatically generate MSDN-style documentation. Take a look at the PowerPoint presentation for more details.

    Update: The Photosynth team has launched their site including links to interviews on both Channel 9 and 10.

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    Atlas and the 2006 World Series of Poker!?

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    Steve Marx is a geek! And yes, I mean that as a compliment. I introduced Steve back in June as our new "Atlas" Technical Evangelist. If you read that post, you may recall that he came in 35th in the 2005 World Series of Poker, a fact that will prevent us from ever playing poker at a team morale event. ;-)

    Well, Steve is off to participate in the 2006 tournament, and to keep everyone informed of his progress, he's created an Atlas application that uses a voice-response phone service (that he can quickly call when he steps away from the table) to deliver up-to-date information via an RSS feed. The combination of technology is way cool, and you'll want to read the FAQ for all of the technical details. I think you'll find the recording of a sample call to be quite interesting.

    Good luck at the tournament, Steve!

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    Free MSDN and TechNet Subscriptions in the U.S.

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    First, Stephen Toub reminds everyone that if you have a MSDN Premium subscription and you live in the United States, you can get a free subscription to MSDN Magazine by following a few simple steps: go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions, sign-in to My MSDN Subscription, click on Subscriber Downloads and Product Keys, find MSDN Magazine Offer for MSDN Premium Subscribers about half-way down the page, and click to register. This is a great benefit, and I can't think of any good reason not to subscribe. And yes, I read it for the articles. ;-)

    Second, if you're a "qualified" IT professional who works with infrastructure, administration, deployment, patch management, and all that other fun stuff—and you live in the United States—you can sign-up for a free subscription to TechNet Magazine. Way back in my consulting days, I would have loved a magazine like this with such targeted information. I've thumbed through a few issues, and from what I've seen, this is also a worthwhile read.

    Last, while on the topic of magazines, I feel compelled to mention IEEE Software. If you want to raise your game and increase your value as a software practitioner, this is an excellent resource. Since you can't find it on magazine stands, it's not as well known. Read their mission to see if it's for you.

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    Three Hot Dell XPS M1710 Laptops to Give Away

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    Knew I'd get your attention with that title.

    This post is an exercise in personal transparency...transparency in the hopes that if you know I have three of these Dell XPS M1710 powerhouses to award as prizes, you'll bombard me with e-mail until I get off my butt and launch the contest they relate to! A contest, you say!? Yep...you heard me right. Only the hax0r with l337 skillz need apply. I'll share more details when I launch the thing, but in the meantime, it's worth spending some time learning XAML. I've probably said too much already. :-)

    To whet your insatiable geek appetite, here are some of the machine specs:

    • Dell XPS M1710 with Intel 2GHz Dual Core processor
    • 17-inch UltraSharp widescreen WUXGA display (that's 1920 x 1200, if you're counting...perfect for some cool wallpaper)
    • 512MB...wow, I need to say that again...512MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GTX! Ouch!
    • 80GB 7200RPM SATA hard drive (had to watch the budget somewhere)
    • Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
    • Built-in 10/100/1000 network card and 802.11a/g wireless
    • 8X DVD+/-RW drive
    • Ready, willing, and oh-so able for Windows Vista

    Anyway, keep me honest. Send me e-mail. Subscribe to my RSS feed so you'll hear the contest announcement when it happens. Expect something in the next couple of weeks. There...I've committed. There's no turning back now. :-)

    Oh...and who wouldn't want to do this with their brand spanking new XPS machine!?

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