Robert Burke's WeblogCool Visual Studio 2005 Custom Debugger Visualizers (13.1.2006, 17:30 UTC)
I love Visual Studio 2005's Debugger Visualizers, which allow you, at debug-time, to visualize the contents of memory in arbitrarily elaborate ways.  You can use them, for example, to visualize a string of HTML like this: ...which is a whole lot more instructive than this, the not-so-good ol' Watch Window: Out of the box, Visual Studio 2005 can visualize things like the above strings as an XML or HTML document.  (Visualizing DataSet in a grid form is also really useful.)  ...
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Robert Burke's WeblogMix 06 (12.1.2006, 15:45 UTC)
IE7WPFWindows Livemobile devicesWindows Media CenterWindows Vistadigital identitymash-upsXBox 360AJAXRSS Mix 06 March 20-22 in Las Vegas Designers, Developers, Decision Makers It's Web 2.0 in the flesh, baby, and it's got 'tude to spare :)
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Robert Burke's WeblogMartin Woodward on Team System and Team Foundation Server (12.1.2006, 02:58 UTC)
Martin Woodward was one of our community speakers at the Visual Studio 2005 launch event in Belfast, and he's been blogging up a storm about Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server. Look to him for tips and tricks (for example, the one about rolling back file state before a checkin), an honest view of what's cool (and worth being aware of!) in TFS beta 3 (like the security model and how to handle it). But most of all, look for a very practical hands-on view of what it's li...
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Robert Burke's WeblogIrish .NET Usergroup Activities Next Week - Cork, Dublin, Limerick (10.1.2006, 15:42 UTC)
January will see a number of .NET usergroup events in Ireland, some of which are listed here, on the developers.ie site. I’m going to be in Cork and Limerick next week myself, and Aiden O'Connor will be speaking in Dublin on Windows Workflow Foundation, which is not to be called WWF or confused with wrestlers or panda bears. If you’ve been coming to these events already, you know what great opportunities they are to learn more and get connected with the community.  If...
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Robert Burke's WeblogDave, live from TechReady (10.1.2006, 15:33 UTC)
Bill and Dave are both at an internal technical readiness event in Seattle called TechReady, and Dave's started blogging about his experiences. I was at the previous TechReady and found it fascinating.  TechReady is where they adjust the chip that they put in the back of our heads and align it with all the cool new technologies that are in the pipe.  Seriously, I came away overwhelmed by just how much there is to know, and how big a picture it all is!
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Robert Burke's WeblogI may buy a games console yet (but don't bet on it, I'd weep for my weekends) (9.1.2006, 17:57 UTC)
Last week, Micahel Dell told us that his screaming new gaming laptops will lay waste to the "so-called high-definition" Xbox 360, and take their place at the "center of the home entertainment experience." To which I say: I had high hopes on Sunday for a binge through the new Prince of Persia game, powered by a laptop of absurd power which even sported an Xbox 360 controller (which I bought for giggles) attached to its USB port. But instead of dashing nimbly through the architecture of Babylon, ...
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Robert Burke's WeblogAjax to the Max (8.1.2006, 16:53 UTC)
Through Avalonian Chris Sells comes a link to Ajax to the Max, in the form of http://www.bindows.net Just select the demo, click around a bit, see what these guys have done to re-create the WinForms interface.  Then have a think about the future of the web. As Chris points out, I have no idea what it's like to actually work with an application like this.  I also have no idea what it's like to actually experience writing one.  That's 2 whimsical Ajax-related musings in almost as m...
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Robert Burke's WeblogWelcome, Dave Northey, Microsoft Ireland's new IT Pro Evangelist! (6.1.2006, 16:43 UTC)
I wanted to extend a very warm welcome to Dave Northey, the newest member of Microsoft Ireland's Developer and Platform Group! Dave has been working with Microsoft in Ireland for almost ten years, and brings that wealth of experience to his new role of IT Pro Evangelist.  We're all very excited in the group to have him on board - he'll bring a whole new IT Professional perspective to what we've already being doing with Developers.  It adds a huge dimension to our ongoing aspiration t...
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Robert Burke's WeblogLive goes Live - More on the Windows Live Ideas (5.1.2006, 21:54 UTC)
I spent a little more time this afternoon with the other Windows Live betas.  These are some preliminary thoughts: Windows Live Safety Center and Windows OneCare Live are just good ideas.  If they’re executed well, many people will be very thankful. I've previously mentioned Windows Live Local (formerly Microsoft Virtual Earth).  It's still cool. I tried Windows Live Favorites beta, which has a del.icio.us feel to it: it lets you store your bookmarks ("favourites") onl...
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Robert Burke's WeblogLive goes Live - Live.com and Live.com Gadgets (5.1.2006, 21:45 UTC)
After watching Bill Gates' keynote at yesterday's CES, I was intrigued by Windows Live, and spent some time this morning exploring all of the available betas on the Windows Live Ideas page. The blanket goal of Live is to empower people by making everything in their online lives "work simply and effortlessly together."  The concepts of Web 2.0 (or buzzwords, as you wish) undoubtedly apply! I'll start with my favorite: Live.com is now my browser homepage.  I love it.  It provi...
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Robert Burke's WeblogASP.NET FAQ - maintain page scroll position after a page postback (5.1.2006, 18:18 UTC)
I found the answer to an ASP.NET question that I've been asked literally about 10 times. How do you maintain page scroll position after a postback? Say you've got some really long page, perhaps with some huge Control -- like, say, a huge, edit-enabled GridView.  Someone clicks a link halfway down that page (like, say, the "Edit" link on one of the later entries in that huge GridView).  It generates a postback, and the page get refreshed to its *top* instead of half-way d...
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Robert Burke's WeblogMicrosoft's Top 10 Challenges for 2006 (27.12.2005, 22:49 UTC)
Here's a thoughtful piece by Directions on Microsoft suggesting what we have to get right this year.  "Get Going on Tools" is right up there, but I don't mean to single it out, because I think the whole list is dead right.  Is there anything you'd change, or think is conspicuously missing?
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Robert Burke's WeblogA thought exercise for my European friends (24.12.2005, 22:09 UTC)
Imagine this, if you will: NO PREMIERSHIP.  FOR A YEAR. European society would collapse. I've just survived the Canadian equivalent.  See the "Postal Strike" clip on this page for the Royal Canadian Air Farce's humorous take on the horror that was the NHL players' strike.  (Americans suffered through the same, but on average they're a little less addicted to their hockey.) Last night, over pizza and a tasty Ontario microbrew, I watched an NHL game with my family for the...
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Robert Burke's WeblogHome for the holidays... (23.12.2005, 20:55 UTC)
I touched down yesterday in Toronto, Canada, where I'm going to spend Christmas with my family in their home about two hours north of the city.  The suburbs of Toronto are covered now with a beautiful, classically Canadian dusting of snow. Thanks to all of you for your part in an incredible year.  I'm too sappy right now to go into detail (must be the effects of maple syrup), but it's been a pleasure to meet and work with such talented, diverse and interesting...
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Robert Burke's WeblogGreat Windows Presentation Framework (Avalon) article on MSDN (20.12.2005, 23:37 UTC)
Ian Griffiths and Chris Sells, authors of the book Programming Windows Presentation Framework, have posted a great article up on MSDN. The article is called "Top Ten UI Development Breakthroughs In Windows Presentation Foundation," but Chris says that he'd rather have called it "Ten Things That Would Surprise You when Learning WPF." Either way, there's something in there for everyone. P.S. Did I mention that the December CTP of WinFX works with the Release version of Visual Studio 2005?!
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Robert Burke's Weblog'Tis the Season to be Coding! (More Sudokus, More X-Box 360 Shenanigans, and the WinFX December CTP!) (20.12.2005, 20:11 UTC)
Cormac O'Brien pointed me to his brother's .NET Sudoku Solver that uses a rich Windows Forms interface to show you each step it takes to solve the puzzle! And Don Box has festively raised the stakes of what can be done using .NET and an X-Box 360 Controller, by adding a dash of SOAP and -- wait for it -- his piano! And as if all this wasn’t enough to get you into the coding spirit, the December CTP (Community Tech Preview) of WinFX is available for download!  And it supports...
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Robert Burke's WeblogThe Persons of the Year and the Spirit of the Times (follow-up) (20.12.2005, 20:06 UTC)
I wrote a very brief response to Time Magazine's decision to select the Gateses and Bono as Persons of the Year, mentioning only that it sat very well with me.  Before I do a lot of digging into the source material on Time’s site, I wanted to jot down a little more about why I find their editorial choice so appropriate. I have always had an immense respect for the work of the Gates Foundation.  Bill and Melinda Gates are acutely aware of their capacity for profound philanthr...
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Robert Burke's WeblogThe Gateses and Bono: Time Magazine's 'Persons of 2005' (19.12.2005, 03:12 UTC)
Time Magazine has been naming its person of the year since 1927.  This year, they've named the Gateses and Bono the 'Persons of 2005.'  The aim is to pick "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse." Their choice works for me.
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Robert Burke's WeblogTablet PC + XBox 360 Controller == Rumbly Pub Shenanigans (14.12.2005, 19:05 UTC)
Don Box posted some code that lets you communicate with a wired XBox 360 Controller that's plugged into your PC using Managed DirectX.  Too cool!  I don't have an XBox360 (yet), but I own an XBox360 controller now ;) On the way into town last night, I coded up a simple app for my Tablet PC that lets you rumble the XBox controller around by moving your pen across the screen.  It just maps the x- and y-axes of the screen to the intensity of the controller's left and right rumb...
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Robert Burke's WeblogInterested in web hosting? This Friday in Dublin: it's the Shared Web Hosting Seminar (13.12.2005, 19:58 UTC)
If you're interested in IIS and web hosting, you won't want to miss the Shared Web Hosting Seminar in Dublin on Friday, which is being presented by the EMEA Microsoft Web Hosting Team. We've found that the audiences that are interested in this event are quite diverse.  Professional hosters want to know how to optimize their setups.  Other software companies are looking to expand their business by providing hosted offerings.  Developers like me are interested in seeing the practica...
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Robert Burke's WeblogSudoku Solver Web Service (6.12.2005, 23:34 UTC)
Nick asked for it, and now you've got it: my Sudoku Solver that I cooked up with Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition, exposed as an ASP.NET 2.0 Web Service.  The link goes to an explanation of how to consume the service.  I also posted some sample code which you can download to consume the web service and solve a puzzle.  The sample code is a really simple Console Application which you can open with Visual C# 2005 Express Edition (or Visual Studio 2005 Standard / ...
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Robert Burke's WeblogVisual Web Developer 2005 Express on this month's PC Live magazine! (6.12.2005, 17:52 UTC)
Christmas sure is coming!  On my nightly walk home, I ricochet like a pinball down Grafton Street, bouncing off frantic shoppers in the hub of Dublin's shopping arcade.    Those of you who stop into a newsstand while doing your shopping may notice that Microsoft Ireland is giving out free copies of Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition with this month's copy of PC Live magazine.  We're very excited about Visual Web Developer Express Edition.  It's the ideal environm...
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Robert Burke's WeblogTomorrow in Dublin: Indigo for the COM, COM+ and MSMQ Developer (6.12.2005, 17:47 UTC)
Because it's never too late to plug a worthwhile event, I wanted to mention that Paul Fallon is going to be speaking tomorrow night at the Morgan Hotel in Temple Bar on surely his favourite topic, Indigo (a.k.a. the Windows Communication Framework).  I'd love to be there, but will be out in Galway for the final Irish launch event of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005!  For those of you in Dublin, here's the information about Paul's session, which is hosted by IrishDev: Session Tit...
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Robert Burke's WeblogPhotos of the brain-computer interface from the Dublin Visual Studio and SQL Server launch event (2.12.2005, 04:23 UTC)
At long last, I've posted the photos of some of the many participants who tried out the Mind Balance brain-computer interface at the Dublin launch event.  I previously chronicled the story of the resurrection of Cerebus, our wireless brain-computer interface, prior to the launch event.  Many participants at the event, including Clare (as pictured below) had a chance to try Mind Balance, and successfully used only the electrical activity at the surface of their head to control the Mawg ...
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Robert Burke's WeblogWhat if you could focus AFTER you shoot? (2.12.2005, 03:45 UTC)
This is ludicrously cool: researchers at Stanford have developed a camera that lets you focus after you shoot.  It's certainly a research idea at this point: from what I understand, the result is a relatively low-resolution image.  But what a disruptive and intriguing idea!  You're effectively trading off megapixels against multiple focus depths, which you could select from - or combine digitally - after the shot. What else could we use all these megapixels fo...
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Robert Burke's WeblogSecurity in SQL Server 2005: What can your DBA access? (2.12.2005, 01:17 UTC)
Great question today after the launch event in Cork! Part of my demo of the more granular security model of SQL Server 2005 involved showing how only one user had access to a symmetric key that was used to decrypt credit card information.  I was asked if it's possible to prevent the DBA (database administrator) from having the ability to decrypt certain data stored in the database.  That would facilitate a scenario that this Partner had in mind that would allow their organization to d...
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Robert Burke's WeblogOne more cool MSN Messenger thing: Ask Encarta! (23.11.2005, 22:15 UTC)
1. Add encarta@conversagent.com to your list of MSN Messenger contacts. 2. Ask it questions like "What is the capital of Ireland?" and "Who is Wayne Gretzky?" and "What is a moose?" and "Where is the Guinness Brewery?" 3. It'll search Encarta and give you the answers.  Cool! ("Where is the Guinness Brewery," optimistically, produces a map of the Great Barrier Reef (which sounds lovely in the middle of this dreary Dublin night).) [My new favourite: Me: "Is there an afterlife?" Encarta: ...
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Robert Burke's WeblogMSN Messenger Activities are cool! (23.11.2005, 18:48 UTC)
Back at the PDC, I wrote about the Messenger Activity API contest. They're mid-way through the contest now, and I stopped by to check out some of the applications that have been submitted.  Here are some cool ones: Let's Meet, Language translator for IM, Cartoon Memory, Scissor Stone Paper, & Let's Play Chess. Fire up MSN Messenger and check them out! WARNING: This exercise requires you to (a) have friends and (b) have friends who also use MSN Messenger :)
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Robert Burke's WeblogEvery Day is makeITsecure day (21.11.2005, 23:57 UTC)
You may have heard last week about makeITsecure day, an initiative that united the Irish government with a number of organizations, including Microsoft.  As part of the campaign, we were out – on the streets, in the schools, and at a number of high-profile events – discussing issues like phishing, spyware, identity theft, child safety online, and other risks.  Our mutual goals included raising awareness, offering useful tips, and giving people in the broader community a cha...
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Robert Burke's WeblogWorking with Mobile Phone SMS (text) messages using the .NET Compact Framework 2.0 and Windows Mobile 5 (18.11.2005, 02:48 UTC)
I'm a mad one for the text messages.  You know -- the SMS, the BEEP! BEEP! -rumblerumblerumble-, the "Dude I'm at the pub where are you guys?!" furiously hammered into the mobile.  "Texts" are indeed the most expensive 160-byte chunks I send on a regular basis.  And it seems that I'm a little disturbingly quick with the aul stylus and the PocketPC, which has led to some gentle ribbing in the aforementioned pub -- probably well deserved. But then there's the kids with their "O...
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