Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Molly helps Microsoft with Standards

This is huge... I've been up against some major deadlines so I haven't been keeping up with all my blog reading, but today I decided that before I go home I was just going to catch up on a few of the more important ones, and so I was reading the IEBlog when I stubled across this article, the basic crux of which is that Molly E. Holzschlag has "signed on with the Internet Explorer team on a contract basis to work on standards and interoperability issues".


I have actually heard Molly speak at the Web Directions South conference last year, and she is a really inspiring speaker, and someone who tirelessly advocates for better adoption of Web Standards. It'll be interesting to follow her progress at The Daily Molly.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Published articles for The Readify Tech news letter

Just thought I'd mention that I now have a published two part article on the Readify tech news letter on SQL Server Express Edition.


You can view the articles at

SQL Server Express (Part One) - Another reason to move your user applications onto a stable platform


SQL Server Express (Part Two) - How User Instances Work

It finally dawned on me why I don't like the name "ASP.Net AJAX"

Microsoft renamed their AJAX offering from ATLAS to ASP.Net Ajax around November last year. Now I personally never quite understood what was so bad about ATLAS, but I do realize that as a general rule, product code names generally have to change at some point before the release to the main stream, (Longhorn -> Vista, etc...), but I must confess that quite often Microsoft completely screw it up.


I guess there is significant pressure from various departments, notably marketing and branding who want to maintain a consistent theme, and have the morbid fascination with trying to imbibe descriptive meaning into product names, and also from the legal department who are desperately trying to avoid trademark infringements. This is why I didn't blog about the name change when I first learned of it, but I always felt a huge sense of disappointment about the change, but couldn't quite put my finger on why I was so disappointed... until this week.


Beyond the obvious lack of imagination displayed taking the two core technologies (ASP.Net and AJAX), and just combining them (which in itself causes some confusion), I realised something this week when I was attempting to debug an issue with the library. As a developer one of our most important tools is our favourite Internet search engine. Whenever we come across a problem say with a CSS styling that isn't displaying correctly in a browser we just go to our favourite search engine and type in a question, for example "CSS min-width Internet Explorer". In Google the first page of the previous search returns all types of useful hits, including information regarding the fact that min-width is not supported in Internet Explorer 6.0 and a number of ways you can work around this. This is very powerful and allows us to do our jobs a lot quicker.


I discovered when trying to debug a problem with ASP.Net AJAX that this using ASP.Net and AJAX is not only longer to type than ATLAS, but returns all kinds of results that you wouldn't really be interested in. If you just type in ASP.Net AJAX into Google, the first page returns (as you'd expect), the official home page (ajax.asp.net), and a few other relevant topics, but then it starts to get more off-topic, like other component vendors offering AJAX style controls in ASP.Net such as ajaxium, ajaxpro, etc..., this is then further confounded if you need more search terms. The search is helped marginally by quoting "ASP.Net AJAX", but still returns that ajaxium website in the first page of results.


If Microsoft had've done what the trend is in the rest of the industry and actually used some imagination to come up with a short sharp name that was unique in the industry space, it could've made all our lives a little bit easier.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dell Quickset disabling Internal network card

I had an interesting network problem today. I arrived at work, plugged my laptop into the power, and then into the network cable, switched it on only to find that I had no network connectivity. After rebooting twice, and discussing it with my colleague sitting next to me who has pretty much an identical laptop, connected to the same router, with no such networking problems, I did a bit of poking around.

I have a latitude D820 running Windows Vista, and the Dell Quickset power utility. One feature of quickset is that it disables the internal network card if you are not using it and you are on battery power, to get a few more minutes of battery life. It turns out that it must be a bit buggy as this turned out to be my problem. It had disabled my network card from the night before, and admittedly I had suspended my session, but then this morning, even after plugging into the power at work, and after rebooting my system twice, my network card still failed to respond. I fixed it by explicitly setting in the quickset UI to "always activate on battery".