July 2006 - Posts
Do you have any compelling reasons to upgrade to Vista ? If so I'd love to hear them.
What I plant to do is keep a tally of features/ awarding points for and against. Of course those points will just be my opinion, and purely subjective ;) And I'm a hard sell ;)
It's worth noting I'm the kind of customer who turns OFF themes on XP.
Remember, this is weighing up "upgrading" .
Here's an indication of my point score:
* LPU account +7 (yes a massive 7 points as I think this is what every user really needs, but hard to do in XP without a lot of pain points)
* new Start menu -2
* new explorer -2
* network user interface -2 ( -2 for extra clicks needed, -1 for problems with WAP passwords, +1 for pretty network picture)
* personalize -2 (half baked, and requires more clicks)
* new games like Mahjong tiles +0.5 (yeh I know I shouldn't include this, but I'm feeling generous <g>)
* integrated Search +2
That's a running total of : 1.5 !!! Of course, we really need the value to be +10 or more to be a value proposition to upgrade (IMO)
Can you help tip the scales one way or the other ?
Take on the "why upgrade to Vista challenge" :)
following on from talk of Vista, I thought I'd take a look at exactly when support for XP finishes.
Mainstream support will end two years after the next version of this product is released.
Extended support will end five years after mainstream support ends.
That's for XP Professional. Strangely enough, for Windows XP Home, there's no mention of Extended support
!! (hopefully that's just an omission, but it could well be Microsoft's intent as they have different support policies for consumer and business products :( ) One would think that if they have the patches for XP Professional, they'd make them available to home users too, but it isn't written as so :(
The good thing is that "Extended support" as far as I can tell is all people really need from support with a mature product like XP. That means windows update would continue to work for at least the next 7 years !! (unless ***maybe*** if you have XP Home ????)
Recently there's been discussion on vista and cars, here
, but really, that comparison is kind of bullsh*t. It's a mixed metaphor, confusing software and hardware. Vista is more like the fuel, not the car. That is, you have the car (the hardware), you can choose which fuel to put in it.
So the main reasons you will see people switch to Vista is much like the transition from leaded petrol (aka gasoline) to unleaded. first, you'll have the new cars (hardware) ship with a recommendation to use unleaded (Vista). In fact that'll be the main driving force, the sale of Vista with new PC's.
The second factor will be the phasing out of availability of the leaded fuel (XP). that's a double edge sword for Microsoft, and although we've all had a really good free run with XP upgrades for the past many many years, that was a commercial decision Microsoft made to build trust. I sure hope they don't drop support for XP just because they've finally got a new OS. Really, it should be 5 years *after* the upgrade is available, to be fair to those buying PC's today. But whenever that day is, it will be the second major driving force.
An interesting part of these two factors, the new hardware and the removal of support is the role the competition plays. The average consumer is still not ready to take on the role of support staff for a *nix system, and Mac's remain Mac hardware only still. While these factors remain, it means Microsoft can comfortably hold it's current market share, hurt them a little even, and focus on competing against the others, such as the Mac ;)
But as to people upgrading existing machines to Vista, I think that will be a very small percentage to null. it's funny really, when I look at Vista, knowing that I can upgrade to it for free even, I still find it very non compelling. I certainly don't expect copies of Vista in retail software outlets to be a hot item.
If you were comparing cars, you'd ask questions like , is the new car faster, more economical, more comfortable, have better security, etc. so let's look at those shall we…
(1) Faster… well no, not really. It can be in certain areas, such as boot up time if you use new hardware (flash storage). It is probably designed to work better with new hardware, so we should expect some improvements, but overall, your max speed will be limited by the programs and network you use. So for the most part, you won't see major improvements in speed.
(2) more economical. Probably not. You need to consider all running costs, insurance, repairs, down time etc. and even things such as spare part availability as these can result in extended periods of "down" time. Because Vista is new, the drivers are new, there's a whole generation of testing yet to be done. So if anything there is likely to be significant ramp up costs.
(3) more comfortable. Well the "ergonomics" of Vista certainly are different. It reminds me of Nissan XTrail with it's console in the middle of the dash.:
Sure looks cool, but not really practical IMO. Some will buy it for that "new" look though.
Of course, that's an opinion that will vary from person to person. and in the case when the whole family is driving at once, having the dash in the centre may make sense ;)
Or in real terms, consider Mitch's post about the start menu
. Mitch says he likes the ergonomics of it. Myself on the other hand, really dislike the new start menu. I find it looks nice but is functionally poor because I already meticulously order and cleanup my start menu. So if anything the new start menu takes longer for me to navigate, requiring more back and forth. One thing to note, Mitch compared it to win2000, not XP. That's a biting issue I find with vista: if I turn off the new start menu navigation, I'm not offered the XP look and feel, instead I have to downgrade to the win2000 look and feel. So for me, Vista would feel very much like a downgrade. Personally, I think they could have solved Mitch's concerns and mine much better
(4) better security. Well that's yet to be seen. I am hopeful that Vista will indeed deliver this, even though Symantec says otherwise. The run as minimal privileges concept is good, plus the work they have put into making that work is also good. This is probably the area that is the most compelling to upgrade, for everyone, corporate and home users. BUT, it is also new work, so some caution is advisable. Consider airbags, when they first came out there were problems with the detonators being too powerful in minor crashes, resulting in injury especially to children and the elderly. Now airbags are refined, and I loath to drive a car without airbags fitted. The question you have to ask is how long will you drive your current car before you switch to the safer car. I think given the costs, the other issues, it may well be some will wait till they crash their current car (which may be too late for some) or wait just a while, say a year or two to see how well the new car performs in road and crash tests.
(5) Other niceties.. Your view on these will depend on how appealing some features are to you. You may find the new search compelling, yet you can have similar search today in XP. For me the search feature is a poor trade-off against good explorer navigation, at least in the current builds.
WPF, WCF, WF, will all be available on XP, so nothing compelling there. IE7, also available for XP.
There's probably some compelling bits around movie making or media edition bits, but I don't have a media edition PC, so I haven't seen that. For most corporate customers they too will never see that ;)
All in all, I will probably move to Vista "one day" but based on the current bits, I definitely would not be in any rush, as it doesn't run faster on my existing hardware, and it is actually harder to use
IMO. Hopefully they'll eventually hear the feedback on that, and make the move from XP to vista a smoother one, one where it's about gains, such as gains in security, without having to trade the way we work today and be forced to live with the "centre console" or worse, downgrade the experience to windows 2000 dash ;)
While on the one hand I'm happy as it gives me a bit more time to get up to speed with WPF, on the other I am sick and tired of reading stupid comments about WPF that seem to equate it only to 3D and Aero glass etc. I can't help but wonder if these are the same kind of people that fixate over the wheel trims of a car and the decals rather than the performance, stability, road handling, safety and FUNCTIONALITY !!
Seriously, when was the last time you wrote some code to write a documents, such as an invoice or a receipt (every day business events) to a printer ? Try doing it in VB.NET or C# in 5 or 10 minutes.. yeh right, maybe you can, but I'm there with a scrap piece of paper scribbling done co-ordinates as I try to programmatically layout the page. That's right, there is no declarative layout. that comes with WPF.
Or perhaps you're doing that touch screen application you see at virtually every shop or supermarket, or wanting to display data in a block format, not that unsightly throw back to the early 90's excel spreadsheet looking thing they call a data grid. For example, look at listings on ebay, there's use of a block format… typically a couple of pieces of data along the header of each item, followed by a description etc. Now try doing that in Windows.Forms today .. you end up having to search for a 3rd party tool, or delving deep into custom drawing your own control. Yet if it was a web app, it's simple to do because you can easily mix and match declarative programming with procedural. But you don't even have to do that with ASP.NET thanks to niceties such as the repeater control.
Sure you could have a repeater control for windows.forms, but you're still faced with scalability issues, as the rendering is done around window for each element in each item. Then you also have the positioning and sizing issues to deal with as each item may or may not have certain fields.
yet when you have a document like flow concepts naturally, as html does, then the task is simple. And that's what WPF brings to rich client applications, the goodness of document flow.
If you think WPF is only about 3D, animation, aero glass etc, then you're memorized by the bling, the wheel trims, the decals… It's time to focus on the car.
If you click on a button in a toolstrip, such as the save button on a BindingNavigator, the button never gets focus, so the DataGridView never looses focus, so the current changes are not persisted.
The first thing you need to do is call EndEdit on the DataGridView. This will apply the cell's changes. But if you are editing a data table, then you also need to call EndEdit on the BindingSource (or EndCurrentEdit on the currency manager if not using a BindingSource). Calling EndEdit on the binding source will result in the row change being persisted and hence the dataset's diffgram will show that change.
So, your code should look something like:
' now save the dataset
Seems folks everywhere are talking about the latest Vista build… Here's my impressions :
- setting the time zone on install didn't change the system clock !!! Yeh, at last !!!!!
- stupid startup sound played 3 times before I could mute the sounds. And it played damn loud. this sucks. you'd think MS would realize that geeks tend to install these things in the middle of the night, and at least have a "silent" start option.
- once installed I had to update video drivers. the NVIDIA drivers worked but kept getting reset on reboot. I managed to work around this by disabling application controlled settings in the NVIDIA profile.
- I really dislike the number of clicks it takes to set the screen resolution. IT use to be right click on the desktop, set it and go. Now it's right click, look at some weird "personalize" screen which seems to have too much information, IMO (and little to no substance). this window then spawns *yet another window* where you change the settings. And although there is only one tab in that window, there is still one tab in that window. Yes it's like they just hid the tabs from the usual display settings, and increased the number of windows, the number of clicks I have to make to get there. F'ing stupid. Zero innovation. Nothing easier or better there, actually all harder.
I don't see why they didn't put the single tab inside the explorer window, and make that a new smarter tabs on the left//explorer bar//"folder tasks" kind of access to the property pages. It looks like they almost went that way and decided to only half go there :(
- sound volume.. where have all the levels gone ???
- network status. Geez, so many clicks just to see the status. Why ?
- system properties. Oh this one was too funny. Like display properties they have intercepted the call to a new explorer window (local web page kind of thing). When you finally click enough times/places you get to system properties, and guess what you have four tabs in there. So they have this confusing UI of having the tab have four items, yet those four items are actually listed in the explorer window as four different items. compared to the display settings, it's not consistent. and it's also lame. why is it these simple things take many more clicks to get to ?
- explorer. Faster than in previous versions, probably on par with XP now (maybe a bit slower, although that might just be the way it's drawn) It's still hard to use the normal explorer tree, although slightly getting better. Hopefully before it ships it will recognize that when I decide to use folder tree view exploration, it should accept that as being the main thing I am doing and allow to maximize the tree part of that window easily, as well as have it open maximized by default.
- turning off themes … ah so much nicer except things like the welcome screen now just show an empty band that takes up half the explorer window, which means you can't turn off the welcome screen with themes turned off.
- sidebar. I turned off the sidebar, and on next boot I ended up with gadgets everywhere on the desktop. ahhhhhh.
So basically that was my first hour or so with the latest build of Vista. Nice to see some speed improvement in explorer, but overall, I find the Ui a lot more work for things I already know how to do.
It was a lovely day today, still a bit chilly, but nice and sunny so I just had to take the bike for a quick 20km ride. Wow, the winter months and those few extra kilos really do make a difference. My time was only 5% down on my average, but those hill climbs really were noticeable !!! ;)
Note to self: find some exercise for winter months !
Still it was as always fun :)
Oh, and the dirt roads were nice and slick like a slow bitumen .
I was just reading Ralf's post about some future directions for XML
and one thing that struck me is there is still a mismatch between "Data" and "OO". XML is really just descriptive data, at least it is at present. Of course it doesn't have to be, it could just as easily include event wire up, just as we seeing extended forms of XML such as xaml or html.
So as far as languages go, I think that ability to wire is probably the next hurdle if we want to treat XML as objects. But because we'd be attaching the wires, it could lead to some really nice possibilities
(warning, I'm thinking out loud here, and haven't sat down to consider this in detail yet <g>)
Let's take a simple example of Customer who has an Address. Presume the XML is something like <Customer id="1234"><Address>….</></>
Now even if we treat XML as a first class citizen in the languages, how do we say I want an event to fire when Address changes, or I want to validate Address first when changed. We could have simple schema based validation, but sometimes we need more than that. For example I might want to search via a service to ensure such address really exists. At a simpler level, I might just want the UI to be updated when there is such a change.
To achieve any of that today, we'd have to define our OO model and move the data into it. that is the XML alone can't take us there. So we don't see XML as a true first class citizen, rather it's just the "Data", not the "behavior" . If however we allowed the merging of delegates, anonymous delegates, partial classes, and attribute based behaviors, we could actually have something as powerful as OO, yet more flexible.
For example, I could like xaml or jscript, do wire up to a delegate, including anonymous delegates and lambda expressions to the Address element. It would be nice if I could also apply a partial class to the Customer element, that included overrides (perhaps implicit override) for the Address property.
It's also be nice if I could just say "Attach rich events" somehow declaratively to the whole Customer element, and in effect you'd have all the richness of IBindingList, without the use of proxies or moving the xml out of the xml into OO.
a few weeks ago, I posted a quiz
about the syntax low < x < high, which really was a quiz about implicit casting of Booleans. Of course the great Dan Appleman
got that one right :)
That quiz stemmed from an earlier post
, and raised some questions about values of Booleans in general. I plan to post a long explanation, but first I thought I'd have some more fun with syntax quizzes :)
Given the following conditions:
- Code is compiled with Strict On and Explicit On rules applied
- two variables are declared as follows:
Dim x As Boolean = SomeFunctionthatReturnsABoolean()
Dim y As Boolean = True
Do all the following evaluate to the same If condition ? We're not concerned over how they get there, but whether or not they all get to the same place.
(1) If x = y Then
(2) If x And y Then
(3) If x <> Not y Then
(4) If Boolean.Equals(x,y) Then
Remember, y is specified as being True in all these expressions.
Are they all the same, always ?
today I updated the open source Exception Helper plugin for Visual Studio 2005. You can view a short screen cast demonstrating it's installation and usage (about 4 minutes)
You can download from workspaces.gotdotnet.com/project42
Now here's for the real ressons…. ;)
1. It's all about the shirts !!
Be it geek shirts
, or the brightMambo
ones, TechEd is definitely all about the shirts
, especially the Tshirts !! The brighter they are, the more stylier they are, the more folks reckon there's some worth remembering. the T's can really tell you a lot about how serious a company is, and how things are going for them. If things are good, expect to see high quality pure cotton T's. If things are not so good, they'll probably start going for synthetics ;) Last year for example Microsoft was facing delays with Vista. when those kind of things happen to big companies for some reason they often start pinching pennies in the strangest places.. no more free towels for softies in Redmond, and what I think was a first ever, the T's were poly blends !!! (say no more <g>)
This year feels like it should be all cotton :)
2. Office friendly projectiles
Seriously what geek can resist indoor projectiles ? :) these demonstrate an understanding that it's about having fun. you can tell how "smartz" a company is by the type of projectiles they have. Water pistols is a big no no round hardware, whereas spud guns that limit the damage to bruised corneas all good :) Soft frisbees, snurf guns, indoor sports. These are the symbols of people friendly companies.
3. Booth Babes !!!!!
Without doubt, the real show talk is about the booth babes
. Seriously, you get Jessica Alba at a booth and you can get guys lined up to buy copies of Os2 Warp !! The number of times guys can be in a geek conversation and be so easily distracted is really amazing :) Of course for vendors who don't have booth babes, they have to rely on freebies, cool gizmos, hot cars (yes there were cars in the exhibitors hall one year:) ), but even still it really is all about the booth babes.
So there ya have it, just a few of the politically incorrect reasons to attend TechEd. (note I didn't say a thing about the dancing girls and laser pointers <g>)