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Blue Ink Blue Ink
  • Poll: Curious how many regularly use CTRL+INSERT and SHIFT+INSERT

    Had been using them interchangeably for ages, until I got a nasty notebook keyboard, with Ins and Del in odd places and two sizes too small.

    It's strictly CTRL+C/V/X since then (and a lots of CTRL+Z)


  • Mistakes to avoid

    @vesuvius: I faced the problem several times, both as a producer and as a consumer. This is what I think I learned so far (usually the hard way):

    0) The diamond rule: data are forever. Your application may not survive v 2.0, but eventually (even a decade later) someone will have to port your data to some new app. Having a clean, consistent and well documented format will save you from some embarassment.

    1) Always include a version header. Sooner or later you have to update the format, and having to sniff the version just sucks.

    2) Avoid creating hard dependencies between your file format and your internal representation of the document.

    3) Avoid any sort of binary format that creates a dependency to the platform you are using. Endianness happens. Among other beasts.

    4) Avoid as much as possible creating dependencies to external proprietary formats you don't have your own codec for. That nice component may be free and widely available now... (Wang Imaging, anyone?)

    5) Being able to load files generated by older versions of your program is a must, but the opposite is most definitely not. Yes, you can get this kind of compatibility through some clever hack, but your format will be messed up beyond belief (hello PDF, feeling the love yet?)

    This pretty much sums it up. I would only stress that documents, and their format, are not just a byproduct of some code: they are the whole point of that code. This is why feature requests that involve a breaking change should start with -1000 points. It's not possible to turn them all down, but it's a good cause to fight for.

  • Did WP7 really launch today?

    @ZippyV: Actually that is also true of most european countries (except that you still have the option to buy a subsidized phone by locking yourself in a plan. Whatever).

    There are still several other ways a carrier can back a platform: getting an exclusive (as it happened with the iPhone, I think), selling the phone through their stores, featuring it prominently in their ads...

    The message that is going through right now is that nobody considered the platform worth committing, and that's not a good sign.

  • WP7 device as a dev phone - will it work over wifi and no cell contract?

    AT&T does have a pay as you go option (GoPhone). The data plans are ludicrous, but as you plan to use wifi that might not be an issue. Not sure if it would work on a WP7, though...


  • Did WP7 really launch today?

    @CKurt: without a carrier to back the phone, it would have been pointless to make too much noise (actually, it could have backfired pretty badly). And I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that the lack of Dutch in the initial language offering played a major role in belgian carrier non backing the platform.

    As I mentioned, I hope that the US launch will fuel enough interest to change a few things even out here in the woods.

  • Did WP7 really launch today?

    @TommyCarlier: My guess is that it won't make the news until it launches in the US (November 8). Not sure why they didn't go for a worldwide launch though (for some definition of worldwide).

  • IE and Mozilla

    @magicalclick: Opera is stuck like everyone else, albeit with a little more creativity. They are so used at being discriminated that their browser can be disguised as either IE or Firefox. In that case, it just sends the Mozilla prefix.

  • IE and Mozilla

    @Sven Groot: that won't last long... IE9 already uses the Mozilla/5.0 prefix by default (although it falls back to Mozilla/4.0 when in compatibility mode).

  • R.I.P. Benoit Mandelbrot

    @JoshRoss: Yes, along with several others. Considering we just lost Martin Gardner, it's being a bear of a year.

  • One thing a Windows tablet/slate MUST have IMHO

    @Bass: just for the sake of argument:

    1 legal pad only contains 50 sheets. A tablet has several GB of storage that are good for 1 bajillion pages. 1 bajillion / 50 * 0.50$ = 1 bajillion cents. Tablet is way cheaper.

    Battery life: some tablets (notably the iPad) claim 9-10 hours, and you can actually recharge the thing. But that doesn't matter much as your carpal tunnel will probably sue long before that anyway.

    Never thought about the toilet paper angle... I must admit that a slate won't do you much good in that scenario, but the word "papercut" comes to mind, with a disturbing new twist.

    I guess tablets win. Go digital! Smiley