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irascian irascian Irascible Ian
  • Microsoft buys Multimap!!!

    Had to work with Multimap once.

    FX: Shudders

    Their idea of globalised data and what they returned via their web service based on a country's culture was a joy to behold (not!)

    Sometimes they'd store/return numeric data based on the correct culture format, sometimes they wouldn't, and sometimes it would vary depending on the data within a single country.

  • new c9 forum: The Vent

    jamie wrote:
    Id use it.

    tired of posting less than positive things in CH

    ..or it could be named like Tech Off... only a bit different...

    then coffeehouse could be mainly upbeat/happy and if your in a bad mood..ahem...you go to The Vent to let off some steam...

    You've just read my rant in response to the latest video on MIX08 haven't you?! Wink

    Sounds like a good idea, the trouble is I'd spend all my time over there and this place might become quite a lot quieter!

  • ZAM 3D v1.0 Released for creating 3D XAML for WPF apps

    Thanks for taking the trouble to post this information Mike - very useful!

    Just discovered (via your forums) the excellent "beta" tutorials for Zam 3D at http://learnexpressionstudio.com as part of the ExpressTrain video series. This is good stuff for 3D novices like me, especially since there seems to be so little information on Electric Rain's own site, and a very nice example of a good WPF application with "Click Once" deployment. 

    This looks like an essential resource for anybody working with the Expression/Electric Rain products although of course a lot depends on what the final subscription model turns out to be once it's out of beta.

    I'm going to have a play with the trial version of Swift 3D before ordering ZAM 3D since it seems to offer an additional discount on ZAM 3D if ordered beforehand.  What are the plans for getting a trial version of ZAM 3D and Electric Rain's own tutorials up and running?

  • ZAM 3D v1.0 Released for creating 3D XAML for WPF apps

    Electric Rain have done such a great job in keeping up with the CTPs from the early days of Sparkle and providing free beta's so I'm tempted to give this a go, especially with the 25% discount available until the end of this month, but need a clearer explanation of the differences between the deluge of products Electric Rain seem to offer (see comment on separate SWIFT thread).

  • Swift 3D v5.0 exports Silverlight XAML

    Been wondering what the difference between SWIFT and ZAM 3D was - my very crude reading of the web site had lead me to believe that SWIFT was primarily aimed at Flash developers and ZAM 3D for Blend but it now seems like you're saying use SWIFT for Silverlight and ZAM 3D for Expression Blend/WPF (or is that too simplistic a summary?).

    Doesn't Blend allow you to export Silverlight XAML? If that's the case why would SWIFT be needed in addition to ZAM 3D when you could just export ZAM 3D to Blend and from there export to Silverlight XAML?

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the recently posted (earlier today) koolaid C9 video on MIX08 where we're told things are so much easier now that Visual Studio 2008 is out, and I'm afraid I've gone and had a bit of a rant in response because the whole situation is madness: Let me see now... you need four Expression products and VS 2008 to get the best out of web site development with XAML and this apparently is simpler. Oh, but if you want 3D you need to buy third party products like those from Electric Rain - and ideally one for Silverlight, one for full WPF?  How is this in any shape, size or fashion making life "much simpler" for developers (don't even get me started on bringing AJAX into the equation). Clearly Microsoft folks are on a different planet from the one I'm inhabiting! Just trying to get anyone to explain the differences between all these products, why they're needed and how they fit into workflow at the most basic level is like trying to catch moonlight in a bucket!

    ZAM 3D is a nice product and with the discounts on offer if ordered before the end of the year I'm tempted to go for it, but if I then have to buy another product for Silverlight it's all getting way too messy (and way too expensive) too fast.

  • PDC 2008 - thinking of going

    Hopefully, but I've been taking time out (catch up and personal projects) and so not earning money since mid-October and have already paid for MIX08, so it depends on finding a new contract pretty quickly next year before I can commit.

    Definitely worth going if you haven't been before. Good fun!

  • Visual Studio 2008

    The "retail" date has always been advertised as next year (February, I think). MSDN subscribers just get it early - literally within hours of sign off. It then takes some serious time to "roll out" the new release to all the different marketing sites etc.

    Even on MSDN things take time. Microsoft did a really good job this time round and are obviously learning from past experience. It took about a fortnight to get the Workgroup Edition of Team Foundation Server (as opposed to a 90 day trial version) up on MSDN subscriber downloads but if you look at how quickly they've got all the different add-on bits (CTPS and beta's) out for RTM version it's been pretty impressive.

  • American TV...

    TV was the thing that got me down the most when I took up a job in the States. It's a cultural thing and I'm sure if that's all you've ever known then you get overly defensive about it, but for a Brit the constant "hard-sell" and program interruptions, together with that "yoo-ha" mentality thats drowns everything becomes VERY irritating very quickly.

    That being said, we're much further along the same rocky slope than we were a few years back. Even the BBC now overlays the end credits with dumb promotion of what's coming up next, adds station idents over everything and has endless repeated ads for the programs it wants to promote. That wasn't the case a few years ago.

    And if you ever watched "Lost" when it started on Channel 4 it featured the same "ads every few minutes" interruptions as many of the States shows do.  British TV is going the same way as competition increases and is one of the reasons why I tend to watch most of my shows via DVD rather than on transmission.

    Perhaps the biggest quirk of US TV is their constant references to "hour long" hour programs that actually equate to 42 minutes because of all the ads that pad out the hour. In the UK it's more like 50 minutes on our commercial stations. Apparently the US version of "Spooks" makes less sense than the British transmissions because they have to cut an extra 10 minutes out of each episode to make it fit the advert-infested schedules.

  • Christmas Gifts

    Dodo wrote:
    Lloyd_Humph wrote:

    ...and a 4TiB home server. C'mon, you know you want one!
    I have one... actually it's a web server...

    Which is a completely different thing. Have you actually looked at Windows Home Server?

    (For the record I have a Dell PowerEdge server as well as the HP MediaSmart Server and they're too very different beasts even though both are "ostensibly" running flavours of Windows Server 2003 R2)

  • Save the date: PDC 2008!!!

    Rossj wrote:

    Next time someone tells me to think long and hard about turning my hobby into my career, I think I'll pay more attention.

    I sympathise, having made the foolish mistake of "chasing a dream" and opted out of life as a mainframe CICS specialist to go work full time in the dance music industry back in the early 90's (I'd been DJing for a while and got an offer from a record label to go and work for them full time).

    Not a mistake as if I hadn't done it I'd forever have been asking myself "What would have happened if...?", but it sure killed my interest and enthusiasm for what had been a bit of a passion up to then.

    I can hardly bare to listen to any dance music or even read about any of it in the magazines or dailies now I know the politics of how the whole thing works.

    Fortunately I'm still generally enjoying development and that 3 year break certainly helped. Three years ago I was getting back into the usual "burnt out" rut and was offered the opportunity to chase another dream and go and do some work in New Zealand to put together a movie tie-in book. Was very tempted as movies have always been a passion of mine but as soon as I thought about it for more than 10 seconds, and recalled stories from friends in that business I realised that it would be outright stupidity and would just ruin another hobby. It would have had the same frustrations as the current 'day job', just a lot less money because everybody wants to work in the so-called "glamour" industries and seems happy to do so for peanuts (or even for free if they think it will get them a magic "foot in the door"!). PDC 05 happened around that time and made me realise I'd definitely made the right decision, re-enthusing me.

    Sometimes you just have to realise you need time out and find a way of taking it, or "hypnotise" yourself into believing you're as passionate about something as all those people who make a living out of being "passionate" appear to be Wink It's amazing what a bit of self-delusion can do for job satisfaction and PDC can help on that front!