Scott Hanselman

Windows XP: Media Center Edition 2004

October 31, '03 Comments [0] Posted in Musings
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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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October 31, '03 Comments [3] Posted in Longhorn | PDC
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TheLonghornVideo.AVI (1.14 MB)

To say folks were excited about Longhorn may be the understatement of 2003...

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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PDC - Tips for Giving a Great Presentation - actually used!

October 31, '03 Comments [2] Posted in PDC | Speaking | Tools
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Final Post and I'm off to bed.  I appreciate the CLEAR effort put into PDC by, I assume, the organizers, to ensure large fonts.  I've mentioned before this in the Tips on Giving a Great Microsoft Presentation.

Here's my PDC Presentation Scorecard:

  • +1 for using Lucida Console 14pt or higher for Code.
  • -1 for not using it with Command Prompts.  (Hint: Use the SAME Font and SAME size in all apps when presenting.  It's less jarring.  That includes Notepad, VS.NET and CMD.EXE)
  • -1 for not running DevEnv /fs 18.  It's great the the code was easy to see, but everything else wasn't.
  • -1 for not seeing ANYONE use ZoomIn.  Get to know how to use this tool.  Never a Presentation goes by where someone doesn't thank me for using it. Of course, practice it first, or you'll make your audience car-sick. Seriously.
  • +1 for intonation.  Everyone has clearly gone through speaker training with Richard Klees.  Awesome.
  • +1 for personality.  There were some Koolaid Drones, but folks like Doug Purdy expressed such obvious passion and fun for their jobs that I can honestly say the majority of the sessions were great.
  • -2 for food.  As Rory said to me, “the food here is ass.“  Walking by the “screw you diabetic“ buffets at Universal was even worse than the “Hey blood sugar boy“ free Haagen Days. Fortunately my kidneys didn't shut down this conference.  Of course, this has nothing to do with Presentations, I just wanted to get it in there.
  • +1 for effort.  You could see the excitement as folks got to talk about stuff they'd kept secret for three years.
  • +1 for preparedness.  I didn't see any many demo gaffs, and watching Don Box and Chris Anderson together with Jim Alchin made it obvious that these presentations were practiced dozens of times all over campus to different groups.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Avalon, Automation and Accessibility

October 31, '03 Comments [2] Posted in Longhorn | PDC | Africa | Tools
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Here's a great scoop by a Microsoft Insider from the bowels of the Comments on a recent post:

We aren't advertising it as such, but, [Avalon] UI Automation is the replacement for MSAA and it is being built by the Accessibility team at MS. When we talked to developers such as screen reader manufacturers and application developers about MSAA it was clear that MSAA could not stretch to cover the demands of computing that the coming decade will bring. Especially for people with disabilities.

Given the value that testers derived from MSAA, we decided we would get far better penetration of the accessibility framework if we achieved it through promoting the benefit to developers, testers and the companies they work for. That way everyone benefits.

This is welcome news, and I must say “big ups“ to MSFT for making it happen. 

[Unrelated aside: I sat next to a Manager-Type for Word once on a plane and I complemented him on Microsoft's respect for other cultures, specfically for resonable support for Ethiopian Amharic in Word XP.  Turns out the powers that be didn't REALLY care as much as he did, but he sold the idea in another way - as a complete Unicode-ization of Word to simplify deployment and testing.  Getting all these other languages to work was a welcome side effect, as he was an Asian language fan.  He did have to make some special effort for Amharic, and to that I say Amessagganalehugn. Apparently this isn't an unusual way to get things done at MSFT.  I respect the effort. ] 

This new UI Automation Framework will surely make testing easier, but it also opens the door to completely new paradigms for blind or “differently-able“ individuals.  Rather than writing entirely new Shells from scratch, or (gasp) messing with Windows Classes and walking handles(which is the Win32 equivalent to screen scraping) we'll be able to concern ourselves with the behavior or anima of the UI, and not it's implementation.

As an interesting side note, I've worked on Accessible websites that have to comply with the Federal Section 508 Accessiblity standards.  It's hard.  Navigating Windows itself, especially when an unexpected dialog box or error occurs is HARD.  Now, I've got bad eyes.  ~20/1600 to be exact, but I also run 19“ LCDs with 18pt Fonts and Large Icons.  But, if you REALLY want to understand what being blind and computing is like try this:

  • Download a trial copy of JAWS for Windows.  It is a screen synthesizer and it will read whatever's on your screen.  It's VERY souped-up compared to the built-in Windows Accessbility Narrator. 
  • Now, turn off the lights, close the windows, doors, and unplug your monitor.
  • Then, use your now-headless computer for a day.

I did this while doing some research on creating a accessible website for the blind for a large eastern bank.  Surfing the net was obnoxious.  So few sites follow the guidelines outline in the Web Accessibility Inititive and others. 

Try running your own blog or website through Bobby (a Web accessibility software tool) and see what it says.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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PDC - Conclusion

October 31, '03 Comments [2] Posted in Longhorn | PDC | ASP.NET | Speaking | XML | Web Services
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Oh, yes, PDC was the shiznit.  We learned about the Pillars of Longhorn:

What's in store for PDC 2004/5? - Don't fool yourself, the next PDC will also be “The Longhorn PDC,“ except you'll see your feedback folded into much improved Beta bits.  Remember, this was a preview, there's still great things being done with .NET 1.0, 1.1 and soon Whidbey (.NET 2.0). 

Monday, back to reality, and I'm back to coding some great .NET Framework 1.1 libraries to support some of the world's largest banks (and interop'ing with some VB6 libraries! Oy, the glamour!) :)

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.