Scott Hanselman

Office 2003 SP2 available via Microsoft Update

September 28, '05 Comments [4] Posted in Musings | Tools
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Phishing1

Well, I'm pleasantly surprised, and while I don't like the fact that there's Windows Update and Microsoft Update and Office Update and if I were Balmer I'd probably do something about it, but since I upgraded to Microsoft Update (Perhaps I'll mention it, as I'm heading up to Redmond right now) I haven't seen any interesting updates, until last night. Surprised I was to see Office 2003 SP2 waiting for me and my system offered to install it during the shutdown procedure.

The whole experience would have been lovely also had MSIEXEC and the magic that is Windows Installer not demanded my original CD (even though I have the office installation files local at c:\msocache and have confirmed it with the Office Local Installer Source Tool described here). Even better, while I offered my original CD as a sacrifice, my donation was eschewed.

Office 2003 totally disagreed with me that this was, in fact, my installation disk. No friendly error message, just "Try Again (punk)". The "punk" was implied.

Anyway, I totally uninstalled Office, reinstalled a complete copy and then manually downloaded SP2 and it installed fine. You do need give the Office team props for that uninstallation; it doesn't remove your settings. I didn't lose a thing and didn't even have to reconfigure Outlook.

New Features:

* Anti-Phishing - I have no tolerance for Phishing, or lactose, so this was a pleasant surprise. This will definitely help my Mom.

Phishing2

* Smart Tag/Person Dot - You may have seen something like this if you set up Messenger integration with Office 2003, but now it looks like everyone gets a dot next to their name. As with the previous feature, you can click the dot and get their phone numbers, IM them, etc.

Phishing3

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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Nicest. Email. Ever. Totally Made My Month.

September 28, '05 Comments [6] Posted in Learning .NET | NUnit | Nant | XML | Tools
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Hey Scott, this is [Joe Smith].  I was a student in your C# class at [College] a few terms back.  I just wanted to thank you for going with the format you did in class, i.e. teaching more general software engineering know-how than just C# syntax.  I was given a shot at a summer internship at [Company You've Heard Of] through my junior project teacher, and the interview was mainly based around things like XML, NUnit, Nant, source control, and C#.  I think I can safely say that if I hadn't taken your class I wouldn't have had a chance in that interview.  In reality, however, I was prepared.  I got the internship and completed my first assignment (bosses estimate: 3 weeks) in 4 days, unit tests and all.  As of this [week] I am a salaried employee, writing mainly Xml parsing/generating tools in C# for internal use. 

Your class was a HUGE factor in getting me here, and I just thought you might like to know.

Thanks again,

- [Joe Smith]

Now playing: Alicia Keys - How Come You Don't Call Me

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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Phidgets Library for .NET released

September 27, '05 Comments [3] Posted in Coding4Fun
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PhidgetsdotnetI'm all about the Phidgets. I used them under .NET 2.0 Beta 2 for a Coding4Fun Article a few month back. I used COM Interop to talk to the phidgets library, but I just noticed that a .NET Phidgets Library was released yesterday at the University of Calgary. They've included lovely documentation and even plan to remove the COM dependancy and work directly via P/Invoke.

If you've ever considered working with Phidgets for a personal project, this is an even better time.

Got any ideas on a new project - and consequently a new Coding4Fun article - I could do using this new library?

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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Creating my own Mame Arcade Cabinet, Mame for Media Center PC, and the X-Arcade Joystick

September 27, '05 Comments [2] Posted in Nant | Gaming
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XArcade1This last week saw the release of MAME 0.100, the Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator. An amazing technological accomplishment is MAME and a nice milestone. At this rate it'll hit 1.0 in 2048. If you're using Windows, you'll find MAME32 more to your liking.

When I noticed this milestone it spurred me into action. I decided on the spot to write a MAME front-end for Media Center (hoping to put my fallow MCPC back to work). As with all good ideas, it's long ago been done - and in .NET to boot. GameEx is it's name and it's fabulous. It integrates nicely into Media Center and is totally worth the $15.

I immediately visited XGaming who is currently selling a refurbished version of their amazing Two-Player Arcade Joystick for a cool $99.95. (It also works with XBox via Adapter) I ordered it and it was here in five days. Interestingly it came "broken" in that one of the primary buttons didn't work. I assumed it was misconfiguration or something I'd done, but I fired up KeyboardTest and confirmed it from a software POV. I opened it up and traced the wires one at a time and found one slightly disconnected. Once it was reconnected I was back in business.

Mame2xarcadeThere was a little trouble initially as I found myself remapping all the buttons manually. Then I realized that a product this good and the MAME32 team being as clever as they are, I must not be taking advantage of their wisdom. MAME32 includes a "Default Game Properties" option and the "Controllers" tab include an option for XArcade. Paydirt. Once this was selected, everything fell into place.

Now I can move seamlessly from the Media Center interface (using the Joystick) into the GameEx menu and into Mame32. Took about 4 hours (while the pregnant wife napped) on a Saturday. Very slick. Now I have to figure out how to explain to her how the infant will develop fine motor skills playing PacMan in his own Arcade.

Summary:

  • MAME32 - $0 - Arcade Emulator
  • GameEx - $15 - MediaCenter Front End for MAME (and other emulators)
  • XArcade - $99.95 (limited time) - Arcade Joystick

Next I'm looking at Arcade Cabinets and Games on Craig's List, and I think I'll build an Arcade System for the home, powered by MCPC/GameEx/Mame32.

For the children.

 

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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Pasting Unformatted Text a Better Way - PureText

September 26, '05 Comments [3] Posted in Musings
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Puretext_options

Lately the bane of my existence has been Alt-E, S, End, Enter. I do that all day long - to bring up the Word "Paste Special" Dialog, go to the bottom of the list and select "Unformatted Text" and paste my freshly vanilla-ed text into some application that's not digging Word's RTF schmutz.

Enter PureText (via LifeHacker). A little application, that I've bound to previously unused Windows-V, that pastes the clipboard's unformatted text to the current window. Fantastic. I've just replaced 5 keys with 2. That'll save me like 20 seconds a day, which over the course of the year will save me like 66 minutes. I will spend that 66 minutes watching reruns of Firefly.

(Oh, and it's 28k, which is just classy as heck. Points for style.)

Now playing: Kanye West - Gold Digger (Featuring Jamie Foxx)

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.