Andrew Connell

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Here you'll find 'Technology' related blog posts and articles

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    Blog: Just watched the space shuttle Discovery from my front yard 140 miles away.... how cool is that?

    Subject says it all. Cape Canaveral is 140 miles south of my house. You can watch the shuttle launch on TV… wait about 5-10 seconds and then walk out in the front yard to see it streak across the Atlantic on it’s way over Africa for about 10 seconds. I can’t see the booster rocket separation, but you know when it happens because that’s essentially where the visible smoke trail and engine’s are no longer visible.
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    Blog: Into astronomy? Check this incredible experience from MSR: WorldWide Telescope

    The subject says it all… got about 30 minutes to burn? Check this site out, download the client and fire it off. I’ve gone through 3 guided tours (see toolbar at the top of the app) and I’m hooked! DISCLAIMER: this is a HORRIBLE link to hit if you have a ton of work on your plate and are into astronomy. Thank goodness I didn’t look at it last night when I was on deadline and up until 3a shipping code!
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    Blog: Safari on Windows has some slick Web developer utilities

    So I let the little Apple software update install the latest Safari v3.x on Vista on my MBP this weekend. In a client gig today someone was looking at this blog on ZDNet which prompted us to gather around and check out Safari on my machine. HOLY CRAP, I’m WAY impressed. Check out the perf. numbers on Safari over the others! The coolest part has to be the developer Web inspector.
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    Blog: Windows 2008, SQL 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 Florida Launch Events

    Another year, another wave of Microsoft flagship products. This year’s launch event, dubbed HEROES happen {here} is for Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. For those Florida folks, you’ve got three launch events to choose from: Orlando - April 24 [ register now ] Ft. Lauderdale - May 6 [ register now ] Tampa - June 9 [ register now ]
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    Blog: WHS: Don't you just love it when stuff just works as advertised?

    We’ve got your typical geek household: two Media Centers, a server which acts as a DC-file share-virtual machine host, another older tower used as the home PC, a laptop or two and my wife’s work laptop. She’s got an iPod, I’ve got my Zune. I’ve been paranoid about losing my data as I’ve had it happen twice over the last ten years. Even more so, since we ripped all our CD’s to MP3’s, buy most of our music online and more importantly, all the pictures and videos of our son… all that stuff lives on two machines for fault tolerance.
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    Blog: I did something crazy a little over a month ago... and I love it!

    People that know me know that this is one hell of a crazy move on my part. So what was it? I semi-retired my Dell D820 in favor of a brand new Apple MacBook Pro (MBP) in early December. Now, before you think this is some super radical move, know that I’m running Vista 99% of the time. Still tinkering around in Leopard but need to learn more… hello Mac101 .
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    Blog: Antec P182 silent case... it's dang quiet!

    For a while I’ve been wanting to make the server in my office go quiet. This server is my workhorse for my home office and it’s critical it’s always on. Not only is it the DC for my home domain, but it also coordinates all backups and runs VMWare Server for hosting a few development and production virtual machines. The box doesn’t have a lot of noise generating components… no video card (just using the onboard video) and a few 3.
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    Blog: I wasn't the only one having DHCP issues on Vista, so here's my PSA...

    No, not THAT PSA test sicko… a PSA… as in public service announcement. I was having issues with my Vista laptop (Dell Latitude D820), specifically, it couldn’t get IPs from DHCP servers. When I originally got the D820, it had WinXP Pro on it (Vista was still beta… is it still “beta”? :) sure feels like it at times) and I had no networking issues. Then I paved the primary partition and installed Vista Ultimate… so far, so good (WRT networking).
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    Blog: Microsoft and TestDriven.NET.... I don't get it

    Many others have already voiced their opinions on the matter like Bil , Phil , Frans , and MSFT’s own Dan Fernandez among others on the soap opera known as Microsoft vs. TestDriven.Net / Jamie Cansdale . If you aren’t aware of what’s going on, here’s the skinny: Jamie released a version of TestDriven.Net as an open source project that works with the Visual Studio 2005 Express SKU’s. However, the VS Express EULA states that it can’t load any add ins (paraphrasing here).
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    Blog: A few new releases for some of my favorite apps

    Windows Live Writer (Beta 2) is now available. The user interface is now more Vista-ish… a nice addition. But no ribbon? Sheesh… anyway, love this tiny little app to author posts for my blog (like this one!). By the way, why in the hell are betas getting so long and drawn out? Microsoft & Google are likely doing this to (1) get products in people’s hands faster and to (2) avoid any legal implications… “oh, it’s still a beta version so bugs are expected.
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    Blog: Microsoft's virtualization products vs. VMWare's offerings

    So here’s my latest dilemma. I live in SharePoint therefore I live in a virtual environment. I’ve been using Microsoft’s virtualization products (VirtualPC & Virtual Server) for a few years now, but over time I’ve seen people swear over VMWare’s products compared to Microsoft’s. Recently VMWare released Workstation 6 and plenty of folks are raving about its features including things like USB 2 support, multi monitors, advanced networking support, snapshots and support for 64 bit systems.
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    Blog: My Vista beef...

    So many folk have come out against Vista… but this won’t be another one of those posts. I love my Vista… love it like crazy. Still got a few things I have to iron out, but for the most part I’m very happy. However, there is one thing that’s driving me insane, one that’s annoying, and another that might be a REALLY big problem. Vista Annoyance - Fails to get IP from some DHCP Servers Which ones?
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    Blog: TechEd 2007 BoF Accepted: Prescriptive Guidance for Developers Building Publishing Sites in MOSS 2007

    As if one preconference session, two breakout sessions and a chalk talk weren’t enough, I had to submit a Birds Of a Feather session too! Thankfully I got word this week that it was accepted! What’s a BoF? Defined by the TechEd site : Meet people with similar interests and challenges in an open-forum environment that promotes discussion and interaction. Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions are organized and facilitated by two Microsoft community organizations- INETA , the developer user group; and Culminis , the IT pro user group.
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    Blog: Vista folk, beware of McAfee VirusScan and Security Center

    I’ve been using McAfee Security Center / VirusScan for a few years now and have been fairly pleased with it. It wouldn’t allow me to do certain things, specifically like exclude certain file types which is very important when living in virtual machines (so, I’ve been shutting A/V scanning off while in a VM). But lately I’ve been having a lot of issues after a recent McAfee update to their Security Center / VirusScan v11.
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    Blog: Oh Vista you're so fine, you really make me blow my mind... hey Vista!

    There’s a fair share of negative Vista posts out there on the blogosphere, such as Mark Miller’s “ Vista, I’m so Pista ” (dude cracks me up… it’s not a negative Vista post, just a rant on MaxVista). However, first a disclaimer, I have to post my positive experience. First, I’m not using Vista as a development platform. Yes, I do have VS 2005 & SQL 2005 installed, but I rarely fire them up.
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    Blog: Windows Live Mobile Search ROCKS!

    I noticed this the other day on a few blogs, including the Live Search blog . This may be cooler than sliced bread! Now with your Windows Mobile device , after downloading & installing Live search for mobile, I can easily get directions from point A->B (by either entering an address, or by picking an address from my contact list), see a map of my area… a LIVE map, looks identical to the one you have on Local Live .
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    Blog: My Vista Experience So Far...

    First off, before I installed Windows Vista Ultimate x86 (RTM) for the first time last week, I had zero hands-on experience with it. Sure, I downloaded and burned the ISO’s of the beta, interim, and beta bits, but I never installed it. I hadn’t even seen a single presentation on Vista, or anyone using Vista during a presentation of something else. Frankly, I had enough on my plate to really spend any time really watching it aside from a few keynotes at TechEd or PDC…
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    Blog: Finally got VPN setup with the help of June and VPNCaseStudy

    Two months ago I expressed my public frustration with Linksys after I went through two of their BESFX41 routers and a terrible experience with their customer support. A few weeks back I finally got everything setup and configured with a Netgear device and a little help from June @ VPNCaseStudy.com . Because I think good customer service should be applauded (and poor service should be condemned), I wanted to post this testimonial but work got in the way.
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    Blog: Two big acquisitions: Feedburner buys

    Two acquisitions came across my aggregator in the last two days that I didn’t notice until this afternoon… both are quite substantial! FeedBurner acquires Blogbeat FeedBurner , the company who’s service I use to syndicate my RSS feed, purchased Blogbeat, a service that analyzes syndicated content feeds (RSS/ATOM), an effort to add additional statistics for publishers to view how their content is being consumed. Why did they do it? Put quite simply on the acquisition FAQ:
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    Blog: Changes to my virtualization/dev tools Tampa Code Camp talk this weekend...

    As I previously posted , I’m presenting two sessions at the Tampa Code Camp this weekend… one on WCM (mostly one long demo) and one called “ Don’t be a Tool, Be a Better Developer Through Tools & Virtualization! ” The virtualization/dev tools talk is a semi-repeat of a talk I did last night at the Jacksonville User Group which ran long and eventually got cut short as I mentioned in the recap post earlier today .
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    Blog: RECAP: JAXDUG July 12 Talk on Virtualization and Developer Tools

    First, thank you to everyone who attended my talk at the JAXDUG meeting last night . I was quite surprised at the turnout with a last minute change in venue (what’s up with that Merrill Lynch security? Damn.. that’s some tight stuff!). Second, I’d like to apologize for not getting to spend as much time on the development tools like I had planned. I noticed the virtualization part of the talk was longer than expected, but I decided to wrap up the virtualization best practices piece and then we’d just run late and those not interested in dev tools could leave.
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    Blog: UPDATE: JAXDUG July 12, 2006 Meeting - Change of Meeting Location

    Right after I post an update about my talk tomorrow night I got word that the location has changed due to a facility issue at our current meeting location. The new location is at Merrill Lynch in the Southpoint area. I’ve included the address & details below… as well as map link: JAXDUG July Monthly Meeting - July 12, 2006 Topic: Don’t be a Tool, Be a Better Developer Through Tools & Virtualization!
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    Blog: HOWTO: Squeeze Every Last Drop of Performance Out of Your Virtual PCs

    In my last article on virtualization with Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2004 SP1, I covered how you can use Differencing Disks to your advantage . However, in retrospect, this article was posted a bit out of order. The article below should have been posted first. Before you start building out your Virtual PC’s, you should first be aware of how to squeeze out every last drop of performance. After all you’re running a machine within a machine, so it’s going to be a bit slower than the host, and thus, why not make it as fast as possible!
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    Blog: HOWTO: Squeeze Every Last Drop of Performance Out of Your Virtual PCs

    In my last article, I documented how you can use Virtual PC’s differencing disks to your advantage , not only to safe space, but administrative tasks. That article briefly touched on the subject of performance (see section: “Extra tips on using VPCs”). Only a few items were mentioned in that post, but in reality, there’s so much more you can do to make your VPC’s run as fast as possible on your machine.
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    Blog: Sony PSP Rocks!

    Twas two days before Christmas and I was hoping for a PSP under my tree , and after a good trick by my wonderful wife, I’m now the proud owner of a Sony PSP ! Until I had one in my hands Christmas morning, I was going off everyone else’s reactions. The quality of the graphics and the entire system (built-in WiFi, built-in speakers are actually not that bad, and the feel of the unit rocks!
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    Blog: HOWTO: Use Virtual PCs Differencing Disks to your Advantage

    Ever since Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2004 (VPC) was released, I’ve been using it for development tasks… specifically SharePoint related projects since it requires Windows 2003 and all my desktops have WinXP Pro installed. I also used a VPC for all my work my recent book (running MCMS and SharePoint require some specific configurations). If you’ve used it and you’re a SharePoint developer, or someone who works with server software quite a bit, you probably share my experiences and opinions related to management and installations.
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    Blog: Use VirtualPC's differencing disks to your advantage

    Recently I’ve had a few discussions with some coworkers about some optimization & management tips/tricks/techniques in using Virtual PC 2004. After explaining what I do a few times, I thought “document this for future reference and for others to learn from it.” I’ve documented in a new article my process & strategy for using Virtual PC and how I optimize and manage my disks to (1) maximize my disk space and (2) facilitate rapid creation of new Virtual PC ’s when needed for testing/kicking the tires.
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    Blog: Don't mess with ICANN... at least don't let the U.N. get involved

    This week the first ever meeting hosted by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union in Tunisia. “One of the goals of the summit is to advance the ‘internationalization’ of what is known as ‘Internet governance’.”1 It is expected at this meeting that there will be pressure on the U.S. delegation from other member countries (such as China, Iran, Libya, the E.U., and others to name a few) and their stance to maintain control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non profit based in the U.
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    Blog: I'd like to be your president (of your user group if you're in NE Florida)

    Next week on Tuesday, October 4 from 6–8p , the Jacksonville Developer User Group ( JAXDUG ) will hold elections for a new group of leaders of the user group. We are holding elections for the roles of President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. The current President of the JAXDUG , David Strommer , recently announced his intention to step down from his responsibility to spend more time with his family (not to mention the recent birth of his 2nd child), career, and other interested including returning to school.
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    Blog: The "O12 UI Julie" Channel9 video

    No, it’s not officially known as the “O12 UI Julie” video, but that’s how I’m referring it to a bunch of people. Julie-Larson Green talks to Microsoft’s Robert Scoble about the new UI in O12. She is responsible for the overall direction of the new UI in O12. While the big draw to this video will no doubt be the op for everyone to see the new O12 client apps in action (after about 8m of discussion), what I find most interesting is the explination about the “HOW” & “WHY” part of the new Office UI.
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    Blog: Microsoft Showcases New User Interface for Office "12" Core Applications

    Some slick screenshots of the Office 12 UI in the core apps… the Access one towards the end is very cool… QUITE a step forward. There are a few other screenshots here . The new UI – the most dramatic change to the way Office applications work since introduction of the toolbar in 1997 – will help users become more proficient with Office and produce better-looking documents faster. » MSFT PressPass: Q&A: Microsoft Showcases New User Interface for Office “12” Core Applications
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    Blog: MSFT PDC 2005 - It all starts today

    Today is the first real day of the Microsoft Professional Developer’s Conference in Los Angeles, CA. Now I know what it was like for those who weren’t at TechEd… living virtually through the bloggers and the news that trickes out of the event. With over 1,000 bloggers at this year’s PDC, I’m sure we’ll hear all the news as it breaks! I’m bummed (I’m not there), I’m stoked, and I’m totally distracted!
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    Blog: HOWTO: Create a Slipstreamed Bootable Windows XP Install CD with F6-less Windows Install

    Forward In my blog post, I explain my specific situation: I needed a Windows XP Media Center Edition bootable install CD that contained drivers for SATA drives because I didn’t have a floppy on my new machine. This article explains the steps I too to create the bootable CD that installed Windows XP Media Center onto my SATA drives but the same steps can be used for any Windows based install.
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    Blog: Tangent: hardware manufacturers stink at documentation

    In putting together my Media Center last night , I encountered something I seen to hit every single time I am installing new hardware: the manuals/drawings/instructions almost always SUCK! I’m a developer… and I know enough about hardware to get by. When I started looking at parts for my Media Center, the term “PCI Express” was brand new to me… so was “SATA”. No problem there, we can all do a bit of research and find out why it’s so much better.
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    Blog: Interesting recent Microsoft related news

    Some random notes of recent Microsoft news: While modest, FireFox’s share slipped from 8.71% to 8.07% while IE’s share increased from 86.56% to 87.2% in the last month. Granted, it’s just one source, but it’s the first shift since FireFox v1 was released (it had previously gained ground). » Microsoft - Technology Updates: Firefox slips while IE gains Recently there’s been a push by some developers for Microsoft to delay the release of VS .
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    Blog: Now using Subversion for personal projects

    I’ve been using VSS ever since my foray into development. However it’s limitations are well known… specifically the biggest one for me is not being able to use it over HTTP. I keep utility apps, reference documents, SDK’s, and some code (ok, lots) in my personal source control. Last year I jumped off VSS and started using SourceGear’s Vault , which is free for a single user license. I still like it… much more than VSS.
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    Blog: del.icio.us direc.tor - GUI Delicious browser... built with AJAX

    Cool stuff: del.icio.us direc.tor: Delivering A High-Performance AJAX Web Service Broker
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    Blog: Now THAT was a vacation!

    If you’ve emailed me or posted comments in the last two weeks… this is why I haven’t replied. I’ll do my best to catch up. Two weeks ago, on June 17th, I stated I was off onto a two week vacation. The plan was to hit my wife’s family reunion at High Hampton, North Carolina at a little resort… well the High Hampton Inn & Country Club , for 3.5 days (Saturday – Tuesday), where we ate, visited with family, and played some golf.
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    Blog: Blogging my way to the PDC...

    I’ve already blown my travel/training budget on TechEd USA , so I’m going for the long shot to PDC. I’m big into MCMS 2002 and SPS and I’m dying to see the futures of both products, which seem to be slated for more press at PDC 2005! Please… pick me!!! At TechEd 2005 in Orlando, FL , I was one of the first to post Arpan’s news (Senior Product Manager : Portals with Microsoft) to both my MoBlog as well as on my blog.
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    Blog: TechEd USA 2005 :: Day 6

    ::sniff:: The last day of my first ever TechEd. It’s been a hell of a week and well worth it. I plan to post a nice little wrap up of general TechEd stuff hopefully this weekend. If PDC is more hard core than TechEd, I’m dying to go. For now, I’ll likely just have to wait until next year. The day started off by hitting CLI335 - InfoPath: Developing Forms Using Managed Code in an effort to use TechEd and some web casts as my InfoPath crash course.
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    Blog: IE tabbed browsing goodness

    Not just for FireFox anymore, get the latest MSN Toolbar (with desktop search which is just a flat out killer addition for Outlook as well) and get some tabbed browsing love. Just your local bloggin AC sharing the tabbed browsing love!!! » MSN Toolbar… with tabbed browsing!!!
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    Blog: TechEd USA 2005 :: Day 5

    Thursday was yet again a session heavy day. The end of the day brough the party at Universal Studios which included free rides, drinks (including beer & wine), and food (they even bought out a few buffets to scatter trough the park. The best part of all though had to be the lack of any lines… THE only way to hit a park in Orlando! The day started out with Rob Howard’s WEB325 - ASP.
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    Blog: TechED USA 2005 :: Day 4

    Day 4 involved mostly sessions… not a lot of interaction at cabanas and such. Scott Guthrie’s sessions (WEB323 - ASP.NET 2.0: Overview of ASP.NET 2.0 (Part 1) & WEB324 - ASP.NET 2.0: Overview of ASP.NET 2.0 (Part 2)) included just a flat out killer rundown on the best of the breed in ASP.NET 2.0. He covered everything under the moon.. from themes, master pages, all the new intellisense things, some accessibility enhancements, the provider model, and some nice navigation as well as login features features.
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    Blog: TechEd USA 2005 :: Day 3

    Yet again, more non-breaking news form your TechEd 2005 blogger AC. Wireless connection is useless for me… part because of all the RF interference from the mass power running through this place, but also because I think I’m having issues. That’s ok though… nice being disconnected at times. The day started off with a keynote that featured Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, and BizTalk 2006. The big news was that they are now all scheduled to go RTM the week of November 7, 2005.
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    Blog: New Office default format is XML

    Scoble with the tease all day yesterday… and it was announced last night at 12.01a EST. The default file format for Office 12 will be XML. The current binary format will also be kept. What does this mean? Lots of cool stuff… XML is more extensible than bindary, it’s more open, and is bidirectional compatible. Wes has two good posts about the benefits that I won’t repeat… but I agree with everything he’s saying… so I guess I can say “read Wes”
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    Blog: IIsAdmin.NET: Create Multiple Web Sites Under Windows XP

    Oh yes, this is already coming in quite handy… great job Mark!!! What’s that? You want to manage multiple web sites in IIS on Windows XP Pro? Ah, yeah, that’s going to be a problem… That is unless you are using Gabe and I’s nifty little port of IIsAdmin that will allow you a quick means to do so!…( read more ) » IIsAdmin.NET: Create Multiple Web Sites Under Windows XP ( blog | article )
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    Blog: The JAXDUG president is blogging!

    My last blog introduction of an associate ( Heather’s Blog ) went so well, seeing her showing up on many SharePoint & MCMS 2002 blogger’s blogrolls, I want to take a second to introduce another noteable. David Strommer , president of the Jacksonville Developers User Group (JAXDUG), has started blogging. The chats I’ve had with David are not just skimming the surface, lot more substance to our convos. He does a great job managing the JAXDUG, and he’s also running the Jacksonville Code Camp in August (which I’ll be giving two MCMS talks about).
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    Blog: Erich Gamma on Flexibility and Reuse

    A few days ago, Darrell turned me onto the first of a three part series involving a conversation with Erich Gamma of GoF and Design Patters fame. The second part of the series is up and it’s a great read. Erich talks about frameworks, speculative design (a HUGE pitfal for those who ~think~ they are creating a brilliant design… we’ve all worked with them), and code reuse. I say it again, a great read.
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    Blog: Open Source Web Design

    I’m sure my design co-workers and friends will gag at this, but I thought it was pretty cool that open source development has made it all the way to the design world! » Open Source Web Design
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    Blog: Tracking eye movements across a computer screen

    This is pretty slick. The Tobii 1750 Eyetracker logs the activity of your eyes as you read/look at a computer screen. It could be used to improve useability as users interact with web sites and your software. In the images below, the left one shows blue dots and lines where the eyes stopped and jumped to. Bigger dots imply more time in one spot. The image on the right is more of a thermal scan-like effect.