Enhanced feature request about icon sets in Visual Studio 2005#

I've seen on Tom Mertens' blog that Robert McLaws is asking to support the number 2 feature suggestion for Visual Studio 2005: an updated icon set that ships with it. I heartily agree. What's more: I'll top the suggestion and expand it a little.

We don't need just an updated icon set to ship with Visual Studio. If Windows Forms 2.0 is the final stage in Windows Forms development and Microsoft wants people to ship products with a compelling "User Experience" on the road to Longhorn, then they better start providing the community with the proper tools to do so. Icons are in important part of the user experience (platform-wide consistency is an important design principle), so the most important step here is indeed to make the common user interface elements obiquitously available.

In my mind, that's not just shipping the icon files with the development environment. It's also publishing those icons on a searchable resource-like website where you can just download the icon you need without having to search the entire web and skim out the ridiculously outdated or overly charging icon-library websites. Microsoft must already have some central library of these icons to be shared by the product teams so why not share it with the world?

The next step is to go all .NET'y and package a large number of common icons in strongly signed .NET resource assemblies (dll's). These could be distributed with the runtime and placed in the Global Assembly Cache (GAC) so they're readily available to all your .NET programs. That gives you the advantage of being able to update all your icons to the latest (fanciest) version with just a configuration change and it follows the same idea as reusable dll's in the first place: why embed all those common elements in each and every program when you can share one version between multiple programs?

Anyway, an update to the icon set would be a requirement in my mind. The rest would be a nice-to-have. But I really don't want to start searching the web for a decent looking Save button ever again.

Blog | Programming | .NET | VS.NET | Whidbey | WinForms | Windows | Longhorn
Monday, September 27, 2004 2:26:11 AM (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00) #    Comments [0]  | 


Disagreeing with Scoble. I guess I'm not a blog ho'...#

I'm a little late to the game (as always), but I don't agree with Robert Scoble that you "need" more than two posts a month if you want visitors to come back. While this would likely be true in normal web-scenarios (you really don't want to check a site a few times a week to find that there's still nothing new), I totally disagree when syndication comes into play: the whole point is to get notified if there is something new. If I know the content will be good (which is the ultimate blogging premise Scoble also points out in a more recent entry), I really don't care if that person didn't post anything the last 3 months. Hell, I've even subscribed to people who've hardly posted anything just because I'd be interested to hear what they had to say if they finally did ;-) If they start posting bad content though, I'll unsubscribe. Simple as that.

That's the power of the reader, and it truly matches the power of the good old remote control. If people don't like your shows, they'll zap off onto another channel, your ratings will go down, your advertising will go down, and eventually you'll be spending your hard earned bucks on a show you're only watching yourself - the ultimate narcist declaration of self-love and probably the reason you started your blog in the first place ;-)

Furthermore, Scoble failed to mention the other extreme: posting too much will turn people off as well. I'm actually not as interested in his blog anymore as before, and it mainly has to do with his linkblog. While it's a real good idea and I'm sure the content over there is good, I simply don't have the time to follow up on his link dumps there because of content overflow. And since most of his traffic gets redirected into his link blog, his main content is going down - which is a bad thing.

I also tend to steer clear from "linking out". Sure I read a lot, and I come across interesting stuff on the web. Take the Channel 9 video of C-Omega for example (wicked cool language, I really want to give it a go), or Jonathan de Halleux' Introduction to Autonomous Agents for .NET (whow, I want to start modelling traffic jams now), or Roy Dictus' excellent post on Namespace Hierarchies (I'm with you on those guidelines brother), or Sven Cipido's post on the Data Access Application Block (it's great to see you sharing your knowledge as you learn). Really good stuff, truly, but nothing I have an explicit opinion about which adds to any discussion.

I wish I had the time to try it all and chime in to the discussion, but I simply don't - so why bother you with it? I fear the echo chamber and the implicit viral link permeation it brings. I want my readers (both of them) to come back because of what I have to say, not because of how well I can read and advertise other people's thoughts. So unless I can add my personal opinion about something, I won't simply provide you with a link to something I found interesting. While I agree that linking out can be a great way to discover new bloggers through "trusted sources", I made a clear choice not to follow along with the trend because of this.

So am I a blog ho'? I guess not. But I still hope you'll stay subscribed...

Monday, September 27, 2004 1:16:15 AM (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00) #    Comments [9]  | 


Update to my dasBlog hack for showing public referrers and search engine queries#

A while ago, I hacked dasBlog so I could browse my public referrers. Afterwards, I moved the google and feedster queries to a separate list so they don't clutter the 'real' referrers. Now, I made the code more generic so I could easily add some more search engines like Altavista, Yahoo! Search and MSN Search. So I figured I'd post the code here since I like to think it's pretty cool to have :-) So if you're running dasBlog, just copy the files in the zipfile into your root blog folder and enjoy your new PublicReferrers page!

PublicReferrersAndSearchQueries.zip (5,98 KB)
Blog | General | Programming | .NET | ASP.NET
Monday, September 27, 2004 12:10:20 AM (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00) #    Comments [3]  | 


Electronic Drumkit#

Woohoo, I have a new electronic toy :-)

I'm sure you guessed it, so yes that's a Yamaha DTXPRESS electronic drum (djembé not included). It's an older model but it's second hand so that reduced the cost by quite a bunch. For a pretty impressive demo of the latest model, check out the demo movie of the DTXPRESS III Special. Just don't ask me to do any of the wicked stuff he shows you. I'm already happy if I can occasionally get all four limbs working synchronously.

Drumming has been on my TODO list for a loooong time but I never got around to it since the noise isn't very 'social' in a city appartment block. Then I came across an electronic kit and although it doesn't feel or sound the same as an acoustic drum, it's pretty sweet and has lots of capabilities so I figured it was time to buy me a treat.

While you might expect that I bought an electronic kit because it can be played with a headphone (and as such saves you the embarrassment of bypassers laughing at you and occasionally kicking you for poor drumming), I fully intend to buy a dozen 1000 Watt speakers to scare the living hell out of my neighbours on Sunday mornings. My 15-year old guitar amp just doesn't have the power I want to get my sweet revenge for them waking me up on weekend mornings at 8AM with pounding hammers.

All tips for starting drummers welcome by the way :-)

Blog | General | Music
Monday, September 13, 2004 7:18:00 PM (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00) #    Comments [1]  | 


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