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Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Silverlight Video Revolution Continues

by Don Burnett

Over at James Clarke's weblog he points out yet another great Silverlight Video site. This one is for the Pro France Surfing Competition. I would just point this out to you as yet another example of a successful website, with a perfect combination of marketing, branding and all sorts of site design goodness (with a European flare)..

Quicksilver's very high definition front page in Silverlight has supplanted the Flash content in their inner store for coolness. Their coverage of the Pro France Surfing tour is also in Silverlight.. If you like the video on the site, notice the other great user interfacing design on the page. Including the "blogging" option, the gallery.. It really shows off Silverlight's flexibility and good examples of how you can bring together great marketing elements, such as branding, identity and personalization. The user can't help but make an emotional connection, even if you are landlocked and not a surfer.


Wild Week of Cool Stuff

by Don Burnett

Well it's been a great last week for me. Follow me for a moment..

Monday: Halo 3 Launch Event

Thursday: Microsoft Across America MSDN Event- William J. Steele was in town to give a great presentation on LINQ, WCF, and Silverlight.. I hadn't really thought a lot about LINQ, but after Mr. Steele's demonstration I realized it's importance. It's data mapping and connectivity capabilities are very impressive. It virtually lets you represent data as objects from just about any source out there (LINQ to SQL, LINQ to Objects, LINQ to File System, and LINQ to Flickr). It makes queries and business logic a lot easier to abstract your data to a much higher level, and the days of talking to a data reader. No more talking to a data reader. There was also a great talk on the history of messaging on the platform and how WCF solves a legacy of issues with messaging. It was a fantastic few hours of information.

Friday: UX@UM was an unparalleled success. We opened a dialog about user experience design among the development and design communities at University of Michigan. We are working to get all of the content from the presentations (including streaming video). There was much interest in standards based web development and extending that functionality with the Silverlight plug-in.

Silverlight Deployment?

David Tesar has released a great deployment guide if you are adding Silverlight to your corporate environment. It's a MUST DOWNLOAD and will give all that you need to know to deploy safely in a corporate or academic setting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Halo Launch and a Rocking Vidcast

by Don Burnett

Well, you had to be living under some rock in Pakistan today if you didn't hear about the Microsoft Halo 3 video game launch. It made morning and evening news on CNN international and even scooped the UAW/GM strike.

Halo 3 is probably THE most anticipated game ever for the X-Box 360 (and no doubt later on the PC). I escaped to Microsoft's regional offices this evening for a sneak preview party of Halo 3. Let me tell you it was the most fun I probably ever had at a Microsoft event. Watching the people come in and participate in the Halo 3 Tournament was awesome, there was great food and game developers all about to ask questions of and give Halo 3 the biggest video game launch ever. The launch event took place  in over 60 locations they had similar events around the world.  Video game launches will never be the same after this one.  Besides the stunning cinematic visuals, it is a tour-de-force in gaming fun. I tried it and got killed instantly, but there were some amazing people and kids in the audience. The winner of our tournament gets to play against opponents from other regions coming up for national Halo 3 pride..

One of the reasons I am writing about this, in this blog, is that Microsoft (for one of the first times ever in a national launch) placed a lot of the content online using Silverlight to give Halo 3 a very high quality video experience that felt like an interactive movie. In fact Microsoft's Halo 3 Game Guide is completely done in Silverlight. It really puts the technology through it's paces. I will have an in-depth article up soon about the process of creating such a site. The site is very cool as well because it mixes ASP.NET with Silverlight, this time using ASP.NET as it's back-end server technology. Microsoft could have used any number of web servers (including Apache) and even PHP, but Microsoft now has two new GREAT extensions for Silverlight that make development of this caliber of site easier with ASP.NET...  While you can use Silverlight anywhere this really shows the power of combining Microsoft technologies.

It was obvious, on the way home from the event,  by the number of people waiting to buy Halo 3 at the local game emporium way after dark, that Microsoft already had a hit game on their hands. This time they reached out with Silverlight to help to tell the players the story of the new game. What this meant also is a vast number of people who accessed the online Silverlight content also helped to speed the adoption of Silverlight as well. I don't think we'll hear numbers right away, but everything that I have read and seen and from people's reaction to the Silverlight content adoption may be happening at a more rapid rate than anyone thought. We'll know for sure soon enough.


CodeToLive Rocks!

The other thing that got mentioned today was CodeToLive.NET which is an incredible video series coming to channel 9 with host and code masters Steve Loethen and Josh Holmes. This is probably the wildest, most fun, video webcast ever to hit Channel 9.  It's also a new series.. If you haven't checked it out you should.. They are crisscrossing the nation on bikes seeking out code warriors where they live.



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Latest Cool Silverlight Prototype Site

by Don Burnett

over at the blog of Jose Fajardo, a.k.a. "LiquidBoy" he has been working on a prototype that has made it onto Codeplex. It's a clone of Apple's iTunes UI, this is pretty sweet all-in-all and it runs cross-platform using Silverlight.

Here it is running in a browser complete with the "cover flow" clone..














If you are curious about how to do an application like this the author has also put the source code up on codeplex. You should check out this guy's blog, he has many other projects including an "Apple style" video player that fits with apple "styled" website's .. He has lots of walk through's and  Silverlight goodness on his site.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Why I probably will never buy an HP printing device again..

by Don Burnett

I like HP as a company, even though every time I try to talk to their tech support I get more and more disgusted because I am speaking to someone in tech support because there is a language barrier.

I bought an All-in-One C7280 photo smart printer scanner fax today. I have had all-in-ones from them before that worked great, so I was expecting no less from this one..


My experience:

Assembly, great instructions easy assembly

Printer intializes with the starter ink cartridges

then I get the error message "Error: incorrect ink cartridges" immediately after installing the starter cartridges... I talk to HP online support they tell me go buy some new cartridges.

Okay the store isn't open to go buy new cartridges, why don't I just finish installing the drivers and try out the scanner..

The printer won't let me get to it, until I have fresh working ink cartridges installed. How bad is this? It's a multifunction device and it won't let me use the other functions of the device and bypass the error message.

Seems to me this is a serious design flaw in HP's system and design.

Making the situation worse I found out that the new cartridges might not work due to a protection chip they put on the ink cartridge to "freshness date" and subvert cartridge refills. It's true that more HP printers are ruined by incorrectly refilled print cartridges.

So if you want a multi-function device, that only works if you have printer ink, then this device is for you..  This is a serious design flaw..

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

More Silverlight Goodness with HTML in XAML

by Don Burnett


Over at Delay's MSDN Blog is a great example on how to display rich text and HTML using a plug-compatible replacement for the XAML TextBlock element. It supports the following HTML tags..

HtmlTextBlock supports the following HTML elements: <A>, <B>, <BR>, <EM>, <I>, <P>, <STRONG>, and <U>. You can download the source here.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Expression Blend 2.0 September Preview

by Don Burnett

The Expression Blend 2.0 preview is out! A lot of of new features have been added including one very special one I have been waiting for as an animator. To celebrate Microsoft has added a new page to the Expression Studio Website just to showcase the new features of Expression Blend 2.0.

Here's a run down of the new features:


  • Vertex Animation
  • Improved Animation property editing
  • A graphical editor for animation interpolation


  • The Breadcrumb Bar- Improved navigation into template and style hierarchies.
  • Quick switching in and out of templates without having to follow the entire hierarchy, even across multiple documents.
  • Drag-to-Duplicate
  • Enhanced transform support for multiple selections


  • XAML Split-View (See XAML graphics and edit them too! at the same time no more switching from design view to XAML view)
  • Font Embedding and Subset Creation for WPF project (Windows Platform Applications)
  • Drag & Drop (says it all!)



  • User Control Creation
  • Draw Controls on the Artboard and turn them into user controls


Sunday, September 16, 2007

UX@UM Michigan Expression Day 2007 Sold Out!

by Don Burnett

User Experience based design and development is a hot topic today. It's on the words of business and advertising but it's also in a few unexpected places, including Academia.. I have been working with local and regional User Experience Evangelists from Microsoft and with University of Michigan folks to bring a special day of user experience exploration and training to University of Michigan. I am pleased to tell you that the event is SOLD OUT.. If this event interests you and you can't make it to this event or you are a U-M person who wants to attend never fear. We have a wait list and we are planning on working with the University to make another event like this available soon If you are a U-M person click here to get on the waitlist. If you are not a U-M person and want to attend a local event like this send me an email, and we'll get you on the waitlist for a similar (but non-academic) event.

Event Information


Friday, September 28
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

UM Duderstadt Center
3336 AC/BD

Devote a day to take your user experience knowledge to the next level. We've brought together top user experience evangelists--whose applications are used by people around the world--to present a special UM-only program on best practices for creating standards-based sites and demonstrations on how you can leverage rich media and interactivity with Microsoft Expression Studio.


Chris Bernard is a user experience evangelist for Microsoft. He works in software design, development and business domains to communicate Microsoft's position on the importance of user experience in software design. Prior to his work at Microsoft, he was creative director at a large technology-focused professional services company. Chris brings over 14 years of expertise in design, consulting, strategy, business frameworks, design research, analysis, synthesis, planning and implementation. His mission as a design professional is applying principles of contextual research, cultural, human, physical and social factors to the products, services and systems that he develops. Chris has an M.S. in Marketing Communications from the Stuart Graduate School of Business and a M.D.M (Master of Design Methods) from the Institute of Design. Both schools are affiliated with the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Eric Burke is a software engineer who was on the team responsible for Yahoo! soon to be released Yahoo! Messenger for Windows Vista, done all with Microsoft WPF technologies. Eric has had much experience with developing applications that have enhanced user experiences. He will be discussing the design process with Chris Bernard.

Josh Holmes is an Architect Evangelist with Microsoft. Prior to joining Microsoft, Josh was a consultant working with a variety of clients ranging from large Fortune 500 firms to smaller sized companies. Josh is a frequent speaker and lead panelist at national and international software development conferences focusing on emerging technologies, software design and development with an emphasis on mobility and RIA (Rich Internet Applications). Community focused, Josh has founded and/or run many technology organizations from the Great Lakes Area .NET Users Group to the Ann Arbor Computer Society and was on the forming committee for CodeMash.

Ken Arbogast-Wilson is founder and creative director of WTW Design Group, a southeast Michigan firm focused on design, marketing and advertising. Ken has a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Michigan State University. He has been creating singular designs for more than thirteen years. Ken has expertise in concepting, design, drawing, copywriting, editing, marketing planning, communication consulting, and anything involved with new technology. In addition to running WTW Design Group, Ken manages media development and production for the University of Michigan College of Architecture + Urban Planning. Prior to that, Ken worked for a variety of companies including M-CARE (UM's managed care provider), Cellular One, and Marshall Field & Company, Chicago.

Don Burnett is a technology evangelist, project manager, interactive designer, and nationally recognized technology blogger specializing in rich media application development for web and desktop. Don's past work for creating, designing, and deploying multimedia applications and products include Disney Interactive, SegaSoft, Universal Interactive, and MediaOne.


8:30 am-9:15 am
Check-in and refreshments
9:15 am-9:30 am
Ken Arbogast-Wilson
Keynote Session
9:30-10:30 am
The Importance of User Experience Design

Chris Bernard

10:30-11:30 am

Introduction of Expression Studio, WPF and Web Demos

Chris Bernard, Josh Holmes, Don Burnett

11:30 am-1:00 pm

Lunch on your own

How-to Sessions

Option 1
1:00-2:00 pm
Designing Windows Experiences
Don Burnett
Option 2
1:00-2:00 pm
Designing Rich Web Experiences
Josh Holmes
Panel Discussion Sessions

Option 1
2:00-3:00 pm
The Value of User Experience Design in Education
Chris Bernard
Option 2
2:00-3:00 pm
Integrating Expression with Your Tools Arsenal

Don Burnett

3:00 pm-3:15 pm


Capstone Session

3:15 pm-5:00 pm

Design Process for Yahoo Messenger with Expression Designer Tools

Chris Bernard and Eric Burke
Closing remarks
Chris Bernard and Josh Holmes

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hey Mr DJ, put a record on.. It's ReMix Boston

By Don Burnett


If you read this blog and you didn't make it to Vegas, well not everything in Vegas stays in Vegas..



Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pre-Max Chicago Silverlight Dream Camp

by Don Burnett..

Chicago: not just for Adobe (Come early for Max, and be WOWED! and it's FREE!)

If you are just blown away with all the Adobe "goodness", and you want to come home to Silverlight, you can always attend Silverlight DevCamp Chicago, a couple of days before Adobe MAX.. FOR FREE... (yep you got that right, for FREE!)

Silverlight DevCamp Chicago

September 28-29, 2007 (Friday night until Saturday afternoon) event on Upcoming

Friday (09/28): 7pm-10pm / Saturday (09/29): 11am-5pm / Possible Happy Hour afterwards - Location TBD

Clarity Consulting 1 N Franlkin St Suite 3400 Chicago, IL 60606
If you are planning to attend in-person, please visit the SilverlightDevCampChicago Attendees page and add your name and contact info.

SilverlightDevCampChicago is an upcoming gathering, inspired by BarCamp, to build Silverlight applications, It's organized by volunteers & Silverlight enthusiasts, with attendance free to all. It's the same weekend as Adobe MAX, but Adobe MAX costs $1,495. This is free to attend. Plus you can help plan it or lead sessions with a simple edit of the event wiki page.

While similar to iPhoneDevCamp this event is focused on a singular technology, we'd like offer some diverse sessions like using PHP to generate Silverlight content, IronRuby/IronPython & the DLR or Moonlight on Linux.

Attendees will include web designers, developers, testers, all working together over the weekend to build Silverlight applications, share experiences, ask questions, and push the limits of web application design. If you're interested in Silverlight, but haven't had time to learn, this is your chance to get up to speed. Plus you'll be able network with other developers in the Chicago area who are interested in Silverlight.

In the barcamp spirit, this is a community event driven by developers around the area. If you have ideas for topics or you want to show off some Silverlight applications you've built, please add it to SilverlightDevCampChicagoSessions

Session Schedule

Friday night

7:00pm - 7:30pm
Welcome, registration, get settled

7:30pm - 8:00pm

8:00pm - 10:00pm
Session planning, happy hour, networking, games


11:00am - 11:30am
Welcome, registration, get settled

11:30am - 12:00pm
Keynote - Architecting a SilverLight .Net Application - George Durzi / Jonathan Heupel

12:00pm - 1:30pm
lunch, networking, games

1:30pm - 2:00pm
Silverlight / Facebook - Ryan Powers

2:00pm - 2:30pm
Silverlight / Twitter - Dave Bost aka SilverTwitter

3:30pm - 4:00pm
Devin Rader - Topic TBD

4:00pm - 4:30pm
MVC approach for components in Silverlight - Gilbert Corrales

4:30pm - 5:00pm

What's really exciting about this is seeing this in Chicago a few days before Max, and it's a Silverlight community event. This isn't even a Microsoft event and has no Microsoft corporate sponsorship. It just really shows the exciting foothold that Silverlight is taking on the market and the fact that it's growing so fast. It shows me that Silverlight has a good future ahead of it. The exciting thing I'd mention about the schedule is that they plan to focus on Silverlight development outside of the Visual Studio/Expression toolset and even talking about the Linux version of the plug-in. So if you want a good community perspective without the "marketing" plugs, this is a good way to come and learn about Silverlight from a non-platform specific point-of-view especially if you are a Mac or Linux person wanting to develop on those platforms

"Chicago, Chicago, It's my kind of town.."

by Don Burnett

Autodesk 3D Launch Tour Chicago

"..I knew Jack Kennedy... and you are no Jack Kennedy.."

Wow things are really cooking in Chicago lately. I went to Autodesk's 3D Tour. I was there for more than one reason as I am helping a local community organization open a studio. The last Alias Maya informational thing I attended was their "3December" event. Well I would just tell you the Autodesk demo was no "3December".. What's wrong with the presentation? I don't really want to say it was a bad presentation, it was held in the beautiful Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. People were amazingly polite and nice and everything was well ordered. It's obvious that even though 3dsMax is being re-positioned to fit in with Maya marketing at Autodesk, Maya is still taking a "backseat" and narrow marketing scope seems to be taking place unfortunately. People do use Maya outside of Hollywood you know but Autodesk seems to not see this as a "marketable strategy" for them.

Issues I had with the demonstration..

1) First presentation: if you were new to Autodesk 3ds Max you couldn't follow the presentation. They went over the "new" features as if the audience had been using the product for the last six years. The new advertising material isn't positioning 3dsMax as a program you can use for design and architectural visualization and no longer a broadcast competitor to Maya for video and broadcast animation. They also billed 3dsMax as tool for game development in a separate presentation. This new repositioning is very interesting and a very positive move to keep the product alive. It moves 3dsMax into their core CAD visualization business taking it's place next to AutoCAD..

I don't really care for presentations that go feature-for-feature and miss the key points of the new features, while the presentation gets stuck in detail points about features that can be done now four or five ways differently than last year. This was my major problem with this presentation it did all of those things. I got lost in the info and kept having to ask myself what was the main point again.. After about 35 minutes into it the audience was ready to "snooze". This is stuff that none of the audience cared about, even if you did use 3dsMax, you are going to figure all that stuff our for yourself while working with the new version.

If you didn't look already do "3dsMax" you didn't learn how to do anything with it, and you were lost in the details of the presentation. This set the tone for the rest of the evening.

2) The registration system was flawed. I signed up for all three initial sessions or thought I had, and when I got there I was asked which sessions I was attending and they only had me setup for the first session. I asked for the first two sessions and was given information packets just for the first two (although I would have liked to got information about their broadcast tools). It turns out that the packets (I was given the first two). Seemed to be the same information so I have two copies of their same brochures.. I was hoping for something different I guess.

3) I guess I had hoped for more "Maya" info and information on their broadcast products, Maya was relegated to the last presentation of the Evening towards their broadcast products. It was obvious that they feel stronger about marketing their core products over Maya which was receiving very little love from the 3dsMax folks. Autodesk you "OWN MAYA", you need to embrace it or "kill it". I hope you embrace it, because you now "OWN" the market. The presentations really don't indicate you folks have any of the vision and market savvy that Alias did. It's just disappointing to see.

4) I was hoping for more company presence to ask questions and talk to. The presentations were basically like going into a theater and seeing a movie. I wanted to walk out of the first presentation and ask business questions about purchase and I had no one to do that with. The guy basically said he was "in the back during the presentation" and he was to far away from me to identify and I could not find him later even to talk to. Nvidia and Intel also were "sponsors" but they were no where to be found.

5) Timing of this was bad, it was set for 3-9:30 at 5 there was supposed to be a "break" but the presenter kept talking, when we did go outside we found food that I couldn't even eat due to my dietary restriction (luckily this was Chicago so the Cheesecake Factory and their awesome food was a block down the street.

If I had to compare this to 3December and the Alias events I'd say that I felt sorry for the Maya product team, as I felt the Autodesk wasn't as well put together, and it was like 3 separate presentations, back-to-back with not as much of a break out as I had hope for. The people during the presentations seemed like they were "preaching to the choir" and like it was something they had to do and they were servicing customers they "already had"..

Adobe Max 2007

It's coming to Chicago September 30th through October 3rd. This is the big Adobe development conference, if you don't know about it, you probably should.

Reasons to go:

  • Unique opportunities to connect with thousands of peers
  • Sneak peeks at emerging technologies
  • Over 200 sessions organized into five tracks
  • Training on Adobe products, services, and solutions
  • One-on-one interaction with Adobe certified experts
  • Hands-on access to Adobe products
  • Special networking events

Most of the people who read this blog do WPF and Silverlight applications and probably came from development in Adobe Dreamweaver and Flash, so keeping up with that market is pretty important to your business as well.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

That Computer that doesn't die!

By Don Burnett


I am doing something really off-topic today, but it's a very very cool thing that I want to direct folks attention to...


If you don't know about this, or haven't seen it.. Well it's pretty cool..


Lets take a walk back into days of "tech past" into the 1980s.. Most of the cool gamers and multimedia people of the time weren't working on the PCs and Macs of their day to do multimedia and slick gaming. The PC and even the Mac was a monochrome single color experience for most people of that day...  Then enter the Commodore-Amiga 500.. It rejuvenated a large segment of the home market. Alas mid 1994 time frame the Amiga platform passed on (and onto other hands and companies) with the demise of Commodore and their unavoidable bankruptcy.


Now let's spin ahead to 2007, where we have seen some cool items like the C64 Joystick, a Commodore 64 that fits in a joystick along with 26 games..


Now and Open-Source Hardware picture enters the Picture..


Dennis Van Weeren's "Minimig".. It's 68000 based, has all the functionality of the Amiga Custom Chips re-invented on one huge FPGA.  The board has a standard VGA SERIAL MOUSE KEYBOARD and CF card slot...

This is great news because Amiga Classic Hardware compatiblity with the OCS (Original Chipset) is back in a very small device. This is a big boon to a very small user community, but if you like retro gaming the minimig might be for you..You might consider this a serious hardware emulator, but whatever it is, it reminds me of a classic computer I used to love..

Lemmings for the Amiga Playing Below..



For more

info on this device... (you can build it yourself!) check out..


Dennis's Minimig Project Page

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Windows Live Not! For 64-Bit.. READY... SHOOT... AIM???

By Don Burnett

Warning, this is opinion, but one I have heard many places today... Starting with Robert McLaws over at I am not trying to do a hatchet job here on Microsoft. I love the company, but the folks in the decision making arenas with this kind of thing need to wake up and smell the coffee of how they are alienating current users, in ways that are making them less credible and less likely to retain a user base. There are over 15 comments on the Blog entry announcement asking why their OS isn't supported on Chris Jones' Announcement that back this up.

Example Prime: Windows Live Writer

How ridiculous is this?? I have Windows Live Writer installed on this Edition of Windows Vista Ultimate X64. It's worked flawlessly for the last seven months. It has had it's own installer and continues to work perfectly for me. Look out though for the next few months if I loose the stand alone installer or the beta times out I loose useage. In fact here's a screen shot of this blog entry being written right now in Windows Live Writer on an X64 Windows Vista Ultimate OS..


Enter the Windows Live Combined beta..

Now if I go to the page to download the latest version of the beta.. and I download the new combined installer... I get this message... This is completely and utterly RIDICULOUS...


This has got me upset at whoever wrote the installer and the project manager who decided not to support X64 if all components couldn't right away and allow a 32-bit only installer to be released in this day and age... and this brings up a point about Microsoft 64-bit support that needs to change internally about their development practices... 64-bit support should not be an afterthought, it should be there from the beginning. They should have made an option in the installer to support things that do. It amazes me that up until this beta most if not all these separate components functioned just fine on x64 in all of their previous PREVIEW releases to the public. Who made this decision? It's really shooting the product in the foot..

There is an old saying among marketers and politicians.. You can give something to someone but taking something away isn't all that easy.. Politicians and marketers alike will tell you that customers remember when you do something like this and it's a black mark in their book.

Policy Change Needed from Corporate for Windows Software Development Teams for supporting x64

Microsoft's software developers and company policy should require development teams to support 64-bit and 32-bit EQUALLY with equal development... Will I be forced to drop using my favorite blog writing tool since it came out? Just because some other products in Windows Live stable aren't supporting x64 environments properly or someone only wrote the installer for 32-bit? That's not fair to us who are already using Windows Live Writer and loving it. Taking it away for even a few months is SOO UNCOOL... Even if there is a work-around you have to look for it or know where to find it.. This needs to change.

Really what is Microsoft saying to their consumers and people brave enough to use and support their x64 versions of Windows?? You made a HUGE mistake in going with it and expect equal levels of support. I think this is a really bad move on their part, and while I have seen a lot of silly things happen in the past, and since this is a beta it might be a temporary situation (which I am hoping it is) this is a HUGE STEP BACKWARDS...

Microsoft You SHOULD BE LISTENING TO THIS! Do you know that most users of your x64 operating system feel like the neglected step-children, because your x64 support continues to take a backseat?? This is a real marketing problem for you and for people who want the latest and greatest and are willing to live on the bleeding edge just because they require higher performance computing platforms for daily work who invest in running the x64 version of your platform..

We are tired of seeing things like this popping up all of the time...


This is just unacceptable especially so late into the x64 Vista release. Those of us with x64 suffered through the XP x64 release and it's lack of drivers, and thru a time where after release Vista x64 lacked drivers.. This issue needs to be addressed by both the Windows Live Team and corporate policy makers as soon as possible. The least you could do is make the separate install of Windows Live Writer and components that did work in x64 available again..


In this case you guys have a real PR problem on your hands and silence is deadly and makes for an unhappy customer base who are waiting for Vista SP1 and who are unhappy with HotFix releases for x64.

The IE 7 cumulative security update, that caused IE to crash after the 2nd or 3rd time you click on a URL that crashes IE 7 when it tries to open a new window comes to mind right away. This is also known as "update for Windows Vista for x64-based Systems (KB932596)". If you have that installed and find IE 7 Crashing regularly, I think if you remove that update and hide it from windows update, then your crashing stops. I don't recommend this update to anyone..

We x64 system owners deserve a lot more than the support we are getting on this, and even with these problems, I really do love the x64 version of Windows Vista. However, it's time to get on the ball and make a change here.

x64 shouldn't be an AFTERTHOUGHT!

Gosh I love this program but,

However, Microsoft Giveth...

Microsoft Taketh away...

Should I continue to support using this program or look elsewhere for other blogging tools..

UPDATE: Kip (a reader of this blog) wrote a comment that I accidently lost. Sorry about that Kip! His message was There is a work around over on (Opinon: they should post that work around right to the download page IMMEDIATELY!). However this just underscores the issue that I am talking about earlier.. The installer shouldn't have been 32-bit only from the start. There needs to be a change in the process on this from top to bottom corporately. It shouldn't be an after thought..

Friday, September 7, 2007

Rethinking this Blog

by Don Burnett

I have been in the process of rethinking the design of this Blog.. I am talking a lot about Silverlight and WPF  Rich Internet Enabled technologies but not really taking advantage of them very much. So, soon I will roll out a 2.0 version of this site..


It will feature:

A weekly Silverlight based Video BlogCast featuring news and hopefully some cool infotorials on Expression Studio WPF and Silverlight.. I hope to integrate hypertext with the video.

Twice weekly or more often text entries as appropriate.

An improved RSS mechanism

an RIA version of the site that you can read from your desktop outside the web browser.

User contributed tutorials and how-to's

I will be posting a beta soon.. be on the lookout..

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Targeting your Silverlight Delivery Platform

By Don Burnett

Silverlight Announcements

Today there has been a lot of buzz about Silverlight turning 1.0. No more beta 1.0, no more release candidates, it's officially 1.0..

Over at there is a lot of buzz, including a "coverflow" style carousel of videos of new Silverlight website experiences. When you mouse over the rotating content you actually can see a "live" thumbnail video of the content.. Very cool custom control..



If you want to see some really cool content you need to go over to The lighting effects on the WWE Silverlight Launch Page are very cool are thanks to the unique video capabilities with things such as alpha channel and the video brush. There is video in the background, not just the player window.

Quoting from Today's Microsoft Press Release:

"REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 4, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today released to the Web (RTW) Silverlight™ 1.0, a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering richer user experiences on the Web. In addition, Microsoft will work with Novell Inc. to deliver Silverlight support for Linux, called Moonlight, and based on the project started on

Silverlight significantly reduces development and deployment costs and provides enhanced Web audio and video streaming and playback using industry-leading Windows Media® Technologies. Microsoft unveiled new Silverlight customer experiences on “Entertainment Tonight,” HSN and World Wrestling Entertainment, and also launched the Silverlight Partner Initiative, a program designed to foster collaboration among solution providers, content delivery networks, tools vendors and design agencies."

So it looks like the Linux Silverlight initiative is full steam ahead and has some backing from established industry leaders as well.


Deployment Planning

If you are a developer and you are looking to do a Silverlight project for a client you might be asking these questions.

What does 1.0 Release give you?  Can you deploy today?

What's the 1.1 release and should I wait for it?

How long after 1.0 release version will the 1.1 show up? Should I wait for it?

Should I only develop for 1.1?

To answer these questions I am going to steal a few slides from Tim Sneath's wonderful presentatiosn on Silverlight. This should have been also a Microsoft DevCares presentation it's so good. So please check this out..


What does the 1.0 Release give you? Well everything color-coded in white on this slide..


The 1.1 version obviously is planned to have data binding support with LINQ, Web Services (REST, RSS,SOAP), layout controls and DRM support.


Building Silverlight Application using .NET

It's really obvious when you look through this slide and the rest of the presentation, that 1.1 "Alpha" is just that and not feature complete and that several areas of functionality for 1.1 are still in development. They go further with a ROADMAP slide to spell out when they "believe" the 1.1 version will hit beta along with the other tool sets (Expression Studio, and Visual Studio '08). These are expected time frames, and not official dates.

Silverlight Roadmap


The presentation goes on to say they are shooting for the following layout controls in a later release of 1.1.. (Note since this was posted to Mr. Sneath's public blog by link to his live drive storage, I assume this information is public knowledge..)

Layout Controls: Button, TextBox, Scrollbar, Slider, ListBox, CheckBox, RadioButton, ComboBox, UserControl, Canvas, Grid, StackPanel, ViewBox, UserControl..

Missing in Action: Treeview, RichTextBox, and DataGrid

Other Features planned: Data Binding (through LINQ), improved Mouse events, keyboard events,  and the big one for me and most animators the ResourceDictionary. More styling options are mentioned but not further addressed. That actually sounds exciting.

Missing in Action: hardware accelerated 3d. This is very difficult to support in a cross-platform sort of way, because of the diversity of machines with different 3D capabilities.

It does look like we will see improved web services support although POX and JSON are already supported now.

Targeting 1.1

With all of this and the further advantages of the refactored .NET implementation that's inside  the Silverlight plug-in, the 1.1 version will have much improvement and is on it's way to becoming it's own "platform" that is machine independent. 

1.0 is already "lighting" up the web.. If you can do everything your application requirements say in 1.0 then you should target that release. It's obvious that they will move easily and be compatible with 1.1.

If you need the functionality of 1.1 then you should download the developer release and tools and start your development process and expect release in "early" 08.

With all the things being done in 1.0 if you look around an compare your requirements, you might find that it fits your requirements now and is right what you need.

Other options: if you are an enterprise developer and thinking about wanting to move an enterprise "WinForms" legacy app  to a web browser, you now have the option of Netika's GOA WinForms for Silverlight 1.1. It gives you the same capabilities for applications (with added XAML) and makes it easy to port a standard "WinForms" applications to Silverlight today.. Check out their site for further details..

If you don't need cross-platform functionality you might find that a WPF XBAP browser based Windows Application gives you the right amount of functionality, and gives you a lot more bonuses (like hardware accelerated 3D).



Building Silverlight Applications Using .NET

Silverlight Business Briefing

Rich Web Experiences with Silverlight and JavaScript

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Swift 3d 5.0 Supports Silverlight

by Don Burnett

Animation solutions that support Silverlight compatible XAML output seem to be blossoming as acceptance of Silverlight is growing by leaps and bounds.. Interestingly enough they are only to version 4.5 on the Mac yet. That must say something about web artists using PCs, and this company is increasingly targeting Windows users.

Electric Rain's Swift 3d 5.0 animation powerhouse tool now supports Silverlight compliant XAML export (along with WPF)..

The exciting thing about their output is that it works just like their Flash add-in.. So, you can do all the cool things you see people doing in Adobe Flash with Swift3d now in Microsoft Silverlight. The XAML is also quite compliant with Expression Blend, so you'll be able to integrate this tool with Expression Studio... Some of you might ask why then would you want to use Swift3d and Zam3d both? The answer is simple. Zam3d is aimed at WPF based real time 3D interactivity.

While Swift 3D 5.0 can output three dimensional animations in Silverlight as 2D frames (like it does again for Adobe Flash), Silverlight is missing hardware accelerated 3D support. Swift3D is a very cool product and it is proving that you don't need a 3D engine present to still show wonderful rendered 3D results.

Some of the advantages Swift3D has as an animation package are full-featured support for many things you only find in professional animation packages. And very dynamic import and export in many formats.

The Converted scores with work on a new Silverlight compliant version..

The converted is a very cool tool that's in development right now (you can buy it here). The author of this tool has much in the way of animation expertise, and considers the work one that will see much updating as Silverlight itself matures into a more rich and efficient animation environment. For now though this tool is very slick.