IROTView on the Endangered Tools List?

ginger top!It seems that irotview.exe is no longer included with Visual Studio and Platform SDK. Anyone know what we are supposed to use to inspect Running Object Table with? It's been a while since I had to mess around with ROT but irotview was pretty handy.
Why is it that good ol' Win32 tools keep disappearing everytime I turn around?

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Snoozing While Web Browsers Faceoff

Alex Iskold lists the latest crop of competitors in Web Browser Faceoff. Hmm. Do people really care which browser wins? With neither IE 7 nor Firefox 2.0 packing a powerful enough punch for a knock out, this fight is as exciting as watching Pee Wee Herman and Richard Simmons box. In the past few days, I heard IE 7 was released so I installed it sedately as if I was installing another IE patch. I've seen tabs and so what's the big deal? Then Firefox 2.0 was released so installed that as well. After a brief checking and playing with extensions I use, I went back to work.
While FF2 is now my main browser, I still have to use IE7 because some sites still fails to work properly on Firefox (usually layout or plugin issues). How often? More than once an hour. And because I use IE 7 as needed then often forget to switch back to FF2, I would usually have have both browsers running at the same time displaying 10-20 websites between them. The only reason I use FF2 more than IE7 is because FF2 bookmarks are the latest.
Let's all give this old tired subject a rest for awhile. OK?

Daily Spit

Ruby might be losing continuation in 2.0. I predict Ruby will lose much of its forward momentum if this is true because, IMHO, continuation was the source of much of Ruby's fun and brevity. Too bad.
Yahoo continues its healthy ascent although I am expecting YHOO to struggle from here on.
Today, I am tinkering with something new.
Here is a cute tip for you fellow tinkerers:
If you are having trouble spanning your tinkering juice over extended period, make sure to leave whatever your are building broken before going to sleep. When I start feeling drowsy, I backup everything then launch myself into a decent size TODO item with auto-compile off. Next morning, all the mess I created the night before will haunt me back.
Finishing a nice feature at the end of the day is the worst thing you can do unless you need a few days of smug unproductive rest. Best time to finish a feature is in the morning.

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Why WPF should be renamed as WTF

I thought WPF might make a nice platform to build a new application I am designing on but, after reviewing the current state of WPF (Windows Presentation Framework), I have struck it off my list because:

  1. WPF can't display HTML as is and HTML to XAML converters I've seen are imperfect and too slow to use in realtime.
  2. WPF can't play Flash movies nor non-Microsoft movie formats seamlessly.
  3. WPF is awfully slow on low-end machines.
  4. WPF is not available or problematic on non-Windows platforms.
  5. WPF development tools are half-baked.
  6. Windows Forms has less problems and is more complete.

Until these problems are resolved, I think WPF will be appropriate for only for building highly interactive browser-based thick clients and new bleeding-edge applications with strong control over supported media-types. My guess is that it'll take 2 years before WPF is ready as a general development platform. As a fellow engineer, I can understand engineers wanting to build a sexy looking racing yacht but a racing yacht makes a poor fishing boat.
I am now of the opinion that Microsoft has dug itself into a hole from which it now must dig, not only furiously, but smartly to get out of. Given that even the Live series of projects are lacking directions and necessary quality to attract users, I think Ray Ozzie will have to pull far more than Live Clipboard out of his hat.
Frankly, I think Microsoft could do better with less synergy between groups. With less synergy, Visual Studio would be less intertwined with SQL Server and WPF would already have support for wider variety of media formats. MSN? Why not let it compete on its own than pulling unmatching pieces together and creating an unnecessary fog of office (sorry) politic? After all, it's much easier to make 2-300 people jump together than trying to coordinate 2-30,000 people into jumping together.

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Daily: Cleanup Chores

Spent an hour making the page narrower (850 pixels) and fixing bugs. It used to be 1000 pixels wide but I found myself widening browser windows a little too often. 850 feels a little too cramped though. I'll have to play around with layout later. Maybe I'll add random CSS generator to make the chore more fun. Hehe.
Bugs fixed:

  • ' bug – they used to leak because I forgot that ' is not a HTML named character entity. Doh.
  • Commenter 'Remember Me' checkbox now works.
  • Navigation breadcrumbs are now part of the master page template and appears less ugly.
  • My face is back with my email address as link. I'll replace that with myIDspace link later.
  • Um. A bunch of bugs which I can no longer recall. kek.
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Google implements SearchPoint before MSN does

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do!Google announces Google Custom Search Engine which lets websites create custom searches (CNET, Financial Times, TechCrunch, GigaOm, Search Engine Journal). Although I've left out key details in my post, Custom Search Engine is identical to my SearchPoint idea, which I've pitched to MSN engineers more than 2 years ago when I was up there to preview MSN Search. I didn't post details because I thought MSN team was going to implement them. Stupid me.
If MSN engineers really liked the idea as they appeared to be, they dropped the ball big time by failing to focus on ideas that matter instead of pouring all that resources into fuzzy Live services. If they were just pretending, maybe now they'll admit to overlooking an important opportunity.
Why did I call the idea SearchPoint? I named it SearchPoint because the idea originated from my vision of seeing keywords and topics as holes in a endless veil that separates users and information. Note that what is seen through each hole depends on a user's location. General search is like a big hole in the middle into which general population looks at from a single common location which, while it serves general needs, fails to meet all the needs. So what is out there that can help users search from different perspectives? Websites! There are countless number of websites out there that facilitates focused needs of users. What if MSN, with its advanced query language, allowed those websites to build specialized searches tailored to meet the needs of site visitors? Then each website becomes a point from which searches are performed: SearchPoint!
Anyway, I am seriously disappointed at the MSN team.
Update 1:
At Matt's Curiouser and Curiouser, Julien Couvreur asks:

Is this any different than Rollyo or Windows Live search macros?

Both Rollyo and Live Search Macros are more like my Search Hats idea than SearchPoint in it's. Rollyo allows users to use, build, and share searchrolls, basically a variation of blogroll that lists websites instead of blogs, to focus search domains. Since list websites are fixed, Rollyo is primarily for 're-searching'. Live Search Macros is also designed to be created by users and shared among users although I think is potentially more powerful because of MSN search's flexible search engine and powerful query language. But then Live Search Macros looks and feels like it was implemented by a 6-year old so I think they do more harm than good.
SearchPoint differs from these ideas in that it helps website operators build 'custom search box' to be displayed at their website to allow users to search topics relevant to the context of the website. This subtle difference matters little at the implementation level (i.e. you can easily build SearchPoint on top of Live Search Macros) but impacts non-engineering aspect of the business hugely. First, having MSN SearchBox displayed prominently on websites means exposure, traffic, and built-in ad-space in one. Second, users don't have to enter or select macros because being at a website makes the context clear. Third, website operators are more like to create and maintain search customization than users. I could go on and on but then what's the point?

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Realtime Fraud Network and No-Swipe Credit Card

Pitfalls reported in Jonathan Schwartz article "Researchers see privacy pitfalls in no-swipe credit cards" are interesting but even encryption won't stop bad guys if signals are repeated and bridged, in effect allowing a no-swipe card in your wallet to be used in realtime at no-swipe card reader thousands of miles away. An engineer's solutions to this problem could get rather complicated, requiring noisy cards and multi-phase transactions. A simpleton's solution is to require use of anti-swipe wallets or sheaths. But then what's the point of no-swipe if you have to take it out of your wallet to use it?

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Live Writer Plugin Test

This is a simple test of my Live Writer plugin. It's still hatching so I am adding features I need as each need comes up. For example, I sometimes need/want to post screenshot of web pages so I've added that as you can see below.

Updated for a bit of recursion. ;-p