Home > Rants and Raves > Rants and Raves #1

Rants and Raves #1

May 29, 2009

I’m thinking of starting a regular feature called “Rants and Raves”.  If I do continue this down the road, then I can always look back fondly and call this the beginning.  If not, I’ll just forget it as a failed experiment.  In the meantime, maybe it will make me feel better.


Expression Design and Underlined Text

I’ve been raving over Expression for a while now, which makes sense since I’ve been spending about 65% of my time in Blend.  I’ve also been using Design some, as evidenced by my recent series, and I was explaining it to my boss the other day.  Well, he gave it a test run and was creating a form background and discovered something I had not yet run into: Expression Design does not support Underlined Text elements.  It’s still on the Design 3 wish list!

Why is it that Blend and Design appear to share so much, and yet simple things like this get lost?  Blend does it, heck every other MS app does it, not to mention all of Design’s competitor products.  I’m really surprised (and annoyed) that something so basic was left out when you can sub and super-script no problem.  And while I’m at it, I’ll mention that the Gradient Fill tool is much nicer in Blend: and I thought Design was supposed to be the graphic design tool of choice?

Visual Studio Magazine had only 2 articles

I’ve been a VSM reader for some time now, and I always get excited when a new one comes.  I can’t wait to find time to read it, but with my schedule it may sit on my desk for a while.  Well, apparently that won’t be much of an issue anymore.  I read the June 2009 issue in 5 minutes, and I’m a slow reader.  What’s the big deal?  I read it so fast because it had very little content.

I guess the first clue should have been no Table of Contents: the issue consisted of a half page Editor’s Note, a feature article, and one other article on Sharepoint (which I do not use and so did not read.)  The rest were ads, with the entire center section an insert containing a series of Sharepoint ads labeled “Sharepoint Development and Deployment Guide.”  And actually, the Editor’s note and the Sharepoint article were in this insert, so if you remove it the magazine was exactly 1 article.  A good one, true enough, but hardly worth the cost of the magazine.

I hate to say it, but I think it’s adios come renewal time.


Microsoft Media Encoder

I’ve thought for quite a while that I would like to post some video tutorials, but I was never sure how to go about it.  Well, someone on Twitter – sorry, I can’t remember who but Thanks! – posted 10 Free Screen Recording Softwares for Creating Attractive Screencasts (sic).  I decided it was finally time to get this train rolling, so I downloaded a few of them and tried them.

I’m not qualified to give reviews, but the easiest one I tried was Windows Media Encoder It only took a few minutes to download and install, and after a quick read through the online tutorial I was able to easily record a video with sound.  You can expect to see some Video Tutorials posted on the site in the coming weeks!

XAMLFest Online

This is a great concept. XAMLFest was a live tour of XAML/WPF training that I wished I could attend.  It was so popular, that the creators decided they would offer the same contents online, and the called it XAMLFest Online.  Where do they come up with this stuff?

Anyway, this is a series of 15 hour-long training videos.  The first 5 are pre-recorded and available now.  The other 10 are stretched out over next week, an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.  The tracks are divided into Designer and Developer, so naturally I will be attending both!  I’ve seen a couple of the pre-recorded videos, and they are top notch.  If you have any interest in WPF and Silverlight Development, then I recommend that you check this out: you don’t get free training like this every day!

Silverlight FireStarter DC

Speaking of free training, next Saturday, June 6th, the Silverlight Firestarter DC will be held at the Microsoft offices in Reston, VA, hosted by Frank LaVigne and the CapArea.NET Silverlight SIG.  I will be there giving a talk on Blend, but what I am looking forward to is Pete Brown, Silverlight MVP extraordinaire, presenting on Silverlight 3.  This should be a great event, and is FREE, so if you are anywhere near Reston that weekend, register now and join the fun!

Feeling Better

Well, I’m glad to have gotten some of that off my chest!  Catch you on the flip side…

Categories: Rants and Raves
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  1. May 30, 2009 at 8:07 am
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