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while in a local walmart the other day i walked by the very visible ipod display (yes, the zune one was there around the corner and equally as impressive).  i noticed something not right in the "completely remastered" display case:

Non ipod in ipod display

see on the white disc, that is not an ipod.  i chuckled and then felt bad (only for a nano second -- pun intended).  a consumer who might not be as educated (and yes i actually did witness some people talking about 'the cube ipod nano' after looking at this display) misinterpreting this display.

ipod and apple are strong brands.  this detracts from them.  i'm pretty sure that spot is reserved for the black nano, but the mobiBLU is taking it's space right now -- in a case that is clearly ipodified.

so it seems zune isn't the only one who suffers from retail end-channel misrepresentations...

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okay, not entirely true.  i recently got a comment on how sharepoint might not make it in a company because one of the features, a rich editor for html that is used in rich edit areas, wiki, blog, etc., does not support firefox as a browser.  basically you can still edit, but you don't get the WYSIWYG environment.

well, there are a couple of options.  first, the hack (i haven't even tried this to be honest so i shouldn't even be announcing it :-)).  in web.config (since sharepoint 2007 is an asp.net app) you can add <browserCaps> elements to the configuration section to "help" asp.net realize you have a modern browser.  slingfive.com provides a suggested file you can download and add in your web.config (please back up any web.config before you modify and test in a non-production environment).

or...the better option.  our friends at telerik are providing and editor alternative for licensed sharepoint users.  you can read their press release to learn about the deal and you can sign up for the current beta.  they are providing an installation experience that is one-click so you don't have to mess with settings, etc.  the support for this would come from telerik.  this is great of them to do and they've done it in the past with commerce server (as pointed out in their press release).

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building upon the model of , i decided to take a look at doing some simple add-ins for Outlook and Office to look at and the extensibility vsto se has offered the developers.  i started documenting some of my findings in part 1 of office dev.  i'll continue that in a later post and ask some questions there as well.

for now, i wanted to let you know that the two add-ins i created are ready for your consumption, source included.

- enabling inserting of images from your Flickr account into a new mail message.

- you guessed it, same thing, but for Word.

while the naming of these projects is quite lame, hopefully they will show some value (of course if you are a Flickr user).  they've only been tested to work with office 2007 versions of Outlook and Word.  the code demonstrates basically the customization of the ribbonui as well as interacting with some of the different contexts of the office application you are working with at the time.

part 2 on their creation and some gotchas i found coming soon.

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since the ctp of wpf/e became available, there have been some interesting discussions and demos happening in the world.  again, if you haven't seen check it out...one of the latest samples () shows what appears to be a single animation, but is actually half WPF/e and Flash.  it is so visually clean, it is hard to tell the difference -- i had to put a mouse over each half to even notice a difference.  very interesting.

two other questions have popped up to me.  first, the installation.  yeah, you have to go to a site and download an exe/msi (for windows) and a dmg (for mac).  kinda sucks i agree.  i can tell you that microsoft is working to create the ideal installation experience for the final release of WPF/e.  this first ctp is focused on features of the framework, not the deployment model...so stay tuned.

the second question is about firefox 2 support...or lack thereof.  this is for both mac only really.  here's the skinny -- the team just didn't have time to officially put firefox 2 on the testing platform in order to get the ctp out.  but have no fear...here's how to self-host.  in aghost.js, about line 87, you'll see:

if(navigator.userAgent.indexOf("Firefox/") != -1 || navigator.userAgent.indexOf("Safari") != -1){   

there you have it...change that line to ensure firefox 2 can be met -- you should be able to just remove the version number check and it should work.

hope this helps some testing.

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i've been playing around with the vista sidebar gadget lately and trying to dabble in developing some gadgets.  i must tell you, i feel with ajax, gadgets, wpf/e event handling, that i'm taking a step back to the good ol' days of 1998.  javascript everywhere.  in part 1 i created some helper templates for the structure...i should modify these a bit on some learnings i had (mainly localization and referencing), but they'll work in most instances.

gadgets are no different.  in fact, a sidebar gadget is really nothing more than DHTML content with some flair.  i also must admin, the sidebar is the first thing i turned OFF in vista when i installed it.  why?  well, the default gadgets aren't of any value to me personally.  a clock?  already got that in the system tray.  pictures? kinda distracting to me.  stock?  trust me, i know what my stock is doing and it isn't moving enough for me to care at this point.  i told myself that i wouldn't use the sidebar unless i saw some real value.

some colleagues have challenged me to create that value and i've started on that path -- part for providing some value, and part learning.  the learning has taken more time than i'd like.  this isn't necessarily because of the gadget infrastructure, but because i suck at good design/html.  and even though i suck, my bar for decency in design has increased. (note: i'm still saying i suck, but i've gotten a lot better than stick figures).

so in my list of gadgets i'm working on, one of the simpler ones was an msdn search gadget.  so here it is.  add it to the sidebar and you get:


type in some search text and click the arrow and you'll get what the gadget structure calls a "flyout" with the results like this:


the links go directly to the topics and there is a link at the bottom for the full results if the first 4 results don't seem to entice you.  it's simple enough, and basically is all javascript (not basically, it is).

i must say that there isn't great support for a rich debugging and development environment for gadgets right now (debugging can be a challenge because you use some of the sidebar-specific host functions).  i was able to create my graphics using expression design, which was another experience, but relatively simple to do simple things.

anyhow, here it is: MSDN Search Sidebar Gadget