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today, microsoft announced the first preview of the windows presentation foundation (formerly codename "avalon") everywhere framework (aka wpf/e).  so what is it?

essentially is a strategy of bringing that rich windows presentation foundation (wpf) experience to the web.  oh yeah, but only internet explorer right? wrong.  ie, firefox, safari, opera.  bring it. 

the december ctp of wpf/e includes support for windows media technologies, 2d animation, vector graphics, etc.  it is an interesting technology -- check it out.

okay, so the other cheesy part of my post title was alluding to the other part of the announcement today...the expression studio toolset.

today microsoft announced:

  • Expression Web - a tool for standards-based web development...this is RELEASED and available now.
  • Expression Blend (beta) - this is formerly "Expression Interactive Designer" and is designed to produce rich, interactive (hows that for buzzwords) applications -- the beauty of this tool is the XAML produced that can be used in other tools, including visual studio.
  • Expression Design (ctp) - this is the former "Acrylic" product.  both Blend and Design have been overhauled to implement new microsoft technologies in their use, but also have been re-designed -- they hardly look like microsoft applications, you may have to look twice.
  • WPF/E MSDN Developer Center

i'm not a hard-core designer and so some of the features are a different paradigm for me, but i'm learning.  the important thing is the fidelity of the XAML between the tools -- there's the power -- being able to have complete fidelity BOTH WAYS from the designer to the developer.  I highly recommend checking these technologies out!  check out the as well as a new site on design: www.microsoft.com/design. (note: these sites may still be replicating throughout the crazy super highway, so check back often.)

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over thanksgiving, my family went to san diego to get away from the heat (yes it was still 91 degrees in Arizona on Thanksgiving -- although it has now dropped to highs of 67 now...beautiful).  one of our stops was seaport village -- just a little tourist trap area in san diego.  i took my daughter to ride the merry-go-round.  this thing had been around since the 1800's -- crazy.

while on the ride i noticed the interesting artwork:


yeah, my thoughts exactly.  the 1800's must have been lonely :-).  i just saw this and thought it was one of the strangest things i'd seen.  that was until i looked over my shoulder:


to me, this looks like one of the characters on the horse's saddle licking his arse.  what the heck is that about?  sheep sheering and horse butt licking.  nice

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i have the tri-fecta of gifting for december: wife b-day, anniversary (10 years this year!), and the holidays.  yikes.  needless to say, we go broke in december.

i love my wife.  i really do a lot -- but i love it even more when she makes things easy for a neanderthal like me.  if you haven't figured it out yet (unless you're really astute in your relationship), shopping for women is hard.  it exponentially increases in difficulty when clothes are thrown into the mix.  this year my wife detailed a list of things she wants/needs for the tri-fecta holiday season.

so how do i know my wife is assimilated?  (into technology at least.)  well, first she emailed me the list.  one word: sweet.  she knows i suck at life multi-tasking and that i spend most of an average day in an inbox of some sort.  boom, gift list: flagged.  okay second reason i know...here's the first line:

Victoria's Secret -- any of the following:

item <blah blah> size <blah blah> -- you can enter "slipper" in the promo code to get free slippers

note: blahs added by me to protect her desires :-)

that was the first item -- no where did it mention go online or the website...nice -- she's finally got into my head -- i almost cried when i saw "you can enter the promo code" -- sweet bliss to see that "promo code" is now a part of her vernacular.

anyhow, last night i had a free moment to acquire some of the items from the 2 page aforementioned email (yeah, not kidding).  so i hopped in the car and took off.  then i suddenly realized...why am i driving anywhere?  first, my brakes are going out (on top of a flat tire this week as well) and i don't really live close to anything.

u-turn.  back home.  hop on computer.  i purchased everything she wanted (from what i decided was appropriate ;-)) from the comfort of my own home.  what about shipping? well, most online retailers are offering free shipping during the holidays so that was okay.  sure there were a few items that i didn't, but i'll get those during regular errands.

it was awesome.  i remember a colleague the other day asking about how much i buy online.  almost exclusively now.  really.  if it is a product in a retail (excluding food), i seek it out first online (and actually at ebay first -- a lot of retailers are using that as a channel for their 'real' goods), then determine the value of getting it online versus if i can get it on a normal errand run.  most of the time online wins.  i haven't tried out groceries, but i'm willing too...

anyhow, happy shopping!

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one of my favorite episodes from the office (us version) is when dwight receives a bobblehead of himself.

well, you too can now have that luxury.

www.whoopassenterprises.com delivers fully custom bobblheads at $115 (US) each.


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this past weekend was the american 'thanksgiving' holiday.  as is tradition with most, i too ate turkey for the holiday.  this one was different for us.  we decided to escape the normal family gatherings and stress of making food, cleaning, and having kids in non-kid friendly homes.  we took off for san diego, california on a whim.  i hate driving.  anything > 3 hrs sucks.  but i had my wife with me and we were able to finally talk about a lot of things -- something our normal daily lives don't seem to allow us to do.  it was great times the whole way there.

for thanksgiving day, we bellied up at a restaurant and had them cook/clean for us.  it was awesome.  the food wasn't half bad either.  the next morning it got me thinking about what i eat.  i'm a carnivore.  as i sat and ate unborn chickens (eggs) and the fat of a pig (bacon) it really made me think how savage we are.  survival of the fittest i guess.  i wondered if i should stop eating meat (or less of it) once i pondered what i was doing.  nah, tastes too good.  i used to be a vegetarian...actually a vegan.  i lost a LOT of weight, but also lost energy, etc.  needless to say that was in the younger years and i'm not anymore (and gained a lot of weight since :-)).

i traveled this weekend with my trusty zune in hand.  before i left i acquired a travel kit from a local store.  it came with the premium earbuds.  um, awesome.  now i'm not an audiophile, can't tell the difference between 192kbps and 320kbps in music quality (if those are even the correct terms), but compared to the inlcuded earphones with the zune and the ipod earbuds (which i'd been using), these kicked some major arse!  they fit great, look good, and sound incredible.  when i have them in i can't even hear anything but the music -- which is awesome (except if you are driving).  i also got the car kit (fm transmitter) -- needless to say, that will be going back to the store today.

i burned a few dvds using the tools i'm investigating.  i never thought i'd be 'that guy' with videos on a portable device.  but i am.  it is so cool and convenient.  i apologize to all the video ipod people i mocked ;-).  my daughter loved them too -- i'm going to put some kid movies on there -- much easier for her to hold than the 9" portable dvd player we currently use.  my experience with zune as a traveling device was fantastic.  it really is growing on me and making me forget the size and convenience of my ipod mini.  battery life was good as well -- two movies watched (2 hrs each) on a single battery with some left over juice.

i also mowed the lawn with the zune (well, not *with* the zune, but you get the picture) and couldn't even hear the lawnmower thanks to my new earbuds.  they didn't fall out either when i was doing the yard (a common occurrence with the ipod buds).  kudos!  viva le earbuds!

when i plugged my zune in yesterday there was already a firmware update.  cool, tells me microsoft found some issues maybe and fixed them right away -- no new features i could tell, but hopefully those will come.  oh yeah, and found this hack to make your zune a mass storage device.  cheers.