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cool: http://maps.google.com

good implementation -- great map quality.

i just noticed it and will have to play around -- hopefully they have a method of implementing a search in query params like mapquest, or better yet, web services...

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in a recent commentary by mary jo foley regarding sharepoint (gates pins hopes on sharepoint), she notes:

Microsoft officials have characterized sharepoint as "the killer app for XML."

wow, that is a lot to swallow...and i'm not sure i could agree...at all.  i've been working with sharepoint for a while (even it's predecessor portal server v1 (aka beta) and team services) as well as being a part of a joint developer program project with a client for the current version.  sharepoint is great.  i like it.  it has a lot of value for a lot of organizations right out of the box.  yeah, okay some things are weird about it and some things require a little more heavy lifting.

but, the “killer app for XML”?! -- seriously...whomever those microsoft officials are, should sit down and program against the web services for sharepoint...while some provide some great features, the implementation of the web services is, well, odd.  got a field named “First Name”?  well you may not know it, but it is really named “ows_First_0x200_Name” and if your names are really long, your fields are truncated and start getting 0-based index names on them at some point.  i understand some of the reasons for this (would have been nice for a better section in the SDK to identify these anomalies), but it isn't the best implementation that could come out of the sharepoint web services in my opinion.  don't even get me started if you've renamed your field...

anyhow, i just thought this comment was far out there...

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as a host of home games and home game tournaments, i've been looking for a decent, full-featured package to make managing the tournament easier...rather than me have to worry about it.

i bring you: www.basementclubs.com -- a windows (and .NET developed) tournament software package for poker home games...it is a great tool for those of us who play/host games.

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i didn't get to stay long this day because of my flight plans, but i did manage to see the keynote from billg.  i enjoy watching him speak...he isn't as enthusiastic these days like steveb would be, but it is still interesting to hear him speak.

kudos to billg for poking fun at himself for the davos doodle incident.

overall the conference was a good experience i felt...i got more out of networking with people than most of the content, but from what i heard from people who may not have been aware of sharepoint and other office development, it was good content for them.

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off to a much better start (IMO).  yesterday i was able to meet some people i hadn't been able to put faces to, but have “met” online for the past year...that's been great...it is always good to network and i appreciate the opportunity to do so.

i decided to look at some of the non-sharepoint talks this morning...some of the things with office automation are pretty cool i have to admit.  i like the concept of word xml (wordML) to be able to create/assemble word docs without doing office automation on the server side...office has really made the right steps moving forward in this area.

infopath: yeah, you can't fool me.  it still “isn't there” yet based on how i see people really wanting to use it (as an application platform).  for basic data input it is awesome and i'd highly recommend it...for a real world scenario (workflow, security, offline capabilities) it presents challenges if it is seen as a platform rather than a tool...i could go on, but i don't want a headache.

information bridge framework (ibf): why are we calling it this? smart docs v2.  done.  the implementation is a lot better, but conceptually it is the same for me.  the demonstrations that they are showing are definitely cool...i just haven't been exposed to a scenario where i'd implement it over other solutions.

sharepoint: more of the same.  i feel bad for the presenters who aren't able to answer the questions of “why is customizing a site so cumbersome” (really it was asked as “this sucks, are you kidding me that we have to hack xml files to customize a site”) and “why does frontpage screw things up”, etc. -- the important thing to note is that they are here to help us learn, not give answers to why decisions were made...let's move forward with what we have.

workshare (www.workshare.com): um. cool. very cool.  did i mention this is cool.  these guys have a very well thought out application for document integrity and compliance (and some workflow).  by far one of the more innovative 3rd party products i've seen in the business solutions area in quite a long time...good job guys.

live communications server: forgive me, i kinda don't get it.  i already have msn messenger, etc.  okay, i guess it could be more secure from a corporate standpoint, but oh well.  and can we get a consolidated client instead of windows messenger, msn messenger, windows messenger for lcs, and then another (codename: istanbul)?  seriously, start talking to each other -- the target audiences aren't that different that you have to target specifically for the “home user” for msn messenger -- and btw, even at home i turn off all the msn crap -- i want an IM client, not a friggin newspaper.  feature request: can i set my own “status” -- why not?

k2 workflow (www.k2workflow.com): um, another cool product.  i've worked with this product for about a year now...awesome human workflow -- great tool...if you need workflow, you need k2.

more later...