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Live Writer Beta 2 May 30, 2007

Posted by J.J. in Uncategorized.

Live Writer Beta 2 is available today. Details on the release here. Enjoy!


Ode to InfoWorld March 25, 2007

Posted by J.J. in Blogging, Tech Industry.
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Dave Winer has a nice paean to InfoWorld (which recently announced that its print edition would cease operations):

InfoWorld was the first tech publication that gave you sweaty palms when it arrived in the mail. This was before the web, so news came in weekly installments. When InfoWorld arrived, everything else stopped. I read it from cover to cover.

I feel the same way. It is hard to even recall the day when the most timely form of tech news was weekly trade pubs. But I remember before I was even working in software that the next installment of InfoWorld was the highlight of my week. This is in fact how I knew I was in the wrong line of work – my excitement level over reading InfoWorld far exceeded my excitement over my “real” job.

You don’t know what you do until you know what you don’t do March 21, 2007

Posted by J.J. in Code.
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From Raymond Chen

Many years ago, I saw a Dilbert cartoon that went roughly like this.

Frame 1: Supertitle – “Dogbert’s guide to project management.”

Frame 2: Supertitle – “Not a project.” Dilbert answers the phone. “Sure, we do that.”

Frame 3: Supertitle – “A project.” Dilbert answers the phone. “No, we don’t do that.”

I’ve seen a lot of software projects, and one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have a product until you start saying “No”.

Source: You don’t know what you do until you know what you don’t do
Originally published on 3/21/2007 4:00 AM by oldnewthing

Nick Bradbury: Build Something You Can Support March 21, 2007

Posted by J.J. in Code.
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 Words to build products by from Nick:

The hardest, most time-consuming part of being an independent developer isn’t coding: it’s tech support. So as you’re building your application, always think about how you can make it easier to support.

This isn’t entirely self-serving – in fact, it’s one of the best things you can do for your customers, because they’ve got better things to do than ask for your help. Think of every support question as a failure on your part, because if you designed your software right, customers wouldn’t need to contact you.

Source: Indie Tip #2: Build something you can support
Originally published on 3/20/2007 2:20 AM by Nick Bradbury

More on GET March 8, 2007

Posted by J.J. in Code, Web Tech.
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From Don Box’s Spoutlet

I too worry that there’s too much emphasis on ?uniform interface/CRUD? out there and too little on what it means to embrace GET (the one ?true? uniform interface) – hence my occasional usage of ?lo-REST.?

ETags, Content Negotiation, Redirects – all way more important than the notion of ?resource? or trying to add PUT and DELETE after the horse has left the barn.

Source: More on GET
Originally published on 3/8/2007 1:58 AM by Don Box

REST Issues, Real and Imagined March 7, 2007

Posted by J.J. in Web Tech.
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From Mark Nottingham: REST Issues, Real and Imagined

Founders At Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days March 5, 2007

Posted by J.J. in Tech Startups.
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I am about a quarter of the way through this book and so far it has been a fascinating read. The thing I like best about the format is that it is presented as “raw” interviews with founders, rather than attempting (as so many business books do) to string together a narrative with selective quotations.

Founders at Work is a collection of interviews with founders of famous technology companies about what happened in the very earliest days. These people are celebrities now. What was it like when they were just a couple friends with an idea? Founders like Steve Wozniak (Apple), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail) tell you in their own words about their surprising and often very funny discoveries as they learned how to build a company.

Source: Founders At Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days

Google Phone? March 5, 2007

Posted by J.J. in Google.
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Some good intelligence from Simeon Simeonov on the “Google Phone”:

Andy Rubin has a team of about 100 people at Google working on the Google Phone. So people have been paying attention. Andy was the founder of Danger and later Android, which he sold to Google in August of 2005. Andy is a systems guy and so it’s a good bet that he’s working on an OS for the famed Google Phone.

Source: The Real Google Phone « HighContrast

Writer Beta 1 Update September 27, 2006

Posted by J.J. in Windows Live, Writer.

Today we are shipping an update to Beta 1 of Windows Live Writer. Highlights include:

  1. A new tagging feature which supports a handful of tagging services (and is user extensible to support additional services).
  2. Support for the latest version of Blogger (Blogger Beta).
  3. We fixed the top 20 customer issues/bugs to smooth out some early rough edges.
  4. Writer now has its own space on Windows Live Gallery where a bunch of 3rd party extensions are available (with more to come). Highlights include “Blog This” extensions for both IE and Firefox as well as a Flickr plugin.
  5. An Event plugin that we developed in collaboration with Eventful. This plugin highlights Writer’s ability to publish microformats and to use Live Clipboard to flexibly translate structured data into presentation.

If there are Writer features and enhancements you are hoping to see and they didn’t make it into this release, rest assured we are continuing to listen closely and have lots of additional improvements on tap for our next beta release.

Video Players for Writer August 24, 2006

Posted by J.J. in Code, Writer.

Creating an image publishing feature for Writer that worked well with all weblog services was reasonably straightforward – most weblogs are able to host images and support direct uploading from clients via newMediaObject.

On the other hand, creating a video publishing feature was another challenge entirely. Unlike images, weblogs don’t normally host videos. Instead, videos are published to a wide variety of specialized video portals (which are still springing up left and right). There was no way we could properly support the diversity of current and future video hosting services with a feature baked directly into the product.

The solution: put all of the infrastructure required for video publishing into the product but don’t expose it directly to end users. Instead, expose this infrastructure to developers through the Writer SDK, allowing them to build the requisite bridges to (hopefully) all of the popular video services on the web.

If you are thinking of creating a video player plugin, the best way to get started is to read the “Embedding a Media Player” article in the SDK. While it is possible to create a simple video player very quickly, I think the best ones will also support some or all of the following behavior:

  • Be created as a subclass of SmartContentSource. This makes their implementation a bit more complicated but enables many of the cool features described below.
  • Enable insertion of videos either by “browsing”  (InsertableContentSource) or through a Url (UrlContentSource).
  • Rather than publishing an <embed> tag for videos (which RSS readers and many weblogs will strip) publish a JPEG snapshot of the video which links through to a page that plays it automatically. This can be accomplished using the HtmlScreenCapture class.
  • While publishing JPEG snapshots will ensure broad compatibility, it is still very cool to have a real embedded player when possible. Plugins can use the AdaptiveHtmlObject class to do this auto-magically.
  • If the video service supports variable sizes of embedded player, Plugins should allow users to directly manipulate the size of the video (check the SDK article “Making Content Resizable” for more info on doing this).
  • Create a sidebar editor that allows users to control things like captions, layout (text-flow and margins), and linking behavior (open in new window, etc.).

I’m excited to see a slew of cool video plugins come down the pike in the weeks ahead. If developers building them have questions or run into trouble feel free to leave comments here and I’ll try to help you through!