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Archive for June, 2007

SnagIt Rocks

SnagIt Rocks

I had to take about a dozen screen shots the other day and my (new-ish) MacBook does not have a Print Screen key.  Instead of remapping a key (I use SharpKeys for that) or finding a keyboard, I installed an NFR copy of SnagIt that I was given a few months back.  What a great tool.  Wow!  You think that taking a screen cap is no big deal but SnagIt makes the process so simple that it’s almost enjoyable.

snagit

The default behaviour is to pop open the SnagIt editor after the capture and you can quickly crop as needed and save out to file.

The “Menu with time delay” option is indispensable if you have to take images of menus:

menu

And there are a bunch of features that are just too much work in Photoshop (and impossible in Paint) like torn edges, highlights, blurred backgrounds, etc.

SnagIt is from the good folks at TechSmith.  TechSmith also makes Camtasia, which I have long loved for making screencasts.  I’m now putting SnagIt in the “Love It” category as well.  If you make documentation or post screen shots on the web (e.g., in a blog :) ) without SnagIt, you don’t know what you’re missing.  And they even offer a 30-day trial.

June 29, 2007Comments are DisabledRead More
HTTP.sys Does Not Cache Default Document

HTTP.sys Does Not Cache Default Document

Output caching for Web applications is a beautiful thing.  The HTTP protocol stack in Windows Server 2003, HTTP.sys, runs in kernel mode and normally requests have to be handed off to a worker process running in user mode.  But if you use output caching, HTTP.sys can provide kernel mode response caching so a switch from kernel mode to user mode is not necessary.  I’ve heard that that one feature made a noticeable difference for MySpace when they moved to WS2003 (but I don’t have anything to back up that statement).

I didn’t realize that HTTP.sys would not cache the response from a default document.

From http://support.microsoft.com/kb/817445:

The HTTP.sys response cache caches any request with the appropriate flag in the request header. This cache is disabled on a per request basis. However, if any of the following apply, HTTP.sys does not cache the request response:

A static file is accessed as a default document (for example, Default.htm exists in the root directory). Accessing the specific file by name (http://example.com/default.htm) causes HTTP.sys to cache the file. Accessing the Web site by requesting the root folder (http://example.com/) results in a non-cached response.

June 8, 2007Comments are DisabledRead More
Switch ASP.NET Version

Switch ASP.NET Version

Here’s a handy tool for switching the ASP.NET version used by an application.  Internally it uses aspnet_regiis

http://www.denisbauer.com/NETTools/ASPNETVersionSwitcher.aspx

ASPNETVersionSwitcher

June 6, 2007Comments are DisabledRead More
Multiple Mouse Pointers in Windows

Multiple Mouse Pointers in Windows


The Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Software Development Kit (SDK) helps developers create programs that enable the use of multiple mice on a single computer.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=a137998b-e8d6-4fff-b805-2798d2c6e41d&DisplayLang=en

This is really neat.  It will be a big help if you are working on same-room collaboration systems.  It also makes it plausible to port applications to large touch systems like wall displays or tabletop interfaces like the Microsoft Surface.  In the past it has been difficult to move an application to a touch-based interface because users keep “stealing” the mouse cursor from each other.  Presumably with this SDK you can work around that problem.  (Is it just happy coincidence that this is coming out around the same time as the Surface?)

This SDK came out of Microsoft Research but has been transferred to an education products group.  There’s currently a single blog post from the team if you want to follow along: http://blogs.msdn.com/multipoint/default.aspx.


June 4, 20073 commentsRead More
The June Challenge: A Post Per Day

The June Challenge: A Post Per Day

I’ve been blogging for a while and it’s fun for me, but I often beat myself up for not posting enough.  It’s easy to let blogging activity slip when you’re busy doing other things like earning a living.  So for the month of June I am committing to at least one blog post per day (Mon – Sat) at either http://ardentdev.com or http://derekhat.com.  Hopefully we can get some good conversations going.

At the end of the month if I find that no one seems to care a lot about the increased frequency, I will go back to blogging when it’s convenient and stop beating myself up for not posting more.  But if we can get some good dialogue happening, I will extend the experiment through the summer.

June 1, 2007Comments are DisabledRead More