Google Suggest

Once again, Google comes up trumps with an impressive new service: Google Suggest. Think of AutoComplete for web searches, based on what other people have previously searched for, and you’re there. (Thanks to Jeremy for the link.)



Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the US, a day of commemoration of the first Pilgrims giving thanks to God for their successful harvest and settlement and the fact that they hadn’t been eaten by the natives. 383 years later we’re celebrating our first Thanksgiving, and also give thanks to God for our successful settlement here and…


Speeding up Adobe Acrobat Startup

I’m very fond of the concept of Adobe Acrobat – being able to share a single PDF file that contains a non-volatile representation of a document, that you can view on-screen or via a printer without worrying about formatting issues caused by different fonts, operating systems or printer drivers. But I’m getting increasingly infuriated by the…


Avalon 3D Class Changes Between WinHEC and Nov CTP

In the second developer preview release of Longhorn, distributed in May at WinHEC (build 4074), the Avalon team included a whole bunch of new 3D functionality. For the first time, Avalon surfaces could contain not just 2D shapes and brushes, but also 3D meshes that could be rotated, transformed and animated, with custom camera and…


Getting to Know Avalon – A Guided Tour of the SDK

For those of you who are starting to experiment with Avalon for the first time as a result of the recent Community Technology Preview release, I thought it would be helpful to put together a quick guided tour of the SDK reference documentation and overviews to give you some sense of the major feature areas…


Calling Win32 APIs from the .NET Framework – The Easy Way

Although the .NET Framework contains a comprehensive catalog of classes that encapsulate much of the operating system, real-world applications often need to go beyond the Base Class Libraries and interact directly with the underlying Win32 APIs, either because a managed class doesn’t exist for the required method or because it doesn’t go far enough. If…


Differentiating Avalon, XAML and Aero

One of the areas that I’ve seen cause a bit of confusion in the newsgroups and on blogs is the difference between three technologies that will ship with Longhorn: Avalon, XAML and Aero. I wanted to address this quickly in the hope that it helps us all get a little more precise with our terminology:…


And So It Starts Again… Avalon Community Technical Preview Released

The documentation is complete and the bits are signed off and uploaded to MSDN Subscriber Downloads. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first Community Technical Preview release of “Avalon”! Avalon is the new graphics display subsystem that we announced at PDC, which unified documents, graphics, media and user interfaces into a single platform. Using…


From Multitasking DOS to Windows Media: Larry Osterman on Microsoft Life

I’ve actually never come across Larry Osterman before, but he’s got a whole lifetime of experiences at Microsoft. He joined in 1984 in the heady days of MS-DOS, and has progressed through most of the teams. He has an infectious sense of enthusiasm and of course a crazy number of war stories about Microsoft through…


Letter from America – Part II

One of the many things that continues to mystify me about American life is the garbage disposal unit. The kitchen sink in our apartment has no plughole: instead, it has a large round drainage hole obscured by a number of rubber flaps that come out from the edges. It’s not possible to see what goes…