I’m Back!

After way too long, I’m back blogging!

I finally got my old Community Server Blog migrated over to WordPress. YES! I was having so much trouble with community server (it was several versions old) that I had decided not to post anymore until I could get on a new platform (and hardware).

WordPress really rocks, so I’m finally glad I got everything migrated. Now to find a decent WP Theme, and slap it on here! A few tweaks, and plugins, and I should be back in business.

No promises on how often I’ll blog now, but I am really going to try and get back into a regular cadence (several posts a week).

Coming soon: How I migrated from Community Server 2.0 to WordPress (not an easy task, but I took the easy way out).

Great to be back!!

Microsoft MAX

There has been a lot of buzz this weekend about the new Microsoft Max (beta) product.  I hadn’t paid much attention to it for a while, but decided to grab the latest version and take a look for myself.  Like everyone else, my first impression is that MAX is beautiful!  This thing looks great!  Seeing something like this really excites me about the possibilities of future applications using Avalon  Windows Presentation Framework(WPF)  .NET 3.0.  I guess I need to dig out that WPF book I bought a while back, and see what a person with zero artistic abilites can do with it (Warning, it probably will not be pretty!)

For those of you who are not familiar with Max, it is primarily a photo application used for cataloging and sharing photos.  The most recent build has also added in a RSS reader that makes RSS feeds appear like a newspaper or magazine layout – very slick.  A photo app and RSS reader do not seem like congruent features in an application to me, but I am sure Microsoft will tie all this together somehow.

There have also been some posts speculating that Max may be a NewsGator killer.  While I don’t agree completely with that, I do have some thoughts:

  • I think getting RSS readers into the ‘mainstream’ can only help everyone in the blogsphere – from content creators (bloggers), to advertisers, to software providers.
  • Yes, many users may eschew advanced readers like NewsGator in favor of Max, but these users would probably have never heard of RSS before Max, let alone in the market for a RSS software purchase
  • Some Max users will get hooked on RSS, and will find they need more power than what Max has to offer – Boom! – new RSS client customers!
  • Existing NewsGator folks (like me) will think Max looks great, enjoy the variety, and user experience, but will not convert to Max for many reasons (as of the current Beta – if you are on the MS Max product team and reading this, consider them feature requests):
    • No synchronization between PCs.  If I read / delete 150 posts on a plane (or anywhere for that matter), I don’t want to have to delete them on my home and office desktop manually.  NewsGator handles this transparently.
    • While the Max UI is awesome, I believe in the long run it makes reading or quickly deleting posts more time consuming and cumbersome.  For speed, I like my single column in Outlook for quickly looking at posts, determining “Read or Delete?” and moving on.
    • Max does not provide the full post in it’s feed, just a quick teaser.  If you want to read the rest, it pops a browser window.  Reading blogs in a browser is just so 2004 :-)
  • At the end of the day, how many ‘average’ user will adopt RSS?  Every Windows PC for years has shipped with a News (NNTP) reader inside of Outlook Express.  How many folks outside your tech circle of friends know what a newsreader even is?
  • No import or export for OPML feeds, or any other settings for that matter.  I’m sure this will change in the final product, but it’s annoying for now.
  • And, no open API or SDK for Max.  I can think of 50 things I’d like to add to Max, with now way to do it.  Again, I’m sure this may change with the final product, but if Microsoft is serious about building an ecosystem around this product sooner is always better than later.

 

As I write this, Max is installing on my X-41 Tablet PC, I’ll be interested to see how the ink features work.  More soon.

Ink Blog Plugin Beta 2 now Available!

UPDATE – Please note the newest version (v1.0) is now available here

I’ve just released an updated version of the Ink Blog Plugin, Beta 2 for Microsoft Live Writer & Tablet PCs.

There are quite a bit of new features here including:

  • More ink colors, including custom colors
  • Handwriting Recognition of Ink, which is posted in blog under the ink area
  • Various pens and line weights
  • Highlighters
  • Lasso tool / Move / Cut / Copy / Paste
  • Multi-level Undo / Redo
  • Text inside the ink region
  • Ability to re-edit ink before you publish
  • Vertically Expanding ink area – unlimited ‘paper’
  • Edit mode backgrounds for cleaner inking (Several line widths & Grid)
  • Recognition of shapes
  • And More….. :-)

Requirements:

  • Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
  • Windows Live Writer
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
  • Microsoft Ink Update for Tablet PCs on .NET framework 2.0 / CLR

To Install the latest version on your Tablet:

  1. Download Here
  2. Close any open MS Windows of Live Writer
  3. Run Installer by double clicking on the downloaded file
  4. You will now have a “Insert Ink Blog” option in the Live Writer task pane, and on the ‘Insert’ menu
  5. Ink Away, and enjoy!

Important NOTES:

  •   If you get a warning message during the install, it is probably because you do not have the Microsoft Ink update installed (see above).  Continuing through the install is fine, but you will need to download and install the update for full & proper functionality.  (This is a good update to put on your Tablet PC either way to ensure optimum ink compatibility in other applications)
  • This beta build will expire on October 1, 2006 (Don’t worry, I should have another out long before then! :-) )

As always, please leave your feedback, issues, and requests as a comment here, or contact me directly.

 [UPDATE] If you are getting an error when you try to use the plugin that mentions the file Microsoft.mshtml please see the post here for a fix.

Ink Generated with Ink Blog Plugin - http://www.edholloway.com

Ink Blog – Feature Requests?

If there are any features you were hoping for in the ink blog plugin – now is a good time to let me know.  I’ve got most of the big items on my list done, and will be starting on some others soon.

Please comment here and let me know what you would like to see.

Getting Scobilized

There always seems to be debates on getting links from A-List bloggers, and how hard it is for the average blogger to get traffic.

I must have fallen under a lucky star, since Scoble linked to me yesterday – only 3 days after my new blog went ‘live’!

So I guess the secret is just writing a Tablet PC plugin for whatever software (MS Live Writer, in this case) Robert has just started using.  The (semi) groveling email probably helped too :-).  Either way, thanks for the link Robert – and when are we going to see an Ink blog post from you?