Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Microsoft recently released Expression Web, which replaces the venerable FrontPage HTML editor and Web site design tool. Expression Web has come a long way from its FrontPage roots, but it still maintains much of the ease of use that allowed FrontPage to be used by so many new Web content creators. Here’s a look at the highlights.
1: Expression Web replaces FrontPage in Microsoft’s lineup, but it fits into a different slot
Instead of being part of the Office suite, Expression Web is part of the new Expression suite. Expression is focused on Web designers and graphic artists. That being said, Expression Web does still have a few “FrontPage-isms,” such as the way it handles a Web site as a logical unit, while also incorporating some of the widgets and function set of Visual Studio 2005.
#2: Unlike FrontPage, Expression Web purposely generates standard, valid HTML and CSS by default
Although it can behave in an “IE first, all else second” manner, the focus is solidly on standards. This is a welcome change from FrontPage, which was notorious for generating code that did not work well (if at all) in browsers other than Internet Explorer.
#3: Expression Web is capable of working with ASP.NET files, but it can’t work with the code-behind files
All of the ASP.NET controls are configured using whatever attributes they expose. The ASP.NET pages that can be made within Expression Web fall under the category of tasks you would do in a basic, dynamic Web site. This is the most obvious sign that the tool is made with designers, not developers in mind. One piece of ASP.NET that it thankfully supports is the use of Master Pages. It is also capable of performing basic work with Data Sources and the related components that can be bound to them (Repeater, ASP.NET Web form components, etc.).
#4: The rest of the Expression suite covers the ground that Expression Web doesn’t
Expression Web is focused purely on HTML and CSS. It does not provide even a basic image editor, for example. And as previously noted, its support for ASP.NET is limited in scope.
#5: Like FrontPage, Expression Web provides a good number of tools for reporting against the site that you’re working on
For example, it has broken link searching, a site summary, and unlink file summary. While these tools may seem rather basic for a Web developer, they are invaluable for a Web designer, whose purpose is layout, not deeply technical code writing.
#6: One sign of the former Office integration is the use of the spell checker, something which will most likely never appear in Visual Studio
The spell checker shows some unusual behavior, which it does not show in other Office applications: Once a word has been “completed” (indicated by putting a space after it), further edits to that word that create a typo are not marked as such. This is a bizarre thing for it to do. The word to the wise would be don’t use Expression Web as a content editor for too long.
#7: Expression Web contains three important and useful validators
This first one is a CSS validator, which checks the selected documents (or the entire site) to make sure that the CSS within it is used properly, such as tags that have undefined CSS classes. The second is an HTML validator, which can use either a set DTD or each document’s declared DTD to verify that each page is valid and can verify the CSS against a particular version of the CSS standard. The third one is an accessibility validator, to ensure that the site meets standards for accessibility. This is a welcome piece, since Web designers frequently are ignorant of (or ignore) accessibility standards. These three items help make Expression Web an excellent tool for users who are more focused on layout and design and less inclined to think about or be knowledgeable about these topics.
#8: If you want the functionality of the Master Page system without using ASP.NET, Expression Web has a Dynamic Web Template system
This system allows you to create a pure HTML template and then create pages based upon it. When the template gets updated, so do the pages created from it. The pages may override the template as well, where needed, but the behavior in the Design view is to allow editing only in the sections of the page that the template has labeled as an Editable Region.
#9: Expression Web hooks into the Microsoft Script Editor, which provides debugging tools for client-side scripting
This is nice to have, but it would have been nice if the tools for working with the client-side scripting had been built into Expression Web. While the “separation of powers” makes sense at one level (after all, Expression Web is not meant for code writing), it is a ding in terms of convenience and ease of use.
This is a great way to try out the tool with no commitment, to see if it meets your needs. If you decide to purchase the full version, you don’t need to reinstall it; you can easily update the product key. Also, Expression Web is now part of the tools available to MSDN members, reversing an initial decision not to make it available to them.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0
Saturday, August 8, 2009
- Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking enough water.
- Get adequate rest and exercise to help your immune system function properly.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or one of the many over-the-counter hand sanitizers. Hands should always be washed after using the bathroom, eating, sneezing, coughing or touching any object that may be contaminated with significant bacteria or viruses. A simple-to-follow-rule is that if you have any doubt about whether or not you should be washing your hands, then you should indeed be washing them!
- If you develop cold-like symptoms, even mild ones, it is best to stay home from work, school and social events for the time being. Your cold symptoms will more likely be the “common cold” that will typically respond to your usual self-care interventions. However, if they worsen you should contact your medical provider immediately.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggest that anyone who is strongly suspected of having contracted swine flu be asked to wear a disposable face mask to prevent possible transmission to others.
The basic symptoms of swine flu include: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Diarrhea and vomiting have also been reported, but to a lesser extent.
Saturday, August 8, 2009 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Bill Gates will manage one of the highest-profile transitions in American business history and computer technology. Before stepping down as chairman of Microsoft (currently $300 billion company that he co-founded over 30 years ago) and moving on to philanthropy, Gates will head a few more high-tech projects and hopefully achieve his goal of bridging the physical and virtual worlds. A secret covert project code named Milan and is 5 years in the making was top secret until recently being unveiled to the public at the Wall Street Journal conference. The project involved transforming an ordinary tabletop into a brilliant, interactive surface with effortless interaction with digital content through natural gestures, touch, and physical objects. A revolutionary aspect of Microsoft Surface is its natural interaction with everyday objects and technologies with an intuitive touch-sensitive 30-inch tabletop with nothing but your fingers. No more computer mouse, keyboards, or wires. The multi-touch interface allows the user to have hands-on control of photos, music, maps, and more. The coolest feature I liked was the photo resizing and stacking that is similar to Macintosh’s Apple iPhone’s zoom gestures.
This idea is nothing new and is not the only company eyeing the new market, but it has never been more than a prototype until recently being exhibited at the All Things Digital conference.. Microsoft Surface made several appearances in movies like the futuristic movies Minority Report and The Island. This new technology, the brainchild of Stevie Bathiche and Andy Wilson, is breaking down the traditional barriers of people and technology by providing an effortless interaction with digital media. It is apart of Intel’s vision of the near future where devices work seamlessly together. This innovative computer has price tags running $10,000 a unit. Microsoft however expects prices to plummet over the next three to five years to the point that it will be available for every home.
Key Attributes of Microsoft Surface
Inside Microsoft Surface Computer
See Microsoft Surface in action
Microsoft envisions the Surface technology being used in restaurant settings.
Mark Bolger, director of marketing in Microsoft's Surface Computing group, shows a photo application that pulls digital images from a remote server and then lets users move them around the tabletop -- and resize them -- with their hands.
Bolger demonstrates a virtual painting application.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0
Introducing Project Natal, a revolutionary new way to play: no controller required. See a ball? Kick it, hit it, trap it or catch it. If you know how to move your hands, shake your hips or speak you and your friends can jump into the fun -- the only experience needed is life experience
Microsoft's first try at a gaming console amounted to essentially a very affordable PC. It used standard PC components, including a mobile Intel processor (a hybrid Pentium 3/Celeron), a desktop NVIDIA chipset, a Western Digital hard drive and relatively standard PC DVD-ROM. The original Xbox was such a PC in fact that there were quite a few users that wanted to mod it simply to have a cheap PC, not even for gaming - including ourselves.
Before the Xbox was launched, Microsoft was very concerned with users thinking of the Xbox as nothing more than a PC branded as a gaming console, so it went to great lengths to reduce the association. For example, the strict ban on keyboard and mouse support, despite the fact that the console implemented the standard USB interface.
With the Xbox 360, Microsoft gained some benefits of the original Xbox success. Xbox didn't win the sales battle against Sony's PlayStation 2, but the first Xbox was strong enough to cement Microsoft's name in the world of console gaming manufacturers. For their second time around, there is less worry of the Xbox 360 being viewed as a just a PC, so Microsoft took a bolder approach.
Honestly, with the Xbox 360, Microsoft could have put forth another PC in a black box and it probably would have done fine. But with their second gaming console, the target was growth -- and Sony. With an established name and fanbase, it was time to take the market seriously and start to exert some dominance and thus the Xbox went from being a clunky black box of a PC, to a stylish consumer electronics device.
The Xbox 360 is smaller than the original Xbox, and its wireless nature makes it a natural fit in the living room - marking a thankful change from standard gaming consoles of the past. Despite looking like the offspring of an iPod and a DVD player, the Xbox 360 is still very much a PC on the inside. As such, it's got all of the components we're used to.
With less than a week to go before the retail availability of Xbox 360 consoles, we got our hands on one to give it the usual AnandTech once-over. And take it apart of course.
What's in the Box?
Our Xbox 360 system was the $399 unit, which comes with the following:
- Xbox 360 console
- 20GB Removable Hard Drive
- Wireless Controller
- DVD Remote
- Ethernet Cable
- Component AV Cables
- External Power Supply
The $299 core system gives you the same console (with a white DVD tray cover), a wired controller, and standard composite AV cables; there's no hard drive, headset or remote.
By now you have undoubtedly heard about the massive external power supply that comes with the Xbox 360 and you can see it in the lower left hand corner of the picture above. Remember that in the original Xbox, the power supply was internal. But with the power requirements of the Xbox 360 being significantly higher than its predecessor, while featuring a noticeably smaller case, the only solution was to take the power supply out of the Xbox 360.
How Xbox 360 Works
Microsoft's first video game console, the Xbox, has sold more than 20 million units worldwide since its introduction in 2001. Despite the Xbox's impressive power, the list of big-name video game titles to support it and the success of the Xbox's online component, Xbox LIVE, Sony's PlayStation 2 still outsold it.
As the game industry moved into the next generation of video game technology, Microsoft was determined to dethrone Sony's PlayStation. Enter the Xbox 360.
Microsoft rebuilt the Xbox from the ground up. From the name to the look to hardware and features, the Xbox 360 is a radically different and more powerful machine than its predecessor. Far more than a video game console, the Xbox 360 is a total media center that allows users to play, network, rip, stream and download all types of media, including high-definition movies, music, digital pictures and game content.
In this article, we will learn about the hardware and features that make the Xbox 360 a leap forward into the next generation of gaming consoles.
The Xbox 360, like all video game consoles, is just a computer with hardware and software dedicated to the function of running video game software. The original Xbox was essentially a Windows PC with a modified Pentium III processor, some relatively powerful graphics and audio hardware and a modified version of the Microsoft operating system Windows 2000, all packaged in that distinctive black box. The Xbox 360 is also a specially packaged computer, but once you look inside, you realize that this console has quite a bit under the hood:
Custom IBM Power PC-based CPU with three 3.2 GHz cores
Custom ATI graphics processor with 10 MB embedded DRAM
512 MB 700 MHz GDDR3 RAM
Detachable and upgradeable hard drive -- all models except the Core system
12x dual-layer DVD-ROM
Support for up to four wireless game controllers
Three USB 2.0 ports
Two memory unit slots
As you can see, Microsoft intends the Xbox 360 to be a serious game machine. The company is also serious about reaching more audiences with the Xbox 360. On the next page, we'll look at variations of the Xbox 360 that are marketed to different kinds of gamers.
by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0