eWorld.UI - Matt Hawley

Ramblings of Matt

Firefox Woes

March 8, 2006 07:58 by matthaw
So I've been running IE7 Beta 2 Preview since it was released, and I've not had the troubles that I've had within the last hour of installing FireFox, okay so I can't really compare them - I just gotta put the plug in. I'm currently re-writing the CalendarPopup control and got it fully functional in IE7. So, I decided to switch over to FireFox to see how it works. Well, it seems that some bug crept into FireFox that gives random errors like the following: "Error: Error in parsing value for property 'cursor'. Declaration dropped." Huh? Are you kidding me? This is simply a style being applied to a SPAN tag! Browsing the internet isn't turning up much, but I did find a few posts & newsgroup postings with the same error, heck even with other style attributes. Now that's progress - backwards, that is. Disapointing, and hopefully these things get fixed in the next build. Well, the bright side is that the control still functions as expected, you just don't get a pretty "hand" cursor. Oh well, back to it I guess.

Update: Bah, my lack of understanding w3c standards comes to bite me! BTW - new link I've never seen... www.quirksmode.org ... haven't had time to really check it out.

We're apart of the v.Next wave!

November 8, 2005 01:39 by matthaw

Over the last 7 months, I’ve been locked away for countless hours working on the v.Next wave of products for Microsoft’s partners. I’m happy ecstatic to announce that we’re finally shipping v.Next of Microsoft’s Partner Program portal, rather the Partner Membership Center. While I can’t talk specifics about the release just yet, I will let you in on some new teasers to wet your noggin’ with…

  • A brand new, streamlined way of managing your organization, competencies, individuals, references and products which enriches the Partner user experience.
  • A brand new way and vast improvement of competency enrollment.
  • A brand new “point engine” that calculates a partner’s points on-the-fly giving the most accurate and up-to-date information to the Partner.
  • A simplified and easier way of enrolling and re-enrolling within the Partner Program.

So there you have it. A great user experience is coming your way. So, when it goes live, I urge you to log onto https://partners.microsoft.com, enroll, and start your partnership with Microsoft. In the mean time, check out the Microsoft Partner Program Enhancements page for more information.

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Making the List

November 7, 2005 20:43 by matthaw

So I too ran the cool little tool that calculates your blogs worth, but didn’t feel like spamming my worth. Much to my amazement, I made Roy’s Top 31 list! Really, I think he was just being nice, and it should have been top 30, but – I made it. (Link to original worth listing by Jon)

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Where Have I Been?

May 21, 2005 17:42 by matthaw

Boy is that a good question, and I’m sure my fiance would like to know as well. Wow, its been over a month now at my new position within Microsoft, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve been apart of releasing my first build here! It’s been a stressful/exhausing past week and a half as we prepped our stuff for my team’s first build. I spent about 75 hours working 2 weeks ago, as well as about 70 hours this week. Yeah, I’m glad I have a weekend now…as I worked for about 15 days straight.

So, what am I working on? Well, its the next version of the Microsoft Partner Program website, and no, I can’t give specifics – but our partners will be VERY happy when this puppy releases later this year. It was a treat to be brought on right before development started, because it gave me some time to get used to the culture, as well as how their SDLC process actually works (BTW – I’m actually going to training on this process on Monday, as its basically so new, that we’re the only division/project that has used it so far).

I’m really enjoying my job out here, as it is constantly challenging me, and making me realize that I can be up to my full potential. It is such a treat to work with some of the best in the industry, and know that my, now, peers can look to me for advice and ideas. To better help you understand, I was primarily brought on for my custom control development expertise, and have recently been working on several controls as well as the application in entirety. It is truly amazing how many people come to get advice about how things should be done correctly, and I’m glad I can be there to answer their questions.

So off I go to enjoy my weekend, as our next “heavy” build is due in several weeks. It’s best that I enjoy this time & spend as much time as possible with the fiance prior to that, because it sure is a hard life. So, until next time…

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Quoted on Apress

May 21, 2005 17:29 by matthaw
I was lucky enough to get contacted from Apress concerning my blog post praising the FogBugz book that Mike Gunderloy put together for the release of FogBugz 4.0. I just checked out their site, and it looks like my quotes up. Sweet.

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Becoming A Blue Badge

March 18, 2005 16:58 by matthaw

So today marks my two week notice to my current employer, Integrity Technology Solutions. Over the last two months, I’ve been interviewing with Microsoft and have accepted an offer for an Application Developer position in the SMS&P division (which, if you don’t know, is their Small & Medium Sized Businesses & Partner Program division).

Wow, its been such a journey to finally make it to my life long dream company, in fact it’s still a dream to me that I even got an offer. I personally set out in January to just submit my resume just so I couldn’t say I never did, and now my fiance and I will be making the westward-bound trek to Washington.

As far as my interviewing – 10 interviews, including 1 screening call, 2 phone interviews & 7 on site interviews, it was one hell of an arduous journey. I do have to say that the interview process was more hype in the community than it actually was. I didn’t get any crazy questions like “how many manhole covers are there in NY city” – but, I did receive 2 brain teasers.

So yeah, my last day is April 1, with a new start date of April 11. We’ll be moving probably on April 5 & 6th out to our temporary housing until we find more of a permanent residence. So, if your out there at the MS campus, maybe we’ll bump into each other. I’d definitely like to meet any of my MS readers, so you can always get in touch with me using the contact link to the left.

I will definitely be posting more about the entire process later, I just wanted to finally get the global world aware that I’ve gone to heaven, so to speak.

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Netscape 8 BETA

March 3, 2005 23:15 by matthaw

Get Netscape 8 BETA, or wait FireFox 1.0, no it is Netscape 8 BETA…or is it FireFox 1.0 – hmm, boy, just what I want to do, get Netscape which roots from FireFox…glad they can rebrand their products successfully. Reading the release notes indicates that it is truly that, just a rebranded FireFox browser (sure, with some added features – what about putting those into FireFox!)…see for yourself.

Side thought – didn’t Netscape have their own search engine at some point? Now they’re using Google’s search engine. Personally, I think Netscape as a product in entirety is merely just a brand that’s dying. Live long Netscape they say – nah, FireFox’s name sounds cooler.

Okay, back to Nutscrape 8 – ohh boy does this thing look like the MSN browser, thank goodness for skins…


So as you can see, it breaks all the normal windows user interface guidlines just like Apple does with iTunes. Yippie! Now I can learn a completely new way of surfing the internet, or just closing the application down. Note these oddities:

1. The main menu is on the right hand side.
2. The search section is in the middle, with only the option to search Netscape (Google?)
3. The location bar is small and on the right hand side of the search.
4. Where’s my STOP button!
5. The “Personal Toolbar” is pretty sweet, but  getting rid of it makes the browser look like crap.

So yeah, what are they thinking? Seriously? “Lets build a better browser than IE” – haha, right, thats not going to happen with this crap. Your thoughts? BTW, I’m promptly removing this rechid thing after this post is done. Ohh, thats now, good…

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Review: Painless Project Management with FogBugz

March 3, 2005 00:26 by matthaw

Mike Gunderloy’s latest book, Painless Project Management with FogBugz, was a much suprise present that I received earlier last week. Needless to say I was going to purchase the book myself, but was greatly appreciative to whomever sent it to me (thank you, you unknown soldier of the free book society), making my ability to travel to the bookstore pointless…but I digress…

This book was a very well put together manual about how and why things work the way they do within FogBugz 4.0. Because of its easy read (and the fact I knew a lot of the stuff already), I was able to get through the book in just a few reading sessions, or 2–3 days total. The chapters take you from setting up FogBugz and administering it to getting it to work with your source control system. The stuff in between, well lets say you should just purchase the book to get the beefy, juicy, sweet tasting (it’s Homer time)…wait, just some good ol’ fashioned readin’ about how FogBugz is best utilized fo’ ya team.

Mike provides a lot of How-To’s and Why’s-That in this book that makes it a perfect read for any newbie to FogBugz 4.0, or for that matter any version of FogBugz. Sure, the examples won’t hold up for older versions, but the concepts explained work with just about any version you would be running.

So, get on outta here, and purchase a copy!

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FireFox CSS Redraw Bug

February 14, 2005 18:39 by matthaw

So I’m working on a .NET Web app at work where I’m utilizing CSS and my Collapsable Panel control. The CSS that I’m applying is a border surrounding the entire page content via a DIV tag. The problem that I’m experiencing is a redraw problem with FireFox…great!

Here’s a shot right after it has been expanded:


Here’s a shot after I “touch” FireFox (ie, I set focus to a textbox):


Note, no refresh of the page has been done, and it is merely a redraw bug in FireFox. Internet Explorer 6 works as expected. Sometimes FireFox is better than IE, but issues like this make me wonder why I use FireFox for better “support” of web standards. Note, I put support in quotes because FireFox actually does abide by web standards, whereas IE has created their own. Its just the small things that irk me…

Update: I’ve started a thread over at the FireFox forums, if you have any ideas or suggestions, post em there.

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Sunbird, 0.2 - Sharing Calendars

February 8, 2005 20:39 by matthaw

A few weeks back my girlfriend and I were looking to start sharing our calendars. Mostly because I didn’t know when she had to work (department stores, yuk!) and I constantly had to ask her what we were doing on the alternating weekends she didn’t have to work. So, being a developer, my first thoughts were – hey, I could build a calendar sharing app. Ohh, but the daunting task was ahead of me, and I really didn’t feel like taking my personal time to do this. Next thought? Well, that was to setup a VPC with Exchange Server – and after 3 hours I realized that this was overkill for just sharing calendars. So, I tabled the idea for the time being.

Then, a few days back, Sunbird 0.2 was released from the Mozilla organization. I thought, hmm…this could possibly work. And after installing it on my work machine to check it out, I realized this was perfect for what we needed. If you’ve never heard of Sunbird, its, obviously, a calendaring application that is standalone from any of the other Mozilla applications. It allows you to store and share your calendar much like Outlook (well, sharing is a lot easier). The ability to have many calendars open at once was exactly what we needed.

So, last night I installed it on my home machine, and had my girlfriend install it on hers (she’s THAT tech-savvy). Now, to actually share our calendars, I had to do a little bit of custom configuration, which I’ll describe below.

1. Create a shared folder that both (or all) users can access. I used my server, and created a share allowing anyone to read/write to it. I later back this share up in my nightly backup routine.
2. Open up Windows Explorer, and browse to C:\documents and settings\<UserName>\ApplicationData\Mozilla\Sunbird\Profiles\<DEFAULTPROFILE>\Calendar
3. Copy the CalendarDataFile.ics to your shared directory, renaming it to whatever you wish so that its easier to locate for other users. I used Matt.ics for mine and Heather.ics for my girlfriend’s.
4. Open CalendarManager.rdf in Notepad.
5. Find the “My Calendar” RDF:Description element, and change the NC:path attribute’s value to point to the new location of your .ics file on your shared drive.
6. Save and close the .rdf file.
7. Launch Sunbird, and you’re ready to add other calendars.
8. Click the “Calendars” tab.
9. Right click, and choose to add a new calendar. Give it a name, and use the “Browse” button to point to whatever calendar you wish to use. Note, do not pick up your own calendar, but the other person’s calendar.

From there on out, you’re able to see your and the other persons calendar at the same time. It is important to note why my above instructions are so important. Due to (my guess) a bug, trying to edit “My Calendar” to point its location to the shared directory never saves. It’ll revert to the local .ics file that we moved, and modifying the .rdf file manually was the only way to get around this. Also, if you should happen to be entering events in your calendar at the same time that the other person is, it doesn’t dynamically update the calendar. You must close and re-open Sunbird. Same if you change the color of the calendar.

I also realize that there’s an option to “Publish” your calendar to a remote site, but that requires WebDAV to be installed on your destination server. Supposedly, you can use FTP, but I was never able to get that working. A great thing about publishing your calendar, is that it can theoretically live on your website, and anyone can consume that calendar. However, until this gets finalized and working properly, the sharing methods I described above are the best methods.

So, if you’ve been looking for this type of functionality, and didn’t know where to turn, try out Sunbird…it gets the job done.

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