Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Microsoft Expression Web

Microsoft release it's new web development suite "Expression" a couple of months ago, the Expression suite is broken down into four applications Expression Web, Blend, Design and Media. All of which give the user the ability to make in depth web2.0 pages.

I was lucky enough to be given a free copy of Expression Web the other month when I attended the Microsoft SLIDE 7 event. I haven't used any web development products before such as Dreamweaver all of the web pages that I have created in the past have all been done in Programmers Notepad, which I find is a brilliant light weight programming tool for a wide variety of languages. So when installing Expression Web I had no idea what to expect and found the idea of designing and creating a visually pleasing web site quite daunting. However I quickly found that this is not the case, this software is easy to use, it is perfect for beginner Web developers and designers, as well as any developers who want to concentrate on the front end of there site.

The training DVD supplied in the box was extremely good, going through features of the package step by step on screen, however only contained the first two lessons so I went out and bought the full set of lessons and have been going through and now feel confident that I could develop a great website using Expression Web.

The software has some really good features it uses the intellisense from Visual Studio, this is something that I have really missed since I have been developing with java and PNotepad recently and makes life alot easier.
The inbuilt CSS control is also very nice and allows you to move and share styles all through the pages on your site. Even with it being a Microsoft product the ability to preview your site in other browsers such as Firefox and Safari make it great to develop pages that will be displayed correctly in all browsers due to how each of the browsers deal with CSS.

Expression Web also has ASP.NET functionality which I have yet to sample as I am still in the process of learning of learning the technology, but will go back and take a look how much of ASP.NET is supported when I am more proficient with it.

Great software! I am now looking forward to get time to start developing and designing web sites.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Channel 8

This week sees the launch of Microsoft's Channel 8 web site. Which promises to hold a lot of great developing material and tech news for students.

The site looks to be much like it's predecessor Channel 9 which offers videos to a wide audience from IT professionals to developers.

I cant wait for the site to get into full swing no doubt there will be a lot going on with the new site and Imagine cup and hopefully some nice learning resources we can get our teeth into.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Spartan 360

It's getting closer all the time to the release date of Halo 3 which promises to take the 360 to an all new high and will no doubt dominate the next gen console war.

With this upcoming release of Halo 3 Microsoft has also announced the release of a special edition Xbox 360. This special edition is spartan green and gold, bringing the colors of the great master chief to the console hardware.

The console sports a 20Gb hard drive and HDMI output port much like what will be on the black elite version. The only question now on everyones lips is how much?

"Orcas" Microsft Visual Studio 2008

As most people are now aware Microsoft are going to be releasing a new version of Visual Studio which has been codenamed Orcas. This is due for release in 2008, however you can get your hands on an Express Beta edition of VB, C++, C# and Web Developer at the following link:


Manchester Robot Invasion

So your walking through Manchester on a surprisingly sunny afternoon and the last thing you expect to see is a robot walking around singing and making fun of people but thats just what I found this weekend in the city center.

This robot was awesome, although had to of been being controlled remotely as it was just too life like! It seemed to walk and move around much better that even the Honda robot you see on the Internet and TV adverts. At one point he even broke into a sort of robot run at the crowd as we followed him about shouting at us "Running away won't save you!"

I managed to get a few video's of him however cannot post them here if you want to see the videos of him in action just message me and i will send them.

I hope we get too see much more things like this as it was really cool, hopefully with the upcoming release of Transformers we will do.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Google buy web security firm

This just in! Google has now splashed out a whopping $600 million for web security firm Postini, the company covers a wide range of security aspects from e-mail filtering to instant messaging security.

I spoke last week of Google buying out One Central phone company, now this is there no bottom in the Google bank? Splashing out money left right and center. How can they afford this? And when will it come back and hit the users in the ass?

All we have to do now is worry what they have planned for all these company's and technologies that they are buying.


I’m super stoked at the minute I’ve just ordered a new laptop from Dell and this thing is the mutts nuts!! It’s the new Dell XPS M1330 with a dedicated NVIDIA graphics card. It’s also very small and portable, meaning I don’t have to lug a great big thing around.

Here are the spec’s:

Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 1.8Ghz 2MB Cache
13 inch WXGA Truelife Screen
Fingerprint reader
2Gb memory
120 Gb HDD
DVD Slot loaded re-writer
NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400
Wireless N network card
Bluetooth Module
Windows Vista Home Premium

Check it out

What a beautiful machine!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Ever tried to find the wire you want in a sprawling tangle of wires? If so you will know how frustrating this is having to follow a wire through a spaghetti junction to find out what connection it’s plugged into.

The wiring in the server room at work is such a mess that you have to trace each wire to make sure it’s the correct wire you are looking for and even when you do find the correct one replacing it with another is a nightmare having to pull it out via a tangle of other cables. This isn’t easy at the best of times but if you’re not using snag less cables you will no doubt be left wanting to throw a set of switches through the nearest window.

I’m not sure if there is a set of standards for cables and wires but I defiantly think there should be this would make it much easier to find and replace cables.

When I started wiring up the new switches at work we have all decided that each set of wires needs to follow a set of standards. These are:

  • All cables are to be snag less
  • Start and end of cables label with where it connects to
  • Cables label at meter interval down there length
  • Cables are to be colour co-ordinated (Green LAN, Purple server etc.)
  • Groups of cables should be cable tied together.
  • As much cabling as possible to be hidden away.

OK so this sort of cabling takes much longer to set up, I spent a good few hour yesterday labelling and tying up cables but it will make the whole system much better at the end of the day. Everyone will be able to see where each cable goes and not worry about unplugging an incorrect cable and crashing the system.

I definatly think we will see the benefit of this in the long run.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007


Google has just bought out GrandCentral Communications for $50 million, mere pocket change for the global phenomenon.

GrandCentral allows users to access multiple phone numbers and voicemails from a single phone, so no more having to carry around multiple phones for work, home and also your blackberry. You will also be able to access and listen to your voicemails online.

It allows users to make calls from any of there phones at a click of a button, call blocking, listen in and text voicemail are just some of the features proposed.

At the moment this service is beta and only look to be offered in the states but no doubt when its success is realised it will be readily available all around the world.

Using GrandCentral on the move will require a web enabled phone with the ability to play mp3’s, however I hope in the future we will be able to accept calls on a Google mobile with all the features of GrandCentral built into it.

For more information on GrandCental and its feature go to www.grandcentral.com

Rock on Google.

Monday, 2 July 2007

How to Create A Microsoft Word 2007 Blog

So, in one of my previous blogs I went through different aspects of blogging using the new version of Microsoft Word now I will show you how easy it is to set up this blog tool in word. I have found using word to blog much more beneficial than just standard blogging tools.

To start of we need to click on the office button, and then New this will bring up the different types of documents that can be created in word. We want to select new blog post if you cannot see this option in the recently used documents as mine is just navigate your way through installed templates to get to it.

As you can see we are now asked if we would like to register an account, which of course we do so select the Register Now option.

This wizard is pretty self explanatory and easy to use, so now wecan click the drop down list and select the type of blogging account. I’m going to choose Blogger as this is where I have my account.

You are now prompted to enter your username and password, I would also advise you to select remember my username and password because as you will see later this will allow you to quickly create a post in the future.

We are now told that we have successfully registered our account, and we can work on our new post. As you can see from the screen dump that we can easily input the title of the post as well as being able to use all the formatting techniques available asif you were creating a standard Word document.

There you go now you’ve seen how easy it is you too can start blogging with Microsoft Word.



I recently had the opportunity to attend the SLIDE 7 event at Microsoft Campus Reading the mainly covered web development, using a verity of approaches.

The format of the event was basically split into two, one half of the attendees taking the more advanced topics such as Advanced ASP.NET and Connected Mobile Devices, whilst the other half (myself included) took the easier route covering an introduction to ASP.NET and AJAX. There were also common topics such as Silverlight.

I thought the topics on ASP.NET and AJAX were an excellent introduction to someone like myself who had not used either of the technologies before. Not surprisingly I found many similarities with ASP and JSP which I am much more accustomed to, after a year doing it at university. My JSP also helped me understand what was happening with AJAX.

These lessons have now inspired me to go out and try to learn more about each of the topics and I have started learning some basic ASP.NET and will hopefully move onto AJAX in due course.

Mark Johnsons presentation on Silverlight was excellent all be it with minor compilation errors. Also to my surprise a mac was used to give some of the presentation along with the friendly jokes along the way.

Swag, galore!! Everyone who attended also received a bag full of swag, containing a copy of Expression Web which at first look I am really impressed with.

Overall a great day and I will defiantly be attending next year!

Smell that scalextric!

Just took a overheated memory slot out of a PC and the smell of it reminded me of scalextric!!

Brings back the good old days :p

Sunday, 1 July 2007


I've just recently started watching an IP TV show called Hak.5 (www.hak5.org) which is a tech program covering a variety of topics. It is hosted by two geeky but great hosts Wess and Darren, along with other friends who make appearances through the show.

The show is currently up to its 10th episode of its second season and will hopefully be going strong for some time. There are some great things on the show such as modding various aspects of computers, whether it be customising that old keyboard you have in the attic, with a coat of paint down to running Doom on your DS. There is also a great security section of the show hosted by Harrison, where he identifies vulnerabilities in various networks (mostly there local coffee shops Wi-Fi). There's other great projects to be found as well such as customising a laser pen so that you can play your I-pod wirelessly via your stereo.

I've picked up a lot of cool things from the show which when I get a spare weekend I will follow up and check out in more detail, such as the PC alarm clock with an RSS newspaper.

So go to the shows web site and check it out, and remember, "Trust your Techno Lust".