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if you are a web developer, you most likely want all possible tools available to you.  and there are some great ones out there like firebug, ie development toolbar, etc.  if you are an asp.net developer, you most likely know about the best helper tool by called the ' which is implemented as a browser helper object for internet explorer.

nikhilk has evolved his tool over time and in the latest version has awesome support for reading JSON encoded information and visual representing them in a helper way so that you can see what is going on.  as an example, here is one such view:

well, those that have been running vista may have been running into problems using nikhil's tool if you are either running under UAC-enabled or possibly running internet explorer as an administrator (run as administrator mode).  this may have resulted in the web development helper a) not even showing up under the tools options in IE and/or b) when you enable the toolbar, all you see is a gray area with nothing helpful :-).

well, after reading a bit into one persons attempts, i decided to quickly hack a reg setting to see if it will work (i was one such person that couldn't get it working under vista).  i'm happy to report that my results are favorable and i now have the great web development helper toolbar working under vista with UAC disabled.  yippee...i'm so happy i could cry.

i'm sharing the love so here is my reg hack file.  rename to .reg and merge into your registry.  WARNING: MODIFYING THE REGISTRY COULD CAUSE DAMAGE IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING...PERFORM THIS TASK AT YOUR OWN RISK!

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man, i'm really impressed with what people are doing to create their own unique experiences.  since i'm mostly in internet explorer (and to be quite honest, it serves me well, i've found no reason (yet) not to keep using it) i've not been privy to some of the utility plugins for firefox.  firefox has an amazing plugin ecosystem that i wish would exist for ie.  the other day i posted about the stylish plugin and a custom interface for google reader.  well today, i've found two other gems with firefox.  the first is a greasemonkey script that adds a new interface for your gmail stuff.  here is a glimpse:

the other is the S3 Organizer plugin -- very slick.

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so at tech lunch wednesday here in phoenix, after lunch i sat with hamid and scott for a bit and we were brainstorming about a few things.  one of which was storage, then we got on the topic of amazon's s3 solution.  i had started to look at it before, but then never got the time to go back.  essentially amazon provides storage via a web service (there are no tools provided by them, just an api).  i said that i mainly use flickr for the storage and that i'd only use it if i could get a direct url to things, and that i'd have to have a plugin for live writer :-).

well, when i got back i started to mess around a bit and got a working progress for my "s3 browser" live writer plugin.  you can browse your buckets and link to an item as a link or an image.  it is very rough right now, has some issues with UI threads, etc., but it works for me so far.

you can take a look at the screenshot below -- and the link is directly to my s3 stored image!

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i just got back from hanging out with some guys from technologies, a local consulting firm specializing in ruby on rails development.

what?! a softie hanging out with rails people?  well for those that know me, even though i bleed blue (seriously i do, i had my molecular dna changed to ensure it...we almost named our son Zune, but we settled on Zane instead), i'm a technologist at heart.  you see, my problem is that i love technology (i'm imagining kip dynamite singing his song right about now) and i love to learn new things...staying all agile about technology and stuff...

anywhoo, jade, chris, matt, matt, josh, derek, erica and the rest of the gang at integrum opened their offices to an "open house" tonight and invited the tech community.  so off i went.  first, these are some super cool guys (and gal)...very intelligent, not zealot in their views (okay, at least not to me in my face :-)), and like to have fun.  there was no presentation other than jade offering a thanks to those who came and to their stakeholders and family who have helped them grow their business.

i thought the idea of tech firms/isvs/partners opening their doors to host some of the community for a night of networking.  i remember the early days of azipa when it was supposed to be like that...but turned into a recruiting fest, then evolved to some type of tech council that i personally feel is out of touch with the tech community.  but i digress...anyhow, it was a great idea and i'd love to see more of this type of stuff.  we're all in these communities together.  sure at times we compete (and sometimes aggressively), but it's this type of networking that helps build a stronger overall community.

so i would suggest you consider this in your communities...i know there are a few that also "do lunch" once a week or so at the same place just to chat about business, tech, normal life stuff...another great idea.  so, who's next in my neck of the woods...ahem...axosoft.

thanks integrum for hosting...and best wishes on continued success...i can't wait until a few weeks when i can sit down with you guys and chat about some stuff we are working on :-)

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i just posted the missing app.config file for the final mobility touchdown lab "putting it all together" over at the mobility touchdown team blog.  go get it :-)