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it's true...windows vista released to manufacturing!

read from the windowsvistablog.com: windows vista releases to manufacturing

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following the rtm announcement of office 2007 (if you hadn't heard), the evening keynote at devconnections had ScottGu give the following announcements:

lots of great stuff and i'm sure more to come this week!

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it's been a few weeks since i've been on a plane...my last trip i had a bag big enough i needed to check anyway, so i paid no attention to the liquid restriction for myself -- although the warning signs were all over.

well, the tsa has 'loosened the restrictions' on liquids.  again, i have to ask the question of what research/tactic/preventative mechanism is now in place that makes the tsa confident that the problem is solved?  i worried when they first made the restriction that it would not be able to be revoked.  well, i stand corrected (sort of).  apparently there is a magic number of 3 ounces that makes it safe.  granted you can take AS MANY 3OZ ITEMS AS YOU WANT as long as they fit in a provided zip loc bag.  so, by the looks of the bag, i figured you could squeeze about 10 3oz containers in there (size varrying)...so 30 ounces of liquid.  now is that too much?  we'll never know because it is allowed.

the 3oz restriction is lame.  i understand the situation, and i can appreciate being safe...heck i'm not saying i don't want to be safe, but let's put some thought into this.  reducing the amount of liquid to a specific size, but not the overall amount is dumb, just dumb.  i mean, i'm not going to go through the scenarios, but i'm sure you could imagine it just doesn't make sense -- you should either allow them or not.

and if you do have the restrictions, empower the tsa to put some thought into it.  i had my deodorant...it is gel.  so i decided to get one of those plastic bags for me deo, contact lens solution, toothpaste, etc.  the tsa rep looked at my deodorant and said that it is not allowed (the container read 4oz).  i was quick to point out that clearly it was half way gone.  his response: "we can't measure items."  my interpretation: we're not being empowerd to look at a full container and determine that it is half gone and do the math.

that, my friends, is idiotic.

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i was mocking up a simple vista sidebar gadget to show a colleague of what a gadget is and he complained that it was "too wide" -- after i inquired further, he called me over to show me.  you see in vista, when you have Aero (aka "glass" effects) enabled, the sidebar is really seamless into the desktop (apart from a shadow on the right).  when you hover over the sidebar, it 'defines' itself and makes itself a little more visible...thus a small border/line appears.  see below:

my colleage said "see, it's wider than the sidebar!"  ah, now i understood.  you see he had defined the sidebar as only that space to where the line goes (even if the line isn't visible).  we argued a bit about the concept of space and definition, but to him, my gadget broke "the rules" in the width.  what is interesting is that without scrolling over it, you never know the defined edges of the sidebar and thus in normal viewing, my gadget looks fine.

that is, until you add a bunch of others...all of which have maximum docked widths no larger than the sidebar border (note: a gadget can be undocked and placed anywhere on the desktop).  interesting, i thought.  it appears that we've put ourselves in this situation.  so where does the sidebar start/stop.  arguably, you could say "it's a sidebar" so it is defining itself on the side.  in my opinion, sidebar isn't a good name, for that reason specifically.  to me, it's a dock -- a "snap to" location for the gadgets.

oh well, maybe the other gadget designers can break free of 140 pixel widths and liberate in a docked mode!

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have you noticed that the most popular sites/services are beta?  one of the biggest abusers: google.  recently, my local university changed their complete student email/collaboration systems to 'outsource' to google (gmail, google calendar, gtalk -- all in beta).  this university has a student population of 60,000.  instantly google grew their ad revenue by 60K users.  it was an interesting move i thought.

but it got me thinking.  in my role, we look for early adopters as well, but it seems like at times to be a challenge.  in fact, the same university was hesitant to early adopt a technology we were working on at the time.

so what makes services different?  a ton of the things people use and have relied on are in "beta" according to their organizations.  is that just a moniker so that if anything goes wrong there isn't any real liability and it is easy to say "it's in beta" as an excuse?  i don't know, but it made me look differently at these things.

why are we so encouraged ourselves to not think twice about services like gmail beta, but we would about certain microsoft products?  okay, stop throwing rotten vegetables at me.  kidding aside, i'd argue that email is *the* most important asset/application people have these days (technically speaking).  so, you'd trust that with beta?  have no idea where you are going and use a map service -- what if that was in beta (google maps was in beta and had tons of people relying upon it for finding their ways in unknown areas)?

so i just get curious the more i think of it as to how google (and others) are defining beta...what's the duration, what's the benchmark for moving it out.  and is it ethical to be making money off your users on a beta product (i.e., ads in gmail)?  and doesn't it even matter?

heck yahoo bought flickr and they didn't have a "production" application!  and further heck, i use flickr and actually pay for the pro services.  yep, i'm paying for a service that's beta -- well, okay 'gamma' according to them.