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well, i decided to play around a bit with the new visual studio tools for office second edition that was released today.  a while back (actually at before the microsoft mvp summit), i was talking with richard Hundhausen about some ideas to code about -- he needed a good one.  he came up with the idea of an outlook add-in for those people who keep thinking that bill gates will send you $5 if you forward the email to 11 of your friends.

an add-in that would simply scour snopes.com to see if it is a hoax.  i decided to embark on that task to see the new vsto tools.  it was amazingly simple to do and implement a custom ribbon ui add-in:


so i created "SnopeIt" (props to billwil for the mneumonic name).  when you open an email message, you'll be able to click on the Snopes icon:


and it will launch snopes.com with the search results.  i emailed the snopes contact info to see if they have any type of web service to be able to give a better user experience within outlook and play around with the form regions in vsto as well...we'll see -- but it's a work in progress.

i'm really impressed with the vsto tools and ease of implementation!

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sweet...the update to visual studio tools for office (vsto) has been updated and released!  just updated on the office developer center, is released in beta form.

this represents an opportunity for visual studio 2005 developers to do some development on the office 2007 platform now much easier.  what is great is the vsto team also created a tutorial to walk through some examples.  granted the examples are very simple, but it gives you an idea of how to leverage things like add-ins, task panes, integrating with the ribbon UI.  it's 58 pages of goodness to get you jumpstarted.  get the bits and tutorial now!

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my favorite pdf reader had a new release a few days ago, get foxit reader 2.0! (with an installer finally).  for those that don't know anything about this reader, it will make you wonder what the heck adobe acrobat reader actually does with all that space -- foxit is lean and mean...and free.

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i've been a bit frustrated at my windows mobile device lately.  i've been dealing with my issues for a while and finally got around to asking some questions (some yet to be answered though).

one thing that i'm confused about is how windows mobile prioritizes the user to display when calling someone from their contact list.

for example, let's say I have Chris Smith with a home/mobile number and his wife Sarah Smith with a home (same) and mobile (different) number.  if i scroll to chris' contact record and click to dial on the home number, windows mobile displays sarah's contact card when dialing as if i dialed her.  it happens without fail.  i would have suspected it *not* to do that, but even though it clearly isn't using the contact card i selected, at least i would have expected it to default to alpha sort...but that isn't right either.  i'm stumped on that one.

another thing that bothered me was the options on the today screen for appointments.  i don't want "upcoming appoingments" or "next appointment" i wanted "upcoming appointments for today only" -- not the absolute upcoming ones (windows mobile showed me tuesday appointments while i was on vacation on friday).

well, problem solved...someone pointed me to , a FREE utility for windows mobile that gives me (among other things) greater control over the today screen options...see:


it's pretty cool -- i'm going to play around with it for a few days -- if anyone can explain the first issue, i'd be delighted :-)

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two words (separated by a dot): default.master

having worked with sharepoint technologies since "v1" (dare i call it alpha?), those could appreciate the likes of using such rich development tools like notepad to modify themes and templates.  i mean, who needs designers and other productivity greatness like color coding, intellisense, previews, etc.  after all, they only save time...

as a long time fan of web development and lover of all things asp.net, i was so happy to learn early on that sharepoint v3 (i much prefer that than MOSS) was going to be built on asp.net.  don't get me wrong, the sharepoint teams were able to accomplish great things with their platforms, but it just didn't lend itself to the developer used to tools like asp.net, visual studio, etc.

i also was always scratching my head on why more teams didn't leverage existing microsoft technologies to make their products more seamless...but after getting in at microsoft, i understood the big beast a bit more.

regardless, sharepoint v3 introduces asp.net as the base for the site templates.  i can now use the tool (sharepoint designer) and modify the master page rather than some funky CAML that i'm not familiar with as an asp.net developer.  my experience with the designer has been great -- i haven't been doing anything advanced really, but the familiarity of master pages and controls, and all that goodness brings a geeky smile to my face.

if you haven't checked it out and shrugged off sharepoint in the past because you felt it was a second class web platform...take another look...it's awesome.  not to mention workflow, rss, wiki, etc. all built on the platform as well!  think of the extensible possibilities!