Tuesday, April 15, 2008

No support for Australia in DL2


Delicious Library is one of the most unique applications on the Mac for cataloging you physical media such as Books, Games, CDs and Movies. Delicious Library 2 will be out very soon and 1 request I had for this major update is support for Australian barcodes in the iSight scanner but unfortunately that wont be. DL connects to Amazon for searching and adding items to the library, Amazon doesn't have an Australian store so I'm out of luck. The very helpful support lady assured me that I will still be able search via 'Name' which isn't quite as quick and easy as barcode scanning but it all results. Check out the website  for more details on Delicious Library.

The main developer on this project, Wil Shipley is my idol when it comes to developing, check out his personal blog for tips and insights into his genius.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Newest member of Continental-8!

I'm happy to announce I have joined Donald, Lloyd and Josh on the Continental 8 team. Formed at the challenge to build a WPF Program to get accepted as Microsoft Student Partners, we will be building an innovative blogging tool. I will be working alongside Lloyd as the head of the UI Department of the project so I have a big task ahead of me but Im looking forward to it. Details are minimal at the moment so stay tuned here and on the official development blog to keep track of project progress. I'm super stoked at this chance and I plan to make the most of it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Resolution Independence in WPF

This is the first of a series of posts that explains the aspects of WPF and C#. One of the first technologies explained in Pro WPF in C# 2008 is the support for resolution independence in WPF applications. In standard windows forms applications, scaling is not supported and this becomes more of an issue as manufacturers cram more pixels into LCD displays which results in a higher DPI (Dots per inch) rating. A traditional display has a pixel density of 96 DPI but newer displays can have pixel densities of 120DPI and up, this results in windows and controls decreasing in size rather than increasing quality and clarity. How is this overcome? Resolution Independence. When you make a button with dimensions of 96 x 96 on your 96 DPI system, it displays a 1 inch button. When a user runs your application on 120DPI system, windows assumes each individual pixel is equal to 1.25 pixels, this means that the button will be 1 inch in length when displayed on a standard or a high pixel density monitor. Instead of changing the size, the button has increased quality as more pixels are used to display it. This is all done without any input from the user, most people will not even notice it :)

I'm not going to go over the mathematics involved in reaching this independence but I just wanted to go over the basics. If you have any issues or tips with this post, please drop a comment :) I'm still learning so give me a chance :)

Two books for learning C# and WPF

As readers of my previous blog will know, I'm learning WPF/XAML along with C# to develop next generation windows applications. When I first began my journey, WPF was a daunting prospect and C# looked impossible to master (Still does :)). Tutorials may be a good thing for learning Photoshop but it doesn't work all that well when learning a system graphics environment or a coding language. Donald recommended that I read these two books, Illustrated C# 2008 and Pro WPF in C# 2008, both published by Aspress. In my early developments I can honestly say that I did skip over some of the 'basics' related to programming, which I believe added to my fear of learning a new code language. Illustrated C# is a great book, it first presents a small amount of history on C# and then gets down to the basics of this new language. Already I have become more comfortable and confident that I can master this programming language. I can also say I did the same thing with WPF, jumped right in and started building applications which resulted in getting pretty confident with my tools but not with the technology and language itself. Pro WPF in C#, much like Illustrated C# explains a little history and then gets down to building a foundation for further learning and having a quick flick through I know this will be a very valuable source.

I know I said that I would provide information and help on learning these technologies as I learnt, unfortunately I haven't been keeping that promise lately but that will change :). Along with recommending these books, I will provide posts on aspects of WPF and C# as I learn them. This helps me to get a better grip on it as well as helping you guys to learn as well. I hope this all helps.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Brushes for Expression Design

My good friend and fellow student developer, Donald, has released the first set of Bittbox brushes for use in Expression Design. Originally for Adobe's Illustrator and Photoshop applications, these ported brushes are fully functional and totally free! Thats right, you can have professionally designed brushes for Expression Design. A full how-to is included with the brushes to get you on the way. Donald has put a tonne of time and effort into porting these brushes, so when you download them, drop a comment on his blog or on his Channel 8 post!

You can download the brushes here

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Beta Software I'm testing

I love testing software, to the point that almost every program I use is pre-release which is some cases might not be such a great thing :). Looking back, my first ever beta program was for Windows Media Player 10, we all know how awesome that was. Since then I have tested/ing:

Firefox 2
Firefox 3 (Current)
Internet Explorer 7
Internet Explorer 8 (Current)
WMP 10
WMP 11
Windows Live Messenger
Skitch (Private) (Current)
Comic Life (Private)
Comic Life Magiq (Private) (Current)
Bento (Current)
Expression Blend 2.5 (Current)
Yahoo! Messenger for Vista (Current)
Flow (Current)

Thats all I can think off the top of my head. Being able to test this software and even be chosen for private testing is an honour for me as I get to use the software and provide my thoughts and bugs with it. I have tried to provide all the links so you can check out the betas for yourself. Two of importance are Yahoo Messenger which uses a stunning WPF rich interface and Flow which is built by a student :)

The Holidays are here!

As of yet I still haven't posted here about anything related to technology but I'm working on it. Especially since tomorrow is the last day of the West Australian school term 1 for High School students. I was planning on spending most of the holidays at BHP working for Computer Sciences Corp but I can't even go for the safety course until the 30th of April which rules out that idea. The one positive that has come from that is that it allows me to dedicate more time to my personal projects and learning. Being a designer means I can draw things pretty good, but I still have to learn how to use Blend and WPF properly. Content Presenter is an excellent video resource for people just getting into Expression Blend, I have already learnt a lot so I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Welcome new readers and loyal followers from my live space blog. This is my new home, "but why did I leave live space?" well there are two main reasons: 1) Live Space is incredibly slow and doesn't really resemble a 'proper' blog and 2) The customisation's of blogger is unmatched by Live Spaces. I was originally drawn to blogger from my fellow Rural Management Team developer, Donald and his awesome blog. Now that is out of the way, what can you expect from my new blog? Dedication, my experiences in learning to be a software developer and designer, the journey of bringing Rural Management and other projects to reality as well as other ramblings :) Which also means the post are just going to be about me or things related to me. As I hit milestones with my life and projects, you will know about it. When I learn something new or cool, you will know about it. At the moment I'm learning XAML/WPF with Expression Blend and when I get the time I'm learning the basics of C#. Stay tuned!