Archive for October, 2005

Monad – The next big thing

Do you even get the urge to try something new? Well if you learn one thing in the next 12 months make sure it is ‘Monad’, the new Microsoft Shell. It isn’t finished yet but already the power and flexibility of the new shell is clear. You’ll need to get the .net Framework 2 RTM for it to work but after that point your browser here and get the latest copy of Monad.

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Idea#3: Calendar Control with Exchange 2003 Backend

Now this is an idea that I am actually doing to try and develop over the next little while. What I think would be really cool is a calendar control similar to the one on the right that is created from data that comes from an Exchange calendar. It would also need the ability to drill down deeper and just show the appointments/events for a single day or list of days.

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This is absolutely hilarious!

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Blogs? Are they taking over? Part 2

You may remember a little while ago I blogged about…well blogging….anyway it is over here:


Like many I’m sure, I’ve become addicted to places like Bloglines and memorandum. What really cheeses me is that people are just ripping off what’s popular and putting it on there own blog. At the risk of being flamed I am going to pick on Scoble because….well he is easy to pick on ok.  I visit his blog because I know that he is the dude who started the whole channel9 thing and he works at Microsoft. So naturally I’m interested in what goes on in that sphere. If I wanted to know about Google or Sun or whoever, I’d go visit one of the regular news sites. I can read too you know and despite what my colleagues may think I have also mastered the copy/paste thing. Lets take a step back for a moment…why is it that we blog? Isn’t it because we want to share our lives, our world, our view? Don’t we blog because we think that others might be interested in what it is that we do or think? A lot of people are worse, they just link to whatever everyone else has on their blog….wtf? If your going to blog I think your should follow some lose guidelines:



    • Blog about what it is that you or your company does. In the end that is going to be the best news because people aren’t going to be able to get it anywhere else.


    • Don’t blog about something in the news or on another blog unless you have something substantial to add to it.


    • Remember that readers are principally interested in your sphere not someone else’s so make your content is as unique to you or your company as possible.


    • There are news sites and blogs, they are two very different things.


    • If you’ve started a blog for the sole purpose of promoting something then I think you’ve missed the whole blogging thing. Don’t get me wrong, blogs will intrinsically generate activity around a product if that is what your blog is about, however that shouldn’t be your focus. We don’t want to know how much it costs or what discounts we get for reading about it in a blog, we want to know what it can do and how it does it. We want to know why it was done that way.


    • I’m sure there are lots more but this will do for now.


I find that the most interesting blogs are those that give me something that I can’t find somewhere else. I love reading Scott’s blog because I always learn something that I didn’t know before. Those of you out there that are just mindlessly posting to your blogs on topics that 100 other people posted minutes before, I’m sorry to say that we’re not interested. Anyway…just me 2 cents.

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Idea#2: RunAsHelper

At the organization that I work for we are required to use under-privileged accounts for all tasks except where admin rights are necessary. For this we are to use the RunAs feature of windows. Now in the course of a day, especially if I am debugging or developing something, I often end up doing a RunAs and typing my username and password a dozen or so times. What would be really hand is an application that you can RunAs once which in turn is able to launch other processes when needed. Ideally it would live in the system tray and you could right-click to display a list of application that you can run with elevated credentials. You’d also want some means for the program to allow addition/deletion of programs and a portable way to store the list of applications.

This actually has a lot of potential because you could design it in such a way that would make it very modular. What I am thinking is this, create an Interface called ITask with definitions for a Run method. Then we can have different tasks implement this interface for say running programs or mapping a network drive, etc. As a minimum ITask would also want some properties for say Name and location/file or something like that. The the sky’s the limit! Keep a collection of ITask object that correspond to items in the menu and you’ve got yourself a handy little app! Any thoughts?

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Windows Command Files

I happened to have deleted the Show Desktop icon in my quicklaunch bar the other day. Now I didn’t realize how much I used this lovely little button until it was gone. So I search with the mighty google and found the following:


It is fairly easy to restore the “Show Desktop” button that usually resides in the Quick Launch toolbar, if you have removed it.

Open notepad and paste the following:

[Shell] Command=2
[Taskbar] Command=ToggleDesktop

Save the file as “Show Desktop.scf” in C:\Documents and Settings\<YOURNAME>\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch where YOURNAME is the username of the account that is missing the icon.

What is over at

Now I’m wondering, what are these .scf files and where are they documented? More importantly what else do they do?

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Idea#1: .net CDP Reader

I always have these idea that seem like they would be really useful and cool but just never have the time or knowledge to implement them. So why not blog about them and let some other smart dude with lots of time figure it all out.

My first idea is to have a small application that a user can fire up that will start monitoring there network connection. The program will ignore all data except cisco CDP packets. Once a packet is received then the program would be able to display what port of what switch the user is connected to. Now this might not seem immediately useful but we often find that it is useful to find out which port a user is plugged into which means having to go down a match up wall ports with switch ports. If you had a small program to do it then you’ve just saved yourself a trip. And it’d just be cool.

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Getting through corporate firewalls

Many companies will probably hate me for posting this but I think it is pretty cool. All you need to poke your own hole through a corporate firewall is putty and a linux box. The proceedure is simple. Setup your linux box so that it can accept connections for ssh on port 443. Test it to make sure it works.

Then at work grab putty and set it to use your proxy server, which will allow port 443 out. Type the IP address for your linux box and change the port to 443. You also need to go to tunneling and tunnel the remote desktop port through to your local machine and bobs your uncle. Then you can use your PC from work and do whatever you like. Cool hey!

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Gold Class cinema experience

On Friday I had my first ‘Gold Class’ cinema experience and I loved it. I went and seen Cinderella Man and it was also tops! I’d have to say the whole ‘Gold Class’ thing is totally worth it, I can’t believe I haven’t done it earlier.

For those of you not in Australia we have ‘Gold Class’ sessions at the cinemas. It like the movies for rich people almost. You get all this fine treatment, you order your food and drink before the movies starts and you also specify what time you’d like them to be served. When you get into the cinema there are these electronic lounge chairs so you can put your feet up and relax. It’s awesome!!

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