jens-schaller.de

SonicFileFinder 2.4 released

SonicFileFinder is a free add-in for Visual Studio that allows a fast and convenient search for any file within every Project of the loaded Solution by entering the complete filename or just a part of it. The found file(s) can either be edited with a single keystroke or a Windows Explorer / CommandLine prompt can be opened at the file's location.

What's new?

Version 2.4 is a compatibility release for Visual Studio 2013.

Note: SonicFileFinder requires .NET Framework 3.5 to run!

  • ADDED: Support for Visual Studio 2013.

Download it on the SonicFileFinder website.

Say hello to Auxido

Finally I can tell you why this blog was so quiet for some time.

 

A colleage and I are working on a new project called Auxido. It's an app for teachers supporting them in their daily work and it will be available for iOS and Android platforms at first.

 

You can reach us on your favourite social media platform (Facebook, Google+, Twitter), or simply visit our brand new website at http://auxido.de. Please forgive us for providing only a german version of the website, since we are mainly targeting the german speaking market first. But the apps are fully localized and the website will be, too.

 

So, if you are a teacher or know teachers, please share, like, plus, tweet about us and Auxido.

 

We really appreciate your feedback and support!

 

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Dear Apple, Inc., dear Sir Jonathan Ive, please bring back iOS.

First of all I really like what you are starting to do with the new iOS 7 total redesign, but please don't let this UI be the final version of what's coming.

 

To explain why, I have to take the longer way around. For me it all started with buying an iPhone 3G in mid 2008. When it first came to life after powering it on, it already started to change the way I think about how technology should work and look and feel. I was always very passionate about the UI/UX of software and devices and things throughout my developers life and even before that. This first iPhone 3G changed me in such a way that I now have driven almost every Windows PC out of the house (and there were a lot), converting completely to the Apple platform. Last year, I even started developing Apps for the iOS platform (after being a long time Microsoft .NET developer) and I am loving it more and more each day.

 

There was a lot of fuzz around the revolutionary flat iOS redesign before the keynote yesterday and I literally grabbed a bear and something to eat and watched the very personal and emotional presentation. I really like the new tone you guys at Apple are putting up, which for me is the core of what people around the world love and appreciate about your products. (Thus my emotional introduction)

 

But please don't take away all of what nit-picking (in a good way!) designers, developers and customers all love so much about your user interfaces. Don't sell your soul to all those fancy gimmicks like parallax thingamabobs and physics magic. Don't get me wrong, I really like subtle animations helping the users while guiding them at the same time. But in my opinion this is too much. This is too much of everything.

 

On the other side there are the home screen icons. Very round corners, very large icon content combined with very child like colors and no real consistency in styling the core system icons. 

 

In one way you are poking the UI to bump and parallax like there is no tomorrow while at the same time you are taking away the essence of great user interfaces. The obsession to small details like tiny shadows, good weight icon sizes and recognizable but unobtrusive colors, etc. are completely gone in the current design of iOS 7. And yes, you can do great flat designs while giving people the freedom to details. 

 

Just take a look at the redesign of iOS 7 by Leo Drapeau at Dribbble. That's exactly what I'm talking about. It has all the subtle details we all love so much while still being fresh, clean and new.

 

I'd like to post a few quotes from another post by Piotr Denis:

Simplify, but give it back the artistic feel. We love Star Wars, Star Trek and other Sci-Fi movies. But what makes iOS feel so special, it is not only its simplicity of future but attention to detail. Simple gradients can do the job, but some shadows and more subtle colors were something what separated iOS from Android and Windows Phone systems with a bold red line, not the thin one.

(Taken from Save the iOS: An open letter to Apple, Inc. & Sir Jonathan Ive)

 

Please, don't jump on the Android/Microsoft design train. "Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people's thinking." (Steve Jobs)

 
 

Sincerely,
Jens Schaller 

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SonicFileFinder - Viewing Files in Code instead of the Designer

I searched for some file and pressed enter on a "xxx.vb" file and instead of opening the code file the designer was loaded. Is there someway I can directly load the code file instead of the designer.

Yes, you actually can: After highlighting the appropriate file in SonicFileFinder, you can use the context menu to choose whether the file will be opened in code or in the designer.

 

Sorry Soham for not getting back to you by e-mail. There was a problem with the contact form and I didn't get your e-mail address. It's all fixed now btw.

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SonicFileFinder 2.3 released

SonicFileFinder is a free add-in for Visual Studio that allows a fast and convenient search for any file within every Project of the loaded Solution by entering the complete filename or just a part of it. The found file(s) can either be edited with a single keystroke or a Windows Explorer / CommandLine prompt can be opened at the file's location.

What's new?

Version 2.3 is a compatibility release for Visual Studio 2012.

Note: SonicFileFinder requires .NET Framework 3.5 to run!

  • ADDED: Support for Visual Studio 2012.

Download it on the SonicFileFinder website.

The Future of SonicfileFinder

Dear Users of SonicFileFinder,

 

it’s been quite a long time since I published an update for SonicFileFinder. Some of you have been asking about whether I will continue development and whether there will be a version supporting Visual Studio 11.

I can assure you SonicFileFinder is still alive, but I really don’t have the time to develop it actively at the moment. I will definitely look into the support for VS 11 and I will keep you posted.

Thanks so much to all of you out there still using SonicFileFinder!

 

Regards,
Jens

 

@Jay: Sorry, I could not answer your feedback directly since you did not supply an E-Mail address.

decoded11 recap

Last Saturday I was at the decoded conference in Munich and here comes the recap.

The decoded started last year as a conference for code and design. This year it went international and drew people for all over Europe to the Freizeithalle in Munich. Its goal was to bring up “International speakers from the field of generative design, computational art, information visualization and hardware tinkering are teaming up to share some insights of their work and tell their very own stories.”

Did they succeed? Well yes and no…

Sessions

Fluid form the process – Fluid Forms

Stephen Williams was quite a slow train, but his way of combining technology and algorithms with the creativity of people into sellable products was really inspirational.

They tried to build a website where customers can design own accessories made from layered wood. First they tried it with sliders for defining the shape of an object. Problem was that customers didn’t understand what the sliders “did” to the object. The controls were too far away from the place where the actual change was happening.

In a next version they tried out grips residing directly on the surface of the virtual object. People understood that better, but it was too complex for them designing their own design object. “Give people more than 10 choices and they won’t make a decision at all.”

In the third version they eventually got it right: Customers can choose a map section of any place in the world and fluid forms would transform the elevation profile of the location into a wooden fruit bowl (http://www.fluid-forms.com/design-your-own/Fluid-Earth-Pinstripe-Schale). So you get people’s own creativity into the product without asking too much of them (Stephen called that the “democratization of design”). Furthermore you create a strong connection to the real object because the customers designed it by themself. How cool is that?

Stephen gave us a good insight look into the ideas and the problems that came along.

Resources

http://www.fluid-forms.com
http://fluidforms.eu/processing/fluid-forms-libs
http://twitter.com/#!/fluidforms

Bildkultur gegen Sprachkultur – Prof. Herbert W. Franke

Well… “nächste” (This is an insider joke and I refuse to write anything more than that ;-))

eBoy – Hello pixel!

Digging the style of eboy, I was looking forward to this session. It started quite strong telling us a bit about how the worlds of eboy are created. Sadly the session quickly turned into a machine gun like enumeration of projects they did, without any background of the how and why. That was garnished with a very bad English performance of both speakers.

Anyways, the art of eboy still is awesome! If you would like getting to know eboy, I recommend taking a look at their online shop at http://shop.eboy.com/. Also the iPad/iPhone App (http://www.eboyfixpix.com/) is strongly recommend.

The fascination of the unexpected – LIA

“Don’t try this at home” should have been the title of this session. LIA, an artist from Austria, talked about her way of creating art using processing and trial and error. Showing off an endless list of code examples and using total absence of knowledge she shaped statements like: “If you find an error and double it, you get twice the error.”

“I don’t know what it does, but it looks nice” isn’t really the kind of inspiration you should take with you.

Resources

http://www.liaworks.com
http://www.re-move.org
http://www.turux.at

Inquisitive devices – Kate Hartman

Kate is an example of a highly creative and passionate mind. From a glacier hugging device to plants using twitter and calling you on the phone, Kate explained a lot about her work. Her work is mostly about connecting the digital to the real. Building a digital bridge between plants and humans using botanicalls as well as electronic devices woven directly into our clothing connecting humans between each other. While kind of spacy you get the idea where this could lead in the future.

This was truly one of the highlight sessions.

Resources

http://www.katehartman.com
http://www.katehartman.com/thenextbigthing

New York, New York – Jer Thorpe aka blprnt

Being a great and knowledgeable speaker Jer brilliantly explained his work on project Cascade for the NY Times analysing the flow of articles through Twitter (also done in processing). The visualisation alone was a piece of art.

Another highlight was the design process for the 9/11 memorial on how the names were placed on its surface. Each name was placed in a way that it reflects its relationship to others while being visually correct based on a typographic  point of view. Details of how he solved this are described in his blog (a must read).

Too bad I couldn’t get to Dog & Pony – Gallery & Playground where he organised a farewell party for his five year old MacBook on Sunday.

Resources

http://blog.blprnt.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/blprnt
http://twitter.com/#!/blprnt

Location

The Freizeithalle was nice, but the soft drinks where much too pricey. Also the event organisation could be better. For example: the after show party was miles away, the directions to the location could be clearer (at least for people not living in Munich), drinks and food could be included. 

At this point kudos to the team of the dotnet cologne 2011. THAT event was organised perfectly!

Munich

If you are visiting Munich or even living there, you really have to see the KRAFTWERK. 3-D VIDEO-INSTALLATION at the Lenbachhaus! That’s absolutely awesome!

Again?

I guess so. Besides the flaws it was nice and I really loved the spirit and creativity. For me as primarily a software developer with a huge interest in UI and UX it was a quite inspirational day.

I loved the idea of getting things done no matter the technology but with strong ideas in mind. For me decoded was not about learning something you can use right away. It was one of many ways I can draw inspiration from.

Resources

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MIX11 Recap

For the last three years I had the chance to visit the MIX conference in nutty Las Vegas. Like every year, here comes my recap containing my opinion to the sessions and MIX11 itself as well as some resources for you (and me) to relive MIX11 once again.

Opinion

For me MIX was always about the MIXture of tech and non-tech cultures. When first visiting MIX09 the crowd was almost 50% developers and 50% designers and so were the sessions. I was totally blown away by so much creativity in one place and that concept of this conference was totally new to me.

MIX11 was something completely quite different. It felt like it had been hijacked by the various product and development teams. Nearly all of the UX sessions were injected into the MIX agenda at the last minute after a wave of feedback and disappointment from the community.

The added “UX Lightning Series” sessions were great, but a total of 2,5h plus only a few other UX/Design session compared to a 12 hour non stop flight from Europe? Well, not really.

Stop whining you say and you are right. MIX11 was nice, the three days hiking upfront were great, but next year I will wait until the final session list is available before booking my trip. I sent my feedback to the MIX team, really hoping they get MIX back where it belongs.

Anyways, I really enjoyed connecting with new people and people I only meet only once a year at MIX.

Session Favorites

Without further ado, here are my favorites for MIX11:

Fonts, Form and Function: A Primer on Digital Typography

http://channel9.msdn.com/events/MIX/MIX11/EXT02

Robby Ingebretsen is a Design-Rockstar! ‘nuf said.

UX Lightning Series

3 sessions each consisting of 4 talks of 10min. Crazy? Yes, and totally awesome!

Back to Square One

http://channel9.msdn.com/events/MIX/MIX11/DES01

Nishant’s sessions are interesting, quaint, nutty, informative and many more. Some may find them only strange, but I like his style in many ways.

Designer and Developer: A Case for the Hybrid

http://channel9.msdn.com/events/MIX/MIX11/EXT07

Jeff Croft is a Designer who taught himself some coding skills. It’s nice to see a Developer/Designer Hybrid from a Designers perspective.

Other Resources

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SonicFileFinder 2.2 released

SonicFileFinder is a free add-in for Visual Studio that allows a fast and convenient search for any file within every Project of the loaded Solution by entering the complete filename or just a part of it. The found file(s) can either be edited with a single keystroke or a Windows Explorer / CommandLine prompt can be opened at the file's location.

What's new?

Version 2.2 is a compatibility release for Visual Studio 2010.

Note: SonicFileFinder requires .NET Framework 3.5 to run!

  • ADDED: Support for Visual Studio 2010.

Download it on the SonicFileFinder website.

MIX10 recap

MIX10 is over and it has been a great pleasure for me to be there. I will provide you with some short recap of the “What’s new”s and “Must see”s.

Facts

Windows Phone

MIX10 was so all about Windows Phone that I guess everyone out there must have heard of it. But anyways I will provide some facts about it.

Silverlight 4

Silverlight didn’t shine nearly a much as last year. It stood cleary in the shadow of the Windows Phone. I kind of do not understand this, since there are so many exciting new features especially for business applications.

At MIX10 the RC of Silverlight 4 has been released and the final version will come out in April. I guess Microsoft will sync it with the release of Visual Studio 2010. The tools and such can be grabbed at http://www.silverlight.net/getstarted/silverlight-4/

The differences in Silverlight 4 compared to previous versions:

Microsoft also released a first version of the Microsoft Silverlight Analytics Framework, which provides an API as well as many 3rd party providers (like GoogleAnalytics, ATInternetAnalytics, etc.) for analyzing your website traffic.

Channel 9 published a list of Silverlight 4 Training Courses at http://channel9.msdn.com/learn/courses/Silverlight4/

A new version of the Silverlight Toolkit will be available soon at http://silverlight.codeplex.com/

HTML 5

HTML 5 (supported by IE9) is kind of strange for me: On one side it’s great, because of its possibilities, hardware acceleration, etc., but on the other hand there is Silverlight. I really hope Microsoft will push them both, since in my opinion Silverlight has the biggest potential. HTML 5 will kind of transport us back to the stone age concerning the development platform.

OData

From a session description: “The Open Data Protocol (OData) applies web technologies such as HTTP, AtomPub and JSON to enable a wide range of data sources to be exposed on the web in a simple, secure and interoperable way. Whether you have a simple collection of reference data, are building a Rich Internet Application using WCF RIA Services or are building the data platform for a high-end website, this code-heavy session walks through the key technologies and practices available to expose your data and its associated logic as an OData feed.”

Well that sure sounds great, but would you really implement a web service breaking all your clients when changing a thing in the schema? “Well just use versioning”, you might say. Well there isn’t any versioning in OData…

Sessions

There have been great sessions at MIX10 and I will provide you with my personal favorites. Be aware that the listed sessions are mostly in the non-tech/UX area, but those are the ones I attended. In order of appearance:

  1. Keynotes
    Really not great this year, but give you a nice round-up.
    1. Day 1: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/KEY01
    2. Day 2: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/KEY02
  2. The Art, Technology and Science of Reading: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS07
  3. 10 Ways to Attack a Design Problem and Come Out Winning: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/EX06
  4. Touch in Public: Multi-touch Interaction Design for Kiosks and Architectural Experiences: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS06
  5. Designing Bing: Heart and Science: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/CL06
  6. The Elephant in the Room: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS13
  7. An Hour With Bill Buxton: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS16
  8. Design the Ordinary, Like the Fixie: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/EX25
  9. Developing Natural User Interfaces with Microsoft Silverlight and WPF 4 Touch: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/EX18
  10. Treat Your Content Right: http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS02

Ressources

Some links and other stuff which won’t fit in the other categories can be found here.

Update:

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MIX10 - count me in!

Only 13 days till MIX10 and counting! I am so excited to be there, learning tons of new stuff and meeting old and new friends. My plane will be leaving in about one week, since I will be hiking Zion Canyon a few days before MIX10 itself.

Mix10_SeeYou_grn_240

If you’re going to MIX10, you really should attend the Tweetup on Sunday (http://twtvite.com/5i84zm). It’s a great way to meet nice designer/developer people and prepare for the days to come. (Psst: Some say, that even Bill Buxton himself will be there!)

Also: Be sure to check out the Session Planner in Silverlight with offline functionality. (Read more about it at http://blogs.msdn.com/sync/archive/2010/03/01/organize-yourself-at-mix10-using-mix10-session-planner-beta.aspx)

If you just can’t go to MIX10, you can use this website to express your pain: http://www.nooooooooooooooo.com/ ;)

Update 2010-03-05: Albert just told me about an iPhone session planner for MIX10: http://itunes.apple.com/de/app/mix10/id357234402?mt=8. I just tried it and it really rocks. The only thing I would wish for is synchronization with the Windows Live account used at the standard MIX10 site.

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dotnet Cologne 2010 am 28. Mai 2010 in Köln

[German post concerning a user group driven conference in cologne]

Die Community-Konferenz dotnet Cologne 2010, zum Launch von Visual Studio 2010 und .NET Framework 4, findet am 28. Mai 2010 im Holiday Inn am Stadtwald statt.

Neben Visual Studio 2010 und .NET 4.0 werden innerhalb der 18 Sessions natürlich auch noch weitere Themen angeboten.

Eine Anmeldung ist ab dem 3. März 2010 um 10:20 Uhr möglich!

Ab diesem Zeitpunkt besteht die Möglichkeit eines der 150 begehrten Super Early Bird Tickets zu bekommen. Zum Super Early Bird kosten die Tickets nur 25 €! Danach werden sich die Preise auf 40 € bzw. 55 € erhöhen.

Am Abend veranstaltet dass dotnet-forum.de ihre Community Grill-Fete. Dort können sowohl die Konferenz Teilnehmer als auch Mitglieder des dotnet-forum.de (auch ohne Konferenz) teilnehmen. Bei schönem Wetter findet sie draußen am See statt!

Aktuell werden noch Sprecher gesucht. Wer also möchte kann sich mit Vorschlägen an das Orga Team wenden. Neben Ruhm & Ehre gibt es für Sprecher auch freien Eintritt. Details dazu finden sich auf der Call for Papers Seite.

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Meine Top 3 Entwicklertools

[German post concerning a raffle of an Xbox 360 by listing my favorite developer tools.]

Die Möglichkeit eine Xbox 360 Elite durch Auflistung meiner Top Entwicklertools zu gewinnen, lasse ich mir natürlich nicht entgehen:

  • JetBrains ReSharper
    Nach jahrelangen, hassähnlichen Gefühlen gegenüber ReSharper, hat die 4.5er Version endlich mein Herz gewonnen und ich möchte sie in der täglichen Arbeit nicht mehr missen.
  • .NET Reflector
    Ohne ihn geht es einfach nicht ;)
  • GhostDoc
    Ich nutze ihn zwar inzischen deutlich seltener, aber er unterstützt mich immer noch prima bei der Dokumentation öffentlicher APIs.

P.S: Eigentlich auch noch SonicFileFinder (Wenn ich ihn nicht nutzen würde, hätte ich ihn nicht entwickelt), aber ich darf ja nur drei Tools nennen ;)

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Solving Problems using iTunes Shared Library and Windows Home Server

Since a few days ago, I am proud owner of an Acer Aspire H340 easyStore Home Server. It came preconfigured with a few Add-Ins, for example the Firefly Media Server Add-In and the Lights-Out Add-In.

The Firefly Media Server Add-In got some nice features. One is the automatic creation of an iTunes Shared Library based on all music located in the Home Server “Music”-folder.

The Problem

So, I tried that feature, but it didn’t work: My iTunes installation on the desktop didn’t see the Shared Library.

The problem was, that the H340 comes with an old version of “Bonjour” installed, which doesn’t work with the current iTunes version (8.1.1). “Bonjour” is the service providing the Shared Library functionality.

The Solution

So, if you encounter this problem, just download the current Bonjour version from http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/apple/windows/bonjourforwindows.html, log into your Home Server using Remote Desktop (Account is “Administrator” and the Home Server Console password) and upgrade Bonjour. Done!

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Customizing the Windows 7 Logon Screen Wallpaper

In the dawn of Windows 7 RC on MSDN and “for the masses” in two days there comes a new logon screen:

Windows_7_logon

Birds? Are they kidding me? Tough guys need tough logon screens, like flying pink elephants or something.

Good news is, that you can easily customize the logon screen without any resource hacking, etc.

Preparing your installation for logon customization

The functionality was originally designed for OEMs, so the first thing to do is to check, whether this feature is already enabled.

Start regedit.exe (requires admin rights), navigate to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background and look for a DWORD called OEMBackground.

Create it, if it doesn’t exist and set its value to 1 to enable it, or 0 to disable.

Exchange logon wallpapers with your own ones

The “OEM wallpapers” are stored in %windir%\system32\oobe\info\backgrounds where you may find the following list:

  • backgroundDefault.jpg
  • background768×1280.jpg
  • background900×1440.jpg
  • background960×1280.jpg
  • background1024×1280.jpg
  • background1280×1024.jpg
  • background1024×768.jpg
  • background1280×960.jpg
  • background1600×1200.jpg
  • background1440×900.jpg
  • background1920×1200.jpg
  • background1280×768.jpg
  • background1360×768.jpg

It may be that the neither the files nor the directory exist. If so, simply create them.

Just replace the file matching the resolution of your primary monitor. If Windows can’t find a file matching your resolution, it uses the backgroundDefault.jpg in “stretched-to-fit” mode. So, if you’re too lazy to create all the files for different resolutions, just delete all files but the default one.

Be aware, that you can only use files with less than 256kb in size.

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