To say that Microsoft is in a bit of a transition would be the understatement of the decade. Over the past year and a half, we’ve see the Redmond software giant re-envision the Windows user experience with Windows 8, make it’s foray into the ‘Devices’ market with their Surface tablets, underwrite and eventually purchase its main Windows Phone partner, announce a major reorganization into a “Devices and Services” company, and begin the transition to a new CEO. And all of this is happening amidst — or perhaps more appropriately, in response to — a persistent decline in the Wintel PC market. Whether you’re a die-hard supporter, or gleefully anticipating their demise, it’s impossible not to have your eyes glued on Microsoft right now.
If you’re like me, then you tend to generate a LOT of client documentation on your client-facing engagements. And as much as my clients show their appreciation for my efforts, they rarely reference or provide these documents when asking for support or modifications down the road. This means that it is up to me to organize and catalog my documents for quick reference while addressing client inquiries.
Over the years, I have developed a number of templates to help with documenting and managing these types of efforts, but quickly finding past documents can be challenging. I wanted to be able to quickly find documents by topic, by client, or by client contact person — or some combination of all three. I developed a rather simple approach for doing this which utilizes MS Word Document properties and form fields.
Like most people, my mobile communications history can be split into two segments: before iphone and after iphone. I purchase a first generation iphone back in 2007, soon after it was released. I’m not typically an early adopter, but that device fit perfectly. At the time, I was traveling for work every week and needed a device that could not only help me stay in touch but also provide internet access and serve up music and videos while sitting for hours on the plane. It certainly made my previous Sony-Ericsson “smart phone” look pretty dumb.
Fast forward to 2013. I am now on my third iphone, a Verizon supported iphone 4. While I am still happy with the phone — a very capable device — I am not feeling any desire to upgrade to the iphone 5. Every day, it’s looking more and more like the rest of the mobile communications companies have finally caught up to Apple — and I’m sure some would even say “surpassed”. Last year, I decided that it’s time to finally start looking around to see if there’s a better fit out there.
First off, I haven’t called myself a Web Developer in quite a while. My first job out of college involved some light ASP-based web dev work using Visual Studio and SQL Server. That work inspired me to create my own content management system. It was hosted on my own PC using MS IIS and MS Access. I even had a static IP address provided by my ISP at the time.
Recently, I’ve been getting back into doing some web design work. Nothing fancy — just some WordPress templates, CSS, HTML5. I was looking for a good tool to facilitate this work and I stumbled upon Microsoft’s Web Matrix product, a freeware development tool encompassing several different web technologies. A few comments and first impressions after the break.
I don’t really call myself a “musician” but I’ve been playing guitar since I was about 16 years old. I can probably count on one hand the number of hours I’ve spent playing in the past three or four years. At best, I dabble. Similarly, I also dabble in music recording. Enough so, that I have an entire desktop setup dedicated to it. My equipment includes a TASCAM US-428, a KORG padKONTROL, an M-Audio KeyStudio, and a couple of NADY QH560‘s for monitoring. I also have a KORG Z1, a beast of a synth, but it’s way too powerful for me to tame at this point. How do I integrate all this tech together?
My opinions on Microsoft’s Bing services vary, but one feature that I am in love with is included in the Bing Desktop application. It allows you to adopt the current day’s Bing.com background image to your own desktop. The images range from lush global landscapes to beautiful macro images of flora or fauna. And it can automatically update every day for a complete change of scenery. For that feature alone, I think it’s worth an install.
If photo-based desktops is not your thing, then on the other end of the spectrum is SimpleDesktops.com (new window). Here you’ll find minimalist desktops in a broad range of flavors. My current desktop is title “Eiffel”. Definitely check it out.