Thursday, February 22, 2007

Determining the operating system in Delphi

To determine the version of the operating system in Delphi, use the following constants defined in SysUtils.
  • Win32MajorVersion
  • Win32MinorVersion
  • Win32Platform

Vista (or higher)
Win32MajorVersion = 6

Server 2003
Win32MajorVersion = 5
Win32MinorVersion = 2

Win32MajorVersion = 5
Win32MinorVersion = 1

Win32MajorVersion = 5
Win32MinorVersion = 0

Win32MajorVersion = 4
Win32MinorVersion = 90

Win32MajorVersion = 4
Win32MinorVersion = 10

Win32MajorVersion = 4
Win32MinorVersion = 0
Win32Platform = VER_PLATFORM_WIN32_NT

Win32MajorVersion = 4
Win32MinorVersion = 0

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Windows Mobile 6 - I take it all back

Finally found the cool stuff I was looking for. Only it's not really in WM6, but rather in .NETCF 3.5. (Which as I said all along should have been in 6.)

Plus here:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Multiple monitors

With PCs more commonly having multiple (normally 2) monitors, it amazes me that so many programs can't handle this.

Two common problems.

1. Screens that center on the desktop, not the screen.
2. Programs that open additional (often modal) forms in the other screen.

Screens that center on the desktop, not the screen.
With the desktop being spread over two screens any form that is centered on the desktop will be half on one screen and half on the other. This does not look good and forces the user to reposition the form before they can use it. Forcing the user to do unnecessary tasks before they can use a program is definitely not good.

Programs that open additional (often modal) forms in the other screen.
It is incredibly awkward and distracting to have to keep looking between screens to see where the new form has gone. This is especially awkward when opening a small dialog, such as a search/find dialog. A modal dialog opening in the other screen can be incredibly confusing, until you realise what has happened, and should be unacceptable.

If using IE7 - you need these

I fixed CrunchGear

Well their RSS feed.

An unstimulating day in the office meant that I needed my daily CrunchGear fix. By lunch time I discovered a broken feed was the cause of my woe. A few hours and no resolution later meant that action needed to be taken.

A little investigation and my childhood dreams of being in the A-Team were fulfilled.

Plus I got home to a this email too:

Thanks for the RSS tip. That fixed it. I am eternally grateful. - Blake

Blake Robinson
Managing Editor,

I consider my ego well and truly stroked!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Results of “Doing Your Job”

Repost from:

“When people in organizations focus only on their position, they have little sense of responsibility for the results produced when all positions interact. Moreover, when results are disappointing, it can be very difficult to know why. All you can do is assume that ’someone screwed up’.”
Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline
Who is responsible for the end product, for the “results produced when all positions interact”? The CEO? The VP of the group? Everyone?

Windows Mobile 6 - like XP SP2

So a few days on and having read a bit more on the subject, Windows Mobile 6 feels like a service pack. It's lots of nice little fixes and improvements to make it appeal more to the enterprise user. Plus making email better will help challenge the use of blackberry devices amongst senior white collar workers.

I feel that Windows Mobile 6, is to Windows Mobile 5.0 as XP SP2 was to XP.

The version numbering gives this impression also. See:

Dealing with customers

Re Tact: The single biggest predictor of medical lawsuits, according to a recent study, is bedside manner; suits are highly correlated with poor bedside manner.

Spend time with your customers, befriend them, give them love (even when you'd rather be giving them something entirely different). Most aren't out to get you; they simply have a world in which they function reasonably well, and yours isn't it. Another way to put it: Never ascribe to conspiracy that which can be explained by incompetence.
-- Steve

Steven B. Levy
Senior Director, Information Systems
Microsoft Legal and Corporate Affairs

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Windows Mobile 6 - too soon!

So Windows Mobile 6 was officially announced today.

This is a bit earlier than I was expecting. I was expecting it to come later in the year so that it would come with WPF/E and .NETCF 3.5 built in. The fact it will be available so soon suggests to me that it won't come with this. This is likely to mean that there will be an update/ service pack later this year.

I'd love to correct my next statement at some point in the future, but from what I've read this new version will not have anything groundbreaking in it, but will feature lots of small changes that improve the overall feel and usefulness of the device. I just think the platform is so great that I'd love to see really big changes and new functionality.

Considering the launch of Office2007 was last month, I'm surprised to see that in the new versions of the office programs (Word, Excel & PowerPoint) there isn't support from the new XML formats, in that they are making a big deal of the desktop versions of files being fully supported on the devices.

All in all I suppose that this new version is to improve the user experience for 'typical users'. As a developer I want to see lots of innovative new things coming along. I totally expect to love the device when I get one, but just now I'm not going too wild.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Going back from Office 2007 to Office2003

Arial seems so boring after having worked with Calibri and Cambria for several months.

The ribbon IS really usable and quicker.

Having RSS feeds in Outlook is really convenient.

Plus I really miss blue squiggles from the spelling/grammar checker.

Hopefully, oneday, spell checking will be part of the operarting system, that way the same functionality will be available to all application and it won't be necessary to manage lots of different dictionaries.

Pay for the result not the service

I saw Miami Vice on DVD the other day and one bit stood out for me.

The bad guy drug lord says something along the lines of "At this price, I'm not paying for the service, I'm paying for the result".

But this should always be the case!

You don't pay someone to try and do something, you pay them to do it.

The service is always the means to an end. People pay for the end result, the means to an end shouldn't get in the way. It should be reliable, accurate, discrete and value for money.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Proof reading

So, I've discovered that "everyone" thinks they can proof read, but very few people can.

Why does it matter? Because copy containing spelling and grammar errors looks very unprofessional. Ever bought a book containing simple mistakes? How did you feel when you found the mistake? not good.

So how can you be better at proof reading? Here's a few tips.

Before you start:
Run it through a spell checker. It's amazing how often this gets forgotten.

Read slowly. You aren't trying to get through the text as quickly as possible.
Read every word. The aim isn't to understand it but to check it.
Read each sentence twice if it is not short and simple. Complex sentences are likely to get you thinking about the meaning

proof reading
- start with a spell check
- start at the end (the more you read the less likely you are to spot each mistake. Let other people start from the beginning, this way everyone checking the text won't be more likley to miss mistakes towards the end of the text)
- different fonts (this can make some spelling mistakes more obvious)
- look for words that may have spaces in them e.g. handheld or hand held- look for consistency
- consistent capitalising of words
- correct use of full stops when abbreviating
- don't rush. If you lose interest and get bored, stop and come back to it later.
- Use Office 2007 so you can get the blue squiggles