Vista Speech Recognition

I’ve always been a fan of speech recognition. I don’t really know why though. I’m a touch typist and I don’t really need voice recognition to speed things up, so that never was the reason. Something about its sci-fi appeal I guess.

I always wanted to develop speech recognizing applications, but the problem was, the commercial uses for such software has been less than dismal.

Anyway, Microsoft has released a “Windows Vista Speech Recognition Step by Step Guide”. In which, Microsoft has detailed such things as how to;

Create, dictate, and save a document
  1. Say “Start Listening.”
  2. Say “Open WordPad.”
  3. Say “This is a test of speech recognition period.” Note:Remember to pronounce punctuation.
  4. To correct mistakes, say “correct” and the word that the computer typed by mistake, and then pick the correct word from the list offered by Speech Recognition, repeat the correct word again. For example, if the computer misrecognized “speech” as “peach,” say “correct peach,” and then choose the right word from the list, or say the word “speech” again.
  5. To save the document, say “File”, then say “Save As.”
  6. Say “Test document.”
  7. Say “Save.”

Nice, real deal sci-fi!

Check it out here, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsvista/aa905128.aspx.

Enjoy!

MVP Global Summit 2007

I am very anxious to be going to the 2007 Global Summit. The Global Summit will take place March 12-15, 2007 in Seattle at the Washington State Convention Center and at Microsoft Corporation’s main campus in Redmond, Washington.

Bill Gates will deliver the keynote!! Yes, I’m gonna meet Bill Gates!!! Very very excited!

I’m gonna do a lot of shopping too. A lot of shopping!

Meanwhile, Virtual PC 2007 is available and it is absolutely free. “Virtual PC 2007 is a powerful software virtualization solution that allows you to run multiple PC-based operating systems simultaneously on one workstation, providing a safety net to maintain compatibility with legacy applications while you migrate to a new operating system.”

Check it out here http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/virtualpc/default.mspx. Download it here.

Enjoy!

Nokia E90 Communicator

Oh… my… god!!!

That is the first thing that came out my mouth when I saw Nokia’s upcoming new communicator. I’ve always been a sucker for gadgets; I don’t go for everything, I have a budget to keep.

My favorite gifts have always been gadgets, any gadget whatsoever. My wife knows this of course, that’s why she got me an i-mate JasJam for my birthday last.

Nokia have a very good offering here with a 3.2 mega pixel camera, 3G support and integrated GPS!! Alas, no Windows Mobile.

Check it out http://www.engadget.com/2007/02/12/nokias-e90-communicator-launched/.

Geeks 2 – the Return of the Code

It seems the rumors of a major Microsoft event in the Gulf area at the end of March is becoming more and more fact. A speaker at the presumed event has disclosed to a fellow MVP that there is in fact an event on the way.

Here is what else we know about the event;

Title: Geeks 2, Return of the Code
Date: March 27th – 29th, 2007
Location: Dubai, UAE
Venue: Cinestar Complex

Enjoy!

CLS Compliancy

Over time, the number of .Net languages has increased drastically. In addition to the languages provided by Microsoft there is a very large number of new languages being added everyday. Don’t believe me, check it out yourself; http://www.dotnetpowered.com/languages.aspx.

Now, each of these languages has its own syntax, and when run on its own will work perfectly well. However, a problem arises when you wish to interoperate between these languages. For example, you might want to write a DLL in Visual Basic .Net (VB) that will be used by some other developer using C#. Sounds simple enough, only its not.

VB is NOT case sensitive (aka case insensitive), therefore, I cannot have two methods that read the same but have different casing; such as SomeMethod and SOMEMETHOD. However, C# is case sensitive and the above example is perfectly OK in C# land. Now, if I were to write a C# class that has these methods, I would NOT be able to use those methods in VB.

Therefore, the need arose for a set of specifications or rules, to govern the way code is written, so that it may be used by all .Net languages; these are called ‘Common Language Specifications’ or CLS for short. You can all the relevant rules at http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/12a7a7h3.aspx.

Code that adheres to these specifications is said to be, CLS Compliant.

Enjoy!!

Vista vs. OS X

The question has been asked again and again, and again. I’ve read so much about it; in fact, I’ve seen a coupla videos on You Tube that mock the similarities between the two operating system. In last weeks InfoConnect 2007, I’ve had people come up to me and ask that, with a ‘gotcha’ grin on their faces. Is Microsoft imitating OS X; or any other operating system?

To answer this question I refer back to a video I saw a few years ago, of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO talking to a gathering of over 30,000 Microsoft employees. In the video, Mr. Ballmer came hopping on to the stage and for the better part of 3 minutes, all he did was jump around and shout; developers, developers, developers, developers.

Yes, arguably, Microsoft may have borrowed :-) features from other operating systems, but the main difference here is the humongous support Microsoft provides to its developer community. After all, an operating system is ONLY as good as the number of applications running on it.

The .Net framework is debatably the most widely used development framework in the world; and it is ONLY 6 years old! It is very important to realize that Microsoft has never released a new product or technology before providing developer support earlier. Almost everything in every Microsoft technology is programmable.

As a matter of fact, you can download developer tools, from the Microsoft website, that will enable you to create applications for all versions of the .Net framework, for free. Plus, Microsoft provides every means of developer support thinkable. The documentation is extensive (a Microsoft tradition) and there are at least a gazillion forums online that will provide you with every bit of information you want.

Yes, at face value, both operating systems are similar, but that is the extent of the resemblance.

Viva Vista!!

I’ve been a user of Windows Vista ever since its initial beta stages. Being an MVP I had access to bits early on, and I never hid my affection for the operating system. As far as I’m concerned Windows Vista has been enhanced in every aspect and manner I can think of. Everything is new; they maybe named the same, like the Recycle Bin for example, but it somehow isn’t the same, at all!

Today, I setup my new machine at work with Windows Vista pre-installed. I never thought it would happen, but I am in love with Vista all-over-again!! What’s the difference you say; why the newly hiked enthusiasm? What made this Vista so different from all the others?

I have a simple-one-word-answer for you; hardware. This new PC has a 256MB NVidia graphics card installed, 2 gigs of RAM, over 100 gigs of hard-disk-space and 2GHz processor. With the proper drivers installed this machine rocks!

Everything is working sooooo smooth, it simply takes my breath away. The 3D flipping, Window transparency, sidebar, windows media player, the new start menu and the gazillions and gazillions of new options, settings and preferences you can manage. Even IE7, which I’ve been skeptic about in the past, works perfectly.

All-in-all, this operating system is here to stay.

Kudus for the Data Dude

Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals (of VSTS DB Pro for short) has been released, according to the February 2007 edition of the MSDN Magazine.

VSTS DB Pro will assist you to “create, manage, or build solutions that connect to SQL Server™.”

Here is a number of features that I found GREAT in VSTS DB Pro;
  • Database Versioning: You can have multiple versions of the same database. For example, you can decide to revert to an older version of the database structure if your recent modifications are not up to your standard.
  • Database Comparing: Once you decide to go from a test environment to a production one, VSTS DB Pro will compare the two databases and generate a DDL change script for you.
  • Unit Testing: This is usually used for testing VB and C# code, but is now available for testing all forms of database code, such as “stored procedures, functions, and triggers”.
  • Data Generation: As we all know, empty tables are really useless, especially when you have stored procedures that require considerable data. VSTS DB Pro will generate random test data for you based a data generation schema you decide.

Read more here; http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/issues/07/02/TeamEdition/default.aspx

Enjoy!

AJAX 1.0 Released, Finally!!

Microsoft has finally released AJAX 1.0.

AJAX stands for ‘Asynchronous Java And Xml’.

One of the most important things I like about AJAX is the fact that it allows you to refresh a part of your website without having to do a complete postback. This means, for example, that you can have a photo gallery, slideshow through a collection of photos on your hard disk without refreshing the entire site.

Check the website, http://ajax.asp.net/default.aspx and find out more about it.

Enjoy!