Monthly Archives: March 2005

Covariance on return types – on the feature list for C# vNext?

When cutting code I’ve often wanted covariant return types. There are lots of API’s in the framework which could get cleaner with this feature as well. Read Cyrus’ blog entry and then go and vote at LadyBug.


I need OneNote embedded in Outlook.

I use Microsoft Outlook. I’ve been using Microsoft Outlook for approximately seven years, and before that I used tools like Microsoft Mail, and that weird forerunner to Outlook which included Schedule+. I think this entitles me to make contribute to a few design goals around the product and how it integrates.

Before Office 2003, Outlook was pretty much the only Office Suite application I cared about, whilst I used the others (Word, Excel, and Access) its Outlook that I said good morning to and Outlook that I said good night to. When Office 2003 was released OneNote really caught my eye, and its now my second most used Office application.

The thing that confuses me is that in Outlook we have this STUPID “Notes” section which is essentially no better than a NameValueCollection of strings. Now, I’ve gotta wonder, did the crew working on OneNote think – “hey we have this thing that is really good at managing the crap you’d usually have scattered all over your desk, lets embed it into Outlook and replace that cute, but generally useless Notes feature”.

Did the Outlook heavies stomp on them? They are probably the same guys that have resisting putting an actual NNTP feature into the product for the last five years (sorry, outsourcing it to Outlook Express doesn’t cut it).

Anyway – I think the next version of Outlook needs to rectify this. I’d like to see a nice little threesome, my data, Outlook and OneNote all playing in the same process space with lots of sharing of object handles. Is that too much to ask?

P.S. In between 1997 and now I did use Netscape Mail on a rusty old Linux box I had kicking around – it didn’t last long and it didn’t mean anything.


Analog radio, protectionism and natural selection.

Cameron is in to podcasting in a big way (did you know the sky is blue?), and he pointed to this article in the Australian (via his lunatic friend) in which the commercial radio lobbyists are seeking a degree of protection from emerging digital competition, although I don’t think this really applies to podcasting (but you never know what a stretched interpretation of the law might do to ya).

I read it with an overall context of natural selection and found this quote quite interesting:

 “We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars setting up commercial radio in this country, and we are looking for government to give us a chance to move radio into future,” Ms Warner said.

I had a bit of a chuckle actually because I sat there thinking of that hundreds of millions of dollars being spent and along comes this simple technology which probably hasn’t had more than a million spent on it in the twelve months its been around (that includes all the bandwidth costs for everyone, on the entire planet) and it has the potential to blow these established networks away.

To me – that infrastructure looks to expensive to even consider protecting. I’m not anti-protectionism but I think you need to defend the good ideas – not the outdated ones. Of course, given the government gets fees from spectrum licensing I can see them doing something stupid.

Martin gets his bits out at!

OK – I am just starting to catch up with what all the other Readifiers have been doing in the past two weeks. Martin has been busy working away on hands-on-labs bits for Enterprise Library, and, as he and Joseph point out – you can get your mits on them now over at! I had the pleasure of trying out one of this HOLs the night before it shipped a few weeks ago and was really impressed.

Congratulations Martin (and anonymous minions).

I’ve signed the “hopeless cause” petition.

I read Geoff’s response to this post, and then I read Bill’s. Geoff makes a valid point about some of the demands being a little over the top, but I think the general trust of the petition (as Bill’s comment underlines) is valid.

Basically I think its a hopeless case, but its a chance for Microsoft to see that THEIR developer community is unhappy about something that is causing them alot of pain.

Do I think Microsoft shouldn’t have released VB.NET and instead done a true VB7? No – I think Microsoft needed to bring a language to the CLR that looked somewhat like Basic in order to encourage people from that pool of developers to migrate over.

And I think everyone who could did but there is a remainder (it might be a pretty big remainder too) that for whatever reason couldn’t make the shift easily – I’d say the biggest one of those being an existing code base which delivers a lot of value and needs to be maintained and SLOWLY ported over to .NET.

Personally however, I don’t buy the skills argument. When I got into this industry I knew that I would need to adapt quickly – in fact I think the job chose me because I could, alot of this stuff just comes naturally. If you are a developer and you are complaining about the relentless evolution (and sometimes revolution) of technology because you are worried about you skills being obsoleted – you are in for a lifetime of pain because it ain’t going to stop any time soon (hey Bill – maybe I’m not such a nice guy after all).

Anyway – I’ve signed the petition.