Well, it sure looks sexy ;o)

I like a good UI, and the folks working on Mesh have done a very good job of raising the bar for web apps.  This is still in tech preview, so there are some little pre-load things going on that you see, and it’s a little slow, but it’s looking really sharp.

You can’t actually do much yet, but I can see all kinds of interesting applications being built on this platform.

There are a few buggy things…the installer pops up behind other windows for me, so the security request didn’t get seen right away (I thought it had hung).

There are some things that aren’t quite what I thought they’d be.  For instance, I added a folder on my Mesh desktop (Meshtop? …sure, sounds good) and it immediately appeared on my laptop’s desktop (I had already added my laptop as a device).  I proceeded to open the folder and paste a photo in it, then I eagerly zoomed over to my…uh…Meshtop to see my picture magically appear.

No love.

How it handled what I did next, I’m not quite clear.

So, I went in to my Meshtop folder and then clicked the link to upload a file.  At the prompt, I actually selected my desktop folder (the one with the spanky Mesh icon that I assumed was a sync folder) and picked the photo I had pasted in locally.

It uploaded the file, or it appeared to have uploaded the file, but I couldn’t view it on Mesh by double clicking (I got a popup warning by IE, which, when I allowed popups and refreshed, appeared again briefly then vanished).

Closing Mesh and loading it back up, I went into my folder and double-clicked the image.  A groovy, if not basic, media viewer presented itself and the photo loaded.

A couple of things worth mentioning:

  1. First, when a folder is in icon view, the icons don’t behave how we’ve been taught to believe they would.  When I try to drag a file to the Meshtop it seems to just highlight the page, so evidently they do not have drag-and-drop implemented yet.  Thinking through that, with devices, wireless connectivity and files, there are some really neat things you could do there.  Hey, why not drag a photo from my phone to my work computer?  Cool.  I hope they implement these things.
  2. Secondly, the media viewer is fairly primitive, and I know it’s in tech preview here, but they have a long way to catch up to even some of the blogs that are out there for viewing large photos online.  I expect this to come.  Meanwhile, they’ve developed some clever gadgets to make moving through various media easier including a thumbnail viewer at the top of the folder.  Very nice, even a little hover animation for effect.
  3. There is still a lot of flickering going on, but I imagine this is just because of the early stages of the UI.  Uh…yeah, and when I say early stages, please keep that in context.  They have already put in place a multi-computer desktop management and file sync platform, so while an infant, it plays like a big boy.  Mesh will be a beast when it grows up.
  4. I really enjoy the way that news is tied to folders and items.  This is the Facebook of your desktop, and it has really interesting uses.  If you used Facebook back before it became application-infested, you’ll remember how important the feed was as part of the user experience.  Not only do they implement this on the Meshtop, but there is also deep shell integration that denotes changes, updates and additions to folders as they occur in your mesh. 

While I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, I’ve installed the plugin and will be playing with the remote desktop bits.  I think this is an interesting spin, especially if it allows for cross-platform remoting.  MS has done a great job with remote desktop, especially in the last few versions, and I can’t see this being a step backwards.

I’m going to see what’s available for developers to poke around in and maybe even have a try at something in the SDK if it’s available; perhaps that will give me a little insight on where things are at and going with Mesh.

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Haven’t quite got the whole WordPress thing figured out yet (I’m a Blogger convert) so I’m reposting the list here so that my tags are in the tag cloud for each of the items on the list.

Below is the list of things that I am going to start crossing off:

  • PILOT: Get my pilot’s licence
  • GAME: Fly Angie and the kids to Calgary for supper and a Calgary Flames hockey game using that spanky little pilot’s licence I got
  • CLIFF: Rappel down a cliff I have no business being at the top of
  • BIKE: Cycle across Canada – coast to coast
  • TIGGER: With all the Eeyores in the world, I want to teach my kids to live like Tiggers by living like one myself
  • WALL: Visit the Great Wall of China
  • BABY: Hold babies in an orphanage in a third world country
  • FOUR: Convince Angie to have another baby (after this one)
  • COASTER: Ride a really big rollercoaster with all four of my kids
  • SCREAMING WIFE: Convince Angie to ride the same rollercoaster
  • STONE: Sit in the middle of stonehenge
  • DIVE: Cliff jump into a waterfall…again
  • SMARTS: Get a degree majoring in math, physics, or comp sci
  • ARTICLE: Write an article for MSDN magazine
  • ARTICLE: Write an article for MSDN magazine that actually gets published
  • BITS: Teach a group of high school students about computer programming
  • RINGER: Meet Rob Bell
  • BIG ROCK: Visit Uluru – which I always thought was called ‘Air Rock’ lol
  • CURE: See a cure for Juvenile Diabetes
  • STICKS: Design and build a house

Preparing for the Pitch

July 29, 2008

I have been doing a little research as to the topics that MSDN Magazine is looking for and how that aligns with my experience and expertise.  I have decided that I’m going to go after either Visual Studio extensibility or testing and debugging techniques, but I have also decided that I am going to contact the publishers and see if they have a more updated list.  It’s not that these topics aren’t a good fit for me, it’s just that with “WinFX” as a hot topic, I’m not sure that they’ve been maintaining their list.  Web services specified over WCF?  I’m not so sure.

Anyhoo…I’ve got some reading and expertification to finish before I make my pitch.  I have my MCTS for web and I’m going to write my MCTS for WinForms in the coming weeks.

MCTS Exam 70-526 Study Guide

MCTS Exam 70-526 Study Guide

Hrm…I’ve said that twice tonight.  Okay, here, I’ll write my test by October 15th. 

That will give me time to study up before I write, stay focused with my crazy-long-hours job and still maintain some semblance of a normal weekend break when I come home.

The book I’m reviewing to refresh before I write the test: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-526)

What’s interesting is that this will actually help me along on a couple of goals at the same time. By delving a little deeper into the tools – going beyond what is needed for daily use and transitioning into a teaching capability – I will be moving myself closer to getting my MCA certification. It’s a longer-term thing, for sure, but every piece of work that broadens my exposure to underlying concepts and mastery of tools, regardless of vendor, will help in my efforts to get certified.