Some more posts about Partner Maps

BronwenWeeGo.jpgYesterday we mentioned Parnter Maps had been released with Virtual Earth support.  Check out a few other people who have been blogging about it:

 

Fun with IE Image Filters and Virtual Earth

johnWeeGo.jpgI was playing today with some logos in Photoshop and noticed our graphic design team had inverted our gold logo on a black background to be a nice blue logo on a white background. For fun, I happened to have a Virtual Earth project open at the time and I inverted the default road map in Photoshop.
Inverted.jpg

Wow now thats actually pretty cool, not sure what the usages would be but I wonder how to do this on the VE control?

I know that IE provides filters that can be applied in CSS and this got me thinking about what effects could be acheived.
The syntax I used was to apply the filter to all <IMG> objects within the Map div. This should eliminate all the other parts of your interface changing but since there is no class set on the tiles themselves this is the best solution I could find.


<style type="text/css">
	.MSVE_Map img {filter:Invert;}
</style>     

Now there are other filters to play with also like:
Xray.jpg
Xray

Engrave.jpg
Engrave

And just to freak someone out how about a bit of a flip per tile?
VFlip.jpg
I’m not sure of the practical applications for this but I actually think the inverted map is easier to read at nighttime.
Click on each image to see it live on the Virtual Earth map.

Adding Blu-ray to the media centre

johnWeeGo.jpgHaving installed our Panasonic 720p projector over 12 months ago I’ve always been struggling to get HD content. For my Birthday my Dad bought me the Pioneer BDC-S02.

image001.jpg

The drive can’t write to Blu-ray but the trade off is it is half the price at around AU$400, at this time this is the cheapest Blu-ray part I have found. For the media centre this is perfect as I should be able to simply swap out the DVD writer for this.

Having shopped around we bought it online from www.auspcmarket.com.au, these guys are really good at being accurate about stock levels and including postage in the cost. I ordered on the weekend and had the drive ready to install Tuesday morning.

Of course nothing is ever easy.

So first up I swapped out the DVD writer for the new Blu-ray drive, I have a rather slim case so this was a two person job. I rebooted and…. nothing.

Problem 1. Choose the correct sata port on the motherboard. I had chosen port 4 that clearly was not the one to use, port 3 (port 1 and 2 are running two sata HDD in RAID0) was the way to go.

So the drive now appeared in Vista, installing the bundled cyberlink software took hours, later I would discover this to be a cable issue.

Time to play my first Blu-ray movie, we had chosen the recently released “300” from Target.

Problem 2. HDCP (content protection). For some reason when I had build the media centre last year the passive cooled 7600GS card I used didn’t support HDCP. Cyberlink has a nifty tool that tells you your compatibility issues. So at this point I’m dead in the water. Interestingly my CPU, the P2.8D (also doubles as a good heater in winter), wasn’t rated as powerful enough. Time to upgrade. So I popped into Umart in Milton and grabbed a new CPU, Motherboard, RAM and Video Card. One thing I had in mind was tring to keep the power consumption on the system and the noise level down. I don’t need to play 3D games and every watt I save is better for the planet.

image005.jpgimage004.jpg
image003.jpgimage002.jpg

 

  1. DDR2 2Gig(2x1G) PC6400 800Mhz Dual Channel Geil
    Having used generic memory previously it was time for something better.
  2. ASUS Radeon HD2400PRO 256MB DDR2, 64bit PCIEx16 VGA HDTV DVI HDCP
    Passively cooled, DirectX10 and support for Hardware decoding of Blu-ray.
  3. Asus P5K-E WIFI S775 QuadCore P35 FSB1333 2xPCIEx16 RAID 1394a GbLAN ATX
    Latest chipset, support for my RAID drives, digital out for sound, passive cooled.
  4. Intel ATX E4500 CORE 2 DUO /2.2GHz/2MB CACHE/800 FSB/LGA775
    Plenty of processing power for media centre while not using much physical power / low heat.

So then the fun of putting it all together. In a normal case this would be a trivial exercise but not for a slim media centre case like mine.

Problem 3. Motherboard has PCI express 16x slot over one place. My case is not very tall so it used a riser card to put the video card and the TV tuner at 90 degrees. I managed to fit it in with some small bracket modifications and a little bit of an angle.

Reinstall Vista Ultimate. This typically takes about an hour and is really smooth compared to the old XP days. But for some reason I left over night to complete.

Problem 4. Copy from Blu-ray drive incredibly slow. This was a pain to debug but the problem turned out to be the SATA cable. It was able to transmit bursts of data followed by long pauses, I’m guessing it was having errors and handling them. It was quite amazing that Vista installed at all. A new cable solved the issues.

Problem 5. Motherboard reported CPU error. Had to update the BIOS to support the new CPU. This was very easy to do from within Vista using the ASUS tool.

Problem 6. Most movies are fine but “300” wouldn’t play, it was choppy and lost image. I had to disable hardware decoding to fix this. Unfortunately this meant my cpu usage went from around 11% to about 50%. I hope new ATI drivers may solve this one.

And it all works! The funny thing is the Cyberlink compatibility tool claims the latest ATI drivers are not supported.

The picture quality from Blu-ray is truly amazing. The movie “300” is awesome with amazing detail in the helmets and shields. We even noticed a detailed cat sitting on the roof in one scene just because the detail is that good.

A side note is the CPU temperature is 25 degrees at the slowest fan setting compared to 65+ degrees at the highest with the old P2.8D.

The real test will be watching DVDs again; as I’m sure they will now look inferior and blurry like VHS did beforehand.

Access Denied error when using AJAX accordion in Iframe

johnWeeGo.jpgI came across this today when setting up a Virtual Earth map to run in an Iframe on another site. The issue is the content of the Iframe is on another domain and any calls to the ajax helper function “Sys.UI.getLocation” under IE will throw the error as it attempts to access “top.document.documentElement.scrollLeft”.

The solution was posted back in Jan:

http://weblogs.asp.net/bleroy/archive/2007/01/31/how-to-work-around-the-quot-access-denied-quot-cross-domain-frame-issue-in-asp-net-ajax-1-0.aspx

Basically you have to replace the IE solution in the ajax js file with:


Sys.UI.DomElement.getLocation = function(element) {
    if (element.self || element.nodeType === 9) return new Sys.UI.Point(0,0);
    var clientRect = element.getBoundingClientRect();
    if (!clientRect) {
        return new Sys.UI.Point(0,0);
    }
    var ownerDocument = element.document.documentElement;
    var offsetX = clientRect.left - 2 + ownerDocument.scrollLeft,
        offsetY = clientRect.top - 2 + ownerDocument.scrollTop;
    
    try {
        var f = element.ownerDocument.parentWindow.frameElement || null;
        if (f) {
            var offset = 2 - (f.frameBorder || 1) * 2;
            offsetX += offset;
            offsetY += offset;
        }
    }
    catch(ex) {
    }    
    
    return new Sys.UI.Point(offsetX, offsetY);
}
break;

Fortunatly I am already running a specific location of the file using:

after problems we had early in the year with sessionless web farms and asp.ajax.

19″ monitor becomes our new TV

BronwenWeeGo.jpgAfter John won 2nd in the Mark.Ed competition at Tech Ed we received a shiny new HP 19″ widescreen monitor.

I used it for a day..and while it was a sweet screen I found the 900px high a bit restrictive and the colour difference between it and my laptop monitor too different and distracting.

So John plugged it in..but it doesn’t really work well with his 24″ monitor…so what to use it for?

We had a crazy idea late Sunday arvo…we could get a settop box and turn it into a TV for the bedroom.  So we ran off to JB hoping they were still open, and grabbed ourselves a $99 HD set top box.

We got it home, plugged it into the 24″ dell and it didn’t work…plugged it into the HP and randomly pushed some buttons and TADA we have a TV…and a very nice picture at that.

And we have a spare monitor if we ever need to install stuff on the media centre and don’t want to use the projector screen

Contacts Control not appearing on your page?

BronwenWeeGo.jpgThis one has got me 2ce now..I’ve added the Contacts control to my page, got the javascript included and the required functions implmented but when i run the page…i see NOTHING!!

Make sure you check the html element  has the devlive namespace included on your page

e.g.

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"  xmlns:devlive="http://dev.live.com">

 

Adding Feeds as Rss

BronwenWeeGo.jpgWas trying to add a couple of feeds to a feed reader and was getting an error about xmldocument not expected.  The feeds were outputing as ATOM not RSS. Thanks to Catherine for working out my issue with her blog feed.

So to fix this added ?alt=rss to the end of the feed and all is happy

Finding a contact and filtering by groups in the Contacts control

BronwenWeeGo.jpgThis got released last week but i was a bit busy and only just got round to mentioning it…

Contacts Control has been updated so you can now search for a contact or filter the list by your groups.  This is a great enhancement..especially when you have a HUGE list to try navigate through.

You can play with the control here.

  • To filter contact…Just start typing in the text above the list
  • To filter group..use the drop-down arrow next to the text box to select your group.

They’ve also moved the edit and delete buttons to the contact details which you can see when you hover over a contact (I got a bit carried away playing with colours)

contactcontrol.jpg

Lack of blog entries….

BronwenWeeGo.jpgTalking to someone today and they mentioned our blog was a bit bare recently…well can’t make an excuse for Johnbut my excuse is i’ve been blogging on Tech Talk as a Guest Editor.

So if you want to check out some of my ramblings..here’s a list:

If you hadn’t already guessed..our topic is Tech.Ed…

Also…for those who haven’t seen enough pics of us already…there’s some pics from our session HERE

 

 

Teaching the olds to use tecnology

BronwenWeeGo.jpgI bought my mum and iPod Nano the other day for looking after my dog while we were away.  After getting her a screen protector and a case and showing her how to load a cd onto it she’s off.  She’s put most of her cd’s onto it by herself.  My sis has showed her how to edit the song names if they don’t get picked up by iTunes.

I must say I’m pretty impressed…now to see if she uses it.  Will she become like “those young ones on the bus with the headphones always stuck in their ears”? 

TechEd Day 0 – I win the runner up in MarkED

johnWeeGo.jpgSo we are in for a busy week here at TechEd Australia, aside from presenting Virtual Earth on Friday Morning I’ve signed up to give a 15 min WOW prsentation and most likely a chalk talk as well. We are manning the “dev gardern” where anyone can come and make a room in WPF using Visual Studio 2008 and expression blend 2. Its actually pretty good fun and we are putting them all up on the web, you get to choose your location on a VE map and that becomes the navigation tool to view other people’s room.

So after ranking 12 in the online MarkED game of slaps I played last night and came 2nd! There is a serious amount of luck invovled. I happy with my new 19″LCD from HP, worth that addictted evening of playing non-stop

Happy 1st b’day blog…

BronwenWeeGo.jpgHappy 1st birthday to our blog!  It’s been busy…in it’s first year it has 223 blog posts.  Should’ve counted my posts on Tech Talk Blogs..oh well. 

So to mark its’ 1st birthday, here’s a recap and figures on us.

Most people view our site on a Thursday

July saw the most visitors yet Top 5 posts:

  1. How to Turn of Sticky Keys
  2. Virtual Earth Version 5 – first look at Download Performance
  3. Custom Pushpins Offset in Virtual Earth
  4. JasJam – Manuafacturing fault with the Micro SD card slot
  5. Queensland Traffic Gadget – 15 cameras

Top 5 searches:

  1. sticky keys
  2. soul solutions
  3. List find
  4. virtual earth
  5. parking challenge

Top 5 referrers

  1. google.com
  2. viavirtualearth.com
  3. forums.microsoft.com
  4. blogs.msdn
  5. channel9.msdn.com 

Top 5 pages

  1. Blog (of course)
  2. Home
  3. Virtual Earth for Scalable Applications
  4. Articles
  5. Encoding for Performance

Sat 4 – Home!

BronwenWeeGo.jpgWe thought we got an exit row from Japan to Bris..but when i looked at the ticket and saw we were in row 70 I had my doubts.  After sitting in Japan airport for 7 hrs (lots of sleeping on chairs and reading) they called rows 50-67 .. hmm…intersting.

We go through ok..so there must be a row 70..as we get on the plane we realise we’re upstairs..nah..can’t be..isn’t that first class?  So we wander upstairs to find it is indeed economy (doh) and we have an exit row (yippee).  Unfortuantly it’s an old plane..so no personal video..and only 1 movie showing the whole way.

We get home early (yippee) and about to get the dog but john’s car battery is dead..so we go get my keys to discover my battery is also dead. Pretty sad seeing that we’ve only been away 3 weeks!  So we call subaru and racq respectivly to get our cars going.

Made it only till 11am before we crashed out and then couldn’t get to sleep till like 4am…hopefully sunday is better.

Fri 3 – Heathrow to Japan airport

BronwenWeeGo.jpgWell I experienced Heathrow on Thursday.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected after all the stories.  As we got there early for our flight we were the first to check in and scored emergency exit row. You go through normal bag scan..but they’re a bit anal about having only 1 carry on bag which means you keep putting things in and out of your bag so you can show your passport an/or boarding pass.  You do passport control which is basically someone lookng at your passport..no questions, no scanning and then shoe scan.  So  Aus and US is worse.

We found the “additinal seating” room where i pulled up 2 wooden benches and crashed. Exit row on the flight definaltly made a difference.  Watched 3 moves and crashed out…none of them particularaly great.  The emergency exit row has the screen that folds out of the arm which is much better for  getting it in the right spot for glare etc.

So now we have a 5 1/2 hours left in the airport.  We’ve found our gate and sets of 3 seats and are hogging them so john can get some shut eye.  14 hours to go till we’re back in Bris.

Thu – 2 Aug – On our way home today

BronwenWeeGo.jpgSo today we start our long journey home.  In Berkhamsted we’ve been stayint at Berko’s B&B.  We’ve found it really good.  We stayed in the flat which had it’s own bathroom and kitchen.  They also have a cafe so you wake up to a range of cooked breakfast choices.  Another couple of pluses – they have wireless internet and 1 block down the road is a coin operated laundry.

So after lunch today we’re off to battle Heathrow with a 7 hr stop in Narita Airport in Japan and then off to home to see my dog.