Rest i Peace Hotmail

hotmaillogoOne of the oldest most recognized web services is no more, Hotmail has been turned off. What Microsoft describes as a successful transfer of to marks the end for the former Internet giant.

Hotmail was cool back in 1996 for many reasons. The brand name was smart, HoTMaiL contained all the letters of the HTML acronym. The service marked the beginning cloud services. As a bonus it was fun to see friends who confused the word “mail” with “male” when typing the address of the service.

Microsoft bought Hotmail in 1997 for estimated $400 million.. and it has been downhill from there. I remember the outages and confusion when Microsoft first tried to migrate the service to Windows Servers. I wonder if there will be more of the same now that they have switched the whole service for their new baby

Similarly to Hotmails failure Yahoo have AltaVista in the same state of hibernation. Google acquired YouTube, another “first Internet giant in its field”. Google however chose not to rebrand it but rather keep it as a separate “cool” brand. Ever heard of Google Video? They even had a competing service when they bought YouTube, yet they decided to keep the brand YouTube. Google Video have now gone the way of Hotmail and Altavista, but YouTube lives on of course!

RIP Hotmail.

Silverlight-utvecklare gör uppror

Tydligen krävde det en demonstration av Windows 8 för Silverlight-programmerare att inse att de är hotade av JavaScript och HTML5. Nu gör de öppet uppror mot Microsoft och vill att Silverlight och .NET ska framhävas mer i framtida presentationer. Det ironiska i det hela är att Silverlightutvecklarna genom att göra väsen av sig nu fått andra att fundera över om Silverlight verkligen är på att bli en parantes inom webbutveckling. Silverlight har enligt Wikipedia i 73% täckning mot huvudkonkurrenten Adobe Flash 97%. Både Flash och Silverlight hotas nu av HTML5.

Ny Explorer – Nytt gränssnitt

När jag studerade på universitetet så kommer jag ihåg hur vi läste om Microsoft och hur de skröt om sina användaranalyser. De hade till och med haft en utredning om från vilken vinkel en ikon skulle kasta skugga för att vara som mest “användarvänlig”.

Min fråga är, var tog den avdelningen vägen!? I varje ny version av någon produkt från Microsoft de senaste åren har de vänt upp och ner på sitt eget gränssnitt. Microsoft Office 2007 fick en total makeover. Windows Vista (eller ska jag säga Windows 7 eftersom ingen körde Visa?) möblerade om ordentligt i filhanteringen. Nu kom nyligen Internet Explorer 9 och visst har Microsoft lyckats med att förvirra även där.

En så pass “enkel” sak som att ladda hem en fil. Denna funktion har fungerat i stort sätt oförändrat i Internet Explorer sedan version 4. I senaste versionen av Internet Explorer så kommer denna dialog inte upp som vanligt utan lägger sig istället som en liten informationsruta längst ner i Internet Explorer. Vilken användarvänlighetsexpert kom på detta? Jag kan inte komma på någon fördel med att “gömma” den längst ner i bilden?

En av de återkommande anledningarna jag hört för att använda Microsofts programvara är att “användarna känner igen sig”. Nu har snart Microsoft sänk sig själva med detta.

Missuppfatta mig inte nu, Microsofts produkter är bra men de är inte oersättliga. Om de fortsätter med att missgynna sina trogna användare så kommer de nog att tappa i sin för närvarande dominerande marknadsställning.

Att köra Word på en server

Att automatisera Word och köra det på en server för att enkelt skapa dokument utifrån innehållet i en databas kan vara ganska praktiskt. Jag har varit med om flera projekt där man tillämpat just detta. När man läser i Microsofts knowledge base så kan man nästan få intrycket att Microsoft inte tycker det är en riktigt lika bra idé. Detta trots att de tillämpar licensmodellen att om en servertjänst skapar Word-dokument så måste alla klienter som använder server-tjänsten ha en Word-licens.

Skrivet på rätt sätt kan Word dock med fördel användas på en server. Om man exempelvis endast använder förutbestämda mallar som fungerar på servern riskerar man inte att få in strulande macro eller andra olägenheter.

Canonical links, SEO news

googleGoogle, Yahoo and Microsoft have togheter announced the support of a new tag for web development where you can specify your canonical links. The point of this is to enable webmasters themselves to “point out” which page contains the original copy of certain information in case multiple copies are shown on the same page. In essence, if multiple links into the website can display the same content you now have the ability to point the search engine to the page that you would rather have indexed.

The code is quite simple, on each page where the information can be found simply add the following tag:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”” />

This will inform the search engine of which of the pages is the true origin of the information and which are only redundant copies. For more detailed explenation of the new tag visit the Official Google Webmaster Central.

I bet many CMS authors right now are digging into their code to add support for this new convention.

Are you not (yet) against software patents?

Are software patents protecting the inventors and is something needed to protect intelectual property?

Read this:

If it designed to be used to protect intelectual property then it is now abused by large companies for making absurd claims, in this case Microsoft.

Makes me want to patent the “O”-button… peple cant write blgs withut it.

IIS easy restart

One annoying thing about the Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) is that it’s quite a few clicks in order to restart it through the normal GUI. If you use it as a development environment and happen to make an infinite loop or some other bad thing it’s annoying to have to go through all those steps every time.

To save some time here is a simple tip, since the IIS run as a normal service simply make a file called “kick iis.bat” (at least that is what I call it) and enter the following:

net stop w3svc
net start w3svc

This should work for the standard installation of IIS. This will take the server down and then back up again, faster than the GUI just double click the file. I keep it on my dekstop… that might give you an idea of how often I trash the IIS hehe.

Microsoft Open License

I have a Microsoft Open License, a developers license to many of Microsofts products. Today I wanted to evaluate Crystal Report for user at a customer of mine. While this seems easy enough it took me several hours to manage this “small” task. Here’s roughly what happend.

First off, my agreement with Microsoft recently expired and I had bought a renewal which had to be activated. Fair enough, according to the letter I had recieved I should visit a site at and so I enter the address and waited. Nothing. Was the server down? After waiting again some 20 minutes “for the server to come back” I realized that on the paper it said https and not http. I entered https and there was a reply! How could they not redirect to (or at least inform about) the secure site on the normal address/port?

20 minutes wasted.

Well into the site I found my old agreement, found an “add agreement” link and added the new one. Done and done… or so I thought. I switched over to where I downloaded software before but here I’m still met by a message telling me my subscription is out. The two systems don’t seem synced and after som frustrating clicking about on both sites I conclude that I must enter a “benefit access code” which I’ve never heard of before. I try my agreement number(s) but no success. I go back to the eOpen site and check my agreements and they are still there, one of them active until 2010. I randomly click on every link I can find (and there are tons) in hope of finding where to get my benefit access code and I end up on the most diverse places all over Microsofts network. After about 1 hour of frantic clicking and searching I found a page that obviously had a blocked pop-up window I had overlooked, turns out this pop-up contained a agreement acceptance that I had to sign.

1 hour wasted.

With the agreement accepted I found I still could not access my licenses but I still figured I needed that benefit access code. After some clicking in the menu I found that I could assign my agreement to an employee (…and since I’m self employed I quickly assigned everything I could to myself), I added subsription options and lo and behold, in red text, “benefit access code”! I jump over to the MSDN site, enter my name, e-mail and the magic code…. and it’s rejected. I spend some time trying to figure this one out and decide I’ll wait for an introduction e-mail I’ve been promised by the system (maybe the code wasn’t active yet?).

30 minutes wasted.

An e-mail arrives with the access code, the exact same one I tried before. I hit it again and still I’m rejected. I try a couple of combinations only to find myself locked out of the login-system for entering the wrong information to often.

10 minutes wasted.

During my 10 minutes time-out period (it said 5 minutes but I was by this time furious with the system and had also recieved a survey from Microsoft to evaluate their website which I was delighted to take… I think I answered at least a couple of questions with something other than the worst possible option) I read my mail carefully and found that somehow, somewhere, my first and last names where switched. I entered MSDN again and entered the information again, but with my first and last names switched. Success!

5 minutes not entierly wasted, I did get in now!

Finally into the system. Now, let’s download Crystal Report which is a tool often used with Visual Basic. I search for Crystal Report. No result. I search for Visual Basic and get several options. I choose to download one of them and the download manager installs on the computer (this was not my regular computer so it did not have the downloader installed). After the installation the downloader starts… and stops… and freezes the machine. Reboot. Logout. Go home.

Only a few minutes wasted in the sense that I gave up and went home.

From home I have my work laptop connected and finally manage to download Visual Basic 6.0. I burn the two ISO-files to CDs and I install Visual Basic. All through the installation I search for options to include Crystal Report but find nothing. When the installation is complete and I search through the program options but can’t find it there either. Finally I go back to searching the Internet and find a Knowledge Base article describing it’s position. It feels like a treasure map. On one of the CD’s (though different one for every distribution) 4 levels down in a folder structure an Crystl32.exe is found! I double click it, install it and … where did it go? Poff. Gone? Re-reading the instructions I find that it does not create any shortcuts (why would they start now?) rather I either find it in the directory structure of Visual Basic or in the Add-in menu. Finally… and this last bit only took a little over an hour but at least there was steady progress all the time.

In conclusion… Microsoft, seriously: SIMPLICITY please!