Friday, January 28, 2005

Hiring the top 1%

Great article from Joel about January 27, 2005 - hiring the top 1%,... if you are not the one percent but you think still that you are a seasoned .Net programmer, Dolmen - the company I work for - is still looking for programmers. (Give me a sign before you apply for a job....)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sarbanes-Oxley - what is all the fuzz about?

The last couple of weeks I have been reading some articles about Sarbanes-Oxley and the impact it has on IT budgets. So what is Sarbanes-Oxley ( or in short SOX) all about? Sarbanes-Oxley is a US law with as main goal strengthening corporate governance standards and one of. This law establishes standards concerning corporate boards and audit committees and the way these company stakeholders do their company reporting. Sox consists of 11 sections of which the most important from an IT perspective seem to be sections 404 and section 302. In 2004 Sox was only relevant for those US companies in the accelerated filers list, starting from this year onwards SOX will become relevant for all companies listed on US stock exchanges (Indeed, also European companies - Price WaterHouse Coopers estimates that about 470 European companies will have to comply with SOX)

Summary of challenges
  • SOX requires executives and auditors to attest and sign off internal controls to ensure accurate financial reporting If you need to sign off something you better be sure that you are sure about the underlying data. You will need to conduct audits of your reporting process and need to ensure data quality.

  • Sarbanes-Oxley demands prudent record retention policies This means that emails of key employees within your company can not be simply deleted anymore. You need to devise strict retention periods and also abide these. These policies should not only apply to your emails but also to all "instant messaging" systems.

  • Ernst&Young did a survey a couple of months ago about the efforts that companies are putting in compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley (Download pdf). The two most interesting facts from a System Integrator standpoint are:
  • only half of the companies seem to have a technology platform in place to comply with SOX.

  • 80% of the companies surveyed are planning to implement control self assesment framework and dashboard reporting tools.

  • Lots of IT companies are already proposing their own technology platforms:
  • EMC proposes Documentum ApplicationXtender 5.2 - which will allow you to develop your own content retention modules in .Net

  • HP is working to extend the possibilities of their StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System (RISS)

  • Other companies working in the same area are CommVault, KVS and PermaBit Inc

  • The European Union is not planning to create a similar law for all members states, all individual countries will have to make their own legislations related to corporate governance. However I expect that in the next couple of months some EU guidelines will be put forward. In Belgium, we already have a similar framework in place with the Code Lippens(Article in Dutch).

    SPS2003 30 million licencees ...

    Picked this up from an article on the Register
    "According to Microsoft, Office 2003 is ahead of XP after one year in every segment it tracks. Office revenue grew 17 per cent in financial year 2003 to $10.8bn. SharePoint Portal Server is the firm's fastest growing product, with 30m licencees."

    Wednesday, January 26, 2005

    The microsoft memo

    This is hilarious, ... the microsoft memo

    "From the office of Linus Torvald
    DATE: 10.31.2008
    TO: BILL
    RE: Will Steve kill WinX?"

    "When you hired me three years ago, you had to realize that I was going to speak my mind, no matter what the consequences. You told me that if I ever hit a wall with Steve or his people, I should let you know. Well, here goes. (Yes, again.)
    After all our technical and strategic conflicts, I bet you never guessed we'd be at each other's throats over a matter of pronunciation. But the fact is, when Steve goes to a marketing meeting, as he did yesterday, and pronounces our desktop system "Winux," he jeopardizes not only my personal reputation, but, more important, the very foundation of our business and software approach for the next decade. The desktop system is not "Winux," as in Linux. As he knows very well. WinX is pronounced like "winks."

    Read the full email.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    Rumours about K2.Net workflow - Microsoft merger denied

    I picked this up from the comments in Arno Nels blog about workflow

    "2. The relationship between K2 and BTS: K2 (headquartered out of Seattle) is working closely with Microsofts E-Biz team in Redmond to ensure even closer future alignment between K2 and BizTalk. This includes the sharing of non public technologies, concepts, experience and R&D efforts. Each organization, however will continue to own its own intellectual property with closely aligned commercialization strategies throughout the world. Contact Detail: Pierre van den Berg | | +2711 675 1175"

    Reporting services webparts - a short synopsis

    First rumours about webpart support for reporting services started november 2004, well you can actually try it out now with the release of Reporting Services SP2 beta. In the meanwhile you should definitely check out the alternative from Bryant Likes - Reporting Services webparts - Part I and Reporting services webparts - a walkthrough.

    Meanwhile Patrick wrote something about the newly released BI Portal which also incorporate report browsers. Jan took a look at the webparts in Reporting services SP2 and wasn't convinced. (By the way Jan and Patrick, I know a cool thing I want to see at DevDays ... adding print capabilities to the dataview webpart with the use of WordML...)

    I definitely should find some time to take a look at these things, BI and SharePoint sounds like an interesting combination (For people interested in business balanced scorecard, check out the SharePoint Balanced ScoreCard Accelerator)

    Saturday, January 22, 2005

    New SharePoint and CMS resources and linksro

    Here we go:
  • Placeholder from Authentic 2005 (Altova) to replace the standard XML placeholder in CMS

  • Trial versions of CMDocSafe and SPS Research Master, enhancements for SharePoint Portal Server

  • Discussion about the CMS vNext from Mark Harrison, Spencer says 'Grrrr... My take on the MCMS vNext shambles.' and Patrick Gaul "Tells Tony" about MCMS's future & more ... and Andrew Connell.

  • MondoSoft webservice search kit(MondoSoft offers a search solution for plain vanilla and CMS websites)

  • Tool to get dependency reports for resource gallery items(CMS related)

  • SharePoint query builder tool

  • Site inspector : tool you can use to take a look at the internals of all the fields and forms on a SharePoint page

  • SPS Backup and restore sample : Sample code which showcases all the steps for backing up SPS2003 or WSS sites

  • Office 2003 XML reference schemas

  • Medium business solutions guide for Collaboration (Microsoft whitepaper)

  • Another Belgian geek dinner survivor

    Patrick already mentionned that he survived, ... well I did as well, (although barely - French karaoke definitily sucks...). Interesting conversations about the popularity of Apple Ipod, the upcoming launch of Windows Media Center in Belgium, MSBuild and the "euh" in webcasts....

    Thursday, January 20, 2005

    About counter-offers

    I definitely like the blog writings from Heather (She's doing recruiting for MS), however for this posting, What to do about Counter-offers, you should definitely read the comments...

    Coveo Enterprise Search

    A couple of days ago, I installed Coveo Enterprise Search (Andrew Connell, Angus Logan and Mark Harrisson already blogged about it). Coveo is a search engine which you can incorporate within your own website (These are also the guys who created Copernic).
    First the things I like:
  • Very good web based administration interface, very easy to use - I already thought that the one for MondoSearch was good but this one is still a little bit better ...

  • Possible to index file shares, websites and Exchange Server (5.5 and 2000 - I'm going to check with their support to see if also indexes Exchange 2003)
  • When you add a website to be indexed you can tell Coveo to include or exclude certain paths

  • Configure which system fields associated with documents are taken into account when generating the index

  • Define per documenttype if the entire document or only the file information is indexed. To full text index a document a document converter has to be available (Supported File Formats: Adobe PDF Files, HTML Documents, Microsoft Word Documents, Microsoft Excel Worksheets, Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations, Rich Text Format, WordPerfect Documents, Text Documents and Zip Archives). You can also write extra document converters for custom file types. PDFs,HTML, TXT & RTF, Office documents (xls,doc, ppt), WordPerfect documents are fully indexed by default

  • Possible to index XML references - this allows you to index content stored within your database

  • Possible to define top results for certain search queries

  • Possible to fine tune the ranking mechanism

  • Coveo also offers a desktop search engine which you can download separately but the version which is distributed together with the enterprise version allows you to link to the indexes which are created by the Coveo Enterprise Search Crawler

  • This is a very cheap solution for adding search capabilities to your own site, under 5000 documents/html pages is free. If you take a look at a comparable product such as MondoSoft, you will notice that Coveo is a competitive alternative up untill 30000 documents/html pages in the index. MondoSearch uses a per CPU license model, while Coveo uses the number of items in index as differentiator in their pricing model

  • Things I didn't like:
  • There's no .Net interface available for creating your own search user interface. Coveo uses COM components and most of the samples for customizing the search interface are written in classic ASP

  • Coveo becomes very expensive once you start to index a lot of documents, so when you want to index file shares or Exchange servers you are probably better off with a solution such as SharePoint Portal Server which does not only provide you with search capabilities but also with some extra features. If you want to index more then 250000 documents with Coveo, you will have to pay
    34999 USD, this is roughly comparable with a 2 server SharePoint setup with 400 client access licenses (CALs). (For more details about pricing check out

  • I actually tested it for searching a site created with MS CMS and I think it did a pretty decent job, ... however I don't know if it actually handles all the logic contained within MS CMS (security, workflow,...). At first it seemed that it had problems crawling the resource gallery of MS CMS but once I directed it through a crawlpage that we created for MondoSearch it managed to crawl the resource galleries as well. I guess that if you want actually use the product in one of your own CMS projects you will have to do a thorough evaluation and compare it with other alternatives such as SharePoint and MondoSearch.

    Adding search to your blog

    Got it from David Cumps blog, Adding Search to my Blog

    Wednesday, January 19, 2005

    Musings about search - Search on the server

    It is a nice feature to search everything on your desktop, but what about all the data left in other data stores at your company (File shares, websites, exchange public folders, notes database,...). This is an area which I think is still largely underserved. This year I mainly focussed on 2 search alternatives, SharePoint Portal Search and Mondosearch and I actually managed to do some projects with these search engines as well.

    About Mondosearch
    I already posted an evaluation of MondoSearch a couple of months ago (Check out CMS Search with Mondosoft), but lets add some remarks:
  • Be carefull when you edit the host that you want to crawl - this will reset your grabmap and all associated settings - fortunately it doesn't reset the category map

  • To check the version of Mondosoft you are using, you can go to any InSite page, do view source and look for the meta description field

  • In theory it is possible to copy the categories you have defined on one server to another by copying the C:\MondoSearch\SearchHost\data\MssCat.cfg, C:\MondoSearch\SearchHost\data\MssCatText.xml, C:\MondoSearch\SearchHost\data\MssCatTextPreview.xml to your new server. However you have to be absolutely sure that both of your servers are configured identical. In practice, don't do it, it will definitely go wrong

  • I already said that Mondosoft support is very good, well after experiencing some problems while doing an install, I definitely have to say it again. These guys definitely have an excellent support team

  • About SharePoint Portal Server Search
    Some people argue that search isn't the best way to retrieve your document, it is better to organize you documents through the use of categories (SPS2001 terminology) or areas (SPS2003 terminology). I still consider search to be an essential part of SharePoint Portal. We have done some projects using SPS search and especially with customizations of the search or using SPS search to create or own rollup webparts, lets see what we have found:
  • SharePoint search seems to scale better then the previous version, if you look at the SharePoint capacity planning whitepaper it states "The performance of the indexes degrades when the number of documents in the index exceeds 5 million documents. Have no more than four indexes on each indexer in a farm configuration.". This seems that in a webfarm setup you can index about 20 million documents.

  • If you encounter issues with search, you will have a hard time to retrieve the cause of those issues, since search is actually composed of a number of components

  • SharePoint search seems to have some glitches when you have multilingual content, ...

  • The SharePoint search UI is very customizable - check out the MSDN article How to Customize Your Search Using SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and the search.aspx documentation

  • SharePoint is very good at retrieving information for a specific search term but unfortunately it is not that good at showing the most relevant results. Read more about it SharePoint Search Results - what do you expect or Search result relevancy test UltraSeek vs SharePoint (I never tried Ultraseek so I can't say much about it ...)

  • About Coveo Enterprise Search
    I downloaded Coveo Enterprise search last week after seeing the posting from Angus Logan, Coveo is an enterprise search engine and you are free to use it, if you index less then 5000 documents. It definitely is an ideal solution for small MS CMS deployments. I will write about it in one of my next postings.... I actually tried it out with an existing CMS site in a Windows 2003 setup within Virtual PC and it definitely is very easy to set up and very intuitive. I however experienced some timeouts when performing crawls, maybe related to trying it out in Virtual PC.

    Sunday, January 16, 2005

    Business logic in stored procedures

    Last week one of those classic discussions started after an e-mail which talked about using business logic in stored procedures. The email came from a guy who was working as a subcontractor for another firm. In this firm they use an Oracle database (... the Oracle guys always seem to be guys who bring up this discussion, must be because of their background) and they have also a lot of experienced PL/SQL programmers. They put forward the statement that it was better to store all of their business logic in stored procedures.

    At first one of the tech guys seemed to agree, together they made the following statements:
  • If you put all of your business logic in stored procedures, you will get less network traffic since all calculations are done directly within the database

  • Putting business logic in stored procedures gives better performance

  • Higher flexibility in modifying code, you don't have to recompile anything,...

  • Lets say, that I definitely didn't agree and neither did some of my coworkers, together we decided that it's better not to use business logic in stored procedures:
  • Business logic in stored procedures is more difficult to develop, especially since you loose a lof of the benefits associated with OOAD

  • Stored procedures are hard to debug

  • Version control on stored procedures is a lot harder to maintain

  • Stored procedures are harder to test, ... did anyone try to write unit tests for stored procedures

  • Performance is often given as a reason for putting business logic in stored procedures. This is correct if you just use typical datadriven statements, once you start using loops, case blocks and if statements you will however experience a significant performance degradation. (So as a rule of thumb, don't use stored procedures for logic which needs these types of code)

  • I definitely support using stored procedures, they are a very usefull when developing applications, however only use them for things they are meant to be used for, datadriven operations. All other logics should be located in components outside of your database. (Well, maybe this will change once we an write managed code inside SQL Server 2005 - but lets wait and see how this code will perform.)

    Saturday, January 15, 2005

    Check out this link to the SOA Pattern catalog (SOA being Service Oriented Architecture for the dutch speeking people ....)
    For those of you who haven't heard about SOA yet, check out this blogpostings SOA revisited.

    SQL Server, LDF files and SPS backup

    Bart pointed to a very nice posting from Bill English (This is the same guy who wrote the SharePoint Resource Kit) about a discussion around SQL Server, LDF files and SPS backup. Interesting reading material....

    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    SharePoint Tools Galore V2

    A while ago I created SharePoint Tools Galore list - well here comes V2 - I have added some new SharePoint related 3d party products...

    SharePoint toolsuites
  • Coras workplace suiteSuite with rollup webparts (for news,documents,tasks,...), navigation controls and full language localization (This is way cool...)

  • Syntergy Provide lots of modules such as replication technologies for SharePoint, bulkloader, audit for SharePoint,...

  • Search
  • Entopia K-Bus for SharePoint Portal Server: Adds extra information discovery capabilities, also allows SharePoint to index Documentum, Opentext,...

  • WSS PowerSearch - The developers ofthis product also have some other nice SharePoint tools, check out PowerRecycle and PowerNav

  • Backup/Data Recovery/Antivirus
  • SharePoint document recovery tool : Free download from Stephane Cordonnier

  • McAfee Portal Shield Antivirus solution

  • AVG SharePoint Server Edition web site Antivirus solution

  • Sybari Antigen for SharePoint
    TrendMicro PortalProtect Antivirus solution

  • NetPoint Solutions

  • Factiva:Search and workflow tools for Office 2003

  • Captaris Teamplate: This workflow toolset even adds a module for fax based workflow "RightFax Workflow wizard

  • Skelta workflow .Net

  • K2.Net

  • Nintex smartlibrary

  • Smart workflow from LMR Solutions

  • DataLan FlowBuilder

  • Document & Records management
  • Meridio: .Net software which integrates seamlessly into SharePoint and provides records management features needed to be compliant with standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley, US DOD 5015.2 records management standards,...

  • Towersoft

  • Wisdom

  • Mobius

  • Utilities
  • SharePoint Explorer : another free tool which you can use to explore the SharePoint object model

  • Admin report kit for SPS 2003: configuration and usage reporting tool for SPS 2003

  • Business Intelligence
  • DSP Portal Edition : Adds webparts which can display information from OLAP cubes

  • Miscellaneous
  • Brightwork: adds MSF (Microsoft Solution Framework) on top of SharePoint

  • Ratings & expert module for SharePoint

  • K-Wise - Migration tools

  • Factiva Modules to integrate news sources into your WSS/SPS (Factiva is a Dow Jones & Reuters company)

  • Advis site navigator Navigation and UI enhancements

  • Offline Portal capabilities
  • Digilink revelation Lets mobile users synchronise offline information with SPS and WSS

  • IORA Another solution for offline SharePoint usage
  • Stsadm backup and restore with SP1

    Something interesting from Tariq, STSADM Backup Restore and SP1... it seems that the backup source and target need to have the same service pack level...

    Office 2003 development on DotNetRocks

    Today I listened to an episode on DotNetRocks with Rob Barker about Infopath, the Information Bridge Framework, and Visual Studio Tools for Office 2003 with Rob Barker, interesting stuff I must say... (For those of you who don't know DotnetRocks, it's a radio show about .Net development which you can listen online or download in mp3 or windows media format ...)

    WinOE workflow prepared for Whidbey, Longhorn and Office 12 in 2006

    Yesterday I wrote a blog posting about Workflow solutions on Microsoft Platform and today I noticed this new article on CRN WinOE workflow prepared for Whidbey, LongHorn and Office 12 in 2006. It sounds pretty promising ... I especially liked these statements

    " ....WinOE eventually will be embedded as a transparent "plumbing service" in the operating system but initially it will be provided as an add-on service for Windows like Windows SharePoint Services and Windows Digital Rights Management Services, sources added. Office 12 and the next SharePoint Portal Server are targeted to be the first two "Win-OE-aware" applications available in 2006 and are designed to work together...."

    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    Workflow solutions on Microsoft Platform

    Mads Nissen published a posting a while ago about Microsofts strategy for workflow engines in which he suggested that SourceCode the company which delivers K2.Net will be bought by Microsoft and proposed as the alternative for Biztalk Human Workflow Services (HWS). K2.Net is actually a pretty nice tool which integrates very well with ASP.Net, SharePoint and even Biztalk. There are however alternative 3d party vendors for implementing workflow solutions such as Skelta and Teamplate ( For a more elaborate overview, check out SharePoint Tools Galore)

    Anyway, it definitely seems that Biztalk HWS is a dead end and there seem to be a fair amount of blog postings about this as well - check out Human Workflow Services (HWS) - just say no and Scott Woodgate seems to agree - read more about it in Choose the right workflow implementation with Biztalk 2004. I don't think that Biztalk is the ideal tool for implementing human-oriented workflow solutions anyway, since it does not provide a nice user interface for information workers to customize their own workflows. Biztalk is more of a developer tool then a tool for end-users (even tech-savy end users...), that's why I don't believe in solutions such as described in the latest issue of .Net magazine Benelux - check out the blogposting of Jan Tielens about it Building Workflow Solutions Article … Where’s the Code?

    Hopefully the next workflow solution that Microsoft proposes will integrate easily with all of their different server products (The same product to implement workflow for Content Management Server, CRM Server, SharePoint and for all ASP.Net developed websites for that matter). Moving the workflow engine into the operating system - as Mads Nissen points out - seems a good way to accomplish this. With SharePoint and the Office System Microsoft has released a very solid foundation for building workflow solutions, unfortunately they do not provide a complete end to end solution for human-oriented workflow solutions. Since portals are one of the central building blocks in all process automation involving human-oriented workflow, this seems to be quite a strategic oversight.

    Gilbane Report Blog

    The guys from Gilbane Report have started their own blog(RSS 2.0 feed) on which they will publish their papers about topics such as content management, XML, e-catalogs, syndication, search technology, intranet publishing, document computing architectures, markup languages, corporate portals, enterprise information integration, digital asset management, and other technologies for processing and integrating unstructured data. Interesting reading material ...

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    About blogs and forums

    Ken just migrated most of his blogcontent into a forum, ...

    Why:"A forum is much easier to interact than a blog. So I've created a forum based on Snitz Forum 2000. Registration is only required when you want to post yourself, but it's completely free. Your emailaddress will not be outsourced or used for advertising! See you soon? "

    Well, it all depends of what you are using your blog for,... I still think that blogs have a lot of value especially because of the exposure through XML feeds, unfortunately this is still a widely unknown feature. Most people still use a browser to read blogs instead of a feed aggregator ( Read the summary of The state of blogging from the Pew Internet and Amercian Life Project - only 5% of internet users use a feed aggregator). Eric Peterson from Jupiter Research has a nice comment about this as well, What will it take to push RSS into the mainstream?

    Friday, January 07, 2005

    Roi, webservices and sex

    I just found some great quotes about ROI (Return on Investment - a method to assist management decision making by evaluating the return on various investment alternatives.) and webservices:

    In traditional IT projects, I said, ROI has been as elusive as high-school sex: "The question was always, are you going to get any?" But with web services, ROI is more like married sex: "You know you're getting it, but you're always wondering, what can we do to make it better?"

    and how about this one ...

    Web services are like high-school sex: "everybody's talking about it, but practically no one's doing it, and the ones who are doing it, aren't doing it very well".

    Read the complete discussion at Loosely Coupled

    Longhorn on Wireds Vaporware top 10

    Longhorn made it to number 3 of Wireds vaporware top 10. I'm not really sure if congratulations are in place ...;-)

    File Size Limit FAT32

    Today I got a new external harddisk, and I wanted to copy my Virtual PC images on to it. Unfortunately,it said, not enough disk space when trying to copy an 8 GB image although the disk has 160GB. Well it seemed that I overlooked the fact that the disk was formatted with FAT32 and this only supports files up to 4 GB. For more info check out Size limitations in NTFS and FAT

    Content Management Standard edition - 15-user problem

    Thanks a lot Joel Ward for pointing to the solution and Angus Logan for bringing it up in the newsgroups. We experienced the same issue, just a couple of weeks ago....

    Content Management Server is delivered in different editions - standard, development and enterprise edition. One of the limitations of the standard edition is that you can only define 15 different users for the different roles ( author,editor, moderator,...) - well at least that is how we saw it. How does it work out of the box in CMS standard edition, you can assign 15 users to a certain role, but once you try to add one of these users to another role you get a nice little error messager "the operation could not be completed because it would put the server in violation of the Standard Edition Licence restrictions". Fortunately this seems to be a bug which can be fixed by applying a hotfix, check out - you cannot assign users to a rights group after 15 different users have been assigned to that rights group in Content Management Server 2002.

    Thursday, January 06, 2005

    Nerd level

    A lot of people tried it out already, ...

    I am nerdier than 77% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

    Microsoft MVP lists

    It seems that the new Microsoft MVP(Most Valuable Professionals) lists are available and this definitely arouses some reactions, take a look at what Maxim says about the ones for SharePoint Portal Server and Windows SharePoint Services. I have to say that I can somewhat agree...

    Musings about search - Desktop search in 2004

    The hype about search engines definitely peaked in 2004, so lets start 2005 recap of what happened.
    Search on the desktop - the things I tried this year.
  • Microsoft bought Lookout, a search engine for Outlook. After downloading the free version ( all search engines for clients seemed to be free this year, .... wooohooo), I used it for quite some time and I was actually pretty impressed. Until MSN Desktop Search arrived (I guess Microsoft integrated this product completely in their msn desktop search), it was the best tool to use for searching your emails, but finally uninstall ...

  • Ask Jeeves also released a desktop search engine, never tried it and probably never will

  • Google had its IPO and with their heap of cash, they did some pretty impressive stuff, one of them was the release of Google Desktop Search. I tried it out for a couple of weeks and I actually liked most of except for the web interface - why do we need a webinterface for doing things on the desktop. Another thing, Google Desktop Search blocked some of the integration features of Outlook and SharePoint. So uninstall....
  • Yahoo decided not to create their own searchengine but instead licensed the X1desktop search engine. I actually tried it out myself but one of the things I didn't like was that the UI seemed to freeze at times when performing a search. So uninstall ...
  • Doomsayers concluded that Microsoft completely missed the ball (... sounds familiar, it's like the browser wars revisited) and then they launched MSN Toolbar suite Beta. I'm pretty satisfied with this one, and I just installed it a couple of hours ago on a Windows 2003 Server (Unsupported scenario but pretty easy todo, unpack the exe, by typing "msntoolbarsuitesetup_en-us.exe /c" at command prompt, next install the msi by typing "msiexec /i msntoolbarsuite.msi TBSDEVCODE=1 .

    There actually is a pretty good comparison of all of these tools at Slate - assessment of desktop search engines. Except for the Copernic Search Engine which I haven't tried (Apparently AOL is promoting Copernic as a searchengine) I have to agree with the general assesment, MSN Desktop search definitely deserves its B grade.
    Which are the features I like most:
  • It allows you to specify specific folders to search, so I doesn't have to index my complete hard drive

  • It also allows for searches from within Outlook, and for emails within the search results you can easily find the complete conversation by just rightclicking it.

  • It categorises the search results, so you can get all the results or only search results from within documents

  • Another cool thing, not quite search related is the quick launch, you can type =calc and it will launch the calculator, now I don't even have to click start and go to my command prompt

  • It also indexes my code files (C# and VB.Net)

  • Which are the things I'm still missing:
  • When do we get an SDK for desktop search?

  • Limited configuration options, how can I specify for example that it has to put his indexes somewhere else - now it defaults to c:\documents and settings\[UserId]\Local Settings\Application Data\MSN Toolbar Suite

  • How can I make it to also index other type of files?

  • The user interface should definitely include a more advanced search option, you can do queries like give me all documents with the word "desktop" in it created before 11/21/2004, by typing in "desktop before:11/21/2004" but it would be nicer if the UI supported this.

  • A better preview of the found results would be nice

  • Well, with all the competition, I think we will get a lot of nice features in the next couple of months, I can't wait untill they release the next version of MSN Desktop Search.

    Sunday, January 02, 2005

    Interesting marketing blogs

    Lately I have been focussing a little bit more on non-technical areas within the ICT sector, such as marketing, business development, business strategy,... well a great blog to check out if you are interested in these things is the one from Decker Marketing (Feed Url : - a little hard to find on the left of the page...). I especially liked his comments on a posting by Nick Wreden (FusionBrand) about the relevancy of marketing... ( So we already had "Does IT matter", now we also have "Does marketing matter".) Which led me to another nice posting from the same guy, in which he compared advertisements of IBM with Microsoft, the bottom line, ... put emphasis on the customer, use "You" and not "We" or "I" in your advertisement ... a nice but simple lesson

    Happy New Year

    Happy New Year, may 2005 be filled with all the things that your heart can desire ... so for the geeks amongst us, happy programming and gaming, .... ;-)

    DotNetDevs Site

    Andrew Connell pointed to a great site about .Net development...