The number of large software systems in the world is growing steadily. Old first generation solutions are improved and made more sophisticated. Completely new areas open up for automation. More systems, more line of code. More complexity everywhere. And, inevitably, more questions about their behaviour. And, of course, more errors, from bugs in the systems themselves to malfunctioning of external dependencies and systems.
Microsoft is continuously improving its record with the open source community. First dumping massive chunks of .NET into github, then actually making very dedicated effort to clean it up and make it portable to Linux and Mac. Now comes another step, albeit smaller, in the same direction. Visual Studio 2017 will support CMake projects in a native way, without the need to generate .proj and .sln files first. This is great news, because it saves some effort for those working on cross-platform C++ products.
For quite some time I wanted to have a Drupal theme that would allow me to have a bootstrap based theme together with the look and feel as dictated by the Material Design principles from Google. Mainly because I like the way these two look and because I myself have very limited abilities in creating pretty user interfaces.
I have released a new product: Event Importer for Google calendar. It allows importing iCalendar files (.ics), downloaded via browser quickly and easily. Possible use cases: event export from Facebook, Meetup, other online services, e-mailed .ics files etc. Please give it a try and let me know what you think.
I have been introduced to Markdown format some time ago and today I find it extremely convenient for most of the writing I need to do. Markdown is essentially "markup without markup" - it requires you to do very little in order to format your text and it can be easily converted in a number of other formats, such as PDF, Word, ODT, LaTeX, HTML, Docbook etc. From experience I found that the most convenient environment to edit Markdown files is OpenOffice (or LibreOffice). Not only is it free and open source, it is actually quite convenient.
WPF allows you to create localized applications with relatively little effort. The localized strings are put into resource files (.resx), one per target language, and maintained as needed. The editing facilities of Visual Studio, however, are not designed to help the localization efforts, however. The GUI can only show one resource file at a time.
Offlineimap - a utility, used to synchronize between IMAP servers and Maildir style mailboxes on Unix systems, is very convenient. It can be used to back up your mail, stored on a remote IMAP server. Unfortunately, some releases of the utility are quite buggy - the latest version from the previous maintainer was simply broken, refusing to connect to many remote servers. It appears, however, that there is a new maintainer for the project. The GIT repository can be found here. Caveat emptor.
During the last day of 2010 news has leaked about a substantial breakthrough in the world of hacking. The quite famous and popular smartphone HTC HD2, also known as Leo, was hacked to run Android 2.2 and 2.3. Originally the phone comes with Windows Mobile 6.3 preinstalled. One needs a lot of space in order to describe all of this OS' shortcomings in the areas of stability, performance, user interface and productivity. However the hardware itself is amazingly good and at par with latest phones from the same and other manufactures.
The recently released Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 does not support mobile development for OS versions prior to the new Windows Phone 7. If you want to write software for Windows Mobile 6.5 or lower, you need to stick to Visual Studio 2005. So much for backward compatibility.