I’ve done a lot of investigatory work in the last few lunar cycles of different development projects I’d dreamed up. However, after the investigation and the internal decision making was completed, I didn’t do a good job of “closing the loop” with any of you who have wondered “what happened all those projects?”.
I haven’t thought much about the royal “you” in this work — I’ve been sharing the steps and findings, but recently I started to wonder what people would think in the future if they happened to search on something that led them to one of these projects’ articles. I’d feel pretty frustrated trying to find out where these things led (if anywhere) and where (if anywhere) there might be code that came out of these efforts.
Well then, it’s time to close the loop on these — at least, as much as I am “decided” on any of these so far. That said, I’m never committed to any particular decision like this if any new evidence surfaces in the future to challenge my assumptions. So if anyone is interested in picking up where I left off on any of this, drop me a line to let me know (I’m always interested in this kind of experimental work), and if you’d like to bounce some ideas off me, or see if I’d be interested in participating, I’ll always be open to such inquiries.
Bottom line: while the effort to understand the VMC development environment was instructional and probably honed my ability to figure out what to look for in future explorations, my overall impression of MCML is that it’s just too damned hard for amount of value I might derive from it.
That, plus the chronic and unresolved stability issues I’m seeing with Vista Media Center (exacerbated by the merciless complaints and teasing I receive from my wife, who keeps saying “The XP box was much more stable, wasn’t it?”) have pretty much convinced me to pave the box, downgrade to Windows XP and to give Beyond TV a try. [Their SDKs and more open, flexible architecture look like the perfect place to invest .NET development efforts, and the customer satisfaction with Beyond TV seems far superior to Windows Media Center, at least based on my initial research.]
Attensa Sync to Google Reader: No-Go
I had already decided to move from Attensa for Outlook to NewsGator Inbox, and then a few weeks ago NewsGator announced that their previously $30 Outlook client would henceforth be available for FREE to any and all concerned.
While there was no conversion possible from Attensa to NewsGator (well, I could import the OPML, but I couldn’t sync the “read/unread” status of all my articles, nor transparently migrate old articles to the new folder structure), everything else about this has been a positive experience. I’m totally addicted to the NewsGator Mobile Reader for iPhone, and the fact that it syncs with my Outlook “read/unread” status is just awesome. Congrats, NewsGator!
Attensa, I wish you luck in trying to survive the competitive pressures from NewsGator. If I didn’t know better, I’d guess this is the beginning of the decline for Attensa, even though I think their Outlook client is superior to the current NewsGator Inbox offering.
When I first read about the “export to MediaWiki” capability in OpenOffice Writer 2.3, I quickly concluded that any work I or the rest of the community had done for an Office add-in would become a moot point. [Amusing but not-entirely-inaccurate Spoonerism: my wife knew a guy who insisted that the term was “a mute point”.]
However, after using Writer 2.3 to convert a few relatively simple Word 2003 documents to MediaWiki format, I realize that they still have a long way to go to preserve real fidelity of layout and formatting in Word documents. I have faith that they’ll get there, and that eventually Writer’s integrated engine will become the translation engine for .DOC & .DOCX, but I now feel like there’s a significant unmet need that the work I’ve invested so far in W2MW++ could still address, and that that unmet need will exist for quite a while yet.
That said, there’s one thing that’s been bugging me for a few months now: the name. WordToMediaWikiPlusPlus is a clever extension of the Word2MediaWikiPlus project, and it makes obvious the heritage of W2MW++, but it makes it sound like the project is more “hardcore” than it really is. If I had my druthers, I’d rename the project “Word2MediaWiki.NET” (W2MW.NET), to make it clearer that the project is based in .NET code, not C++. I’d hate to think anyone would be disappointed by the fact that it’s written in one of these “shiny new” languages — there’s something more “honest” or “obvious” about using the “.NET” suffix instead.
Now all I have to do is figure out how to Rename all the dozens of “++” references throughout the project AND figure out how to get a CodePlex project renamed. [THAT should be fun :)]