Using Launchy to take quick notes

I've added an entry to Launchy's Runner plugin to take quick notes.
I just type tn someText and the someText gets appended with date and time stamp to the file c:\notes.txt.

The item is defined like this:
Name: tn
Program: cmd.exe
Arguments: /C "echo %Date% %Time%>> c:\notes.txt & echo $$ >> c:\notes.txt & echo_>> c:\notes.txt"

WinXP Batch for Exporting Balsamiq Mockups to Pngs

@echo off
rem Export all Balsamic Mockup files to pngs in the same directory.
if not "%echo%"=="" echo %echo%
set prog="%ProgramFiles%\Balsamiq Mockups\Balsamiq Mockups.exe"

for %%m in (*.bmml) do call :ProcessFile "%%m"

exit /b

rem must provide fully qualified paths of balsamiq
%prog% export "%~f1" "%~d1%~p1%~n1.png"

Edit 29-Apr-2009 13:10 (EDST)
Peldi asked my to include a link to the Balsamiq support site
and I hereby oblige happily. I should have looked there first - I just enjoy to much writing shell scripts.


Ideas for Lego Mindstorms projects

Today has been my son Viktor’s ninth birthday. He is a rather bright kid with a keen interest in everything that you have to build on your own. I would say he is a natural geek.

As I am not so proficient in handy work my wife and me decided on a LEGO Mindstorms NXT set for Viktor as this years birthday gift. That way I might be able to help him with his projects.

As I am sitting in my train back to my job back to Wurzburg to my software contracting job and reading “The unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor’s Guide” I come up with some ideas:

  1. Building a robot that will write messages by pouring sand (maybe colored)
  2. Sending those messages via Bluetooth (from a mobile phone?)
  3. A device that will squirrel of to the darkest corner of the room as soon as it detects someone entering the room. The device already has a name: Scarry Frank.


Creating UI Mockups. Focus on Essentials: Balsamiq Mockups

I've been starting a new job as a contract developer recently. I explicitly statet that I am not a "GUI guy". But people just don't listen. I ended up with the task of designing a UI for an app.
Initially I was told to do the screen design in ... Enterprise Architect. Well that what they use in this shop, so I went along with it.

The problem: You can almost do screen design. But there are a lot of things you can do much better in EA: Class diagrams, sequence diagrams, you know it. So I ended up with a sloppy screen design that had few essential details in it and a bunch of real UML diagramms that the users couldn't care less. One user remarked: "Is this app gona run on Windows 3.11. The screens just look like it."
Well, when all you have is a hammer...

Then I remembered a tool whose main purpose was to do screen mockups. Its called Balsamiq Mockups. It is an Adobe Air application. So it runs on almost anything you can think of: Mac, Windows, Linux. The even have plugins for a couple of Wikis like Confluence and the like.
What took me a week with EA, I could redo in a day with the suggestions I got from the users. There are two reasons I can think of that made it so quick:
  1. It was the second time arround for me.
  2. Balsamiq Mockups focuses on screen mockups and nothing else.
I do not want to say that EA is a bad tool. It was just not the right tool for the job at hand.

So what I did is buying a license for Balsamiq Mockups Desktop and churned out screen designs like there is no tomorrow. Yes I bought the license myself, yes I installed unauthorized software on a company machine, yes I am dumb and I am guilty. But I just can't stand to being slowed down by some not so inspired company policies. If I get fired for this, I'll complain to Balsamiq.

The designs included a lot of tree views and what really hooked me for Balsamiq was the ease I could mock up tree view by entering text. Before that I was doing those mocks in Visual Studio by creating a form and mangling the controls on it until it looked right. I already told you that I am dumb, didn't I?

Here is a simple screen mockup that I created (not from my job at the company):

(Sorry for the bad image quality. It's the first time I uploaded an image to my blog.)

As you can see on the left hand side there is a tree view. To create that tree view I just had to enter
F My Library
F Other's
.f Daniel
.f Elke
.f Susi
I wont go into the syntax. You can just look it up on their web site.

What really got me when I showed the stuff to my co-workers. Me the non-gui guy comming up with screens like I was some turtle-neck wearing design type.

First voices are heard about doing all the screen designs with this tool and buying some licenses.


Assembly generation failed Referenced assembly ‘xxx’ does not have a strong name

Assembly generation failed Referenced assembly ‘xxx’ does not have a strong name: "Assembly generation failed Referenced assembly ‘xxx’ does not have a strong name"

How to sign an assembly you do not have the source code for.

As I am reading this on 3-April I just make sure that it was posted not three days ago but in the middle of march. That is just incredible: A two line solution to a problem I thought was hard.


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