Thursday, December 9, 2004, 01:29 - Programming
Today I continued with my Outlook plugin in .NET project. All required features are now present and there even is a configuration screen to edit the settings and store them in the Windows Registry. So now I have two buttons in the Outlook standard bar: one to perform the actual action and one to display the configuration screen.

I thought it would be cool to combine these into a so called msoControlSplitButtonPopup, just like e.g. the New Mail button in Outlook or the font color selection in Word: when you press the button the default action occurs but when you click the little down arrow on the right hand side of the button, a menu pops up and you can select other actions.

After a lot of experimenting and googling I unfortunately came to the conclusion that this is not possible. This specific button type is only available to Microsoft itself, they did not make it available through the addin API. The customer doesn't mind because he is already happy with the functionality I offered him, but it would have been very cool to have it under a single split button popup....

I'm still thinking about what other possible MS Office addin I could make, because I am very enthousiastic about it and would love to play around with this material some more. I'm also interested to play around with .NET Remoting so perhaps something challenging will come up involving a client-server setup.....

Virtual Bartender Commands
Wednesday, December 8, 2004, 02:06 - Humor
The link to my Virtual Bartender Commands page seems to be quite popular, according to the hits I get from Google / Yahoo / MSN, so I made it into a static SPHPBlog file instead of the loose HTML file that it was.

Now people can see that there is more to this site than just that single page :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2004, 04:57 - Humor
Look closely at below image for about 15 seconds and you WILL see a giraffe. It really works always!

Maarten Nijhoff
Sunday, December 5, 2004, 20:05 - Personal
Today I came across a great website of a fellow Dutchman: Maarten Nijhoff. I especially liked his photography section, with albums of all kinds of trips he made. But the website itself is made beautifully as well.
Have a look at it, and see if you love it as much as I do!

Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 RC1
Sunday, December 5, 2004, 03:18 - Software
Today I saw an announcement for the first 1.0 Release Candidate of Mozilla Thunderbird, an email reader. Besides a POP3 and IMAP email client it also is a RSS feed reader, so I can use it to easily monitor my main sources of news (both in Dutch): for general news and for the technical news.

So far, I like it. It seems to do everything one would expect from a modern email client and the RSS reading is going fine as well. Haven't tried out newsgroup reading yet.

I also use Mozilla Firefox nowadays as web browser and like it as well. I especially like the tabbed browsing windows, e.g. when googling for something and clicking on a few links so they can all load before I start reading them.

Outlook plugin in .NET
Friday, December 3, 2004, 13:32 - Programming
Yesterday at work I created an MS Outlook plugin using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET! The basics are incredibly simple, just create a new addin project and select which Office application you want to create the addin for.
Then came the harder part: adding a button to the toolbar. I found an example, but somewhere along the way it stopped removing the buttons when I shut down Outlook, so now I have over half a dozen of stale buttons that cannot be deleted anymore :(
I finally found out that you can also add buttons non-permanently. So everytime Outlook shuts down, this button is removed again. Just what I want!

Then came the actual business: connecting to a database, fetching data from it, creating new emails with attachments and marking the emails as sent in the database. In my case the emails need to remain in the Drafts folder as they must manually be signed with PGP , but you could also send them immediately. Then you could also add a timer to the project and have emails sent comletely automatically as long as an instance of Outlook is open....

The more I work with .NET, the more respect I gain for it... In the early days I was skeptical about MS duplicating Java in their own way: limiting a cross-platform environment to Windows only. But now that I have worked with it some more, and also came across some limitations of Java, I think they did a pretty good job! For Windows application development it definitely is very decent.

Some wise lessons...
Wednesday, December 1, 2004, 02:40 - Humor
A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold, the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it.
As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.
A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him!

1) Not everyone who drops shit on you is your enemy.
2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
3) And when you're in deep shit, keep your mouth shut!

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