Archive for May, 2006

Spry: Adobe’s Ajax Starter Kit

So, you’ve been hearing about Ajax and you might even know it when you see it on the web, but you haven’t tried to write your own code yet. Well, Adobe has something you might really like to try out. It’s called Spry, and it’s an Ajax ready JavaScript library targeted at experienced web developers who want to get started with Ajax.

Along with the Spry JS library, Adobe has provided an admirable array of educational material, including three full examples of Spry implementations. And best of all, it’s totally free. Check it out here:

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/spry/

And if you build something with it, make sure to let me know! I’d love to see some cool new projects.

PowerToys Utilities for Windows XP

I don’t know if you have visited the Microsoft PowerToys website recently, but there are several new PowerToys up on the site  (well, new to me at least). You can find them here:

XP Powertoys

For those of you that haven’t grabbed these really nice utilities before, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of these free apps. I was looking for the CommandWindowHere applet and saw a couple really nice things to grab while I was there. Along with the old standby from way-back in the Windows 95 days – TweakUI – you’ll find a really useful applet called ClearType Tuner. ClearType is the  Microsoft Windows tech for displaying text on an LCD screen. Now that so many of us have LCD panels on our desktops and laptops/tablets, this little control panel lets you tune ClearType for your vid card-LCD combo. I noticed immediate improvement in readability after running it.

Check out the other apps there, as well. I can’t wait to play around with the new SynchToy which helps you synchronize folders on portable machines like media players or external HDs. It also allows you to use network addresses for synching files. It looks like it has customizability in terms of file renaming and multiple folder to one folder synchs. I also really like the Alt-Tab replacement that gives you useful thumbnails of each window you switch between using Alt-Tab instead of just an application icon. There’s also a shell extension for RAW digital camera images and thumbnails when you open a folder with that type of file in them. You can even setup your own security system with Webcam Timershot.

In addition, Microsoft released Experience Pack for TabletPC a year or so ago. You can get it here:

Experience Pack for TabletPC

It’s a set of PowerToys specifically designed for Windows TabletPC Edition.  The snipping tool alone is worth the whole download. It lets you grab  a whole screen or part of a screen and then mark it up with the stylus  for display or use in email or other apps like Word – great for writing documentation.