Friday, June 15, 2007

Powerset and PowerLabs

Uhm.... this is promising; is going to go live after summer with a sarch engine capable to "understand" natural language queries.

Have a look to this Flickr image collection, and read the Powerset's blog entries to understand something more.

PowerLabs will be a sort of web app built "over" powerset's search engine.

This blog (from Steve Newcomb, powerset's founder) is also really interesting for it shows an "internal" point of view on the "making of" this new search engine. 

Friday, June 08, 2007

Texter - a text substitution app

On Lifehacker I found some weeks ago this little app, Texter.

It's a text substitution application; in other words you configure some shortcut that, when typed, are substituted in longer strings (commands, scripts, and so on). It's still "young" (release 0.3) but quite stable.

For example you could tell texter that when you type "zgg" you want him to replace that string with

Or you could use it to avoid typing everytime your mail address, something like "zem" that turns in

The possibility are endless; the blog post on lifehacker shows some clever ways to use Texter.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

TimeSnapper - "Your Life: The Movie" :-)

TimeSnapper ( is self described in this way:

"TimeSnapper is an Automatic Screenshot Journal - It runs in the background of your computer, taking screenshots of your desktop every few seconds all week long."

Then it can "replay" (like a movie) the screenshots sequence, and the result is impressive. I'm trying this app in these days and it's really useful to "fill in the blanks" when I have to compile my work timesheet...

SpaceTime 3D Browser

This is really a beautiful app. SpaceTime is a "3D" web browser, that shows search results or pages in a 3D way that's really amazing.

It's better if I simply give you the URL, thre you can find every information or screenshot, go and see...

Customizing Sharepoint 2003, the next step...

Customizing Sharepoint 2003, the next step...

Maybe you saw this other article I posted some weeks ago... after that, my job went on, but eventually I decided - actually my customer decided for me ;-) - to try to use a new site template in order to solve the customization problem I'm facing.

What I have to manage is something I cannot solve "simply" hacking the CSS or modifying the .aspx pages... so I'll try to have a new "MPS" (the WSS Multi Page Site) template different from the original one.

Unfortunately looks like this cannot be done; I managed to "clone" the MPS structure in a new one, but when I go and use it to create a new site I get a series of errors in the WebParts stating that "This Web Part was designed for use on a Microsoft Meeting Workspace". And reading around I found that yes, you can have your site template that originates from another one, but you CANNOT use the Multipage Meeting template as the starting point.

I have to find another way.

I'll try also to share with you the steps I'm taking to do this.

First: I make a copy of the STS directory to a new STSNEW directory. All this happens under
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\60\TEMPLATE\1033\
and as I think that all the action will happen there... I won't repeat that path anymore, for reading simplicity I'll substitute it with [PATH].

So I have this STSNEW! What I do with it?
Uhm... open the [PATH]XML folder, and take a look to the two files:

Interesting stuff!!! So there are the correspondances between folders names and sharepoint usage of the templates...
In my case the interesting one is the WEBTEMP.XML (the WSS one).
First, I make a copy of the file, and name it WEBTEMPSTSNEW.XML.
In it I leave only the "STS" node, renaming it to "STSNEW" (as the containing folder I created before); to this new node I give an ID over 10000 (Microsoft's hint...). Then I change in some way the descritpions, so that later I will be able to choose between the STS and STSNEW styles. Save. Let's see...
No, it's not going well: when I open the main page in Sharepoint I get an "Exception occurred" error, that it's not very esplicative, I'd say. But after a iisreset /restart "magically" Sharepoint is back with us. Good.

Now let's see if our STSNEW can be of any use.
First: I try to create a new WSS site based on this site template.
Everything works fine, I can find in the site structure list the new description I inserted in the XML file, and use those templates to create my site.

So this first part is ok.

Now I have to find a way to "mimic" the tabbed, multipage structure of the "Multipage Meeting Workspace" template here in this "simple" WSS site I created. I'll use the "Team Site" structure (taht in my new site template I named as "New Team Site"), so that I will be able to modify also the the home page (default.aspx).

Let's try this way: create a document library that contains a list of web part pages, so that I can have all the single pages I need. For a good explanation of this, see this blog post from Daniel McPherson.

Then I'll try to create a web part for the "tabbed" navigation.

Maybe I can find something ready on the web... First I try this one from GotDotNet.
Looks great, there is also the code. Downloaded, and installed with the command:
stsadm -o addwppack -f "C:\EasyTabPartsDeployment.CAB" -force -globalinstall

And it works!!!
From now on the path is (more or less) clear: I haev to modify the new site template layout, develop all the new webparts I need, and so on.