Articles from (Reported)

Return to Inbox After Sending Email

By Michael Flanakin @ 7:12 PM :: 3433 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Reported) :: Digg it!

One thing I've always hated about Hotmail is the fact that, after sending email, the app sends you to a page to add the people you've just sent an email to to your contact list. I guess I could stand this if I used it, but the fact is I don't; at least not often. My main annoyance is that you're sent to this page even if everyone you just sent an email to is already a contact. The page is just a waste of time that forces users to make an extra click. At least skip it in this scenario. This minor change would definitely lessen the annoyance. If you really want to improve the experience, show me that info on the follow-on page in a small module, which would give me the same capability. Alternatively, Gmail automatically added these people as contacts in one of the early versions of the system. I think that'd be a good option, but wouldn't force it across the board.

I mentioned this internally, but didn't really get much out of it. I'm not sure what the thoughts are for the future. Others did, however, agree the page was wasteful.

Support Protected Members in Interfaces

By Michael Flanakin @ 10:49 AM :: 1069 Views :: (Open), .NET, (Reported) :: Digg it!

I thought I mentioned this before, but I guess not. I really want to have the ability to create an interface which has protected members. An interface is all about forming a contract with consumers, right? Well, isn't a child class a consumer? I'd argue that it is. An example of what I'm looking for might be an interface for a domain object. I want everyone to get the id, but only want the class itself to set it. Another instance might be in a situation where you'd need to execute some method internally, like validate prerequisites for an event or something like that (see below). I typically need something like this when I want to enforce a standard implementation across the board.

public interface ICommand
    public long Id { get; protected set; }
    protected bool ValidatePrereqs();

Reported @

Edit: Looks like this is "being considered" for a future release. Not sure what that means, but we'll see.

Edit: Well, I guess "being considered" doesn't mean a whole lot. The idea was pretty much shot down by someone on the C# team. I feel like I didn't explain my point well enough; however, I understand his point. Essentially, protected members can only be accessed by child classes, so what's the point in having an interface member for a class that knows about its members? Sure, that makes sense, but that doesn't mean I don't want the capability. I guess I like it more for standardization than anything.

Speed up PowerShell Load Times

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:38 PM :: 929 Views :: (Open), (Reported), PowerShell :: Digg it!

This is one of my big complaints about PowerShell: load times can be slow. I’m not sure why it’s so slow, but it needs to be as fast to load as the regular command line. I posted a question about this internally, but I haven't been too impressed with the response times on getting answers from them. We'll have to see.

Link to Test Code in Failed Tests

By Michael Flanakin @ 12:12 PM :: 970 Views :: Visual Studio, (Closed), (Reported) :: Digg it!

One thing I am continually annoyed with when working with the Visual Studio test framework is that, when a test fails, I have to look at the error to figure out what line of code in my test method caused the problem, then separately find that class, browse to the line, and figure out what's going on. This isn't how we do our development, so why is it how we do our unit test development? I know this was a v1 release -- although I hate that excuse -- but I hope we'll see some significant improvements in Orcas.

Edit: Looks like this was reported on VS 2005 beta 2 Mobile-ready link and ultimately closed with a claim that it was added to the RTM release. Obviously, it wasn't, so I added another suggestion Mobile-ready link. We'll see what they say.

Edit: According to the folks at Microsoft Connect, this will be in VS08. I look forward to it!

Custom Web Mail UI for WL Custom Domains

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:39 PM :: 1057 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Reported) :: Digg it!

Windows Live Custom Domains allows you to utilize WL Mail  for your domain. There are a few things I'd like to see, tho. First, I'd like to customize the URL I use to access the site. Instead of, I'd like, for instance. Next, it'd be nice if I could sign in without specifying the domain name. Not a big deal, but it'd be nice. Lastly, I wish I could customize the look and feel of the site used to access email. Since WL Mail is built with .NET, a master page seems the best solution here. I'm sure there are certain requirements of the UI, but I'd be willing to work around those to get the look and feel I want.

Edit: I just reported this, but seeing as tho WL feedback isn't published, I doubt we'll hear back about this anytime soon. I need to see if there's an internal resource to discuss feature requests.

Ignore Unchanged Files on Check-in

By Michael Flanakin @ 6:07 PM :: 1455 Views :: Visual Studio, (Open), Team Foundation Server, (Reported) :: Digg it!

One thing I find fairly aggravating is when I want to see files that have changed locally when I'm working with a TFS repository. Sure, I can see what's been checked out, but that doesn't mean those files have all been changed. Currently, all you can do is compare them one-by-one, which is a ridiculous process. Admittedly, my main reason for doing this is because I'm anal. I don't want files to be marked for check-in if they don't have any changes; specifically, I don't want them included in the check-in changeset. Based on this, I'd like to see TFS check-ins to ignore files that haven't changed or at least provide an option to do so.

Reported @

Edit: Some brilliant, small-minded person closed the suggestion and said we should simply not check-in files that haven't changed. The problem with this is that means we have to manually go thru every file that's been marked as changed. Consider a large check-in that includes hundreds of files. Checking all those files would take way too long and nobody would do it. I'm somewhat aggravated about this. I'll probably end up reporting it again.

Edit: Looks like this might be in the Team Foundation Power Tool v1.2. The tfpt uu command says it is supposed to "undo unchanged files." The question is, what does this really mean? You can specify a changeset, which tells me it allows you to remove unchanged files from a previously checked-in changeset. If that's the case, I'm very excited about it. I just hope it undoes currently checked out files when a changeset is not specified. Once I play with it, I'll report back, but this really needs to get included into the product instead of being a command-line action that must be performed.

Custom XSL to Render Feeds

By Michael Flanakin @ 1:18 PM :: 865 Views :: (Open), (Reported), Bloglines :: Digg it!
I sent an email to Bloglines a while back on this request, but they're not very good at letting people know what they think of their ideas, so I figured I'd post it here, too. Basically, I don't like the layout Bloglines uses for its feeds. The layout isn't horrible, but it could be better. I'd like to have the ability to use my own custom XSL file to render feeds. Furthermore, it'd be nice to be able to choose from a user-submitted, Bloglines-managed gallery of XSL files. Sure, having a gallery would be more of a pain, but I think Bloglines users would love the feature.

Split Workspace Zoom for Different Toolbars

By Michael Flanakin @ 4:27 PM :: 945 Views :: (Open), (Reported), Expression Design :: Digg it!

I've taken a look at Expression Design before, but with the new release, I decided to take another look. In the Expression Design (Dec 2006 CTP), there is a workspace zoom, which allows you to display all toolbars at 50-150% their normal size. I think this is a great feature, which speaks to the benefit of vector graphics; however, I don't like the fact that all toolbars use the same zoom level. There are three toolbars in this release: Property Inspector, Layers, and the Toolbox (which, I believe is called something else). The standard size for the Toolbox is too big, in my opinion, so of course I want to dial it down as much as possible. The only problem with this, is that the Property Inspector and Layers toolbars are both affected by this change as well. So, I either have to deal with a larger than desired Toolbox or Property Inspector and Layers toolbars that are too small to read. Obviously, I stick with the former, since it's more palpable; but I'd really like a work-around for this.

Reported @

Work Item Action Dropdown Error in Check-in Dialog

By Michael Flanakin @ 12:51 PM :: 1022 Views :: Visual Studio, (Open), Team Foundation Server, (Reported) :: Digg it!

When checking in a file in VS against TFS, if you click on the Work Items section, select a work item, and change the Check-in Action dropdown by selecting it and pressing “a”, which signifies “Associate,” when you click off of the dropdown, the value is reverted back to the default, “Resolve.”

Reported @

Edit: I'm not sure who responded to this, but they obviously have a problem with English -- the first sentence didn't even make sense. They seemed to think the problem only happens on one work item as an odd occurrence. They suggested I discuss this in the forums. The problem with that is that I've been able to reproduce this on all work items using multiple TFS instances.

RSS-Based Alerts

By Michael Flanakin @ 7:06 PM :: 941 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Reported) :: Digg it!
Windows Live Alerts is a nice service, but the real reason I don't use it more is because it's primarily email-based. I have absolutely no interest in getting more email than I already do. RSS alerts, however, would be priceless. I may skip over some that I don't care too much about, but RSS would be much more valuable than email alerts.

Add Folders to Query Folders

By Michael Flanakin @ 10:47 AM :: 939 Views :: Visual Studio, (Open), Team Foundation Server, (Reported) :: Digg it!

I love the fact that I can create private and shared queries. Apparently, so does everyone else. I've seen the number of shared queries grow and grow over the past few weeks. Granted, I think this is in part because people get a new toy and they want to see what it does, so they go hog-wild with it; but at the same time, the shared queries are very useful. Most of the time, tho, they're only useful for certain groups. For instance, I don't care about the 5 different reports the QA team wants to run. So, why should I have to look at them all when I am in the shared queries folder? I shouldn't. The way I get around this is by creating shortcuts to the queries I use; but that doesn't resolve the clutter issue. There needs to be a way to add some organization here. Having the ability to add folders would resolve that immediately. I'm not sure whether a better solution exists, but I'd be open to anything.

Edit: This has already been reported three times (1 Mobile-ready link, 2 Mobile-ready link, 3 Mobile-ready link). Looks like it will be included in a future release, probably the next release.

Optional, Single-Instance Identifier in VS Regex Search

By Michael Flanakin @ 11:40 AM :: 847 Views :: Visual Studio, (Open), (Reported) :: Digg it!

Visual Studio's regular expression (regex) search isn't quite standard, as I've mentioned before. Fortunately, you can do most of what you need despite this. One thing missing, however, is the optional character/word identifier (question mark in "standard" regex). For instance, colou?r should return color and colour. The only work-around I know of is to use the 0-to-many occurrences identifier (asterisk). This means you'd search for colou*r, which would give you color and colour; however, it would also give you colouuuuuuuuuuuuuuur. As you can see, this would be a problem.

Luckily, in most scenarios, the lack of the optional identifier won't affect you too much. This is assuming you're searching compilation-ready code, that is. Let's use a VB search as an example. Searching for :i\.ToString(\(\))* should return something.ToString() and something.ToString().

Like I said, this scenario works just fine because, if your code is compilable, you should never have something.ToString()(). There are, however, circumstances where the 0-to-many identifier won't suffice. Of course, these are harder to come up with since they're more rare, but I'll do my best... Let's consider a search for declared strings and one-dimension string arrays, string(\[\])*:Wh+:i, which is intended to find string abc and string[] xyz. As you might imagine, there is a likelihood that you may also get string[][] abc, which is the problem in this case. Granted, I realize this may not be an ideal example, but the problem usually only comes into play when you have long, complicated search strings. The work-around for this case is to use the or operator: (string|string\[\]):Wh+:i. This will return either string abc or string[] xyz, but nothing else. As you can see, this makes the search string longer. Now, imagine if you're doing an even more complicated search for string-checking (i.e. someString.Equals(""), someString.Equals(anotherString), !someString.Equals(""), someString == "", someString != "", someString == null, someString != null, someString == null || someString.Length == 0, or someString != null && someString.Length > 0... just to name a few). The possibilities are seemingly endless. Of course, this is going to be a ridiculously long search string, anyway, but the optional identifier would make this so much easier.

FYI: :i is a VS-only shortcut that represents a C++ identifier ([a-zA-Z_$][a-zA-Z0-9_$]*)

FYI: :Wh is a VS-only shortcut that represents a white space character ([ \t\n\r] -- there might be a few others, too)

If you haven't caught my drift, yet, to sum it all up, I'd like to have an optional identifier. Hopefully, the question mark.

Create Simplest Route Driving Directions

By Michael Flanakin @ 3:50 PM :: 956 Views :: Windows Live, (Open), (Reported) :: Digg it!
First, let me say that this may not even be a big deal. I simply thought about it after hearing a few to many confusing directions. Have you ever been given directions to someone's house and they can't decide whether you should take the faster or shorter route, both of which consist of 20-some turns? There's got to be a simpler way, right? Well, maybe... Honestly, like I said, this may be stupid; but, I'd like to see the ability to get the "simplest" driving directions. These directions may not be the shortest or fastest way, but my hopes are that they'd give you the least number of turns. Why, you ask? Well, I personally hate giving directions for the first time and trying to figure out which of the 10 ways I'd like to suggest; especially considering I'd use them all, given the different set of circumstances that may be thrown at me.

Get Rid of Today Screen

By Michael Flanakin @ 9:58 PM :: 2604 Views :: Windows Live, (Closed), (Reported) :: Digg it!

I absolutely hate the Today screen in Windows Live Mail. I'm sure some might use it, but I don't. I go to mail to do exactly that... look at mail. Why are you wasting my time with this blank screen? Sure, I know that it can do some nice social networking stuff with your contacts, but I think I'll pass. Give me the option to just look at my mail. That's all I want... well, and a million dollars, of course.

Edit: I just submitted this via the public WL Feedback mechanism.

Edit: This is now an option in the latest internal version of WL Hotmail! THANK YOU!!! I believe this will be out in Fall 2007, but I haven't seen any absolute dates.


View Table Rows in One Click

By Michael Flanakin @ 9:04 AM :: 827 Views :: (Open), SQL Server, (Reported) :: Digg it!
Since I started using SQL Server, about 7 years ago, I've had one complaint about the management environment: you have to use the context menu to see rows in a table. In SQL Server 6, 7, and 2000, there was even a sub menu, which made it worse. Microsoft made it a tad better by bringing it up to the root of the menu, but that's still not good enough, in my book. Viewing table rows is perhaps the most used table operation across the board. Why would you make this feature more than one click away? I'm not sure about others, but probably 90% of the time I click on a table, I want to see it's records. That's pretty significant, if you ask me. Give me some shortcut, at least. I have two ideas for this: (1) give me a shortcut (i.e. Ctrl+Click); and/or, (2) add an arrow image to the right of the table name that allows me to open its contents directly. For an example of what I'm talking about, check out IE7's favorites list. When you open favorites in IE7, each link has it's name and an arrow to the right of it. Clicking the link or image opens the favorite in the existing or a new tab, respectively. Not exactly the same thing, but it would be very useful to provide this type of feature. I can't say how much I wish this were available. This was the one thing I was hoping for most when I first heard about the new management interface for SQL Server.