Monday, May 23, 2005

My Own Google Desktop Plugin

Originally posted on:

No it isn't available yet, read below to see why...I decided to write a small pet-project in C# just to not forget my meager skills on the .NET platform.

I decided to write a small application that will query the GDS index and allow me to work with the results. Why do I think such an application is needed, well, I like the web interface of the regular result set, but I think the options given to the user are limited, the main issue I have is the fact that I can't open a file with my application of choice.

When I locate a file - what I can do is:
a. Open the file using the default handler defined for the browser (often not what I want)
b. Open the folder containing that file, and doing what I want by right clicking in explorer on that file.

I decided to write an application that will allow me to do exactly that with one click. So since I'm not that much of a programmer I managed to do the following:
a. Invoke the GDS search through the internal URL
b. Send it a search query (currently filtered by search type - email,files,web,all)
c. Get the results in XML from the local server
d. make the XML legal - GDS returns XML with illegal characters for the Encoding. so this required doing some voodoo magic with the stream (save to file, delete bad chars, reload)
e. Load the results in a DataGrid (even an overridden one - subclassed?)
f. Manage to create some sort of custom right-click response...

The problem lies in f, I want to have the windows explorer right-click (context menu) for the items. I have two problem:
1. I have no idea, how to invoke the Explorer context menu (probably some Win32 API / .NET class I am not aware of)
2. How to load it for a specific cell in the data grid (I have part of the solution for this - by overriding the class I have better control of events - still this evades me - it seems that I need to subclass not only the datagrid, but the datarow, and datacell as well).

Once this is finished, I can polish it up, maybe even submit it to the Google Plugin page - although it still has a long way to go untill it gets there.

If anyone has any ideas of what other features this could have/need I would be glad to hear suggestions - the main idea is to improve the already superb google experience (Hard goal to reach - but one can always try).

BTW has anyone noticed that for certain searches Copernic performes much better than GDS - When I'm looking for a long lost email I always launch Copernic first to look for it. Does anyone know of a Copernic API?


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I'm getting married!

 Originally posted on:

Hi to all, I haven't written in a long time since a few weeks ago my future wife and I decided to get married, and since I'm a fast moving person (at least in some aspects of my life), we decided to do it as soon as possible, meaning that the wedding will be in about 10 days - which of course meant at the time that we have to get everything ready in less than a month. Doing that required a lot of my time - so now you know...

Since this is a personal post I haven't pushed it to the main feed, we were requested not too, and I believe that is a good thing since, although the blog can have personal posts (otherwise, where is the interest?) - the site is still more about geekiness so why mix?

However, this wedding project has many geeky features... Note taking for most things was done through  (a great site for this stuff), sketches for seating were done on a tablet PC we just bought my brother (cute little machine which was perfect for this - - one note is a very nice app). Since the wedding will be in my parents backyard - there was (and still is :-() a lot of work to do. Cleaning the weeds, sawing off trees and branches to make place for brunch tables (wedding is actually a big brunch), electricity lines have to be spread for 120 meters (from the house to the location). I'm also thinking about providing free Wi-Fi :-) but since most of the guests are not geeks - nobody will notice.

We're currently looking for an apartment to live in, and finalizing issues for the wedding (it is hot in Israel - so we have to find some sun protection and a cooling solution for the dance floor, we have to make sure no bugs and flies land in any ones food)... Once the wedding is over we will post some pictures for everyone.

I have recently started to be interested in a new hobby, wood-turning, I haven't actually done anything yet, but I have started research, and plan on going to a beginner workshop in the next month or so. My hands are already feeling busy... I have worked with wood since I was very young, My grandfather still uses a letter-opener knife I carved for him when I was 11 or so, and I feel now is the time to give this interest the “hobby“ title and invest more time in it. If I find I am good at it and like it, I might even consider changing my profession. You can't imagine the number of useful gadgets I can buy for wood-turning...

The future looks promising for me. (this reminds me, I went with my very near future wife to see “The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy“ - I really liked the books and so had to see it. and will maybe write about it later - but this sentence kinds of says it all “Life, don't talk to me about life“ done perfectly - and worth the ticket for me...)