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Archive for April, 2009

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Al Pascual has created a nice Silverlight plug-in that visually pinpoints your recent website visitors on a map.

You can see who is on your website or blog and can be added to any website. Will keep track of the hits since the day you install it. I’ll create more custom reports as this project matures.

It’s dead simple to add to your site, just copy the JavaScript code into your page.  Unfortunately WordPress.com hosted blogs cannot use script on pages so I can’t use it on this site.  One more reason to accelerate the move to our own servers.

The application uses the ArcGIS for Silverlight API. The map can be shown full screen and supports zooming up close for more details.

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How does it work?

At every request will geocode the IP address and will add the location on the map, right now the color changes lighter as the time goes by, the hits represent the last 12 hours or the last 100 people, whatever comes first. All this could change depending on the feedback received.

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Seems like the season for contests.  Here’s a UK contest with a new twist.  You’ve got to create an application for the finance industry and it must target Microsoft Surface.

Prizes totaling ~$15,000 USD

 

Bank branches of the future could soon have a Microsoft Surface like ours.
The School of Informatics and Microsoft have teamed up with a financial services organisation to bring you the Touch Finance Competition.
Your challenge is to design and build an innovative branch-based personal banking application for Microsoft Surface.

I’m not sure if this contest is only open for  University of Edinburgh student as the complete rules are not posted yet.

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A couple years ago I wrote a post regarding the WPF VisualBrush. As part of that post I discussed the TileBrush.

TileBrush is abstract and defines a number of useful properties for creating a repeating pattern.  For example you could set the source of the ImageBrush to a picture of a flower, then set properties to repeat the picture in five columns and three rows.

Expression Blend and TileBrush

Now that more developers and designers are adopting  Expression Blend it seems like a good idea to learn how Blend handles Tile brushes.  For this example I am using an ImageBrush but the similar techniques apply to the DrawingBrush and VisualBrush.

Add an Image to a Blend Project

The first step is to add an image to a Blend project.  Right-click the project in Project tab and choose "Add Existing Item".  Find an appropriate image and return to the Blend UI.

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Insert an Image

Right-click the image in the project tab and choose "Insert".  This will add the image to the ArtBoard.

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Convert to Brush Resource

Press the ‘V’ key to activate the Selection tool and click the image in the ArtBoard. Choose the "Make ImageBrush Resource" menu item as shown below.

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Provide a key (Name) for the ImageBrush resource.

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Using the Brush Transform Tool

Delete the existing Image from the ArtBoard.   Add another element to the ArtBoard, for this example I am using an Ellipse. 

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Select the Ellipse with the Selection tool (press the ‘V’ key then click the Ellipse).  Select the Properties tab and then choose the Brush Resource.

 

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The ellipse is filled with the ImageBrush.

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Transform the ImageBrush

Now it finally time to add columns and rows to the ImageBrush.  The Brush Transform tool (press the ‘G’ key) is the tool you are looking for.

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Finally choose the TileBrush button in the Properties window and then choose a TileMode value.

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You can continue to manipulate the tile in the Artboard. Resizing the Tile smaller adds more columns and row to the result.  Dragging the tile in the ArtBoard changes the top/left position of the tile.  Lastly you can skew and rotate the tile with the Brush Transform tool

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