Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

Geek Notes 2004-05-19

You know what I hate? Programs that aren’t aware of when their windows are off the screen. I run a dual setup at the office and just the laptop screen when I’m at home and it annoys the hell out of me when certain programs (Microsoft Virtual PC was the recent culprit) start up off the screen. Sure I know how to get them back by accessing their system menu with the keyboard, but it is annoying!

  • Childless Couple Told to Try Sex - “We are not talking retarded people here, but a couple who were brought up in a religious environment who were simply unaware, after eight years of marriage, of the physical requirements necessary to procreate.”
  • EasyThread - A .NET Library (and Addin?) that lets you apply BgThread and FgThread attributes to methods in a WinForms app to get automagic background processing and foreground processing. Very cool!
  • IL Execution Graphs - Pelikhan shows us how to use his QuickGraph library to get an IL execution graph. Cool.
  • Commerce Server 2002 Feature Pack 1 - Sounds like this has shipped. Also, there are solid rumors that the next version of Commerce Server will ship in ‘06.
  • Abstract Test Pattern - Sounds like Jamie Cansdale (author of the wonderful NUnitAddin) is working with Peli to get MbUnit to work in there too. Until that is worked out, Jamie posts a way to accomplish something similar using NUnitAddin today.
  • Understanding MbUnit - Speaking of MbUnit, Peli has posted a nice explaination of the architecture and rationale behind MbUnit.
  • Skype Spam - Brad Wilson has been getting hit by Skype spam. Me too. It bums me out. Basically I have had to revert to keeping Skype on Away mode and hoping my friends will IM me before calling. Oh well. Also, has anyone else noticed that Skype will unmute your audio system if you have it muted? BAD BAD BAD! I may have to uninstall this thing if it doesn’t get any better.

Geek Notes 2004-05-17

I completed my part of the final deliverable for my current project today. And I start a new one tomorrow. Oh the life of a consultant. :)

I’ve got a couple of articles in the works, but they’ve been sitting unfinished. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to them in the next couple of weeks. One is the final wrap-up of my dasBlog to .TEXT conversion. The other is an article about Unit Testing and .NET Remoting.

  • Improving .NET Application Performance and Scalability - This looks good. I just wish I could read online better, but I get a headache. Maybe I can scrounge up a paper copy at the local MS office.
  • Deconstructing ASMX - Don Box tells us the good, the bad and the ugly about the current state of .NET web services… and hints about the future.
  • Breaking Into Programming - Kathleen Dollard offers 14 suggestions for young people interested in breaking into the business.
  • FlexWikiPad 0.90 - Craig Andera is almost to 1.0 on FlexWikiPad, his standalone wiki/notepad tool. I’ve been watching the progress of this for a while. I think maybe it is time to install it.
  • Deals2Buy Hot Coupons - A friend over at MCS sent me this. It is one of those pages you need to keep an eye on because you never know what you will see. What did I just see? Partition Magic for FREE. McAfee Personal Firewall/VirusScan bundel for FREE. Cool.

Geek Notes 2004-05-16

Spent today being very busy around the house. We are expecting a boy in July and I still haven’t finished the basement. Oops. Today I finally got the dummy fireplace out of the new bedroom downstairs. Who in there right mind would build a full brick non-functional fireplace in the basement? What they hell were they thinking? You have no idea how much it sucks to lug hundreds of bricks and mortar out of your basement… out to the alley… and then stacking them in neat pile.

My back will be sore for weeks… but at least now I can get back to building instead of bashing.

Geek Notes 2004-05-15

So apparently Tech Ed San Diego is sold out. I’m not too surprised. Looks like it will have some pretty good content. I’ll be there running the Continuous Integration BoF with Kris Syverstad and working the Architecture Cabana with Harry Pierson, so look me up if you’re gonna be there.

  • Google Groups 2 Beta - New interface, Yahoo Groups style mailing lists and more…

  • Double Check Locking Pattern in .NET&nbsp_place_holder;- Brad Abrams has a new way to do it… but he’s not sure if you should or not.

  • WTL Released to SourceForge - Another MS codebase released to open source. Keep it coming.

  • BASIC Computer Games - I can’t believe I typed all these damn things in back when I was a kid. I can’t even read the code now… no whitespace, terrble readability. Oh those were the days. I’m still convinced that I learned to debug dealing with this stuff. [via The Daily Grind 372]

  • Google Local Beta - I just found this by accident. Type if a word and your zipcode and it find businesses near you.

  • ADOMD.NET - Fresh out of beta! “ADOMD.NET is a .NET object model, used for building client data access applications, for accessing an XML for Analysis (XMLA) 1.1 compliant data provider, such as that provided by the XML for Analysis 1.1 SDK.”

Landscaping Project Photos

So I spent an hour this evening stitching these photos in Photoshop. Used the technique described here to do it and it worked fairly well… good enough for me.

Pretty amazing job those guys did. They finished the whole job in 4 days. We love it.

Before:

before

And after:

after

Hard to believe it is the same yard.

UPDATE: Someone asked me who did the work for us and the answer is Superior Sprinklers. I would recommend them to anyone.

Geek Notes 2004-05-12

The Dell video driver swap worked like a charm. I can once again use my laptop in presentation mode and it doesn’t resize when I close it. Ahhh…

  • Interface Inheritance in VB.NET - Christian Nagel shows a very interesting difference between VB.NET and C#. I wonder if it was intentional or accidental?
  • WiX For Dummies - Loren Halverson shares his teams tricks for using WiX to make MSI files. Sounds like they have made it work for them. [via The ServerSide.NET]
  • Hooked on Skype - The best free P2P IP Phone system is making some serious inroads with a number of prominent geeks. Some are even posting their Skype addresses to their weblogs.
  • MBF Pushed Back Again - The Microsoft Business Framework, which was supposed to ship with Whidbey, now won’t. This and ObjectSpaces will ship sometime later, possibly as late as Longhorn. Boo. [via Christian Nagel]
  • Programmers are Like Chauffeurs? - Tom Vande Stouwe presents an interesting metaphor that relates programmers int he 21st century to chauffeurs in the early 20th century. Interesting idea… probably not far off. [via DevHawk]
  • Riddle Me This Google - Eric Lippert spent some serious time mining his web server logs for interesting Google searches that let to his blog. Then he spent way too much time answering some of the weirder questions. Very funny.

Dell Inspiron Display Woes

I recently repaved my Dell Inspiron 8500 and in the process, downloaded and installed the newest video drivers. But I kept noticing some strange behavior:

  • When I would close the lid of the laptop, the screen would switch resolutions to 800x600 causing all the icons on my desktop to move
  • I couldn’t seem to get it to show the main screen on the external video adapter (think presentations) without using something like UltraMon’s mirroring capaility (which works but has issues with VPCs).

So I posted a query to WinTechOffTopic and got the following reply from Jon Kale:

It’s a known and acknowledged bug in the latest set of Dell/ATi drivers (rev a04) - it’s been happening to my D600 as well. Sucks but…

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To alleviate it you can…

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a) set the computer to ‘Standby’ on lid close and uncheck the prompt for a password on resume from standby

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b) uninstall the current video driver and install the earlier driver 7.80.4.1-030103a&nbsp_place_holder; rev. a02

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c) don’t shut the lid until after you’ve gone into standby/hibernate

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Apparently it’ll be fixed in a forthcoming revision of the driver set, but for the time being, those are the options

So I tried waiting, but I just couldn’t stand it anymore. It was killing me. So I started backtracking through the drivers on the Dell site and believe it or not I had to go back TWO versions to address the issue. I am now running 7.80.4.1.1-030207a-7695c A01 and it seems to be working.

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I have to give a presentation at Microsoft Denver in about an hour, so hopefully it won’t give me any trouble.

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BTW, if you are:

  • Denver
  • Have nothing to do this afternoon
  • Didn’t attend the Web Security track at DevDays
  • Want to learn about Web Application security

Then come on over to my talk MSDN Session: “Building Secure ASP.NET Web Applications”. It is at the Microsoft Denver offices&nbsp_place_holder;at 1:00pm today.

What About Wintellect?

Peter commented on my “Thinktecture is…” post and said:

“Hey, Peter, what’s about do similar analysis for example on Wintellect… “

OK. Maybe I wasn’t fair. Let’s see…

After visiting the Wintellect Instructor Bios Page, I found the following people. Then I used the RD Search page and the MVP list to see what I would find.

Name RD? MVP? Location

Jeff Prosise No Yes USA

John Robbins No Yes NH, USA

Jeffrey Richter No Yes WA, USA

Francesco Balena Yes No Italy

Dino Esposito No No Italy

Kenn Scribner No No OH, USA

John Lam No No Canada

Jason Clark No No WA, USA

Brent Rector No Yes CA, USA

Peter DeBetta No No TX, USA

To me this is a completelt different picture from that painted by Thinktecture. First of all Thinktecture was founded by two RDs and has two others on staff. That is the whole company. Also, Germany and Austria taken together are smaller than the state of California and yet they have 4 RDs… two of whom are also MVPs. Wintellect has one RD and four MVPs.

I think I was fair.