Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

Geek Notes 2004-01-15

Well my cold seems to be getting better, although I did spend today working from home and yesterday under a blanket on the couch.

My Outlook Add-In project ships tomorrow. It will be nice to get that done and off to the customer. Maybe I’ll have more time to blog once that is done. We’ll see.

  • Lego In Trouble - Bummer. Apparently Lego had a bad loss last year. They’ve fired two execs and are considering layoffs. They also may be cancelling Mindstorms. Bummer. [via Ole Eichhorn]
  • The True Cost of Reflection - Steve Eichert posts some very interesting results about the performance impacts of reflection based code in .NET. Steve Maine then follows that post up with some more interesting results. Good stuff to know if you’re using .NET reflection.
  • Red vs Blue - Season 2 has started. Get it while its hot. [via Adam Field]
  • Spirit Goes for a Stroll - Today the Mars Spirit rover wheeled off of the lander and took a look back. Now the good stuff can begin.

Geek Notes 2004-01-12

Another day another dollar. I finally found that damn COM leak that was bugging me last week. I didn’t commit to my SCM system often enough however and had to go back to a previous version and work forwarrd. Ugh. Had the pleasure of re-doing about 1 1/2 hours of work. Damn I hate it when I do that.

  • A Programmer’s Introduction to Visual Studio .NET “Whidbey” - Early and Adopter’s new-ish MSDN article covers the “top 10” new features of VS.NET Whidbey.
  • Tortoise CVS 1.6.1 - The best CVS client for Windows has released a new version. Must have.
  • .NET Rocks - Sam Gentile’s show is up today. Don Box’s show was up last week. Good stuff.
  • Longhorn Demo Video - Wondering what all the hype is? Check out these Longhorn videos. There should be more every month or so. [via BradA]
  • Trusted Shares and VS.NET - Dave Burke posts a solution to the problem of having your VS.NET code on a share. If you are using VPC for development and keep your code on your host machine, you will need to use this solution.
  • Colorado Weather - Brad Wilson shows graphically why you can never predict Colorado weather. You can ski more than 6 months of the year (most years) and golf 12 months of the year. Where else can you do that?
  • ILMerge - Ever wanted to combine two assemblies into one? Maybe merge a DLL into your EXE? This tool from MS Research will do just that. [via Fabrice Marguerie]
  • NewsGator 2.0 Announced - Like many others, I’ve been under NDA about the next release of NewsGator, but that is officially over. This is an excellent product worth the money. The new version will be available 2004-01-19.

Geek Notes 2004-01-11

Since having kids, I have been sick more than at any other time in my adult life. It is crazy how often I end up getting whatever she has. I suppose a toddler crying and coughing in your face is a great way to pass germs, but it is sure getting old. Hadley has had a nasty cough for the past 3 or 4 days and, of course, yesterday morning I woke up with that bronchitis feeling in my chest. This morning it was confirmed. I’m sick again. Ugh.

  • War on Drugs Clock - It is the 11th of January of the federal gov’t has already spent almost 2/3 of a billion dollars on the war on drugs. More than 51,000 people have been arrested for drug offenses and of those more than 23,000 were for marijuana! Lunacy.
  • Nullsoft Scriptable Install System - Have you ever wanted to make a small installation program? You may not have noticed it, but the installers created by VS.NET include two copies of the Windows Installer 2.0 Installer with them. That is more than 3 MB of stuff that most people don’t need. This nice little toolkit will require you to write a bit of code, but it will produce tiny little installers (only 34KB overhead and excellent compression). Very cool.
  • Spirit Is Ready to Go - In case you haven’t been following this story, the Mars lander is preparing to roll on Monday. Now comes the exciting part.
  • MBuild - Peter Williams just released a new build tool for the Mono project. According to Miguel de Icaza, it has a number of “new, fresh ideas” that are “unusual in a build system.” Interesting…
  • System.Web.Mail - Dave Wanta has collected “the complete FAQ for the System.Web.Mail namespace.” If you are playing around with this stuff, you certainly need to bookmark this site. Too bad the entire BCL isn’t covered like this.
  • On Genghis, WinForms and How to Move Towards Avalon - Chris Sells answers a series of questions sent to him by Paolo Severini.

COM Is Not Love!

Maybe COM Is Love was valid back when we didn’t have anything better, but having spent the last two years working in managed code land, I fucking hate it.

We are creating an Outlook AddIn in C++. For a while there, the primary developer was worrying more about figuring out how to make Extended MAPI work than he was worrying about managing his COM pointers properly. No big deal, we probably had some COM leaks, but we would find them later.

So I spent half the day today fixing all the COM references and now my addin won’t unload. Outlook doesn’t ever close. I’m sure I’m leaving a ref count up, but I hate having to chase this crap down. The tools for finding these leaks are pathetic. About the only way to really do it is by carefully tracing the code and watching the ref counts. It absolutely blows.

There… now that I have that off my chest, I’ll go to sleep and in the morning I’ll find the extra AddRef.

Geek Notes 2004-01-08

I’m back! Man, when everyone else (not me) takes tons of vacation over the holidays, they get back and have tons of crazy stuff for everyone else (me) to do! Oh well, as my friend AaronX says, I’d rather be busy than bored.

  • Heathkit.Virtual.Museum - My dad built a few Heathkit projects back in the day. It really is too bad that this company doesn’t exist anymore. For those of you interested in building electronic kits, there are a few choices. Solarbotics.com has a nice collection of BEAM Robot kits. I’ve built a couple and they are fun. If you are into musical instruments, PAiA makes a bunch of kits including a very nice looking Theremin. [Heathkit link via Ole Eichhorn]
  • Acid Trip - Supposedly from a 1950’s test on the effects of LSD, this set of slides shows a set of portraits and quotes from someone going through a pretty heavy acid trip. Those were the days…
  • Language Divergence in Whidbey - Larry O’Brien compares the original “language is a lifestyle choice” attitude of .NET 1.0 and 1.1 with the next release of .NET (codenamed Whidbey) language divergence will be the theme.
  • A Plea for Full Multiple Inheritance in .NET - Frans Bouma writes a 2100 word essay on why he thinks MI should be included in .NET. As a C++/ATL guy, I have to admit, sometimes I miss it. Most of the time, however, I don’t.

I still have more than 500 unread posts in News Gator, but that’ll do for now.

Busy Busy

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. I got caught up in a couple of projects with pending deliverables. I’ll be back soon… I promise.

Geek Notes 2004-01-02

What a year 2003 was, eh? Tech-weblogging goes crazy… LOTR finished with a bang… PDC 2003 showed us Longhorn, Whidbey and more… Windows SmartPhones finally hit the US… G-Dub is still President (somehow)… The company I co-founded crahed and burned… Then I got a new job…


  • Getting Started with ObjectSpaces - We are finally starting to see some MSDN content about ObjectSpaces. This article is from the Belgium/Luxembourg site… [via The Daily Grind]
  • SmartBarXP - Do you want the Longhorn Sidebar now? On your Windows XP machine? Get get SmartBarXP and you’ll have exactly that.
  • Window Blinds - OK, so you have the side bar, but maybe you want the Slate theme… install Window Blinds and you’ve got that. Why wait for Longhorn? (Just kidding of course.)
  • The Theory of Everything (still waiting) - Early & Adopter rant on about the disconnect between object technologies and relational databases. I agree with them… “we have a different theory for eveything. I want the Theory of Everything.” Tim Bray responded, as did Don Box and Dare Obasanjo.
    • I’m just wrapping up a project in C++ that uses ATL. I wish I’d found this before we started. It looks like a very well thought out replacement for ATL that is inherently STL friendly. Cool. Here is the Comet homepage.

Geek Notes 2003-12-31

I’m outta here. Spent too much time today fighting SharePoint with one had and debugging old-school ATL COM with the other.

I’m going to drink beer… See you all next year!

  • Free ATL/WTL Classes - I think I may have blogged this site before, but since I’m working on an ATL/WTL project right now, I found it again. (There are also some MFC, C++, and ,NET samples.)
  • Object Spaces in an SOA World - Andrew Conrad answers some questions about how the Object Spaces (the new O/R Mapper in Whidbey) fits in with SOAs.
  • SOAPScope - I think I may have blogged about this before, but it saved my ass today so I’ll rave again. If you are doing Interop things with SOAP and WebServices, this tool is essential. It acts like a SOAP sniffer on either the client or the server and tracks what messages are sent back and forth. Version 3 will be out soon that adds VS.NET integration and a bunch of other cool things.
  • ProxyTrace - If SOAPScope is too expensive for you, give this a try. Not as feature rich, but it may help. [via dive into mark b-links]
  • LLBLGenPro Panned - I’ve posted about this product before. Mark Bonafe gives a more thorough review and decides it just isn’t for him. Like me, he is leaning toward using his own templates with CodeSmith.
  • XSD Schema Documenter - This is a nice little tool that converts XSD files into easy-to-read XHTML documents. [via ISerializable]

Oh and while I’m at it, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?

Geek Notes 2003-12-29

I spent the day today trying to solve an interesting connectivity issue. I needed to connect to a Cisco VPN from a Win2K3 machine inside a VPC. Whew. I eventually got it by installing an old version of the Cisco VPN client, but I ended spending way too much time solving something that stupid.

Wow… a busy day of blogstuff after the holidays… :)

Geek Notes 2003-12-28

Ahhhh… another day with just my wife and daughter. No obligations, nothing to do. Just recuperate from the hectic holiday schedule.

  • Embedding .NET Controls in Java - Wow. This is pretty cool. I can’t believe anyone even tried it.
  • Computerized Gravestone - This is insane. Or is it? I had the idea of putting a flexible LCD on the back of a urinal and everyone laughed at me. Maybe the time is right… [via ISerializable]
  • Japander - American stars go to Japan to make a quick buck hawking products they would never touch here. Don’t believe me? Check this out. [via Carnage4Life]

And… I just realized I have to go back to work tomorrow. Bummer.