Shawn Wildermuth


My Rants and Raves about technology, programming, everything else...

PDC Bound...

Well, I am off to LA Saturday morning. In all the years I've been doing this stuff, I've *never* been to a PDC. Now I am feeling overwhelmed with what to dig into while I am there. I am lucky that I've had the opportunity to see Longhorn, Whidbey and Yukon before the PDC, but just haven't had the time to dig into Indigo and Avalon.

I'll be blogging intensely throughout the PDC. I will be scouting out SQL Server for O'Reilly as well as trying to find more authors for ONDotnet.com. If you're there and want to share what you know with the managed software world.

C Batteries make Land Speed Record for Electric Vehicle

Url: http://www.dwra.net/dwrastreamliner.htm

Pretty wierd, but this White Lightning 2 car is powered by 6040 C Batteries. And with those batteries it broke the land-speed record going 245 MPH!

I Knew Someone Was Teaching Them...

Url: http://msnbc.com/news/978871.asp?0cv=CB20

I wasn't too surprised to read that tech executives were getting tutoring on technology. What really surprised me is that they wanted to keep it so quiet.

Ever Wonder Why Cookies Crumble?

Url: http://msnbc.com/news/974929.asp?0cv=CB20

Me either...but some british researchers thought it was important enough to do the research. Of course, the British take their biscuits (cookies to us yanks) a lot more serious than I do. So go figure...

Hey! Who Told?

Url: http://www.stokely.com/lighter.side/version.num...

The End of Windows Patches?

Url: http://news.com.com/2100-1002_3-5085251.html?ta...

Has IE Helped Industry Standards?

Url: http://insight.zdnet.co.uk/software/developer/0...

ms that the recent Patent court loss by Microsoft has some garnered some interesting support from the likes of Sun and Macromedia (Flash), among others. It is well worth a read...

Finally a Case Mod I Understand...

Url: http://www.badgerpackaging.com/heavymetal/

I've always wanted to drive my server around the block. Here's my chance. This guy tooke a dual Xeon case and put it on a Go-Cart chassis with a radio controller. Voila, you can now drive your server around at blazing speeds...at 2.8 GHz! Pay special attention to the specially designed "Tachometer" that shows the CPU usage. They added 'bounce' when the CPU usage was 0% to look like a running engine. Very cool...

MIT Course Materials to be Released on Web...

Url: http://news.com.com/2100-1025-5083840.html?tag=...

NDAzed and Confused...

The PDC talk is heating up and it is clear to me that there is a huge number of 'wow' features that will be unveiled in LA. It seems like most of the other bloggers are talking about what I think is protected behind the multitude of NDA's I've signed. So to be safe I am keeping my mouth shut...tightly. What I can say is that what you'll see at the show about Whidbey, Yukon and Longhorn are phenomenal. Some of it is evolutionary, but much of it is revolutionary. I think you’ll be pleased... I am.

Since Don (Box) can’t seem to not talk about it, Indigo has gotten me really intrigued. I haven’t seen any of it, but I really want to know everything I can about it. That’s where I will spend my time at the PDC.

Someone Invented Ctrl-Alt-Delete?

Url: http://news.uns.purdue.edu/UNS/html3month/03091...

This is a small announcement of a presentation at Purdue of the electrical engineer that invented Ctrl-Alt-Delete. I never gave it any thought. It should have occurred to me that some has all sorts of odd inventions on their resumes. I remember an article a year or so ago attributing the ':)' to someone on a BBS in the '70s. Go figure...

Having OneNote Withdrawals....

I finally finished downloading Office (System) 2003 from MSDN and found out that it did *not* include OneNote. It is like breaking a toy on Christmas morning. I admit I am one of the converted. I just love using it for a multi-tasking note taker. I don't just use it in meetings (which I have very few of any more), but all day. As I get an idea about something I am not working on immediately...it goes in OneNote. I just noticed that the MSDN website says the rest of the Office System will be available October 1st. Arg!

Observations at VSLive

Url: http://www.ftponline.com/conferences/vslive/200...

I finished my talks today at VSLive. I am very impressed with the conference. I have never been before. The conference facilities and hotel are exceptional. Much kudos goes to Fawcette for putting together such a great conference.

Digging into ADAM...

I was a big Active Directory fan a ways back. Not for the usual reasons, but for application specific data. After dealing with the fiasco that was the LDAP store in Site Server, it was nice to see a large-scale robust LDAP store. The problem was that the data store was tied to the domain model too tightly.

With that in mind, I was very happy to see that Microsoft noticed and has released Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM). I really like where it is going. While the tools for managing the ADAM stores are pretty deplorable, the data store is pretty solid.

App.config and C# Projects (Updated)

Everytime I add a app.config file to a new C# App, it never does what I want. I want the app.config file to be deployed to the build directory so I can make changes to the app.config file and have it propogated. With the release of VS.NET 2003, us C# developers now have pre and post build steps. So I now have to remember to add the following to the post-build event:


xcopy /s $(ProjectDir)app.config $(TargetPath).config

I know I could write an "Add New Item" to make it happen, but I just haven't had the time. I just wish MS had done it for me.

I Couldn't believe this...

Url: http://www.priorityclubpromotion.com/hi/towels/

When I was growing up we always had a couple of Holiday Inn towels hanging about. I never felt guilty until now. Follow the link...trust me!

Practical Experience

I have been spending a lot of time writing about technology lately. After a phone conversation with Tim Ewald, it got me thinking. During the first half of writing the book, I was working full-time writing ATL/C++ apps mostly and trying to get up to speed with ADO.NET at night. While my girlfriend minds, I don't really.

While in this phase of the project, I learned a lot about the technology and the class signatures, but it was very hard to grasp the big picture of the real problems that people will/are facing.

Things About Typed DataSet Generation I Never Noticed...

I have been thinking a lot about how Typed DataSets are generated and was spelunking through the code again when it got me thinking. The Typed DataSet generator doesn't really generate the code based on the .xsd, but on the DataSet. It simply loads the .xsd into a DataSet then interrogates the DataSet directly for everything (tables, columns, relationships, constraints). So if the Typed DataSet Designer cannot handle something (like relationships *without* constraints, see below), but the DataSet schema allows it...simply create the DataSet and save the .xsd file to see what it produces! This gets around some fundamental problems with the designer. It does require you start looking and understanding .xsd, but it is a useful skill to have anyway...right?

So my first relevation was how to add unconstrained relationships (no foreign key constraint, simply a way to navigate the data). Since the designer does not allow this, I looked at the .xsd and found that the DataSet handles this with a schema annotation:

Three Tier ASP.NET Apps

I hear from a lot of readers that they are creating 3-tier ASP.NET apps and I always wonder if they know where the middle tier is.

In my opinion, the web server is the middle tier and client tier is the browser. Creating another set of machines to host the data layer isn't really necessary and, in fact, hosting the data layer on the web server is easier to scale. We know how to scale out web servers. Inventing a new set of machines forces you to figure out how to scale them out and it does not increase your scalability by scaling out both the web server and a fourth tier.

How could I have missed it?

I hope I am not the only one who missed the magic of CTRL-SHIFT-V. I have bungled about with copy-paste in the editor so many times...I accidently hit CTRL-C instead of CTRL-V and copy an empty line instead of pasting my code...Arg! Now I know to just hit CTRL-SHIFT-V and pick my lost copy from the clipboard ring.

Now its got me wondering what else I have missed. If you have a favorite hidden treasure, could you e-mail at shawn@wildermuth.com and I will post them in an upcoming rant.

VSIP Anyone? Free VSIP Anyone?

Url: http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/partners/

After complaining to MS guys for over a year, it seems that they've finally opened up their Visual Studio Integration Program (VSIP). For those of use that have wanted to dig in deeper into VS.NET and fix some of the annoyances, this is great news.

Ink Blots as Passwords?

Url: http://research.microsoft.com/displayArticle.as...

I ran into this article about using Ink Blots to make passwords on Microsoft Research's site and it got me thinking about security and privacy. I think the only bastion of true privacy these days is in the mind. Social Security #'s, mothers maiden names, pet names...its all just demographic data that is in the wide open. So for the common user, trying to remember a strong password (numbers, letters and punctuation) is just too hard.

Quake 2 in Managed Code?

Url: http://www.codeproject.com/managedcpp/Quake2.asp

When I saw the recently announcement on MSDN about Quake II in Managed C++ I got very excited. A port to Managed DirectX? Nope...

Of IDE's, Sun and Borland

As a primarily .NET Guy, it has been fun watching from sidelines what Sun is trying to do for Java...

I've wrote a bit of Java here and there, but I could never find an IDE that was worth a dime. Sun seems to finally trying to address Java's biggest weakness, development tools. Sure, hardcore Java heads will tell me that I am a lesser man for not doing everything with the command-line. This thinking is even permeating .NET lately talks.

Enjoying Code

Url: http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=9834

After seeing the story about Justin Frankel and his departure of Nullsoft, it got me thinking about code as self-expression.


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