Shawn Wildermuth


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

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.

No Opteron Support in Windows 64 bit?

Bad news to all you AMD fans (yours truly included), Microsoft has announced that the upcoming Windows 2003, 64 bit edition will *not* have support for Opteron's 64 bit mode!

Bad move Microsoft. Your new mantra is supposed to be "competition is good", but this reeks of a side deal with Intel. Us, the users, want 64 bit power, but until competition helps lower costs, we can't afford it.

Ok, maybe 64 bit is supposed to be for big iron, but someone once said that 640K would be all the memory we'd ever need. What can we do to get you to change your mind MS?

Happy Birthday XML!

Url: http://news.com.com/2009-1001-983871.html?tag=f...

Few five years olds have had as much impact as our little XML has these last few years. What started out as just structured storage as really changed into computer technology.

Do You Really Want Privacy on the Internet?

Url: http://money.cnn.com/2003/01/21/technology/veri...

Now that Verizon has been ordered to rat out their users to the RIAA, Internet privacy is over...but maybe for the better. Sure I loved the high-flying days of song swapping, but where is the line between privacy and intrusion.

Who cares if .NET is better than Java?

In the last few weeks a number of comparison between Java and .NET have been floating around. As much as I am interested in these comparisons on an intellectual level, I really don't care on a practical level. Do most day-to-day developers really care? Sure, the number of jobs out there for any particular skill set move with the tides so most of us care. But on a purely technological comparison, the differences is minimal.

These comparisons just help fuel the religious fervor between the Sun v. MS camps. I thought that today's world was more interopability and web services we could perhaps just put the differences aside and stop caring about which specific features are better or worse in each platform. Truth be known, most every project could be developed in either toolset with little change.

Did Microsoft's Security Push Work?

Url: http://www.wininformant.com/Articles/Index.cfm?...

Last February Bill Gates announced that he was halting development until every project could be reviewed for security and make sure every developer knew how to write secure code. In fact, a pretty great book came out of the process. So did it work?

Of Tablets, Smart Displays and Laptops...

I've been in the market for a new laptop for the last few months. With the upcoming new laptop ideas coming out (Tablet PC's, Smart Displays, etc.), I decided to wait for the technology to catch up to my desires. Finally everything is out!

Back in ancient history (the mid '90's), I worked with Toshiba tablet systems running Windows 95 for a vertical market package. I loved the form factor and secretly wished for a touch display for my laptop for years now.

Should 'www' be retired?

Ok, maybe this may be petty, but why do so many sites require that 'www' before the names? I have wasted lot sof time trying to navigate to sites by just their domain name, only to find out that I need the 'www'. What do I mean? Both of these should work:

But then why would some develop a site that doesn't work like that. For example (with apologies to Brent Rector):

Code Generation: Another Justification

Url: http://sellsbrothers.com/news/showTopic.aspx?ix...

I recently read about the reemergence of Code Generation on Chris Sells' News page. It seems that John Lam has been converted, but not by Chris. As some may know, I worked with Chris Sells while he lead the team that built DevelopMentor's Gen<X> so that I have been thinking about this code generation question quite a long time now.

Isn't SOAP about XML Anymore?

When I first read the SOAP specification I could not decide whether it was meant to be a replacement for DCOM/RPC or whether it was a messaging protocol. I loved the fact that the ligua franca of SOAP was XML. But at the same time, Section 5 supported the RPC view of SOAP. Unfortunately this section seemed to just confuse the issue between the RPC world and the document/literal world.

In a great MSDN Article, Tim Ewald argues against support for Section 5 support. I guess I haven't been keeping up, but I am excited to hear that Section 5 support is now optional in SOAP 1.2 specification. Yeah...but will Section 5 really ever die?


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