Archives / 2005 / February
  • Iraqi TV Airs Tape of Purported Confession by Syrian Infiltrator

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Syrian intelligence officer who appeared on the U.S.-funded Iraqi state television station had a stark message about the insurgency — he'd helped train people to build car bombs and behead people. Read the whole story on Yahoo. more

  • Spec Writing

    I'm taking all my paper notes that I've accumulated over the last year (or two) on what the next version of my Internet advertisement server application will look like, and putting them into an electronic specification document.  Not wanting to start from scratch, I did a bit of Googling to see what the latest and greatest wisdom is on writing functional specifications.  Google yielded two notable resources: Painless Functional Specifications by JoelOnSoftware Software Design Specification from Software Project Survival Guide (by legend Steve McConnell) Of the two, my preference definitely lies with Joel's take on things.  Specifications need to be easy to read and not … more

  • More Updates To AspAlliance

    Last week I built some RSS consuming pieces for  I decided late in the week that I wanted to go ahead and add a listing of blog entries made by any AspAlliance Author, but although I had all the code to merge the many RSS feeds, I didn't have a handy way to do so in an async fashion (that is, without causing a page to time out whenever the time came to go load up dozens of separate RSS feeds and process them).  The simplest solution I could come up with was to write a tiny console app that included the merge code, have it write the resulting merged feed to a database, and alter the controls on the site to bind to the database's version.  Throw the EXE into the … more

  • Just Set Up 3 More Bloggers

    The ArmyAdvice community is continuing to grow.  Please tell your military friends about us if you know of others who would benefit from blogs of their own.  I just set up three more bloggers tonight.  Also, we will be adding forums some time in the near future, hopefully by the end of March.  At that time we may also start to host blogs for other services, such as Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard.  Let me know if you or someone you know is in one of these services (or retired or a spouse, etc.). more

  • Rules to Live By

    Bob Parsons, owner and founder of, has published his rules for survival, “Robert, they can't eat you!”.  It's definitely a good read. more

  • An Interesting Prediction/Critique of Microsoft's .NET Platform

    Richard Grimes, a very recognized author and speaker on .NET topics, addresses what he considers as some missteps in the development of .NET and offers words of warning about the future of the platform. I have to say that some of his predictions, while certainly not what I would like to hear, seem to be pretty feasible given the course Microsoft has taken these last few years.  I also tend to agree that Microsoft has done a poor job of providing a strong reason for VB.NET to exist beyond as a means to try and make the jump to .NET for VB developers less painful.  I've believed for years that a VB6 developer would be less confused to jump to .NET using C# than to try and remember … more

  • Wireless Dropping Problem (and Solution)

    On one of the AspAdvice mailing lists somebody was asking for help with their wireless card that kept dropping and re-connecting to the wireless network.    The solution seems to be described in this ArsTechnica article, Ask Ars: routinely dropping WiFi connectivity. more

  • Merging Multiple RSS Feeds

    I've been working on a feature for the home page that would show some news and articles from a variety of sources in a single listing.  So for the last day or two I've been building a couple of classes and methods and unit tests, etc. to handle the combining of multiple RSS feeds.  Naturally it was only tonight as I'm almost done that I stumble upon Kent Sharkey's article, E Pluriblog Unum: Merging RSS Feeds, just as I'm wrapping up my code and adding support for OPML files. Here are the two main methods I'm using, which are stateless.  There's no caching implemented yet at this level, but calls to these methods are coming from output cached user controls, so … more

  • 1st ID Division Transfer of Authority

    In Tikrit yesterday, the 1st ID had its official change of command ceremony with the incoming 42nd ID.  Sounds like the rest of the 1st ID forces will be home soon! more

  • Data Access Performance Comparison

    My article on Data Access Performance Comparison with .NET, ASP.NET and ADO.NET was published today on  In it, I compare the performance of several common data access techniques, including using DataReaders vs using DataTable or DataSet constructs.  The one big surprise I ran into was just how much an open DataReader can cost on a busy site.  The words instant death come to mind.  One more reason why I'm not completely sold on only passing DataReaders between methods using delegates. There's a download that didn't make it into the initial article where you can see all the source code and run the tests yourself.  I'm uploading it and linking it now. more

  • Reason Number 10,001 Why I Am Glad To Be Self Employed

    This article, When Blogging Gets Risky, talks about some of the negative effects blogging can have on employees when their employers read everything they say on their blogs.  It also makes a good point that companies should have blogging policies, and talks about some success stories for companies who have embraced blogging (Sun, Google), though notably absent is Microsoft despite their hundreds of bloggers and the fact that it was published on MSNBC (or perhaps because they didn't want to be tooting their own horn). Oh, and sometimes my boss can be a total PITA, and some days I skip work even though I'm not really sick, and sometimes I work in my underwear.  I hope those don't get … more

  • Update Completed

    Updated the a few minutes ago.  The new site looks like this: First off, it won't look anything like this if your CSS file is cached.  So if it looks goofy to you, hit CTRL-F5 to refresh all files including the new CSS. I ran into one problem that threw me for a loop when I deployed.  I started getting Site is Invalid errors, which I tracked down to my XslTransform class's Load method.  Apparently since the web cluster that hosts uses a network file system (several web servers all share one file server which has the site's files), there were some security issues.  I Googled and found these references: This one I found first - no … more

  • Big Update To AspAlliance

    I'm getting ready to push a big update of tonight.  I've implemented a number of Scott Mitchell's articles/samples into the site now, including his UrlRewrite article (which someone referred me to when I was asking about resources on the topic, and ironically this was a topic I felt comfortable enough with a year ago that I almost co-authored with Scott for the MSDN piece.  Guess I'm rather rusty, ugh.) and ELMAH error logging module.  In addition, I finally got rid of the menu system that had been on the site for some time, for two major reasons: 1) I don't think it was terribly easy to use, either by real people, or most certainly by web spiders.  The … more

  • 278th Blogger and News

    Sarah Truman, whose husband is in the 278th, sent me some links last week.  One was to the Times Free Press's section on the 278th, written by a reporter that is embedded with the unit.  There are a bunch of 278th ACR specific articles there.  The other was a blog written by Lance Frizzell, a medical LT at FOB Cobra (which I went to a few times but never lived at), called Lance In Iraq.  Check them out. Sarah told me her husband was recently involved in an IED attack and suffered a close call.  It sounds like he will be ok.  I just wanted to write here that he's in my thoughts and I hope his sergeant, who was hurt much worse in the incident, recovers as well. more

  • Great Cartoon Site

    I found a great cartoon site by way of InstaPundit today.  Definitely worth a read.  Scroll back through the last week of January and check out the Iraq Election cartoons. more

  • 15,000 Troops Coming Home Soon

    Buoyed by a higher turnout and less violence than expected in Sunday's Iraqi elections, Pentagon (news - web sites) authorities have decided to start reducing the level of U.S. forces in Iraq (news - web sites) next month by about 15,000 troops, down to about 135,000, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said yesterday. Full Story more

  • Iraqi Elections a Huge Success, in Iraq and in USA

    Although I'm no longer in Iraq, I'm still following the news there with interest, as many of us are.  Yesterday there were a number of interesting blog posts describing events of election day in Iraq that I wanted to share here.  First, a self-declared anti-Bush blogger from Washington DC took his camera to the nearest polling center for Iraqi ex-patriates and interviewed several of the voters there.  I particularly enjoyed his very honest quote here: You may think that you have felt dumb before, but let me tell you something: until you have stood in front of a man who knows real pain and told him that you are against your country's alleviation of his country's … more