Archives / 2008 / January
  • Automotive Gadget Wish List

    A few weeks ago I posted about Ford SYNC, which runs on Microsoft Windows Automotive.  The technology is definitely a step in the right direction, but I have to agree with Sondre, another Regional Director, that it's not enough and really should be nearly ubiquitous by now.  Heck, I was amazed my last car didn't have an aux input for my MP3 player back in 2006.  Here it's two years later and many if not most cars *still* don't have this simple feature. So with SYNC you can do some nice things, like use voice to operate your ZunePod or your bluetooth enabled phone device.  That's quite cool, but there's so much more that you should have in your car, especially if a) you're … more

  • Creating a New SQL Database

    Today I need to set up a new database for a new web site I'm working on.  Last week, I saw Rick's post about the "mousercise" that defines the typical table set up in SQL Server 2000 and 2005's table designer.  I have to admit that I completely relate to his feelings, and what made his post better still was that in addition to raising a complaint (that I share), he offered a solution!  This is one reason why Rick Strahl's blog is worth reading (and probably has something to do with why he has several thousand more subscribers than my blog).  So, in the course of setting up this database (which I'm doing as I write this, and which currently … more

  • Department of Redundancy Department

    I really hate repetition, especially useless repetition, in language.  I guess I've been a follower of the DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) programming principle long before I knew about the acronym, but I tend to apply it in natural language as well, as much as I can.  I'm a big fan of George Carlin, who shares my view on this.  One of his bits goes into the overuse of the word "situation", noting things like reporters saying "police are responding to an emergency situation".  No, they're responding to an emergency.  We know it's a situation.  Everything is a situation.  Since I live in Ohio, one of our local speech oddities is the excessive use of the word … more

  • Finding Untitled Page Titles

    Sadly, Microsoft decided that with the addition of the Title attribute on the @Page directive, it would make sense to include it by default with some text that one would absolutely never want to use as the title, "Untitled Page".  They could have named it "Customer Reporting" or "My Britney Fan Page" and it would have been correct some small amount of the time - but instead they chose something about as likely to actually be useful as Class1.cs or WebForm1 (thankfully WebForm1 is gone and new projects start out with Default - thank you, Microsoft!).You can edit your page template yourself, of course, but almost nobody does.  You can see that Untitled … more

  • ResXFileCodeGeneratorEx and Visual Studio 2008

    A couple of months ago I found a great Extended Strongly Typed Resource Generator that would let me use Resource files in shared libraries (Brendan blogged about it and set it up).  The default resource generator in Visual Studio generates code that is marked with the internal keyword, making it difficult to share the resources between assemblies or projects.  The Extended Strongly Typed Resource Generator avoids the problem and adds some other enhancements that make it a great tool.  However, at present it doesn't work with Visual Studio 2008. There's a fix that will get you partway there.  I found it in a comment on the CodeProject version of the code, and I've included … more

  • Kids and Deployment

    I thought I'd post this so it isn't lost, as memory erodes.  When I left to go to Iraq in 2004 my daughter had just turned 2.  She's 5 now (soon 6) and doesn't remember a lot about when I was gone, but when asked last year what she did remember, she said:"I remember standing by the front door with Mommy and looking out the window, and our faces were like this..." and here she made a very sad frowning face.Almost made me cry. I was (thankfully) only deployed for under a year, but it was very difficult for me and for my family.  I know that I am very fortunate to have avoided a longer tour (or multiple tours), to have come home safely, and to have … more

  • Web Deployment Projects for 2008

    Web Deployment Projects (WDP) for Visual Studio 2008 were released to the web (RTW) a couple of days ago.  These didn't make the November ship date of VS2008, but were promised to follow shortly after release, and as promised, they're here!  I haven't looked at the 2008 version yet - personally I use PyroBatchFTP + CC.NET + MSBuild to do my deployments - but I may have a look and reconsider my approach.  One thing that would be nice is the configuration merge capabilities offered by WDP. You can read more about the release, how to get it, and its features here. more

  • New Puppy!

    Today we brought home our new puppy, a mastiff boy with brindle coloration whom we have named Odin.  So far he's doing well, learning his way around the new home, playing with the kids, and getting to know our three cats who are completely terrified of him.  Life will be fun at our house for a while.  Here are some pictures for those who might care. more

  • Ohio Day of .NET

    Several user groups in southern and central Ohio are putting together a Day of .NET event this spring.  The Central Ohio Day of .NET 2008 will take place on 19 April 2008, in Wilmington, Ohio.  This was originally the Cincinnati-Dayton Code camp and ran in 2006-2007, but now includes a Columbus, OH group and so has been renamed.  The location is about as centrally between Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus as you can get, off of 71. The event is still in the planning stage and they're looking for sponsors and speakers, so if you're in the area and want to participate, please get in touch with them. more

  • Silverlight Hyperlink

    Playing with Silverlight and needed a simple way to redirect the page.  This isn't built-in yet but probably will be.  For now, you can call out to the page's script, and for this since I don't want to rely on the page having any particular function defined, I'm just using Eval() and passing in what I need.So, in a button MouseLeftButtonDown() handler, I've got:HtmlPage.Window.Eval("document.location.href='" + url + "';");*Update* - This is in fact built in:HtmlPage.Window.Navigate(new Uri(urlString));// orHtmlPage.Window.Navigate(new Uri(urlString), targetString);// orHtmlPage.Window.Navigate(new Uri(urlString), targetString, … more

  • TFS Tips

    I'm just wrapping up a long article on Team System 2008 and its new capabilities, especially its continuous integration support and build server improvements.  In the course of researching for this article, I found a couple of tips that didn't really fit into the scope of the article, but I wanted to call attention to them.  The first one addresses a pain point of mine, which is the default action when you associate a work item with a check-in.  By default, the default check-in action for such work items is Resolve, when it probably should default to Associate. 95% of the time I want it to be Associate.  5% of the time I might want it to be Resolve (but really I don't … more

  • Visual Studio XAML Editing Tip

    So I'm working in XAML in Visual Studio 2008 and it has some nice statement completion features now, like automatically quoting my attributes for me (cool!).  When there's an item it knows, like Orientation="Horizontal|Vertical" it will give me a dropdown and after selection, put the cursor after the closing double quote, as you would expect, like this (the _ represents the cursor): <StackPanel Orientation="Vertical"_ However, if you edit a field that doesn't have a limited set of options, like Width, you don't get this behavior, so you're trapped inside of the double quotes: <StackPanel Orientation="Vertical" Width="30_" None of the standard keys within reach of a touch typist … more

  • Olympics With Silverlight

    I missed this last week, but it appears that the 2008 Olympics in China will be made available online via Microsoft Silverlight.  Every minute of every event will be available on-demand.  Read more about it on Soma's blog. Obviously, this is a pretty major win for Microsoft as it tries to get penetration of Silverlight on as many browsers as possible.  Millions of people will use this service to view the Olympics, and the result should be a huge increase in adoption of Silverlight this summer.  Kudos, Microsoft. more

  • CodeMash Hanselman IIS Talk

    I'm at CodeMash today and Scott Hanselman gave the afternoon keynote on IIS7 mashups.  The talk was preceded by a very funny introduction Scott gave that introduced me to the LOLCode.NET language with the help of some LOLCats and humorous sample code.  The talk focused on how to hook up a PHP application in IIS7, and then enhance it with a few features by adding modules to the HTTP pipeline.  For instance, authentication using ASP.NET Forms authentication was trivial to add.  Url rewriting and response filters came next, also with HTTP modules managed through IIS7.  Finally, output caching was added which naturally boosted the performance of the application by … more

  • Microsoft Auto and Ford SYNC

    One of the themes of last night's college championship football game (which, sadly, OSU lost, though not quite as badly as a year ago) during the commercials was the new SYNC technology available from Ford and Lincoln Mercury.  I've been peripherally aware of this technology for a while, but these were the first advertisements I'd seen for the actual product.  According to a recent press release, Ford Sync (which is powered by Microsoft Auto) will be available in 12 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury products in 2008.  This technology will allow users (drivers and passengers) to access their mobile phone or digital music player via voice commands, and will integrate with phones via … more

  • Trends in Programming Languages

    Al Pascual wrote about some trends he noticed using Google Trend, with regard to different programming languages.  It's an interesting tool, since it can be used to gauge general interest in particular keywords and search terms, as well as news, going back about 4 years.  For instance, here's a comparison of Visual Basic and C# using common search terms for each (VB, VB.NET vs. C#, CSharp): Given just these search terms, it's clear that VB/VB.NET is on a downward trend, with C#/CSharp passing it in mid-2006.  Expand this a bit further to include "visual basic" and "c #" and "c sharp" and you get the following: Visual Basic is still a huge search term in its own right … more

  • SimpleCMS for IIS7

    SimpleCMS is a (very) simple content management system I developed with Brendan for and which is now available from CodePlex (with source).  Steve Schofield recently put it to work in IIS7, a scenario we have not yet tested ourselves, and found that it worked more-or-less without difficulties.  He posted his steps for setting up SimpleCMS using IIS7 and the Integrated Pipeline if anybody is interested. more

  • Attending CodeMash 2008

    I'll be attending CodeMash again for its second year, at the Kalahari Resort in Ohio.  Last year it was a great local conference and this year I expect it will be even better.  The conference is uniqe in its approach in that it combines a wide variety of developer technologies in one place, and encourages crossover for all attendees.  In this way I believe it is somewhat similar to MIX, but as I've had the misfortune of missing MIX the last couple of years (but I'm going this year!), I can't say from personal experience. Anyway, I'm going to be at CodeMash just on Thursday.  I plan to attend some sessions, probably catch ScottHa's keynote, perhaps be part of a discussion … more

  • Facebook and Scoble Square Off

    Like so many others have noted, I think 2008 and the next few years will see a shakeup in some of the "web 2.0" and social networking community sites.  As evidence of this, I just read that Robert Scoble has run afoul of Facebook for running an automated script to suck down all of his contacts' information, something prohibited by Facebook.  As a result, they've apparently disabled his account.  There's a good writeup of this on Adotas (from computerworld):  Scoble Kicked Off Facebook for Downloading Content Of course, such publicity is bad for Facebook, so not surprisingly, they've already re-enabled his account, according to another post on Robert's blog. As a user of … more

  • Fall DevConnections Session Comments

    I've been speaking at the DevConnections conferences since Fall of 2001 and have really enjoyed the experience.  The speakers are a great group of people to hang out with, Shirley and Erik and Paul and the rest of the team put together a very well-organized event, and this last show was very impressive in terms of its attendance and breadth of content.  Over the years, the level of feedback speakers receive, in terms of how the evaluations turned in by attendees are handled, has steadily improved.  In the last couple of years, we've been given a very good summary of how the evaluations came in, and I thought (in keeping with my goal #1 from my last post) that I would share … more

  • Some 2008 Goals

    With 2007 gone and 2008 already 1% complete I need to start thinking about what some of my goals are for the year.  Last year I didn't blog about any sort of yearly goals, but looking back at my posts from January 2007 makes me think about Michael Palermo's recent post about his goal of total blogging for 2008 (and some tips for blogs he likes to read).  He noted that he made 82 posts in 2007, and his goal for 2008 is to triple(ish) that to 240 posts.  By my count I had 144 posts in 2007, or roughly 12 per month, which seems pretty good to me.  I think a reasonable goal for me on that front would be to try and do one valuable post per weekday, which should be about 200 … more