Wednesday, 23 January 2008
When .NET first burst on the scene, we talked a lot about “XCopy deployment”. What we meant was that you didn’t need registry entries, you didn’t need to copy DLLs to windows\system32 or whatever, you didn’t need to mess around with the person’s computer hardly at all – you just copied the exe and dlls into some folder somewhere, optionally a foo.exe.config into the same folder, and you were good to go. But we really should have called it “FTP deployment” because people would come up to me at the end of talks and ask where to find the XCopy utility that you needed to deploy .NET applications. Ooops.
For those who never knew it, XCopy was a command (extended copy, a replacement for the original copy) that came with DOS. It was so much better than copy because, among other things, if the target floppy drive was full when you were copying a whole pile of files, it would prompt you to put in another one and keep going, where ordinary copy would go “disk full” and abandon the whole thing.
I admit, it’s been well over a decade since that’s been an issue, so it perhaps was no surprise to read that XCopy has gone the way of all utilities ... replaced by something shinier that has less compatibility issues with the new operating system. Of course it isn’t exactly gone, just deprecated. OK. I might have to learn Robocopy now. But I promise never to speak of Robocopy deployment. That just sounds weird.
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
Well, if not gone at least transformed into a concurrency blogger. Steve Teixeira, who speaks and blogs on C++ topics and has a wicked sense of humour, has joined the Parallel Computing Platform team. On the one hand, this is great news, because concurrency is hugely important to me and having Steve there will be good for it. But on the other hand, who is blogging C++ things now? Sigh.
Monday, 21 January 2008
I decided to add a Concurrency Category, and to go back in time and add things to it. I hope it helps you find my posts on this increasingly important topic. I enjoyed reading some of what I've been writing about concurrency for the last two years.
Sunday, 23 December 2007
You know something is mainstream when it starts to get named. I've been talking about concurrency matters for over two years now. And now it seems almost every day somebody comes out with something you just have to read or watch on this matter. An attendee at Tech Ed Developers in Barcelona asked me "isn't it confusing and wrong that people are doing such different things in this space?" I don't think it is. Some folks are trying things with libraries, with compiler directives, with new language keywords, with whole new languages, with frameworks, with the operating system, with the hardware, ... with everything you can think of. And I don't know which things will work out and how the various things will work with each other. None of us do! But it sure is fun to watch it happen, and it's probably the only way to do it.
So, some links for you, accumulated over the fall:
Herb's advice is good. He says "Expect at least dozens of major product announcements and releases across the industry, before the toolset expansion phase is fully underway and approaching some maturity. We the industry have undertaken to bring concurrency to the mainstream, and as with OO and GUIs it will take multiple years, and multiple major releases, across the industry on all platforms." Bring it on!
Saturday, 22 December 2007
The screen on my Dell laptop was very very broken earlier this year:
The nice Dell people came out and fixed it under warranty, but they were missing a part in the stuff they sent to the repair tech. The missing part was sent to me to install myself (don't worry, it's self-adhesive.) A box arrived roughly the size of those MSDN CD shipments - about 4" x 6" x an inch or more thick. Inside there was a lot of foam and other padding, and these (I added the penny for scale):
That's six little black dots on their self adhesive backing. Turned the six screw heads around the edge of my laptop from uncovered to covered:
I like the look, but why couldn't they have trusted the tech with them as part of the first repair?
Friday, 21 December 2007
Raymond Chen asked why QuickEdit mode isn't always on for command prompts. Then he gives a cogent explanation of why, but he left me wondering what QuickEdit mode is and why I never knew about it. I copy things out of command prompts (or DOS boxes as I usually call them) all the time - usually file names, but sometimes results from things I ran or commands that I am pasting into instruction manuals. As you may know, this generally involves getting into "mark mode" first:
But there is such a thing as QuickEdit for a command prompt, and it basically means you're always in Mark mode. You can change the properties for the shortcut (on my Vista machine, the Visual Studio 2005 command prompt is in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft Visual Studio 2005\Visual Studio Tools and that's probably where it is on yours too.) Here's the option:
You have to consent to using your admin powers when you save this change, and then that command prompt is in quick edit mode every time you launch it.
It may not save much time but it saves so much frustration! Hope it helps you too.
Thursday, 20 December 2007
Long ago I blogged about a motto of ours: Fail Fast. Some people replied with comments like "why fail at all?" but that misses the point. Mottos are short and pithy; a more accurate version of the motto would be "if you're going to fail at all, get it over with at the beginning." Here's another take on the concept ... how a week's stall while a decision gets made can cost a company thousands of dollars in hard costs. It's my experience it costs far more in reduced morale and productivity over time.
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Are you going to Mix? Still trying to decide? Maybe The Signal can help you decide ... or get you warmed up if you're already committed to attending.
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