Saturday, 04 October 2008
I guess I haven't opened a CHM (compiled help) file in a really long time. So when I downloaded one (an installation guide) and it didn't really work properly, at first I didn't know what to do:
So, off I went searching and I found this fix. Some folks blame Vista, others say it's been that way since XP SP2, still others say it's about your browser (IE 7) not your OS. Whatever. Bill Evjen has had the fix on his blog for YEARS. I right-clicked the file, looked down at the bottom for an Unblock button, and clicked it. Presto!
I've said for a long time, an enormous benefit of the RD program is getting introduced to other RDs. Thanks Bill!
Friday, 03 October 2008
Thursday, 02 October 2008
Gizmodo provides a lovely video showing all the planes in the air over a 24 hour period. I really like watching the line between night and day move across the planet and the swarms of planes appear as their airport curfews open. It's cool!
If you like this sort of thing, also look at Earth at Night which doesn't move, but makes it night everywhere at once (by gluing together pictures taken at different times) so you can see how we tend to live on the coasts and on rivers.
This one really demonstrates how settlement happened in my corner of the planet.
Wednesday, 01 October 2008
At times I have to use a low bandwidth internet connection. No matter what my speed, though, I'm annoyed when I can't interact with a web site (say, scrolling down or following a link) because my browser is busy rendering some complicated chrome I don't care about, like a tree view navigation aid. Well, to be honest, I occasionally care about that chrome, just not very often.
Try these two links and see which loads faster for you:
Even on my highspeed setup, I feel a HUGE difference between the two versions of the page. My one complaint about the low bandwidth view is that you can't see the title of the page you're on in the body itself, where it's truncated, though it appears in full in the title bar. Clicking persist low bandwith view puts you in this mode until you get yourself out of it. (The link changes to read switch off low bandwidth view.) This has the advantage that your searches and whatnot will come up faster from now on. Darn right I'm persisting low bandwidth view. I can turn it off if I want more navigation help than the breadcrumbs give me. Here's a glimpse at another page:
What are you missing when you use this view, besides the tree view? A chance to rate the page and add your own content, the collapsing zones (that I never collapse), the language filter ... everything except what you came for - the article or the explanation of the function/object/keyword you wanted to use. If you want the chrome, just turn off the low bandwidth view.
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Grrrr. No doubt unexpected demand. Because really, who would want to go to a website and arrange to reduce the telemarketing calls they get?
Why is the URL an IP address? I don't know ... I followed a link to http://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/ and then clicked English. Sigh. If only the government could consistently use technology. Some things (taxes, passports) work great, get your expectations up, and then things like this come along.
ps: yes, that's just after noon. I wouldn't be giving them a hard time early in the wee hours. I tried at 6am, at 8am, and several times through the morning before getting annoyed.
Monday, 29 September 2008
Let's see ... 50% early bird discount from an already low price (500 for 2 days, 250 for 1, discounted to 250 and 130 for the next two weeks so act fast), a full version of Visual Studio Professional, a full version of Expression Web, the DVD set from Tech Ed 2008, and a coupon for $100 off a DevTeach registration. That's not counting the eval versions of VSTS and Expression Studio. Holy Smoke, this would be a cost effective thing to attend if you didn't even go to any sessions! But the sessions are listed, and they are good ones. Need to know how to build a real application in WPF? Use the ASP.NET AJAX extensions in your web app? Use controls and styles in Silverlight? Lock down your SQL server? This is the conference for you. Local, inexpensive, timely, ... and a bag of goodies.
Plan to be there. And that includes doing a little reading first ... these sessions don't start at "what is this Visual Studio you speak of?" so there's a resource list to get you ready to attend.
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Richard told me about this "get" a while back but I missed the release of the show. Soma is the senior vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, and leads the teams responsible for providing tools and developer platform technologies targeted at developers, designers and teams involved in software development. This includes Visual Studio for professional developers, Visual Studio Team System for software development teams, Visual Studio Express and Popfly for non-professional developers and hobbyists, and Expression Studio for designers. That's a lot of responsibility, and if you use Visual Studio then Soma's opinions matter to you. He talks to Carl and Richard about how he got to where he is now (he's been at Microsoft almost 20 years, and part of the attraction was the Seattle weather, which makes sense if you know he was in Buffalo when he took the job.) The interview is full of behind-the-scenes glimpses into how decisions get made ... a fascinating conversation. Read and enjoy!
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Tim Stall wrote an interesting post about test harness code that exposes your possible multithreading bugs, and the performance costs of preventing those bugs with the C# lock keyword. And he linked to quite an old article by Mike Stall (don't ask me if there's a connection between the two, I've never met either of them) that I really liked. It buckets threading bugs according to how difficult they are to reproduce, understand, and fix. My favourite entry in the list is the last one:
10) Stuff that's provably unsolvable, but for which customers demand a solution anyways.
Been there, done that, alas no Tshirt.
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