Tag Archives : Entertainment


Morning Coffee 150

  • Yesterday was the NHL trading deadline, and the Capitals were very busy. They obtained Huet from Montreal, Federov from Columbus and Cooke from Vancouver. Given they are fighting just to make the playoffs, going for three soon-to-be unrestricted free agents seems like an odd choice. However, the consensus (among my parents anyway) was that it’s critical to get this very young Caps team some playoff experience. Even if all three walk at season’s end, it’ll be worth if the Caps make a playoff run. Besides it’s not like we gave up much: an extra second round pick in ’09, a 19 year old defensive prospect (who was apparently 14th on the depth chart) and an underachieving winger.
  • Speaking of the Caps playoff chances, they are currently one and a half games back of the division leading Hurricanes and two games behind the current eighth seed Flyers. Yes, I rank hockey teams using baseball’s standings system. Otherwise, you have to talk about games in hand (i.e. the Caps are five points behind Carolina with two games in hand).
  • The writer’s guild ratified the new contract, so Hollywood labor strife is now officially behind us. At least until July when the the actors may go on strike.
  • It seems like a slow week for Microsoft geek news, which is odd since WS08, VS08 and SQL08 all launch today. I’m guessing it’s the calm before the Mix storm next week.
  • After going dark for six months, Linq to XSD has been re-released to work with the RTM version of VS08. Scott Hanselman demonstrates Linq to XSD by applying it to OFX, an XML Schema he calls “goofy” but apparently helped develop. OFX uses derivation by restriction, which has no direct corollary in C#, but Linq to XSD’s  is able to translate between XML and objects without loosing any of that type fidelity. Nice to know Linq to XSD can tolerate OFX’s level of goofiness, though I’m guessing most people use much more straightforward schemas.
  • Speaking of Linq, I discovered LINQPad via a comment on Rob Conery’s blog (which I found via DNK). It’s basically a code snippet IDE for C# 3.0 and VB9, with it also has built in database connection support, so it can fulfil much the same role as SQL Management Studio. I only played with it for a few minutes, but I was really impressed.  This is definitely going in my utilities folder. I wonder if they’re interested in supporting F#?
  • Not sure how I missed this, but you can get MSDN Magazine via same Syndicated Client Experience as Architecture Journal. Unlike AJ which is divided into issues, the MSDN magazine client is divided into topics which is harder to square with the physical magazine. On the other hand, since MSDN Mag has been around longer, perhaps topics + search is a better discovery mechanism.
  • Soma announces the Visual Studio Gallery, a repository of VS Extensions. It’s kinda cool, but the whole discovery mechanism is clunky. I might like to experiment with some free or even free trial products, but there’s no way to filter on cost so finding them is a hassle. Also, there’s no way for community members to vote, rate or comment on the products in any way.
  • Nick Malik can’t answer the question “how does Enterprise Architecture demonstrate value?” I could be snarky and say “it doesn’t”, but that’s only half the answer. It doesn’t, but it should. My opinion, since you asked Nick, is that EA fails to deliver value because it tries to control the uncontrollable. Trying to gain efficiency thru establishing standards and eliminating overlap via reuse are pipe dreams, though literally millions of $$$ have been poured into those sink-holes. There are a few areas where centrally funded infrastructure projects can solve big problems that individual projects can’t effectively tackle on their own. EA should focus their time there, they can actually make a difference. Otherwise, they should stay out of project’s way.

Morning Coffee 146

  • The writers strike is officially over. Everyone goes back to work today. Thomas Cleaver has what I thought was the best post summarizing how the writers won. TV Guide has a rundown of how and when various shows will resume. I can’t wait to see Daily Show and Colbert Report tonight. Lost – aka the best show on TV – looks like it will be getting five more episodes (in addition to the eight shot before the strike).
  • Speaking of TV, Battlestar Galactica Fans: circle April 4th on your calendar.
  • Obama won all three “Potomac Primaries” yesterday, and is now the Democratic front-runner, though there’s a long way to go before the convention. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame has a great take on presidential experience – I’m guessing he’s an Obama fan.
  • In minor acquisition news, Microsoft is acquiringCaligari, makers of 3D modeling tool trueSpace. The Caligari folks are joining the Virtual Earth team, though I wonder what the XNA folks think of the acquisition. This isn’t the first 3D modeling product Microsoft ever acquired – we owned Softimage for four years in the ’90s.
  • Scott Hanselman and Tomas Resprepo both write about PowerShellPlus, which I saw week before last @ Lang.NET. Scott really likes it, for both PS novices and gurus, but Tomas thinks the UI is busy, based on the screenshots. Personally, I’m not doing much PS work lately – occasional one off stuff, but that’s it – so it doesn’t seem worth the effort.
  • Speaking of Scott & Tomas, Scott also has a nice gallery of VS themes. I’m partial to Tomas’ Ragnarok Grey. Is there a VSThemesGallery.com site somewhere?
  • Still speaking of Scott, he points to the new ASP.NET Developer Wiki (beta). I poked around, but didn’t find anything shiny. I was very surprised that searching for “MVC” returned no results.
  • Speaking of MVC, Scott Guthrie has a rundown on what’s coming in the MIX preview release of ASP.NET MVC. Biggest news IMO is that it’s /bin deployable – i.e. you don’t need your hoster to do anything special to support MVC (assuming they already support ASP.NET 3.5). Also big news, they’re releasing the source so you can build and patch (and enhance?) it yourself.
  • Chris Taveres continues is ObjectBuilder series and Tomas continues is DLR Notes series. BTW, my F# based DLR experimentation continues, albeit slowly (frakking day job). Hope to be able to post on this soon.
  • One of the things driving my interest in F# is manycore. An interesting tangent to manycore is general purpose programming on graphics processing units (aka GPGPU). MS Research just released a new version of Accelerator, just such a GPGPU system. I personally haven’t played with it – I’ve been focused on writing parsers, not parallel code.
  • Is XQuery really “a promising technology of the future” as Don Box suggests? I see exactly zero demand or use for it in my day-to-day work. Of course, Don’s paid to build future platform goo, so maybe it is promising and Don’s afore-mentioned goo will leverage it, though I remain skeptical. As for XML being “Done like a well-cooked steak”, I’d say XML is like a great steak cooked perfectly, except it’s done exactly how you don’t like it. You can appreciate its quality, but you don’t really enjoy it as much as you could have.

Morning Coffee 143

  • I’ve been sick for three days, hence the lack of posting around here.
  • As a Redskins fan, it’s hard to root for any other NFC East team. On the other hand, it sure was easy to root against the Patriots. Congrats to the Giants on their Super Bowl victory. Favorite headline: 18 and uh-oh!
  • Sounds like there’s cause for optimism regarding the writer’s strike. But is it already too late? Will the 9% drop in viewers ever come back? Personally, I think the studios have hastened their own irrelevance.
  • With last night’s win, the Caps are one game above .500. In and of itself, that’s nothing to be proud of – Coach Boudreau remarked when we reached .500 that the Caps had “officially reached mediocrity”. However, the Caps are the only team in the SE conference that’s above .500. If hockey used baseball standings, Carolina, Atlanta and Florida would each be 1/2 game back of the Caps. It’s going to be a fight to the finish.
  • In fairly big managed Ruby news, Wayne Kelly has decided to contribute to the IronRuby effort, effectively walking away from the Ruby.NET which helped get off the ground. One the one hand, obviously this is great for IronRuby. On the other hand, I liked the idea of multiple managed implementations of Ruby, so here’s hoping Ruby.NET doesn’t fade away.
  • Speaking of the DLR, I know I mentioned Martin Maly’s blog in my Lang.NET Morning Coffee Post, but I didn’t actually get to read his posts on targeting the DLR until I unexpectedly had several days off sick. If you are at all interested in writing your own language for the .NET platform: Go. Read. Now. You should also check out Tomas Restrepo’s blog, he has also started writing about targeting the DLR.
  • Larry O’Brien’s blog is currently offline, but he commented that he doubted my ToyScript F# parser would be more than 600 lines of code. Currently, the parser is clocking in at 287 lines of code plus about 50 more for the AST. It’s not done yet – see earlier statement about being sick – but I’m fixing bugs not writing additional code at this point. To be completely accurate, that’s 287 lines of FParsec code. It’s taken me a little bit to learn FParsec, but so far I’m pretty happy with it.
  • Scott Hanselman points to the new MS Deploy project, a tool for managing content and configuration on web servers. I’ve never understood why this wasn’t a standard part of IIS. It seems every hosting company I’ve used has rolled their own web-based management tool like DotNetPanel.
  • Oh yeah, Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 shipped Monday. Congrats!
  • I fired up Inside Xbox the other day, and there was a page about the new Disney Channel show “Phineas and Ferb“. Of course, with two kids under five, anything new on the Disney Channel is notable in my house. What made this blog-worthy is the fact that it’s directed and written by Dan Povenmire, who I knew from my USC days. I used to go see his band Keep Left and groan loudly at the bad puns in their song “PSA”. Dan, if you found this searching for yourself online: Awesome work, my kids love the show!

Morning Coffee 139

  • Big news on the WGA strike front: the AMPTP reached a deal with the Directors Guild last weeks. Initial reaction from United Hollywood is mixed, but I’m hopeful this will at least get the AMPTP / WGA talks started again.
  • Speaking of new media, Xbox 360 Fanboy has a rundown of 45 short films from Sundance that are getting released on Xbox Live Marketplace. That’s pretty a-typical content for XBLM. Typically, new content on XBLM has been from “Hollywood Heavyweights“. I’m pretty excited to see them branch out content wise.
  • Speaking of Xbox 360, seems they had a good year. Congrats!
  • Still speaking of Xbox 360, everyone gets a free copy of Undertow this week.
  • Scott Guthrie announces the availability of the .NET Framework Source Code. Shawn Burke has instructions for how to use it with VS08. So far, they’ve made the core base class libraries, ASP.NET, Windows Forms, WPF, ADO.NET and XML available. LINQ, WCF and WF are expected to become available “in the weeks and months ahead”.
  • Ted Neward wonders if Java is “Done” like the Patriots, or “Done” like the Dolphins? If you want my opinion (I’m guessing yes, since you’re reading my blog), definitely done like the Dolphins. OpenJDK was a desperation move to make Java “cool” again, but it won’t work. People who want an open source stack are using LAMP and language wonks who saw Java as mainstream SmallTalk have moved on to Ruby. The question will be if Sun buying MySQL will make Sun cool or MySQL uncool by association. I’m guessing the latter.
  • Speaking of Ted, he’s got a great post about the relevance of game programming to the mainstream or enterprise developer.
  • Speaking of game development, David Weller points to all the new XNA GS 2.0 content up on Creators Club Online.
  • There’s a new version (1.9.3.14) of F# out, but no announcement from Don regarding what’s new. I reviewed the release notes, seems like this is primarily a bug-fix release with only very minor feature additions.
  • Speaking of F#, Don points to Greg Neverov’s implementation of Software Transactional Memory in F#. This immediately reminded me of Tim Sweeney’s Next Mainstream Programming Language talk. Tim suggested said language would need to support a combination of side-effect free functional code and software transactional memory. F# is looking to be closer to that language all the time.
  • Still speaking of F#, Don Syme’s Expert F# book is out. I read the draft version – it rocks – but I’m still going to get my own real copy. You should too.
  • With their win Saturday, the Caps are back to .500 for the first time since late October. Since Thanksgiving, the Caps are 15-7-4. Only four teams in the league have a better record over that time span. We play one of them tonight – the Penguins – and it’s on Versus, so I’ll even get to see it. In HD no less.

Morning Coffee 131

  • On a recommendation from my mother-in-law, I’ve been watching Torchwood. Sort of Men in Black, the series and set in Cardiff. Since it’s made in England, it’ll be one of the few shows still running in the new year due to the WGA strike.
  • A while back I pointed out that many DotNetKicks articles were submitted by their authors. I submitted a few of my own, just for kicks (har har), with mixed results. Today, I discovered that the parse buffer post from my Practical Parsing in F# series was submitted, picked up some kicks, and made it to the home page. That’s pretty cool. I guess writing more dev-focused articles is the way to go to get attention on DNK.
  • Amazon has rolled out a limited beta of SimpleDB, which appears to be S3 + query support. Cost is based on usage: 14¢/hour for machine utilization, 10¢/GB upload, 13-18¢/GB download and $1.50/GB storage/month. I’d love to see SimpleDB software that I could download and install, rather than hosted only. Even if I was going to use the hosted service, I’d like to develop against a non-hosted instance.
  • Research for sale! I was checking out the MS Research download feed and discovered a link to the Automatic Graph Layout (MSAGL) library. This was previously called GLEE (Graph Layout Execution Engine) and was “free for non-commercial use”. Now, you can buy it for $295 from Windows Marketplace (though the previous free version is still available). The idea of directly commercializing research like this strikes me as pretty unusual. It must be a really good library.
  • Scott Guthrie shows off the new Dynamic Data Support that will ship as part of the ASP.NET Extensions. I’m like, whatever. Scaffolding wasn’t that that interesting to me in RoR, so it’s no surprise that it’s not that interesting in ASP.NET.
  • Jeff “Party With” Palermo blogs about the IoC support in the new MVC Contrib project. Also looks like they’re porting RoR’s simply_restful. (via Scott Guthrie
  • I need to try out some of Tomas Respro’s VS color schemes (also via Scott Guthrie)