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).
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.
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.
After spending most of the last four days away from my desk, I was planning on a quiet day to catch up on a variety of things. Then I heard the oh-so-minor news that Microsoft is offering to buy Yahoo for almost $45 billion. Hasn’t been much reaction on the dev, architecture, politics and hockey-oriented blogs I read, but you can get a ton of reactions on TechMeme.
Alex The Great had four goals and an assist in last night’s victory. Coughing up three goal lead and letting the Canadiens tie the game in the last 30 seconds isn’t encouraging, but a win is a win. The Caps are currently one game behind the SE leading Hurricanes and two games behind the current eight seed Rangers. Alex was named first star for January.
Ted Neward has a nice summary of Lang.NET by day: one, two and three. I wonder if my talk qualifies for the exception to Ted’s rule that “A blog is not a part of your presentation, and your presentation is not part of your blog”. I had 15 minutes to discuss something I’ve written about over ten posts (so far).
John Lam points to the latest DLR hosting spec. I’m much more interested in the DLR code generator, but at least the hosting interface is documented.
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.
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.
While my blog was down last week, I finally finished Gears of War. I played thru on hardcore, but had to throttle back to casual to beat the last boss. I’d like to try and finish on hardcore, but I’ve moved on to Dead Rising – another game from last year I never had time to finish. I’m almost done the main play mode, though I understand there are other play modes that get unlocked when you finish it.
Nick Malik took a bunch of heat back in June for what some thought was a redefinition of Mort, one of the Developer Division personas. Now Paul Vick thinks it’s time to retire the Mort persona, primarily because of the negative connotation the name carries. His suggestion for a replacement is Ben (as in Franklin). And did you notice how similar Paul’s description of Mort is to what Nick described? I’d say some folks owe Nick an apology.
Likewise, the Beginner’s Guide to OAuth series of posts by Eran Hammer-Lahav is a good intro to OAuth. The phrase “Jane notices she is now at a Faji page by looking at the browser URL” from the protocol walkthru makes me worry that OAuth is vulnerable to phishing. Having one of the OAuth authors call phishing victims careless and wishing for Karl Rove to “scare people into being more careful and smarter about what they do online” makes me think my fears are well grounded. I’m thinking maybe OAuth and OpenID aren’t quite ready to nail down WS-*’s coffin.
In researching OpenID, I came across this presentation hosted on SlideShare. I had never seen SlideShare before – it’s kinda like YouTube for presentations. Sharing basic presentations is kinda lame – there doesn’t appear to be any animation support, so the slides are basically pictures. However, they also support “slidecasting” where you sync slides to an audio file hosted elsewhere. That I like. I have a bunch of old decks + audio, maybe I’ll stick them up there.
The biggest news of the week IMHO is Soma announcing the formation of an F# product team. Specifically, they will “fully integrate the F# language into Visual Studio and continue innovating and evolving F#.” Though Soma calls F# “another first-class programming language on the CLR”, I get the feeling there won’t be a “Visual F#” sku. Don Syme has more on the news.
Scott Guthrie details the upcoming ASP.NET MVC Framework. Personally, I’m not building web apps much these days, so I’m not really invested one way or the other. Given the interest in this approach, it’s nice to see the ASP.NET team respond to the market, though I’m sure someone will complain that we’re trying to kill off the various open-source MVC Web frameworks that have sprung up.
The Clarius folks keep churning out great tools for software factory developers. The latest is the T4 editor, which brings intellisense, color syntax highlighting and property inspector support for Text Templating Transformation Toolkit (aka T4) files. T4 files are used for code generation in both DSL Toolkit and GAT.
David Pallman (again via Sam Gentile) suggests there are only three choices for infrastructure architecture: None/Point-to-point, Centralized/Hub-and-Spoke and Thin/Bus. I get the first two, but his explanation of the third goes to far into the “magic framework” category for my taste. “Physically distributed but logically centralized”? That doesn’t make any sense to me at all.