Scott Hanselman

More thoughts around Code Generation and Extensible Programming Systems

June 8, '04 Comments [4] Posted in XML | Bugs | Tools
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Got forwarded an interesting link from Dr. Gregory Wilson at the University of Toronto.  He's an editor at Dr. Dobbs as well, and has an article up called Extensible Programming for the 21st Century that touches on many of the topics I've been concerned with lately. 

He makes some interesting assertions, starting with:

This article argues that next-generation programming systems will accomplish this by combining three specific technologies:

  • compilers, linkers, debuggers, and other tools will be plugin frameworks, rather than monolithic applications;
  • programmers will be able to extend the syntax of programming languages; and
  • programs will be stored as XML documents, so that programmers can represent and process data and meta-data uniformly.

Ok, #1 no problem, we arguable have this with the CLR's model, while #2 is a little different.  I assume he means actual keyword syntax, as opposed to the way we "changed" programming languages in C with preprocessors and inline functions.  Of course, LISP and Schema use macros to the point where one can't tell where the language starts or ends.  Additionally, custom language constructs like the "using" statement in C# that "expands" into a try/finally use of the IDisposable pattern extend the language within a specific context - so I'll buy #2 also.  I used to think that Number 3 is more of a stretch, but then you've got XAML sneaking up on us as well (not to mention our own foray into XML and CodeGen).

I supposed the question I am left with after reading his article is - hasn't all this already happened?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Phishing...for EVIL!

June 8, '04 Comments [2] Posted in Musings
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Just happened to get this in my evening email.  It's obviously a standard Phishing scam.  If you look at the source (as I usually do to most suspicious looking HTML email) you can see that the links point to urls like: http://www.scgi3-ebay-saw-cgi-ebayisapi-dll-registerenterinfo.xx.com.  Note that the first part of the URL is really just a very long subdomain, pointing to the evil person's actual domain (xx.com in this example.)  Additionally that domain's WHOIS record points to a fake person, blah blah.  Their domain points to freeservers.com which does roaming DNS which points to a webserver on their personal computer lord knows where.  When you submit your Credit Card it goes via an unencrypted Form POST right to their computer.  Evil!

What I found particularly interesting was what is revealed in this screen shot from my Outlook.  What's interesting...do you see it? 

The scrollbar is on the LEFT.  Further digging shows that the HTML body for this message was created with FrontPage and they've explicitly set the encoding to Windows-1252 and attempted to switch all the tags to dir="ltr."  However, Microsoft FrontPage when running in Right-To-Left Locales (Arabic, Hebrew, etc.) will default the HTML root tag as <html dir="rtl">.  As every OTHER tag in the document is explicitly marked dir="ltr" the document elements look OK, but since they missed the root tag, Outlook moves the scrollbar to the left, thus making their chicanery even more obvious.  Additionally it makes me wonder what country these folks are phishing from.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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The Simpsons: The Map of Springfield

June 7, '04 Comments [3] Posted in Musings
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This is so funny I was literally crying.  Seriously, spend some time exploring.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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"Could Not Copy Temporary Files to the Output Directory" and big VS.NET projects

June 7, '04 Comments [4] Posted in ASP.NET | Nant
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A fellow emailed me about the troubles he was having with his VS.NET solution.  He's trying to build into a shared binaries folder and is using direct Assembly references (rather than project references.) 

In fact, it appears that Intellisense is locking his assemblies just long enough to get one of the dreaded:

  • Could not copy temporary files to the output directory.
  • The file 'assembly name' cannot be copied to the run directory. The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process.
  • error CS0016: Could not write to output file 'fully qualified path of an assembly' -- 'The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process. '
  • Cannot delete the project output: is the file read-only? A failure occurred while attempting to start the application.

And that sucks.  Basically if you turn Copy Local to False and compile to one folder, you're screwed.

The moral?  We use NAnt for all builds.  It's fairly simple, repeatable, and IJW.  Otherwise, if your goal is to get all files to a shared bin, use a Post Build Event.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Vonage vs. AT&T CallVantage

June 7, '04 Comments [21] Posted in Musings
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I've been seriously considering moving my home phone service over to Vonage, which will run all my phone calls as Voice over IP (VoIP). 

However, today an ad showed up in the mail for AT&T CallVantage Service, which appears to be the EXACT SAME THING.  It's $19.99 for the first 6 months, then $39.99 a month - which is more than the $30 I spend now.

Vonage is $30 a month with unlimited long distance.  Vonage is also apparently pissed off and suing AT&T as Vonage and "Vantage" share too many letters.

I have a few questions for you, dear reader:

  • Is this the flat-out end of the traditional phone company?
  • Are any of you using Vonage or CallVantage and what are your impressions?
  • Have you plugged the Analog Adapter BACK into your home phone jack to spread the service throughout the house on the existing copper?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.