Scott Hanselman

May 2005 - What is Scott up to?

May 19, '05 Comments [25] Posted in TechEd | ASP.NET | Coding4Fun | XML | Africa | Tools
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I've been a little heads down lately. Sorry about that. I've been slow to blog. However, here's a short list of the things that have been on my mind lately. (Also, I WILL be updating the Ultimate Tools List, but I want to do it justice, so bear with me.)

What has been on my mind this last week, in no particular order:

  • I updated my Linksys Router from Sveasoft Alchemy to the new Sveasoft Talisman Firmware.
    • Man, it is freaking shiny. It's Alchemy++, indeed. This new update includes a roughly 3meg read-write area of flash for external programs to be downloaded. Remember, the Linksys router is just a tiny Linux box. You can PuTTY into it and everything.
    • Things that kick ass about this firmware. You can VPN into your home. You can setup Quality of Service (QoS) to make sure that the wife's Vonage call to Zimbabwe doesn't get kicked because of your massive pr0n downloads. You can easily assign specific IPs to specific MACs. Way easier than static IP addressing. There are a pile more. It's truly changed my whole home network and made it WAY easier to manage. Yum.
  • GuildWars is truly the most amazing RPG I've ever played. Ya ya, EverQuest, ya ya, Diablo, whatever. This is the total package. From purchase to download to play to continued play, it's perfect. Why?
    •  73 KB (yes KB) client to download, ala Steam, that streams just the levels and content you need now. No waiting for 40 Gigs to download. It's fast and it's brilliant.
    • Graphics. This thing scales like nobody's business. I mean, it's good on my Dx9 ATI 9600, but it's even good on my craptastic laptop.
    • You can you actually run it in a Window. How many times have you pissed off a DirectX app when some Blue Toast popped up or you accidentally Alt-Entered. GuildWars will scale as you resize it. Stunning.
    • No local storage of your folks. That means I can pop the small client on my wife's system and fire it up. My character (Abeba Oluchi, a Warrior/Elementalist, thank you very much) is right where I left 'em.
    • Graphics. Did I mention wheat that sways in the wind?
    • Simple to buy. Gave them US$50 at http://plaync.com/store/gw_purchase.html and I was off. Seemless. Smoother than Steam and Half-Life 2.
    • I'm still doing my thing on the Some Assembly Required column. I still love that title. Coming soon? I've got NMEA 2.0 GPS code in .NET 2.0, Media Center fun, more Phidgets, a CrystalFontz display with input buttons, possibly some Legos, possibly some Robots, some iPodity perhaps, and something with Windows Image Acquisition.
  • Professional ASP.NET 2.0. We're still cranking away on the book. We're making sure everything is technically accurate and insightful and ready for the final builds when they come.
    • I'm pretty happy with the Caching chapter, the chapter on State Management and the chapter on XML in the context of ASP.NET 2.0. I've also got some good information while reading Oleg's blog. Seriously, if you care about XML, you need to know this guy. Unsubscribed, then RSS subscribed again, just to reinforce it. :)
  • Jamaica. We just got back from a Cruise from Miami to Jamaica.
    • Turns out I'm not a cruise person. We don't smoke. We don't drink. We don't eat in excess. Seems that is what you're paying for, so perhaps we didn't get our money's worth.
    • I was more interested in talking about how the World Bank and the Chiquita Banana lobby has destroyed the Jamaican economy, but other cruisers were more interested in bidding on velvet paintings of dolphins.
    • SO, I might have been a bit of a drag. That said, I got tan-esque, learned about this new kind of shoe that people who relax call a "flip-flop" and read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.
      • It was so much better than the crap Da Vinci code. Really, if you liked Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons (the prequel) will cause you to implode.

I will leave you, Dear Reader (both of you) with this. I've got potentially big news coming. I shall leave you to speculate wildly. Discuss.

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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New Coding4Fun Article - It's Getting Hot in Here

May 14, '05 Comments [2] Posted in Learning .NET | Coding4Fun
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The second installment of my Coding4Fun column "Some Assembly Required" is up. It's called "It's Getting Hot In Here." This week I use Phidgets to measure the temperature in my cube, but I also interface with a temperature Web Service to find out the temperature outside. Then with some poorman's GDI and WinForms I chart the results over time. There's also a simple plugin system using Reflection and a shared Interface that allows one to add other temperature providers.

(An interesting extension plugin would be one that pulls the current temperature from the motherboard and CPU on-board sensors and compares it to the ambient temperature inside and outside. There's lots of possibilities.)

The Coding4Fun site is of course, about fun, but it's also about presenting basic programming concepts to hobbyists who may not be totally familiar with concepts like OOP or Interface-oriented programming. I try to sneak in a few little tips and tricks to move folks who may not be programmers for a living in the direction of good (or decent) design.

The code isn't perfect or pristine, but it works, and it works pretty well. The Phidgets are a blast to work with, and I hope to move beyond this simple example and perhaps write a robot or a security system or something. I highly recommend them for prototyping any hardware projects you've been putting off. If you're a high-school computer teacher this kind of equipment could introduce coding to a much wider groups of students that would typically be interested.

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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Time to update the Ultimate Tools List

May 12, '05 Comments [31] Posted in ASP.NET | Tools
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It's time to update the Ultimate Tools List, my friends. It's been 18 months, and I'm going to go through my c:/utils folder to reflect what I've learned over the last year and a half.

Talk to me people, what is The List missing? What incredibly useful tool have I never heard of?

A while back, a buddy called me Scott "if it exists I've installed it at least once" Hanselman, and sometimes it feels true. However, give me a scoop on some tools that I can't live without.

Here's some criteria on what I consider an indispensable tool:

  • Elegant - does what it needs to and no more. Has a clean and fresh UI. Jeff Key is the reigning master of the "Util-let" in my opinion. If I were half as cool as Jeff, I'd be a pretty cool guy and a good programmer as well. SnippetCompiler is G*d's gift.
  • Indispensable - you should install it and go "Doh!" why didn't Windows freaking include that! Paint.NET is an example. Zoomin is another.
  • Easy to run - If I have wait, it's too heavy.

Help a brother out.

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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Folks switching to DasBlog

May 10, '05 Comments [8] Posted in ASP.NET | DasBlog
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Just a small observation, as I was catching up on feeds today, I noticed that both Anil John and Larry O'Brien switched over to DasBlog. How cool is that? Have you switched lately?

Powerful stuff. DasBlog, we suck less!

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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XBox Wireless Adapter MN-740 Update

May 9, '05 Comments [3] Posted in Gaming
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It is stunningly NOT OBVIOUS from Microsoft's Web Site, but if you want to flash the firmware on your XBox Wireless Adapter MN-740, you need to download the Microsoft Broadband Networking super-update and it will find the adapter on your network automatically.

If you've flashed it before with the stand-alone updater that was specific to this adapter, you'll notice that this procedure is different and a little obtuse. However, it does work well.

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.