Scott Hanselman

20% off Acronis TrueImage

November 23, '05 Comments [12] Posted in Musings
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I just bought Acronis TrueImage for disk/parition image backups to my Iomega Rev Drive. It was between TrueImage and Ghost, and I just liked the feel of TrueImage better. It runs (not sure how) without having to boot off a CD, possibly using the Volume Shadow stuff?

The receipt included a 20% of coupon that's good for the next 3 weeks. Feel free to use it. The coupon makes it only $39! It might be a one-time use, but the receipt said "You can even send this offer to a friend." So, n number of your where n could be 1, or 1 or more will get this discount.

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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Using the ASP.NET Cache outside of ASP.NET

November 23, '05 Comments [12] Posted in ASP.NET | NUnit
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Travis was talking about using the ASP.NET Cache object/subsystem outside of ASP.NET. I found it a little creepy as I've had all sorts of trouble trying to to Mock testing with ASP.NET outside of IIS and ended up using Cassini back in the day.

He convinced me though, check out the sample code on his site. I also started a conversation on a list server and here's what came of that:

Rob Howard said:

Yes, it's fairly common (and easy) to do. You just have to include a reference to the System.Web assembly in non-web applications; which may have led to your "creep out" – for what it’s worth it used to do the same to me :) 
FWIW, I believe (from memory) the recommended way you grab a reference outside of a web application is:
using System.Web;
using System.Web.Caching;

Cache cache = HttpRuntime.Cache;
<snip>...the Cache is just too important of a feature to only belong to ASP.NET.

Scott Stanfield said:

The biggest problem you'll run into using the cache outside of a web app is simply the namespace: System.Web. People freak out in code reviews. We got a lot of trash talk from the J2EE world on PetShop because of this.

Chris Kinsman said he seemed to remember some trouble with the Cache not sticking around in memory when used outside of ASP.NET, but that hasn't been substantiated. I'm going to dig more.

Adding System.Web to your non-web project is a good way to get folks to panic. Another is adding a reference to Microsoft.VisualBasic in a C# application. Both are reasonable and darned useful things to do, though.

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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SlickRun and QuickSilver

November 23, '05 Comments [4] Posted in Musings | Tools
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Bayden Systems - Registration - Mozilla FirefoxI just got a chuckle out of this. When you install the glorious SlickRun, after installation when it says "Will you reward the developer with a moment of your time?" and click Yes, you're taking to a simple registration screen. Apparently I've pimped SlickRun so much that I'm an option under "Where did you hear about this product." That's so cool. I love this tool.

So, if you're running SlickRun, it's time for you to download the SlickRun 3.9 Beta! After you install, give him this kind gentleman your first name and tell him where you heard about SlickRun! :)

Another SlickRun tip, as you've probably added MagicWords of your own. There's a number of "QRS" files that you can download, there's just a little hidden below the fold on the Bayden site. Scroll down a bit on this page and download pre-built MagicWords for reference, news, shopping and some windows applets. On the "Other Utilities" page there are some nice command line utils that make nice SlickRun MagicWords as well like "DumpTrash," the garish but functional "SlickCal," WebCreds that lets you log on to WebSites from the command line, and "ShowOrRun" that conditionally runs or activates an application. 

Now, if only SlickRun looked more like the Mac's QuickSilver...that'd be a damned sexy app. Maybe I'll write it in Avalon...

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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Mono and its many facets screencast

November 22, '05 Comments [13] Posted in Learning .NET | Screencasts
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Monoexample1I'm sure this has probably already been said, but I wanted to "put it on paper" as it were. I was showing a fellow at work a few things with Mono, and decided that the quickie demo I did was interesting enough that I should do it again. If you're not familiar with Mono, it's an alternative open source implementation of the CLI spec.

It's a compiler implementation and a library implementation and they can be use separately. What that means is that you can compile with Mono, run against their libraries, or you can compile on MSFT and run against their libraries...but where it really gets interesting is if you compile on Microsoft and run against the Mono libraries, or vice versa. This screencast demos a few of these scenarios.

In this demo I create an application from the command line, compile it with Mono and .NET, use Reflector on both and compare the resulting IL of both. Then I run them both and use Process Explorer to see what's going on at runtime.

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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XM Radio gets even cheaper

November 22, '05 Comments [9] Posted in Reviews | Africa
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XmRadioI was checking out the external hard drives, glanced down and noticed an XM Satellite Ratio priced at $14.99. Yes, that's US$14.99. Holy crap. I usually see XM Radios for $99 or so. This one usually goes for $50, but currently has a coupon that gets it to $30. However, for whatever pricing mistake or reason it was $15. I figure soon they'll be free. 

As I figure it, just the cables that came with it are worth $15, so I had to gset it. There's other, coolio receivers, but remember, this was an impulse purchase paid for with allowance.

Let me tell you, XM is great. I activated the service which is $12.95 a month but you can pay for the year and save 8% and there's a sliding scale from there. One month is less than the price of a new CD or 13 songs on iTunes. If I drive to Seattle once a month for three hours each way it's paid for itself in my opinion. If you get another one for your spouse it's only $6.99 extra.

There's 150 channels and the music channels are commercial free. There's the occasional commercial on the talk stations. There's also 3 stations dedicated to stand-up comedy that I'm loving.

The radio also has a nice feature where you can mark a song that's cursrently playing and later if that same song (up to 20 saved songs) is playing on any of the other channels, you'll be notified.

This particular model has a number of ways you can integrate the system with your existing stereo. It's got a built-in FM broadcaster that actually works better than you'd think it would. It can plug in directly if you've got a line-in, it can plug-in with a wired FM modulator, but I chose to use the cassette adapter (see picture above). I think I did a pretty good job of installing it. Note the three cords, antenna, power, and audio all going in-and-out of the receiver and into the tape deck. There's a magnetic external antenna that you put on the roof of the car. I fed it through a number of rubber gaskets and into the driver-side door and under the seat.

If you have a subscription then you automatically get access to the online streams. This is cool because I can listen on the way to work, then keep listening to the same show when I get to my desk.

One thing that sucks is that there's a channel completely dedicated to Frank Sinatra, but they've just dropped Ngoma, the African channel, in order to add a bunch of French Pop to satisfy their contractual obligations to some Canadian deal. Interestingly, Ngoma is still available online. Other than this lack of World music, XM Radio is pretty amazing.

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.