Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes Podcast 1

January 11, '06 Comments [22] Posted in ASP.NET | Reviews | Podcast | XML | Bugs | Tools
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HanselminutesI've started a Podcast with the expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple.

Avoid wasting the listener's time. 

  • I've said that podcasting sucks before, so it's my goal that this not suck. Carl has done a great job with the production and the quality of the sound and editing is first rate. However, this isn't .NET Rocks, nor is it the Hanselhour. The first show is a little long for my taste. I'd like to get them to ~30 minutes, which is 15-20 if you listen fast, and full of content.
  • This podcast will have similar content as my blog - gadgets, obscure bugs that everyone hits, software development discussion, trends, techniques. It'll have a high "content/crap" ratio. The sponsors have a short blurb at the beginning and at the midpoint, and the sponsors are pertinent to the technology. There will also be a partial transcript of the month's shows printed in the .NET Developer's Journal magazine.
  • I recommend you listen to it in double speed to make good use of your time. Winamp is a free MP3 player known for it's flexiblity with playbackspeed. It could also be a good commute listen, or something you listen too while you're coding or eating lunch.
  • Each show will include a number of links, and all those links will be posted along with the show on the site. There were 15 sites mentioned in this first episode, some planned, some not.
  • The basic MP3 feed is here, and the iPod friendly one is here. There's a number of other ways you can get it (streaming, straight download, etc) that are all up on the site just below the fold. I use iTunes, myself, to listen to most podcasts, but I also use FeedDemon and it's built in support. IPodder is also a nice, free, client.
  • I have, and will, also include the enclosures to this feed you're reading, so if you're already subscribed to ComputerZen and you're not interested in cluttering your life with another feed, you have the choice to get the 'cast as well.
  • If there's a topic you'd like to hear, perhaps one that is better spoken than presented on a blog, or a great tool you can't live without, contact me and I'll get it in the queue!

I hope it doesn't suck. Enjoy.

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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egoSurfing

January 10, '06 Comments [3] Posted in Musings | Tools
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EgosurfingThis was sent to me by David Totzke James Bogosian. It's really just a page ranking system that we've seen over the last 5 to 8 years. There are many search engine ranking tools that tell you what results page you end up on.

However, I haven't seen one that actually calculates (via some Blogshares-style numeric voodoo) your "ego."

The AJAX-y implementation and the speedometer are actually pretty slick, and I spent some time taking it apart.

Here's mine. I notice that Dave Winer and Martin Fowler are in there also. Either way, this doesn't bode well for me. Looks like I need to check my fat ego! Here's a few other fun ones: Chris Pirillo, Greg Hughes, Chris Sells, and Rory. Enjoy!

P.S. Just in case you have any idea that this isn't complete nonsense, notice that I'm only one line down from "blackmarketkittens.com."

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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SQL 2005 Create XML Schema Collection weirdness

January 10, '06 Comments [3] Posted in XML
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SQL 2005 XML CollectionsThis is weird, and while I'm an XML wonk, I haven't been a SQL wonk in a while. I created a new column in a database with the new SQL 2005 XML type. Then I went to the W3C XHTML page and copy/pasted the XSD for XHTML Strict. Since the syntax is

CREATE XML SCHEMA COLLECTION NorthwindCollection AS 'your xml schema here'

I needed to escape the quotes, so I converted all ' to '' via a selection-based replace. So then I had:

Use Northwind;
CREATE XML SCHEMA COLLECTION NorthwindCollection AS
'<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<xs:schema version="1.0" xml:lang="en"
    xmlns:xs="
http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
    targetNamespace="
http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
    xmlns="
http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
    xmlns:xml="
http://www.w3.org/XML/1998/namespace"
    elementFormDefault="qualified">
    ...etc...lots more schema here...
'

But I got this error:

Msg 2206, Level 16, State 1, Line 3
Namespace prefix 'xml' can only be associated with the URI 'http://www.w3.org/XML/1998/namespace' and this URI cannot be used with other prefixes.

Which is weird, because the prefix IS obviously associated with the correct namespace and used correctly in the xml:lang attribute on the root node. Here's where it gets weird. If you REMOVE the xmlns:xml line from the ordinarily correct schema, it works fine and is added to SQL 2005's types section as a value XML Schema Collection. (see image)

It appears that this namespace is hard-coded inside the SQL 2005 somewhere along with the xml: prefix.

UPDATE: The reserved prefix is documented, but a smidge buried for my taste. Thanks to Harry for the pointer. I'm still not clear on why the namespace itself has to be removed from the document.

Use Northwind;
CREATE XML SCHEMA COLLECTION NorthwindCollection AS
'<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<xs:schema version="1.0" xml:lang="en"
    xmlns:xs="
http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
    targetNamespace="
http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
    xmlns="
http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
    xmlns:xml="
http://www.w3.org/XML/1998/namespace"
    elementFormDefault="qualified">
    ...etc...lots more schema here...
'

I have no conclusion here (yet) or idea why this works this way, but one day someone may need to get the XHTML schema into SQL Server to store notes or something for a content management system and this post may help them. I'll update it as I get more information or as I become less ignorant.

Now playing: Goapele - Intro

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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Podcasts at Audible.com

January 9, '06 Comments [3] Posted in Reviews | Africa
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ITunesSomething's happening over at Audible.com. They've recently updated their site (they say it's in beta) and it's a lot easier to find one's way around. They've also got a mysterious site that's kind of announcing something they are calling Wordcasting.

More interesting to me is that they've added podcasting support for their subscriptions, but they've buried it WAY below the fold (meaning you have to scroll way down to find it) on the "My Library" page. (the link will work only if you're an Audible Subscriber). The link is Podcasts, again, if you're a subscriber you'll see it, and they'll show you a link to your personal podcast channel (see image). The bad news is, it's running on port 8080, so I can't use it at work where that port's blocked, but of course it works fine at home.

They recommend a number of programs to receive podcasts:

For Windows
NewsGator with FeedStation (recommended)
iPodder
Doppler
Nimiq

For the Macintosh
NetNewsWire (recommended)
iPodder
iPodderX
PlayPod

I'm using iTunes and my Black Nano 2gig. I'm still not listening podcasts about random folks and their cats, but professionally done (and SHORT) podcasts are growing on me. It's a nice way to spend the commute, or on a drive to Microsoft. That, or a David Sedaris book read by the author. I really like Audible, and I have subscribed for over two years now. Now that they support "rollover" of your book credits, it's an even nicer deal. I've got at least a years worth of listening queued up. Also a nice way to blow a 30 hour plane ride to Africa.

P.S. If you sign up for Audible, tell them I recommended you and I get a free book. I'm "shanselman" or my email address.

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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Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000

January 9, '06 Comments [17] Posted in Reviews | Z | Gaming | Tools
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96laserkeyboard550x285I was over at Office Depot today with a $15 off coupon in hand checking out printers. What I found, instead, was a deal on the usually overpriced Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000. Apparently it's being discounted deeply right now because it was on sale with a $40 off "instant rebate" (at the register, until 1/14/06) along with a $10 mail-in rebate (and I ALWAYS mail them in, as they always assume you won't) which brings it to a reasonable $49.99 which was made even more palletable with my $15 off coupon.

UPDATED: For the record, I completely agree with both Jeff and Diego that that greatest keyboard ever was, and still is, the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro. The fact that the lamer "Elite" version is still being sold is one of life's great mysteries along with Fox cancelling Family Guy the first time and Arrested Development this year. You can still buy the older keyboard, but you'll pay. One of the coolest features of that keyboard, other than the correctly oriented PageUp/Down keys, was the USB hub. It makes NO sense why you'd make a USB keyboard and not add a hub. Hell, why not add a USB port on the top so I can plug my USB disk into the thing straight up and down?

This new set has now replaced my Wireless Natural Multimedia desktop set which I'll likely give to my dad (He'll learn this tidbit when he reads my blog.)

Pros

  • The new "comfort curve" keyboard shape is NICE. I can type at least (ball park) 10-20% faster on this keyboard because there's no space or split. Instead the fourth and fifth column of keys is wider, filling the gap. Sounds weird, but in practice, it's very comfortable. This would be a great "natural" keyboard for folks who ordinarily freak out with the split keyboards. That, along with comfort, is presumably why this keyboard was made.
  • The throw of the keys is very comfortable. They travel well and require just the right amount of pressure. I'll be interested to compare them with DasKeyboard that apparently has weighted key regions that match the strength of each finger. Since this keyboard is probably 55 grams of force then I can see why my pinky hurts from all the backspacing.
  • The keyboard has 5 "favorites" keys where my Multimedia one had Media Control keys. These are just programmable hotkeys that I didn't think I needed. However, after setting them up to point to BlogJet, Password Minder, and a few other choice daily tools, I'm sold. The multimedia controls are still there, just pushed to the side.
  • It has the inverted-"T" arrow keys rather than the astonishingly lame "diamond" configuration of some of the other Microsoft keyboards.
  • CoolmagnifierThe implementation of the "magnifier" is VERY cool. As someone who has advocated magnifier tools in the past, I have to say that I really like this particularly implementation. It's clean, simple and powerful. I may write a .NET implementation of the same thing that would work with any mouse. Shouldn't be that hard considering that there's a bunch of open source magnifiers out there that are 85% of the way there.

Iffy

  • There's a "Zoom Slider" to the left of the keyboard that is of dubious value when you consider the mouse's scroller does the same thing with a Ctrl-Scroll, but I could see where it'd be useful to folks who don't use the mouse and the keyboard simultaneously.

Aside

  • I was able to (mostly) use the whole set without swapping out my existing set's wireless receiver, but the new features like the magnifier didn't work until I put in the new receiver. This was presumably because the unified driver doesn't know to support the advanced features without a newer receiver. They appear to almost identical although the new one says 3.0a and the old one says 2.0a. Interestingly, when you press the "connect" button on the receiver, the old one cycles the CapsLock, ScrollLock and NumLock LEDs by turning them on and off as they cycle. The new one does the same thing but it smoothly fades the LEDs in and out. This is subtle, but leads one to wonder - what was the design meeting like that thought that was an important feature change? That said, it's cool.
  • There's no more cool red optical glow from the mouse. The "laser" is infrared. Note sure if that's a laser, per se, but it's invisible either way. I haven't turned out the lights and put dust particles in the sight line to see if there's something to be seen. It does make it hard to know if the mouse is on, but the software does tell you the status of the batteries.
  • At some point, I'd like to get the Remote Keyboard and see how it works with MCPC and the Xbox 360.

Cons

  • There's something indefinably light and cheap about this keyboard. I know that a keyboard is rarely lifted up and carried around, but I'd really like it to be heavier and more substantial. The mouse, on the other hand feels very substantial. I'd bet the mouse is actually heavier than the keyboard.
  • The amount of force required to right-click with the mouse has increased enough that I notice it in my middle finger. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but I'm currently thinking ugh each time I right-click. The left-click force required appears to be the same as the previous set.

If you can get this set for <$50, then I think it's a great deal and worth the upgrade. Overall I'm happy with it, and while I know that Logitech is coming up in the Desktop Set vertical market, I'm not ready to switch away from Microsoft.

P.S. Again realizing that you read this blog for the technical content, I am forced to bury pictures of my son in this post script to the post. Here's a shocking off-the-cuff bathtime photo of now-6-week-old Z. Also, for your enjoyment, I give you a complete list of Z's current nicknames. It's said, I know, but I'm told that most kids have at least a dozen good nicks going when they are this age. The current ones are, Zam-zam, Zamunda, Zamfransisco, Zee, Z-Money, Zippy (from Patrick Cauldwell's kids), Khulu (Zulu for Grandfather) and Poopmaster Flex. 

Now playing: Rent - Out Tonight

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.