Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes Podcast 2

January 18, '06 Comments [4] Posted in Podcast | ASP.NET | XML | Tools
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HanselminutesMy second Podcast is up, and I believe it's better than the first. We got lots of good feedback - thanks everyone - and had some good fun with this one. We've tightened up the opening, and I've got a little more sleep. Some folks who'd see me speak before thought I sounded pretty "wiped" in the first show. Others found me "anxious" and "monotone." I can tell you that being up at 3am with a baby, while a special joy, isn't conducive to diction and ennunciation. I'm much more myself in this show and Carl does his very best not to waste anyone's time.

UPDATED NOTE: The (fairly significant) bandwidth is maxed out and we're looking into more. For now, try the Torrrents listed on http://www.hanselminutes.com. If you really want to get Hanselminutes shows quickly, first download and install Azureus. Next, watch this Flash video on how to set it up with an RSS/Podcasting plugin and use the torrent links. 

We're listed in the iTunes Podcast Directory, so I encourage you to subscribe with a single click (two in Firefox) with the button below. For those of you on slower connections there are lo-fi and torrent-based versions as well. We're looking into a .zip version for folks who have audio extensions blocked at work.

Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio 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. (and make the commute less boring)

  • 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 second 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.
  • Note that for now, because of bandwidth constraints, the feeds always have just the current show. If you want to get an old show (and because many Podcasting Clients aren't smart enough to not download the file more than once) you can always find them at http://www.hanselminutes.com.
  • 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!

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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XM Satellite Radio for Windows Media Center PC

January 18, '06 Comments [9] Posted in Gaming | Africa
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XM Radio on Media CenterYikes, can't believe I missed this! I was literally sitting down this evening to WRITE this application (and probably base on most of Casey's MCPC stuff) then I figured I'd Google for it first.

I loves my XM Radio, and I listen to it constantly. I particularly like that I can jump out of the car and log into http://www.xmradio.com and keep listening over a web stream.

CIMG4347 (Large)Now that Mo's home with the baby, I wanted her to be able to enjoy XM, so I figured I'd get a new Receiver with XM built-in to replace the old $99 Sony from 1996 we have.

However, since this HTML-based app works with Media Center, it works over Xbox 360. Yes, folks, XM Satellite Radio over Xbox 360. Say what you want, but I'm impressed. My digital life is coming together and it's happening on my Xbox 360. I know that gushes, but the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) for the Xbox purchase is now very high. She can happily listen to Ngoma (the African channel for XM that is only available online) at home!

Slightly funny note, the installer says "C:\Program Files\Default Company Name\XMRadio for Media Center\."

I hope XM realizes how cool this integration is and continues to support it.

UPDATE #2: Be sure to read the complete (technical) description on how the MCML (Media Center Markup Language) remotes the main UI. The main Xbox360 Media Center screen is render locally - it doesn't use Remote Desktop. This article also talks about how Vista will make the Xbox 360 Extender experience even better.

UPDATE: The good and valid question of (paraphrasing) "so what?" was brought up in the comments, here's my answer:

XM radio is (basically) protected content. Typically you need a hardware decoder installed in your car. However, if you're a subscriber, you can sign into their protected website that attaches you to live Windows Media streams; everything is behind passwords, etc. You can't just connect in for two reasons - Xbox 360 does NOT support random web browsing, it only supports MCE apps and you can't tell the 360 to connect to arbitrary streaming URLs. I was going to write my *own* MCE app to front all this password and streaming schmutz, but turns out they did it in 2004. The good/interesting thing is that this little app isn't widely advertised and that not only does it work on MCE2005R2 but the whole streams to the Xbox 360. What's significant is that, A. I'm consistantly impressed that the Xbox's remoted UI is so close to the actual MCE (indistinguishable) UI and B. Its nice that XM Radio thought to create one of these even if it's simple and C. The fact that I pay one subscription for XM and the content is provided to me in 3 ways shows (to me) that XM is more than just "in my car."

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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VB.NET and C# - Duplication of Effort?

January 17, '06 Comments [11] Posted in Ruby | Tools
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Patrick Hynds recently used a military analogy to contrast C# and VB.NET and their growing and increasingly obvious similarities. (I've always thought that the differences were just skins over IL myself.) Rocky Lhotka extended the analogy brilliantly:

The problem we have today, in my opinion, is that C# is a flying tank and VB is a heavily armored attack plane.

Microsoft did wonderful things when creating .NET and these two languages - simply wonderful. But the end result is that no sane person would purchase either a tank or an A-10 [ed: a plane] now, because both features can be had in a single product. Well, actually two products that are virtually identical except for their heritage.

Of course both hold baggage from history. For instance, C# clings to the obsolete concept of case-sensitivity, and VB clings to the equally obsolete idea of line continuation characters.

Unfortunately the idea of creating a whole new language where the focus is on the compiler doing more work and the programmer doing less just isn't in the cards. It doesn't seem like there's any meaningful language innovation going on, nor has there been for many, many years... [Rockford Lhotka]

Personally at this point, I don't see a reason for us to have two languages other than we always have. It started with C++/MFC versus VB1/2/3 in the early 90s and we'll never come back together. Some folks think that this is good because humans crave choice. Others think it's just wasting time and effort as we design language and development tools twice.

There seems there's always a need to have vanilla out there to balance out chocolate. Take a look at Billy Hollis' Tongue-in-Cheek "History of BASIC" and "History of C." Personally, I'll write in any language that makes me productive. VB.NET, Ruby, C#, Zulu, Amharic or Spanish. It's all just a way for us to express our intent to the machine.

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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Z's first all-nighter

January 17, '06 Comments [2] Posted in Z | Diabetes | Speaking | Movies | Gaming
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It's 5:31am and Z just now went to sleep. We suspect caffeine drank (by Mom) unsuspectingly earlier, but who knows. So, I'm listening to Chris Sells on .NET Rocks and here's a random collection of links of other things I'm reading this morning.

P.S. And here's some fresh Z photos just for good measure.

CIMG4318 (Large)  CIMG4286 (Medium) CIMG4342 (Large)

Now playing: .NET Rocks - Chris Sells on Model-Driven Development

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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First Person Shooters on the PSP

January 16, '06 Comments [2] Posted in Reviews | Z | Gaming
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Z is fast asleep on my lap, and I'm trying to find a PSP 1st-person shooter that doesn't totally suck. Of course, I bought my PSP as a TV and Portable Media Center, not a gaming system. But, when you've got a kid asleep on your lap at 3am, somehow you find yourself wanting to blow 15 min with a game now and again. Maybe that's just me.

Here's the three I've got.

  • Codedarms1Coded Arms - I got this at the same time I bought the PSP. There were few games around an a hacker-themed 1st-person seemed like a no brainer. It's got gorgeous graphics, seriously. Detailed and beautiful. The first level is amazing. However, all subsequent levels are the same level. Never since Mario Bros. (Not Super Mario, people, just Mario Bros.) have I seen a game with such similar levels. I got bored after level 3 and feel asleep. It's a shame because the theme had such potential. You hack from level to level and get upgrades while fighting viruses. Sigh. For sale: $15 or buy me lunch a few times.
  • Starwars1Star Wars: BattleFront II - Got this for Christmas, it was on my wish list. It was a great Xbox game, how couldn't it be a great portable game? Well, let's start with an unspeakably obscure control schema that makes virtual no good use of the single analog stick and quite lousy use of the shape buttons. The guys I'm trying to shoot are always just above or just below my view. I literally can't get past the second Hoth level. Folks on the boards insist that this is a great game with some really great spaceship levels, but I'm too much of a putz to get that far. I've almost given up on this game. As I write this, I'm wondering if I was too harsh; I may try again for a few minutes. Seriously, though, it's got Castle Wolfenstein quality graphics (Not Castle Wolfenstein 3D from your 286, I mean Castle Wolfenstein from your C64. Achtung!)
  • Socom1SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo - I received a gift card from Cingular for $30 as a rebate and promptly squashed it on this game. Now THIS is a game. It's like Splinter Cell + Hitman + Rainbow Six. Many times while playing I thought I was, for a moment, playing one of these games. It's that broad in it's appeal. Some missions have you not shooting anyone, instead collecting digital photos of conversations between spies. Others have you sneaking into a compound to rescue the VP of Chile, while still others are more battlefield focused. That's just the single player game. What's amazing to me is that it supports online wi-fi multiplayer (via a poorman's Xbox Live that is specific to this game) with a headphone attachment. On a freaking PSP. Now THAT'S 2006 baby. The single player is well done, with excellent pre-rendered cut scenes with missions in locations like Chile and Morocco. And, get this, the folks in the cut scenes and the folks you fight actually speak the local language. I like that they recorded many minutes of Spanish and Arabic and included subtitles. It did give you the sense of traveling around the globe to different locations - and the maps are HUGE. It's not as pretty as Metal Gear: ACID (an almost un-playable, but truly gorgeous game) but it's tight. The controls are clean and feel natural after a few minutes (even though having a single analog stick ISN'T very natural.) You're graded on mundane things like accuracy to more "soft" skills like teamwork.

If you really want to know what the "Halo 2" killer addictive game is on the PSP, experience Hot Shots Golf for yourself. I love the single player career game. If I see you around and you've got a PSP with Hot Shots, let's play an ad-hoc multiplayer game, eh?

Now playing: Freshlyground - Human Angels

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.