Scott Hanselman

Confessions of an Audio Visual Geek

February 3, '06 Comments [10] Posted in Gaming
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AVClubAre we born this way? There's lots of arguments regarding nature versus nurture. There's various controversial characteristics that some groups believe are in-born, while others believe it's choice.

Oh, yes, you know what I'm talking about. It's that which darn not speaks its name, but I'm coming out today, baby.

I'm a recovering AV Club Geek. Some were band camp, others drama. I was a geek. To be clear, there are many kinds of geeks, so don't just lump us all into one bowl. There were geeks, freaks, nerds, dweebs, spazzes, losers, dorks, really I could go on.

I knew early...I think before I could talk.

My wife supports me and realizes that this wasn't a choice. Who would choose to be this way? No, I came out of my sweet mother's womb knowing how to wire a complete home theater with Betamax. Of course, Betamax hadn't been invented at that time, but I still knew, deep in my DNA.

  • I disassembled clock radio telephones and put them back together. Remind me one day to tell you about the time I took one apart when it was still plugged in. Don't remember much of that day.
  • I threaded the projector. No one else could. I changed reels during "Roots."
  • I feel it in my bones that we need a new receiver like my dad can smell rain coming, but my wife won't let me even mention it until both speakers stop working.
  • I knew the ramifications of PAL vs. NTSC before I was allowed to cross the street. I quietly theorized the neighbors over that way were either PAL or SECAM.
  • I'm sad that my son will never listen to Spiderman like I did on 12" Vinyl. I hope he'll get to create a crystal radio or a motion detector with a 9V battery. I wired a battery and some capacitors to my doorknob so nearly the whole thing would discharge enough amps to keep folks out of my room.

If you might be an AV geek who didn't admit it growing up, come out now. There are groups for this kind of thing. You may already see the signs as an adult that you didn't as a child.

  • You might know how to get 1024x768 at 60Hz out of any funky laptop drivers.
  • You might know how to get ATI drivers on a T42 to stretch the LCD Panel to fullscreen when it's also outputting to projector.
  • You know how to make a <gasp> Word Document look good when presenting using only hot keys - Alt-V,Z,T,Enter - or that Shift-Alt-Enter is your friend when presenting code in Visual Studio.NET.
  • You know that the Xbox 360 doesn't upconvert standard 480p DVD output to 720p because of the Macrovision legal guidelines preventing High-Def non-HDMI output from being upconverted. 
  • You tried to tape every episode of the original Star Trek series on VHS in SP, two per tape, with custom labels while meticulously trying to remove the commercials. "Pause...damn, too slow, stop, rew, play.......pause! perfect, Rec...wait...un-pause. Perfect. 'Mirror Mirror' is nearly complete!" You were both disappointed and thrilled when whole seasons were released on DVD because it became 'easy' for anyone to reach this level of accomplishment.

These are only some of the signs. Schedule an intervention today. If you can help just one person...

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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Anthem.NET Released

February 2, '06 Comments [3] Posted in ASP.NET | ViewState | Tools
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Anthem is 1.0.0! It's free, it's AJAXy and it's available now.

"Anthem.NET is a free, cross-browser AJAX toolkit for the ASP.NET development environment that works with both ASP.NET 1.1 and 2.0."

There are lots of great AJAX libraries out there, but I'm partial to Anthem. His stuff is ViewState aware which helps you in a number of ways and extends the server-side metaphors in a very natural way.

As an aside, interestingly, Community Server uses a private branch of Anthem. ScottWater uses both Anthem and ComponentArt's stuff, drawing a distinction between using Anthem when raw data is sent to the client versus using CA's when the UI is updated.

Most of all, I like that Anthem is fully supported in .NET 1.1. Not everyone can upgrade to .NET 2.0 tomorrow when they've got paying clients today, myself included. Do check out the source, it's pretty clever and elegant (remembering that AJAX itself is a huge hack. ;) )

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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James Snape sniped by Microsoft

February 2, '06 Comments [4] Posted in DasBlog
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James Snape, programmer, .NET wonk, English Guy, DasBlog contributor, theme writer, and Audio Visual guy in high school, all around a generally pleasant fellow much like you and I (except possibly for the English thing) is being sucked into work at Microsoft after five years working at Exony.

He's buddies at Exony have this little message for James:

"Thank you to James Snape from all at Exony Ltd, good luck at Microsoft you will be sorely missed."

We all wish James good luck working for The Man. Go ahead over to his blog and see if you can crash DasBlog with congratulatory comments on this post. If it crashes, it's likely his code in DasBlog. If it doesn't crash, it's totally mine. ;)

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 return of PayPal? TextPayMe offers Pay Over SMS

February 1, '06 Comments [7] Posted in eFinance | Gaming
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This is very interesting to me because not only is it in the realm of eFinance but it also reminds me of a very exciting time...remember back in the day when you could PayPal someone money using the IR Port on your Original PalmPilot? I used to split checks and do all sorts of things.

Now, a start up called TextPayMe has a very nice implementation of "Pay Over SMS". You just text "PAY amount number" to their 5 digit number and you're set. Chris Brooks, my boss, and I have already used to to send money around. Additionally, you get $5 for signing up, and if I (or you) sign up only 35 folks (it's FREE) I'll get an Xbox 360 (for the guest room.) Sure, it's multi-level marketing, but it's worth taking a look at if only to see their two-factor authentication.

SignUp at TextPayMe

You have both a password and four-digit pin. When you pay someone via SMS, you'll get a phone call back confirming that you were serious, then you type in your pin. You have to know something - your pin - and have something - your phone. Very cool.

I wonder how long until PayPal buys them. Anyway, sign up, get your own profile and spread the word. No banking or account information is needed unless you want deposit money.

UPDATE: More on TextPayMe at PaymentsNews, with some specifically interesting tidbits. Everyone but Verizon can use their 70820 number. They will market towards uses by CraigsList users. Anyone who signs up during the beta will NEVER pay a transaction fee. (Wish I'd gotten in on that when PayPal started!) Also, they have support for paying some online merchants.

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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Vista on a McBook or iMac or Intel Duo

February 1, '06 Comments [1] Posted in Musings | Tools
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Lots of folks out there still trying to get public builds of Vista running on the new Macs. I've said before it's likely not going to happen because of the new BIOs or lack of in the new Intels/Macs. They use EFI and there's no EFI support in the Vista Betas as of yet. Here's some more inside scoop from super-secret-have-to-kill-you-sources. However, it will likely make no difference and folks will still try to ice skate uphill.

You are right it won't happen anytime soon, in the wild. Current builds of Vista Support EFI but its presently disabled and core EFI files are not present in the Vista builds. EFI is yet to be turned on in builds available to the Vista beta test community, until that happens people are just tilting at windmills. However useful work has and is being done to understand what they have done so far, spurred in no small part by a now considerable amount of money folks are offering as bounty. 

Apple has publicly said they will NOT create barriers to prevent the Apple hardware from running O/Ses other than OSX. They won't support it but they won't prevent it either. The word from Microsoft is less clear. There are likely two camps at Microsoft. Camp one probably says "hell no, we don’t want to support Apple at all other than office". Camp two retorts with "any software we can sell to run on Apple hardware is good". Conventional wisdom says that Microsoft is hard at work on Virtual PC for Intel Macs. 

For my part I want to see this Cross O/S Cross platform effort succeed. The easy ability to run both O/Ses on WinTel or MacTel will be a huge bonus. When this is do-able I'm going to buy a Dual Core Laptop and I'm going to do it. I want Intel for Development and DJing purposes and I want Mac for Music Production, Logic, Protools, Garageband + others.  

Now for the good word. Rumor is that Microsoft already have Vista running on iMacs on campus. Likewise it's rumored Intel has a Vista build running on Mac hardware. So it not only feasible for some users, there is a reason other than just the pure challenge for a good many. [super-secret-have-to-kill-you-source]

Secret or not, all this means that the consumer gets more choice, and that's always a good thing, so I ain't mad at 'cha.

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.