Scott Hanselman

Lenovo T61 - The Battery is too hot, run!

July 6, '07 Comments [12] Posted in Musings
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I swear I can break any computer just by being in the room. You do realize, Dear Reader, that these crazy message boxes and errors that I bring to you week after week are real, screenshoted from my own machines, unmodified. Some of these things are just unreal. Like, I have to look around sometimes for the hidden camera because I MUST be on TV.

Today, the IBM Craplet Message Center had these choice tidbits for me.

The next messages let me know a battery error is detected? What kind of error could that be? Did it suddenly STOP being a battery? Then, seconds later, "irreparable damage" was detected. Who or what service detected this? Not just regular damage, mind you, but irreparable damage.

Then, I'm told it's too hot. Hm. Feels find. No fever or anything. Either way, I removed it because I don't want my ThinkPad to explode like Alan Cox's did.

Best part: Notice the "Advertising" message from 14-Mar telling me to pick up some of these great ThinkPad batteries.

Message Center (3)

Welcome to my life. I hate computers some days.

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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Hanselminutes Podcast 71 - Windows Home Server - Interview with Charlie Kindel

July 6, '07 Comments [11] Posted in Home Server | Podcast
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image My seventy-first podcast is up.  I've talked about Windows Home Server on my blog before and even said once that I was more excited about WHS than Vista. I've personally been running it for about 6 months now at home and I love it. In this episode I sit down with Charlie Kindel, the Product Unit Manager (PUM), behind the Windows Home Server team. This guy has worked for Microsoft for 17 years, so he knows his stuff. He helped design and ship COM/DCOM. Oy. Get some old hardware together and go get Windows Home Server RC1. Also check out the Home Server SDK as there's a USD$50,000 Developer Contest for the Best Home Server Add-Ins.

If you have trouble downloading, or your download is slow, do try the torrent with µtorrent or another BitTorrent Downloader.

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate about Telerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

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)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

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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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Xbox360 XNA Game Development - Hanselman Conversation Simulator

July 6, '07 Comments [14] Posted in Gaming | Programming
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image Madness I say. George Clingerman has created an XBox360 game using the XNA Framework called "A Conversation with Scott Hanselman."

Yes, you read that right and I'm as shocked as you are. I've been told that conversations with me are as fun as watching paint dry, and I believe my wife when she says this.

George based his game on his theory that I have only a certain attention span while talking to you and will run away if you're not interesting. (No comment. ;) )

He says:

"It may have been my imagination (the drinks WERE free), but about 10 seconds into the conversation it suddenly occurred to me that Scott Hanselman was timing me. It was like the second I walked up to him, he visually assessed me and gave me a set conversation time, say about 2 minutes and 27 seconds. He was keeping this internal timer running in his head and after the timer reached 0, he'd wrap things up and move on. It makes sense, he's a busy guy, got a lot of geek fame and if he's going to circulate or get anything done, seems like a practical thing to do. So as we're talking and I'm watching this timer that I'm imagining running just behind his left eye, I begin to wonder if there are "checkpoint" bonuses. Like maybe if I hit on an interesting conversation topic or say something in a clever way, will Scott increase my allotted conversation time? And then on the flip side, if I drone on or bore him, is he decreasing my allotted time and preparing to move on sooner?

So yeah, I spent my entire 2 minutes and 27 seconds playing this imaginary game in my head. You do XNADevelopment? +10 seconds. Want to help me make a web browser for the 360? No? -10 seconds. You seem pretty drunk. -30 seconds. That was actually funny +10 seconds. Well, got to go."

Now, you too can have that kind of fun on your Xbox or Windows machine. Seriously though, it's a pretty interesting little sample that shows a lot of the 2D Gaming Concepts that you'd need to know in order to create your own - more interesting - game.

Sounds like George had a great time and tried something new, coding this in a weekend using techniques from a 4 Hour Work Week

"The whole weekend demonstrates once of the concepts I picked up from Scott's interview with the author of the 4 hour work week. Create an environment to set yourself up for success. That's how I finished this game in a weekend. I took away the distractions, surrounded myself with the materials I needed to develop and I got it done. I had an absolute blast."

If you want to download the XNA Game Studio Express, get the 1.0 Refresh here. If you want to download just the XNA Framework, get the 1.0 Refresh here. It's a single download and the FAQ explains lots. There's also lots of good samples and tutorials at the XNA Creators Club. The game will run on Windows if you have an Xbox Controller attached, but perhaps someone will add keyboard support or make it a ClickOnce App...

This was a total surprise to me and I had nothing to do with it, but I want to give Big Thanks to George for this fine bit of fun and for, on his own, using his weekend project to help me raise money for Diabetes Research!

Seriously, come on, does that REALLY look like me?

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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Beyond Elvis, Einstein and Mort: New Programming Stereotypes for Web 2.0

July 6, '07 Comments [38] Posted in Programming
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iStock_000002842776XSmallWhat are the skills that a Programmer needs?  Internal to Microsoft there's a old meme about the three types of programmers. There's Elvis, Einstein and Mort.

Einstein is like employee #3 at your company, very smart, possibly socially a little off, he knows the owner of the company personally and probably wrote the original program you sell. Elvis is a late-hire, he wants to rewrite the whole thing in WPF/E and speaks a lot at user groups. Mort is the rest of us.

These are simplistic labels, and oft-overused; I'm as guilty as anyone in using these too often. But, hey, labels are fun and (when used for good) help us understand the ecosystem.

Here's some other more useful stereotypes labels... 

Copy/Paste Guy

One resume we received said  "I'm the best at my company at copy/paste...I can copy/paste code better than anyone." This guy can't code at all. Doesn't understand computers, programming, literally has trouble finding the door to the building in the morning. But, he can Copy/Paste like a ninja.

Google Gal

"I don't know how to do it, but I know that someone has already done it. Solving this problem means finding someone else's solution." It'll take an hour either way. An hour of doing it, or an hour of searching. This person will always choose searching over doing. Sometimes the search will go on for days, trying different keyboards, perhaps building incredibly complex queries "IUnknown AND Cheese BUT NOT Gouda" in order to give Google more insight into what the problem might be.

MSDN Trivia Person

I can't remember what my wife and I had for dinner last night, but I can remember the internals in System.Web.UI.WebControls.ObscureNamespace. This programmer has no concept of the larger picture, the ultimate goal, but they know that the class you're using is marked obsolete in early betas of the next version and you had better stop using it or else! They also tend to know more than IMDB about movies.

Visio Boss

This boss "used to be a programmer" and "played some with .NET" when it first came out "and didn't see anything revolutionary" during the first five minutes and hasn't given it much thought since. They tend to spend time in Visio, almost to the point that they are frustrated you're not compiling directly from their "Visio Source." They also get +2 Charisma against DBAs if they have an English Accent.

Super-Excited Dude

It's new and we need to be doing it. Sure, it's a pre-alpha personal not-for-external use build from his friend in Microsoft QA but seriously, have you seen it? We need to get on board with this before it's too late. To start, we need to send me up to Microsoft for a short 5 week Skull & Bones Meeting Software Design Review where they will teach me how to control my powers without creating a singularity and destroying all mankind with my new-found LINQy goodness. Then it's all going to rock. Seriously. I'm super-excited about the future.

Tall but Ultimately Disinterested Programmer

You can't teach height. This guy (or gal) is so freaking naturally talented it's obscene. You hate him for his skills and love him for his skills. He not only codes well, but also documents well, types fast. Dogs trust him, women want him and men want to be him. He was meant to program. However, he prefers rock climbing/motorcycle riding/some dangerous non-computer-related-hobby so-very-much-more than programming. Hey, it's 5:01PM, can I punch out? A bunch of us are doing sky diving. You wanna come along when you're done with your Halo Deathmatch? So sad. If only he used his powers for good.

Flaming Potato Guy

Hey now, that's not my fault. That wasn't in the spec. Where is the spec? See, there's no spec, how can I possibly be blamed? Talk to QA, they're insane. Truly. Listen, it compiled. It totally worked yesterday, something much be wrong with the Build Server. Freaking .NET, it sucks. Come on, this is clearly a Windows Bug, I mean OpenFile() has never worked correctly, ask anyone.

Ajax Ajax Ajax

So how does Ajax come into the picture in this solution? Ok, and this is where we add Ajax, right? And the request for JSON happens here? Now, is this Dojo or JQuery? You know that God prefers JavaScript, did you know? DHTML is better because it's like HTML, but with a "D" at the front. So, it's more Dynamic.

Used to Do HTML

This programmer parlayed a career typing <table><tr><td> into one typing if(true){}else{} and wonders why that line never runs. A job doing FrontPage turned into one doing Visual Interdev turned into one doing Visual Studio turned into one as Lead Programmer on Super Complex Project v3.

The Premature Optimizer

Never use String.IsNullOrEmpty! Didn't you know that there's a huge bug in the Framework that makes that function kill kittens if you call it on a multi-proc system with more than 4.5 gigs of RAM? Plus, it adds five microseconds of overhead as it accesses eax twice necessitating 4 extra clock cycles. Measure it? Should I have to, it's SO obvious that's inefficient!

Coasting on Charm Coder

It's unclear when this programmer last checked something in, but he or she is so darned clever, so persuasive, so innovative in their designs, does it really matter? They put together amazing PowerPoints, give compelling talks, use just the right sprinkling of buzzwords like "architectural cohesion" and "cyclomatic complexity" that you can't look away.

O(n) "Order n" Architect

Has a chart for everything. "Where's the whiteboard, let me explain..." No matter what YOU do, it won't work, and here's the computer science principle that explains exactly why. No, no, you won't possibly understand it, but trust me, it's true. You see, that's an order-n algorithm and you want to be order-log-n. You see? Here, let me illustrate by writing a perfect QuickSort in F# from memory... 

Mr. Dr. Programmer or Ivy League Dude

"I didn't spend six years going to evil doctor school to be called mister." This gentleman or lady went to a school so exclusive that you may not have even heard of it. You've been published on MSDN? They've been published in Science magazine. You went to community college? Bill Gates was their roommate. You filed a patent? Say, you know angle-brackets? This guy invented them. 

The Open "Sourcerer"

If it costs, it's crap. Free love, free software, no patents, no intellectual property, no big business. Just Solar Panels, Biodiesel and Open Source Software. Works in Windows, codes in .NET, but hates himself for it. Likes to recompile the Linux Kernel during lunch just to prove he still can. Wants to know when the last time you submitted a patch to a public project. Has a man-crush on Miguel from Mono.

The Blogger

Dude! Let me blog that. Can I? I'll totally give you credit. Can you send me the code? Where do you blog? You don't have a blog? Er...OK, how can you possibly code then? I mean, join the conversation, man. Step up, seriously. You've got no juice. I googled for you and found nothing. That's going to make it hard for you to be a good developer. Listen, I'll make you a blog, stop by anytime. You watch, everything will be better once you blog. Coding? Really, who has time, I've got a dozen subscribers that are counting on me.


Who are you? I'm afraid I am probably all of these, except Dr. Programmer and Tall Guy.

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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Caught in the Act

July 5, '07 Comments [8] Posted in Musings
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My wife caught me. I knew I shouldn't have been doing it, but she was sleeping and I figured, what was the harm? It's a victimless crime.

It was late, I was *engrossed* and suddenly the door opened! I'd been thinking about doing this all day and had finally found a quiet opening. I couldn't get it off my mind, I just needed to finish this thing up.

She was awake and coming to check her email. I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn't happy. It was that mixed look of shock and disappointment that you never want to see.

"Scott David!" she exclaimed, "What are you doing? Why couldn't you talk to me first!" What could I say, I was violating that one thing that one must not violate in a relationship. I tried to cover things up but the damage was already done.

I had her personal computer opened up, ribbon cables everyone, guts spread all over the room, trying to upgrade the system's memory.

This is an even worse situation than the first time I tried to replace the main TV remote control with one from Radio Shack. At least that turned out OK in the end.

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.