Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes Podcast 72 - Be a Better Developer in Six Months

July 13, '07 Comments [22] Posted in Musings | Podcast | Programming
Sponsored By

My seventy-second podcast is up. Justice Gray and Bill Simser asked folks 'What are you doing for the next 6 months to be a better developer?' In this episode, Scott and Carl kick the question around.

If you have trouble downloading, or your download is slow, do try the torrent with Āµtorrent 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?

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.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

First, turn off everything that beeps

July 13, '07 Comments [20] Posted in Musings
Sponsored By

The power went out today in our neighborhood. I found out when I got this SMS and email from our home:

Scott's Main House: The Panel reported a Power Failure at 12:45 PM on Thursday, July 12 2007. This is a monitoring message from Alarm.com.

One day I'll blog about Alarm.com and how much they rock. Anyway, later I got this message:

Scott's Main House: The Panel had its Power Restored at 1:41 PM on Thursday, July 12 2007. This is a monitoring message from Alarm.com.

I wasn't concerned, of course, because if you remember, Dear Reader, I, as recently as April, put everything of importance of the house on an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). That included the TVs, DVR, four computers, the routers in the wiring closet, everything. They are beefy, and could last the hour the power was out.

However, when I spoke to my wife around 2pm, and she complained about some irritating beeping in the house this afternoon, and wanted to let me know that she went around the house, looking for the beeping, and turned each of the strange beeping devices off.

She reported to me that the gray boxes did stop beeping after she turned them off, but that the house was eerily quiet and that nothing electrical in the house worked. Perhaps we'd lost power at some point, she suggested.

Mental note - Tell wife when I rewire the house.

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.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

Wife Nixes iPhone, Man Buys Apple Newton Instead

July 13, '07 Comments [10] Posted in Musings
Sponsored By

mp2000Well, I'm still working on the wife, trying to get her to give in on letting me have an iPhone. It's pretty clear who's in charge in this family. I'm totally in charge until she gets home.

She's is not going to give, and I desperately needed to find another Apple device to caress.

Talking on my new Newton iPhoneSo, I bought an Apple Newton! The MessagePad 2000 with keyboard and extra battery pack to be exact, still in the original box, for a cool $100ish. Before you laugh, check out this battle royale where the Newton beats a Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC.

Now I just gotta figure out how to connect it to Vista and find a Wireless PC Card. I'm gonna get this baby syncing to Gmail if it kills me. Review, software, details, how-tos and other Newtastic goodness soon to follow.

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.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

Wesabe makes Financial Data available programmatically

July 13, '07 Comments [20] Posted in eFinance | Programming
Sponsored By

imageWesabe has just done what I've been trying to convince banks to do for years. They're making financial data available via a simple POX (Plain Old XML) API. A year ago I did a POX API for Corillian products that Patrick and I presented at TechEd 2006, but it only for whatever single financial institutions chose to install it.

How does Wesabe do it? Your bank probably uses a funky SGML format (that I've talked about before; I was the OFX Vendor Committee Chair for a bit) called OFX that is not only obscure, but difficult and no fun.

Microsoft Money and Quicken, as well as some others, download OFX from your bank into their local storage. Unfortunately, neither Money nor Quicken makes the downloaded data available programmatically, which is one of the reasons I've stopped using both of them them.

You can upload your transaction details to Wesabe on your own, but you can also install their Account Uploader. It's Wesabe's small OFX Client of their own that runs in the background on your computer. It downloads OFX and uploads to their servers. Then they make the aggregated data available (as of today) via a POX (they say REST) XML API. Kind of like the quickie diagram at right (Thanks Paint.NET!)

So, over lunch I did a quick C# library (with my two high-school interns, Eric and Shady) to access their API. It's up here at Google Code if you want start expanding it. If anyone wants to take over, be a member, whatever, put your Google Code username in the comments and I'll add you. What I added just does the account download and is separated into a lib and a command line client.

I did add a couple of things like a check to make sure that when you talk to them via SSL that you are actually talking to them and not a man in the middle:

public class wesabe_rest
{
    static wesabe_rest()
    {
        ServicePointManager.ServerCertificateValidationCallback = ValidateServerCertificate;
    }

    // The following method is invoked by the RemoteCertificateValidationDelegate.
    public static bool ValidateServerCertificate(
          object sender,
          X509Certificate certificate,
          X509Chain chain,
          SslPolicyErrors sslPolicyErrors)
    {
        if (sslPolicyErrors == SslPolicyErrors.None &&
            certificate.Subject == 
@"CN=www.wesabe.com, OU=Thawte SSL123 certificate,
OU=Go to https://www.thawte.com/repository/index.html,
OU=Domain Validated, O=www.wesabe.com"
) return true; Console.WriteLine("Certificate error: {0}", sslPolicyErrors); // Do not allow this client to communicate with unauthenticated servers. return false; }

I also did the XML work via XmlSerializer, because I'm still a fan. The Wesabe guys didn't include a schema, but I suggested it strongly. You can too over in the Wesabe API Developer's Group (Free Wesabe login needed, with no obligation to upload anything financial).

For those of you who commented on my post on Quicken and Money, I noticed that a lot of you use Excel and other tools to get at your data. The Wesabe API will let you get transaction data in 5 formats, one of which being XLS. For example:

This resource is also available in OFX, OFX2, QIF, CSV, and XLS formats:

GET /accounts/show/<account id>.ofx
GET /accounts/show/<account id>.ofx2
GET /accounts/show/<account id>.qif
GET /accounts/show/<account id>.csv
GET /accounts/show/<account id>.xls

By changing the extension you get a different file. Apparently all this Wesabeness works in 30 countries, so it's not specific to US Dollars or US institutions.

It's early, sure, but it's a slick idea and it can potentially help you unlock your financial lock and allow you do any number of cool things with it. One of the things that has impressed me so far with Wesabe is their openness to feedback. You can even call their CEO directly. He's got phone hours and a number published on their site and you can call and talk to him personally, seven days a week. That's so cool. I like it when people dig their jobs.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

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.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

The CodingHorror Ultimate Developer Rig Throwdown: Part 3

July 11, '07 Comments [32] Posted in Musings
Sponsored By

765359714_f1acd91935_oThe building has begun - Jeff's got pics over at CodingHorror as he gets my new system to boot. If you build a lot of systems it might be old hat to you, but we figured it'd be nice to go through the whole process from building, to software, to benchmarks, in detail - step by step. You can read about Part 1 and Part 2 if you like.

Seriously, you could literally fight off a mugger with that heat sink.

I'm still going back and forth about Vista 32-bit versus Vista-64. Sure, everyone's complained about Vista 64-bit having driver problems, but do most apps work?

Apple handled their PowerPC->Intel transition fairly smoothly, and it's nice that there's only one two version(s) of the OS. I believe that Vista is the LAST 32-bit OS from Microsoft, so it seems like 64-bit might be the way to go.

How much trouble am I going to get myself into? There are those that swear by 64-bit XP...

UPDATE: Jeff's got Building a PC, Part II up where he installs the hard drive and figures out the wattage, and Building a PC, Part III, where he overclocks my Quad Core2Duo. It's getting exciting!

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.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.