February 2003 - Posts
The latest snowstorm to hit the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. is now in full swing. It's some of the heaviest snow I've seen all winter (which is actually saying something this winter). I have to admit, that it looks pretty right now, but that doesn't make me any more enthusiastic about the shoveling I'm going to have to do tomorrow...ARGH!!!
Looking for 4-8 inches according to weather.com. Looks like another day snowed in. Guess we should've bought a Subaru Outback before the snows came. :-)
Just finished another editing pass on 4 more chapters...still have to finish chapter 10, and the content for the latest revised editons of my Microsoft Press books
will be done! It will be great to get this project finished.
As anyone who's lived in or around Washington, DC can tell you...we've had a heck of a winter this year. Yes, I know people in more northern climes have it worse on a regular basis, but you're prepared for it. We got 2 feet of snow last week, which shut down schools for the whole week.
Now we're looking at another 3-6 inches by midnight tonight, and more tomorrow. I know this doesn't sound like much. I grew up in Michigan, so I know from real snow. And if I wanted this kind of weather, I'd move back there. Global warming? Hah!
I just put the finishing touches on the revision of Chapter 9 for my books Microsoft® ASP.NET Programming with Microsoft Visual Basic® .NET Version 2003 Step By Step and Microsoft® ASP.NET Programming with Microsoft Visual C#™ .NET Version 2003 Step By Step. That leaves just one chapter to go!
Naturally, I left the two longest (and most difficult) chapters for last, so the last chapter (on custom server control development) won't necessarily be a cakewalk, but at least I'm close to finishing this project.
The revision that I'm working on is designed to update these titles for Visual Studio .NET 2003 and version 1.1 of the .NET Framework. They should be available around April of this year.
And it will be good to get this project done, since my wife and I are also expecting our first child in April, and there's still much to do to prepare (painting the baby's room, making sure we have all of the clothes, supplies, toys, etc. that are necessary for a new baby, etc.).
Off to sleep now...Chapter 10 in the morning. :-)
So I get a phone call from a nice lady who identifies herself as a transfer notification agent for the pseudo-official sounding Domain Support Group. She said she was calling to let me know about "changes on the Internet that could affect" my domain name.
Now, I was suspicious from the get-go for a couple of reasons:
- The call came to my cell phone, and I have never, repeat never, in the 5+ years that I've been registering domain names, had a registrar call me on my cell phone.
- The call came from a number with CallerID blocked.
If those things weren't enough, her statements didn't pass the sniff test ("changes on the Internet"? Could they be any less technical?). So I told her that I had a hard time believing she was legit, at which point she promptly hung up. I decided to do a little digging, and thanks to Google came up with the following links:
http://www.bankersonline.com/technology/techalert_040902.html (scroll down)
Sadly, these bozos must be succeeding in getting at least a few people to bite and hand over their credit card #s, or else they wouldn't be in business. I'm sure most of you probably already know this, but the lesson to be learned (preferably not the hard way) is to never, ever give your credit card # to someone who cold-calls or faxes you. The fewer times slimeballs like this succeed, the better the chance that they'll stop (or at least move onto something less difficult, like the Nigerian email scams).
I have a couple of speaking events to remind folks of...
March 4th will be a busy day for me. I'll be speaking in the morning at the MSDN Roadshow event at Microsoft's new conference center in Reston, Virginia. I'm presenting a session on Tips and Tricks for ASP.NET from 10:30am-11:45am. Then that evening I'll be presenting at the Central Maryland ASP Professionals user group in Columbia, MD. The topic will be Understanding the Postback Process and Creating and Handling Events in Custom Server Controls. The meeting starts at 6:30pm.
If you're in the Washington, DC area, please stop by one or both of these events!
PS - The Columbia appearance was arranged through INETA, the International .NET Association, which helps local user groups arrange for speakers with expertise in a variety of .NET topics to present to their users. You can find out more about requesting a speaker from the INETA Speaker's Bureau here.
I wanted to note, while I'm thinking about it, that accessing the Amazon.com Web Services from ASP.NET is surprisingly easy. The only tricky part I found was dealing with the built-in limitation of 10 results per request.
I wanted to pull all of the data for a given keyword search (ASP.NET, naturally) into a single dataset, to allow the use of the built-in paging feature of the DataGrid control. I figured that, in order to reduce the expense of querying the Web Service 16 times (159 results / 10 items per request), it would probably be a good idea to store the results locally, and only update them if they're older than, say, a half an hour.
The problem I ran into was that I was trying to use the ReadXML and WriteXML methods of the DataSet class in a loop, which turned out to be a bad idea. What I ended up doing, was creating a new DataSet outside the loop, reading in an XSD schema to set up the table, then within the loop, pulling in the data from a given request, and merging that data with the data from previous requests using the Merge method of the DataSet class, like so:
Then, once the loop completes, I write the data to the XML file.
If anyone's interested, I'll post the working code. In the meantime, you can find out more about using the Amazon.com Web Services with .NET/ASP.NET at the following URLs:
So here I am trying to multi-task. I'm working on getting this blog set up (thanks to Scott W. for the great work on creating a rich ASP.NET blog tool!), while also working on a quick demo app for connecting to the Amazon.com Web Services through ASP.NET.
Both tasks are deceptively simple, but have the capacity for trouble if not given enough attention.
For example, I discovered the hard way that when you edit code with only half your attention, you're liable to leave infinite loops in your code that end up creating havoc (in this instance accidentally creating a 100+ MB XML file by calling DataSet.WriteXML WAYYYYY too many times).
So I'm going to keep this initial entry short, and go debug my code.
Welcome to my blog. You can expect to see musings on ASP.NET, information on upcoming events I have planned and new books coming out, as well as perhaps the occasional comment on current events. I hope you find some or all of it useful, or at the very least, interesting.