June 2005 - Posts
Apple put out a preview version of Quicktime 7 for Windows. The excitement here is of course that it includes the H.264 codec for HD video.
The good news is that I've never seen that kind of quality at ridiculous resolutions like that anywhere. I'm speechless that they could get the bit rate below 1 MB/sec, but they did it. The bad news is that even on my overcloked-to-hell Athlon, running almost equivalent to a 3 GHz P4, it's still not fast enough to keep up. The 1080p stuff hits about 4 fps, and the 720p stuff can do about 12 fps, half of what you really need.
Still, I'm impressed. Remember, I started professional life as a broadcast guy, with a particular geek passion for digital video (still not in the hands of the general population in 1999 when I left it all). To see this now... it's amazing. I wish I had the hardware to see it.
It's clear to me now that the next video camera that I buy has to be HD, preferably 1080p. I think we're a year or two off before you can buy a camera under two or three grand that can do it, but the software and display devices are very quickly coming down in price. The day you can watch a movie at that resolution at home is the day that I think movie theaters will be obsolete.
Now if only I had something to put in my copy of Avid Xpress HD... ;)
I wanted to bang out a little application that did simple news rotation, kind of a blog roll of sorts. I have a need for this, but everything currently "out there" is overly complex for what I needed to do. So I decided I'd build something that met my needs and give it away.
So I created CliqueSite® NewsBlog. It's built more in the ASP.NET v2 paradigm with the classes in /App_code and such, and is meant to be easy to change and maintain. It does RSS feeds, categorization, comments, etc. Really simple, really easy to change, really easy to use.
So where can you get it? I'll let you know soon!
You former TechTV fans should check out the current This Week in Tech podcast for Jessica Corbin.
These days she's got a clothing line and doing a little TV and such. What can I say, I love the redheads. She's the reason I really got roped into TechTV back in 2001 when she was one of the people on The Screen Savers. I had the worst crush on her!
I was setting up a handler to parse a particular URL (kinda like this
), when I was pleased to see that the link to a style sheet between the head tags of the master page was smart enough to alter it to the correct path. How cool is that?
Of course, I don't know if it's proper to use the link tag anymore. Is it? I thought you were supposed to use CSS imports instead these days.
I was going through the stack of "new economy" business rags I've been neglecting and reading about companies that succeed and fail. (Oh, and I know "new economy" is a stupid thing to call them since, uh, 2000, but what I'm getting at is that they're not Business Week
or The Wall Street Journal
.) I usually get pretty fired up when I read these and I want to do something awesome.
The business I've been running the past five or six years has been about 90% Internet content related. It has only been profitable (though still debt-laden) for about two years. The thing that comes to mind is the urge to jump-start revenue with something new and exciting.
But I see myself falling into the same trap that most technology related self-starters seem to fall into... What can I do with the technology?
That's not right. The tech can't drive the idea, the idea has to drive the tech. We frequently get caught up in software, platforms and products. Certainly these things can inspire us to create something, but they shouldn't dictate how we develop an idea.
I look at the kind of community sites I run, and I feel I've got it backward. I consider rewriting my forum software to take advantage of the next version of the platform, and never stop to ask myself why I'm doing it. Instead of spending time thinking about what I can build, I should be searching for the ideas that make that community a better idea, and use the technology available to me to support the idea.
Some day I'll figure it out.
I installed Visual Studio 2003 on my new laptop, and oddly enough, "Attach to Process..." isn't in the debug menu. What's up with that? Is that possibly a part of remote debugging in setup? I mean, you can do it out of the Debug -> Processes... dialog, but that's one extra step.
I interviewed a bunch of people for a code monkey job I have for the next three months. What a pain in the ass. People suck. They pad their resumes with so much crap then can't answer simple questions.
And let me take this opportunity to slam Microsoft's certification process. It clearly only teaches people to pass tests (either that or the applicants lie about what certifications they have). When someone with a certification can't give you an example of why you might use an HttpModule, something just ain't right. I don't think that's a very hard question for someone that is supposed to have Microsoft's blessing.
The ASP.NET community isn't horrible, but I feel that Microsoft isn't doing everything they could to get more experienced people into the world, which can't be particularly good for moving product. The next generation stuff is a mixed bag too. The express products are good. Very good. This ridiculous fragmentation for the rest of the Visual Studio line is beyond asinine, and I'm sorely disappointed and annoyed that Microsoft is sticking to the skus they announced. Not giving every version of VS the testing tools, in a world embracing test-driven development, shows just how much marketing people don't talk to people using the product. Stupid.
It always seems like two steps forward, one step back.
Awhile back I mentioned I needed to replace my HP laptop because of the power connector. I was never really fond of it anyway because it got too hot (regular desktop Celeron), fans were too loud, it was heavy, had two or three annoying bright/dark pixels, crappy video hardware, horrible battery life. It did have pretty blue LED's though.
I had never really considered buying a Dell, for whatever reason. Still, I posted about the problems I was having and someone linked to a coupon for Dell where you could get $750 off a certain model configured to $1500 or more. So I got mine to $1506.
Specs: Inspiron 6000, Pentium M 1.6 GHz, 256 MB Centrino chipset, 802.11g, 1680x1050 15" widescreen, 60 gig drive, CD-R/DVD. Not fully loaded at all, but certainly more than adequate for most anything other than gaming. It really addresses all of the problems I had with the HP. Most importantly it runs cool and quiet.
I've barely used my desktop since I got it. I can park on the couch, the bed, the deck, whatever, and it's a solid performer. For $756, it was an absolute steal. The only minor complaint I had was that I had to blow away the entire hard drive and nuke all of the crap that Dell loaded on it. Seriously, it took several minutes to boot, so I figured it was easier just to start over and download the drivers.
I see fairly regular, very academic, debates about what exactly you should unit test.
So how do you test data access code? It seems pretty typical these days to write a class that inherits some abstract class and does all the actual data store touching, so how do you
test that code?
I do it a particular way, sure, but I would rather ask about the typical practice instead of looking silly. ;)
This is really cool... http://weblogs.asp.net/owscott/archive/2005/05/28/409590.aspx
Remember, if the book sells well in June, Jeff gets to take a nice vacation in the winter. :) Tell a friend!
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