June 2003 - Posts

MapPoint Annoyance

 <pointless rant>
 
In New England we have this thing called a rotary (you might know it as a Traffic Circle). Unfortunately MapPoint has forgotten that New England is no longer part of the British Empire. I say this because they insist on referring to a "rotary" as a "roundabout"; something you might find at Big Ben but certainly not on Cape Code. And for whatever reason, this drives me out of my mind.
 
I know I'm being ridiculous and petty. I know it really doesn't matter. But as a full fledged Masshole, it is my duty to be ridiculous and petty.
 
Maybe I should top of my petrol, toss my gear lever into drive, and speed down the motorway for a bit. Maybe I'll stop at a flyover, grab a pint out of the boot, and spend some time cooling off.
 
</pointless rant>
 
On different note, it is hot here today. Damn hot. And genius that I am, I've yet to pull the A/C out of the attic. Sigh....
Posted by MarcLaFleur

M$

Four times today I have seen Microsoft spelled with that stupid $. Every time I see this it reminds my favorite Penny Arcade strip ever: http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2002-07-22.

I stab at thee!

Posted by MarcLaFleur

MSN 6

I downloaded MSN 6 yesterday and aside from some issues signing in, it seems to work great.

My only gripe is that they still have not added my favorite ICQ feature; the ability set your status (offline, busy, available, etc) for each person individually. I used this feature a lot in ICQ so that I wouldn't get interrupted by friends and family while working. But I also want to remain online so I can be seen by the rest of my team who do need to be able to interrupt me on occasion.

Without this feature, as soon as I go online I get assaulted by 100 IMs from everyone I've ever met in my life. :-)

Source Selector Utility

Many people are forced to use multiple source code control systems on a single PC. For example, I do a lot of side projects that are stored in CVS. I have another project that has some VB code stored in PerForce. And I'm working on a new project that will likely be using SourceGear's Vault product.

On top of those three systems, I'm a zealot on Source Control and try just about every product that comes out. This means that I often have 5-10 different systems installed at the same time.

For some reason, Visual Studio only supports a single SCC provider called the "default" provider. This always struck me as odd because it implies that there can be "non-default" providers. Well, there can, you just can't use them. :--)

The fix has always been to edit the registry. Or if you are like me you would create a bunch of .reg files to make the edits a bit quicker. This works but is a real pain in the butt.

But thanks to Tor over at Subway (an SCC connection to Subversion), I now have a neat utility called SourceSelect.exe that allows me to switch the provider. This just made my life a lot easier.

Visual Studio .NET 2003

So, I'm installing Visual Studio .NET 2003 right now. Based on my prior experience with this installation, I can plan on working by Friday.... Maybe...

I'm going to go to my corner and whimper in pain for a few hours. <sigh>

Mumbly-peg

There is a rather amusing post over at Arcadian Del Sol (sort of a blog for gamers). The post deals with violence in video games and how previous generations were not lacking in violet games themselves. But what really got me was "Membly-peg":
 
If you aren't familiar, here is a summary: Mumbly-peg is a game where you throw a knife in the dirt near the outside edge of someone's shoe. They move their foot to the knife, pick it up, and do the same to you - as the game proceeds, your feet get further and further apart until someone falls down; last man standing is the winner. My father explained the one wrinkle in the rule set as follows: "you had to be careful not to stab the other guy in the foot because if you do, you lose."

Lets make sure we all understand this: If you are stabbed in the foot, you are the winner of the game. Victory is yours; celebrate and revel in it on your way to the emergency room.

I was never very athletic as a child but if winning had meant having a screw driver impaled into my big toe I think I would have been more ok with loosing.

Then I got to thinking, can you imagine if this game gone professional?

   Reporter: Well Champ, you have just won the Mumbly-peg World Series for the 8th year in a row. To what do you attribute your success?

   Champ: Good aim, solid balance, and really fat feet.

Matt Puccini Summary

For those of you who don't have the time to read Scott's take on Matt Puccini's article in ComputerWorld Daily, I've taken the time to summarize it into one sentence for you.

Matt Puccini is a moron and Scott Bellware doesn't like him very much.

Always here to cut down on your blog reading time....

Learning from Keith

Keith Pleas taught me a few things when he have a talk on Localization at the Boston .NET User's Group last night. But the most important one was this: I will never do localization! One of the most important things in being a developer is knowing you limitations, and this folks is one of mine. I would quite simply hang myself within hours of starting a localization project.

One a side note, Jeff's on .NET was very interesting. He insight into ngen.exe answered a lot of lingering question I've had about the utility. If you have a chance to see him speak, do so. He is one of the few speakers that can speak geek without making you feel like you just walked into a chess club from hell. Very funny, and very informative.

And sorry Jeff, I still agree with Chris Sells. Unseal the darn framework. Interfaces would be an improvement, but I would rather no have to rewrite the class completely just so I can make a minor improvement.

Posted by MarcLaFleur

Russ' Tool Shed

And just when I thought everything was going good, a virtual hammer falls on my knee. Just a minute ago, I heard that Russ Fustino is leaving New England for Florida!

For those of you not in New England, Russ is a legend around here. For the last 5 years he has run the most entertaining technology seminars I've ever had the please of attending. 

Thanks for the fun Russ.

Posted by MarcLaFleur

CVS & .NET Integration

Source Code Control is an absolute passion of mine. I get physically ill at the mere though of developing software without it. I could go on for hours about how important it is to understand and use source control, but I'll save you the pain of reading it. I'll just say this; If you don't use it, go pound sand. How is that?

One of my all time favorite source control systems is CVS (StarBase gets top honors, but at $6,000,000,000 per seat they don't get my business). The great thing about CVS is that it is very flexible and completely free. Don't get me wrong, there are defiantly issues with it, but most of them can be ignored. Especially in the face of it being "free".

There is however one major issue that has prevented me from using CVS in the last few years, no IDE integration with Visual Studio. There were some tools out there like JalindiIgloo, but they just didn't cut it (really, it flat out doesn't work...).

I could have just used an external IDE to manage it like WinCvs or TortoiseCVS. But WinCvs offends my UI sensibilities. It deserves a Life Time Achievement award from the UI Hall Of Shame. And while I do like TortoiseCVS, it just doesn't feel comfortable to manage source code from within the Explorer. To CVS wasn't much of an option for a long time.

Then I found the "CVS SCC Proxy" plug-in from PushOK Software. The basic concept is that the PushOK Proxy 100% mimics Visual Source Safe. This means that you get all of the integration benefits of Visual Source Safe with solid support of CVS behind it. Oh, and it is Free as well. 

I cannot over exaggerate how cool this little tool is. And I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally be able to use CVS with Visual Studio and not have to handle anything outside the IDE . The best part is that I can now intergrate my FogBugs database with my source control.

I've tested this product with Visual Studio 2002, Visual Studio 2003, Visual Basic 6.0, and Visual C++ 6.0. I found no problems using the tool this any of them.

Now if I could only find an ASP.NET browser for the CVS repository....

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