MrDave's (David Yack) WebLog

March 2005 - Posts

Grokster Wrap up

 Today the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Grokster case – attendance apparently looked more like a sleep over waiting for concert tickets.


Camping out at the Supreme Court


Wired Magazine’s Perspective,1412,67060,00.html?tw=wn_story_top5


NY Times caught a great quote from Justice Ginsburg
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg objected, noting that the 1984 decision "goes on for 13 more pages" after articulating the test that provided Sony's defense. "If the standard was that clear, the court would have stopped there," Justice Ginsburg continued. "I don't think you can take one sentence from a rather long opinion and say 'Ah-ha, we have a clear rule.' "





Several members of the Court -- but especially Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen G. Breyer and David H. Souter -- seemed troubled about the potential impact of a tightening of copyright law on small inventors -- "the guy in the garage," as Souter put it.


I’m glad to see the Justices have a grasp and care about the smaller companies that simply don’t have the bandwidth that companies like Microsoft, IBM, Sun etc. have.


Tim Armstrong’s has a great first hand review of the arguments



Here’s the AP News  Report



Why is it that in year 2005 I cant simply go to the Supreme Court website and download a audio of today’s arguments?


Too much .NET can make you brain dead

I spent most of today preparing for a half day session tomorrow on ASP.NET.  It was fun to take the opportunity to spend a good amount of time exploring.  I have spent a good amount of time on the beta’s but recently I have been able to devote significantly more time to them.


You can really tell that things are starting to come together, fewer things are breaking, and less weird stuff is happening.


I managed to pull over our company foundation library a few weeks ago, and we have been starting to build out our 2.0 specific features.  Today I spent some time getting our code generator onto 2.0 and starting to add some of the 2.0 specific capabilities that we want to have support for.


There is sure a lot that has changed in 2.0, all for the best.


If you haven’t started learning it – what the heck are you waiting for?



VS2005 - Generate Change Script

 It’s always fun when you just stumble upon a new feature.  This morning I found in Server Explorer if you are editing a table definition that there is a button in the toolbox labeled Generate Change Script.  Since I’m way to curios to not push it I did and to my surprise popped up a dialog with the necessary database script to effect the change I was making to the table. 

It’s no where near the capabilities of Red Gate’s SQL Tools, but it is a cool feature!

Microsoft Calls for Reforms to the U.S. Patent System

 Brad Smith who is Microsoft’s General Counsel has finally become more vocal around patent reform and the need to evolve the system. 

He highlights a few of the metrics on Microsoft’s patent process including the fact that they spend close to $100 million annually to deal with patent lawsuits.  My personal opinion that is just an indication of the challenges that are coming and that number will raise dramatically in the coming years if action is not taken.  The harsh reality of that is the impact on smaller players that don’t have the Microsoft bankroll to deal with the costs.

Among his suggested reform included either free or subsidized cost of patent application for small businesses.  I propose we go a step further, I think that larger patent applicants should bear the cost of establishment of a fund to promote innovation by the smaller non patented inventors.  By setting aside a portion of fees from the larger applications, first time patent applicants should after a brief qualification process have access to the legal help necessary to complete the patent process.  This would include legal counsel help, as it is really not feasible to navigate the current patent waters with out the guidance.

While I don’t agree 100% with all of Brad’s thoughts, I’m glad to see some of the larger players in the patent parade stepping up and admitting that change needs to happen.

You can read more about Brad’s comments here.

Visual Basic Petition and Mount St Helens

I know you are asking what do the two have to do with each other, however both seem to be growing more restless as time progresses. 

My flight last night was diverted 15 minutes last night out of the direct route to Seattle due to the volcano...I'm sure on the way home this weekend it will be delayed due to failure to provide support for the airlines reservation system because it's running on legacy VB. 

Just noticed that there's a new grass root effort to try to bring VB back to life Online Petition - First I have to admit this is a unique approach and have to give credit to whoever thought of the concept. Apparently this is driven by the fact that VB 6 is near the end of its mainstream support.

That being said,  I think I have to disagree with it's intent and purpose.  Not because I think VB or for that matter VB.NET is evil, I like many others did VB for years, and yes I did a bunch of Java too.  I can neither confirm nor deny any IBM 370 assembly or Cobol usage and on the advice of counsel that's my final answer. 

For a minute I thought I was ok with the concept of extending the time for expiration of the extended support to ensure users had time.  Don't confuse that with the idea of adding VB 6 support to Visual Studio 2005 or beyond.  Then, I started thinking about this in the context of my car.  It comes with a warranty and set expectations for life.  Expectations for VB have been clear for years, and progressive shops invested in new development.  It is my belief that like your car after your warranty ends, there will be plenty of 3rd parties that will happily charge you for helping out with support issues. 

I don't want my license fees I pay now to pay for support of old stuff that should be upgraded; I want it to go to R&D for future capabilities.

Just like Cars, some people lease every 3 years so they don't have after warranty issues, other people buy and drive them till they stop running and pay for non warranty repairs.  Software applications are the same way.  Some people keep them around and don't upgrade them - others progressively update them as technology evolves and their business changes.  Progressive businesses need technology that provides progressive value and helps them sustain their competitive edge. VB6 is the old car that is no longer fuel efficient or economical for ownership and is polluting the air and requiring resource that would be better spent on progressive change and R&D for emerging capabilities.  Businesses dependent on VB for their mission critical systems should evolve by making changes that not only re-platform, but look at changes that would increase the business value technology is providing for them.  I struggle to think of a business who’s processes and capabilities did not change since VB was introduced. Take this opportunity to take the business value of the application up a level!

On a more bizarre note, if you are really intent on keeping VB alive, why not just ask MS to open source it or for that matter build your own compiler on top of the CLR

Regardless, please don't ask them to waste our license revenues on things beside innovation.

Who was it that said “Innovate or die?”

Vote: DataSource Wizard - help get rid of useless names like DataSource1

So you have an ASP.NET 2.x page that has 2-3 Data Source controls on it – you choose SqlDataSource or ObjectDataSource etc.  Regardless you end up with them getting named by default ObjectSource1 ObjectSource2 etc.

When you add one of these and select configure, it asks you everything else except for if you want to give the control a different ID

Why do I care you ask….Well if you have a few of these on the page, and you go to hook them up to a control like a DropDownList or a GridView it’s clearly dumb luck if you can remember which one you added first so you know what it does.

I opened a Feedback issue that you can vote on that suggests making it easy to change the name as part of the wizards.  My theory is you are already there configuring the control, that clearly would be an easy place to modify the ID value.

Place your vote here


Biztalk - Where did they come from?

Today I had a bizarre experience with a loop in a BizTalk Orchestration that while expected had a unexpected side effect.


In the process of testing an “Error Handling” strategy for a client, I induced an error to happen, accidentally; I forced it into a tail spin by putting it into a tight loop over and over causing the exception until terminating the instance.  While I intended to cause an error I didn’t intend to cause the tight loop, that was bonus…


This occurred over about 2 -3 minutes of time.


The bizarre experience begun after this, as BizTalk tried to record the debug trace rows for the orchestration


For almost 30 minutes my SQL server instance ran close to 100% of CPU as it inserted row after row (over 2 million) into the dta_debug_Trace table for the two minute loop


My question that was left un-answered is where does it store these between the time execution generated them and the time they are inserted into the dta_debug_Trace table


None of the BizTalk databases appeared to be the holder of them, and I couldn’t see any significant file I/O.  They survived couple of reboots and restarts of the host instance.


So where does it store them ?

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