Remember Demos?

If anyone was geeky enough back in the late 80’s / early 90’s you remember demos.

For those who weren’t so lucky, demos are small graphics / sound demonstrations. No real purpose or meaning, just doing stuff that made you go “cool”. A lot of the prime game developers no doubt cut their 3D teeth on Amiga & C-64 demos back in the day.

Demos arose out of the warez scene. Basically, they started as small boastful intros at the start of cracked games to announce who cracked what first. Then they morphed into a scene of their own, with groups forming. Then came the gatherings, when groups would participate in contests to create the coolest demo, usually with some constraints.

As the demo scene evolved, the technology has gone with it. Languages started with Assembly, then C, C++, then Java. APIs started to be utilized, like OpenGL & DirecX.

Now, a new breed of demo developers are using a rather interesting tool: Flash.

Check out an example here

Goolge PC Demos and you should find some more interesting demos out there, covering a range of styles, and topics.

Rory Blyth is a poet

Rory Blyth of .NET Rocks and, more recently, of Microsoft fame has some well put blog posts about the Slashdot & Linux crowd.

you can read his meanderings about Slashdotters here

and you can read his words about FireFox users here

Amen, man, well put….

The Mac Mini is…….Incomplete?!?!?!

This may come as a suprise because I am such a MacHead, but there is one glaring omission from Apple’s Mac Mini…

…..a front side usb port.

I have been riding the fob wave for a few years now, and I am not turning back. Small, cheap usb drives have replaced the floppy as the common digital media. Just sit down in front of a computer, pop your usb drive in, and away you go.

I even have a usb fob that holds my entire .NET development environment, and all the utilities I use. I just sit down, open a command prompt, run a path script, bam, full deve environment on the computer I am sitting at.

These drives are so common, that almost all pc makers are putting not only usb, but firewire ports on the front of computers cases. So, it begs the question of why would Apple, who brought usb to the mainstream in the original iMac, NOT include a usb port on the front of the Mac Mini?

The new iPod shuffle even doubles as a usb fob drive?!?!

I don’t get it, but it sucks….

Busy day on the Mock Objects front

As many of you may know, I am the admin of the .NET Mock Objects project, or dotnetmock for short.

I was able to recruit a developer from my other OSS project, Spring.Net, into doing some dotnetmock work. Choy Rim has come on and done some work on the current release.

Boy has he….

We now have support for methods with ref style arguments, and currently in CVS, we are building support for dynamic testing library support withing dotnetmock.

This means that we no longer have to create a seperate assembly for each test framework supported and each version of said framework.

Well done Choy…

Who came up with ADSI and thought it was a good idea?

I can see it now: “Let’s see, let’s take all of the robustness of a loosely typed language, and the beauty of HRESULT’s”.

And, finally, “let’s make it a scripting interface”.

So, you end up writing code like this:

object myServer = GetObject(”IIS://localhost/W3SVC/1/ROOT”)

which, for those of you who are lucky VBScript users out there, means that you work with objects that are DYNAMICALLY defined. So, even though the above is an “object”, this line is perfectly valid:

myServer.Path

Yup, even though the ‘Path’ property doesn’t even exist on the type ‘object’, it will compile and run.

Gotta love late binding….

People are complaining about Tivo2Go

They’re calling it the death bell for Tivo as a company.

And it very well be, but not for the reasons people are coming up with.

The biggest ‘ding’ against Tivo2Go has nothing really to do with the Tivo2Go service, but rather the lack of 802.11g drivers supplied with the Tivo unit. People are upset because it takes a long time to transmit a program over their 802.11b connection.

Now, there are a couple of reasons why I don’t see this as a real ‘ding’ on the Tivo2Go service:

  • Wireless is slow compared to wired. Throw in the fact that people are transmitting large video files, no doubt tivo’ed at the highest quality, and you can see why video over wireless is not that good of an idea to begin with.
  • Tivo included a lot of drivers for 10/100 Ethernet adapters in the Tivo unit, allowing easy to use configuration with wired home networks. Since Tivo is pitching their service not only to gadget heads, but also the regular consumer user, it makes sense to target the biggest demographic. Since home networks are still pretty “cutting edge” in many households, next generation wireless networks are typically only in a small number of homes.
  • 10/100 Ethernet is becoming so widespread, many people are outfitting their houses with jacks, just like phone & power. Combine that with the fact that wireless coverage and throughput degrade significantly when obstructions are encountered, and 10/100 Ethernet is still a better bet for Tivo to go with.
  • As for the “It doesn’t work with my DirecTV Tivo” complaints. Well, that’s just too bad. That’s what happens when you buy something from a VAR. They control the platform, not the company whose technology they are using. So, suck it up and buy a regular series 2 Tivo. It’s funny, with this list of value adds:

    • Photo & Music Streaming
    • Remote Scheduling
    • Ability to use home network for updates
    • Tivo2Go, and soon, burning of said Tivo2Go programs to DVDs
    • Increased capacity

compared to DirecTV’s Tivo value adds:

    • Digital quality directly from the source

Why would any stick with their DirecTV Tivo?

So, in conclusion, while Tivo maybe on the ropes, it’s got less to do with speed strapped transfers and more to do with having the bad luck in popularizing a commodity technology, similar Netscape.

I wish Tivo had more of a "memory"

Clearing off Tivo programs I have seen before is becoming more of a burden.

For instance, I have several wishlists based on some of my favorite actors ( Most of which are in my Walken Effect list ). Now, for those who don’t have Tivo, a wishlist is basically a keyword search that will looks for things based on the criteria given. In this case, my Tivo will search through my cable listings for the keyword “Al Pacino” in anything. It’s nice…..

But when it sucks is when something comes up more than once. For example, a movie I didn’t know that had Pacino in it. I watch it and delete it. Then what happens? It will show up AGAIN if it’s on again, forcing me to go through the manual process of deleting it again. Not to mention the fact that it takes the place of something else on Tivo’s “To Do List”.

Now one way to control this is to set your recording settings to only catch first run programs. The problem with this is that sometimes I want duplicate content over and over again ( I will watch Alec Baldwin’s scene in Glengarry Glen Ross over and over again ). In those cases, it’s fine if something pops up more than once.

So I guess I want a way to flag something to never show up again, even if it’s on a wishlist of mine.

But, with Tivo’s ultimate demise coming, I doubt I will see something like this.

Farewell Chloe O'Brian, we hardly knew ye

One of my favorite characters on ’24’ was given the axe this past episode.

Chloe O’Brian was fired from CTU after helping that damn rouge Jack Bauer.

The Chloe character over the past two seasons has been a constant supplier and recipient of great lines. This includes possibly my favorite smack down line of any tv series:

“I am getting tired of your personality, Chloe”

What a great line. Go ahead, use it on someone. Try to get it out without laughing, though.

O'Reilly Pocket References are sweet

While waiting at a B & N the other day, I was greeted with a nice suprise:

All of their O’Reilly Pocket Reference books were on sale for 30% off. Now, since the books are only $9.99 to begin with, this was a great deal. I picked up several, on on what I consider pretty varying topics:

SQL Pocket Guide

CSS Pocket Reference, 2nd Edition

Regular Expressions Pocket Reference

And an oldie, but a goodie

Vi Pocket Reference

These are great books, not because they are cheap and dense, but they are on topics that are pretty static and don’t change that much during the years. So these books will remain relevent for quite a few years. This brings up a good blog post about purchasing books on content, not weight. You can read that post here as well as some comments from Jeff Atwood here.

For a last comment on the Pocket Reference Series, I find this title a little amusing. Not because I don’t like Extreme Programming, but more so, because I am not so sure how well a team’s process / methodology can be condensed into a 112 page, pocket sized book.

But, everyone’s different…