Won't you be my neighbour?

A lot of people have asked me what happened to the little links on the bottom of my posts telling you what I am listening to. Since I have stopped using blog jet to post my blog entires ( it’s $40, and that seems like a lot for a text editor. ), they aren’t there any more.

But alas, do not fret, for you can subscribe to an RSS feed that lets you know what I am listening to. It’s provided by a service called Last.fm. Basically, you download a plug-in for your favorite audio player ( iTunes ) and the plug-in uploads what you are listening to its server, and you can get stats on what you listen to, hence the RSS feed.

However, that is not the cool part. Last.fm will compare what you are listening to and find other Last.fm users who listen to the same stuff, so you can see what else they listen to ( they’re called Neighbours ) . Social music, as the kids would say.

So, check it out. You can also find a link to my RSS feed on the side of my blog, under Navigation Links.

They'll never know the simple joys of a monkey knife fight.

So, one of my favorite episodes of the Simpsons is when Homer
takes Mr. Burns’ boat out. Out of the SO many great quotes in
that episode:

Homer: LOOK HOW LOUD I HAVE TO YELL!

Marge:
All I’m saying is don’t get too comfortable. Mr.
Burns will be back tomorrow.
Homer: Marge, you’re right. We do have
to have a party.
Marge: Party? No! No parties!
Homer: What about… par-tay’s?
Marge: No par-tays, no shindigs, no keggers,
no hootenannies, no mixers, no raves, no box socials!

Bart: Wow, you can do anything out here!
Homer:
That’s right. See that ship over there? They’re re-broadcasting
MLB with implied oral consent, not express written consent — or so the
legend goes.

My favorite quote has to be when homer describes the entertainment for the day:

“Look at those poor saps back on land with their laws and ethics! They’ll never know the simple joys of a monkey knife fight.”

So imagine my happiness when this picture came floating across an internal mailing list:

Words cannot describe my joy.

Here comes Chicago

So, a interesting thing happened the other week at the annual
IHSA ( Illinois HS Association ) meeting. They lifted the
“500-mile”
rule. What is the “500-mile” rule? Well, basically, it
meant that a organized high school team in IL couldn’t travel more than
500 miles to play a game. I couldn’t be happier.

For years, the basketball teams on either coast got WAY more pub than
anyone in IL. A big part of that was the fact that chicago
schools simply couldn’t participate in the big tourney’s like the NY
& CA schools. This means that Chicago tems flew WAY under the
radar because of lack of exposure or the perception that they didn’t
play the kind of competition that other schools played. To put this in
perspective, a little bit of
history: From the 97-98 season to the 04-05 season, IL had 9
teams finish in the USA Today Top 25, and of those 9, 2 were #25
finishes and one was #23. In the same time span, NY/NJ had 27
teams and CA had 30 teams.

This not only means more pub for the Chicago teams, but now that
there is the chance for Chicago to travel to other schools to play, other teams will travel to Chicago to return the
favor. This means that you will be able to see some of the great
teams from other parts of the country play in Chicago.

This, in addition to DePaul joining the Big East and bringing with it
some BIG names in college basketball, should bring a lot more
excitement to the basketball season.

Time for a .NET GAC Certification process?

I understand the concept behind the GAC ( Global Assembly Cache
). In theory, I agree with it. However, as we all know how
developers love to show how smart they are, it is just begging to be
misused.

At my current project, we are running into all sorts of problems with
version numbers, assemblies, and the GAC. The reasoning behind
using the GAC goes like this:

  1. My company has a large number of projects
  2. A lot of code can be reused.
  3. So, let’s put the common code in the GAC.

Like I said, in theory, I understand this. I just don’t think
most companies 1 ) have the mature build and deployment process to
mange this well and 2 ) actually have code that’s SO common that it
belongs in the GAC. Aside from .NET Assemblies that are required
by MS to be in the GAC ( COM+ components being the most common ), I
have yet to hear someone make a compelling case as to why their code
needs to be in the GAC. Putting common code, without a very
mature build and release process, can really cause a lot of headaches.

The biggest problem being that different teams have different release
cycles. If one team uses v1.0.0.1 of assembly foo, and that’s in
the GAC, and another team needs to use the latest and great vesion of
foo, v1.0.0.2, what happens to the first team? Do you make them
upgrade? What happens to the old versions in the GAC? Does
anyone go back and clean them up?

Of course, these problems are nothing new to OOP / Component
platforms. Many, if not all, companies have to deal with these
types of problems.

Should MS allow access to the GAC to be more strict? Perhaps a
‘Assembly Certification’ process, similar to how MS has a certification
process for its hardward drivers. That way, nothing goes into the
GAC w/o being certified. The certification process could produce
a special public / private key combo. Of course you could turn
this certification on and off, depending on the use of the machine (
production vs. dev ). This would ensure that someone doesn’t come
along and start installing things into the GAC on a shared
server. The only tricky part would be coming up with the criteria
for certification.

I know it’s not a 100% solution to the vesioning problems described
above, but I think it would be a step in the right direction.