Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Don't forget the lunar eclipse on March 3rd

For those of us interested in astronomy and photography, or for the just plain curious, don't forget the full lunar eclipse coming up Saturday, March 3rd. Unfortunately this applies only to Europe, North Africa and the Eastern USA/Canada. If you live in the center/west USA the eclipse will be over by the time the moon comes up for you.

For the Eastern USA/Canada, totality begins at 17:44 and ends at 18:58 and the show is over by 21:24

Here's hoping for clear weather!

Which type should I use in C# to represent numbers?

Luca Bolognese, from the Microsoft C# team, had an interesting post trying to provide an answer to the question: Which type should I use in C# to represent numbers?

Luca tries to provide a simple way to help you decide when you are confused about the numeric types in .NET, in case you are lost between byte, int, uint, long, float, double, decimal, and so on.

In short he says:

If you need fractions:

Use decimal when intermediate results need to be rounded to fixed precision - this is almost always limited to calculations involving money.

Otherwise use double - you will get the rounding of your calculations wrong, but the extra precision of double will ensure that your results will be good enough.

Only use float if you know you have a space issue, and you know the precision implications. If you don't have a PhD in numeric computation you don't qualify.


Use int whenever your values can fit in an int, even for values which can never be negative. This is so that subtraction operations don't get you confused.

Use long when your values can't fit in an int.

Byte, sbyte, short, ushort, uint, and ulong should only ever be used for interop with C code. Otherwise they're not worth the hassle.

Luca is a very knowledgeable guy and a good presenter that I had the pleasure to meet at TechNet Boston last year. He sounds like he just landed from Italy (which he mostly did :) and if you remember that TechNet was going on right uin the middle of the 2006 World Cup and that Italy ended up as World Champion, you can imagine that Luca was really perked up (to say the least!).


Photo of the Day

Bal Harbour - Florida

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How strong is the gravity from the Moon compared to someone right next to you?

Phil Plait aka "The Bad Astronomer" published Episode 4 of his video series "Q & BA" where he answers questions from the public.

The question is basically: "Just how strong is the gravity from the Moon compared to someone right next to you?"

His intro:

Ah, is there anything more wonderful than being locked in the warm embrace of
someone you love? The emotion, the beauty of the moment, the attraction you
feel… but wait! Is that pull you feel really from your Significant Other, or is
it due to… the Moon?
Just how strong is the gravity from the Moon compared to someone right next to you? Well, listen to Q & BA Episode 4: "The Gravity of the Situation" and find out!

Do you know the answer? Does the Moon have more attraction than your significant other? See the show and find out!

Link to the blog post
Link to the video on YouTube

Beware the upcoming US Daylight Savings Time change

You should already be aware that this year the USA is instituting a change of the Daylight Savings Time switch date. As I blogged before, this has implications on IT and computers in general.

A little background:

As a result of the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by the U.S. Congress in August 2005, beginning this year Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the US and Canada will spring forward earlier. The revised DST schedule will start three weeks earlier on the second Sunday in March (March 11, 2007) and end one week later on the first Sunday in November (November 4, 2007).
In order to support this change operating system, application software, mobile device and PDA (Palm) updates are required

During the DST period, March 11 to April 1, 2007 and again between October 28 to November 4, 2007, you may notice some of your existing calendar appointments could be off by an hour. In order to address this, Microsoft has created the Microsoft Office Outlook Time Zone Update Tool.

If you use MS-Outlook and have not yet auto-patched, (Vista comes already patched), you should download and apply the patch yourself.

You should also be aware that aplliances (and PDAs) in your house that may have automatic DST change programmed in, will not change properly on the new date unless patched so you may have to change the time yourself in them. For the old VCRs that continually flash "12:00" just leave them be.

OzFox Conference: Rick's ongoing report

Excellent ongoing report from Rick Schummer [MS-MVP and conference speaker] on the first two days of the OzFox VFP Conference that is going on in Sydney, Australia as we speak.

Rick covers Day1 and Day2 of the conference in his blog giving us a good detail of what is covered in the sessions. A lot of very up-to-date, fresh from the presses Sedna CTP 2 material. Well done.

I am sure we'll get Doug Hennig's (also a speaker) and Craig Bayley's (well-know VFP'er and also conference organizer) views in their respective blogs soon. Wish I was there.

[Update] Rick has just posted Day 3 and the end of what sounds like it was a wonderful conference. Thanks Rick!

Photo of the Day

Miami-Dade Count Fire Rescue Boat showing off their water spouts

(as always, you can click on it to see a somewhat bigger version)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Random Number Humor

Random Number Humor (geek humor).

(Via Bruce Schneier)

Photo of the Day

Our County Fire Department had a Sunday show in a park near my house. I went in early while they where setting up. Very friendly firemen showed me everything explaining along the way. I took a photo of the crew of one truck and promised to email it to them when a brand new, one-of-a-kind fireboat pulls in (the park is on the water edge).

The fire crew tells the boat crew, "Alex here is a photographer, would you like boat's photos?" "Sure!" they say.

They invited me on the boat for some shooting. Gave me an intro, explaining they just received the boat 3 weeks ago, brand new. It's the first of its kind we get and two more are coming. Then the captain says, "we are taking it out for a little ride, would you care to come along?" "Hell yes!"

We rode out onto Biscayne Bay, and I'm shooting all the time, when they stopped in the middle to do a demo of the many water spigots used to combat fire. They can put out 8,000 gallons per minute, all pumped in from the bay!

Anyway, so much for the speech, here's the Photo of the Day, the rest are at my gallery.

Fire Fighting boat - Biscayne Bay

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Photo of the Day

South Florida is not only home to wading birds. It's a jungle out there!

Iguana - Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Photo of the Day

Tree Swallow - Green Cay Wetlands

Friday, February 23, 2007

GlobalTop GPS & Bluetooth HUD speed meter for your windscreen

GlobalTop GPS HUD speed meter is intended to display speed, direction and warnings when the speed limit has been broke. For navigation display it has Bluetooth connectivity that your smartphone or PDA device will love from the beginning. If you didn’t get what this device is doing from the first time I am saying it again. You get the speed and the navigation details directly on your windscreen, just like a jet-pilot.


Ooh! I want one!

(Via Cynical_C Blog)

AZ Lawmaker Tries To Ban Naked Lady Mudflaps

PHOENIX -- It's still going to be legal in Arizona for trucks to have splash guards with racist terms and silhouettes of naked women.

The state House on Thursday rejected a Democratic amendment that would have banned splash guards with images that are "obscene or hateful."

Tempe Democrat Ed Ableser sponsored the amendment. He said he'd seen a splash guard that used a derogatory term for black children and said he wanted to make sure that people with hateful motives didn't inflict them on others.
What part of the 1st Amendment do these idiots in the AZ State House not understand? It's called Freedom of Speech people!

Luckily the House rejected this proposal. You'd think it was done by some fundamentalist repuglican not by a democrat.

(Via Cynical C-Blog)

Security Bulletins are easier to read in Japanese

Alun Jones, a security MVP, shows us how Microsoft makes security patches ("Patch Tuesday") so much more easier to understand, and fun to read in Japanese, and he's right: "Security Bulletins are easier to read in Japanese"

The Day Their Brains Stood Still

Fox wants to remake one of the best SciFi films of all time, The Day the Earth Stood Still.

The question is Why? Are these people so out of fresh talent and ideas that they have to remake (an most assuredly) butcher a great movie? Maybe Gort will have to come back and take care of them. Arrgghh!

(Via Phil Plait)

Photo of the day

Purple Gallinule - Green Cay Wetlands

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Microsoft releases new SEDNA CTP

The Microsoft Fox Team has released a new Sedna CTP. You can download it here. Details are posted on February's Letter from the Editor.

Photo of the Day

Brown Pelican - Haulover Cut, FL

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Photo of the Day

We were shooting some wood storks and egrets on the ground the other day at Merritt
Island NWR when somebody says "Incoming!" and in fly these majestic white pelicans in formation. Did a flyby in front of us and continued on. You can see more shots of them here, here and here.

White Pelicans - Merritt Island NWR, FL

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Are developers becoming lazy?

Andy contends that developers are becoming lazy, based on many of the questions asked in public forums.

I agree, and would say that this seems to happen more with new, young developers that are too lazy to do proper study and research, before asking basic, vague or inane questions. RTFM will ya?

One other type that irks me is the kids that demand request their computer class homework be done for them.

Photo of the Day

White Ibis - Merrit Island NWR

Monday, February 19, 2007

Photo of the Day

Great Blue Heron - Viera Wetlands, FL

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Photo of the Day

As I mentioned before, on the previous weekend we had a gathering of fellow photographers from our Internet club, This is a yearly shoot at Merritt Island NWR. Dubbed "Merrit IV" it gathered shutterbugs from all over the country and Canada.

The weather was great. We visited Merritt Island and Viera Wetlands. There were tons of birds and plenty of photographers, most of them with more hardware than I can afford. I learned a lot and some of it hopefully shows in the series I've posted in the last few days.

Photographers at Merritt IV shoot, Viera Wetlands - Florida

[Update: fixed typo]

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Strange statues around the world

A wonderful collection of strange statues around the world.

(Via Cynical Blog)

Photo of the Day

Coot convention - Viera Wetlands

Friday, February 16, 2007

Photo of the Day

Coot convention - Viera Wetlands

Thursday, February 15, 2007

CoDeMagazine - Sedna: Beyond VFP9

CoDe Magazine's Focus on Sedna: Beyond VFP9 issue has been released electronically. I commented last month that it was forthcoming.

You can download the issue in PDF format from the link above, and some of the articles as separate links. Go for it.

(Thanks to Craig Bailey for the pointer)

Photo of the Day

Coot - Viera Wetlands, FL

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Photo of the day

Snowy Egret - Merritt Island NWR

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Photo of the Day

More from this past weekend at Merrit Island (near Titusville) and Viera Wetlands (near Melbourne, FL).

This little guy is beautiful and somewhat difficult to get close to, at a low enough angle, and to properly expose. I was lucky this time.

Moorhen at Viera Wetlands, Florida

Monday, February 12, 2007

Photo of the Day

This past weekend I went on a bird shoot at Merrit Island NWR, near Cape Canaveral, Florida with a bunch of photographer friends. Had great weather and a great time. Lots of photos to process and post on my site.

Roseate Spoonbill - Merrit Island NWR

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Photo of the Day

This is a 1938 Buick I saw in a city park the other day.

Ray Guselli, a fellow photographer, liked it and spent some time playing with post-processing on it. Here's his version (you can click on either photo for a bigger version):

I definitely like the treatment he gave it. Thanks Ray!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Photo of the day

I am not a portrait or street photographer. It is kind of hard in this paranoid society where people look at you funny or don't like to be photographed.

I was walking through a park a little while ago and this kid and his brother asked mne to take their photos. The mother agreed, so I found a good opportunity to practice portraits.

Kid in TY Park - Hollywood - Florida.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Photo of the Day

Continuing on the series on South Beach Art Deco District, enjoyed by the tens of thousands that visited us this past week for the Super bowl, here's the Cardozo Hotel. It is in the same street as The Carlyle.

The Cardozo Hotel - Ocean Drive - Miami Beach

Monday, February 05, 2007

Daylight Saving Time: When clocks spring forward this year, will IT fall down?

This is the title of an article from ComputerWorld indicating the problemns ahead (in a very short time, and the clock is ticking), due to the US Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed into law on August 2005.

This law, to supposedly get some savings on energy, will kick in the switch to Daylight Savings Time (DST) in the USA on the second Sunday in March, instead of the usual first Sunday in April. This means potential software problems, maybe not as acute as Y2K but still troublesome.

Some vendors are issuing patches to their OS. For example Microsoft's Vista is ready from the box, and they are promising patches soon for Windows XP and others but there are some that have not yet announced anything of the sort. In our shop, besides Microsoft we use some Java Runtime Environment (JRE) which is placed in many different places. Is it all going to be patched and checked in time? The date is fast approaching, the clock is ticking. Do we need this law? They didn't ask us.

Photo of the Day

Bryce Canyon NP

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Photo of the Day

Grevy's Zebra (Equus grevyi) - Buenos Aires Zoo

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Photo of the Day

Bal Harbour, Florida

Friday, February 02, 2007

Photo of the Day

Valley of Fire State Park - Nevada

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Photo of the Day

Valley of Fire State Park - Nevada