Monday, April 30, 2007

Dèjá Vu: Entity Framework will not be a part of original Orcas release

Microsoft softly announces:

We have decided to ship the ADO.NET Entity Framework and Tools during the first half of 2008 as an update to the Orcas release of the .NET Framework and Visual Studio.

Mike Pizzo [MS] in the ADO.NET Team Blog, tells us that the Entity Framework will not be part of the initial release of Orcas. (Note that the EF link is from June '06 when things were a looking a little more rosy.

Sounds to me like WinFS all over again. And I'm not the only one. Mike Pizzo gets the message and explains (or apologizes) depending on your point of view. And swears that this is not WinFS all over again.

There's plenty of comment on the web about this issue. Oakleaf says: "Déjà Vu All Over Again: Entity Framework Cut from Orcas". Julia comments on a related post from Mike Pizzo doing a good job explaining the differences between LINQ to SQL and LINQ to Entities in "Does Microsoft have a Data Access Strategy? ".

I'm optimistic that they will pull it off. I'd rather wait a little more for a better, more tested implementation rather than rushing a product to market, but would like to have the market drones tone down their promises years in advance, later to be hit with the reality of overpromising.

JavaScript: Forgiveness by default or how the web really works

Jeff Atwood has a good post on one of my pet peeves. The web is full of JavaScript and HTML errors.

At home I barely notice it but at work where I need to have Script Debugging enabled in IE for testing purposes, I find that some sites are almost unusable as there are sometimes 2-3 or even unlimited loops of errors with modal dialogs to click and continue. Does MS thinks that web users can actually debug other peoples websites?

"I quickly realized that the web is full of JavaScript errors. You can barely click through three links before encountering a JavaScript error of one kind or another. Often they come in pairs, triplets, sometimes dozens of them. It's nearly impossible to navigate the web with JavaScript error notification enabled.

JavaScript errors are so pervasive, in fact, that it's easy to understand why IE demotes them to nearly invisible statusbar elements. If they didn't, nobody would be able to browse the web without getting notified to death..."

Why are web developers so lax that they can't even do basic testing on their sites in at least IE and Firefox, the two most prevalent browsers? Agreed that the development environment should be less forgiving, as compilers do in most languages. With JS being interpreted you need to catch most bugs at runtime. Still it doesn't take much to find 90% of the common bugs on malformed JS by just setting IE properly and running your page.

Photo of the Day

Astronomical Clock - Prague

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The I-Sight, ear-mounted flashlight

I seldom talk about products in these pages, but this one I've been using for months and it's really great. Well-built and useful. It has an adjustable bright-LED. It works on both right and left ears and can be positioned to point where you look.

It is great for working on the computer under your desk and re-plugging all those cables.

Also comes in a green-LED version for night work when you want to conserve your night vision (photography, astronomy, camping). I have not used the green version so I can't vouch for the night-vision preservation qualities but the white one is powerful enough to read-by and can illuminate a good distance.

Makes for a nice gift for the man that already has every other tool. $12.95


(I bought mine at Amazon)

Photo of the Day

The Congress on Ocean Drive - SoBe

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

Those were the times, when music was good and Freddy was young.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen (YouTube)

And here is Bohemian Rhapsody (Edgar Cruz - classical guitar) (YouTube)
This guy is very good.

Pachelbel Rant

This guy is funny and very talented (at Penn State), and he hates Pachelbel. Link (YouTube).

Photo of the Day

House on Ocean Drive - SoBe

Friday, April 27, 2007

Photo of the Day

South Beach

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Commissioner with a clue!

Ted Roche blogs about comments made by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps in eWeek's article: "FCC to investigate broadband deployment"

Wow! An FCC Commisioner with a clue! Is that allowed? The US is backsliding into being a third-world country by so many measures. Enriching “The Telephone Company” and “The Cable Company” should not be one them. Broadband should be the dialtone of the 21st century. Rural Electrification was a boon to the country. Rural Broadbandification should be, too.

About time they look seriously into this issue. Not only the offerings from the phone and cable quasi-monopolies we have are expensive and slower than offerings in other countries, but it is also misleading. How many people can say they are actually getting the download and upload speeds promised in the advertisements?

Photo of the Day

US Post Office - Miami Beach

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Photo of the Day

Wood Duck at Point Defiance Zoo - Tacoma, WA

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Photo of the Day

Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo

Monday, April 23, 2007

Comedy Football

Football (soccer) has its comic moments.

Here are two funny videos (YouTube).

Comedy 1
Comedy 2


Another good FoxPro article

Another article of Visual FoxPro's announcement, this one quite good, from Redmond Developer.

Microsoft surveys have found that more than half of the VFP customer base has used FoxPro-based products for more than 12 years. Additionally, 60 percent are overseas and 80 percent work in small companies, according to data gathered in 2005.

As the article states there is still a vibrant VFP Developer Community. The tool is still viable, and there is a market for it. The fear from software companies developing in Visual FoxPro is that it will be harder to find good Fox coders in the future as many will be moving to more mainstream development platforms.

Photo of the Day

Orangutan - Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo

Sunday, April 22, 2007

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Gorilla and son - Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Photo of the Day

Wings Over Miami Airshow

Friday, April 20, 2007

Photography: Flash diffuser comparison

Flash and controlling light is a very important part of photography. Someone took most of the flash diffusers available and set up a nice test to see how they compare.

I have the Lumiquest Midi-Bouncer and Softbox. I use the Softbox for product photography for my wife's eBay sales.


A Chink in the Armour

A Chinese-Canadian student, Baun Mah made a wonderful and funny documentary studying stereotypes on Chinese people. Do they live up to it?

"A Chink in the Armour is a hilarious look into the notion of stereotypes while revealing what it means to be Chinese-Canadian in today’s society. Gathering a large group of volunteers from Toronto, five of the major stereotypes will be tested to see if they are true. Do Chinese really know kung fu? Are they all good at math? The results are comical, always informative, and offer a unique glimpse into Chinese-Canadian culture."
It's 25-minutes long but worth it. Don't miss the Kung-Fu sequence.
Google Video link.

(Via Cynical-C)

Jimbo Wales going against Google?

Jim Wales, creator of Wikipedia has a daring idea of going against Google in the Search Engine wars.

Is he for real? He may have something going with his Wikia site. Read this excellent article from Fast Company. What do you think?

String formatting in C#: Handy Reference

I'm always having some trouble remembering the different string formatting rules in C#. Luckily I found this handy reference. Hope it helps you too.

Funny clips

Some funny clips from YouTube for this Friday:

Star Trek Meets Monty Python

Billy T. James
- Learning Japanese

Rare clip of Whose Line is it Anyway with Peter Cook and Stephen Fry

Whose Line is it Anyway: Dubbing
with Wayne Brady, Ryan Styles and Colin Mockery

and finally one of Chaplin's funniest moments: the Boxer

Photo of the Day

WWI Memorial - Miami

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What was NBC thinking?

What were they thinking when they decided to publicize this crazy murderer's so-called "manifesto"?

When they received the package they should have told us: "Guess what? We've received this incredible set of videos, photos and writings from the deranged killer. It is vile and we decided not to show it. We have given it to the authorities for investigation".

Did we need to see that crap? Did they need to give this murderer an avenue to have the last word? What journalistic value did it have? Absolutely none.

How come they did not show the full writings of Ted Kaczynski? After all he wrote a whole set of his crazy ideas on a typewriter before he committed his murders. The medium has evolved but the message is the same.

What's next? Is NBC going to become another Al-Jazeera that shows the videos of the terrorists doing their criminal acts as soon as they are delivered to them?

I'm sure the families of the victims appreciated this showing. Shame on you NBC.

Visual Studio "Orcas" Beta 1 released

Microsoft has released Beta 1 of "Orcas", the next version of Visual Studio. You can get it here.

(Via CraigB)

[update] fixed typo

Photo of the Day

Bal Harbour - Florida - looking South

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Great article: Beyond HTML: Rich Internet Applications

Rick Strahl has written a great article "Beyond HTML: Rich Internet Applications" putting the different Microsoft options and technologies on the Rich Internet Applications (RIA) space in perspective. A great Cliff Notes substitute.

Well done Rick. A must read article.

Photo of the Day

Bighorn sheep - Northwest Trek Animal Park - WA

Monday, April 16, 2007

Photo of the Day

Morning at the beach

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Irish Music on YouTube

I've grown to enjoy Irish music as of late. Have several CDs and searching online found these wonderful short videos:

The Dubliners - The Rocky Road To Dublin
The Dubliners - Whiskey in The Jar
The Clancy Brothers - Tim Finnegans Wake

and the one I was looking for, that always brings a tear to my eye, as it talks about the horrors of Gallipoli (WWI).

Clancy Brothers - The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Photo of the Day

Detail on The Carlyle Hotel - SoBe

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Photo of the Day

Bryce Canyon

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

Kurt Vonnegut, who gave us "Slaughterhouse-Five" and other marvels has died yesterday from complications from a fall . He was 84.

A lifelong religious skeptic and freethinking humanist he had wit and an enviable dark humor that will be missed.

Thanks Kurt for all your writings.

[Update]: the best comment (obit?) I read was from Phil (a.k.a. BA)

And one of his quotes:

"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Photo of the Day

More of that beautiful Ryan PT/22

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Photo of the Day

Ryan PT/22

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Computerworld: FoxPro users petition to keep database language alive

Another good article, this time in Computerworld (by Eric Lai), "FoxPro users petition to keep database language alive", comments about the MasFoxPro (MoreFoxPro) community petition to Microsoft to continue Visual FoxPro development.

Despite a concerted online effort by devoted Visual FoxPro developers, Microsoft Corp. said late last week that it won’t change its plan to halt work on the venerable database programming tool...

Mr. Lai has written the most comprehensive article on the subject to date. Based on my knowledge as part of the community for over 20 years, and also having been present at the MVP meeting when the decision was announced, I'd have to say that the article is mostly accurate and reflects what has been said.

I still think Microsoft has made a final decision, whether the public agrees with it or not. I stated my views on the subject before, and it has not changed. I commend the community for the movement. It is a vibrant community that had stayed with the product for many, many years. I have made lifelong friends and I'm proud to call myself a part of the Foxgang. I continue to think Visual FoxPro is a viable tool for many situations.I use it when called for as I also use other technologies (ex. ASP.NET) when it is best suited for the problem at hand.

The Fox still lives and will continue to work for years to come, even after official support ends by 2015. I also believe the community should know and use other tools to be better software professionals, and to offer a better value to our customers/employers.

Photo of the Day

Ferry arriving to Bainbridge island. You can see Seattle's buildings in the distance.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Richard Dawkins - The Reason Juries Don’t Work

Richard Dawkins wrote some interesting observations on how our current system of Trial-by-Jury is flawed.

Trial by jury must be one of the most conspicuously bad good ideas anyone ever had. Its devisers can hardly be blamed. They lived before the principles of statistical sampling and experimental design had been worked out. They weren’t scientists. Let me explain using an analogy. And if, at the end, somebody objects to my argument on the grounds that humans aren’t herring gulls, I’ll have failed to get my point across.
Read the rest here.

(Via Cynical-C)

Photo of the Day

Old Seattle

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Rowan Atkinson's comedy

Rowan Atkinson has always been one of my favorite comedians. Most Americans probably know him as Mr. Bean. I got to know him in the excellent BlackAdder series which I've seen countless times on video.

Most of his best work has been in stand up sketches, which many are thankfully online in YouTube.

Here's his priest doing a sermon "Amazing Jesus"

Playing the Devil in "Welcome to Hell"

Playing a school teacher in "No One Called Jones"

His Shakespeare sketch with Hugh Laurie is brilliant

Don't miss "What to do and not to do on a date"

Funny stuff.

Photo of the Day

Port Townsend, WA

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Photo of the Day

Pitts Special at the Wings Over Miami 2007 airshow

Friday, April 06, 2007

Photo of the Day

Port Townsend, WA

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Photo of the Day

Coyote - Northwest Trek Animal Park - Washington

Northwest Trek is a 723-acre animal park near Eatonville (south of Seattle, on the way to Mt. Rainier). It has many free roaming animals from the area. A must visit.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Photo of the day

Blacktail Deer - Northwest Trek Animal Park - Washington

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Developers petition Microsoft to reconsider FoxPro phase out

Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet blogs about the MasFoxPro grassroots campaign to try to convince Microsoft to continue with Visual FoxPro or otherwise release it as Open Source.

On the heels of Microsoft's acknowledgement that it has no plans to continue development of its Visual FoxPro data-centric programming language, two Spanish Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) have launched a campaign to try to convince Microsoft to reconsider its decision...

I personally did not sign the MasFoxPro letter as I stated my reasons publicly in the UT, mainly that I do not think it will acomplish much other than making some noise. Some people in the community are probably mad at me and I did get some comments and flak at my writings there but I still think it is a done deal and a decision we were strongly hinted at two years ago.

Mind you, SEDNA does go open source and free as I stated (pointing to Microsoft), but the request is for MS to continue updating the core product. I wish them luck in their endeavor though I don't see what it can be done about this.

In the meantime, Visual FoxPro still works and is still a great development platform and language and will continue to be so for years to come.


Photo of the day

Mountain Goat - Northwest Trek Animal Park - Washington

Monday, April 02, 2007

Problem solving

Problem: The ball you were playing with went into the pool, and you don’t want to swim after it. On top of that, you have no opposable thumbs, so using a tool is out of the question. What to do? See how this clever dog solved the problem. YouTube.

(Via Neatorama)

Photo of the day

Gasworks Park, Seattle, WA

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Photo of the Day

Japanese Gardens - Seattle