Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Wargames Journal

For all you people addicted to wargames, I found a wonderful site: The Wargames Journal.

Every issue is full of interesting information, mostly in PDF format. Check it out.

Big moon tonight? Not bigger than usual

I've seen several comments online saying the moon is going to be huge tonight. The most appeared in the photo sites I visit, telling photographers to go out and enjoy it.

In reality, the moon is no bigger than usual, it just stays near the horizon longer so it appears to be. It's just an illusion.

In any case, it's overcast here so I'll miss it.

New FS magazine out

There's a new online FS magazine: Sim Pilot Magazine. Run by FS developer Christian Stock, issue #1 covers some very interesting ground. They review Digital Aviation's Dornier 27 (which just got released for FSX), evaluate the flight dynamics differences between FSX and X-Plane, and a few other interesting articles. Check it out!

(Via polypoke)

Photo of the day

The mansions of Miami Beach - view from Collins Ave. across Indian Creek

Friday, June 29, 2007

Crash Course for Using LINQ

Kevin Goff [MVP] wrote a very good article for beginners in LINQ. If you have not seen LINQ examples yet, or are unclear in what it is and how does it work, Kevin makes it very easy to understand with good examples. Basing on Beta 1 of "Orcas" (the next release of MS Visual Studio), LINQ (Language Integrated Query) comes in four major flavors:

Querying Microsoft SQL Server data using a strongly-typed DataContext (LINQ to SQL)
Querying in-memory .NET objects (LINQ to Objects)
Querying .NET DataSets (LINQ to DataSets)
Querying XML Data (LINQ to XML)
LINQ puts the power of "objectifying" database access at your fingertips. Sure, you say, but in my organization I do not have access to data-queries as we are required to go through DBA-provided stored procedures only. No problem. You can still use LINQ to DataSets and manipulate the retrieved datasets in your code with ease. This will be very familiar already to developers with experience in Visual FoxPro (I wonder why?).

Kevin gives working, easy to follow examples of all four cases.

The article appears in the July/August 2007 issue of Code Magazine and it's available online for subscribers at the link provided above.

Highly recommended article in an excellent magazine to which I subscribe to and urge you to look at if you haven't already done so; (no I do not work for CoDe but I do think they are worth subscribing to).

Photo of the day

Saturday morning exercise - Miami Beach

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Photo of the day

Detail on a Packard from the 1930s

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Photo of the Day

Tudor Hotel on Collins Ave. - detail

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In

Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In

Photo of the Day

A view of Fisher Island from South Pointe Park

Monday, June 25, 2007

Photo of the Day

South Pointe beach

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Photo of the Day

South Pointe - Miami Beach

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Spanish Inquisition

The Spanish Inquisition - Monty Python

How to photograph fireworks

4th of July is fast approaching and that means Fireworks!

The Photo Guru has good tips on how to photograph fireworks and look like a pro. DPS also has a good tutorial.

Now, get your camera and tripod out there! Here's hoping for clear weather.

Photo of the Day

The Colony Hotel - Miami Beach

Friday, June 22, 2007

Do black holes really exist?

Phil Plait wrote the best explanation of a black hole yet. (Yeah I know, even the name sucks).

He comments on a paper from Case Western Reserve University (PDF), that poises an interesting theoretical question, on how do they even form?

Einstein showed that as gravity increases, your clock runs slower. Literally, if you have two people, one guy up high above a black hole, and another guy close in, the guy outside sees the close-in guy’s clock running slower. Literally, time flows more slowly near an object with gravity, and the stronger the gravity the slower time flows relative to an outside observer. For a black hole, time literally stretches to infinity at the event horizon. Clocks stop. Update: Well, I was being glib. Actually they continue to slow, ever approaching stopping but never actually reaching it. I was trying to simplify, but oversimplified — I make similar comments below in this entry, so where you read that things stop, think of it as "slowing almost to but never quite reaching zero".
He explains it more detail in his article, that is a must read (and much easier to comprehend that the scientific paper indicated above.

ARS Technica weighs in on the issue too.

Resharper 3.0 is out!

I was meaning to comment that Resharper 3.0 is out this week but as I have not yet installed it (I'm still at v2.5.2) and other pressing issues, Martin beat me to it.

In any case, it is an excellent tool for Visual Studio 2005 that I wouldn't do without. I have it at home and convinced our company to buy all our development team licenses not to miss on it. If you are wondering, here's their page. Well recommended!

Learn about how the MVP Program really works…

Two insiders, Ed Hickey and Brian Boston do a podcast on how the Microsoft MVP Program really works.

(Via Community Group Therapy)

Photo of the Day

Red-bellied woodpecker (male)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Photo of the Day

The National on Collins Ave.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

ARS Technica picks up on VFP's Sedna Beta release

ARS Technica picks up on the release of VFP SP2 and Sedna Beta.

Good to see the word disseminated.

Trust and the USPS website

Allun Jones, Security expert and MS MVP, wrote a 3-part discourse on security (or lack thereof) on the US Postal Service website. He shows the USPS web service for signing up to have your mail held if you are taking off for vacation and will not be home for a while. He shows us how this service teaches us some lessons in privacy and security.

Can't I trust the Postal Service? Part 1 - the crypto

(note that this page shows a problem with their security certificate, since fixed).

Alun's contention is how many people, when presented with a certificate warning would still click on it and go on. Lesson: if you cannot trust the site's security certificate, you should not continue to the web site.

Part 2 - the certificate, talks about inspecting the security certificate, something you should not do unless you are a security researcher and understand what's going on.

In Part 3 - the service Alun finally talks about the service they are providing. You are requesting your mail to be held. You should be required to provide some form of ID to certify that you in fact have the right to do it. You do this when you go to the Post Office in person, right? Why is this important? Try identity theft.

Good series Alun!

Photo of the Day

Tri-color heron (immature)
Wakodahatchee Wetlands - Delray - FL

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Photo of the Day

Pink Cadillac on Ocean Drive.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Robot Chicken: Star Wars

If you haven't seen it yet, you should. It's very, very well done, and funny too!

Robot Chicken: Star Wars

DIY Engineer Lamp Macro Light Stand

A New Zealand-based photographer came out with this great idea for custom lighting on the cheap. Well done.

Click on the photo for more info.

(Via Strobist)

Photo of the Day

'56 Jag - seen yesterday in South Beach.

You can see a funny commercial using this car (YouTube)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Photo of the Day

Delano, National on Collins Ave.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Photo of the Day

Fairchild Tropical Gardens - Miami

Friday, June 15, 2007

Confusing the Czech flag with the "Checkered" flag

Would you confuse the Czech flag with the "Checkered" flag used in car racing?

The city of Islamabad in Pakistan did, posting banners to welcome the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, but showing the Check flag instead of Czech.

(Thanks Dragan)

Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0 Service Pack 2 and "Sedna" enters Beta

Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0 Service Pack 2 and "Sedna" enters Beta.

The release has two parts:

The Sedna Beta download contains six components: VistaDialogs4COM, Upsizing Wizard, Data Explorer, NET4COM, MY for VFP and VS 2005 Extension for VFP.

Photo of the Day

Fairchild Tropical Gardens - Chihuly exhibit - 1995

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Strobist: Parking Lot Ambush

Strobist shows a clever technique on lighting. Shot on a parking lot, a random-looking photojournalism-type shoot, it was in-fact marvelously choreographed to produce the effect (see photo in the link above). The idea is to use one camera amid a sea of cameras and flashes, but the other cameras act just as props - and light stands - for the wirelessly synchronized flashes.

If you are looking for a setup shot, you already have it. The photo is the setup shot. We used everyone's flash, synchronized to produce a photo that looks random but was in fact very choreographed.

We used six flashes for the shot - 3 SB-26's and 3-SB-800s. They were mounted on voice-activate[d] light stands, also known as photographers. There are several tricks to pulling this off. But once you have a roadmap, it is quite easy.
Very clever.

Monterey Pop Festival: 40th Anniversary

This week (June 16-18) is the 40th Anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival, the outdoor concert in 1967 that started the flower revolution and was part of the Summer of Love.

It was planned by producer Lou Adler and by John and Michelle Phillips of the The Mamas and The Papas.

It featured well known acts as The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane and The Who and introduced unknowns like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

The list of performers was awesome:

  • Al Kooper

  • Beverly

  • Big Brother & The Holding Company

  • Booker T and The MG's

  • Buffalo Springfield

  • Canned Heat

  • Country Joe and The Fish

  • Grateful Dead

  • Hugh Masekela

  • Jefferson Airplane

  • Johnny Rivers

  • Laura Nyro

  • Lou Rawls

  • Otis Redding

  • Quicksilver Messenger Service

  • Ravi Shankar

  • Scott McKenzie

  • Simon and Garfunkel

  • Steve Miller Band

  • The Animals

  • The Association

  • The Blues Project

  • The Butterfield Blues Band

  • The Byrds

  • The Electric Flag

  • The Group With No Name

  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience

  • The Mamas & The Papas

  • The Paupers

  • The Who

I was too young and too far away to have attended but it was an amazing concert. (Available on DVD).

Photo of the Day

Relaxing at the boardwalk

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The 47 Most Miserable Airports (USA)

U.S. News & World Report has compiled a list of the worst US airports on mayor cities on a variety of issues, including delayed flights and crowded planes.

Chicago's O'Hare (KORD) does not top the list, coming in second. The worst offender is Detroit Metro-Wayne County (KTDW).

My local two airports Miami (KMIA) and Ft. Lauderdale (KFLL) come in too high on the undesirable list too. Miami especially is always crowded, airplanes are full and it is one of the ugliest, most inhospitable of the major airports I've been to. I am pleased to see that my two favorites (and I have traveled quite a bit), Seattle (KSEA) and Washington National (KDCA) are fairly low, which is good.

I guess Detroit must be bad (never been to it) but if the list was made international, London's Heathrow (EGLL) would take the cake.

(Via Cynical-C)

Are patents stifling innovation?

Timothy Lee has written a very good op-ed piece on software patents in the New York Times. He makes a case against how patents are granted in the USA, saying that companies need copyright protection more than software patent protection.

"In fact, companies, especially those that are focused on innovation, don’t: software is already protected by copyright law, and there’s no reason any industry needs both types of protection. The rules of copyright are simpler, and protection is available to everyone at very low cost. In contrast, the patent system is cumbersome and expensive."
He mentions a memo from Bill Gates to his management team in 1991 warning that the patent race will be detrimental to the software industry but that they should get on board, which they did to protect their legal interests.

Witness the case of Verizon vs. Vonage where Vonage used a basic, common sense approach for something obvious, but it was patented by Verizon. This could put them out of business.
"large companies now hold so many patents that it is almost impossible to create useful software without infringing some of them."
What do you think?

(Via ars technica)

Photo of the Day

96th at Harding

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Create Advanced Web Applications With Object-Oriented Techniques

Ray Djajadinata has written an excellent article on MSDN Magazine - May 2007 issue, explaining that with the coming of AJAX we learn that the seemingly simple and easy-to-learn JavaScript is not so. AJAX has shown that most of our JavaScript knowledge is incomplete and inadequate. It is not the same world where you could get by with writing simple JS functions for your client-side (browser) code. With the advent of AJAX applications we get very complex JavaScript code.

Ray gives a primer on JavaScrip Object Orientation and how it is OOP, yet it differs from other OOP implementations we may be familiar with (C++, C#, VB.Net, VFP), where you instance objects based on classes. In JavaScript, there are no classes. JavaScript objects are dictionaries.

In our more familiar languages, objects have different properties and methods, based on the classes they are instantiated from. In JavaScript, objects are just collections of name/value pairs, that is a dictionary with string keys.

See for yourself. Excellent article.


Craig S. Boyd on VFP & Vista

Craig S. Boyd [MVP] is back. He posted a blog entry showing off the new stuff he's working on under contract to Microsoft on the "Vista Toolkit" portion of Sedna (the next release of Visual FoxPro).

I have not had much of an opportunity to play with Vista as my home hardware is not up to it and at work we are slow to adopt as all big corporations are.

One thing I liked is his showing off the new Vista dialog windows and how you can leverage them to give your VFP app a more modern look. Even the old Windows MessageBOx() has been deprecated and replaced with an OOP COM object that you can fully control (see Craig's samples).

Good stuff.


Photo of the Day

Purple Gallinule at Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Monday, June 11, 2007

Russian ATM w/Product Activation screen

A Russian ATM with a Windows Product Activation screen.

"Your Windows product must be activated within 7 days. Do you want to activate Windows now?"

Photo of the Day

Baby alligator. Taken yesterday at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray, Florida.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Photo of the Day

Ryan PT/22 at Wings Over Miami 2007

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Photo of the Day

Fueling before a ride. Wings Over Miami 2007. Ryan PT/22 (he's the owner).

Friday, June 08, 2007

Photo of the Day

Street photography: Lincoln Road - Miami Beach

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Photo of the Day

Pitts Special at Wings Over Miami 2007 airshow.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

eWeek: Gaping Holes Found in IE, Firefox

eWeek reports:

The researcher, Michal Zalewski, on June 4 reported a JavaScript flaw in fully patched IE 6 and 7 that can allow an attacker to fiddle with a document's Document Object Model—a model for representing HTML or XML and related formats.

The result can be cookie stealing or cookie resetting, browser crash, page hijacking, code injection or memory corruption.

The vulnerability occurs when JavaScript code instructs the IE application to navigate away from a page that meets same-domain origin policy, Zalewski said...
Mozilla said that this flaw is a duplicate of a previously reported flaw, Bug 381300 "Frame spoofing is possible within a short time frame while the window is loading."

Now we have to wait until Mozilla and Microsoft issue a fix (yet again).


(Via UT)

Photo of the Day

The happy couple at home, (male on the left)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Not true: you don't use only 10% of your brain

Another urban myth debunked. Massimo Pigliuci points to an article at

I have heard this crap before. I always understood it to mean that the "unused" 90% was for paranormal development that some people allegedly have. What a bunch of unsubstantiated hooey!

It is of course perpetuated by uncritical media (as mentioned int he article by the likes of Bryant Gumbel and other gullible characters).

The origins of this myth are not clear, but it seems to come from the self-described "psychics" and other con-artists to explain their "gift".

Photo of the Day

More from my little woodpecker friends. This is the female.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Night at the Creation Museum

Now we see a video with more info from the Creation Museum (which I blogged about before).

(Via PZ)

Photo of the Day

I found a woodpecker condo in a dead palm tree not far from my house. There's a couple with one apartment for living quarters, and two more wholes for food storage. They come and go filling it with berries, nuts and occasionally bringing grubs (I suppose there may be chicks inside which I have not seen). This is the male.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Photo of the Day

On the boardwalk at 30th street

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Friday, June 01, 2007

40 years ago today, the best album ever, was released

40 years ago, on June 1st, 1967 in the UK (June 2nd in the USA) the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band was released. Arguably the best album ever, it lives on, and I find I like it just as much today as I did at the time.

Do you know who all the people on the cover are?

Hurricane Season starts today

Today, June 1st marks the start of the 2007 Hurricane Season. This is the official start date, although typically the powerful storms don't get here until late July or early August (Andrew, the first named storm in '92 that destroyed Homestead, Florida, came on August 24th).

The State of Florida instituted a 12-day, tax-free holiday on storm items as they do every year.

Here's the NOAA page to track the storms.

Let's hope that whatever comes this way does not reach land or does not do much damage. As always, if you are near the coast or anywhere in Florida, Louisiana or the Carolinas, typical targets, be prepared.

Photo of the Day

Jogging on the boardwalk