Thursday, 29 May 2008

Received a surprised IM this morning from Jeff Schoolcraft, Code Camp Organizer Extraordinaire and sometime blogger.   He was struck dumb by the fact that I  actually used the online editor to pen my blogs.  He tried very hard not to question both my sanity and intelligence when I told him that the #2 pencil was my first choice but it only updated my monitor.

He patiently explained to me that there was a pretty nifty desktop tool available and it was free.  He even sent me a link to download it. 

So I installed Windows Live Writer and am taking it for a spin. So far, so good. Much more space to work with, a nice clean interface and no worries that my connection is going to die or my blog app is going to recycle while I am writing an overlong post. 

If you are reading this, it means that it posted successfully.

Thursday, 29 May 2008 20:31:20 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)   #     Comments [2]  | 
Wednesday, 28 May 2008

I hate upgrades.  I usually put them off until:

  1. Something (someone) puts a gun to my head
  2. There is a compelling feature available
  3. I'm feeling lucky

Case 1 is the usual situation.  When things won't work any more, I'll bite the bullet.  If things are working, I have a tendency to leave them alone because vast experience has taught me that the Law of Unintended Consequences usually makes itself known whenever something gets upgraded.  I don't care how many versions behind it is.  I don't like to blow half a day getting back to where I was before the upgrade.

 

Case 2 actually popped up twice in the last month.  I moved to Vista finally because I wanted to play with the new PeerToPeer.Collaboration namespace in 3.5.  It hasn't been too horrible, (except for the file search function which is even more obtuse than it was in XP -- which I thought was an impossibility).  It was also just a move to a fresh machine.  I also upgraded my my password management software (SecretServer) install, because I wanted to take advantage of the ActiveDirectory feature.  I was only 3 major versions, 2 minor versions and 30 revisions behind, but with some help from the good support folks at Thycotic I was able to get it current without too much hassle.

 

Case 3 is something I should avoid.  I should know better, but it happened while I fooling around with this blog last week.  I realized that the blog software (dasBlog) was many versions behind and I figured the last upgrade hadn't been too bad.  There were also a couple quirks I figured would be handled by the new version.  So  I downloaded all the new stuff, merged my web.config file, made the few other changes and pushed everything up.  Worked, mostly.  I couldn't edit or enter new entries.  The FreeTextBox component was displaying a "was not installed correctly" error.  Hours of googling, typing, begging and swearing later still no luck.

 

So tonight I decided it was time to move on.  dasBlog supports other editors, and John Forsythe has created a lovely little addin for the TinyMCE rich text editor.  I downloaded, uploaded, recycled the app, changed the configuration and behold my dasBlog install once again is back where it was a week ago -- I have a text editor to create entries.

 

On the positive side, TinyMCE is has more features and the new dasBlog goodies are nice, so I guess it was a worthwhile exercise.  I'm just posting this to remind myself that I should "never feel lucky" when considering an upgrade.

 

UPDATE:  Just discovered Comments weren't working because I had the Resolve IP Setting turned on. Looks good now. Not that I get lots of comments, but I would like to provide the outlet.

 

 

Wednesday, 28 May 2008 21:22:05 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)   #     Comments [0]  | 
Monday, 19 May 2008
While crawling around in VS 2008 to work on the P2P presentation for RockNUG and the NOVA Code Camp, I stumbled upon a lovely little feature under Intellisense on the Edit menu called Organize Usings.  A simple click can remove unused using statements, sort the statements or do both.  Cleans up code faster than a life style diva on a nicotine binge.

Visual Studio has default templates for all project items and they frequently includes using statements for namespaces, that well, never get used.  The class template, for example really, really wants you to use the LINQ and the System.Text namespaces. If you haven't gotten around to modifying the default templates, you'll have lots of unneeded using statements cluttering up your code.  The Organize Usings feature can help save other developers (or the future you) from wondering, "Where the heck did he use LINQ in this class?".

And just so you don't strain yourself, it is only available for C#.


Monday, 19 May 2008 11:52:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)   #     Comments [0]  | 
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Nothing like a code camp to get jazzed about all the stuff I could be working on. It is like a revival meeting; everything is new and exciting and possible.

I took in sessions about making DotNetNuke modules and the new ASP.NET Dynamic Data extensions. Very interesting stuff.  The Dynamic Data stuff appears to be a great way to bang out admin pages with minimal effort.

I also presented my little talk about the new Peer-to-Peer Networking goodies in the .NET 3.5 framework.  This is stuff that's been possible to do with the Windows API for a long time, but has finally been exposed through the managed classes for access by mere mortals.  Here is yet another chat application that demonstrates how it all works.

The real exciting namespace is its child the PeerToPeer.Collaboration namespace.  It is a framework for building p2p apps.  Didn't have the time to delve into it fully, as it is only supported in Vista. But it did provide the first compelling reason to upgrade, so I finally succumbed.

Just need to invent the 50 hour day to get to try out all the things I'd like to.

.NET | 3.5 | p2p
Saturday, 17 May 2008 20:30:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)   #     Comments [0]  | 

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