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Chris Breisch   .NET Data Practices
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May 2006 Entries
Office 2007 Beta 2 Now Available

Get all the info and download it here.

Posted On Tuesday, May 23, 2006 10:38 AM

Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor Beta Released
If you’re interested in finding out if your computer “is ready for an upgrade to Windows Vista”, then download the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. Interestingly, it also checks your “goals” for Vista, and determines which Vista edition is right for you. You don’t have to check very much to have the Ultimate edition recommended for you, I noticed. I got the following results for my Dell Latitude D800: Congratulations! Your PC can run the core experiences of Windows ......

Posted On Friday, May 19, 2006 5:41 AM

Spec#
There’s a new version of Spec# available on the Microsoft Research Downloads page. I know there’s been a lot of discussion of LINQ, but I’m not entirely sold on it. However, Spec# is also a direction for features that may appear in an official C#-like language some day and is worth checking out. The Spec# programming system is a new attempt at a more cost effective way to develop and maintain high-quality software. Spec# is pronounced "Spec sharp" and can be written (and searched ......

Posted On Friday, May 19, 2006 5:30 AM

Microsoft Expression Web Designer CTP
Somehow I missed the CTP release of Microsoft® Expression® Web Designer Community Technology Preview 1. This is one of the new Microsoft designer tools intended to compete with Macromedia and Adobe…err…just Adobe. From the site: Expression Web Designer helps you create and work with: Standards-based Web sites Sophisticated CSS-based layouts Extensive CSS formatting and management Rich data presentation Powerful ASP.NET 2.0-based technology ......

Posted On Friday, May 19, 2006 5:22 AM

The Seven Deadly Sins of Programmers
Eric Gunnerson is creating a list of his Seven Deadly Sins of Programmers. Here’s my list: Lack of Testing – This is my biggest pet peeve. I absolutely pull my hair out over this one. One year I made it a goal at my office to mention “testing” at every single meeting I attended. You can ask my co-workers, if you like, but I did it. Drove them crazy. :) Even if you’re not doing TDD, you should still be unit testing, functional testing, acceptance testing, etc. Trusting ......

Posted On Thursday, May 18, 2006 5:58 AM

Info on Design Patterns and Refactoring
industrial logic has some papers worth reading here, if you’re trying to get your feet wet with Design Patterns and Refactoring. Featured Postings Smells to Refactorings Cheat SheetWe developed this handy cheat sheet as a teaching aid while teaching our Refactoring Challenge Activity. You'll find a table that maps code smells to their likely refactorings with corresponding page references to source material contained in the books Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code by Martin ......

Posted On Thursday, May 18, 2006 5:25 AM

Yet Another Outlook RSS Reader - inclue!
inclue! is another RSS Reader for Outlook. I’ve previously blogged about Attensa, Blogbot, and NewsGator. I haven’t tried inclue!, but it looks like it might be pretty good. Like Blogbot (and unlike Attensa and NewsGator), it’s free ......

Posted On Thursday, May 18, 2006 5:21 AM

More on the Indy 500
Speeds are definitely down this year. Yesterday had perfect weather (until it started raining, of course), overcast and no wind, good temperature, and here are the top 5 speeds: Sam Hornish Jr. 226.056Dan Wheldon 225.636Kosuke Matsuura 225.150Tony Kanaan 224.500Byran Herta 224.292 Compare with the top 5 speeds from the same day last year: Tony Kanaan 227.453Danica Patrick 226.994Scott Dixon 226.816Dario Franchitti 226.253Scott Sharp 226.159 So, the top 5 speeds from last year are all better than ......

Posted On Thursday, May 11, 2006 5:55 AM

Practices of Continuous Integration
Martin Fowler has updated his overview article on Continuous Integration. If you’re not doing something along these lines, you’re introducing unnecessary risk to your project. Martin Fowler is considered one of the “founding fathers” of Agile development, but I would argue that Continuous Integration has little to do with Agile, and much more to do with common sense. Whether you’re on a waterfall project, an incremental delivery project, an Agile project, or any type ......

Posted On Thursday, May 11, 2006 5:28 AM

The Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming
Builder.COM has a great article on “Egoless programming”. I think that if you’re doing Agile development or doing any kind of structured peer review you’re either already doing most of these are you’re incredibly miserable. However, they’re still worth a read. Stone tablet version of the Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming is available for download here. The zip file contains a PDF and a Word doc. My system barfed all over the PDF for some reason, so that file ......

Posted On Thursday, May 11, 2006 5:10 AM

Statistical parsing of English sentences
Ok, I admit it. I don’t know when I’d be likely to do a project that needs this, but it is very cool. OpenNLP is both the name of a group of open source projects related to natural language processing (NLP), and the name of a library of NLP tools written in Java by Jason Baldridge, Tom Morton, and Gann Bierner. My C# port is based upon the latest version (1.2.0) of the Java OpenNLP tools, released in April 2005. Development of the Java library is ongoing, and I hope to update the C# port ......

Posted On Thursday, May 11, 2006 5:03 AM

{SmartAssembly}- Assembly Improvement and Protection Tool
Roy Osherove is very impressed with {SmartAssembly}. In short, {SmartAssembly} is an Assembly "improvement" tool, to be used after you've created your project and your app is ready to be deployed. It's very slick and easy to use UI allows doing many useful things to the assembly such as merging all of its dependencies into one file, removing code that is not used, obfuscate the code and even wrapping your application with a global exception handler. In short, it's a easy click-through product that ......

Posted On Thursday, May 11, 2006 4:57 AM

Firefox Myths
Before I start, I should say that I’m a huge Firefox fan, and have been using it as my primary browser almost since the day of release. Now, here’s a site, done obviously by a fan of IE, on Firefox Myths. Will Langford, author of the Firefox Guide is completely unimpressed. I think Will misses the boat on this one. I would say that the myths site stretches the truth on some of them and some of them are irrelevant from an IE standpoint (It may be true that Opera is the most secure, but ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 10, 2006 6:55 AM

The Month of May at IMS
Another year has passed, and I’m still at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The track opened on Sunday, and yesterday was the first day of practice open to both rookies and previous drivers. We took a walk through the pits and I got a few good shots. The scoring tower. The tires actually have the Speedway logo and say “INDY 500” on them. Never seen that before. Michael Andretti is back this year. I tried to get a good shot of him, but didn’t really succeed. This year’s ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 10, 2006 6:41 AM

Using Your USB Key to Speed Up Windows Vista
I’ve griped quite a bit in the past about Windows Vista and the beta process and it’s continuing feature-pruning. However, this is one feature that I’m really looking forward to seeing in action. One very cool feature of Windows Vista – especially for machines not natively equipped with the kind of horsepower to fully enjoy the rich visuals of Windows Presentation Foundation (Avalon) applications is ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost enables you to plug a USB key into your machine and ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 10, 2006 6:01 AM

Agile's Biggest Strength is Agile's Biggest Weakness
This post gets to the heart of my issues with Agile. Agile’s biggest weakness is that they minimize forecasting. Most companies today, when they commit to a million dollar project, want to know what they get for their money. They want to know when they get it too. And they want to know before they sign the check. The less planning you do at the beginning of a project, the less you know about the end of the project. This is hard for non-Agile companies (or executives) to swallow. By minimizing ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 10, 2006 5:57 AM

Challenging Requirements
Another good blog post at Tyner Blain on the challenges of validating requirements. From the introduction: The hardest long term challenge in eliciting requirements is improving our ability to do it. The hardest short term challenge in gathering requirements is getting all of them. We have a lot of techniques for gathering requirements, from interviewing to brainstorming to researching. How do we know we defined all of the requirements? Everyone who manages requirements knows the value of validating ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 10, 2006 5:48 AM

JavaScript Virtual Keyboard
Here’s a great JavaScript virtual keyboard on CodeProject. Helps in making your websites more accessible. Pretty simple to use too. From the introduction: Imagine that you are sitting in a London internet cafe wishing to write an e-mail to your family living in Athens. It's good if someone in your family speaks English; if not - where would you find a keyboard with a Greek layout? I'm sure you can recall a dozen of situations when "I wished I had another keyboard". This article presents the ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 10, 2006 5:37 AM

Keeping Up and "Just In Time" Learning
Feeling overwhelmed? Subscribe to too many blogs? Or have too many friends send you stuff that “you might be interested in” and feel like you can’t possibly keep up. Well at Coding Horror, they have the answer: It's time to let that go. You're not keeping up. I'm not keeping up. And neither is anyone else. At least not in everything. As they say, read the whole thing ......

Posted On Monday, May 1, 2006 7:21 AM

Two big benefits of incremental delivery
Another great blog post at Tyner Blain on the benefits of incremental delivery. Worth a read for this line alone: The benefit of waterfall process estimation is that we can confidently predict how long it will take us to implement the wrong requirements. I have definitely been on waterfall projects that have done exactly that. Big and expensive ones, unfortunately, Now that I’ve stolen the thunder, read the rest of the post ......

Posted On Monday, May 1, 2006 4:53 AM

To BLOB or Not To BLOB?
I highly recommend this article on Microsoft Research on choosing whether to store your large objects in your database. The short version? Convential wisdom, is, in fact, conventional. Store your smaller objects (<256K) in the database, and your larger objects (> 1M) on the filesystem. Object sizes in between? Read the article ......

Posted On Monday, May 1, 2006 4:35 AM

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