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Michael Flanakin's blog Food for thought... November 2003 Entries
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I've been thinking of good ways to increase inter-project communication within my organization. I work in the software architecture office and get a chance to talk to most of the software developers. A lot of them ask questions and/or have a lot of comments to make on random topics. I've been planning on setting up a couple of forums, when I get a chance, but I don't think that's going to be any time soon. I've also wanted to setup .Text for news and possibly event blogging on the architecture site. ......

Posted On Sunday, November 30, 2003 7:29 PM

QuickCode.NET Suggestions
I recently took a look at the QuickCode.NET tool and found it to be pretty interesting. It's definitely worth looking into, but I have a suggestion... Personally, I like to keep my code very organized. I have templates that I use for VB6/ASP, .NET, and Java projects. I think that it would be very helpful to tie something like this into QuickCode.NET. If for nothing else, to try and provide a standard way to organize classes would be outstanding. I'm not saying that my way is perfect - if anyone has ......

Posted On Sunday, November 30, 2003 9:45 AM

The Last Samurai

I saw “The Last Samurai” last night and it was great! Go check it out when you get the chance. It'll be out December 5th. If you're a fan of anything Japanese, this will definitely be one to own.

Posted On Sunday, November 30, 2003 9:25 AM

ASP.NET Exposed Road Show
I am rather disappointed in Microsoft and INETA for under-representing the Southeast as much as they did. The closest place for people interested in the road show to go is Dallas/Houston, St Louis, or Boston. For me, the closest of the 3 is about 8 hrs. I don't think I can talk anyone into a 16-hour road trip. It would've been nice if there were an event in Atlanta. This would've covered us. I just don't understand why such a good portion of the US is not covered. The only thing that makes sense ......

Posted On Tuesday, November 25, 2003 6:53 PM

I read a post mentioned by Jason Olson and thought it was pretty interesting. One thing that I've been interested in, and plan on looking at in more detail in the future, is an RSS calendaring capability. The basic functionality is already within RSS, but I want to see where RSS would need to be extended to fit more advanced capabilities. I also plan on working with XSL to transform the RSS feed into actual iCalendar events. I haven't looked into this, yet, but plan on it. The project should be pretty ......

Posted On Monday, November 24, 2003 5:13 PM Moments of Greatness
Now, you have to appreciate the developer community's willingness to inform others. I mean, I love the fact that we're all out here telling our stories and documenting our adventures in software development, but there is (or should be) a line. And, even more than the willingness to share knowledge, you have to appreciate someone who takes the time to learn a new [spoken] language. But, when the two start to mix, and neither one is quite as defined as it should be, we come up with this. I have no ......

Posted On Friday, November 21, 2003 3:05 PM

J2 Improvements

I was rummaging through the web and found an old article that touches on the topic of one of my old posts. I thought the article was pretty good. Check it out, if you get a chance.

Posted On Friday, November 21, 2003 6:33 AM

Little Billy and the Marketeers: h4x0R5 b3W4r3
I'm sure everyone has heard about Microsoft's recent fund to help catch virus writers. Well, a recent article discusses this and presents a few opinions about how Microsoft, among others, is trying to point the blame at someone else. I think this is ridiculous. Granted, Microsoft does need to beef up its security practices, but they are not trying to dodge these issues by handing out money. If you build a house, someone burns it down, and you follow that up with a reward to prosecute the culprit, ......

Posted On Friday, November 21, 2003 6:21 AM

Null vs. Zero-Length String ("")
I had this problem when I used to work with VB and VBScript apps and was hoping that there would be a good way to deal with this, but I guess not. When you have a string and you do not know whether it will be null or zero-length, you need to handle both. Well, what I've always done is: if ( strValue+"" == "" )... I haven't ever heard anything for or against this method, but was wondering what the best route was. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've seen posts that mention a possible IsNullOrEmpty() ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 19, 2003 5:39 AM

MIT 4 Free

I remember the cost to apply to MIT was $75 when I was in high school. Well, now you can get course content online for free!

There are 33 degree programs to choose from, so have at it. If I remember correctly, they are expecting to have 500 or so courses available online.

Posted On Monday, November 17, 2003 5:11 PM

Definitive VB vs. C#
Ok, I know I'm asking for it by doing this, but let me know your opinions as far as why you like one language or another. I'm trying to get a list of features that each language brings to the table and take it from there, so if you tell me something, make sure it's related to a feature of the language and not just a “[your language here] is better than [the other one] because I use it” statement. I'll be trying to get out and get some good content, but I doubt that I will get all the ......

Posted On Sunday, November 16, 2003 2:10 PM

Visual Basic
I have always referred to VB.NET as VB, except for when there would be a conversation that included VB6. And, in those cases, I usually referred to them as VB6 and VB. Bill Evjen mentions this in a post last month. I didn't ever think it was a big deal, but it's nice to see others who feel the same way. I've always thought that people consider the “.NET” moniker to be “cool,” so they include it in VB's name. Either that, or they are trying to show it's superiority over VB6. ......

Posted On Sunday, November 16, 2003 1:20 PM

In case you haven't seen it: You can order a DVD with PDC presentations and slides. The price is a bit steep, but if you think it's worth it...$200 for attendees and $500 for everyone else. Pretty expensive, in my opinion, especially knowing that you're not getting precon, labs, or keynotes. If that's too pricy for your palette, you can get some of the slides for the main sessions. Also mentioned on this site is that the Longhorn preview is available to ......

Posted On Saturday, November 15, 2003 7:11 AM

Just moving in

Sorry to overload the “Latest Posts”, but I figured, if I'm gonna make a scene, it better be a big one. ...Ok, well, maybe not that big, but enough to take up half the page with month and a half old posts. Again, sorry 'bout that :-)

I just want to say thanks to Jeff for hookin' the blog up for me. Things look great!

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 8:19 PM

Longhorn Upgrade Too Complex?
I started to read an article that was talking about how simplicity always wins over complexity. This was followed up by a statement about the up-and-coming "feature race." This just made me think about Longhorn, Microsoft's next version of Windows. What are we going to do when it comes out? I haven't seen all of the content released after PDC, yet, but I don't think Microsoft will leave us all hanging with our "legacy" Win32/NTFS apps. When considering Linux and MacOS, I would have to say that both ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 8:09 PM

Problems with the Plug-in Patent
I think it was back in September that I first saw something about Eolas Technologies bringing up an old patent they received. The patent covered downloadable applet-type applications - things like ActiveX controls, Flash, and Java applets. I guess they filed for the patent back in 1993 and received it in 1998. The company filed a suit against Microsoft for patent infringement a few months ago, but what I don't seem to understand is why we haven't heard about any other companies getting sued. Eolas ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 8:06 PM

Get Cubed
IBM3...Well, Big Blue may be looking to "cube" more than just their operations, but we'll have to see how things play out. I have to admit that their new Collective Intelligent Brick (CIB) system looks intriguing, though. They're looking to reduce storage space in a new way. The idea is to have, what looks like, 9" x 9" x 9" cubes bricks that can be stacked or aligned in a number of ways, all-the-while connecting them together to create one huge file store. The planned prototype will hold 12 disks ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 8:00 PM

Google on the Rise 2: The Sequel
Like I said...Google's coming up. Well, maybe not like I was initially thinking, but who knows how this will turn out. It appears that Microsoft is talking to Google about a partnership or possible merger. Google is leaning a bit more towards the partnership idea, but hasn't ruled anything out just yet. We'll see where this takes us. This would be a touchie subject for some people. I think AOL and some of the other companies that Google supports would get a bad taste in their mouth if this happens. ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:58 PM

Speedy Acrobat-ics

I was reading through a couple old blogs on the web and ran across an Adobe Acrobat tip. Go check it out! It's out-freakin-standing. Ok, maybe not that good, but it sure sped up my Acrobat load times.

[Original post Wed Nov 05, 08:00:27 PM UTC]

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:50 PM

Rich UI's
Jon Udell recently wrote an article about "rich" GUI's. In this, he covers a good amount of ideas that I've been thinking of for a while. If you get a chance, go check it out. I'm not sure what everyone else thinks about this, but Microsoft is re-focusing on desktop applications. I've talked to a lot of people about this, and it seems that the majority of people want to stick with what they're used to - whether it be desktop or web apps. I've done development for both platforms, and personally, I ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:46 PM

C#-VB Rivalries
I don't know how many times I've read articles and opinions on the whole VB vs. C# conflict, but it's really getting ridiculous. This latest spat (1, 2) seemed to be started by three articles in Visual Studio Magazine: Patrick Meader's Why C# Developers Earn More, Juval Löwy's Pick the .NET Language for You, and Kathleen Dollard's VB.NET Provides Power and Productivity. Each article is a good read, but I must make a minor point: The guest "opinion" made by Juval is not an opinion. I have talked ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:34 PM

Google's on the rise...
Google recently acquired Kaltrix Corp, a recent startup developing personalized and context-sensitive search technologies. No big deal, right? I love Google, for one. I have been a faithful Googler for the past 5 or so years. I've even witnessed non-techies professing the "less filling-tastes great" technology. Makes you kind of wonder where they're going. I know when I first started using Google, I had to convince fellow developers why it was so useful - as a matter of fact, I needed convincing ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:31 PM

Little Billy and the Marketeers
So, I'm skimming through a new magazine, right, and I come across a news update, "Microsoft Sued Over Security." Now, when I'm reading magazines, I generally go until I find something of interest in the IT sector that I can relate to. So, of course this one caught my eye. I figured I'd check it out to see what kind of jam old Billy-boy has gotten into this week - it's almost like the weekly comic between Garfield and Peanuts, "Little Billy and the Marketeers." So, anyway, I read the brief and it ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:28 PM

Take That, Open Source!
I don't mean to pick on anybody in particular, but I think most developers share this concern: deprecation of functionality. I'm sure that everyone who's been in the software development business for a few years has had to deal with this in one form or another. The reason I wanted to talk about this now is because of the up-and-coming Java Server Faces (JSF) release. And, while I recognize that this isn't necessarily a deprecation of functionality from a Java standpoint, the open source community ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:22 PM

Sun's Rebranding
What the heck is Sun doing? Do they honestly think that their sales will increase with this new branding scheme? If there is one thing I've learned from complaining about history classes, it's that we should learn from the mistakes of our past. So...why is it that Sun seems oblivious to this? Ok, ok, so it's pretty obvious that Sun is trying to "refocus" itself to advertise Java as "tha shiznit" but do they really think this will work? Look at IBM with WebSphere and Microsoft with .NET. The latter ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:16 PM

Let the chaos begin...
Well...never thought I'd say this, but welcome to my web log. Blogs have been popping up all over the place for the past few years and I've avoided them as much as possible. Well, looks like I finally caved. I don't see daily updates, but only time will tell. I'm just hoping to voice my opinions and concerns about the direction of software development and maybe touch on a few technology issues while I'm at it. Stay tuned, the party is just getting started. [Original post Wed Oct 01, 01:55:12 AM UTC] ......

Posted On Friday, November 14, 2003 7:09 PM

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