Clone The Google API?

posted on 11/02/05 at 06:37:12 pm by Joel Ross

Dave Winer is asking for community support to rally Microsoft and/or Yahoo (or any major search engine player) to clone the Google API and remove the limits imposed by Google (i.e., no commercial use of their API and limited number of queries, among others).

Why clone the Google API and not create your own and then open that up without limits? Is Google's API that much better? No - but it's out there, and has been for 3 years now. By using the same API, developers can plug in any search engine they want - and then each company competes based on quality and not because they've locked you in.

I'm all for it! I don't do much in the search game (other than use it every day), but this would do exactly what Dave's saying - allow Microsoft and/or Yahoo to leap-frog Google in the search space. Competition is good! Remember how stagnant browsers were for a few years when Netscape was down (before Firefox)? Well, that's where we're at in search. Except Google's on top.

Time for that to change!

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Categories: Software


RossCode Weekly #024

posted on 10/28/05 at 11:50:18 pm by Joel Ross

RossCode Weekly #024 - Week of 10.30.2005

Intro - 0:00
Download this episode -?28:41 /?13.1 MB
Subscribe to RossCode Weekly

Previously on RCW - 1:05
PalmOS not going away?(#023)
Level 3 and Cogent reach agreement?(#021)

News & Views - 2:16
iTunes launches in Australia
Apple sued over Nano scratches
Motorola ROKR a flop
Comedy Central launching streaming online channel
Cartoon maker launches free video casts
VS 2005 on MSDN
Microsoft threatens to remove Windows from Korea
Bill Gates turns 50
AT&T name will live on - SBC changing names
ICANN and Verisign reach new agreement
NES turns 20!
All US passports to have RFID in a year
Flickr launches print services
Digg gets 2.8M in funding

The Cold Wars - 11:03
Technorati indexes 20,000,000th blog
MySQL 5.0 released
MSN Search adds Book Search
IBM cranking out XBox 360 chips
Yahoo launches Trip Planner
Google getting in trouble over Geo-Targetting RSS ads
Google resumes book scanning
Google adds flight search
Google and Microsoft are front runners for AOL
Kai-Fu Lee California case put on hold

The Grapevine - 18:06
News Corp interested in SIPphone
Blu-Ray to add managed copy?
Google Base?
Will Microsoft will have web-based office in a year?

Bonehead of the Week - 22:13
Google's Web Accelerator is back!
Company looks to sue over XML patents
Forbes attacks bloggers

Next Week - 26:05
Oct. 31st: Sprint to launch music service
Nov. 1st: Microsoft to announc new strategy

Contact / Feedback - 27:24
weekly @ rosscode . com
(206) 424-4RCW (4729)

Sponsor - 27:50
RossCode Weekly is sponsored by Tourney Logic: Get In The Game

Tourney Logic: Get In The Game

Tourney Logic is the premiere maker of tournament and pool management software.

Production Notes
Background music provided by Chronos (Introvert 4) and the Podsafe Music Network.
Hosting of RossCode Weekly is provided by
Would you like to sponsor RossCode Weekly? Contact me at sponsor @ rosscode . com.

Categories: RossCode Weekly


Degradable AJAX

posted on 10/28/05 at 11:31:35 pm by Joel Ross

There's a pretty good article about how a web application that utilizes AJAX should work in the face of adversity. Adversity, as in not having the ability to use AJAX.

What?I found most interesting about the article was the approach that's suggested. I would guess that most people think about building the functionality that they want their applications to have, and add in support for alternate uses later. And no, I'm not suggesting that you don't plan for the alternate cases. I'm just saying that it's usually built after the main use case is satisfied.

But the approach in the article says to build a non-interactive website first and get that completely working, and then add in the AJAX stuff later. Once it's out there, it seems much more logical than the other way around. And, coincidentally, it makes porting current sites much less of a daunting task.

Categories: ASP.NET


Visual Studio 2005 RTM

posted on 10/28/05 at 12:51:42 am by Joel Ross

In case you live in a cave, or you only peruse my blog, then you not have heard. Visual Studio 2005 (Whidbey) has been released. It's available for MSDN subscribers, and you can download the official framework from Microsoft.

This has been a long time coming. I remember heading to Microsoft to get a preview of Whidbey in November of 2003, which, of course, was after everyone got their first real taste at PDC in the summer of 2003. It's amazing how long this took, but I personally think it is worth the wait. I've been using Beta 2 for a few months and RC1 for a few weeks, and it's been very stable. And the feature set is stellar.

Anyway, if you're an MSDN subscriber, it's time to start downloading!

Categories: Software


RossCode Picks - NFL Week VIII

posted on 10/27/05 at 11:33:14 pm by Joel Ross

This could be an interesting week. Six of the 14 games have spreads of more than a touchdown. This is indicative of how Parity works in the NFL. It's not really parity from game to game - it's parity from season to season. When you look at just one season, you don't see the parity from week to week. A bad team will always be a bad team, and a good team will always be a good team. This week, the really bad teams are playing the really good teams. Hence the big spreads.

  • Arizona* vs. Dallas (-9.5) (40 O/U): This one seems too big to me. McCown has solid weapons to throw to. They're missing a running game, which is always problematic in my mind, but Dallas isn't running much better. Dallas wins, but not by 10.
  • Chicago vs. Detroit (-3) (32.5 O/U): The battle for the Norris is on! Given that Detroit is the sole NFC North team to win on the road, you almost have to give ths one to them. I expect a lot of Thomas Jones, and he'll get his yards, especially if Rogers is out on the defensive line. And with Dre Bly gone for a few weeks, that may open up the passing game for Chicago. Wait - without Bly, who's going to score touchdowns for Detroit this week? Oh, that's right. Harrington got yanked, and Garcia is running things now!
  • Cleveland vs. Houston (-1.5) (37 O/U): How much must it hurt to be a 'dog to the Texans? Yeah, it's in Houston, and that's usually good for a few points, so if this was in Cleveland, most likely the Browns would be the fave.
  • Green Bay vs. Cincinnati (-9.5) (46 O/U): Cincy gets a reprieve for a few weeks, and it starts with the Packers. They'll be reeling once again, with the loss of Ferguson and Green for the year. They're slowly running out of options over there in Green Bay. Luckily, Favre is still there, and he'll will a few more wins this year, but not this week.
  • Jacksonville (-3) vs. St. Louis (42.5 O/U): No Bulger and no Martz, again, and while they were able to beat at hapless Saints team, Jacksonville is slightly better than New Orleans. Leftwich is quietly putting together a very solid season, and they'll get it done again this week.
  • Miami vs. New Orleans (-2.5) (41 O/U): Everyone knew New Orleans would be bad this year, and everyone hoped that they wouldn't be horrible after the tragedy that struck the city of New Orleans and forced the Saints to relocate. But in reality, that doesn't make a team better for the long term. And losing Joe Horn and Deuce McAllister certainly doens't help the situation. Miami, under Nick Saban, has to get better. I don't think you'll see much of Ricky this week - he hasn't shown that he deserves to play.
  • Minnesota* vs. Carolina (-8) (44.5 O/U): Of the six games with huge spreads, this is probably the one I don't get. There's no doubt that Minnesota isn't all that good, but Carolina isn't either. Carolina's better than Minnesota right now, but not that much better. This'll be a close one, I think.
  • Oakland (-1) vs. Tennessee (45.5 O/U): Oakland finally figured out that running LaMont Jordan was a necessity, and that the presence of Moss opens up the field for Jordan. If they keep that up, they'll be moderately successful for the rest of the way.
  • Washington vs. New York Giants (-2) (42 O/U): Eli Manning is looking to become the comeback kid. Two 4th quarter game ending drives to win the game in the past two weeks will get people excited and backing the kid, even in NYC. Washington has a solid defense, and they're starting to figure out how Portis fits into their game, and they're going to get better too. The NFC East is a rough division, and this'll be a ground out game.
  • Kansas City vs. San Diego (-6) (50.5 O/U): San Diego at home. L.T. coming off what is probably his poorest performance ever. A divisional game to boot. I'm guessing the Chargers will be fired up, and they'll stomp on the Chiefs.
  • Philadelphia vs. Denver (-3.5) (42.5 O/U): Philadelphia showed why they are the team to beat in the NFC last week, holding the best running back in the game to seven yards. Denver can run, but if the Eagles focus on that game, Anderson/Bell will be shut down. And then it's up to Plummer, and you know how I feel about him.
  • Tampa Bay (-11) vs. San Francisco (36 O/U): "Chuckie" is up to his old magic, and has this Bucs team playing well. A trip to California will help them gain confidence too. Do the 49ers regret trading Rattay now? He'll be on the field Sunday, but in the wrong uniform. And Alex Smith, the reason they felt they could trade Rattay, won't be. That leaves Ken Dorsey to run the San Fran offense. Not much to work with, but they won't be doing?much against the Buc defense.
  • Buffalo vs. New England (-9.5) (44 O/U): Will Ted Bruschi be back? I think he'll play, and that will give this defense the boost they need to shut down the Bills offense. McGahee proved that he needs a passing game to be able to run, and they don't have that right now.
  • Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh (-10) (44 O/U): Here's yet another case of a Monday night game that looked good on paper when the schedule was put together. But now, it looks like a lopsided game that shouldn't even be the premiere game on Sunday afternoon. With Jamal Lewis out, we'll get to see what Chester Taylor can do with a full work load. I think he'll do pretty good, but the Steeler defense is very solid. And they'll be taking "The Bus" a lot more this week, which spells trouble for a defense already pretty weak.

We'll review next week!


Categories: Football


PDC05 Content Online

posted on 10/26/05 at 11:08:25 pm by Joel Ross

As promised, Microsoft has the PDCO5 content online for the next six months.

It looks like it's time to start burning up some bandwidth!, where do I put the 27 GB of data?!?

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Categories: General


Changing Feed Aggregators

posted on 10/26/05 at 11:03:06 pm by Joel Ross

Yup. I've been a long supporter of Newsgator Outlook Edition (NGOE), and have posted about it quite a bit in the past. I watched as two bloggers I highly respect switched to RSS Bandit and Feed Demon. I even tried out Feed Demon around that time when NGOE stopped working for me for some reason.

But eventually NGOE came back, and I reverted back to it. But a few limitations bothered me. For a few months. But I never made the move. Until a couple of weeks ago. NGOE started acting up again - it would say it was synching, but it never pulled down anything new. So I fired up the latest FeedDemon installer, and haven't looked back since.

Here's what I like about it, and the reason I made the switch:

  • River of News: Clicking a folder or the top Newspaper view shows every unread item in that folder. it makes skimming for what I care about a whole lot easier than individual items in Outlook.
  • Unlimited News bins. I used flags in Outlook to organize posts that I wanted to do something else with, but Outlook only has a limited number of flags for me to use. I could have used folders, but that's not a one-click step - or even a two-click step, as it is in Feed Demon.
  • Synching doesn't peg the CPU. It does seem to pop up that it's getting news more often than NGOE did (I set it to 120 minute intervals) - I think it may be synching a subset of feeds rather than all at once.
  • Managing of feeds is easy. It was a pain to organize my feeds in NGOE - move folders, create directory levels, and remove feeds. Maybe it wasn't that hard, but it wasn't obvious either. In Feed Demon, it's simple. Right click on the folder, and you get your options.
  • It's in the Newsgator family. That's important to me - I'm inching towards 800 feeds, and switching to a complete new aggregator results in 1000s of posts coming down that I've already seen. Switching to Feed Demon was easy - it only pulled down the feeds from the past few days that NGOE hadn't been picking up, as well as a few dupes that were in NGOE, but were read after synching stopped working.

There are some things that bother me, but not enough to make me look elsewhere.

  • Using the dedicated feed management screen is painful with a lot of feeds all in the same folder. With the switch, I decided to start to organize my feeds a little better, and find out how many of my feeds are dead. Using the feed management screen was painful because it refreshed the feeds every time I moved a feed. I eventually took a different approach - I'm moving all of my feeds to other folders, and I move them as I get a post in that feed. So, if after a month or two of using Feed Demon, a feed hasn't been moved out of the original folder, it probably isn't worth keeping.

That's it so far. I was going to add that I couldn't right click a feed in Maxthon and add a feed that way, but then I found this, so I can now.?I am also considering moving away from iPodder and switching to FeedStation to download enclosures since?I can flag a feed to always download enclosures, or I can download one-offs if I want to.

Overall, I've been very happy with the switch so far. Of course, my original aggregator was RSS Bandit, and the new version has Newsgator integration, so I may have to check that out too. But for now, Feed Demon is my new aggregator of choice!

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Categories: General


RossCode Picks - NFL Week VII Review

posted on 10/26/05 at 12:45:04 am by Joel Ross

Well, it wasn't a horrible week, but still wouldn't be a profitable one. Close, but not quite close enough.

  • Detroit 13, Cleveland 10 (-2.5) (34.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]: An NFC North team wins on the road? Shocker! And it goes against my theory of needing to run the ball to win - the number of rushes was roughly equal for each team - but Detroit passed 15 more times than Cleveland. I guess all bets are off when both teams are bad.
  • Green Bay 20 (-2), Minnesota 23 (44 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.80, T: ($10.20)]: Ouch. Not only does Green Bay lose this one a 56 yard last second field goal, but you also lose the one glimmer of hope on offense - Ahman Green - for the season. Yes, they still have Favre, but without your star running back, what do you think defenses will focus on? Minnesota, well, they still are bad. They beat a Green Bay team that's on the slide. Who?predicted that the NFC North standings would be turned completely upside down?
  • Indianapolis 38 (-15), Houston 20 (45 O/U) [P: $1.03, S: $10.00, O/U: $8.93, T: $19.96]: The biggest shock of the game? The Texans scored 20 on the Colts much improved defense. Indy continues to roll, and they'll get a real test after the bye - against New England in Boston on Monday night.
  • Kansas City 30, Miami 20 (-2) (42 O/U) [P: $12.50, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.52, T: $32.02]: So Kansas City was rushed into Miami - travelling the day of the game, and is able to go in and get the W, despite being a 'dog (really?). Ricky Williams is turning out to look a lot like he should have stayed retired - over a year off of full speed play (pre-season doesn't count) can be hard to overcome. Just ask some of the NHL players. Unfortunately for Ricky though, he was the only one to take the year off.
  • New Orleans 17, St. Louis 28 (-3) (47 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]: So Martz is on injured reserve. Not often do you hear that. And they still won. I still wonder how play calling will be affected without the mastermind on the sideline. New Orleans continues their downward spiral?- and it's not just the way they're playing - it's even making it's way into the front office. With talk of leaving New Orleans, I'm sure it's hard to concentrate on football.
  • Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 13 (0) (43 O/U) [P: $8.33, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.52, T: $27.86]: In Cincy's second big test this season, they once again came up short. This, despite the fact that Roethlisberger threw for only 93 yards. This was a hard hitting running effort for the Steelers, and it paid off. Cincinnati will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to beat the top tier of teams in the NFL, but they have a few weeks - they play Green Bay, Baltimore, and bye. They'll win all of those! Then they have another chance - Indianapolis. Now that's a real test!
  • San Diego 17, Philadelphia 20 (-3.5) (47 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: ($10.00)]: Philly proved that they are an up and down team. They go from getting killed by Dallas to keeping the best running back in the game out of the end zone for the first time in 18 games. And, they did it with a passing game - 54 attempts for McNabb. So does this go against my running theory? Some say no - because they use their short passing game as their running game - Westbrook lead the team in receptions, indicating that maybe that really is the plan. And in case you doubt the ones saying this counts as a running game, it came from Steve Young. He knows a little something about football, I think...
  • San Francisco* 17, Washington 52 (-12.5) (36.5 O/U) [P: $1.39, S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($18.61)]: Could USC beat San Francisco? Probably not, but they could probably give them a run for their money. As it is, the 49ers play Houston in the last week of the season. This game will have meaning - it'll determine who gets the number one pick in the draft. Washington beat up on these guys, and it's embarrassing if you're the 49ers. Maybe Rice and Montana can come out of retirement. They'd be better than this group of misfits!
  • Dallas 10, Seattle 13 (-3.5) (45.5 O/U) [P: $5.81, S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($14.19)]: Wow. Dallas is a much improved team. They are playing above where I thought they would be - despite losing. Seattle is a solid team this year.
  • Baltimore 6, Chicago 10 (0) (30.5 O/U) [P: $8.33, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $8.33]: Yawn. I can't imagine watching this one. The best part? Chicago is now tied for the NFC North lead, and they play Detroit?next week - the winner will be in sole possession of first place in the Norris division - and the only team above .500!
  • Buffalo 17, Oakland 38 (-3) (40.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]: Moss played, and he made an impact. Of course, there was more than just him - the whole team stepped up and waxed the Bills. They're an exciting team, but they won't make it very far this year.
  • Denver 23, New York Giants 24 (-2) (47 O/U) [P: $8.00, S: ($10.00), O/U: $0.00, T: ($2.00)]: The Giants came back and scored late in the game to get the W. A great drive by Eli Manning - who may have reminded a few Broncos fans of someone they used to watch for years do the same thing!
  • Tennessee 10, Arizona 20 (-3.5) (45.5 O/U) [P: $5.56, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.62, T: $25.17]: The Cards get their first domestic win - remember, they are undefeated in international play this year. This team has potential. McCown is a decent QB, and the combo of Boldin and Fitzgerald are a great combo. I wonder if there's any basis to the rumor that Green may want to trade for Culpepper in the offseason. That could really be interesting!
  • New York Jets 14, Atlanta 27 (-7) (40.5 O/U) [P: $3.33, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.35, T: $22.68]: The "Vinny" era is over. And with the death of their passing game, so is the "Martin" era at running back - he's getting no room to run without the threat of a pass. Vick just isn't a great quarterback - he threw three picks this weekend and put up less than 130 yards. If he couldn't run, he'd be relegated to Joey Harrington status!

Results Summary

  • Picks (this week): 9 - 5 (64.29%) - Winnings: $4.29: A positive week! My first.
  • Picks (season): 58 - 44 (56.86%) - Winnings: ($110.55): Still down, but I'm gaining!
  • Spread (this week): 7 - 7 (50.00%) - Winnings: $0.00: I broke even. Not bad. I've only had one other week that wasn't negative.
  • Spread (season): 43 - 58 (42.57%) - Winnings: ($150.00) Still down huge. I'm working on it!
  • Over/Under (this week): 6 - 7 (46.15%) - Winnings: ($13.26): Again, it's the o/u that's killing me. I knew it would!
  • Over/Under (season): 44 - 56 (44.00%) - Winnings: ($145.62): My hole is getting bigger...
  • Total Weekly Winnings: ($8.97): I was barely down this week. I still haven't had a positive week...
  • Total Overall Winnings: ($406.17): Ouch. The bleeding is slowing down, but it's still dripping pretty good.

Once again, I'll be back in a few days with week 8 picks.

Categories: Football


Databound Controls in ASP.NET 2.0

posted on 10/22/05 at 11:26:58 pm by Joel Ross

As I've posted about previously, I'm working through the?process updating our server control for Tourney Logic. Well, we made a pretty big design decision. Since the bracket is much easier to configure, we've decided to add databinding - we only have one main collection now, and it's only one level deep, so it makes perfect sense for us to do that. Before, we had two collections, and one was two levels deep, so while databinding was possible, it wasn't really viable to do so.

Having made the decision, I moved forward with what needed to be done. When I started, I had no idea! I'd never built a databound control before, so I started doing some digging. It turns out that ASP.NET 2.0 offers much better support for data bound controls than in 1.1. There's a whole new hierarchy of base classes that you can plug into where you want to. For us, we used the combination of the composite and data bound control - the DataBoundCompositeControl - as our base. It gives the same benefits of the new CompositeControl base class, but adds in the ability to databind.

Once you start from there, adding in databinding is pretty straight forward. It's a general recommendation, but it was especially useful here - if you want to learn how databinding should be implemented, use Reflector and see how Microsoft did it. Anyway, what we wanted was to let people create a collection of teams anyway they want, and then bind that collection to the TBC. Now, the collection could be any collection - not just?a true collection, but also a DataTable, etc.?

Anyway, databinding is actually pretty straight forward. First, you create properties to hold the names of the properties in the collection. That's confusing! To simplify things, let's think of the DropDownList. You can set two properties besides the datasource when databinding: DataTextField and DataValueField. Those are the names of the properties on your collection to use for the text and value field, respectively. So, for the Tourney Bracket Control, we actually have four fields you can bind to: CompetitorId, CompetitorName, SeedNumber, and NavigateUrl:

Bracket1.DataCompetitorNameField = "TeamName";

Obviously, we have three others for the other properties, but it's pretty straight forward. Here's where things get interesting.?Instead of your ordinary CreateChildControls() method, you get a new CreateChildControls method that takes a couple of parameters. One of them is the IEnumerable datasource, and?from this, you can get all of the data out of the datasource. To do this, you get an enumerator:

IEnumerator e = dataSource.GetEnumerator();

Then, you loop for each record, and get a reference to the data object:

object data = e.Current;

Then, to get the data out of the object, you use the DataBinder class:

competitor.CompetitorName = DataBinder.GetPropertyValue(data, this.DataCompetitorNameField, null);

The nice thing is that you never have to know the actual type that the control is databound to. And with that, we now have the ability to bind a bracket directly to a database table of teams, and the whole bracket structure can be completely dynamic, and the developer using the Tourney Bracket Control never has to know what the final bracket will look like.

All in all, setting up databinding turned out to be pretty simple. I'm glad we went through the process because next time, it won't be nearly as daunting as it was this time!

Categories: ASP.NET


RossCode Weekly #023

posted on 10/22/05 at 01:18:16 am by Joel Ross

RossCode Weekly #023 - Week of 10.23.2005

Intro - 0:00
Download this episode -?23:42 /?11.4 MB
Subscribe to RossCode Weekly

Previously on RCW - 1:02
No VS 2005 on MSDN this past weekend (#022)
Publishers now joining Author's Guild in lawsuit?(#020)
GAIM to get voice and video?(#022)
XBox 360 controllers work on PC! (#017)

Oops - 3:07
I missed AOL's launch of their VoIP service?(#021)

News & Views - 3:50
AOL and Intelliseek team up to provide blog metrics
Apple launches new PowerBooks and new G5
AvantGo adds RSS support
Google drops G in Europe?(via Digg)
DVD Jon joins creator in San Diego
NetFlix delays online movie download
NFL and IBM to speed up process to republish highlights
VMWare player for free
RIM signs deal with Palm to license software for Treo 650
Accesss to phase out Palm OS

The Cold Wars - 9:52
Yahoo buys WhereOnEarth
eBay bans other online payment systems
Firefox hits 100,000,000 downloads
Opera 9 preview available
Flock launches
HP calls for Blu-Ray / HD-DVD compromise
Warner Brothers jumps ship to Blu-Ray camp
Open Office 2.0 was released
Google's profits nearly double!
MSN Messenger 8 ready for beta testing
Yahoo raises price of music service
AOL announces layoffs

The Grapevine - 18:54
A networked iPod?
Tim O'Reilly to announce a VC fund for Web 2.0 companies?
Real mulling acquisitions?

Bonehead of the Week - 20:31
Printing Companies

Next Week - 21:27

Contact / Feedback - 21:40
weekly @ rosscode . com
(206) 424-4RCW (4729)

Sponsor - 22:51
RossCode Weekly is sponsored by Tourney Logic: Get In The Game

Tourney Logic: Get In The Game

Tourney Logic is the premiere maker of tournament and pool management software.

Production Notes
Background music provided by Chronos (Introvert 4) and the Podsafe Music Network.
Hosting of RossCode Weekly is provided by
Would you like to sponsor RossCode Weekly? Contact me at sponsor @ rosscode . com.

Categories: RossCode Weekly


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