CruiseControl.NET 1.0 RC2 Released

posted on 2005-09-22 at 09:24:20 by Joel Ross

A while back I found the release notes for RC2, but no formal announcement about it's release - but I did speculate it would be a few days. It took a little longer, but it has been released. From the updated release notes, it looks like a lot of the work went into?stabilization and CCTray.

Both make sense - with release candidates, it's not about new functionality. It's about fixing what's there. The CCTray is an exception - it was completely rewritten, so changes are probably happening based on community feedback.

I never got RC1 running, but who knows. Maybe I'll have the opportunity. Anyone know how many RCs are planned before it hits 1.0 gold?

Categories: Software


RossCode Picks - Week II Review

posted on 2005-09-20 at 22:23:13 by Joel Ross

This is getting brutal. If I used real money, I'd be out of house and home! The cap in the NFL definitely gives the league parity, but for me, it makes my picks look like a parody. I'll just go ahead and get to the results.

  • Baltimore 10 (-3.5), Tennessee 25 (36.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $10.40, T: ($9.60)]: This is why the first couple of weeks in the NFL are so tough. Baltimore was supposed to be good, but it doesn't look like that's going to be the case. I still don't think Tennessee is going to be that good, but I'm changing my stance on Baltimore.?Of course, they could turn this around. Run more.?How do you justify throwing the ball 40 times and only running Jamal Lewis 10 times? Yes, I know they were down, and that forces you to throw more, but it was only 13-0 at half time - two things are obvious there: passing isn't working, and by running the ball (giving your offense more touches), you'll rest your defense.
  • Buffalo 3, Tampa Bay 19 (-2.5) (35.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]: Ok. Tampa Bay is going to be better than expected. Their defense is good. But I'm still going to go back to running. How hard is it to figure out that you have to establish a running game before a passing attack will work? It's tried and true, and most teams who are successful realize this. Running McGahee only 13 times isn't going to win any games. As a comparison, Tampa Bay handed the ball off 37 times. Yes, they were up late and wanted to grind the clock, but Cadillac Williams didn't get all of his 128 yards after the game was out of hand.
  • Detroit 6 (-1), Chicago 38 (33 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.01, T: ($10.99)]: I've always been a believer that Harrington was going to turn it around (think Drew Brees), but this is the year he has to do it. Throwing 5 INTs against the Bears isn't going to cut it, especially with the receivers he has. Why isn't Mike Williams getting more reps? Is he that out of game shape that he's not able to step in? On the other side, Cedric Benson got a good dose of why you should be in camp as a rookie on day one. Thomas Jones ran all over Detroit, and you'll never be able to justify pulling him out if he continues to play like that. With Benson in camp, he could have been groomed to be the number one guy. As it is, he still split time with Jones, but I would expect his time to go down next week based on what Jones did.
  • Jacksonville* 3, Indianapolis 10 (-9) (46 O/U) [P: $2.22, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.01, T: $21.23]: This was one of only two games I picked everything right on, and that's surprising considering it's always iffey to pick a team to cover but lose, which is what I did with the Jags. Almost as surprising as that is that Indy is winning games with defense, and that Manning (Mr. Touchdown in 2004) didn't throw a touchdown. The Colts is one of the few teams in the league that doesn't have to establish a run to have a good passing game - but Dungy is smart enough to know the value of the run, especially when teams are dropping 7 or 8 into pass coverage - run Edge. 27 times for 128 yards. If you're not going to give the running game the attention it deserves, James will make you pay.
  • Minnesota 8, Cincinnati 37 (-3) (47.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.62, T: ($10.38)]: I thought Culpepper would be better than this. He's got the arm, and he used to distribute the ball to more than just Moss, right? Another team who didn't (or in this case, couldn't) establish the run - 14 attempts? At least call a few "pass" plays and let Culpepper make a play?- he's 265 lbs. He can take a lick or two. It can't be worse than his 5 picks. One more note: Minnesota's defense is obviously not good enough to spend almost 40?minutes on the field. Their offense needs to step up. Cincy is 2-0 and off to a good start. At this rate, they can be average (.500) and possibly make the playoffs.
  • New Orleans 10, New York Giants 27 (-3) (44 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.62, T: ($10.38)]: You knew things were going to be rough when you give the ball the Giants on your own 10 yard line to start the game. Things didn't get much better, either. They needed to calm the game down and get McAllister involved a little more - yes, he touched the ball 21 times (15 runs. 6 catches), but he could have slowed the tempo down a little bit. I watched Brooks make some great plays - he has an awesome arm - but he looks like he forces things when hurried. Slowing things down a bit would have been beneficial for them. On the other side, Manning looked pretty good - solid, but not great. He'll get better. Why did they go away from throwing to Burress? He was slaughtering the corners playing against him - just like he did at MSU when I saw him play. Why go away from what works? Well, maybe Tiki Barber. He had a solid game, both running and receiving - he had a rushing and receiving TD last night. Speaking of his receiving TD - did you see the hit his own guy laid on him at the goal line? It looked like Barber hit a brick wall! By the way, I was counting on John Carney to kick about 17 field goals for me to win my fantasy game this week. Obviously, it didn't happen.
  • New England 17 (-3), Carolina 27 (43.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]: Could Carolina be regaining the form they had when they made it to the Super Bowl? I'm starting to sense a theme here as I write this, but Steven Davis had 25 rushing attempts, and Corey Dillon had 14. And this game doesn't even have a "comeback" excuse - it was 20-17 after three quarters. And in case you're wondering, Tom Brady had 44 pass attempts, so they had the opportunity to run. They just chose not to.
  • Pittsburgh 27 (-6), Houston 7 (38.5 O/U) [P: $3.57, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $3.57]: At least these two teams are living up to my preseason expectations - Pittsburgh is good, and Houston is bad. Len Pasquarelli confirmed what I was thinking?(about half way down the first page): The Texans have higher expectations this season, coming straight from the owner. Pittsburgh is firing on all cylinders, and that's only going to continue as they get healthy - regardless of whether Parker starts when Staley comes back. One note: Pittsburgh top rusher ran?25 times to Houston's 15 times. But to be fair, Houston was down big early (20-0 by half time).
  • San Francisco* 3, Philadelphia 42 (-13.5) (41 O/U) [P: $1.15, S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($18.85)]: Maybe McNabb should wear his flack jacket every week. He put up five touchdowns, when others were throwing INTs left and right. So much for the whole San Fran underdog story, huh?
  • Atlanta 18, Seattle 21 (PK) (41.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]: A complete loss here. I missed everything. Vick gets hurt and leaves the game, and I'm sure that hurt Atlanta.
  • St. Louis 17, Arizona 12 (PK) (44.5 O/U) [P: $9.09, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $9.09]: Well, St. Louis proved their loss to the hapless 49ers was a fluke. Sort of. They only beat a Cardinal team who has a washed up quarterback and can't establish the run (12 rushes?). I don't think St. Louis will have as good of a year as I originally thought they would.
  • Cleveland 26, Green Bay 24 (-6.5) (41 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]: Green Bay is in a world of hurt. Of course, they do play in the NFC North, which is just as bad - their combined record is 2-6, and those two wins were in divisional games - someone had to win! It doesn't get much worse than that for the NFC North. If this keeps up, we could see a 7-9 team in the playoffs just because they won the division. Cleveland, despite the win, is still pretty bad. The Packers are bad, yet they only one by two. Who would have guessed though, that Trent Dilfer would put up three touchdowns? Note: The rushing was pretty even in this one (20-16) and, lo and behold, it was a close game!
  • Miami* 7, New York Jets 17 (-6) (37 O/U) [P: $3.85, S: ($10.00), O/U: $10.20, T: $4.05]: I'll just start with this: Curtis Martin: 31 rushes. Ronnie Brown: 12 Rushes. Frerotte: 43 pass attempts. Pennington: 30 pass attempts. I think you're starting to see where I'm going. Run the ball and you will win! Establishing the run is key to establishing your offense, and without it, you're going to struggle. It'll be interesting to see if the Dolfins change their philosophy once Ricky Williams returns. The Jets will be watching this week to see what's the word on Martin's MRI. Hopefully he's OK - he's on my fantasy team.
  • San Diego 17, Denver 20 (-3) (45 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: $0.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: ($20.00)]: A push, but I picked the winner wrong. This one goes against my theory - the Chargers ran the ball more than the Broncos, and still lost. L.T. had both TDs on the ground, but it wasn't enough to hold on (they led 14-10 after 3 quarters). Antonio Gates had 80 receiving yards to lead the Chargers - think if he'd been there in week one!
  • Kansas City 23 (-1), Oakland 17 (53.5 O/U) [P: $8.00, S: $10.00, O/U: $10.50, T: $28.50]: K.C has a defense! And a decent running game - Johnson and Holmes combined to run the ball 28 times and each scored. And one other note: Moss is good, but Collins isn't. I'm guessing both Moss and Culpepper are kind of wishing the trade never happened right about now.
  • Washington 14, Dallas 13 (-6) (36 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $8.70, T: ($11.30)]: This game was awesome! If you stayed up late enough to watch, which I did. I'm a night owl, and when it was 13-0 with just under 6 minutes left, I thought it was over. But somehow, on two different drives, Santana Moss got behind the 'Boys defense on an obvious passing situation and scored both times, giving the 'Skins the W. Maybe Brunell was the right choice after all. We'll see, but I hear Gibbs is a pretty good coach and knows a thing or two about football.

Results Summary

  • Picks (this week): 6 - 10 (37.50%) - Winnings: ($72.12): I usually do pretty good picking winners, but this is just horrific.
  • Picks (season): 14 - 18 (43.75%) - Winnings: ($112.33): I'm below .500 picking winners for the first time in my three year history of doing picks. That hurts!
  • Spread (this week): 4 - 11 (26.67%) - Winnings: ($70.00): Like I said, there's a lot of red up there. That's because I can't pick the spread to save my life. At least one game was a push!
  • Spread (season): 10 - 21 (32.26%) - Winnings: ($110.00): I'm good for one of every three games. That's not good, unless you know which one of the three to pick, which I'm guessing I don't.
  • Over/Under?(this week): 8 - 8 (50.00%) - Winnings: ($2.96) Who would have guessed that I'd be doing best at picking the over/under? Not me, that's for sure.
  • Over/Under (season): 16 - 15 (51.61%) - Winnings: $0.52: My lone positive number. Of course, candy bars from vending machines don't even cost $.50 any more.
  • Total Weekly Winnings: ($145.08): That's a huge loss based on $480 in bets. That's a loss of over 30% of my bets. Ouch.
  • Total Overall Winnings: ($221.82): I'm down big early. That's not a good sign. Down 23%.

I'll go back to the drawing board for next week - maybe pick teams that have a tendency to rush more. That seems to be a good theory. And did you notice that most of the bolds above are the first team - the away team. I noticed that on Saturday, but stuck with my picks. I was worried, and those worries came?to pass. Picking the away team in 14 of 16 games (counting the Saints as?the?away team - they were!)?isn't going to cut it - the home team wins 57% of home games, so picking the road team consistently isn't a good idea. I'll note that for next time, which will be Thursday!

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Categories: Football


Ahoy, Thar!

posted on 2005-09-19 at 21:29:42 by Joel Ross

Well, it's almost too late, but maybe someone on the west coast will see this. Anyway, today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

And in case you don't know how to speak "Pirate" here's a translator you can use. I think we need a whole week for this!

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Categories: General


Formatting Strings In ASP.NET

posted on 2005-09-18 at 00:46:35 by Joel Ross

There's an older post from Erik Porter about how he formats labels in ASP.NET. It's a pretty smart trick - he suggests that you use string placeholders for?labels, such as:

<asp:Literal id="MyLiteral" runat="server">Name: {0} {1}</asp:Literal>.

This way, you can just set the text using a String.Format() statement, rather than coding what the text will be in code. How does this help you? Well, as Erik points out, the HTML markup can be modifiied without recompiling, which is always a good thing. But Erik takes it one step farther - he mentions that a designer can modify the HTML, test it, and make the changes without needing a developer's help.

Is it just me, or wasn't this the promise of Visual Studio's (and ASP.NET's) code-behind model? That a designer can modify the .aspx file without needing to worry about the code behind the page? I think it was, but in practice, have you seen it happen? I've never had a designer on any project I've ever been on actually modify any production HTML page. Yes, they provide markup that I usually take and put into a page, but if updates are needed, it's always been up to a developer to make those changes. We never were able to maintain that break between designer and developer.

Of course, part of that is the fault of Visual Studio, and the way it handles a page and it's code-behind, especially with version control. Every time you check out a file, it checks out both the aspx and the code-behind. So much for only needing one! Combine that with the VS designer constantly screwing with both files at the same time, and you're never going to reach that separation.

Maybe the next Visual Studio will be better. Partial classes where you don't have to have a declaration for page components will help to prevent the designer needing both the page and the code-behind, and the new designer is supposed to be much less intrusive with HTML mangling, but we'll see. Regardless of those issues though, you still have to have a designer who understands the control syntax so they don't muck around too much!

Categories: ASP.NET


RossCode Weekly #018

posted on 2005-09-17 at 22:42:55 by Joel Ross

Before I begin, I want to highlight a couple of changes over the past week. I've hinted at one in the past, and it's finally come to pass - RCW is now a podcast too. I've signed my good friend Jason Salas of Digital Pontifcation fame to a lucrative contract to record them for me. I'll still be writing the posts every week, but when I get done, I'll send it over to Jason, who will be putting his voice to my words. Ok. No lucrative contract. Actually, he was nice enough to volunteer his services for a while. But if you want to sponsor RCW, I'll gladly share it with him!

The other news is that I'm now offering an RSS feed for just RossCode Weekly, and since it's now voiced, it's going to be a podcast feed, so you have a choice - do you want to read it, or have it read to you? Anyway, here's the info you'll need, and then it's on to this week's RCW.

Download this?episode?| Subscribe to RossCode Weekly

I feel like a broken record, but there really was a lot of news this week. As a warning, this'll probably get a little more technical than normal. No, RCW won't delve into code samples, but there's a lot of news that only developers will be interested in for a few years. Eventually, end users will be interested, but not in the technology itself, but in what the technology is used to build. Anyway, on with the show!

Where to start? Well, there's two directions that include most of the news this week. Consolidation or Introduction? Let's start with consolidation - that'll be more appealing to the masses. Then we'll bore you with the technology news once you're hooked.

Remember that rumor I reported last week about eBay buying Skype? It's true. Of all the rumors of who was going to be buying Skype, the eBay rumor had the most buzz - but it was mainly negative. Why would eBay want Skype? Voice auctions isn't a reason enough to spend $2,600,000,000, is it? For those detail-oriented ones out there, the deal is $1,300,000,000 in cash, 32 million shares of eBay (about $1,300,000,000 worth), and the possibility for another $1,500,000,000 if certain performance metrics are reached - although, no details about those numbers, and there probably never will be, nor will there be a mention if those numbers are ever hit. Here's some speculation. Could eBay be looking to expand it's marketshare, and is going to use it's excess cash to build a Vonage competitor?

We'll pause the consolidation machine for a minute to venture down the VoIP road. So, Skype offers conference calls, but what if you want the call to be free, and have up to ten participants. And what if those participants could be land line phones, cell phones, or SIP devices? Well, that's exactly what SIPphone is offering! This is what Google Talk is missing right now: conference calls (and any calls to the "real" phone network, for that matter). And Skype? Well, if you have an existing conference call service, which a lot of corporations have, and the number is a toll-free number (again, what most companies have), then connecting with Skype is free - remember, Skype offers free outgoing toll-free calls right now. But it's not totally free because you have to pay for the conference?call service. This is totally free. Well, for the Gizmo users, at least. And most cell phone users. It's not going to be a local number - so you pay for long distance, but it is a good way to include both computer users and "old schoolers" who still use land lines. You know, the more I look at this, the more I think an 800 conference call number would be better, with Skype users and land liners calling in for free. But I'm sure some will find it interesting.

One last VoIP item. This one's a little strange to me, but ViseonMedia is teaming with ABC News to offer content via it's VoIP software. What does that mean? Will ABC News be calling you with the newscast? Or will you dial in and be able to hear what's going on? It apparently will also offer video too. I have no idea what this means. Wouldn't this content be better delivered via RSS and enclosures? Does Dave "Don't Call Them Feeds" Winer need to talk to them and explain the whole thing?

Back to consolidation-ville. Oracle buys Siebel. For $5,800,000,000. So, let me see if I have this straight. Siebel has revenue in the $400,000,000 range. Skype is expected to have about $60,000,000 in revenue. Yet, Siebel can be bought for only (potentially) $1,700,000,000 more? Does this mean that the new business model is that much more valuable, or is there another bubble forming? Either way, this definitely strengthens Oracle's CRM offerings, something that seemed to be only part way there the last time I looked at Oracles CRM solution (which, in fairness, was over three years ago, just as the CRM wars were heating up).

These come in three's right? Well, Seagate did buy Mirra. Does that count? One less storage player in the game. And Seagate's aim now? Build an appliance that allows content to be accessed from anywhere, but without the whole "hardware as a service" model. And yes, I do realize that it's "software as a service."

Before we move to the introduction section, let's go to rumorville. Last week, Apple revealed the ROKR Motorolla phone. And it was, in essense, a flop. Not much excitement. iTunes 5.0 generated more buzz, albeit for the wrong reasons. Now come reports that people are waiting for the Apple iPhone - a phone built by Apple. But is this a good idea? Remember, it was Apple who wanted to have the song limit set to 25 for the ROKR, and only the prodding of Motorolla moved that number to 100 - the reason no one was excited about the new phone. Now, if Apple has control, they can go either way - they could get their way on the limit, or they could have introduced the limit as a way of pre-fending off competition. If they have a phone that can 1.) download songs directly, and 2.) doesn't have the 100 song limit, which would you buy?

Apple's always good for rumors, and there's another one this week too. The Apple Expo is next week, and any time a company has some sort of conference, that usually means something new. Could they be upgrading their Power?Mac G5 line? And if they are, what does it mean? Problems with the current line? Dipping sales that need a boost (why buy PowerPC chips when you can wait for the Intel ones)? Or could it just be that they did it because they can?

One more quick note about iTunes. It (at some point) gained support for video podcasts. It's not exactly clear when it happened, but it did. I guess this really lends some more credibility to the iPod Video rumors?I've talked about in the past.

How about skipping the whole iTunes thing and just getting the HTC Universal for $149? That's what about 1,000 attendees at this year's PDC did. It's a Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone, and looks pretty sweet. Of course, the announcement caused mad dashes for the doors during the keynote. This is reason enough to go to the PDC!

And that, folks, is the introduction section. The Professional Developers Conference. It started Tuesday, and there was a lot of bits dropped. For those who don't care about the developer tools, I've still got other content I'll sprinkle in throughout the rest, so you have to keep reading. I'm mean.

Anyway, PDC started on Tuesday, but a lot arrived on Sunday. What greeted them? A power outage! The only good news about that is that the wireless network performance was unaffected - it still didn't work! Eventually, the lights were turned back on, and Microsoft had a lot to show. First, a new cut of Windows Vista is going to be given to all attendees, and guess what it has? The Sidebar! But not just any sidebar. A sidebar that supports gadgets, which sound amazingly like widgets, which is what Konfabulator uses. But it's better than that - Gadgets can be used on And any windows or web app. Remember It launched too, and it's all about Gadgets! Want to mess around with your own gadget? You can on info about gadgets? Check out Microsoft's Gadget site.

More cool Vista news? Well, if you run out of memory, you can just stick a USB memory stick in, and it'll use it. Seemlessly and securely. So with last week's revelation that there will be 7 SKU's, which SKU is going to be given out at the PDC? Some say the Ultimate one. It seems that the SKU thing has caused quite a stir, but here's what I don't get - why? Right now, XP has a starter version, a home edition, an MCE version, Tablet version,?an x64 version,?and a Pro version. That's 6. Why the fuss over 7?

Anyway, what else happened on the first PDC Day? Office 12 and it's new UI. And while it's pretty slick, and I'm looking forward to some of the features, such as RSS being baked into Outlook, the high level stuff isn't the important stuff. It's under the hood that's going to keep Office the champ of desktop productivity. Remember VBA? I'm all too familiar with it - but guess what? It's going away, and being replaced with Visual Studio Tools for Applications. It's now managed and uses the .NET framework. Combine this with VSTO, and this'll be much better! Even OneNote is getting better!

Ok.?VSTA doesn't go deep enough into the Office System foundation. How about adding in a workflow engine??I know this doesn't seem like an Office feature, but in my mind, with WSS and SPS and CMS being part of the Office umbrella, I think the WWF fits in there nicely. It's also a part of WinFx, which got a new developer center,?and will make it easy for companies to automate their business processes. I think this is an awesome development. Workflow and business automation is a key to most solutions, yet it's always one of the hardest because it requires you to bring together a wide variety of systems. BizTalk supposedly fills this need, but hasn't gotten the traction at the lower levels. With it being baked in now, you'll have no excuse not to use it.

Unless you listen to Novell's CEO. He says Vista's going to drive people to Linux because it's cheaper. I thought we got past this a while ago. The total cost of ownership of Linux is not free, and a lot of people agree that in the long run, it's actually more expensive. Vista's top competition will not come from Linux - it'll come from XP. So many of the key features are being ported back to XP that a lot of companies will be reluctant to migrate - maybe the WWF will give them a push in the right direction.

Am I the only one who pictures the Hulkster holding a CTO over his head ready to slam him down unless he upgrades? That'd be a motivator too!

There's two new products from Microsoft too. First, Max. This was Project M, and is a way to share photos, and uses WinFx too. Sense a theme here? Next, we have Expression, as I reported last week. There's three SKUs here - Acrylic, a graphics designer, Sparkle, an interactive designer - think Avalon designer. Lastly, we have Quartz - designer for the web.

One more thing that Microsoft's done - and it's an "It's about time" moment. From this summary of PDC revelations?(read the whole list - good stuff!), there's a nice little tidbit about Infopath forms being available without having to have Infopath installed. Infopath is a nice way to fill out documents and store them in a data store, such as Sharepoint, but it's always required the client to have Infopath installed. It sounds like they've finally remedied that situation - something they should have done from the start.

Let's take a small tangent from the PDC, because what's left is completely technical. Let's talk about Google. How do you transition from Microsoft to Google? Ask Mr. Lee. He's been cleared to work for Google, although not on search. He's a recruiter in China right now - and Google says that's why they hired him. Good spin. You're not paying him a $2,500,000 signing bonus to recruit - you paid him that to help you build a better search.

Oh - Steve never threw that chair. I don't know what happened in that room, but one of the most preposterous arguments I heard was that the chair throwing testimony came from Mark Lukowski, so it must be credible. That's like saying that Apple copied the iPod interface from Creative, and it must be true because Creative's CEO said so. It may be true, but the fact that a competitor levies those charges certainly doesn't add credibility!

Ok. Back to Google. They're?selling $4,180,000,000 in stock - that's at $295 a share. The odd thing about this (and I don't claim to understand how an offering like this works) is that Google's stock price was at $303 at the time of the offering. Why the discount on new shares? Are they anticipating a drop in share price because there's that many more shares out there?

How do you help prevent your stock price from dropping? Offer a new solution. How about blog search? It's fast and you can subscribe, but is it good enough? Will it change how you use Google? How many people use blog search engines - I know there are some who do, but when you look at using Google's, what's the reason you would choose to search the blogs they index versus everything they index? And, how do you? tell a blog from a regular site?

So what if your competitors are launching something you don't have? Ask Yahoo - they don't have blog search yet, but they do have Instant Search. Type in a search term, and it'll return a nice little balloon of a quick results. It's like the "I feel lucky" button without the fear of getting unlucky.

Back to Google. I haven't seen it, and I haven't heard anyone else talk about it, but Randy over at iBLOGthere4iAm says he's seeing click throughs on searches. That really would be helpful information, especially if it was by search term. And do you want a Google rumor? Could they be considering buying Baidu? This was around last summer, but it apparently?has some renewed vigor behind it - and some don't see it happening because Google would be?competing with the government.

Remember GoogleNet? It's the supposed attempt by Google to provide a nation-wide wireless network. Do you think you'll ever see it? Maybe, but I'm guessing we'll see it Canada first - especially since?Rogers Communication?is teaming with Bell Canada to do it now!

Let's talk email for a second. Web-based or thick client? Let's start with the web. Yahoo is offering up a limited beta of a new mail interface. And according to one analyst, it's "a vast improvement over Gmail" - now that's saying something. Is Thick client your thing? Thunderbird hit 1.5 beta - which isn't surprising since Firefox hit 1.5 beta last week. Back to web-based email. Microsoft demoed their new Hotmail interface at PDC.?It uses Atlas.

What's Atlas? Warning: We're going technical again! Atlas is Microsoft's AJAX solution, and it was released at PDC this week. This is going to be huge! One thing Microsoft is very good at is making these types of things simple, and that's what the web world needs right now to get adoption. The best news is that the ASP.NET team is going to be as completely transparent as possible, releasing monthly or more, and working with the community to make it what we want. This is honestly a very cool development coming out of Redmond.

We'll stay technical with this next one. Microsoft rolled out it's plans for C# 3.0 and Linq - yes, one release beyond where we are at today. It's got some very innovative features, and looks to take C# to the next level. Although, I do have some concerns that it's going to become a fairly complicated language. I won't delve into too many of those details here, but you can go read a post with some examples. To be honest, Linq, XLinq, and DLinq (ObjectSpaces reborn!) look to be very cool - once you understand how to use them. Linq is an in-memory query language. XLinq allows you to use Linq to talk to XML documents and DLinq allows you to use Linq to talk to databases (think O/R mapper).

So, that looks to be it from PDC this week. Lots of very cool stuff! I'm excited, but the major drawback to all of this is that none of that will be released until probably 2007, save Vista, which will be 2006.

So what's coming out this year? XBox 360 - on November 22nd.?A little later outside the US. But some are pondering how well XBox 360's backwards compatibility will work, especially when Microsoft is asking which games you want. I think I'll just keep my XBox classic around, and not worry about it! More XBox news? How about something about XBox Live? Well, it won an Emmy. Best Actor? No. Outstanding Achievement?in Technology and Advanced New Media. Oh yeah - the ole' OATANM Emmy! Seriously, this is?pretty cool.

Ok. Enough facts. What about the rumors? How about this? Could Microsoft be in talks with Time Warner to buy a stake in AOL? No one on either side is talking - sound familiar? I think I wrote the same thing about eBay and Skype last week, and we know how that turned out. Now, there have been other rumors around this that it's not a purchase agreement - it's a search agreement - that instead of AOL using Google search by default, they could be looking to move over to MSN's search. Just a note to say that Google's number one revenue source is AOL, so this could be a huge shift in the search wars - Google only has it's revenue from it's search engine and ads to fund it's ventures, where as Microsoft has other sources (reportedly $1,000,000,000 a month) to help the company along - they can afford to take a loss, or a very small gain, on a venture with AOL. If this goes through, could this be a sign of Microsoft's renewed aggressiveness towards competitors?

One more AOL story? I got an email from Ken Lempit noting that Podscope has signed a deal with AOL to provide their podcast searching capabilities to AOL's search. What effect this has on the whole Microsoft deal remains to be seen, especially since it's still a rumor. Here's the official press release from TVeyes, the company behind Podscope, since I can't exactly link to the email.

A couple of sour notes now. First, this past week is the one year anniversary of the Kryptonite story. Not familiar with Krptonite? They had a bike lock that was supposedly unhackable. Well,?Engadget did - with a Bic pen. And they posted it. And everyone talked about it. And Kryptonite never answered the charges. Ok, that's not exactly fair. They answered, but very slowly, and they took a huge PR hit because of it. They did eventually make it right.

Everyone likes TiVo right? Well, everyone did. They've taken a bit of a PR hit lately too. First it was the ads that are being inserted when you fast forward, and that doesn't seem like a huge deal. But now there's this: People reported that episodes?of the Simpsons were being "red flagged" and deleted after seven days - not exactly going with the TiVo philosophy, is it? And how do you answer criticism like this? Don't know? Either does TiVo apparently. They say noise in the line caused it. I can't be the only one whos skeptical about that!

Lastly, have you seen Memeorandum? Always wanted a tech version? Well, now you have it. And it's completely automated, which is pretty cool. But the bad thing is that the RSS feed is all but useless now. It should include the same content that's on the site - that's my opinion.

So that's it. A huge geek week if you're into the Microsoft scene, which I am. But even without that, it was still a pretty big week for mergers. Anyway, let's get this out and in your hands. And, as always, send any suggestions for stories to weekly at rosscode dot com.

Categories: RossCode Weekly



posted on 2005-09-17 at 00:50:39 by Joel Ross

Anyone else out there using Plazes?

What is Plazes? Glad you asked. Have you checked out Virtual Earth? Well, you know how it knows where you are? Well, this is the open answer to their solution. If enough people sign up and register their locations, it could be useful. Until then, it's up to us to enter new areas so it can become useful.

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Categories: General


Newsgator's API Challenge

posted on 2005-09-16 at 00:33:47 by Joel Ross

Today was a wierd day for me. I saw the Newsgator API contest a few days ago, but I hadn't posted about it. I've thought about cleaning up my Top Blog finder tool that I've been playing with and entering, but I wasn't sure I'd have the time.

But today, something interesting happened. I got a call from Newsgator. An actual person called me (I missed her name!), just to make sure I knew about the competition, and, once I said I knew about it, to ask if I was going to enter. I told her I'd considered it, and she asked about the idea, so I tried to explain what it was.

That was it. Just a courtesy call to let me know what's going on over at Newsgator. An email would have been impressive, but a phone call is, honestly, quite shocking. I'm still not sure how I was chosen to call, and where they got my contact info - could have been from my purchase, or it could have been from my blog (they called my cell phone, which is in the left navigation). Either way, they continue to impress me!

Now, it's time to win a laptop. Or maybe a Nano!

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Categories: Software


RossCode Picks - NFL Week II

posted on 2005-09-15 at 21:08:30 by Joel Ross

After a dismal week one, I'm hoping for a huge improvement this week. Of course, a lot of the teams I picked to win last week are too. It's amazing?to me how quickly the tide turns. A bad day for the Jets, and suddenly they're in danger of never winning again - if you listen to the talk!

Anyway, let's move on to this weekend's games, shall we?

  • Baltimore (-3.5) vs. Tennessee (36.5 O/U): Pittsburgh took Tennessee to the woodshed and laid a beating on them. Baltimore, on the other hand, got beat by probably the best offense in the league. If the Ravens play defense the way they did against the Colts, Tennessee won't be nearly as successful as Manning was, and they won't be putting many points on the board. All Baltimore has to do is get the ball in the end zone, and if you watched Willie Parker run through hole after hole against the Titans, well, you can see a game plan forming that should involve heavy doses of Jamal Lewis, with pinches of Chester Taylor when Lewis is getting oxygen after a 60 yard scamper.
  • Buffalo vs. Tampa Bay (-2.5) (35.5 O/U): I'm a little surprised that the Bucs are the favorite here, and that's why I'm going with the Bills. Yes, Losman is a rookie and is bound to have a bad game - he won't equal Roethlisberger's undefeated regular season last year - but they still have McGahee. Tampa Bay caught the Vikings on a bad day, and took advantage.
  • Detroit (-1) vs. Chicago (33 O/U): Da Bears managed all of seven points last week, but only yielded nine. That's a good day for the defense, but the offense needs to step up. If Jones can't run against the Lions, expect to see Benson get a fair amount of touches. Harrington needs to open things up?- he has three top young receivers, plus solid veterans at tight end and receiver. Plus, if Kevin Jones is to get going, then the passing game has to get better. It is surprising to see that, despite the ugliness last week, Harrington did OK - 2 TDs and no picks.
  • Jacksonville* vs. Indianapolis (-9) (46 O/U): The Colts are nine point favorites, which is getting close to a personal RossCode Picks rule - never give up 10 points. Someday, I'll revisit this and go back and see if it's a valid rule, but for now, I think 9 is too many, and the Jags will keep it closer than that. They'll lose, but it'll be by less than 9.
  • Minnesota vs. Cincinnati (-3) (47.5 O/U): Minnesota is one of the teams that the tide turned on - Culpepper's miserable play (he put up all of 0 points for my fantasy team!) has experts speculating on how far the Vikes will fall. Not far, in my eyes. Remember, Cincinnati played the Browns. It's hard to look at that game and conclude that the Bengals are going to have a decent year. I think they will, but you also can't say they'll beat the Vikings based on past performance against a sub-par team.
  • New Orleans vs. New York Giants (-3) (44 O/U): This is New Orleans "home away from home opener" and is the spotlight game this week. It's been moved to Monday night and to the Meadowlands and will captivate football fans across the country. I think that spotlight will help the Saints and hurt the Giants. Remember, the Giants beat up on Warner, who is past his prime (can you call one great season a prime?), but look deeper, and they didn't really play all that well. Amani Toomer didn't even have a catch.
  • New England (-3) vs. Carolina (43.5 O/U): This should be a good game. How the over/under got to 43 is beyond me. Carolina has a good defense (look past last week - that was emotion from the Saints), and you always step up against the defending champ. New England's defense isn't awesome, but it's good enough - remember, New England doesn't really have any outstanding stars - they do it through teamwork - and Carolina isn't going to put up a ton of points.
  • Pittsburgh (-6) vs. Houston (38.5 O/U): Carr is having a poor season so far (including the pre-season) and there's no reason to think that will change against the Steelers. On the other side, will Houston have any better luck stopping Parker than the Titans did? I doubt it.
  • San Francisco* vs. Philadelphia (-13.5) (41 O/U): I don't see the 49ers luck continuing - and it was luck, combined with a bad day for the Rams that allowed the 49ers to escape with a win. Philly, despite the injured McNabb, is just too good to lose to the 49ers. Don't believe me? The money line for picking the 49ers is +790. That means if you put $100 down, you'd get back $790 if the 49ers pull it off. On the other side, you'd have to put down $870 to win $100. This is another situation that if you were betting in real life, you might be better off taking the 49ers on the off chance they do win - the return is tremendous, where as the return on taking the Eagles is relatively small. But as you look at my pick, remember my rule about 10+ spreads that I mentioned above.
  • Atlanta vs. Seattle (PK) (41.5 O/U): Let me get this straight. Atlanta beats the NFC champ (whose been the champ for a while now), and that doesn't even get them a favorite spot against Seattle? Seattle couldn't handle Jacksonville, but suddenly they can hang with Mike Vick? I doubt it.
  • St. Louis vs. Arizona (PK) (44.5 O/U): Another one where the odds don't make sense. Arizona got beat by the Giants. I guess in fairness, the Rams did lose to the 49ers. Maybe they're settings odds based on how Martz calls plays? Yeah...that's got to be it.
  • Cleveland vs. Green Bay (-6.5) (41 O/U): How will Brett Favre adjust to Javan Walker's absense? Well, what better way to start than playing the lowly Browns? Even with their number one receiver out for the season, the Pack is still favored by a touchdown. That's got to hurt more than a little bit down in Ohio.
  • Miami* vs. New York Jets (-6) (37 O/U): The Jets and Dolfins have swapped positions. Before the season, everyone said Miami wouldn't be good - running back controversy, new coach adjusting to the pro style, and quarterback questions. And they said the Jets would be good - solid defense, Pennington back healthy, Martin a solid running back. Then Miami wins and New York loses. And just?like that, questions are flying about the Jets, and if they can pull through this season. Of course they can - it's week one. No one needs to panic - yet.
  • San Diego vs. Denver (-3) (45 O/U): Antonio Gates is back. That will definitely help the Chargers. Will Mike Anderson play? He's got a chest injury, and if he can't go, the arguably more dynamic Tatum Bell will get the start. Both are good backs, but I'm expecting to see Bell. You still have the issue that Plummer isn't that good, so Denver will struggle.
  • Kansas City (-1) vs. Oakland (53.5 O/U): There's that magic number of 51 - the experts say that if you ever see a?spread of 51 or over, take the under! It's a sure bet. I'm taking it, but if there ever were two teams who had the chance, it would be these guys. High powered offenses against low powered defenses. The perfect recipe for breaking the C-Mark? No, 100 points would be crazy.
  • Washington vs. Dallas (-6) (36 O/U): This is the original Monday Night matchup, and if Washington's play last week is any indication, it's a good thing that we have another one to watch. By the way, since when does the NFL schedule based on coaches? Neither team had high hopes going into the season, so how would they end up on MNF - playing each other no less? Gibbs vs. Parcells. That's where the story line is. One brilliant coach trying to?out-coach the other, but the problem is that neither have the players to make it work - Gibbs more so than Parcells. The Cowboys are in a better position than the 'Skins, but still. Neither team is good enough to warrant being the premiere team for MNF - both could be secondary teams, but they need a strong team to play against. Anyway, I don't see any reason why Dallas shouldn't win easily.

I hope I do better this week. It's pretty bad when you have to fall back on hope for your picks! I guess we'll see this weekend though.

Categories: Football


CruiseControl.NET RC2

posted on 2005-09-15 at 09:03:02 by Joel Ross

I haven't seen a formal annoucement yet, but the release notes are posted. Given that it's the next release candidate, there isn't much new here, but it should be less quirky and more stable.

RC2 hasn't been released yet, at least not from the looks of the download page, but the last time I saw release notes get updated, the release followed shortly.

Categories: Software


Why We Gave Up On Biztalk Server

posted on 2005-09-15 at 00:57:02 by Joel Ross

My trip to California was eventually a successful one. I say eventually because we pounded our heads against a wall for quite a while working through the Biztalk framework to get what we wanted. Every problem we ran into, we would find a solution, usually resulting in us calling into a DLL to handle what we were trying to do. And since it started out as needing to do database lookups, we migrated to calling into our already-built shared library, since it already had the caching capabilities we wanted built into it.

We could either have copy and paste re-use, or actual re-use. We chose to actually re-use our main library, but this presented a dilemma for us. It tied our BTS implementation to our application - closely. Not just because of the database lookups, but because a lot of the mapping was easier to do in code rather than through the mapper provided in BizTalk.

So basically, any time we wanted to do anything other than simple mappings, we called into our already-built DLL. And there wasn't much to our orchestrations - we submitted a request, polled for a response, and once we got a response, we processed. There were no decisions to make - it was just a matter of storing the response. And that's what all of our integration point processes looked like.

Based on those things, we decided that BizTalk was overkill - and too much of a hassle to mess around anymore. We made the decision to switch over to doing it all in custom code, and within 4 hours, the process was in place and working.

So what did we end up doing? We used the Abstract Factory Pattern, actually. The client has a transaction, and calls into an abstract class factory method to get a concrete integration service. Which concrete implementation to use is determined through details in our transaction record. Then, the client treats it like the abstract class and performs the necessary operations to complete an integration process - send a message, poll for a response, and then get the response.

The beauty of this pattern is that adding new integration types is easy - you implement the integration methods, and then you add it to the abstract factory method. The client never changes. We could have gone as far as to use reflection in the abstract factory to create the objects and not have to modify that, but we thought that was overkill for what we were doing.

Back to BizTalk. As we look back, we're pretty sure we could have gotten all the way there with BizTalk (and in fact, that we are set up to go back if we ever want to). The pieces we were missing was due to a lack of BTS knowledge on our part. For example, a problem we ran into could have been solved using a custom pipeline, but we had no experience with pipelines, so it just didn't make sense for us to learn about them and build one, when we could turn around an alternate solution inside of 4 hours.

All in all, BizTalk was a good experiment, and I'm glad I got the knowledge I did. I'm probably at the stage of knowing too much to go back, but knowing too little to the point of being dangerours! Maybe I'll end up on a BTS project with a true expert who can shape my BTS putty of knowledge.

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Categories: Development


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