User Control Interaction - Follow up

posted on 2005-09-14 at 23:37:33 by Joel Ross

Last night, I posted about how we did user control interaction on my last project, prompted by Erik's post. Well, today, I found the magazine at work and read through the article.

Guess what? I was right on in what I was doing - although, the article refers to how server side interaction works. But the ideas are the same - expose events and raise events in controls, and leave it up to the page to hook them together. Maybe I do know what I'm doing!

Of course, a broken clock is right twice a day...

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Categories: ASP.NET


RCW Rumor Tracker

posted on 2005-09-14 at 23:29:15 by Joel Ross

As promised, here's the rumor tracker. This covers all rumors from all RCW's so far. I'll try to dig up some more info, and then make?a decision to either remove the rumor, as it's either come to pass or it's not going to, or I'll leave it on the list and revisit it the next time. For this one, I'll list out the rumors by issue. In the future, I'll only highlight the new rumors, and then just maintain one list from all the rest.

RCW #001?(05/22/05):

  • Microsoft to buy Red Hat? I didn't see any validity to this when I wrote it, but it was out there. Given that Microsoft employees are not allowed to use any software released under the GPL, why would they buy a company who's sole existence is because of the GPL? I'm taking this one off.
  • Bloglines to be a search engine by the middle of the summer. This came from the CEO of Bloglines, so there's definitely some validity to this rumor. Their site already has a blog search, but it's probably not exactly what they want. Their citations feature is pretty good, but lacks RSS feeds, which I would assume would be key to blog search - at least in my mind. And that's a little different than a true blog search engine. I'll leave this up until I'm either convinced their current search is what he was talking about, or an announcement is out about a new "true" search.

RCW #002?(05/30/05):

  • Apple considering Intel Chips: This one came to pass. Apple will be switching over to Intel chips starting next summer. There have already been reports of OS X running on Intel machines now. It does sound like Apple will require some sort of proprietary hardware to run. Isn't this the reason that Apple remains a bit player in the computer world?

RCW #005 (06/19/05):

?RCW #007 (07/04/05):

RCW #008 (07/11/05):

  • Apple may release a Media Center device at the end of the summer: This rumor has been around for a while, and it's reportedly going to be called the iHome. There's actually pictures available, so I think there's some weight behind this one. Release date is supposedly slated for late summer/early fall, so we'll get some closure on this in the next few months hopefully. For now, it's still just a rumor, albeit a solid one.

RCW #010 (07/25/05):

  • IceRocket to launch BlogScour: BlogScour redirects to, and it has for a while. If this is all that IceRocket was talking about, it's a little disappointing. I'm removing this, because I think it is.
  • Apple launch iPod Video: No more news on this one, other than people saying this doesn't make sense. Given the recent proliferation of media devices lately, I don't see how it doesn't make sense. Let's add a rumor that goes with one above. I don't think you'll see an iPod Video until you see the Apple Media Center. Once you see that, an iPod Video makes much more sense. I'll combine it with the Apple Media Center rumor.

RCW #011 (08/01/05):

  • Yahoo building a blog search engine: Given that both Microsoft and Google have entered the blog search space, Yahoo can't be far behind. At least I wouldn't think they could be. Given recent industry consolidation, will Yahoo take the buy or build philosophy? Technorati, maybe? They're having some growing pains and Yahoo could definitely help there. I'll keep this one up, because it just doesn't make sense for Yahoo not to be doing a blog search.

RCW #013 (08/15/05):

  • Google bought Meetro: False. Given that Google recently released Google Talk, I think Google's out of the IM client market.
  • Technorati close to being sold: No one knew who, but it was supposed to be a big search company. Yahoo, anyone? It makes sense. Of the big players, only Yahoo has yet to come out with a dedicated blogging search tool. I'll keep this one up because I personally think this is credible. There hasn't been much about it recently, but that doesn't mean anything. News Corp, who is buying internet companies like crazy lately, is another possibility.

RCW #014 (08/22/05):

  • Google to offer iTunes clone: No new news that I can find. It's only been a few weeks, so I don't expect much. Google's been busy, so this may have slipped. The only thing that bothers me about this is that it doesn't fit with Google's typical model of making money on advertising. Will they offer songs for $0.99, and add in advertisements to make money? Would you use an ad infiltrated iTunes clonse from Google, or would you just use iTunes? Could it be a net-based solution so you don't have to install iTunes? I'll leave it in for now - there was lots of buzz around this one!
  • GoogleNet: With the hiring of Vint Cerf and his recent comments on C|Net, this is getting more and more credible - as far fetched as that sounds. Listen to the September 4th edition of the Gillmor Gang?for a nice discussion of why a nation-wide wireless network would be both nice and impractical (especially if implemented by the government). Now, look at the arguments against the network, and instead of a government implementing it, imagine Google doing it. The argument that it undercuts existing Telco's goes away - it's just competition now. I'm still not sold on this one happening, but it's still possible. If you read about how the?Google?network currently works,?it sounds like they? have?many low powered machines across the country, so they're already a distributed?network. Adding in Wifi would only help them, wouldn't it? And with the addition of Google Talk, blanket Wifi helps that too.
  • Yahoo will offer dedicated VoIP: I've seen no confirmation or denouncement of this one. I would find it hard to believe that after Google Talk's launch?that Yahoo would actively try to seperate their IM offering from their VoIP offering. My guess is that they're going to put their effort into improving their (pretty poor) VoIP quality.

RCW #017 (09/11/05):

  • eBay to buy Skype: If you've been alive in the past week, you'll know the answer to this one. It's valid and it happened - eBay paid $1,300,000,000 in cash, $1,300,000,000 in stock, and the possibility of another $1,500,000,000 if certain performance numbers are hit.
  • China to block Skype: I called the Chinese government and they told me it's true. They're blocking Skype. Just kidding.
  • Vista to play XBox 360 games: I didn't believe this one when I found it, and with the week this week at PDC, and no announcements about this, I'm removing it. It would be a huge feature for Microsoft to advertise, and since they aren't, I doubt it's true.
  • MCE 2005 to support podcasting: No updates on this, but here's my gut. This won't be a feature until the Vista version. Maybe what someone is seeing is actually a bug - that someone is testing an early version of Vista MCE and the user agent wasn't updated. Just a theory though. On the other hand, there's a post on Channel 9?that does talk about using extra bandwidth to download podcasts using BITS. BITS is the same technology?used to download windows updates. I'll leave this one up here until we get a better look at the Vista versions and what may be included in each. UPDATE: Here's a screen shot of Vista MCE. Could an updated version of Media Player that has podcasting support integrate with Vista MCE and provide playlists? Absolutely. Could this be pushed back to MCE 2005? Probably, but why? The latest rollup update doesn't have anything about podcasting support, by the way.
  • Google Wallet heating up? Given the recent job listing, I think it has some cred. Not much more news about it, but I'll track it.
  • Google to buy The Yell Group: This was just added - no new news on this one. I'll keep tracking it, but it definitely makes sense from a business stand point for Google.

So that's all of the rumors I've covered since the beginning of RCW. This won't be an every week thing - these types of things don't develop quickly enough - but I will put it out every now and then.

If you have any updates on any of the rumors that you think I'd be interested in, send them along to weekly at rosscode dot com.

Categories: RossCode Weekly


RossCode Picks - NFL Week I Review

posted on 2005-09-14 at 00:41:09 by Joel Ross

Ouch! This week hurt. I think across the board, a lot of people didn't see?a lot of the upsets coming. Look at the survivor/suicide pools, and I'm guessing you're going to see roughly half of the people eliminated from the competition. I was. Who knew San Fran had it in them to beat St. Louis?

Anyway, below is a little confusing, so I'm going to provide a brief description of what it all means. I'm not sold on this being the final format, since it's complicated. But here's the explanation. Let's say you have the following:

  • Oakland* 20, New England 30 (-7.5) (50 O/U) [P: $2.94, S: ($10.00), O/U: $0.00, T: ($7.06)]: Some insightful comment about the game.

If you look at my post about my picks, you'll already know what some of it means - it's a review of what I picked. In this case, I picked Oakland to cover, but lose. I list the final score, and that the spread was 7.5, meaning New England had to win by 8 or more to cover. I also picked under, and the over/under line was 50. I'll usually reference whether I was right or wrong in the description, but based on the score, the spread, and the over/under, you can also figure out for yourself if I was right or wrong. In the above, I was wrong about the spread pick - New England did win by more than 7.5. I was right on the straight up pick - Oakland did lose. And I pushed on the over/under pick - it was 50, and the total (20+30) was 50 too. Inside the brackets is going to be the hard part. The P signifies how much I would have made on a $10.00 bet based on the money line (which I never list, mainly to keep things simpler). For that game, the money line was -340 for New England to win, so that results in making only $2.94 on a $10.00 bet. The next number (S) is how much I made or lost on the spread pick. I got that wrong, so I lost my $10.00 bet. If I had been right, I would have made $10.00. The next number is O/U, which is how much I made or lost on my over/under pick. Since it was a push, I broke even. The last number is the total gain or loss for that game. So in the example. I would have lost $7.06 for this game. I would have bet $30.00, and only gotten back $22.94 - a net loss. You'll see that a lot this week.

Of course, you can skip past all of that stuff, and just read my witty insights too. The summary will be at the bottom - how I did straight up, against the spread, and over/under. And then a net sum of winnings for the week (or, as is the case this week, a net loss).

Anyway, let's get into this week's games.

  • Oakland* 20, New England 30 (-7.5) (50 O/U) [P: $2.94, S: ($10.00), O/U: $0.00, T: ($7.06)]: New England looked strong, but Oakland looked better than I expected. Randy Moss looked disinterested at times, but that's not surprising. Did Oakland watch the tapes of Moss just standing on the field whenever the play was a run when he was in Minnesota? Did they expect to get anything different just because he's playing for the Raiders? I hope not. I thought this would be closer. If just New England had one less field goal or touch down, I would have been pefect for this game. That would have been an almost $30 swing.
  • Chicago 7, Washington 9 (-6) (33 O/U) [P: $3.85, S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($16.15)]: Living in the midwest, we were "blessed" with having this game be televised. The Saints (America's Team?) was on, and it was (or at least looked like) a good game, but no. We got to see Washington's domination of the Bears. I mean, they marched up the field three times, and kicked three field goals! That's utter destruction of the Bears defense. But seriously. If you suffered through this one, did you hear the announcers ask when it would be too early to talk about Brunell replacing Ramsey as the starting QB? The other announcer was quick to point out that Brunell hadn't thrown a TD pass, so yes, it was infact too early. The sole highlight of the game? Thomas Jones scored a touchdown. Did you know those exist? I didn't either. Of course, we were watching the Tennessee / Pittsburgh game while that was going on.
  • Cincinnati 27 (-4), Cleveland 13 (44 O/U) [P: $5.71, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.80, T: $25.52]: One of six games that I would have come out on top if I'd actually used real money, and the most profitable too. It looks like Carson Palmer is going to have a good season. He had a pretty good game, but then again, it was Cleveland, who's expected to be awful this year. The worst part for Cleveland? They could actually under acheive!
  • Denver 10 (-4.5), Miami 34 (38.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: ($10.91)]:?Newsflash! Jake Plummer is not that good! I know it's a little early, but apparently Nick Saban is adjusting OK to the pro game. Or maybe not. We'll see at the end of the year. At least he didn't have to wait long to get his first win. Remember all the talk about how Ricky Williams wouldn't be a factor when he comes back because Ronnie Brown is supposedly going to establish himself as the number one back? What are those people saying now? 3 more weeks, maybe?
  • Houston 7, Buffalo 22 (-5.5) (38.5 O/U) [P: $4.35, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.52, T: $23.87]: Buffalo is slowly becoming a pretty good team. Losman, while not spectacular, wasn't a detriment to his team, as a lot of rookies can be as they learn the ropes. McGahee looked pretty good, and that should worry a few teams in the AFC East.
  • New York Jets 7, Kansas City 27 (-3) (47.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]: Who in the AFC East should be worried? How about the Jets? Pennington looks rough, and is coming off of shoulder surgery. Curtis Martin probably won't repeat last years feat of leading the league in rushing yards. So your passing game and your running game will probably take a dip this year, unless Chad can get back in game shape. That hurts the defense too. K.C., on the other hand, looks to be a pretty good team. The 1-2 combo of Holmes and Johnson is deadly, and covers the fact that Trent Green isn't the most dynamic passer in the game. The defense looks better than in the past - they were just a few minutes shy of a shut out. Speaking of that, did you see the way that TD was celebrated? You're down 27-6 late in the fourth, and you celebrate like you just scored the game winner in the Super Bowl?
  • New Orleans 23, Carolina 20 (-7) (45 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: ($10.91)]: America's Team. It's fitting that the Saints came back to win - the team (city) was down, but banded together to catch up, just as the city will band together to rebuild itself. Carolina will recover from this - it was an emotional game, unlike any game Carolina will play all year, so it's understandable. Let's take a tangent, shall we? It looks like the Super Dome will have to be torn down, or at least go under extensive repairs. There are two sides to this argument. Some argue that the project shouldn't happen - tear it down, and put the money that would have been invested in this into the schooling system, or other more important projects in the city. The other side says rebuild it - you have to in order to start the healing. Now, even among those, there are debates about where to rebuild it - on the ground it's on, which is reportedly over an old grave, and where reportedly there were murders and rapes during the hurricane, or do you rebuild it in a new place, and let the current ground be used as a memorial? Personally, I think you have to do what you can to keep the Saints there. I don't really have a preference on where to build the stadium - just do it!
  • Seattle 14, Jacksonville 26 (-3) (39.5 O/U) [P: $6.25, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.01, T: $25.26]:?My other big money game. I didn't even see highlights of this one, but since I would have won $25 on it, I'm sure it was good!
  • Tampa Bay 24, Minnesota 13 (-6) (43 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]: Maybe Randy Moss will be missed more than originally thought. Maybe Tampa Bay is better than expected. I doubt both of those. Culpepper's numbers had a downturn at the end of last year. He's an up and down guy, and he'll bounce back. This is only one of three games this week where I missed every pick - the pick, the spread pick and the o/u.
  • Tennessee 7, Pittsburgh 34 (-7) (40 O/U) [P: $3.13, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $3.13]: Willie Parker rules! He was so quick - good cuts, and his pull away speed was spectacular. On one play, a linebacker was about to dive to tackle him, and he turned on the burners and was gone. I made the comment to my brother-in-law that Bettis and Staley were excited for Parker, but if his play continues, those smiles will slowly fade as their chance at starting dwindles. Staley more so than Bettis - Bettis (when healthy) will always be the option on the goal line - he's too big to regularly stop! I wouldn't be surprised to hear Staley trade rumors in the next couple of weeks if Parker plays well next week. Tennessee is obviously in the rebuilding phase - early in it.
  • Arizona 19, New York Giants 42 (-2.5) (37.5 O/U) [P: $6.90, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $6.90]: Arizona is pretty good at picking wide receivers, but I guess it helps that they always are picking near the top of the draft. Boldin has been a great receiver for them for the past couple of years, and Larry Fitzgerald had a great first day. Here's an interesting stat, courtesy of TMQ. Warner has been in three consecutive openers in the Meadowlands - in three different jerseys!
  • Dallas 28, San Diego 24 (-4.5) (40.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: ($10.91)]: I was shocked by this game. Late in the game, San Diego's tight end had a chance to win the game, but he dropped a key pass. And it wasn't their number one tight end - Antonio Gates was suspended - a test of wills between Gates and the Chargers in which the Chargers "won" - they kept their word and suspended Gates, even though Gates signed his contract two days after the deadline. If the Chargers are one win shy of the division title or worse, the wildcard, will they still see this as a victory? I guess they'll get an extra few weeks to contemplate that in the off-season.
  • Green Bay 3, Detroit 17 (-3) (46 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $8.77, T: ($11.23)]: I picked Green Bay, but I'm a Lions fan - a pessimistic Lions fan, but a Lions fan none the less. I'm glad the Lions won, but this was a very sloppy game! Fantasy note: Every year, a team loses a key player in the first week. Last year it was Steve Smith. One year, it was Ed McCaffery. This year, it's Javon Walker. And now the Packers are reeling, as are a few fantasy teams who banked on Favre having a good year with Walker, and for the Walker owners. How many casual players saw Walker hit the waiver wire and snatched him up not knowing?
  • St. Louis 25 (-6), San Francisco 28 (46.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]: San Fran is one win away from matching their win total from last year. How many other teams can make that claim? That's production. What's up with Mike Martz' play calling? No one understands it, including his own team. He's the first coach on the hot seat, but he won't be the last!
  • Indianapolis 24 (-3), Baltimore 7 (46.5 O/U) [P: $6.67, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $6.67]: This was a great game for Indy. Yeah, Manning was held to earthling type numbers, rather than his out-of-this-world numbers from last year, but Baltimore has a great defense. They've figured out Manning's weakness - a defense who moves around before the snap, and a player on the other side of the ball who's barking out orders more than Manning is. Unfortunately, that caught the defense off guard a few times, and Manning took advantage. He's too good to be held down for a full game. For Baltimore, don't you think an offense would be a good idea? How sad is it when you long for the days of Trent Dilfer?
  • Philadelphia 10 (-1), Atlanta 14 (41.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: ($10.91)]: Someone tell Andy Reid that you're allowed to run the ball. 13 running plays compared to 48 passing plays, and they were only briefly down by more than 7 points. In a blowout, you have to pass to come back - it takes less time. But 7 points is not a blowout. And running opens up the passing game. If you don't have to worry about the run, then your linebackers can either make a run at the QB, or they can help defend the shorter passes - all with no regard to the running back, who's only in to look pretty. Atlanta, on the other hand, ran quite a bit. For as good as Vick is, or is hyped to be, he doesn't put up the passing numbers - 155 yards last night. How much did the fight affect each team? I don't think it was much - Atlanta was just more fired up!

Results Summary: So it looks bad, and it was. The numbers below are based on a $10 bet, but if you want to compare my results to Andrew's (he's using units), divide my numbers by 10.

  • Picks: 8 - 8 (50.00%) - Winnings: ($40.21): Breaking even wasn't enough for me. The games I got right didn't pay enough to break even.
  • Spread: 6 - 10 (37.50%) - Winnings: ($40.00): Worse record against the spread, but less loss. Betting is odd. There's a theory that betting on week one and two games is a good idea because the oddsmakers are taking wild guesses at lines. There's another theory too - no one knows, so don't do it! Sunday night, I got an email from Andrew with the subject line Why not to bet week 1: exhibit A. He includes a nice stat. In a couple of suicide leagues (where you pick one game a week that's a lock), 35 of 93 people were eliminated. And that's not even taking the spread into account!
  • Over/Under: 8 - 7 (53.33%) - Winnings: $3.47: I never would have guessed that I would be above water on the o/u. I don't expect this to continue, but I'll take it for now. As an interesting side note, the rumors are that 51 is the magic number for the high end of the o/u - if it hits 51, bet under! Only Oakland/New England approached it - and even then, it was right on. Of course, if the line was 51, under would have one. By the way, 13 of 16 games scored under 51 points. I guess I can see why that's considered a lock pick.
  • Total Winnings: ($76.74): Not a good week. I would have bet $480.00 and come out with $409.26. That's a loss of 15%. Not a good return on investment!

I'll be back in a couple of days with next week's picks. I checked tonight, and lines are set, but money lines aren't out yet. Hopefully by Thursday, they will be. I'm hoping to recover a little bit next week!

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Categories: Football



posted on 2005-09-13 at 22:06:21 by Joel Ross

Jason Salas asked for it, and I've been meaning to add it anyway.?His prodding pushed me over the edge,?and I wanted to experiment with FeedBurner without affecting my current subscribers. This seems like a good way to do that.

So, here it is. A feed for just the RossCode Weekly's:

Use it, distribute it, and who knows - there could be more announcements around RCW soon...

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Categories: RossCode Weekly


User Control Interaction

posted on 2005-09-13 at 21:20:17 by Joel Ross

I've been working on this for a while, but I was prodded to finish it after seeing Erik's post about the same subject. With my last project, one of the things we did early on was come up with a large set of reusable controls that could easily be used across many pages. This came in handy because each control handled how it displayed itself and the page didn't have to worry about each control's state - you know, the standard reasons for using controls.

But, what happens when you need something to happen in one user control based on something else happening in another user control? For example, we had a control where you enter your address, and how long you've lived there. Another control, which accepted a previous address, had to only be shown when the amount of time lived in your current address was less than 2 years. So how do you accomplish that interaction in a generic fashion?

Erik mentions an article in asp.netPRO magazine, which I don't have access to - I'm hoping we have a copy in the office (I've seen that magazine there before), so I can check it out, so just to be clear, I haven't read the article, and therefore I don't if my way is the best way, or if there is a better way. On the flip side, if my way is exactly what the article suggests, I am in no way trying to copy content - I haven't even read the article yet!

Anyway, here's what we did. In the particular example, the interaction was client side, so the PreviousAddress control would expose a javascript method that would be called to either show or hide itself - basically a get method that returned the name of the method to call. The CurrentAddress would have a property that you could set to tell it what javascript function to call when the amount of time is changed - and it's designed to pass in true if it's below 2 years, and false when it's above. The page then wires the two together - it tells the CurrentAddress control to call the method returned by the PreviousAddress control.

It may not be the best, but it worked out great for us, and works reliably and generically. We used this same pattern in multiple places, and never had any issues. Maybe I'll revisit this if I can get a hold of the magazine and see how the pros recommend this interaction.

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Categories: ASP.NET


What Is

posted on 2005-09-13 at 00:36:25 by Joel Ross

Could this be what Scoble is talking about? (6th paragraph)

How did I find it? I had a referrer from it that pointed to my Long Tail post.

Anyway, I'm guessing this is what Robert is talking about. If you go to, you get a password prompt, and the site is called "whatever." Nice!

Now, if just I could get an invite to check it out myself!

UPDATE: Shortly after I posted this, I clicked the link, and it's now public. It's basically a technology version of Memeorandum's politics page. Very cool!

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Categories: Blogging


RossCode Weekly #017

posted on 2005-09-11 at 23:46:36 by Joel Ross

Welcome to RossCode Weekly, version 17! Either I'm getting  more and more lax, or a lot happened this week. Usually I wait until Sunday to start writing this (I collect all week), but there's so much that I had to start early! I'm going to stay away from too many non-technical things this week, but I do want to say thanks to Jason Salas for the mention of RCW in episode 112 of his Digital Pontifications podcast.

One last non-technical thing. The Red Cross can still use your donations. Please give generously! As I did last week, I'll include a slightly technical story too. Since the lights are back on and people are trying to get back to work - at least some government officials. Well, while power is back, the networking infrastructure is gone. But, the good folks at Intel and Cisco have donated hardware to set up Wi-Max for the city. It's a nice gesture, and, even though it's extremely unfortunate circumstances, New Orleans presents a unique opportunity to build a network from the ground up - could this be the end of copper wire? If it works, will this spread?

Ok. You came for content, and that's what you're going to get. This'll be a long one, so don't say I didn't warn you!

It's always fun to delve into the rumor mill. This week has a good one. eBay is reportedly in talks to buy Skype. Now, no one is confirming or denying anything on either side, so who knows if this has any legs to stand on. Remember, though, that last week I speculated that as more and more social software companies consolidated, Skype's selling market would continue to dwindle. eBay is in the social software market, right? Yeah, it's a little different, and what could eBay do with it? Well, they could hold live auctions. That would be fun. Imagine bidding on a hot item (or just listening) with potentially 100s of other people?

Enough rumor mongering (at least about Skype). What about reality. Well, Skype didn't just sit back this week either. First, it sounds like Skype will be bundled with all Sony Viao's sold in Japan. Then they announced a partnership with Voxeo, VoxPilot, and TellMe to offer voice recognition to Skype. There's even a revenue model there for the provider, but mainly for Skype. And some don't see that as a good thing. If you read the post, I think the term "innovation killer" is used. Ouch! Basically, the service charge that Skype gets is 30%, which is pretty high considering what they are actually offering. "Can you imagine paying 30% of a sale to your credit card company? Or to your phone company for letting you hook up your computer to the phone network? That's Skype's program!" That's a quote from the last link on Skype Journal. It'll be interesting to see if this gets used. It's looking like Skype is out of the honeymoon period!

And then there's this. China is (or is thinking about, depending on where you read) banning VoIP programs such as Skype because it bites into state-owned telco income. So when eBay considers buying Skype, they'll need to remember that 1.3 billion people may be off-limits. As is the case with a lot of stuff coming out of China, this is a rumor, and there are reports that it's not happening - yet.

So what if you don't want to pay for Skype if you want to be able to call "real" phones? Well, you could use AdCalls, which says that the ad you see while you're making your call is actually paying for it. But dig deeper. When you make a call, you're agreeing to allow the telemarketers (who are obviously ultimately behind this) to use that information to solicit to the person you are calling. Yes, you read that right. You're not submitting yourself to telemarketing abuse (well, actually, you probably are!). No, you're actually responsible for adding your buddy to the tele-spam database. Now that's sneaky!

Let's move the rumor mill to Redmond, shall we? I didn't get this when I read it, but some are speculating that since Microsoft is making a PC controller that's based on the XBox 360 controller, that XBox games will play on Windows Vista. Somehow I doubt it, but who knows. It would kind of make sense. Microsoft loses money on the hardware every time they sell it, so why not embed the sofware into an operating system, and leave it up to the user to buy the correct hardware? On the other hand, now you are making a base set of requirements for any Vista PC that wants to run games of whatever hardware is in the XBox 360 - and then having to deal with the support issues if that doesn't work. But all this is even more interesting (and probably a mute point) when you consider that the XBox 360 is going to have a Power PC chip. I'm pretty sure that Vista is going to be Intel-based, and unless the games will be delivered on the disk in something like IL, which, for those who don't know, is then compiled based on the hardware it's run on. Now, if that's the case, this is cool. But I'm sticking with my initial reaction. Speaking of the 360 though, pricing for XBox Live Gold was announced, and it's not terribly different than the current offerings. More XBox news? How about this? First, Microsoft says that they've been using custom designed hardware to make the XBox 360 hack-proof. Not likely, but a valiant effort. One more thing: Halo 3 can be pre-ordered at EBGames, and is scheduled to be released on June 30th, which is shortly after the release of the PS3. I heard they were going to be on the same day, and this doesn't really change that - dates almost a year out are always flexible!

Speaking of Windows Vista, there's an unconfirmed report that there will be seven separate versions available, depending on what you want to do. There's one for emerging markets that limits you to three concurrent programs, home edition, which will be much like XP Home, a media center edition, and three different business flavors. But the one that piqued my interest was the Ultimate version, which was known as the Uber version. It's said to include a podcatcher, potentially free movie and music downloads. But the best part is the "Game Performance Tweaker." No one knows what that means, and how do you tweak a system generically for games, unless...what if the Ultimate version had an XBox 360 emulator built-in? Then you could tweak your 360 experience!

One more Microsoft rumor. Apparently there's an eWeek article out that says Bill Gates said that Office 12 will be out early next year, and not late next year, as previously reported. I'm going to have to say this isn't true either. I've heard all that is going to be in this release, including Content Management Server and Sharepoint, I'm going to have to say that what BillG referred to was not the final release, but actually the beta release, which seems much more reasonable.

More Microsoft. But this is more than a rumor. They've announced something similar to Small Business Server, but aimed at the middle market. It's called Centro, and as part of this, Microsoft will be revamping it's CRM and ERP solutions as well. New names too. And with the CRM at least, RSS feeds!

Back to Redmond Rumorville. There's reports that Windows Media Center 2005 may soon support podcasting. Where's the rumor coming from? Well, some are seeing subscriptions coming from MCE.

One last Microsoft fact. OneCare has entered into public beta. Remember OneCare? It's a program offered by Microsoft that includes back up, virus protection, and firewall. And it could eventually include spyware protection. Remember though, before you get addicted, Microsoft says it plans to charge for this eventually.

Now, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that there's going to be news next week, and it's going to be coming out of the PDC in Los Angeles next week. I, unfortunately, won't be there, but I'll still be covering it. Robert Scoble has been hinting at some big announcements, but they're all under wraps right now. Well, maybe not quite all of them. How about this? Microsoft Expression. Microsoft already has a site that references Acrylic, but it sounds like the Expression brand will include more than just that. It sounds like the designer suite will get the same type of division that Visual Studio has gotten - different versions for different focuses. I'm not sold on that for Visual Studio, and while I'm not a designer, I don't think I'd be sold on this division if I was one, either. 

More PDC stuff. MSN is releasing APIs for a bunch of services. What ones? Messenger. Virtual Earth. There's even a contest for Virtual Earth. And it sounds like others too. Rememer That's next Tuesday.

Want one more reason to envy those at the PDC? It looks like they'll be getting bits - the latest Vista , Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 bits. Most likely, this'll be RC1 of VS 2005 and SQL 2005. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on those!

Speaking of next Tuesday, that's the second Tuesday of the month, and all of us Windows users know what that means. Patch Tuesday. Except it's not. Because of quality issues, it's been cancelled. It looks like the flaw will live for a little while longer. I haven't had a BSOD yet, so I think I'm good for now!

Now it's Google's turn in the hot seat. But first, Happy Birthday! Google turned 7 on Wednesday. So what did you do when you turned 7? Well, Google increased it's memory, no doubt in response to Yahoo's bragging. It seems to me that when Yahoo announced it's index was bigger that Google's response was "Quality not Quantity" but I guess that wasn't quite what they were accepting.

Remember Google Wallet? I mentioned it back in June, and according to a job listing, it could be in the works. But wait, there's more. Remember GoogleNet? Well, Google hired Vint Cerf, and that's what it sounds like he could be doing. Don't know who Cerf is? He helped come up with a little protocol called TCP/IP. Recently, he worked at NASA. Google Shuttle maybe? Rememer that $4,000,000,000 we talked about Google raising? Well, rumors say they may buy The Yell Group, a yellow pages company. Could this be used to bolster their local search capabilities, or is there another plan here?

One last Google item to wrap them up. And Microsoft for that matter. Remember Kai-Fu Lee? He left Microsoft to go to Google, and Microsoft sued, saying he violated his employment contract. Well, new info has come out, and it's not pretty. First, allegedly, Lee was a mole for Google for a while. And Ballmer threw chairs. Anyway, a judge will be ruling on the injunction on Tuesday.

On to some more new stuff this week. There've been rumors for what? A year now? Something like that. But it's finally official. There is an iPhone. And the iPod Mini is replaced with the iPod Nano, which is downright small. And holds either 500 or 1000 songs. So what's the verdict on each? Nano: Good. iPhone: Bad. It's $250, and you can only hold 100 songs. Lost in the shuffle, though, is that iTunes hit 5.0. Sounds like a pretty minor release to me to justify going from a 4.x version to 5.x, but maybe they subscribe to a different versioning philosophy than I do. They do use Macs, afterall!

So Internet Explorer is insecure, you say? Well, it sounds like FireFox is succumbing to the same types of issues as IE has - popularity breeds contempt. Contempt from hackers, who will then find exploitable holes. It says all versions are affected, but it doesn't specifically mention the new Beta 1.5, which was released this week. Biggest new feature? Auto update. No more heading to and downloading anytime a new version comes out. Although, this brings up a (probably) sensitive issue with FireFox. Remember the stability of 1.0.4? Would you want to be auto updated to a version that didn't work? Usually, auto update is a good thing, but once you get a black eye from an update, well, then you have some trust to gain before you can do something like this.

Let's talk industry consolidation - without the rumor part of it. There's three of 'em. First, PalmSource was purchased by Access, a Japanese based company that builds a cell phone browser. PalmSource has been rumored to be for sale for 2 years or so, and it's finally come to pass. Does this spell the end of Palm OS? Some thought it might, especially with a Windows Mobile powered Treo coming out, but Access say no. In fact, they'll continue the process of moving to a Linux-based OS.

The next consolidation comes in the podcasting world. Podshow bought Podcast Alley. It's not a huge surprise. Podshow got $8,500,000 in investments, and it wasn't to buy T-Shirts. It was inevitable they would do something with that money, and given the prominence Podcast Alley has on the Podshow site, it's a good fit for Podshow.

One more consolidation. IGN was bought up by News Corp. IGN is a huge gaming network, and brings to News Corp a site that generates a lot of traffic that's in the right demographic. Can you say ad revenue? Although, you'll need a lot of ads to cover the $650,000,000 price tag.

I have two Yahoo items this week. First, the bad. There's been a little buzz about Yahoo's installation packages. And when I say package, I mean package. Apparently if you upgrade to the latest messenger, it also installs a whole suite of other software and modifies your settings. Some even report it does it even when you tell it not to. Next, Yahoo's Publisher's Network is offering the ability to add up to two categories to your website/page/directory, and have ads delivered based on that category. I've been accepted to the YPN, but haven't implemented them on the site yet, and maybe this will give me the incentive to do so. I haven't seen any comparisons of payments, but that may be due to TOS's on both services. And neither allow you to run the other at the same time. Maybe it's time for a random number generator to decide which ones to serve and run them head to head?

A few quick hits here. is tagging news items. Although, not the way Technorati wants you to. Or any other tagging service that I've seen. So it seems that the tagging is purely cosmetic and not really functional, unless you're within the world. Next, PBS is offering a web only show called NerdTV, which will feature interviews of some very high profile industry leaders. I've yet to find much good on PBS, except for Sesame Street. I guess we'll have to see if this is any better. Lastly, a judge in Australia has ordered major changes in the Kazaa network.

So that's a pretty good week, huh? Lot's of news and rumors. I've been thinking about the rumors lately. There have been quite a few I've reported, but what happens to them? Some are obvious, but some aren't and some are still possibilities. I'm thinking of adding a semi-regularly (read, when I get around to it) review of all rumors I've posted and what their status is. The first will obviously contain all of them, with any updates, and a note of which ones are no longer valid. Then, next time, I'll only include the ones that are still valid, along with any new ones. And of course, any updates I can find. Look for that soon. Anyway, let's get this out there and in your hands!

Have an item for RCW? Send it to weekly at rosscode dot com.

Categories: RossCode Weekly


The Long Tail - Defined

posted on 2005-09-10 at 00:34:27 by Joel Ross

Chris Anderson has a nice post that consolidates his definition of The Long Tail. I've heard a lot about the long tail lately - we even have work that's banking on the idea behind The Long Tail - but I've yet to find a concise definition of it. Well, who better to provide it than "The Man" himself!

Categories: General


Zondervan Bible Search

posted on 2005-09-09 at 21:57:09 by Joel Ross

Nope. I haven't gone religious on you (yet)! But Brian posted today about the launch of Zondervan Bible Search, which is a very cool application that I had a small part in. It's a pretty simple yet elegant site at first:

It's cool because of the technology behind it. Zondervan has a very powerful desktop application called Pradis that gives users the ability to browse, search, and read the bible in many different flavors. It's something we (back in our Sagestone days) helped develop (we, as in Sagestone, not we, as in me). It's a C++ application, and they wanted the search to be available over the web.

So, we used ASP.NET and a COM interop layer to facilitate the communication with the backend. But that's still not the cool part. Ever read the Bible and noticed that lots of passages have cross references to either other passages or alternate text for the translation:

When you hover over the footnote, a window pops up. This is using AJAX to show the pop up. When we initially talked about it, we thought we could just load all the extra text, but as the requirements process went on, I think Brian found out there could potentially be 100s of these on a page if you're viewing a whole chapter. That's a lot of potentially unused data. AJAX was the perfect solution for this, and it turned out great.

Now, as I said, I had a minor role in this project. I didn't do any development on the code itself. I only answered questions and got the initial project set up and ready for the development team. My other responsibility? The build process. If you've read my blog for a while, you'll know that I'm very high on automated builds, and that's why Brian asked me to take some time to get a process in place for this. It proved to have a few challenges, but we eventually worked past all of those, and now builds are completely automated. When a new release is needed, it's ready and waiting for the team on the development server!

Like I said, I didn't do any of the development, so the dev team (none of which are blogging) deserve all the credit - and Brian, who oversaw the whole thing. Great job guys!

Categories: ASP.NET


Improving Virtual PC Performance

posted on 2005-09-08 at 17:05:47 by Joel Ross

Angus Logan provided me with a great link today about improving Virtual PC performance. I thought I'd seen most of the performance optimizations, but this is much more detailed than I've seen in the past.

I'll definitely be looking at these in the near future.

Categories: Software


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