RossCode Fantasy League - Final Draft Order

posted on 2005-09-04 at 13:20:34 by Joel Ross

Well, it looks like we're going to have 14 teams in the league this year - those last two spots just didn't want to fill up! Oh well. 14 is plenty. To signify the final teams, I've randomized the draft order one last time, and the final order is as follows:

1. The Knuckleheads
2. Prod's Squad - this is my best friend from high school, and my best man in my wedding.
3. Belding Horsepower
4. TDiddy's - a co-worker and friend
5. Fighting Amish - another co-worker I believe
6. Texas Blue Wave - Erik Lane's team
7. Tennessee Trash
8. Abominable Snowmen
9. Steeler Nation - This is my boss. I look forward to smoking him this year!
10. The Lions Rule - another co-worker
11. RossCode Raders - This is my team
12. Jim B's - A new co-worker, who I've worked with in the past.
13. Bengals
14. XCMonkey - A client of ours, who's also a good friend.

Get your lists set! The draft is tonight at 3:00 AM.

Categories: Football


My Rental Car - One More Time

posted on 2005-09-03 at 23:07:02 by Joel Ross

Well, I'm back in Michigan after a week on-sight, and driving my Cavalier isn't quite as fun as the Dodge Charger, which is what I had as my rental car in California. Yeah, my car is cheaper to drive, but it doesn't quite have the pick up the rental did. Anyway, here's a picture of the car:

Well, the guys I was working with thought the car needed a new look. So, right before I was leaving to head back to San Francisco, one of them "decorated" it for me:


In case that's not readable (my phone isn't the best camera in the world), it says "I?(Heart) Unicorns" and that's a picture of me riding a unicorn. Nice.

Oddly, the guys at the rental place looked at it and didn't even flinch. Is this common in San Francisco?

Categories: Personal


Newsgator Listens!

posted on 2005-09-03 at 16:43:22 by Joel Ross

Over the past few months or so, I've been more and more impressed by Newsgator. Yeah, the software is great, but that?s not why I've been impressed. Although, I do have to say that FeedDemon is a very good aggregator. There's some things missing, but I almost made the switch from Newsgator Outlook Edition to FeedDemon. Outlook freezing up doesn?t really bother me, but FeedDemon doesn't have that issue, and syncs very quickly. I may still switch - we'll see.

Anyway, that's not the main thing that's been impressing me lately. It's the way they've been listening to the blogosphere. They took the feedback about?their subscription model, and while they're sticking?to it, they've?given existing customers a two year reprieve, and stated that?FeedDemon users would still be able to use FeedDemon (without syncing) even after your subscription expires?- all because of?feedback from the blogosphere.?For me, I've posted two issues with something coming from the Newsgator camp, and I've gotten a response within two days both times. First, when I was having issues with getting my Newsgator 2.5 subscription and synching working, I was almost immediately contacted via email and we worked the issues out. Then, when I posted about my issues with the Newsgator API samples, first Greg Reinacker said they were looking into it, and then Gordon clarified. By the way, the updated API samples are out there now, and they include the necessary token.

This is how support should work!

Categories: General


RossCode Fantasy League - Draft Reminder

posted on 2005-09-03 at 16:00:45 by Joel Ross

This is just a reminder for the teams in the RossCode fantasy league that the draft will be on Monday at 3:00 AM. It's (obviously) a draft list, so get your lists ready!

The split up in the league is pretty good - there's a few from NuSoft, a few friends, a client or two, and the rest are readers of mine - although, there's a few that I don't know who they are, so I'm not sure where they're from. That's one of the odd things about the MSN/Fox fantasy software - if someone sets their team info as hidden, even as commish, I can't see it.

On another note, I'll be starting up my NFL picks again. It also sounds like Andrew Connell will be making picks too, so maybe we'll have to have a little informal competition! Anyway, my picks will be easier to make this year, because I created a quick Excel macro that takes my picks I made, and creates my initial HTML for me - yes, I track my picks in Excel. But it gives me the functionality I want, and it was quick and easy to make. Now, it even helps me make my posts - both the prediction and the review. Hey - that'll be two more guaranteed posts every week, starting Thursday, with my picks, and then the following Tuesday, with my review. I may even start out with a review of the past?two years as a warm up - if I get the time!

Anyway, by Monday morning, we'll all have our teams and?be ready to go!?

Categories: Football


101 Visual Studio Samples

posted on 2005-09-01 at 01:53:48 by Joel Ross

I'm probably the last person to mention this, but Microsoft has released 101 samples for Visual Studio 2005 in both C# and VB flavors.

The categories include base class libraries, data access, web development, and windows forms.

Categories: Development


VPC Importer For VMWare

posted on 2005-08-31 at 01:39:20 by Joel Ross

I had a conversation in my comments with Eric Hammersley a while back about the difference between VMWare and Virtual PC, and which would be a better choice. I'm using Virtual PC, but I have a license for VMWare. I've put off trying VMWare mainly for two reasons. First, I don't want to spend the time to create a new VMWare image. It took me a while to get my base image set up the way I want it, and I still tweak it every now and then. The second reason is that I've been using the images, which mean I have three or four images with a bunch of files in them. It would be a pain to port all that over.

Well, shortly after the comments, Eric has this post about an import tool that will take a Virtual PC image and create a VMWare image out of it. Nice. Now I can give VMWare a try without putting in the time to build a fresh one, and I don't have to lose my current image set ups if I were to move that way.

Categories: General


Code Gallery

posted on 2005-08-30 at 02:53:36 by Joel Ross

The fine folks over at GotDotNet alluded to a simpler way to share code at Tech Ed in June, and it's now live. It's called Code Gallery, and it's a solution for all of the developers who just used the Workspaces as a way to distribute code, rather than a full-blown source code control system (think .Text). In fact, it looks a lot like a Workspace if you took away the source code control system.

This is a good step forward. One of the strengths of Workspaces was the collaboration you could get among a team, but it was always billed as a source code control system. The ability to have a discussion about the project and track bugs wasn't the main focus - it was an "oh, you get that too" kind of thing. Now, the focus is completely on the collaboration of the people you invite to be a part of your community.

This is something I could see being useful for customer feedback. I'll use Tourney Logic as an example. Every year, we release a new version of the Tourney Pool Manager. We get feedback in a limited fashion based on whether they send it to us.

But what if we invited a subset of our customers to join our Code Gallery. Throughout the whole process, we could have a structured way to get feedback every step of the way, from requirements all the way to final release. Obviously, you have to have a good set of customers to provide feedback, but that's obvious. The thing you get from this is the structure of the community - without having to build the infrastructure yourself.

This looks like a good step in the right direction for GotDotNet. Now, if we could just get Team System integrated into the Workspaces...

Categories: Software


RossCode Weekly #015

posted on 2005-08-29 at 02:43:32 by Joel Ross

Welcome to RossCode Weekly - coming to you from Sunny California this week! I left early this morning (got up at 4:00 AM ET) and made it out here by 11:00 AM PT. I ended up with a Dodge Charger as a rental. Nice car by the way. It's got cojones! And it's odd to drive around and have people pointing at you. I feel like a rockstar! But that's not why you're here, is it? On to the content.

Would a RossCode Weekly be complete without Google news? Of course not. And this week's no exception. Two big things from Google this week, and the first is Desktop 2.0. There's been some confusion - this is not Google OS. This is an application that runs on Windows. Yes, it brings the web (the next OS?) closer to your desktop, but it's not an OS. I didn't bother with the download. I used to use a sidebar, but quickly realized I used it solely for the shortcuts. Since reloading and moving to SlickRun, I don't have a need for the sidebar. I don't want to read 700 feeds (or are they called RSS's?) in a sidebar. Nor do I care to check out the weather that way. Or monitor my system. But maybe that's just me. On a similar note, I don't see much of reason for widgets either. Back on track though. The other reason I didn't install it was because I don't care about the search integration - I use MSN's desktop search, and I'm happy with that. Not that I use it much, but it works when I need it to.

One more reason I didn't install Desktop 2.0? One nice feature is the Gmail integration, but on Wednesday, that became a mute point. After what? A year of speculation? Maybe longer? I don't know for sure, but I remember hearing about a Google IM product long ago. And it never came to fruition. That's why on Monday, when I saw the first reports of it, I was skeptical. It didn't get added to my RCW list - I didn't think it would happen. Then Tuesday night, the rumors were flying - Google had an active Jabber server. And shortly after midnight, the download was available. And what's this? VoIP? Skype killer? I guess that $4,000,000,000 isn't going to be buying Skype after all. Sound quality for me was pretty good. The client is pretty simple, but there's two features it has over other IM systems. First, it uses an open protocol, meaning you can connect to it using any Jabber client, albeit without voice. Next, it's got the Wumpus game. I remember messing around on Gopher and playing a simple text game, moving from room to room looking for whatever enemy you were hunting. It was much more elaborate, but the Wumpus game is entertaining (add as a contact to play). If you're interested in contacting me on Google Talk, my info is in the left sidebar on this blog.

So how do you get a Google Talk ID? Well, it's your gmail account. What's that? Don't have a gmail account? Well, if you've got a cell phone, you can now sign up for a gmail account without needing an invite. I've had 50 of those for a while, and no one's clamoring for them. Is there anyone left in the world who wants one and doesn't have one? Or better yet, is there anyone who wants one who wants Google to have their cell number? Will Google now call you with search engine results?

Speaking of VoIP companies, it sounds like Vonage is going to have an IPO. They hope to raise $600,000,000. That's a big chunk of change, but not as much as I thought they'd be worth. Does Skype (which had rumors of a $3,000,000,000 price tag) have more market share? Yeah, Vonage isn't on the PC, but that's the beauty of it - you don't need your PC for it. It's just a phone, as far as most "regular" users are concerned. Of course, this is just a rumor, and may never pan out. But hey, rumors are fun too. What would you do with that money? Skype doesn't sound like it's for sale at that price. Advertising? 911 service?

One more VoIP story. Skype's opened up more API - this time allowing developers to show presence information on the web.? This was available (and on this blog for a while) through Jyve, but you had to add the Jyve presence user to your contact list. So does this make Skype more like Google or Microsoft? On the one hand, they are opening more and more services to the outside world. On the other hand, they're waiting for someone to develop something, and then making it better and easier.

A large open source CMS system is in trouble. Miro, the corporate entity holding copyright on Mambo, recently transferred it to The Mambo Foundation, upsetting it's core developers. Why? Well, none of the developers were brought into the conversations. So they left. Has Miro and the Mambo Foundation learned nothing from the blogging community? Transparency! It sounds like the developers will take the source and continue under a different name at

Want a new search engine? Try Jeteye. It's a new service that allows you to perform searches, package them up, and share them with anyone you want - and to them it's searchable. Nice. Now I could create a jetpack for RossCode Weekly, and attach it to the RCW, and then it's searchable. It's in beta, and I'll probably mess around with it later this week. I'll probably have more to say later, but it's an interesting concept.

Got a highspeed connection on your cell phone? MP3 support? Like podcasts? Well, now you can stream podcasts to your cell phone. I think they're a little ahead of the game, but hey, that's what pushes technology right?

Wednesday brought two things for Microsoft. First, MSN Messenger 7.5 was released. It's got some new features - mainly that you can record and send 15 second messages. Nice, but if I want to do that kind of thing, I'll use a dedicated VoIP client like Skype. I use MSN Messenger (the network) all the time, but rarely use MSN Messenger (the client), so unless they change the communication protocol, they can do whatever they want with the client. Until there's a compelling reason to run MSN Messenger (the client) aside Trillian, it's not going to matter.

The other Microsoft news isn't really news. It's an anniversary - of when Windows was changed forever. Yup, that's right. Wednesday was the 10 year anniversary of the release of Windows 95. I took a while to get it - I didn't wait in lines at midnight (what am I, a geek!?), but I got it and I was excited. Remember the days when Windows could run on 8 MB or RAM?

One last item. Newsgator released a set of APIs that it used by it's own applications. It allows you to do anything Newsgator Outlook Edition or FeedDemon can do, which is very cool. I ported my TopBlogs tool, a tool that tracks who my subscriptions are linking to, to use the new API to get the feeds, and it was relatively painless. Now I'm not banging on people's RSS feeds anymore. I do have one (minor) issue with the new API. Well, not the API, but the samples. When you sign up, you get a token that's unique and that you have to include with every request in the header of your web service call. No problem, right? Well, not if you look at the samples. I didn't go get the WSDL from their site, mainly because I use WSCF to generate my proxies, rather than adding a web reference the "old fashioned" way. Well, the WSDLs included in the samples don't include the token in the header. I banged my head a while until it finally occurred to me that maybe the WSDL in the sample may be different than the WSDL on the server. Sure enough, it was. In my opinion, if you're going to provide a sample, expect developers to use it the same way the sample does. That means that if you expect me to provide you with a token, the sample should provide one too.

Ok. Enough ranting. It's late, and it's time to go to bed. One nice thing about the West Coast is that I can sleep in until 10:00 AM and still get to work by 8:00 AM.

Categories: RossCode Weekly


The API War

posted on 2005-08-26 at 00:04:04 by Joel Ross

This article was very popular and made it's way through the blogosphere a long time ago. I guess I'm just behind the times! Anyway, Joel Spolsky wrote an article about Microsoft losing the API war, and how moving to the web will hurt Microsoft's core business.

I revisited the article because I remembered that he talked about two camps in Microsoft - Raymond Chen vs. MSDN. The reason that was important to me was because I remembered the Raymond Chen camp, but not the other one. I was looking because those are the names of my divisions in my fantasy football league (geeky, I know!).

Anyway, while looking through the article to find the other camp, I read a bit of it. It's definitely an interesting read, one that if you haven't seen the article yet, and you're a developer, you should definitely take the time to read it.

It's interesting to have a look at this now that Windows Vista is more prominent. I don't necessarily agree with Joel on some of his statements, mainly because I think Microsoft is making an attempt to bring the Web into the OS, and make it work seemlessly with the Web - ala Vista's inherit ability to support RSS, but the article does make you think.

Categories: General


Validate Windows to Watch MSDN Videos?

posted on 2005-08-25 at 23:56:48 by Joel Ross

Get this. If you want to watch MSDN webcasts now, you have to authenticate that you have a valid copy of Windows.

Why? Why can't I watch them if I'm running something other than Windows? No, I'm not advocating piracy, and I understand that most people who watch the videos are developing from a Windows box, but what about Mono developers?

This seems a bit extreme to me. It's fine to make me validate I have a genuine copy of Windows to get updates, but this is taking a good technology and applying it in the wrong place.

Categories: General


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