RossCode Weekly #007

posted on 2005-07-04 at 01:15:32 by Joel Ross

There seems to be quite a bit of news this week. A couple of big announcements, one that's caused quite a stir. But first, the smaller news items.

Google keeps on releasing software, and they're always doing it in weeks when there's bigger things going on. This week, Google has three new items. First, Google Video now offers…video. And the player's already been hacked to allow playback from non-Google content.

Next up: Google Earth. Google makes good use of Keyhole, something they bought a while back. And it's free.

Last, but not least, Google launched personalized search. This uses your search history (something they started tracking for you recently) and based on types of past searches, targets your results accordingly.

Yahoo 360 is still beta, but open to the public. Rumors say that plans also include being able to include non-Yahoo content. I'm still trying to figure out the value I can get from the service.

Maybe I can find the value in Yahoo's My Web. Version 2.0 was released this week.
My Web 2.0 is a social search engine. This looks like an interesting use of social software. You add contacts, and as they add pages, you can search those pages for more "trusted" results. It also allows you to import your current bookmarks as saved pages that you can search. That means I have 500+ pages already saved out of the gate.

More Yahoo news. It looks like Yahoo is working on a new version of their online mail client. I haven't used the web interface in years, but I check my yahoo account on a daily basis. Want to make Yahoo Mail more useful to me? Make POP access free, like Google did.

The first big news of the week: The Supreme Court ruled against Grokster and StreamCast, saying P2P companies can be sued for content on their networks. This puts the onus on software developers to prove that their intent was not to develop software intended to get around copyright laws. Proving intent is always difficult, but this will open the door for more lawsuits.

Ok. The biggest story (at least buzz-wise) this week: iTunes 4.9 was released, adding podcast support. Lots of feedback about this. First, the positive. This brings Podcasting to the masses and makes it easy. And that's about it. Now the negative. They've added some tags to their feeds, and some of it doubles up on existing tags. After the hollering last week, it's odd to me (and others) that no one's screaming about them embracing and extending.. Well, some are, but for non-monopolistic reasons, and not exactly screaming either. Now some more good. On Friday, they announced there has been 1,000,000 podcasts subscribed to already. That's in 2 or 3 days. That's amazing. Of course, that's causing sites some headaches with bandwidth. And since Apple didn't talk to the community ahead of time about what they'd be offering, one thing missed was BitTorrent support, so feeds like DotNetRocks and Evil Genius Chronicles won't work. And then, late in the week, comes news that they're caching podcasts on their own servers. This'll cause some issues for those who are relying on download counts to get advertising.

Speaking of podcasting, CastBlaster is in beta. This is Adam Curry's baby, and he's been using it to produce the Daily Source Code for a while now. I'm not into making podcasts (yet), so I haven't tried it out, nor do I have plans to. announces that Microsoft will release Atlas, an add-on to Whidbey that will add an AJAX framework to the .NET 2.0 Framework. It'll go beyond what callbacks will offer, and will bring AJAX to the mainstream for .NET developers.

Yahoo and Google both launched their mapping APIs this week. This could make for some interesting applications, but I guess that could have been said about Google's API to their search engine. I guess only time will tell, but I think these will be more useful than the search API.

Microsoft released an API to the Windows Desktop Search. Quitely. Channel 9 had the news, but it wasn't (from what I saw) released through official channels. I guess blogs are the new official channels! Either way, you can now make a much nicer UI for the desktop search if you want, or even integrate it right into another application that users spend a lot of time in.

That's about all I saw this week. I'm expecting a slow news week next week with the holidays, but we'll see.

Categories: RossCode Weekly


500 Posts

posted on 2005-07-03 at 00:57:41 by Joel Ross

Back in October, I hit 100 posts on this blog. While on my way to 100 posts, I realized that the blogging I was doing wasn't worth it - I wasn't giving it my all, and because of that, I wasn't getting readers, and the few readers I had weren't getting the best they could have gotten from what I was doing.

Around the beginning of October, I made a commitment to myself to start posting more. I did. For three months, I averaged 2 posts per day. It took me 6 months to do the first 100 posts, and then a month to hit the next 100. Now, nine months after hitting 100 posts, I'm at 500. I never really thought I would keep it up that long - of course, the way I was going, it was going to take three years to hit 500 posts!

Anyway, I feel pretty good about how things are going, although if I could change one thing, it would be feedback. I want more feedback, but I'm not sure how to get it. Blogging is supposed to be about conversation, but whenever I ask for it, I don't typically get it.

One way I think I can get more feedback is to provide it on other sites. I don't do that enough, and part of that is because I read too many blogs. I may be cutting down my list in the near future so I can spend more time commenting elsewhere. Quality over quantity. I think commenting on other sites will encourage those bloggers that I want a conversation, and they'll be more likely to comment on my blog. I usually subscribe to any blog if the owner comments on my site.

Anyway, I hit 500 posts, and I finally feel I'm back in the swing of things after having a child. April (when Allie was born) and May were down months, but now that she's sleeping through the night (thank God), I get my nights back! And that means I'll start blogging on a more regular basis again!

I'll hit 1,000 posts in no time!

Categories: Blogging


Continuous Database Integration

posted on 2005-07-01 at 01:03:28 by Joel Ross

There's an older post over on the dotnetjunkies blogs about how to do continuous database intregration. This was something we struggled with on my last project - we could build everything but the database. We came up with a suitable work around, but it wasn't ideal.

It looks like this article has everything we would have needed to get our database into the build process. Too bad it's too late now. Although, I think I'll be implementing this for the Tourney Pool Manager before next year.

Categories: Development


ASP.NET Articles For Everything

posted on 2005-07-01 at 01:00:54 by Joel Ross

Well, maybe not everything, but FTPOnline has a listing of a ton of articles about ASP.NET. There's even quite a bit about ASP.NET 2.0, which is cool.

Now, I just need to find a few days with nothing else to do and read all of them...

Categories: ASP.NET


CodeShare For Visual Studio.NET

posted on 2005-07-01 at 00:59:25 by Joel Ross

I'm trying to find an easy way for our team to share code, and the best way to gain adoption of something is to make it easy. Well, most of us spend all day in Visual Studio.NET, so why not find something that can be used in the IDE?

I found CodeShare. It's a VS.NET add-in that allows you to add and retrieve code snippets from a central repository. It looks pretty cool, and I'm looking for a server to install it on so I can test it out. If it works as advertised, then I'll start talking to the "higher ups" about how we can incorporate this into our processes.

In reality, code snippets are cool, but not always the most helpful. Why? Well, most code is specific to a particular problem. Not all code is - there's quite a bit of utility type code floating around - but a lot is specific to an implementation, and the code needs to be sterilized to generalize the solution. As an example, the abstract factory pattern is a very cool pattern that can be leveraged in many situations, but doesn't have a generic implementation that would fit into a code repository. On the other hand, a standard base page class that you could use as a start would.

Either way, I think it would be a good way to start collecting a set of code snippets, even if I just do it for myself. Anyone else using a code sharing program that they like?

Categories: Development


Aggregating By URLs

posted on 2005-07-01 at 00:53:57 by Joel Ross

Mike Torres has an interesting post that's mainly about cross-posting, but he mentions something about being able to flag all posts that link to a particular URL as something you're not interested in.

That got me thinking. Wouldn't it be cool if your aggregator could look at all of your posts and have the ability to group them by URLs they link to. Then you could quickly sort them by link count, and you'd get a good feel for what is hot. For example, over the past few days, if I were to do that, the top two links would definitely be the Microsoft Longhorn/RSS marriage and the new release of iTunes.

Of course, this would rely on everyone using the same link to the actual news source, but some of that could be done by traveling the links to get a chain of links, and find the eventual source. That would be time consuming, but the ability to view what's hot among your network would be very cool.

And that's the key. Search engines like Feedster or Technorati are great for aggregating links across the whole blogosphere, but I've built a network of bloggers that I read and trust the information they post. While I enjoy finding new blogs that I'm interested in (I find probably 3-5 per week), I'm more interested in knowing what people in my network (yes, if I read your blog, then you're part of my network) are interested in and what their opinions are about trends. By being able to aggregate by my subscriptions, I get that.

This is probably a feature that would be better for the big online aggregators, such as Bloglines or Newsgator Online. Most of the URL information could be saved off so that it could be used across users - you just need to know what blogs each user is subscribed to, but you already would have the parsing done. With a client-side aggregator, the parsing and storing of information has to be done on each client aggregator, and the cost of performing that operation is higher per user.

Anyway, this could be a killer feature that could set an aggregator apart from others.

Categories: Blogging


Windows Media Player 11 Wish List

posted on 2005-06-30 at 23:13:32 by Joel Ross

Scoble's asking for feedback of what we want in WMP 11. Since I use it exclusively for podcasting, I think I'm in a good position to say what I want, so I will!

First and most importantly to me, would be the ability to bookmark MP3s. I listen to probably 4 hours of podcasts per day, and usually have to shut it down in the middle of a podcast. When I start it back up, I have to remember where I was. Right now, I try to remember, and then jump to it. Of course, that's another request - the ability to jump to a specific time in the track. You can drag the little bar as it's playing, but if the track is an hour and a half, it's not simple to find the 37:42 mark. Either allow me to enter the time in a dialog, or show the time as I drag the slider.

My next feature request? Global shortcuts. I found an external program that has to run at all times for me to be able to use a shortcut to pause playback when Brian turns around and asks me a question, because WMP doesn't provide global shortcuts. Before I found that, I had to either use my mouse to pause it (I hate my mouse!) or Alt-Tab to it, and then pause. Now I have a global shortcut to pause, play, stop, go forward and go back. Why can't that be built in?

Last one here. I use WiFi to sync my desktop and my pocket pc. Why doesn’t WMP pick that up and allow me to sync files that way? I can manually go in and copy the files through the filesystem without issue, but WMP won't allow me to check files and have them automatically synced unless I am connected via USB. I move around a lot, and don't really want to 1.) carry the cable, and 2.) get it out all the time. My desk is messy enough!

Oh yeah. One more. Windows 2003 support. I use it exclusively on my laptop for my development environment (it's much more than just a server!), and I want the latest and greatest software.

So, since Scoble wants comments via blogs, here you go!

Categories: Software


Microsoft's Atlas

posted on 2005-06-30 at 09:17:05 by Joel Ross had the story Monday night, and by 11:30 Tuesday morning, Scott Guthrie had a great article describing in much more detail what they're building.

I've been a little down on AJAX, but I'm starting to come around. One of the downsides I posted about AJAX was cross browser support, but I also said a framework development company, such as Microsoft, could alleviate that problem.

The other reasons still stand - back and forward buttons, bookmarks, etc., but those are mostly related to how you use the technology. Every technology can be abused if it's not used right, so you just have to know the appropriate ways to use AJAX.

Regardless of what I think of the technology, it's coming, and I know I'll be using it in the near future. From Scott's post, the functionality promised is awesome. You'll have access to a lot of the new functionality in ASP.NET 2.0, such as the personalization engine, profiles, authentication, and roles. But you'll get more than just the ASP.NET 2.0 features. They are going to build ways for you an API to access client services, such browser cache and integration with other client scripts. There will also be a set of Atlas server controls that you'll be able to data-bind to.

If you’re interested in AJAX style development, this is huge news, and a great step forward for the technology. It almost makes it worth going to PDC just to get the bits!

Categories: ASP.NET


The Sloganizer

posted on 2005-06-30 at 01:22:31 by Joel Ross

I found a link in BlogPulse this weekend to The Sloganizer, and I'm having fun clicking the button over and over. I'm creating a slogan for this site, Here's the best (or most outrageous) ones so far. See more. Do more.

It must be

Think. Feel.

Think different. Think

Where's your You bet!, the smart choice., love it or leave it.

You can't beat

The effect., better than sex. - you see the name, you think dirty.

Now, which one do I choose?

Categories: Personal


CruiseControl.NET 0.9.2 - Released

posted on 2005-06-27 at 09:32:19 by Joel Ross

I posted that there was a feature I was very much looking forward to in CCNET 0.9.2, but didn’t' know when it was going to be released.

Well, it's now officially out. You can read the release notes to see what changes were made, but there are three things that make it a must for me to get the newest version:

1. Using Vault source control now supports automatically getting the source
2. Filter modifications by username
3. CCTray doesn't show the exception message box by default.

I'll be upgrading a few build servers tomorrow!

Categories: Software


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