Archive for category Work

a concept map of everything “distributed systems”

Apparently someone had some time to kill:

“The other day I had this idea, what if I were to take all the concepts I write, speak, and consult about and turn them into a concept map. That might help me explain how things like messaging, unit of work, and exception management work together and why. It also shouldn’t be too much work. Or so I thought.

I started out with a blank piece of paper, and this is what happened:”

concept-map

Source: http://www.udidahan.com/2008/08/04/distributed-systems-concept-map/

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Visual Studio Color Theme Generator

Oh boy that is cool! Ever since I read that article about Changing your colors in Visual Studio.NET I wanted to create my own theme but never had the time and creativity to do so. Now since there’s this cool generator website everyone can create their own Visual Studio Color Themes:

vstudiotheme

Source 1: http://frickinsweet.com/tools/Theme.mvc.aspx#
Source 2: Changing your colors in Visual Studio.NET

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Augmented Reality Project “Levelhead” – Sourcecode is available

I wrote about Levelhead and it’s stunning concept not long ago. Now you can play with it’s code and try it for youself:

floorplan_lg2

“First thing’s first, this is a developer release and needs to be compiled. It has many third-party dependencies from the renderer to the video capture context. As yet there is no lovely statically linked binary of levelHead or automagical build script for a folder of dependencies. Nonetheless, I’ve installed levelHead on many (Ubuntu) systems now and what’s listed below should work fine for you.
levelHead is known to build on Ubuntu 7.10/7.04 and Debian Etch systems against the following external dependencies. It’s adviseable you adhere to these versions if you want to avoid going spontaneously mad”

The site goes on:

Code and assets are provided under two differing licenses: the code is governed by the GPLv3 and the art is covered by the GPLv3 compatible CC-BY_SA 3.0. Make sure you understand what that implied before downloading this project. For the rationale as to why I chose this configuration, please read the comments in the top of the levelHead.cpp file itself. Both art and code are available in a subversion repository, aquired with the following command:

svn co http://www.inclusiva-net.es/svn/levelhead "

Since I will try it myself (installing Ubuntu now) – I will give a detailed tutorial about it in the future…at least I hope so.

Source: http://julianoliver.com/levelhead

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Since we’re writing our own google-scale filesystem… we should …

… build ourselves a case for the test machines with lego duplo blocks… like the founders of google did.

“It’d be hard to believe but yes, Sergey Brin and Larry Page made their first 40GB Google Storage Server with lego casing.”

original-google-storage-server

Source: http://zedomax.com/blog/2008/08/04/original-google-storage-server-made-with-legos/

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Formula Student 2008

Since last year FeM is recording and live streaming the annual Formula Student Event in Germany:

“Screeching tires, smouldering heads and impressive technical innovations – welcome to the Formula Student Germany 2008!
Join the Brunel Race at our stand. As a virtual race driver you’ll be able to win the Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring. The fastest driver gets the chance to win 2 tickets for the Formula 1 Event at Nürburgring 2009.”

If you don’t know what Formula Student is…you may want to read this:

“Students build a single seat formula racecar with which they can compete against teams from all over the world. The competition is not won solely by the team with the fastest car, but rather by the team with the best overall package of construction, performance, and financial and sales planning.

Formula Student challenges the team members to go the extra step in their education by incorporating into it intensive experience in building and manufacturing as well as considering the economic aspects of the automotive industry. Teams take on the assumption that they are a manufacturer developing a prototype to be evaluated for production. The target audience is the non-professional Weekend-Racer, for which the racecar must show very good driving characteristics such as acceleration, braking and handling. It should be offered at a very reasonable cost and be reliable and dependable. Additionally, the car’’s market value increases through other factors such as aesthetics, comfort and the use of readily available, standard purchase components.

The challenge the teams face is to compose a complete package consisting of a well constructed racecar and a sales plan that best matches these given criteria. The decision is made by a jury of experts from the motorsport, automotive and supplier industries. The jury will judge every team’s car and sales plan based on construction, cost planning and sales presentation. The rest of the judging will be done out on the track, where the students demonstrate in a number of performance tests how well their self-built racecars fare in their true environment.”

fstudent

Starting this friday there will be a livestream available (Flash and Windows Media). Great stuff!

Source 1: Livestream
Source 2: http://formulastudent.tv/
Source 3: http://www.formulastudent.de

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getting the iTunes library to move or programmatically access the library without iTunes

I am using iTunes as my main music player software for about 5 years now. In that time I had to move and restore my growing iTunes library more than 10 times. It can become quite a job to get it done properly so I came across this great howto article to help you and me out in the future:

“I see some discussion about fixing busted iTunes libraries, either when moving one on the same computer or migrating to a new one. Here’s what I have found works for me. Bonus: no slow AppleScripts or payments (donations cheerfully accepted and squandered).

First, what I have discovered about how iTunes manages music collections. There are two files it uses, one that is binary (ie, machine readable for faster performance on searching, sorting, add/edit/delete operations) and one that has the same information but in a human readable format (for a certain subset of humans who can read XML natively). The XML file is written from the binary file as a backup (check the dates to confirm).”

But that isn’t were it needs to stop. I had to do some more things with my iTunes library lately – like extracting all that ratings and exporting them into a new music player software I liked to test. I therefore wrote myself a little tool in C# that does the job of reading in the whole iTunes library and giving you programmatically access to that library. It only needs to have read access to the Mediathek.xml file iTunes stores in it’s music folder and you from there on can work your way through the bazillions of music tracks you may or may not have in your library. It even does the find-and-replace job a bit easier than the solution mentioned in the article above.

I release the code under the CC-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license and here is your download:

ReadiTunesMediathek.zip (11,82 KB)

This code is a simple example of how to use the XmlTextReader in C# and how to traverse through them. It should be easy to understand and easy to change. I would love to hear from you when and if it helped you.

xmltextreader

Source 1: iTunes library, fixing a broken one or moving one
Source 2: ReadiTunesMediathek.zip (11,82 KB)

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.NET Open Space 2008 – 18.-19.10.2008 in Leipzig

Das wunderbare Leipziger Team tritt nun bald wieder mit dem .NET Open Space 2008 in Erscheinung:

“Die besten Gespräche hat man fern ab von einer festgelegten Agenda, bei einem Kaffee und beim “du”. Dort gibt es keine Rollenaufteilung in Sprecher / Zuhörer und die Themen finden sich vor Ort ganz von selbst. Das ist die Idee vom .NET Open Space. Hier sind alle gleich. Auch die Organisatoren halten sich im Hintergrund und moderieren nur ab und an etwas. Die Verantwortlichen der Themenfelder sorgen mit Einladungen für Teilnehmer darin.
.NET Open Space besteht derzeit aus den drei parallelen
Themenfeldern:

  • ALT.NET
  • Mobile Computing
  • Soft Skills”

NET Open Space

Eine Agenda gibt es nicht, dafür aber einen Zeitplan:

Zeitplan

Source: http://netopenspace.de/

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So writing a filesystem in .NET isn’t a bad idea after all :-)

Ever since we started writing a complete and cutting edge filesystem in C# and only managed code we are confronted with questions like

“Why C#? Why .NET? Why not in a more low-level language? Why a filesystem after all?”

I don’t want to talk just yet about our reasons but we can’t be that wrong if even Microsoft Research is trying to get their .NET Operating System research project Singularity ready for customers:

“Midori is an offshoot of Microsoft Research’s Singularity operating system, the tools and libraries of which are completely managed code. Midori is designed to run directly on native hardware (x86, x64 and ARM), be hosted on the Windows Hyper-V hypervisor, or even be hosted by a Windows process.”

This would be an Operating System 100% in managed code – hey Microsoft – maybe you want to talk with us about our 100% managed code filesystem?! 🙂

To prevent rumors: no – we are not working on anything Microsoft related, yet.

Source 1: Microsoft Research – Singularity
Source 2: Codename Midori

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NASA opens it’s picture library

It’s just great to see more and more big archives are getting available online. This time the National Space Agency of America opened it’s picture library:

“NASA Images is a service of Internet Archive ( www.archive.org ), a non-profit library, to offer public access to NASA’s images, videos and audio collections. NASA Images is constantly growing with the addition of current media from NASA as well as newly digitized media from the archives of the NASA Centers.
The goal of NASA Images is to increase our understanding of the earth, our solar system and the universe beyond in order to benefit humanity. “

nasa

Source: http://www.nasaimages.org/

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Version 2 (final) of my Dropbox Tool

Some days ago I wrote about a 10 minute hack of a tool I always wanted to have – now I was using it quite often so I decided to upgrade it a bit – besides of the usual bugfixing I added these features:

  • unlimited filesize – if the file is >4 Megabyte it’ll split into smaller portions and uploaded one by one
  • Progressbar 🙂 When uploading severel hundred Mbytes you just want a progress indicator.
  • new Icon (curtesy of my wife – she did not like the old icon…)

dropboxv2

You can grab the source here.

Source 1: DropBox-v2.zip (92,77 KB)
Source 2: a selfmade web drop box in 10 minutes

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Anatomy of the Linux file system

Since Filesystems are another technology we are currently working on I want to point everyone to an article by IBM:

“When it comes to file systems, Linux® is the Swiss Army knife of operating systems. Linux supports a large number of file systems, from journaling to clustering to cryptographic. Linux is a wonderful platform for using standard and more exotic file systems and also for developing file systems. This article explores the virtual file system (VFS)—sometimes called the virtual filesystem switch—in the Linux kernel and then reviews some of the major structures that tie file systems together.”

Source: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-linux-filesystem/index.html?S_TACT=105AGX03&S_CMP=ART

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.NETAsm – inject native x86 code into your .NET apps

It may come in handy some time to have this functionality available. Unfortunatly it does not support 64 Bits – on which I am mainly developing now – but it’s cool:

NetAsmLogo

“NetAsm 1.0 is released. NetAsm provides a hook to the .NET JIT compiler and enables to inject your own native code in replacement of the default CLR JIT compilation. With this library, it is possible, at runtime, to inject x86 assembler code in CLR methods with the speed of a pure CLR method call and without the cost of Interop/PInvoke calls.”

  • Runs on x86 32bit Microsoft .NET platform with 2.0+ CLR runtime (x64 may be supported in the future).
  • Provides three different native code injection techniques: Static, DLL, and Dynamic.
    • Static code injection: The native code is stored in an attribute of the method.
    • Dll code injection : this method is similar to the DllImport mechanism but CLR methods are directly bind to the DLL function, without going through the interop layers.
    • Dynamic code injection: you can generate native code dynamically with a callback interface that is called by the JIT when compilation of a method is occurring. It means that you can compile a method “on the fly”. You have also access to the IL code of the method being compiled.
  • Supports for debugging static and dynamic code injection.
  • Supports for different calling conventions: StdCall, FastCall, ThisCall, Cdecl. Default calling convention is CLRCall.
  • NetAsm can be used inside any .NET language.
  • Very small library <100Ko.

Source: http://www.codeplex.com/netasm

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Graph theory: How to visualize a network

Since I am a bit familiar with graph theory and building technologies around graphs I came across this neat little library originally developed by Marc Smiths Team at Microsoft Research. It’s now up on Codeplex for your own study and research:

“.NetMap is a pair of applications for viewing network graphs, along with a set of .NET Framework 2.0 class libraries that can be used to add network graphs to custom applications.

A network graph is a series of vertices (sometimes called nodes) connected by edges. See this Wikipedia article for an overview of network graphs.”

Graph6 Graph1

Graph12

It even integrates into Excel…well if you need that… more interesting is:

“The Windows Forms control is one of several graph “visualizers” that are packaged in a Microsoft.NetMap.Visualization assembly. There is also a Microsoft.NetMap.Adapters assembly for reading and writing graph data in various formats, a Microsoft.SocialNetworkLib assembly for analyzing social networks, and a Microsoft.NetMap.Core assembly that implements the low-level vertex, edge, and graph classes. The framework for a Microsoft.NetMap.Algorithms assembly is also provided, although most of the graph algorithms are still work items as of May 2008.”

Source 1: http://research.microsoft.com/~masmith/
Source 2: http://www.codeplex.com/NetMap

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What about the user interface? UI guidelines all together now!

You may have heard about things like “guidelines for user interfaces” – Sometimes I tend to think that there is no such thing as a design guideline for a better user interface because some applications are just plain unusable for a normal human being.

But there are guidelines for almost everything and I wanted to give an overview:

Microsoft:

Apple:

Linux:

  • KDE Standards User Interface Guidelines
  • GNOME Human Interface Guidelines
  • Motif Style Guide

interesting ones:

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self replicating machines

When I thought of self replicating machines I thought of end-of-time scenarios and a robot armies conquering the world and enslaving the human race… it’s not that bad right now but we’re getting to it… sort of 🙂

pc-va

“Adrian Bowyer (left) and Vik Olliver (right) with a parent RepRap machine, made on a conventional rapid prototyper, and the first complete working child RepRap machine, made by the RepRap on the left. The child machine made its first successful grandchild part at 14:00 hours UTC on 29 May 2008 at Bath University in the UK, a few minutes after it was assembled.”

“RepRap is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper. It is the practical self-copying 3D printer shown on the right – a self-replicating machine. This 3D printer builds the parts up in layers of plastic. This technology already exists, but the cheapest commercial machine would cost you about €30,000. And it isn’t even designed so that it can make itself. So what the RepRap team are doing is to develop and to give away the designs for a much cheaper machine with the novel capability of being able to self-copy (material costs are about €500). That way it’s accessible to small communities in the developing world as well as individuals in the developed world. Following the principles of the Free Software Movement we are distributing the RepRap machine at no cost to everyone under the GNU General Public Licence. So, if you have a RepRap machine, you can make another and give it to a friend… “

Source: http://reprap.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome

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speaking of Augmented Reality

It seems that I missed that Augmented Reality Toolkit all the way until now. It’s ARToolKit and it’s completely OpenSource.

As a matter of fact there are a ton of demos available… HOW could I possibly miss that for so long?

“ARToolKit is a software library for building Augmented Reality (AR) applications. These are applications that involve the overlay of virtual imagery on the real world. For example, in the image to the right a three-dimensional virtual character appears standing on a real card. It can be seen by the user in the head set display they are wearing. When the user moves the card, the virtual character moves with it and appears attached to the real object.

One of the key difficulties in developing Augmented Reality applications is the problem of tracking the users viewpoint. In order to know from what viewpoint to draw the virtual imagery, the application needs to know where the user is looking in the real world.”

Here is a short video demonstration of what you could start with:

…not talking about the things that would be possible if someone had a great idea 🙂

Source: http://www.hitl.washington.edu/artoolkit/

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Augmented Reality Game soon available (full source!)

You may have heard about Levelhead – an augmented reality game made by Julian Oliver – if you did not hear about it? No problem:

Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data. At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and “augmented” by the addition of computer-generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion-tracking data, fiducial marker recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators.”

So – Augmented reality mixes the reality and the computer graphics and creates a new reality for you. That’s a lot of theoretical…so let’s talk about Levelhead:

It’s a game where you have to move plastic cubes with printed-on patterns in front of a camera – the computer now renders a new world inside of the plastic cubes – when you move the cube, the world inside the cube moves too… it looks like this:

lh_4_med

“levelHead uses a hand-held solid-plastic cube as its only interface. On-screen it appears each face of the cube contains a little room, each of which are logically connected by doors.
In one of these rooms is a character. By tilting the cube the player directs this character from room to room in an effort to find the exit.

Some doors lead nowhere and will send the character back to the room they started in, a trick designed to challenge the player’s spatial memory. Which doors belong to which rooms?

There are three cubes (levels) in total, each of which are connected by a single door. Players have the goal of moving the character from room to room, cube to cube in an attempt to find the final exit door of all three cubes. If this door is found the character will appear to leave the cube, walk across the table surface and vanish.. The game then begins again.
Someone once said levelHead may have something to do with a story from Borges.. For a description of the conceptual basis of this project, see below. “

If you are not amazed now? You should watch this:

The thing is – this cool game and technology will be available at the end of this month as full open-source. I suggest to check Julians site back at the end of the month at last.

Source 1: Augmented Reality @ Wikipedia
Source 2: Levelhead homepage

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How to play a shooter in 16 pixel by 16 pixels space

It’s really a piece of art with only 256 pixels space – it’s the remake of the Defender game you won’t be able to play in Full HD:

DEFENDER of the favicon is a JavaScript remake of Eugene Jarvis‘ brilliant arcade game Defender written by Mathieu ‘p01’ Henri and inspired by Scott Schiller‘s experiment with generated favicons VU meter. The idea was to push the concept of generated favicons further and pack a thrilling retro shooter in 16×16 pixels using JavaScript, canvas and data: URIs.”

“Each frame of the game is generated on the fly in JavaScript into a 16×16 canvas element, then converted to a 32bits PNG image and used in place of the favicon.”

To be clear: This is not a joke – it’s an actual game… the size of:

16x16defender

Source: http://www.p01.org/releases/DHTML_contests/files/DEFENDER_of_the_favicon/

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hurray, Mono fully supports C# 3.0

“I am pleased to announce that Mono C# compiler (gmcs) has now full C# 3.0 support. Most of the features has been available since Mono 1.2.6 release. However, with the upcoming Mono 2.0 release we will also support complex LINQ expressions and mainly expression trees which is fairly overlooked new feature with a lot of potential.”

Source: http://mareksafar.blogspot.com/2008/07/mono-c-compiler-gets-full-c-30-support.html

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a selfmade web drop box in 10 minutes

I often have to share files with people – files which most of the time can be publically accessible – the problem is though that it’s far to much copy-n-paste involved to get the file uploaded and the URL of the file put together. I just made my life a bit easier and invested some minutes to write a small “DropBox” application that uses a custom webservice hosted on one of my machines to upload, list and delete files and to allow users that have the correct URL to download files.

paths

The path scheme is obviously just that I added a dropped folder in which the files will be stored and the webservice itself – that’s all on the webserver machine (having this folder setup as a website using ASP.NET 2.0)

For the client I wrote this little app:

dropboxapp

It’s no rocket science but it’s a good example for a small app that utilizes a webservice. If you want to use it you have to configure the webservice and the Client Application:

for the webservice:

wsconfig

You have to adjust the paths, URLs and the Password.

for the application:

appconfig

You just have to set the right Password.

If you’re set everything up correctly you should be able to drop files onto the Client Application window and get them uploaded to your webserver – the URL is automatically in your clipboard when everything worked.

If you click on the “Manage” tab in the Client Application you can get a list of all files on the server – clicking on the name of the file will automatically add the url to that file to your clipboard – if you want to delete a file – just click on it and click “delete selected file”.

The code can be considered public-domain and can be downloaded here.

I used the open-source icons from the Tango Desktop project to make a simple icon for the client application.

Source 1: DropBoxService-v1.rar (94,09 KB)
Source 2: http://tango.freedesktop.org/Tango_Desktop_Project

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a tool to convert a Windows Server 2008 machine into a useable workstation without loosing anything

a similar tool is available for Windows Server 2003 and now for 2008:

“Probably you are thinking at the moment: “Why the heck should I use Windows Server 2008 as my Workstations Operating System?? Vista works fine for me…”.

The answer is clear: Windows Server 2008 has almost exactly the same features as Windows Vista (SP1), but is remarkably faster and more stable!

converter_general

I cannot talk about the “more stable”-part since my Vista machines do not crash but if you’re one of those who just cannot live without the newest cutting-edge kernel version go ahead install Server 2008 and convert it into a useable workstation with Sound and stuff 🙂

Source: http://www.win2008workstation.com/wordpress/2008/07/17/windows-server-2008-workstation-converter/

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SONES is nominated by the german Internetworld Business

Since we are working hard and therefore – NO TIME – I just want to inform you:

“we were noticed that the INTERNET WORLD Business newspaper has nominated SONES as one of the most important (german) start-ups. As a reader of this newspaper you can vote for SONES till 30. September 2008. The winners of the contest will receive an Onlinestar during the INTERNET WORLD Congress in Munich in October.”

Source 1: http://www.pressebox.de/pressemeldungen/neue-medien-ulm-holding-gmbh/boxid-191947.html
Source 2: http://blog.ahzf.de/index.php/2008/07/22/internet-world-business-nominates-sones/

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FFN Switcher – Erstes Release

So nachdem ich heute den Abend zusammen mit der Verwandtschaft einige Bugs im Switcher gefunden und – so denken wir – auch beseitigt haben will ich heute mal alle auf einen Stand bringen und ein Gesamt-Kunstwerk-ZIP File für an die Öffentlichkeit zerren.

ffnswitcher10069

Download FFN-Switcher-Release-1.zip (1,47 MB)

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Radioheads “House of Cards” music video + raw data released under CC license

I seriously don’t know why they are doing that – it’s not as if any material released previously came to any notice so far – but what the heck – Radiohead decided to put their current music video (which isn’t bad) and the raw data that was used to create it to the public using the Creative Commons license:

“The animation data used to make the video are licensed to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license at Google Code. This means you are free to use the data to make your own video projects, as long as you abide by the CC license’s conditions. (To be clear, the song and its accompanying video are not under CC license; the data used to make the video are.)”

houseofcards_radiohead

Source: http://code.google.com/creative/radiohead/

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Hyper-V vs. Virtual Sever 2005 R2 – a “benchmark” using Sharepoint

Michael O’Donovan has a great benchmark-comparison of the brand new Hyper-V and the older Virtual Server 2005 R2:

“I have done a fair amount of SharePoint demos and developement over the past few years, and have always done this on my laptop using Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 or Microsoft Virtual PC, to host and run a SharePoint environment. Last year at Tech-Ed, while I was doing a demo, I had a comment from someone in the audience “Why is SharePoint so slow?” To some degree it makes sense, the specific SharePoint virtual environment which I was using at the time had almost every product known to man installed (the virtual hard drive size was 40GB), as well as being a domain controller and running on a laptop which only had 1GB ram assigned to the virtual machine. However, with the RTM release of Hyper-V (on Windows Server 2008), I wanted to see if performance was better now.”

One graph from his article:

image_2

Guess now – which color is which product?

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/modonovan/archive/2008/07/09/sharepoint-under-hyper-v-versus-virtual-server-2005-r2.aspx

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Meet the C# 4.0 design team…

Channel 9 has the bits and pieces:

“What’s the C# team up to these days? Who’s on the C# 4.0 design team, anyway? With the looming problem of manycore facing developers now and certainly in the near future (to a much greater extent – programming for 80 core (asymmetric to boot) processors, anyone?). I thought it was time to find out what Anders et al are working on to get a clear sense of C#’s near (and not-so-near) future so I asked if I could come to one of their design meetings to have an informal chat (are we ever formal on C9?) and meet the people behind the next iteration of the most popular .NET programming language.”

csharp4c9

Source: http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/Charles/C-40-Meet-the-Design-Team/

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RAW digital photo codecs for Windows Vista

If you got a digital SLR camera you probably do RAW shoots from time to time…so this could probably be interesting:

Many photographers—especially those with digital SLRs—shoot in ‘RAW’ mode, which outputs a file format that is proprietary to their camera make and model (for example, .CR2, .NEF). These RAW formats preserve more of the original information from the camera than the JPG file that most other cameras output. This extra information provides greater quality, but it comes at a price of convenience. JPG is a universally supported image file format, but as anyone who has used RAW files can tell you, they are anything but universally supported.

In the past, RAW shooters had to either rely on RAW conversion software provided by their camera manufacturer, or put their fate in the hands of the myriad of software makers who have attempted to reverse-engineer these formats for support in their software applications. This led to a number of problems: compatibility issues, varying quality or inconsistent results from one application to another, and holes in the user workflow where RAW support is lacking.

Windows Vista attempts to solve these problems by providing an extensible platform that allows support for these (and other) new file formats to be added to Windows by the owner of the file format. This support comes in the form of a codec, which users will get from their camera manufacturer, either by downloading it, or provided with a new camera body. The Photo Gallery will even detect the presence of these files and help you download a codec when it exists.

Microsoft has been working with the major camera manufacturers so that they can provide codecs for their various RAW formats to their customers. Once these codecs are installed, users will find that they can view their RAW files and thumbnails throughout Windows Vista.

There are Codecs available for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax and ArdFry

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/prophoto/downloads/codecs.aspx

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HowTo: FFN Switcher Quellcode editieren

Wenn man den Quelltext nun dann mal auf der Festplatte hat wäre es natürlich nicht schlecht wenn man ihn auch einigermassen komfortabel ändern könnte: Nichts leichter als das!

Es gibt ja die segensreichen Express Editionen von Visual Studio – und genau die ist vollkommen ausreichend um den Quelltext auf sehr komfortable Weise (Onlinehilfe, Syntax Highlighting, usw.) zu erkunden und zu ändern.

Benötigt wird die Visual C# 2008 Express Edition und bekommen kann man sie hier.

Und weil ich gerade so gut bei Laune bin ein kurzes Video:

P.S.: Die Fehlermeldung die beim Öffnen der FFN-Switcher.sln Datei erscheint ist darauf zurückzuführen dass ich mit einer “größeren” Version von Visual Studio arbeite – man braucht sich davon nicht verrückt machen zu lassen.

P.P.S.: Natürlich gibt es auch das Video in HD – einfach zu Vimeo gehen.

Source 1: http://www.microsoft.com/germany/Express/
Source 2: http://vimeo.com/1329422

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HowTo: FFN-Switcher selbst compilieren

Da im Moment schon einige den FFN-Switcher verwenden dachte ich ich schreibe mal wie man sich den Switcher selbst kompiliert ohne dass man eine ganze Entwicklungsumgebung installieren muss. Das hat den Vorteil dass man sehr schnell Änderungen am Code vornehmen kann und sich mal eben fix eine eigene Version daraus übersetzt – sollen die Änderungen allen anderen Nutzern auch zur Verfügung gestellt werden sollten sie natürlich an mich geschickt werden – ich werde sie dann nach Prüfung in den Quelltext einbinden bzw. auch in Einzelfällen Zugriffsrechte auf den Quelltext direkt verteilen. Idealerweise kann man per Skype (siehe Kontaktinformationen rechts) oder per Kommentarfunktion an diesem Artikel Kontakt mit mir aufnehmen.

Zuersteinmal braucht man folgende Dinge:

  1. installierter .NET Framework 3.5 und .NET Framework 2.0
    Um den Switcher zu benutzen reicht 2.0, nur zum kompilieren braucht man 3.5.
  2. einen Subversion Client um den Quelltext zu downloaden
    Im Beispiel verwende ich TortoiseSVN

Das war es eigentlich auch schon. Wenn man das alles installiert hat verwendet man den Subversion Client um von der Adresse http://www.dotnetcommunity.de:6667/ffn-switcher den Quelltext zu downloaden.

Mit TortoiseSVN geht das so:

  1. Verzeichniss erstellen
  2. Rechts klicken auf Verzeichniss
  3. im Kontextmenü “SVN Checkout…” wählen
  4. in die Adresszeile die obige Adresse eintragen
  5. OK klicken

tortoisesvn

Nach dem Klick auf OK downloaded TortoiseSVN dann den kompletten Quelltext in das angegebene Verzeichniss.

Der nächste Schritt ist nun schon das eigentliche kompilieren – das Übersetzen des Quelltextes in ein lauffähiges Programm. Hierzu muss man wissen dass das notwendige Tool namens “MSBuild” zusammen mit dem .NET Framework installiert worden ist. Das Tool selbst befindet sich normalerweise im Verzeichniss: “C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\MSBuild.exe”.

Im Grunde besteht das Compilieren nur daraus dass man die Kommandozeile öffnet und in das Verzeichniss wechselt in dem die FFN-Switcher.sln Datei liegt.

ffnswitcher_directory

So nun wie gesagt – in der Kommandozeile sieht das dann so aus:

compilercommandline

Nach dem Druck auf Enter wird der FFN-Switcher kompiliert und im Unterverzeichniss bin\Debug abgelegt. Um das ganze komplett zu machen habe ich ein kleines Video (720p, am besten per Vollbild zu betrachten) erstellt in dem alle Schritte gezeigt werden:


FFN-Switcher selbst kompilieren from Bietiekay on Vimeo.

P.S.: Um das Video in HD zu schauen einfach “HD” einschalten…Leider kann ich es nicht in HD hier auf der Seite direkt einbinden.

Source 1: http://tortoisesvn.tigris.org/
Source 2: .NET Framework 3.5
Source 3: http://vimeo.com/1329156

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Say goodbye: Windows 3.11 reached end-of-life

Amazingly enough OEMs could license WfW 3.11 for this long period of time…

“we recently announced that effective November 1st, 2008, OEM’s will no longer be able to license Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in the embedded channel.”

wfw311logo

but it’s time to say goodbye.

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/jcoyne/archive/2008/07/09/it-s-the-end-for-3-11.aspx

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Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Improvements for .NET 3.5 SP1

Servicepack 1 for the .NET Framework 3.5 is coming out so there are many new features and improvements… like this list of WCF Improvements:

  • New Hosting Wizard for WCF Service projects.
  • Enhancements in Test Client such as support for RM Sessions, Message Contract and Nullable types enables testing of broader set of WCF-based services.
  • Expanding reach of DataContract Serializer by relaxing the need of having [DataContract]/ [DataMember] on types and by supporting an interoperable mechanism for dealing with object references.
  • Improved Partial Trust Debugging Experience with support for Event Log.
  • Support for ADO.NET Entity Framework entities in WCF contracts.
  • Improvements in writing REST based services ranging from easily supporting ServiceDocuments publication and consumption to providing greater control and usability of UriTemplate.
  • Significant performance improvements on large workflow-based projects in Visual Studio.
  • Considerable scalability increases for hosted WCF services in IIS7-integrated mode.

Source: http://hyperthink.net/blog/we-are-pleased-to-bring-you-new-features-in-net-3-5-sp1/

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Writing an application a day keeps the doctor away… a new Windows Mobile application each day

Chris Craft has did a very interesting project – He wrote a new application every day. The “Application Calendar” is now available:

“I have put together a calendar of applications for the 30 Days of .NET [Windows Mobile Applications]. Here you can get a quick feel for all the applications we’ve created so far, and will write in the coming days.”

anappaday

The best is – these are actually useful applications – like Trippr – a tool that displays all Flickr pictures that are tagged with your current location (gps based)… how cool is that? There are many more… Callblocker, GPS Clock, GeoCash and there’s one I sure will take a look at:

speedo

That’s a GPS based Speedo! 🙂

Source: http://www.cjcraft.com/blog/default.aspx

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TechEd Online

Like every year I want to point to the tech-ed online website where you can get many useful information around the tech-ed developer events this year…

techedonline08

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/techedonline/default.aspx

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Cheat Sheets for all things web developing

“Cheat sheets are helpful to have around because they allow you to quickly remember code syntax and see related concepts visually. Additionally, they’re nice decorative pieces for your office.”

There are more than 20 cheat sheets available – heck even I found several ones that could come handy in the future.

Source: http://sixrevisions.com/resources/cheat_sheets_web_developer/

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Hyper-V RTM is now available for Windows Server 2008

As of today Microsoft offers the KB950050 update for Windows Server 2008 – which means: Hyper-V – the hypervisor of Windows 2008 is now available in the final release version.

image_2

“The update to the Hyper-V role provides improvements to security, stability, performance, user experience, forward compatibility of configurations, and the programming model. All users of the Hyper-V role should apply this update. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer. After you have installed this update, it cannot be removed. This update is provided to you and licensed under the Windows Server 2008 License Terms. With this update, you can now use Hyper-V in a production environment for supported configurations. Please see Windows Server 2008 Licensing and Support terms for more information.”

Source: KB950050

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a cross-team blog about the Windows Foundations

The .NET Endpoint is a new blog of several teams inside Microsoft that work on the Windows Foundations (you know… WCF, WFF…)

“This is a Microsoft cross-team blog – meaning that multiple groups here at Microsoft will be posting, including the WF/WCF development team, testing team, .NET product management, and some of the more influential folks in our field. Additionally, this blog will be consolidating a couple smaller team blogs into one place, and adding a few link collections to help WF/WCF novices and experts alike locate content. The goal is simple: this will be the one blog to subscribe to if you want to stay on top of WF and WCF stuff.”

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/endpoint/

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Xbox Media Center for OSX renames itself to PLEX

It’s not as many of those fance company-blogs like gizmodo have written: not the Xbox Media Center project (which makes XBMC for Windows, Linux, Xbox 1 and OSX) renamed itself – infact only the fork of OSXBMC renamed itself to PLEX.

“The one name that stuck was Plex. I like it because it evokes “cineplex” and the suffix means “comprising a number of parts” which the application certain does. In mathematics, you use the suffix to mean “ten to the power of the number” (e.g. oneplex = 10).

Because there are no four-letter domain names left (seriously, try to find one!) we decided to square the plex, so to speak. Think of either plex^2 or plex squared (the beta logo below tries to connote the word “plex” inside a square that might represent a TV screen). The domain names are plex2.com, plexsquared.com, and plexsquare.com for good measure. They are not active yet.

In the coming days, we’ll be working on the rebranding process, including the application packaging, logo, web domains, etc. In the longer term, we have some exciting things in the skin department as well. Stay tuned, and thanks for all your support; we really are lucky to have such an great community.”

Along with the new name comes a new logo:

plex2

Source: http://www.osxbmc.com/
Source 2: http://www.plex2.com

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Notepad++ version 5 is out! hurray!

There is a new version of Notepad++ – my number 1 choice of text editor on Windows – available for download. It’s version 5 of the great tool bringing us more performance, many new features and even more fixes:

“Notepad++ is a free (free as in “free speech”, but also as in “free beer”) source code editor and Notepad replacement, which supports several programming languages, running under the MS Windows environment.”

npp

Source 1: Download

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A .net web debugging proxy tool

If you’re frequently debugging web traffic (http/https) you may want to take a look at Fiddler:

“Fiddler is a Web Debugging Proxy which logs all HTTP(S) traffic between your computer and the Internet. Fiddler allows you to inspect all HTTP(S) traffic, set breakpoints, and “fiddle” with incoming or outgoing data. Fiddler includes a powerful event-based scripting subsystem, and can be extended using any .NET language.

Fiddler is freeware and can debug traffic from virtually any application, including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and thousands more.”

fiddler

Source: http://www.fiddler2.com

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If Windows XP updates fail more than one time…

… like on two of my machines – try this:

regsvr32 wuapi.dll
regsvr32 wuaueng.dll
regsvr32 wuaueng1.dll
regsvr32 wucltui.dll
regsvr32 wups.dll
regsvr32 wups2.dll
regsvr32 wuweb.dll

– At least on my machine it now installed the updates flawlessly.

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Freies Funknetz Switcher Tool – Status

Die Arbeiten am Switcher Tool gehen sehr schnell vorran – eigentlich fehlen nichtmehr viele Teile des Puzzles… hmm um genau zu sein ist das Puzzle schon komplett aber noch nicht zusammengesetzt.

Um mal einen kleinen Screenshot und damit Eindruck des aktuellen Standes zu liefern:

switcherprogress

Eigentlich sind bis zu den ersten Tests durch echte Gateway Betreiber nurnoch folgende Dinge auf der Liste:

  • wenn Gateway sendet eine Zwangspause bis zum nächsten Senden einlegen bzw. garnicht zu senden aufhören wenn in der Zeit nichts passiert
  • COM Port Steuerung einbauen, fertig getestet ist sie ja schon
  • HTML Seiten fertigstellen – damit man keine “hässlichen” XML Dateien editieren muss um die Konfiguration zu ändern

Wer bislang kein Subversion Client installiert hat oder installieren konnte, dem möchte ich die Gelegenheit geben trotzdem mal “reinzuschauen”: Ich stelle den aktuellen Sourcecode des Switchers zum download für jeden (CC-BY-NC-SA Lizenz) und bitte um reichlich Kommentare 🙂

FFN-Switcher.zip (123,83 KB)

P.S.: Es handelt sich nur um den Sourcecode – nicht um die Assets wie HTML Seiten und Bilder – die gibts nur auf dem SVN Server zur Zeit.

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Freies Funknetz Switcher Tool Status und Quellcodezugriff

Die Entwicklung hat tatsächlich schon begonnen und ist auch schon in den ersten Grundsatzentscheidungen angekommen. Wie soll das Benutzerinterface aussehen – wie die Konfiguration? Welche Features werden zuerst benötigt?

ffnswitcher

Im Moment sieht man noch nicht viel von der geplanten Applikation – nur einen Haufen Quelltext der schon ein bisschen dies und jenes tut – unter anderem ist geklärt:

  1. der Zugriff auf die COM-Schnittstelle
  2. die Soundausgabe für die Bake
  3. der Zugriff auf den Teamspeak Client
  4. das Logging
  5. die Lizenz

Beim letzten Punkt wirds dann auch schonwieder spannend. Ich habe mich entschlossen den Quelltext und das fertige Programm unter einer Creative Commons Lizenz zu veröffentlichen – genauer gesagt unter “Namensnennung-Keine kommerzielle Nutzung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Unported”:

88x31

Weiterhin steht mittlerweile die Versionsverwaltung sodass sich jeder der mag gerne den Quelltext und damit den aktuellen Entwicklungsstand anschauen kann. Entweder mit einem normalen Webbrowser unter folgender Adresse:

http://www.dotnetcommunity.de:6667/ffn-switcher/

oder per Subversion (Versionsverwaltungssoftware) mit folgendem Kommando:

svn co http://www.dotnetcommunity.de:6667/ffn-switcher/

Die noch ausstehenden Grundsatzentscheidungen unter anderem über das Aussehen des Benutzerinterfaces werden in Kürze getroffen sodass schon bald die erste grundsätzlich funktionierende Version – zumindest in Quelltext Form (erster offizieller Release der Software selbst kommt erst wenn eine Menge an Tests durchlaufen sind) – verfügbar sein wird.

Source 1: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
Source 2: http://www.dotnetcommunity.de:6667/ffn-switcher/
Source 3: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subversion_(Software)

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Opensource Switcher Tool fürs Freie Funknetz (CB/PMR @ TeamSpeak & Mumble)

Ich hatte ja vor kurzem schoneinmal einen (englischen) Artikel über das freie Funknetz geschrieben – da sich nun abzeichnet dass ich mich da auch ein wenig einbringen möchte (jaaa, nicht nur nutzen sondern auch mitmachen und helfen!) werde ich ab sofort ab und an kleinere und größere Artikel zum freien Funknetz und zu meinem geplanten Beitrag – einem Switcher Tool für Funk Gateways – schreiben.

Der Reihe nach: Was ist das freie Funknetz überhaupt?

Beim freien Funknetz handelt es sich um einen Zusammenschluss von Funkinteressierten im deutschsprachigen Raum (und Arizona B-)) die ihr Hobby auf die nächste Stufe gehoben haben: Die Verbindung zwischen CB oder PMR Funk und der entsprechend relativ geringen Reichweite und dem Internet mit der weltweiten Zugriffsmöglichkeit. Über eine Voice-Chat Software namens Teamspeak, einem Funkgerät samt diversen Anschlusskabeln und Geräten und einem PC wird so ein sogenannter Gateway realisiert der die Brücke zwischen einem Voice-Chat-Kanal im Internet und dem CB/PMR Kanal schlägt. Das ganze nun multipliziert an vielen verschiedenen Orten in und außerhalb von Deutschland und man erhält das freie Funknetz.

Wozu das ganze? Falls es bis hierher noch nicht klargeworden ist: Es ist möglich dass man vollständig ohne Funkgerät aktiv in vielen Gebieten Deutschlands funken kann – realisiert über eine kleine Client Software. Man kann die Funker in den Empfangsbereichen aller Gateways hören und selbst mit ihnen sprechen – dabei ist es egal ob man selbst das Funkgerät (in Reichweite eines Gateways) oder die Internet Client Software verwendet. – Wer das selbst mal erleben will möge sich eingeladen fühlen.

Ich nutze diese Einrichtung nun schon ein paar Monate und bin der Meinung dass es an der Zeit ist auch mal einen Beitrag zur Weiterentwicklung dieses wunderbaren Hobbies zu leisten. Was mir in diesem Zusammenhang ganz offensichtlich ins Auge gesprungen ist ist die konsequente Verwendung von nicht-quelloffenen Tools. Sowohl die Client/Server Software als auch die notwendigen und durchweg von Privatleuten selbstentwickelten Tools zur Steuerung der Funkgeräte sind nicht quelloffen. Das stellt die Hobbyisten vor ganz konkrete Probleme: Erweiterungen und Wünsche können nicht aktiv umgesetzt werden und letztlich ist man an Einzelpersonen gebunden ohne jede Chance engagierten Menschen die Möglichkeit zu geben die bisher geleistete gute Arbeit weiterzuführen. Weiterhin birgt die Abhängigkeit von – in diesem Falle der Software TeamSpeak – möglicherweise noch ganz andere Gefahren: Die Entwicklung dieser Software stockt und so recht weiss keiner wie es damit weitergehen soll. Es gibt quell-offene Alternativen wie Mumble oder eQSO aber um diese überhaupt nutzen zu können müssen die selbstentwickelten Tools zur Steuerung der Funkgeräte angepasst werden – da beisst sich die Katze in den Schwanz.

Genau hier will ich nun ansetzen und diese Steuersoftware für die Funkgeräte – die sogenannte Switcher Software – quelloffen und unter freier Lizenz reimplementieren sodass auch andere auf dieser Arbeit aufbauend weiterarbeiten können. Derzeit befinde ich mich noch in der Planungsphase da sehr viele Wünsche und Anforderungen bedacht werden müssen – vorab hier einmal prinzipielle Aufbau eines solchen Funk Gateways wie es zur Zeit zum Einsatz kommt:

ts-funk

Aus gegebenen Anlass möchte ich auch mal auf die Kommentarfunktion hinweisen – gerne können Wünsche und Mithilfe-Angebote dort eingetragen werden 🙂

Source 1: http://freiesfunknetz.de/index.html
Source 2: Download TeamSpeak

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FIWAK 2008 Trailer

I am once again pleased to present the official Trailer for this years FIWAK. FIWAK is the annual outdoor-conference presented by FeM e.V.. This year these lectures are planned (german only):

  • Openstreetmap-Workshop von Markus Brückner und Dominik Tritscher
  • Technische Grundlagen DVB-T von Sebastian Schwarz
  • Opensource Videobearbeitung von Florian Raschke
  • FeM-Geschichte von Mario Holbe
  • Vereinsinterne Kommunikation von Michael Bock
  • Tanzworkshop mit Udo Pescheck
  • Bewerbungstraining mit MLP
  • Whiteboard-Technologien von Smart Systems

FIWAK takes place from 20. to 22. June 2008 in the forest around Elgersburg – a small town near Ilmenau. But now watch the trailer:


Video: FeM FIWAK 2008 Trailer

Source 1: FIWAK Homepage

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When you’re in need of a good whiteboard… use Wii controllers + homebrew

Oh yeah. I talked about these kinds of electronic whiteboards for years – and now it seems that there is a cheap and really useful DIY solution created by Johnny Chung Lee(beside several other really useful and astounding DIY jobs)

“Since the Wiimote can track sources of infrared (IR) light, you can track pens that have an IR led in the tip. By pointing a wiimote at a projection screen or LCD display, you can create very low-cost interactive whiteboards or tablet displays. Since the Wiimote can track upto 4 points, up to 4 pens can be used. It also works great with rear-projected displays.”

So you need:

  • a Wiimote
  • a selfmade Infrared-LED Pen that marks the trackable point

So namenlos (his blog) did his version of the Wii whiteboard and made a video of it:


Video: Wii Whiteboard

(due to music the license of this video is CC-BY-NC-SA)

Really impressive isn’t it? And you can do so much more with this Wiimote stuff. – Actually I am planning to get such a Wiimote and a Pen and try it myself.

Source 1: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/
Source 2: http://blog.slash-me.net/archives/268-Wii-Whiteboard.html

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FIWAK 2008 is near!

Once again it’s time for the annual forest-lan-partyesk-camp organized and held by FeM e.V..

It’s the 5th FIWAK (FemImWaldAußerKontrolle) taking place from 20th to 22nd June 2008 in the Forest (Freilichtbühne) near Elgersburg/Germany.

You can still sign up if you like to come and watch the lectures and camp with the people there. If you like to get an more detailed impression of the last FIWAK just take a look here.

Source 1: everything about FIWAK on this blog.
Source 2: FIWAK Einschreibesystem

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hear and chat about the MacWorld San Francisco with the bits-und-so crew

Next tuesday it’s once again MacWorld-time – Apple will kick off it’s developer conference with a keynote and the guys of bits-und-so are going to meet and live-stream their comments and thoughts.

See you tuesday about 1730 local german time…

Source: http://www.bitsundso.de/live/

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a .NET profiler for the compact framework

Thank god there’s now a .NET Compact Framework profiler available – we can now start to optimize our compact framework applications – and the best of the story: this one works well and is completely free.

Key features:

  • The EQATEC Profiler is a code profiler, not a memory profiler.
    So it’s all about making your app run faster, not about tracking
    objects and memory.The report will tell you exactly how many times each method was
    called and how long it took. You can then speedup
    your application by optimizing just the most expensive methods.
  • The profiler and viewer are very easy to use. The viewer
    in particular has been designed to make digging into the
    report easy and useful.Instead of
    “percent of total execution time”-bars and filters and stuff that look fancy,
    but are often useless in practice, we’ve made it easy for you to see and navigate to
    what really
    matters: the most expensive methods and their context.
  • The overhead depends on the instrumentation-level and
    the application itself, but typically
    your app will only run 20-40% slower and become 30-50% bigger. This low overhead means you’re usually able to run your app just like
    normal, even for timing-critical code.
  • “-and free means crap, right?”
    Well, not always. You know, some users have actually taken time to write us saying that we ought to charge them for this kind of
    quality tool. Really, its true!
    However, for now we’ve decided not to.

Source 1: http://www.eqatec.com/tools/profiler/features

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watch NASA TV live streams at higher bitrates (quality)

They landed on the mars again…and they will launch a space shuttle within the next 22 hours if everything works out as planned. So maybe you, just like me, are interested in getting some live-information about that.

There’s NASA TV but on the NASA website you only get low (150kbit) bitrate streams. If you want better quality, just try these links:

Of course you can always go with the standard website livestream…

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Fork you!

There’s a lot going on in the world of opensource these days – but it seems that not the development side of things is discussed most of the time in some projects – it’s the social side, the “I want this, you want that, I don’t like you”-side of things.

Ever so often some opensource project split up and do a “fork“.

These are just two examples for your reading pleasure and studies of human behaviour:

1. Project Pidgin:

Well – the developers and users of project pidgin are not able to reach a consensus on the question how their beloved software should look like and behave. Believe it or not: There’s a project fork and a hefty discussion just on the question wether or not the Chat Input Text field should be resizable or not.

This picture should visualize the problem:

The developers did not want to make it resizable, the users wanted it to be resizable. Problem – Discussion – Fork you!

You can read the whole story here.

2. Project XBMC / OSXBMC

OSXBMC is the team that forked in this example: They develop – aside of the main XBMC team – the Mac OSX port of the Xbox Media Center (which actually runs on Xbox, Linux, Windows, OSX now).

Obviously there were hefty discussions going on with the main XBMC team. Mainly because teh XBMC main team thinks that the OSXBMC guys didn’t check-in their source changes often enough.

You can read one side of the story here and click you through to the other side.

The problem with these forks is not the fork itself but the way the people in these projects seem work with each other. Many very promising projects died because people just could not work together…

As far as I am concerned: For opensource projects I prefere the maintainer-scheme that for example the linux-kernel uses. Have one gracious dictator who has the final word about the release and people that maintain different parts of the project.

Source 1: http://developer.pidgin.im/ticket/4986
Source 2: http://www.osxbmc.com/2008/05/21/exodus/
Source 3: http://xbmc.org/

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