Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brush your teeth, they're blue...!

Working on some initial windows mobile code to do bluetooth communication between a PC and "smart phone" (winmo 6.5).

This .NET library has come in handy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

To Parse or Not to Parse

I'm working on a side job for a client and logistically it's fairly simple, take some IIS logs/email logs and dump them into a SQL database for easier querying.

In comes LogParser (a free Microsoft utility that they don't like to advertise because they don't support it, although it seems to process very quickly and is fairly flexible, making it one of the better log analyzing tools on the market). It's command prompt driven, and SQL syntax oriented.

For instance, imagine you want to pull out logs from a specific IP address, you can write a SQL query in the command line to execute against the log file and tell LogParser where you'd like to output the results (command prompt, windows GUI dialog, SQL server, CSV file, etc.)

More once I get further...

Friday, April 16, 2010

The future is now.

Attended a .NET Sig presentation by Jeff Blankenburg in Cleveland, OH this week. He went over several new features of Visual Studio 2010, Silverlight 4, Windows Phone 7, and IE9.
  • Internet Explorer 9?
    Didn't we just get the blasphemy that is IE8? Anyway, supposedly MS is working with W3C to ensure passing standards for IE9. On top of that, they have a 3D rendering engine Javascript uses to process simple polygons very quickly. A demo was shown with balls bouncing around at nearly 60 FPS that IE8/FireFox/Chrome achieved 2-3FPS on. Fairly neat, seemingly graphics designers do not trust giving this duty to a developer?

  • Visual Studio 2K10.
    Visual Studio 2010. VS 0-10. The Visual Studio redone entirely in WPF. C# 4.0 has been integrated and several "new" refactoring abilities were demonstrated. "New", because many of us have seen these before in 3rd party utilities. Optional parameters are neat because they are intellisensed. Web.configs can finally be segmented into Development, QA, Prod/etc. as many environments as you want. They build on each other from the base config file. So if you want a DB connection string to be different in the production environmet, you need only specify it in a production web.config file and it will inherit the rest. You can also pin debug watch statements. What does this mean? Normally the watch window is either out of view, or pinned in a certain location - displaying all watch variables. Now we're able to create a specific label next to a variable in our code, and have it list it's value at all times during debugging. The neat part of this is, VS remembers our pins. Next time you debug, up pop the label value variables again (in the same spot you left them).

  • Silverlight 4 is starting to catch up to Flash.
    Flash is still on 98%+ of browsers, while SL is at 60%. I was surprised at the seemingly few developers in the meeting who have ever run a SL project before. There were a couple of questions that indicated developers themselves think Silverlight is still a video platform. Gr-bah! If technical people don't understand Silverlight, how will the world; seems like we'll have to wait until SL 10 for that change. Flash didn't happen overnight, either. Maybe I'm just blistered over the fact I gave an SL3 presentation last year demonstrating all the awesomeness that SL brings to the web. SL Webcam/microphone support, right click ability, printing, and drag-drop from your desktop onto SL was demonstrated. One super awesome reporting feature called Pivot was also shown, more information can be found at GetPivot.com. Basically seems to use deep zoom to report on custom objects in a neat/re-usable fashion.

  • Windows Phone 7 means to replace the atrosity that is Windows Mobile.
    I've been playing with several WinMo phones at work from differing brands, and I feel like Marty Mcfly. Are we in 1980? Is 1980 really 30 years ago? Side topic, the first text message was sent in the early 90s, and now we send like 5 billion a day. Robotic society at it's best! Anyway, Windows Mobile seems to have major problems when comparing it to the Android or iPhone as a user mobility platform. If we're talking about Business productivity applications, the story is different. But geeze, if you're trying to support multi-touch contact screens and stylus screens on the same device, and implement neither as efficiently as others that use only one ... not right! The stylus is old-school. Now I know a lot of people use styluses, but I am a blunt and honest person, old-school means caveman in today's world. That being said, Windows Phone 7 has me excited. Some of it's form-factors are not cool, but it's android-esque version is neat. Silverlight 4 will run on it. More importantly, XNA runs on it. Jeff believes 99% of the programming base will be SL4, which is fine - but there are some awesome ideas for XNA. XNA is the same coding base that many XBOX 360 Arcade/Lives service games use. Ever heard of Castle Crashers? XNA. I demonstrated coding a crude Space Invaders in 60 minutes with XNA a couple years ago.

    Now imagine you are playing an XBOX 360 Arcade game (Geometry Wars, anyone?) at home. After 30 minutes you save (OK, GW doesn't have that "functionality"). You get up to go to the grocery store. Because it's Giant Eagle and it's 5 PM on any day of the week, you're waiting in line behind the 20 other people in the "under 8 items" line, each having a full grocery cart - with the cashier asks them "are you sure that's 8 items" - and hearing each customer argue about it for a few minutes. Basically, you have about 10 minutes before you can check out. You whip out your WinMo 7 phone and begin playing a minified version of Geometry Wars. Except you're playing where you left off at home! You defeat a level and it saves. It's your turn to answer the question "Are you sure that's under 8 items" and you begin to count the items in your grocery cart in French. Because the cashier doesn't understand French, they don't know that quatorze is 14 - you're safe (for now). You get home and boot up Geometry Wars again on your XBOX360 and it's where you left off from your Giant Eagle expedition - except now you're back on your big screen TV with a slamming subwoofer!

    The future's not set. There's no fate but what we make for ourselves.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Boom Blox

Steven Spielberg.


Buy it if these words mean anything to you.

Extended Response Tweeters

I received a pair of B-stock Extended Response Tweeters (ERTs) from an AV123 forum member recently and hooked them up last night.

They connect directly to your positive/negative leads on your speaker (no additional drive/amp required).

What are ERTs? They are "super tweeters", responsible for reproducing frequencies from the 11KHZ to 20KHZ range.

Most people can't hear above 16KHZ, so you say why even have these? Because although we may not be able to hear the upper frequencies - they still resonate tiny bones in our ear that we can feel - which modifies the sound slightly to give it an "airy" feel.

Anyway I tried them out and I think I like my speakers without them. I don't believe them to be a gimmick, just didn't work for me as my speakers are already very detailed/non-fatiguing. There is enough of a difference that I will try them with another set of speakers later....

Cost me $200 used - roughly $450 new.

Code Igniter

I got CodeIgniter and PHP running on Windows XP/IIS5.1. I'm surprised that the latest version of PHP has such a difficult time installing on a windows box. I feel like PHP is for "script kiddies" or something. There's too much .ini editing to get up and running (matrix-move-dodges-bullets from PHP folk). I've probably become accustomed to lack of control with Windows application installs. A few permission issues and configuration file edits were all it took to get it working. Why should we have to worry about setting .PHP file handlers with a path that doesn't have spaces in it (???). Are we still working in Windows 3.11 or better (worse) yet - DOS?

CodeIgniter appears to be "PHP On Rails".

I completed cookie management within PHP. I'll be working on session management and invoking web requests next. There aren't enough hours in the day...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Twitter RESTful API

That past couple of weeks I've been working on consuming Twitter's API (unpaid side project):

I think the project I'm on is pretty much NDA'd - so I can't discuss much more other than that, but the RESTful API concept in general is interesting. I'm also looking into CodeIgniter for PHP (feels like ruby on rails?).

I'll post updates on the Twitter project as it becomes more "live", but it's exciting. I'm working with a very talented graphics developer (responsible for AOL's blogs), and a successful project manager from ThinkPocket.