rss
 
comment(s)

archives
J|F|M|A|M|J|J|A|S|O|N|D
(20##) 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 <
 
DesktopWeb FormText   traveling with the x360Wed, 28 Dec 2005 04:30:22 GMT # 

it was my carry-on. got swabbed for bomb schrapnel at both airports (coming and going). the first lady guessed what it was. the second guy thought it was a projector :)


DesktopWeb FormText   kameoMon, 26 Dec 2005 23:58:54 GMT # 

finished it this morning, took me about 24 hours of gameplay (something like 11k people have a better time!). this was the first full game i've finished in 4 or 5 years. the length was just right (for me) and it was forgiving to beginners. the controls were pretty easy too, the only thing i didnt like about the controls was having to change the button mappings for elementals and only having 3 for quick selection. there were a handful of wow moments. 1) charging the horse through hundreds of trolls. 2) watching hundreds of dragons in the air. 3) random views of the landscape. 4) fighting with the soldiers to light the cannons to shoot the airships ... that was intense. 5) the larger enemies were impressive. did get lost a couple times or could not figure out what to do. usually i could figure it out from the wotnot or the map ... but not always. also had to go to the internet a couple times to figure out how to beat some bosses. one thing i really didnt like was upgrading characters. all it does is give you a textual description for some of the moves. i would prefer for it to show a cutscene of the move in action. it would be even better if it would take you to some training arena to specifically practice that technique. because of this i rarely used the elementals to their fullest. i'll probably play it a little more to see some of the moves i missed and find the 4th crystal eye. no way i'll get any of the ranking achievements. oh yeah ... when can we buy the nude kameo skin from the xbox live marketplace?


DesktopWeb FormText   my wikipedia policyWed, 21 Dec 2005 15:43:30 GMT # 

not that i even have an entry, but on the off chance i ever get one ... i would make sure to edit it to add in references to softcore porn :)


DesktopWeb FormText   vacateWed, 21 Dec 2005 06:03:43 GMT # 

going to be mostly disconnected for the next couple weeks. by 'mostly disconnected' i mean 'mostly connected to the x360'


DesktopWeb FormText   XBox Extending MCESun, 18 Dec 2005 23:06:59 GMT # 

went ahead and wired my notebook to the router and that fixed the network performance problems to let me extend standard video. so this was my first time to actually view video from Media Center Edition. whats interesting about that is my MCE notebooks video card is not powerful enough to display video (only 32 megs), but it is powerful enough to stream the video to the 360 to render. my guess is that i could get a USB TV tuner and that would work too. also got to check out some of the video enabled online spotlight pages. pretty cool, but it does further my belief against Hosted HTML.


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : finishing up another cycleSun, 18 Dec 2005 19:33:10 GMT # 

er, um ... so the arrival of the XBox 360 screwed up my workout schedule. i actually skipped a workout during the middle of the week. the bad part is it really screwed up my supplement routine because i would forget to eat meals and drink protein. got back on track for the weekend, and will have one more workout before xmas vacation. then i'm going to take a week off (or 2?) to end another 3 months of working out. its good to take some time off periodically to heal. sometimes you come back feeling stronger than ever.

some colleges must have let out already, because the amount of young people at my gym seemed to double.


DesktopWeb FormText   new article : /aiSomMusicSun, 18 Dec 2005 16:31:37 GMT # 

/aiSomMusic is a quick article using audio processing and AI to solve some problems i have with my music collection.

actually finished the article last weekend, but was hanging on to it thinking that i was going to write an MCE interface for part of it. but now that the x360 is actually here ... that's not likely to happen :)


DesktopWeb FormText   fuck xmasSun, 18 Dec 2005 16:02:28 GMT # 

being a militant atheist, people had been sending me links about the 'holiday tree' nonsense and asking if i even celebrate. i actually did write a blog post up ... and then deleted it. well, Miguel de Icaza just linked to a site that sums it up better than i ever could : fuckchristmas.org. the end points out why i use xmas.

yes, my friends and family will be getting xmas presents from me. no, i don't decorate, sing carols, knock over snowmen, or burn nativity scenes. but i do drink egg nog, that stuff is some serious weight gainer


DesktopWeb FormText   Kelsey Grammer as BeastSat, 17 Dec 2005 22:26:01 GMT # 

say it ain't so. nobody named Kelsey should play any part in X-Men ... especially not Beast. Frasier was great ... but this was my favorite mutant ... the whole brains and brawn thing


DesktopWeb FormText   x360 first impression from a non gamerSat, 17 Dec 2005 20:46:31 GMT # 

was able to get my hands on one and have spent 24 hours with it. being a nerd, i took notes of the experience. this post is just going to be a cleaned up version of those notes. but first, my gaming background for context. used to be a hardcore gamer growing up. had to give it up during college (grades) and never picked it back up ... basically 7 years off.

my excuse for getting the 360 is its Media capabilities. the primary reason for me to have it is to be able to understand and test for the Media Center Extender experience. i do think playing games are better than watching television, so i might play some games instead of watching TV. but the real question is, how did i manage to find a 360? initially, i wrote a screen scraping program to check online for me. that found a bundle on GameStop.com that i ordered. GameStop ended up cancelling that order because my shipping address was not my billing address. at that time, there were some public trackers written, so i just signed up for those : xbox360tracker.com and notify360.com. then i was able to snag another bundle from ToysRUs/Amazon. got a premium with 10 games for $1000. thats actually way more games than i need, so i'm going to offload most of them (have not opened them). my local ToysRUs said they would not return the games, and Amazon will only return the entire bundle. my options are to offload them as xmas gifts without receipts to local retailers for in store credit (i dont ebay). else i can try to pick up a non bundled system and then return the whole bundle to Amazon ... which i might do. bundles suck.

does it work? had this one running for 24 hours straight ... no lock up problems. granted, i've only been playing original xbox games, arcade, and 360 game demos. i don't notice the noise that the fans make, nor do i think that the heat is that bad ... at least not compared to my notebook and tablet pc. the power supply is large, and i wish that the cord between it and the 360 was a little bit longer so i could set it on the floor. as far as scratching discs going from horizontal to vertical, thats bogus, the game system is a good size ... you won't be moving it while playing. it is larger than i thought it would be, but not huge. using it on a standard tv, but it makes me want to go out and buy an HD projector setup.

hardware and accessories. it definitely needs more USB ports, unless it can be hubbed? with the wireless adapter, a portable music player plugged in, and when the xbox live camera comes out they will all be used. not to mention wired controllers ... wouldnt get them unless you are going to use them on a PC. don't like that the memory cards are not some standard format (lame). the wireless adapter supporting A,B,G is nice ... but i see myself getting rid of it for something faster for media. hoping that Linksys releases something soon, else i'm going to wire it and free up a USB port. the mid sized MCE remote is ok, but i prefer the full sized MCE remote. the 360 remote only controls the 360 and not my MCE PC, but my MCE remote can control both. the only problem is my MCE remote does not have the 360 button to turn it on, so i have to use a controller to turn it on ... or get my ass off the couch. don't know if the full sized MCE remote can be used to control both ... i would guess not? maybe its just because my MCE setup is older? oh yeah, i have an original xbox extender remote, and it can't be used to control either 360 or the MCE PC. then there are the controllers. i really like that the wired controller can be used on both the 360 and the PC ... the wireless needs to get a PC dongle to support this too. as far as gamepad controllers go, i really like these. i've pretty much hated all gamepad controllers (old school keyboard gamer), but these feel more natural than any others i've tried. the only annoyance is some of the old games used the white and black buttons (now left and right shoulder) ... so that is a little confusing ... one of the shoulder buttons should be marked black to distinguish. do like how the headsets connect to the controller, but they are crap quality. need behind the neck headsets with better headphone output and a noise cancelling mic. also, i don't think it works, but the MCE remote keyboard should be updated to work with the 360 too. finally, i cant wait for the xbox live camera to come out ... love cameras.

setup and installation. setting up the 360 was easy ... really like the HD cable that can also be used on standard TVs. entering the initial data was straight forward, so was getting the 360 on my WEP network, and setting up xbox live. it was a little annoying using the gamepad with the onscreen keyboard ... but not that bad. pairing the 360 with MCE was just as easy. point and click stupid. this is when i found out that my network needs to improve. i've got both the MCE notebook and the 360 wireless ... at least one of them should be wired, preferably both. i definitely see putting both on a wired network. anyway, got them paired, and was able to use the 360 as an Extender, but the experience wasn't so great with the 2 wireless hops (G network). thats just for MCE, the Wireless connection for xbox live works great.

backwards compat. own a handful of xbox games for no particular reason. those seem to play just fine. the console did connect to live and update for a couple of them, but it wasnt a big deal. the only thing that tipped me off to running on the next gen console was when the games ask for the white or black button usage. they do still work on live, but they miss out on the next gen game features. i.e. no acheivements, can't play your own music ... they don't even show up in your games list.

media. was able to stream music both from the MCE PC and my Tablet with Windows Media Connect. actually won an iRiver at PDC, so i hooked that up and have mostly been playing music from that. the first time i told it to Play All, it only grabbed the first 100 songs (lame), but the next time it actually played them all. i'm not sure if the 360 is supplying power to the iRiver through USB yet? i really like being able to play your own music in the games. just wish the remote would let me skip tracks without having to go to the guide. thats the problem of having the power to control the music ... wanting more power :) as explained in an earlier paragraph, i'll have to change my network setup to get the full media experience.

gamertags. what is the call sign that defines you? gamer score, rep, and achievements ... thats just evil. talk about making gaming an addiction. i've been chatting the mantra 'i am not my gamer score, my gamer score is not me'. that is serious kick ass. from the arcade games i've been playing, i'm already sucked into trying and pick off some of the easy achievements to get my gamer score up. 'i am not my gamer score'. making it available online ... evil :) the achievements are so tempting it has made trying to beat the game seem secondary. 'my gamer score is not me'.

live. threw my gamertag on the blog ... and about 10 minutes later i had a friend request! i was like who the hell is this? googled them and found out they really are my friend ... cool! anyway, the friend requests need to be personalized somehow so you can match up a gamertag with a real world name ... maybe it already does this and i just haven't seen it? haven't done any of the exchaning messages and stuff like that yet, but that looks sweet. being anti social, not sure how much i'll actually use it? prefer to frag in silent anonymity. anyway, i didn't get the full live experience in less than 24 hours.

points. wanted to get on the marketplace next, but needed some money/points. er, um ... its annoying that points aren't in dollar amounts. please explain why? i'm not into the whole customization thing, but nickel and diming people for themes is lame. also, i could not figure out how to buy points from xbox.com. had to enter my credit card info into xbox ... which was painful. of course, they want my credit card info there for micro payments ... but my preference is to purchase points at my desktop. no, i dont want to purchase them from a retail store either ... lame. also, it seems like the more points i buy, there should be some sort of discount? if not ... make them dollar amounts. did like that all the 360 games had trailers available. a handful of the 360 games even had demos ... awesome ... i think they all should. all of the arcade games had downloadable demos (but no trailers). the problem here is that downloading freezes everything. would prefer for downloads to happen in the background, and/or let them be queued. at least let me go and muck with music playback. when viewing items in the marketplace, how about some icons to distinguish : trailers vs demos, video size, demo vs full game, themes, etc... also, how about sorting by price, date, alpha. looked like there was a bug too where some of the arcade games were listed twice (for the same price). if i purchased one, then they both went away? also, the marketplace shows how anemic the harddrive is. in one night, i had the harddrive half full ... 20 gigs is a joke for 500 to 1 gig demos and high def trailers. love redvsblue.

live arcade. er, um ... i had to buy joust for me. zuma for the TS, and gauntlet for when i visit my dad. for $5 that is hard to pass up, even if i can get these free on PC emulators (any PC emulator add in wired XBox controller support yet?). add in achievements and live ... then they are a bargain. shied away from the $10 games though, thats the cutoff point when i actually expect it to be good. arcade is phenomenal, that is where it sells to just about anybody. serious, the TS and my mom love puzzles. my dad would love playing the old coin ops. who doesn't love playing classics? my nephews should be ok playing some of these games too. they are simple to control and not for mature gamers only. it makes it the console for everyone. well done. do wish that the purchased arcade games would be separated from the demos.

games. oh yeah ... it plays games. haven't really got the full 360 game experience yet. played some of the demos, and those are sweet. did spend a couple hours with Halo 2 and Fable (original xbox) ... and those are awesome ... but i just don't have the time to invest. when the game reviews complain about a game only having 20 hours of gameplay ... thats a bonus to me. that's why i'm going to offload most of the games from the bundle i got.

so that is my first 24 hours. overall ... i really like it, and i haven't even been able to experience a good chunk of it. when i get my network and MCE PC upgraded ... it'll get better. when i get some form of HD TV ... better. as game developers get accustomed to writing for the new hardware ... better. as more games get put on arcade ... better. as more people get consoles and the community builds ... better. i'm assuming MS can update the core OS over live too? when we are able to write WPF apps to be extended from MCE ... better. and what happens when MCE Vista comes out ... whoa! so how much did i like it? well ... it screwed up my workout schedule ... thats pretty much unheard of :) oh yeah ... when are we going to get .NET and Managed DirectX on this thing ...


DesktopWeb FormText   c# for gamesFri, 16 Dec 2005 15:47:20 GMT # 

Benjamin Nitschke points to an interesting post about c# gaining some acceptance in the gaming world. from the little game development i started doing this year, it was hard enough to figure out how to write the the game, so having a managed coding environment was extremely helpful. and as i commented on his post, performance is more than adequate for casual gaming. and now that i've got to play with some Live Arcade games on the XBox 360 ... i REALLY want Managed DirectX to make its way to the console


DesktopWeb FormText   x360 gamer tagFri, 16 Dec 2005 02:27:07 GMT # 


DesktopWeb FormText   360 reorderedWed, 14 Dec 2005 20:02:48 GMT # 

the good thing about GameStop.com cancelling my order is that i've had really good workouts since then. there is nothing quite like being pissed off to motivate you to push some weight. actually did have the opportunity to re-order a bundle from GameSpot.com just a couple days ago, but i did not, out of principal. that was sort of hard to do. but now i'm glad i did, because i was able to grab a bundle from Amazon today. estimated delivery is tomorrow, but i'd be really surprised if that happened based on the amount of snow i just shoveled off the driveway ... and its expected to keep snowing for the rest of the day. but i am excited for it to arrive ... to the point of feeling foolish.


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : feeling top heavySun, 11 Dec 2005 20:01:47 GMT # 

upper body is mostly healed now, so those workouts have been decent and now i'm starting to feel top heavy. left quad is still a little jacked, but i've been struggling through leg workouts and it 'might' be getting better (fingers crossed). been able to do some decent weight with leg press and leg extensions been ok. even did some lightweight squats and it was only bothering me a bit. now i have just over one week before i take some time off to recover. need to force myself to keep taking it easy and just work on maintainence


DesktopWeb FormText   hate GameStop.comSat, 10 Dec 2005 18:00:32 GMT # 

just received this from my XBox 360 order ...

"This order has been cancelled. You are receiving this message because either the shipping address you specified on your order is different from the billing address specified ... At this point we will NOT reinstate this order. You will need to replace the order when the items become available on our website again."

BASTARDS!!!


DesktopWeb FormText   work in progressSat, 10 Dec 2005 17:16:38 GMT # 



DesktopWeb FormText   2 out of 3Sat, 10 Dec 2005 06:05:05 GMT # 

just finished the core of the app for the next article. initial testing (with no tweaking) had a 2 out of 3 success rate! those tests were all related, so it actually could be some stupid coincidence that just makes it looks like its working ... believe me, i've had that happen before :) probably spend another week mucking with it, increasing the test bed, and seeing if it can be repurposed for diff features. kind of cool


DesktopWeb FormText   work in progressFri, 09 Dec 2005 01:57:19 GMT # 



DesktopWeb FormText   work in progressWed, 07 Dec 2005 02:50:20 GMT # 



DesktopWeb FormText   why i want an XBox 360Tue, 06 Dec 2005 17:46:21 GMT # 

a bud emailed me and was ragging on me for whining about not being able to get a 360. and he ended the message pointing out that "You don't even play games". guilty ... but here are the reasons :

improved MCE experience - my current dev notebook is running the MCE OS, but i cant use it to play video (because the video card only has 32 megs) and i cant use it for TV (because there is no tuner card). my uneducated guess is that using the notebook through an XBox Extender might fix the video issue, and then i could try a USB tuner. anyway, i'm curious to just see if it would work. if it does, then i'll retire my dev notebook to be a full time MCE PC. regardless, i'll buy a new dev notebook before the year is out to get the full MCE experience ... because i've got a number of app ideas involving TV and video that i have not been able to write with my current hardware :(

testing extended MCE apps - the 360 basically forces all MCE apps to support being extended. so i need an extender for testing out apps on to make sure i handle the UI and security correctly. for about the next year, that limits us to Hosted HTML, but WPF will get support in the future. this is actually the primary reason i want a 360. Gamer Tags need another designation for 'Media'. yep, it's a sickness.

sniffing the wire - if i get some time and feel like some pain, i might look into how MS is remoting the Media Center shell to the 360. just curious.

er, um ... i'm certainly going to get some games too ... strictly for testing purposes. i did actually write my first game ever this year (/cameraFlow) ... so i need to check out the competition :)

MS ecompanystore - it'll give me something to spend MVP bucks on. assuming that some of the MS game titles for the 360 make it over there?

nephews - got 3 of them. can't have them beating their uncle whenever i visit ...


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : expensive pissTue, 06 Dec 2005 05:16:17 GMT # 

Bill asked if supplements are legit ... or if they just make your pee extra yellow so you can turn 2000 flushes water green? when it comes down to it, supplements are just food (not drugs). but getting big is not just about lifting heavy weights. you also have to eat and sleep ... alot. and they are just as important as lifting. if you don't sleep, your muscles can't heal. don't eat right, muscles can't heal. so if you like to eat and sleep ... then you should become a weightlifter :) supplements just help you get nutrients you aren't getting through other foods. if you can get everything you need from food, then you don't need supplements. e.g. the current Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman, says he doesn't drink protein shakes ... but he eats tons of small meals throughout the day. most people don't have that much time to eat or prepare the food. i don't, so i take supplements. NOTE people react differently to supplements. some things will work for me, that won't for for you ... and some just don't work. so you have to experiment. here's a list of what works for me, in order of importance (another list is at bodybuilding.com) :

multi vitamin - everybody should be taking a multi. if you workout alot, then you should take more.
calcium and joint care - i take these for preventative reasons.
protein - it is near impossible to eat enough protein (to grow). i drink 4 shakes a day (morning, afternoon, post workout, before bed). i also eat 3.5 meals a day, and snacks.
creatine - this really works. take it before and after workout. it seems to give me more energy during workouts and i seem to heal faster. and i don't feel as strong when i'm cycled off of it.
ZMA - this is a mix of minerals that you take at night that end up boosting testosterone. when i've taken this at night, i wake up feeling lean and strong.
andro - i'm pretty sure this is now illegal? but when it was legal, it would make me feel like an animal for about 2 hours. great before a workout.

i've also wasted my money on a number of products which did not work for me :

NO - supposed to give you a continuous pump, it just makes me feel edgy. some people swear by it. tried both NO2 and NO-Explode.
T-Bomb - was an expensive andro. they've come out with T-Bomb II which i haven't tried.
MetaBlast - don't think this is on the market anymore.
HMB - not sure what this was supposed to do?
CellMass - special blend of creatine. wasn't special for me, so i'll stick with basic creatine.

now look at both lists. the top list (that worked for me) is pretty much the basics. they are cheap and have been used by alot of people. the bottom list that (which didn't work for me) has been the newer more expensive stuff. so its cheaper to let other people experiment ... if it works, then it'll get mass produced and the price will come down.


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : detoxMon, 05 Dec 2005 16:00:00 GMT # 

just ran out of BSN NO-Explode and BSN CellMass for pre-workout and post-workout respectively. from reading bodybuilding forums, they seem to work for alot of people, but i can't say they were doing much for me. i'll be mostly off performance enhancing supplements for the rest of the year. mainly because the holidays are coming up and i won't be able to get as many regular workouts in. could also stand to lower the weight and raise the reps for a while. plus its about time for me to take another week off to get some good recovery in. so i'm just going to maintain where i'm at, take some time to heal, and prep to hit it hard next year.

when i get back to high intensity training, i'm currently thinking that i'll take blameMike's advice and give Endothil-CR a try. not too expensive and its only one pill a day. its an interesting product in that it was originally intended to stop muscle atrophy. but its got the added benefit of making you change up your workout because you are supposed to target a single muscle group each workout and just shred it. thats a good thing, because my body seems to have gotten used to alternating upper and lower body workouts. the tricky part will be to shred an individual muscle without injuring myself ... that'll be my problem.


DesktopWeb FormText   XBox 360 2nd wave?Sat, 03 Dec 2005 19:18:30 GMT # 

er, um ... it doesn't seem to have made it to Wisconsin. but like an idiot, i got up and hit 3 stores this morning.

Target - inital reaction : "check back in January". after bringing up the 2nd wave : "we heard about that too ... you might call and check next week".
WalMart - they just point to a torn sign that says they are out of stock. i've actually talked to 3 different people in the electronics department, and not to be an ass, but i seriously think they are all mentally disabled. they dismissed the 2nd wave as rumor.
BestBuy - they are standing firm with the mid December date, and that there will be an associated ad at the same time. they dodge any mention of a 2nd wave.

reading some of the XBox forums shows that a handful of people actually did get a hold of a 2nd wave box, but most people are coming up empty. don't know if any online resellers got any new stock (other than ebay)?


DesktopWeb FormText   Inaccessibility of CAPTCHAThu, 01 Dec 2005 21:23:51 GMT # 

the /aiCaptcha article got mentioned in a W3C Note ... cool


DesktopWeb FormText   Bill's Booth Babe picsThu, 01 Dec 2005 19:15:07 GMT # 

here!


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : grunting is stupidThu, 01 Dec 2005 02:54:04 GMT # 

Monday's are usually the busiest day at the gym. my guess is that people feel quilty for what they did over the weekend, so they try to sweat it all out on Monday. this makes the Monday after Thanksgiving absolutely horrible. my gym was ridiculously packed, so i had to stand around people watching before i could get some sets in. here are some more things that the newbies do.

grunting is stupid - do these guys think that it actually impresses the girls? but the real reason not to grunt is it leaves an opening for you to get schooled. anybody can work in and do the same weight and make you look like a grunting idiot.
squatting 400 lbs but only going down 1/2 way doesn't impress anybody - ok, so maybe it impresses people you tell on the street, but everybody at the gym knows that you are cheating yourself ... and don't really know what you are doing.
nobody cares how big you used to be or how much you used to lift - can't tell you how many times this conversation has taken place. stupid guy, "how much do you bench?" me, "around 375." stupid guy, "i used to do that much." me, "what do you lift now?" stupid guy, "less." me, "you're going the wrong way." ... then they leave me alone
dropping the weight doesn't make you look strong - the point is to control the weight, not let the weight control you. when you drop the weight it just makes you look like the weight owned you. the same applies to the people that bounce the bar off their chest during bench press.

but the thing i get a kick out of is when parents bring their young kids in that are new to lifting weights. its fun to watch them try and figure out : first) how to use a machine, second) what muscle that machine actually works. its hard for them because it takes a while for somebody to develop muscle awareness. and the funny part is when they realize their dad isn't that strong ... i'm usually the guy that does that :) the best is when i'm done with some exercise and go to get a drink of water, and then the kids come over to see how much i was lifting. some of the scenes are of a 100 lb boy trying to budge a 120 lb dumbbell. or some 100 lb girl hanging from the lat pull machine because there is 200 lbs on the stack. that always makes me bust out laughing


DesktopWeb FormText   tablet bug :)Wed, 30 Nov 2005 16:16:31 GMT # 

no ... i really mean a bug (as in insect). somehow a really small bug crawled into my Tablet between the LCD screen and the glass. so i cant squish it. now its just crawling around and entirely distracting me, because its like a 2nd mouse pointer. fired open journal and i've been drawing ink fences and such ... which it ignores. also inking bug trails ... there is no pattern. i just hope it doesn't die in the middle of my screen


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : sizing upMon, 28 Nov 2005 03:24:06 GMT # 

arms are growing. been having great bicep and tricep workouts. if this keeps up, then my arms will be the first bodypart to go freak. they're relatively big now, but at some point they become huge. where they start to look like they're as big as my legs. my back usually gets big first, but its been held up because of the elbow injury and lack of gym equipment (particularly hammer strength machines). right now, the sheet of muscle on the upper back isnt thick enough, and at some point the lats will spread out really wide. my chest never gets that big. can bench decent weight with it, but i've never thought that my pecs were big before. this really sucks with my last name being 'chesnut'. lower-body wise my thighs and quads can get pretty big too, but they're being held up because of multiple leg injuries. but the biggest genetic weakness is my calves ... they won't grow to save my life. they are so disproportional that they take away from the size of my upper legs. like the guys with huge upper arms and no forearms.

thats my current situation ... top heavy. going to keep blowing up the arms just because i need something positive after the weeks of injury. also going to concentrate on my chest to see if i can grow some decent sized man boobs. instead of doing non stop bench, i'm going to try and do alot more flys than i usually do. going to keep taking it easier on my back in hopes that i don't reinjure the elbow. can always blow it up later. for the lower body, i'm going to keep strugging through the workouts and hope that my quadricep realizes that its just going to have to get better


DesktopWeb FormText   new article : /mceXInputSun, 27 Nov 2005 21:07:13 GMT # 

/mceXInput ... is a simple MCE AddIn to let you control your MediaCenter PC with a Wired XBox 360 Controller. this gives you a seamless user experience whether you are using the controller through an XBox 360 (as a MediaCenter Extender) or connected directly to a MediaCenter PC. the source code includes a pInvoke wrapper for the XInput API that you can use with both .NET 1.1 and 2.0 applications.


DesktopWeb FormText   XBox 360 portsFri, 25 Nov 2005 23:38:57 GMT # 

the Linux guys have stated their intentions with the Free60 Project

now i'm just waiting for somebody to start porting the SSCLI over


DesktopWeb FormText   wired XBox 360 controller and XInputFri, 25 Nov 2005 19:15:57 GMT # 

picked up a wired XBox 360 controller. don't actually have a 360, but you can use this controller on a PC too. NOTE you cannot use the wireless 360 controller with a PC. even with the Play and Charge cable, because it only charges, it does not actually transmit any controller data. hopefully the PC will get some dongle to use the wireless controllers in the future. i've seen pictures of people that have purchased the wired controller that came with a CD for the PC drivers. mine did not, but the drivers can be downloaded from microsoft.com/hardware/. this added a Game Controllers icon to the Control Panel to calibrate the joystick and test the buttons. all worked great, but i never could find buttons 9 and 10 ... what are those for? then i looked into how to code for it. the new API is called XInput. it is part of the October CTP for Managed DirectX, the problem is the October CTP works against .NET Beta 2. if you've installed VS2005 RTM, then you'll have to wait for the December CTP of DirectX to program against the controller. until then, there is a Channel9 video of the ZMan using it to control a pan/tilt camera ... perfect for gamer cam girls


DesktopWeb FormText   black friday, XBox 360 fumbleFri, 25 Nov 2005 17:41:34 GMT # 

saw the commercials advertising stores opening at 5AM ... and i was like WTF? you've got to be kidding ... only crazy people will be there. well, there's no questioning my insanity, so i set the alarm for 4:30 AM. there was a little part of me that was thinking maybe more XBox 360 shipments had come in for this madness. so at 4:40 i got a hold of Wal-Mart and CircuitCity ... and they didn't have any. that led me to believe that nobody has any. but i was already up and there is a BestBuy less than 10 minutes from the house ... so i went as an observer ... to see what black friday was all about.

first, some background info. i live in a small town of about 7000 people. the BestBuy i was going to is relatively new, less than 6 months old, and has always been relatively emtpy (of shoppers) compared to other BestBuys that i've gone too. this put me into a false sense of obscurity.

because when i pulled up at 4:55, the parking lot was FULL! actually, BestBuy was the only shop open, but the common parking lot (football field sized) which serves 6 or 7 other businesses (all closed) was entirely full. i had to get the spot of somebody that was leaving ... presumably because they did not want to wait in line. oh yeah, this is Wisconsin, the temperature is probably in the teens and wind chill has it close to 0. yet, the parking lot is packed. so i get out and start walking to the front. then i see this line wrapping around the building. holy crap, how did all these people fit into that few of cars? it actually took me about 2 minutes to get to the end of the line, because it wrapped around the side and then the rear of the building ... and kept going. estimated length of the line was over an 1/8th mile and was 3 to 5 persons wide. was really ready to ditch at this point, but my curiousity got the better of me. the line started moving as soon as i got to the end, and i was in line for about 10 minutes. passed food and drink remnants of where people had camped out. did i mention Packers fans are crazy? got in the building and everything was roped off. there was basically one path everybody had to follow through the store, and when you got to your sale item you branched off. there were masses of people near hot items like cell phones, iPods, and portable DVD players. the portable DVD players seemed to be the hottest item, at least i saw multiple people carrying stacks of them. seriously, i think there plan was to buy as many as they could carry. most people weren't using a cart, but i think everybody that did have a cart managed to hit me with it. this was pissing me off, i'm a big ugly guy and most people give me some extra space ... but not crazy shoppers. finally got around to the game consoles and stepped to the side to observe. this area was relatively low traffic. the only thing selling were overstocked games with a price deduction. i didn't see any accessories or consoles being purchased.

and there was a beautiful XBox 360 display with tons of accessories ... nobody even gave it a 2nd glance. and the actual demo 360 was turned off. at this point i realized that MS had dropped the ball for the US release. after seeing black friday, i cannot believe that MS would not have stacks and stacks of 360s available for these ravenous shoppers. to me, it really seems like they missed a huge opportunity to get the non-hardcore gamer crowd. but i don't know, maybe people were only buying the seriously marked down items?

soon after this, i got claustrophobic and had to get out. this was a nightmare in itself. the checkout line had snaked around the entire store and i had to push past all these people to find a clearing. not fun. i definitely wont be attending next year. made me realize how thankful i am for online shopping.


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : the new crowdThu, 24 Nov 2005 03:06:20 GMT # 

your local gym should be getting crowded about now ... mine is. thanksgiving is the first tipping point for people to start new gym memberships. its the guilt from gorging themselves on turkey day that pushes them over the edge. this will continue through new years (resolutions), but around february most of the newbies will be gone and then the people i see at the gym will be the same regulars that i've seen for the last couple months. newbies are sometimes fun to watch, just because you get the guys that show up all decked out with a belt, gloves, straps, sweatbands, mp3 player ... and sunglasses. i swear, i've seen more than a handful of people working out in sunglasses. it usually takes these people longer to get ready to lift than the time they actually spend lifting. but newbies mostly piss me off because they dont know gym etiquette. here are some of the rules

let people work in - if you're going to be on a machine for a while, then let somebody else use it while you're resting.
dont be a superset hog - this has you doing different exercises right after the other with minimal rest. so one person is effectively taking up 2 machines. definitely let people work in if you are using this technique.
rack your weights - i dont get any stronger by putting up the weights you leave behind. and racking your weights lets somebody know when you are done with a machine.
be aware of what machines are available - dont just go and jump on a machine after you get a drink of water. there is a chance that the person that was using that machine is getting a drink of water right then. at least ask somebody nearby if anybody is using it. if they are, then wait for them to get back and ask to work in.
wipe up your sweat - even if you're a hot chick.
fill up your water bottle when people aren't waiting.
be a spotter - if somebody asks for a spot on a lift, then definitely help out. even if the person is ridiculously stronger than you, they are just asking for a little help. if that person did not think you could help them, then they would not have asked you in the first place. about the only legit excuse for not spotting somebody is if you are injured. the best i've heard is that the person did not want to be held libel in case i hurt myself.
dont abuse a spotter - dont ask for a spot until you really need it. its really annoying to go spot somebody and they end up handling the weight easily. also, dont ask for a spot and then have the spotter lift most of the weight for you. if they are helping with more than 5 or 10 pounds of assistance, then you should lower the weight.
no phones - if you're going to chat, take it elsewhere. otherwise there is a good chance i might drop a 120 lb dumbbell on it.


DesktopWeb FormText   real reason XBox needs to open up devWed, 23 Nov 2005 02:49:37 GMT # 

as the end of the year approaches ... so i can make it a tax write off :) right now i can only write off getting an additional controller, because of the XInput API making it to Managed DirectX. actually, maybe i can write it off as necessary for understanding how to develop for MCE extenders ...

they see a game console; i see more hardware to develop software for. open it up


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF remoted to XBox360?Tue, 22 Nov 2005 21:10:25 GMT # 

er, um ... so nobody answered my last question about if XBox360 will get .NET (specifically Managed DirectX). at least i was happy to see CJCraft asking too. i wish more developers would start pinging MS on this. the 360 is all about community ... i'd really like for that to include the developer community.

now for my next question (to not get answered). is everybody too busy playing games, or has somebody tried remoting a WPF app from MCE to the XBox360? remember Charlies Owen's PDC Media Center Edition presentation that mentioned WPF Web Browser Applications (WBA) will render to XBox360 ... can we do that today with the November WinFX CTP ... or do we have to wait for some future update(s)?


DesktopWeb FormText   is microsoft-ace.com a scam?Tue, 22 Nov 2005 03:35:07 GMT # 

sure looks like one


DesktopWeb FormText   XBox360 and .NET?Mon, 21 Nov 2005 01:50:35 GMT # 

now that the XBox360 is ending up in people's hands ... can we get some info on the XBox360 and .NET? my hope would be that the XBox360 could run .NET applications, specifically Managed DirectX. it would make perfect sense for casual gaming development.

my gut feel is that the XBox360 will not support .NET. so then the question is ... when will it? the harddrive version should be able to get it in an update. the answer better not be next version ...


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn :Sun, 20 Nov 2005 20:27:46 GMT # 

had my 1st good bicep workout in a while. couldn't do any standing curls because the downward pull of the weight was bothering my shoulder. preacher curls took that pressure off. also, my arms have gotten more flexible. after taking a year off, i could not get a comfortable grip to do straight bar curls. nor could i get a slight twist in (for peak) when doing dumbbell curls. now my joints have adjusted so those movements feel more natural. going to concentrate on biceps for the short term and try to get a peak to develop.

quadricep is still bothering me. sick of it being injured, so i started doing squats again with light weight. rest didn't work, so now i'm going to try the old work through the pain bit. my hamstring injury only bothers me a bit on leg curls, because that is where i hurt it. my weird calf pain is gone as well. really hope my quad heals so i can get back to heavy squat. still stuck doing more cardio to try and get my body to work through it.

did alot more abs this week as well. basically got the ab machine maxed out again, and just need to build up to more reps. starting to do decent weight with low back hyperextensions as well. getting my mid section strength up will help a ton with squat. but i still have problems with my midsection. first, its the only place i store fat. my weight is just under 250 (which makes me obese according to BMI), but the only fat i'm carrying is at my midsection. i've got fat to lose ... but not that much. second, weighted ab workouts is all that works for me. doing endless numbers of crunches doesn't do anything. i pretty much have to apply weights to get any reaction. third, i build up muscle mass in my abs (aka 'turtle belly'). so the weighted ab work i do builds up my ab region which pushes the fat out even more. what i really need to happen is for my quad to heal so that i can get back to heavy squats. that would add about 5 to 10 pounds of muscle to my lower body which would help me burn more calories. then i could really hit the cardio with that extra mass.

supplement wise i'm holding at 100 grams of protein per day. along with my regular food intake, that is making me feel full most of the time. and my weight seems to be going up slowly. started taking the Animal Pak/Stak too. Animal Pak is just a multi, but i like how it is packaged, and could see myself keep taking it out of convenience. not to mention it will be great for travel. i do like how the Animal Stak mentions that it should be cycled. alot of products (that should be cycled) don't mention it at all ... and you just have to know.


DesktopWeb FormText   camera phones need macro zoomSun, 20 Nov 2005 00:08:36 GMT # 

the HTC Universal is 1.3 megapixels, but image quality for close-ups is unusable for barcode image recognition (example below). the HP Photosmart Mobile Camera works much better. was in the process of updating /barCode for CFv2 and WM5 ... but this effectively kills that idea :(


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : tricep growthThu, 17 Nov 2005 23:53:33 GMT # 

started doing v-bar tricep pushdowns on the lat pull machine because i'd maxed out the cable machine since it has dual pulleys. now my triceps are starting to put on some size. if my biceps would just develop a peak, then i'd have some serious guns. triceps are also helping out on bench too. did a set of 335 lbs for 5 reps followed by a set of 355 for almost 3 reps. with some confidence i think that puts my single rep bench max right at 375 lbs. real close to my personal best. going to lower the weights and increase the reps on upper body for a while because my right elbow is just now starting to feel better but my left shoulder is still bothering me some.

left leg seems to be doing better too. just doing squats with bodyweight has been bothering my quad injury ... but that seems to be getting better. possible hamstring pull is just a little tender, but i think its healing quickly. the only bad thing is that i jacked up my calve while stretching. don't know when i became a puss. didnt feel like a tear or a pull, it was more like 'what the hell was that'? more of an annoying hurt than an injury. hope that everything is completely healed in a couple more weeks so that i can hit the heavy leg work again.

got a new supplement shipment today too ... mostly protein. only been supplementing 75 grams of protein per day, but since my bodyweight has slowly dropped, i'm going to increase to between 100 and 150 grams. going to stay on BSN No-Explode and CellMass; even though i don't feel like they are doing much for me. my next experimental supplements will be the animal stak and pak ... been meaning to try those for a while now. going to stop taking my normal multi vitamins and stay off ZMA too.


DesktopWeb FormText   dual core 64 bit notebookThu, 17 Nov 2005 15:55:24 GMT # 

lost where i originally saw the link ... but check out this sperm killer. Intel needs to get it in gear


DesktopWeb FormText   web 2.0 is weakThu, 17 Nov 2005 04:11:06 GMT # 

its a 1.5 release at best. i'm holding out for the semantic web. keywords being ontologies, rules, and trust.


DesktopWeb FormText   retailers pissing me offTue, 15 Nov 2005 23:36:59 GMT # 

1) any retailer that asks for personal info
i hate when you get up to pay and they ask for your phone and/or zipcode. first, i dont want to waste my time telling them either. second, i dont want to waste any extra time in line as the people in line in front of me tell them this info. third, they don't need to know either of these bits of personal info ... don't they see i have untraceable cash in hand. and when i say no to not telling my phone #, dont immediately ask me for my zipcode ... because then they just put me in a negative mood. and they definitely should train their staff to not act pissed (or shocked) when i refuse to give up the info. i'm not the asshole for not wanting to give out my info ... they're the asshole for asking. from now on i'm going to turn it around and immediately ask the checkout people for their personal info.

2) Best Buys warranties on computers
the recordable DVD drive on my notebook is going bad. my assumption was that i could just drop off the bay to BestBuy and they would either return it fixed or ship me a refurbished one. nope ... they want my whole computer for at least 2 weeks. you've got to be kidding. i can't give up my computer for that long. to actually get my computer fixed under their warranty, i would need to buy a new notebook to work on and then get this one fixed after i don't need it anymore. guarantee that the new notebook will not be purchased from Best Buy.


DesktopWeb FormText   skype is too greedy for contactsTue, 15 Nov 2005 23:12:19 GMT # 

instead of just using the contacts that i have in MS Outlook's formal contacts menu, it looks like it grabs every email address from every mail message. so instead of looking for about 100 contacts ... its trying to import 1000+ contacts. and the really annoying thing is that its failed 5 times between 60% and 90%. i'd prefer if skype would just use contacts proper from Outlook. at least make it another import wizard option.


DesktopWeb FormText   darwin fishMon, 14 Nov 2005 22:53:51 GMT # 

the following pic shows my collection (from rof.com). i've had the Procreation one on my car for about 5 years. its been ripped off twice over that time, so the one in the picture is a backup. in the wild, i've only seen one other car with the Procreation fish on it. just removed the Devil fish from my car (why its faded), its been on for 3 or 4 years. its been taped over multiple times. once they even drew a cross over the tape. removing the Devil fish because its confusing the xtians. they're like 'the humping fish makes you a darwinist, so if you don't believe in god, then why do you believe in the devil'? my answer, 'i don't believe in the devil either, but its a fish with horns and a pitchfork ... its funny'. then they force out a fake chuckle and leave me alone. in the wild, i've only seen one other Devil fish too. really going to miss the Devil fish, because that one basically tells other drivers to not fuck with you.

so i'm not going to put all of these on my car ... only 2. the Procreation fish is going back on for the creationists. the Dinosaur is its backup the for Dr. Dino nonsense. the Flying Spaghetti Monster is going on as well ... for the intelligent designers. with the Pirate fish as its backup. Arrrr! i'm expecting to see more than a couple FSM emblems on the road


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : bellevue travelSat, 12 Nov 2005 16:38:35 GMT # 

it is just plain hard to travel and workout. first, you've got to pack workout gear. can't tell you how many times i've packed workout clothes and then forgot to pack workout shoes. and dont forget a lock for the locker room. next, you could stay at a hotel with a gym. the travel sites do a pretty crappy job of explaining the fitness amenities. but hotel gyms suck ... period. when they say 'fitness center' ... they usually mean a handful of cardio equipment. maybe a piece of nautilus equipment or dumbbells that go up to 50 lbs. then you've got to find a real gym. which just means more taxi rides or driving around lost in a rental car. at least WiFi makes it alot easier to find nearby gyms. finally, when you get to the gym, you'll have to go through the freakin tour and new member crap to try out the gym. daily fees are usually $10 to $15 ... which is high. no kidding, more expensive than movie tickets. else they try to get you on some month to month no contract deal ... with a signup fee of course. but they generally do not offer any kind of short term membership for travelers.

found a Bally's close to my hotel. except there was no parking at 7 PM. came back over an hour later and was finally able to park. they wanted $115 sign up fee and then $35 a month. i'm like ... i'm only going to be in town 1 week a month (at most) and would workout 2 or 3 days during that time. they can't do anyting for me. so $10 daily fees would be the only way to go ... but i did get a free pass for that night. they had a real decline bench, which i dont have at my home gym, so i slammed 315 lbs for a couple sets of 8 reps. then i had to wait for a flat bench to come available. did 315 for 2 more sets of 5. not bad. elbow wasn't bothering me, but my left shoulder was still sore from last week. they also had a cable machine that wasn't dual pulleys (home gym lacks this too). so i was able to do some v-bar tricep pushdowns to failure. that felt great and my tris were shredded the next day. went back a day later and got some light leg work in. finally, i took a box of protein bars with me and had a couple each day so i was able to keep my bodyweight up around 245

the one good thing about traveling workouts is that it renews competition. the home gym gets kind of boring because everybody knows the strength order. although that will get shook up a little in the coming months as people start new years resolutions. but going to a new gym is like you're invading uncharted territory. it always pushes my workouts just a little further as i stake out the new land.


DesktopWeb FormText   male stewardessesSat, 12 Nov 2005 16:19:47 GMT # 

remember when stewardesses used to be young, skinny and female ... me neither. i think age discrimination went first. then they threw out the weight limit. used to be able to sit in the aisle, but i cant do that anymore because i'll end up getting bumped by some wide load. used to be just by some random passengers, but it gets real annoying when the same attendant gets you multiple times. but my last flight was an all male flight crew! there had better have been a suspected terrorist on board to call for that. one of them actually did have an FBI looking ear piece? was actually working for Sabre when 9/11 went down, and a rumor was that stewardesses quit in mass afterwards. now i believe it. 'fly the friendly skies' ... and by 'friendly', we mean 'questionably gay'. or how about NWA standing for 'no women allowed'. why cant hooters air be in my area? i bet alot less people fall asleep on those flights

oh yeah, if you've found a stylus on a plane, it could be one of mine. lose more styli that way. at least i can say that windows mobile 5 works really well with only a keypad. and you can run smartphone games on a ppc, which work great without a stylus


DesktopWeb FormText   in redmondTue, 08 Nov 2005 06:58:20 GMT # 

kind of cool to be here on launch day


DesktopWeb FormText   check out the MAC fan clubSat, 05 Nov 2005 20:20:36 GMT # 

BackRow, ugly Windows cousin of FrontRow
/backRow Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Media Center

... Apple should be proud


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : good and badSat, 05 Nov 2005 19:42:54 GMT # 

bad first. was doing my already weak leg workouts to favor the left quad injury. had a decent workout finished and decided to do just one more set on single leg curl ... and my left hamstring gave out. it felt somewhere between a cramp and a muscle tear. since i've only had one muscle cramp in my life ... its a muscle tear. was able to do really light dual leg curl today, so thats a good sign. but i tweak it every once in a while when bracing myself for a lift, and it was definitely getting agitated just by riding the bike. going to go look for some thigh braces in just a minute before my whole left leg falls off. oh yeah, and my left quad still isn't healed ... not sure what's taking it so long? not even sure how i hurt it in the first place? bodyweight is now closer to 240. this sucks because i'm actually trying to gain weight. i'm hoping its not leg mass that is being lost. anyway, i haven't figured out how to adjust the workouts to accomodate this new injury

good news is that my elbow is starting to feel better. it hasn't been bothering me much on chest or back days. able to crank out 30 dips easy and up to doing 10 pullups. also did 90 lb dumbbell shoulder press for 5 reps. put up 100 lb for 3 or 4 reps, but i needed a spotter to help get the 1st rep going ... so it doesn't count. will have to work on that. traps are finallly starting to fill out a little bit too.


DesktopWeb FormText   hex168Sat, 05 Nov 2005 17:09:41 GMT # 

my submission (below) didn't make the cut :(
Marty gets credit for the idea


DesktopWeb FormText   tablet devs looking for creativity ...Sat, 05 Nov 2005 03:13:42 GMT # 

... should look at the LeapFrog FLY Pentop Computer. picked one up last night ($99) and played with it for a couple hours. the hardware does ink reco as you write, scanning, sound effects, and speech synthesis. it can load external data through scanning and plug in cartridges. but the interesting part for tablet devs is the software. it requires special paper but the recognition is quite good. it only recognizes printed capital letters and numbers and can only handle short phrases. also handles taps, double taps, and markout gestures. the special paper can be 'open' or 'targeted' to some special function. the targeted paper included was for system settings, apps, games, and learning. the date and time was set by clicking on paper buttons. there was a little card to make the pen into a calculator by tapping paper buttons. a game was a dj scratching table, and a learning page involved locating geographic areas on a map (nice). they also have learning add-in cartridges that have the questions used by textbooks in school. another app was for a baseball game tied to baseball cards. those were slick, but the open paper is more interesting to me. it has a menu system and functionality that is built in and accessed by mouse gestures. to access the main menu you write the letter M, circle it, and double tap it. then it prompts you that it has entered the main menu and as you single tap the M button then it speaks the menu items. if you write a checkmark then that menu item is selected. one option is the scheduler, which can be accessed by drawing an S, circling it, and double tapping it. then it prompts you to write the time or date for an alarm and a message. if you wait for the time that you set, then the pen will sound an alarm and read back the note that you gave it. another app is a music system. you write FT (for FlyTunes), circle it, and double tap. then you can draw a limited keyboard (as 8 rectangles) and/or drum kit (as 4 circles). when you hit a key or drum then a sound effect is made. you can also draw buttons to switch the keyboard/drum synthesizer that is used, as well as a record button. the sound is lame ... but the idea is cool. what was really sweet is that i was able to switch between pages of paper where i had written different menu items in the same area on the page. one page had the M for main menu and another had T circled to tell the time. the special paper was marked somehow so that i could switch between the 2 with no problems! anyway, i really like the combo ink, gesture, and speech interface.

or course most of that functionality could exist on a tablet. all of the open paper scenarios especially ... minus the special paper. but we can't do some of the targeted paper / scanning scenarios. it would be like leaving your tablet behind but taking your pen with you all the time. say you're at some store and see some product you want to research before purchasing. then you could scan the UPC and when you get back paste that into your tablet. then it could auto jump to product reviews. oh wait ... we already had that ... the CueCat! seriously ... i would like to see the tablet pens take on more functionality. maybe i should check out logitech's io2.


DesktopWeb FormText   /backRow crossed overSat, 05 Nov 2005 02:55:37 GMT # 

by 'crossing over', i mean escaping out of the developer community to be seen by a larger audience.

so i fire up Outlook around noon and see that i've got a handful of hate emails. nonsense like 'Mac envy' and 'your article sucks'. ok, so somebody with juice must have linked /backRow. try to hit my own web site ... and its choking. check the usual suspect ... nope ... somebody else's death ray. check the blogs i'm subscribed too ... nope. write one of the people that sent me an interesting email and they give up Paul Thurrott's Internet Nexus. also here. yep ... that'll do it.

i've only had a handful of crossover articles, but have received nasty emails each time. what's up with that?


DesktopWeb FormText   new article : /backRowMon, 31 Oct 2005 05:27:33 GMT # 

/backRow is my last 2 weeks with WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation). the article explains how i used WPF and the MediaPlayer SDK to create a rapid prototype of Apple's new media center program called FrontRow. this includes Music, Photo, DVD, and Video functionality. there are side by side screenshots, videos of its usage, and source code


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : another weekSun, 30 Oct 2005 19:46:57 GMT # 

this week was nothing special. still nursing my elbow and quadricep. mostly avoiding leg extensions, but the leg curl machine is totally maxed out. having to use it with a single leg at a time to get anything out of it. the dumbbells are maxed out at 120 lbs too for bench and back. for back, i did get creative and started stacking another hex dumbbell parallel with the handle, so it rests against the dumbbell i'm gripping and my forearm. was able to stack a 50 lb dumbbell on a 100 lb dumbbell to get a little more work in. back is still feeling good and sore from that. bodyweight still hanging at 245 too. might be getting a little bigger and stronger, but results have definitely slowed


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF : sound effectsSun, 30 Oct 2005 14:18:41 GMT # 

downloaded a bunch of .wav sound effects last night. thats always fun because you get to search for stupid words like 'boink' and 'doing' ... and the search actually returns matches ... and sound like what you would expect them to sound like! found the SoundPlayer class which looks like it is used to play sound effects. we have the MediaElement too, but my feeling is that is too heavy weight for a 2 second sound clip. you give the SoundPlayer a Stream or a file path and then you can Play() asynch, PlaySync(), or PlayLooping(). all i needed was Play() asynch ... but it totally butchers the wav files. serious ... think of somebody scratching a chalkboard ... thats what comes out alot of the time. PlaySync() works great but freezes your thread. quick and dirty, i just extended my SoundHandler to create a thread for each sound effect and call PlaySync() on that thread ... works fine.

also, XAML should incorporate a sound effect syntax for designers to do this. something like :
< SoundPlayer Source="{EmbeddedResource click.wav}" Playback="Asynch" / >
and it could use the existing Style.Triggers to be activated


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF : core app is completeSat, 29 Oct 2005 21:59:52 GMT # 

the last bit of functionality i needed to add was Music support. started last night and got it done just a second ago. so it took me right at 2 weeks to develop the core of this application. the article is partially written too, but i'm going to kick it around for another week trying some other stuff out.


DesktopWeb FormText   2 weeks with WPFSat, 29 Oct 2005 16:50:31 GMT # 

i've been working with WPF for the last 2 weeks (spare time). first off, i must say that i really like it. i love the separation between code and XAML. i like rendering images and video just about wherever i want. working in 3D aspects without having to write a full on Direct3D app. animating items and creating layouts that would be near impossible to create in WinForms. but there has been some pain including video driver problems and interop bugs. have also seen some user input wackiness. all in all, i'm starting to feel comfortable developing in the environment ... even without a designer tool. productivity is certainly not as high as it could be, but i think its at a high enough level that it is usable. can't wait for the next drop to come out!


DesktopWeb FormText   switching contractsFri, 28 Oct 2005 18:45:41 GMT # 

today is the last day for the contract i've been on for the last 11 months. got to work with a bunch of great people and had a blast while working here. not to mention it was only 10 minutes from home ... bonus!

starting a contract with MS next week. going to still be in the Milwaukee area and periodically travelling to Redmond. should be alot of fun.


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF : user inputFri, 28 Oct 2005 00:53:34 GMT # 

having a hell of a time with user input. i've got another instance of mouse contention. first, i had it with deprecated Viewport3D syntax. now i've got it with multiple panels that i fly in and out of view. the weird thing is that i dont actually have any mouse handlers set for these panels or the main panel? i do have mouse handlers set in other panels, but they are all collapsed, which makes me assume they are inactive? i do have listboxes on these panels and swap out their focus accordingly, but at some point they just stopped getting mouse hover and click events. at least keyboard input is working ... but i've had problems with that on other forms. part of that problem was not knowing about the Focusable property, but even with that i've had instances where the KeyDown event might not fire ... but KeyUp does? might have even had the opposite scenario too ... but i'm starting to get confused by all the different things i've tried. nope, that's a lie, i'm totally confused ...


DesktopWeb FormText   cant download VS 2005 ...Thu, 27 Oct 2005 19:36:45 GMT # 

... until WinFX is updated to support RTM :(


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF : MediaElementThu, 27 Oct 2005 05:02:46 GMT # 

this was tonights beating. the examples i've seen just have the Source set to some hardcoded video path in XAML. that made it look deceptively easy. in my code i tried to set its Source to a FileInfo.FullName but it ended up taking a MediaTimeline. went ahead and created that and set it to the MediaElement.Source. fired up my app and nothing happened? bunch of searching and saw that i also needed a MediaClock. created that from the MediaTimeline and called Controller.Start(). fired it up and i could hear audio but video wasn't displaying. crap ... looks like the video driver issue again. but then i notice that the audio only plays for a couple seconds. hmm ... maybe an object lifetime issue. took a while, but i finally realized i should be setting the MediaClock that was created on the MediaElement. i had been holding on to an instance of the MediaClock, but that wasn't enough. set that property and video playback starts working! the only problem i get now is that it periodically gets in a bad state and throws a ComException 0x8876017C for 'Out Of Memory'. this sucks because it doesn't seem to recover and just stays in this bad state once its been reached. anyway, i should finish the Video functionality tomorrow night


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF : video card and interop problemsWed, 26 Oct 2005 21:33:16 GMT # 

MS was helping me out with my issue of not being able to use an ImageBrush and then render DVD playback. ends up it worked for them on a 128 MB Radeon 9800. i've got a much lamer GeForce FX Go5200 AGP 8X 32 MB. tried upgrading to the latest video driver ... and it gets even worse. now it crashes the app as soon as it tries to render the Viewport3D with an ImageBrush. it ignored debug mode and just blows up and asks to send an error report to MS. if i replace the ImageBrush with a SolidColorBrush then everything works fine. the Viewport3D displays and then the DVD renders properly.

Bob Brown (of MS) also noticed that you cannot collapse WinForms hosted in Avalon. i discovered this for MediaPlayer, but it ends up being for other System.Windows.Forms controls too. posted a sample in the avalon newsgroup for others to repro. for my app i need to be able to collapse their containing Panels, but i also need to be able to overlay other Panels on top of them.


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF : off-screen fly-insWed, 26 Oct 2005 17:50:53 GMT # 

got a little bit done after the nerd dinner last night. basically shelved the DVD functionality ... hoping that MS can get back to me with some workarounds for 2 issues i'm having with MediaPlayer rendering (while hosted in WPF). moved on to the Videos page. the first thing i worked on was getting off screen elements to fly in. Ifeanyi Echeruo (of MS) tipped me off about how to do this in the newsgroup. it works by having the main panel be a Canvas. a Canvas is important because you can position items absolutely, including off screen. the problem with the Canvas is that it does not auto resize itself or its child elements. the first workaround is to override the Canvas MeasureOverride method to make it expand as large as its parent will allow. then i created child panels for the fly in elements. these were positioned offscreen by setting their Canvas.Left property to the width of the Canvas (positioning them off screen right). also, i had to make sure the Panels had their width and height set to the width and height of the Canvas to make those panels take up the entire Canvas space. this gives you the power of being able to explicitly position items while still supporting some level of scaling. then you just have to animate the Canvas.Left property of the child panel to 0, which creates the effect of the child panel flying right to left to fill up the entire display. finally, you can have multiple animations, so that one panel animates off the screen to the left, while another one animates on screen from the right. works great ... and is definitely not something i would even attempt with WinForms


DesktopWeb FormText   WI nerd dinner tonightTue, 25 Oct 2005 18:07:34 GMT # 

info


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF : interop with MediaPlayerTue, 25 Oct 2005 01:42:37 GMT # 

beating my head against the wall again tonight. if i dont use the ImageBrush, then my WPF app can host a WinForms control that is hosting MediaPlayer. it starts up and automatically starts playing a DVD ... pretty sweet. but now i'm trying to interact with the embedded control. in WinForms, i can just start clicking around with the arrow buttons and the space bar to navigate the DVD menu. in WPF, none of those key presses are making their way to MediaPlayer. a little hunting tracked down the Focusable property which let me clean up some other unrelated code. some WPF elements are not Focusable by default, meaning they wont receive any click events. my hack to get around this had been to embed unrendered elements in the form and set focus to them ... effective, but wrong. regardless, that did not help me with MediaPlayer. at least i can click on the DVD menu with a mouse. but the MediaPlayer sucks up all the other click events so they dont make their way to my hosting panel. some keyboard commands do make their way to the hosting panel, so i tried to use those to exit out of the DVD hosted panel. the problem is, MediaPlayer does not want to give up control of the window. even if i collapse the hosted panel, turn off visibility, whatever ... and then set visibility to the new panel i want to display ... that new panel will not render. crap. what i really wanted to do was overlay a panel on top of the MediaPlayer ... but i cant even get it to go away. when i do overlay the panel ... it doesn't display. all i see is the DVD rendering. at this point i cannot adequately control the DVD or MediaPlayer from my application. since this app is a learning experiment, read throw away, i'm just going to polish up a couple places and move on to the next piece of functionality.


DesktopWeb FormText   DVD functionality testingMon, 24 Oct 2005 19:39:24 GMT # 

... don't test with a DVD that you actually like :) i made the mistake of using season 1 of Family Guy. so when it was working, i'd catch just enough of a scene that i had to keep watching. lesson learned ... need to pick up a crappy DVD for continued development. an old lady flick would definitely do the trick, but i dont think i'd be able to make that purchase. not to mention i couldn't keep it with the other DVDs. what i need is a movie that had potential to warrant a DVD purchase ... and then totally sucked. Blade 2 comes to mind


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF interopMon, 24 Oct 2005 17:47:09 GMT # 

finished the photo functionality last night. the problem i was having with keyboard entry was really stupid ... just forgot to set focus on the control. spent this afternoon trying to get DVD functionality. there is a MediaElement for playing video ... but its limited. my current understanding is that it can only play WMV, MPEG, and AVI files ... lame. for DVD playback i wanted to embed MediaPlayer. first off, i found out that WPF does not directly support ActiveX controls. but it does support hosting WinForm controls. so you have to create a WinForms control that hosts the ActiveX control that you want. take that as a not so subtle hint to stop building ActiveX controls. next, i created my WinForms control and embedded MediaPlayer. also created a WinForms app to test it out and everything looked like it was working. embedded the WinForms control in WPF and it partially worked. the DVD started playing, i could hear audio and see the controls menu at the bottom ... but the video was not rendering. didn't know what was going on, so i was going to punt, and created a small app to post to the newsgroup. but that app worked ... the DVD video was rendering. crap! thats the worst possible debug situation. this meant there was something between my complex app and this simple app that was breaking it. started adding piece by piece from the complex app to the simple app. every time something was added then it had to be run to see if it had broken yet. cant tell you how pissed off i get during this process. added almost the entire app until i found it. the problem is an ImageBrush. the app uses an ImageBrush to paint the panels of a Viewport3D menu. if i swap out that ImageBrush for a SolidBrush ... then the video will render. if i put the ImageBrush back in ... then it breaks. that wasted about 4 hours ... and i don't currently have any ideas for a workaround. really need to get the ImageBrush back in there and get the video to render

for the other side of the interop story, Adam Nathan posted this today! : Using COM Interop to Create a WPF Visualization for Windows Media Player

p.s. web server is having problems ...


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : bring out the gimpSun, 23 Oct 2005 20:12:21 GMT # 

right elbow is still tender. i can feel something pop when i do dips ... every single rep ... not good. my left quadricep is still messed up. the leg has been bothering me a little, but i thought it was due to not stretching properly after travel. now i'm almost positive that its some sort of injury. either a bruise, muscle tear, or muscle tearing away form the bone. cant remember hurting it and there aren't any visible signs. so my workouts are all screwed up. cant really do much for upper or lower body right now. that basically just leaves me with cardio and abs. the new plan is to switch up the workouts to have more days off between leg workouts. also going to turn down the intensity on upper body workouts and spread them out a bit. finally, going to add in some more cardio, abs, and stretching ... lame


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF : input and stylesSat, 22 Oct 2005 21:49:06 GMT # 

navigation is mostly figured out, as well as the photo display functionality. should be able to complete it tonight and hopefully crank out one of the other functional areas tomorrow. still cant get the 2nd Viewport3D to work. tried a couple different techniques, and as soon as i add it, all mouse functionality stops. pretty much have given up on that and started adding keyboard controls. initial cut isn't working; can't get any key presses to register at all. going to have to create a throwaway project to experiment with and then move that code over. one thing i did do is go through my code and move over all event handler hookups from the XAML. makes sense to put that into the code so that a designer cant whack it. also i love just being able to Tab my way to creating the event handler in code ... happy happy joy joy. that has the additional benefit of creating the correct EventArgs type too. have been leaving some event logic in the XAML but only when it pertains to something sylistic. also regarding styles, everything i've seen so far is visual. i'm hoping there are also style controls for audio. e.g. if i wanted to wire up some sound effect to happen when hovering over a control ... that should just be a style. hell, they could hook that up to the System.Speech namespace and have it do speech synthesis. anybody know if WPF already has audio styles?


DesktopWeb FormText   i am death incarnateFri, 21 Oct 2005 18:38:51 GMT # 

just paying my respects to Doom. spent many hours with that franchise. you've seen those video clips of people beating entire games in about 10 minutes by going through the game full speed ... i used to be that guy. knew all the shortcuts, power ups, and secret doors. it was so bad, that i could be in the same room as my college roommate and would know what difficulty setting he was playing, what level he was on, and what room he was in just by listening to the sound effects. oh yes, i'm getting an adrenaline rush just from typing this post ... its partially responsible for my career choice.


DesktopWeb FormText   new MCE dev bloggerFri, 21 Oct 2005 14:01:34 GMT # 

and he's got a post on the DRM changes for Rollup 2


DesktopWeb FormText   the beta'ness of WPFFri, 21 Oct 2005 04:35:30 GMT # 

generally, most everything is working, but there are rough edges. in fact, i might have found my first bug today. it involves some combination of Viewport3D elements that will lock up mouse handling. to get around this i could try dynamically adding and removing the Viewport3D elements from the visual tree. or i could take the easy way out and just use an Image control, because the effect i was going for was the picture frame like Max. a 2D image isnt as sexy, but it works and its easy. it also has requires the Visual Studio dance. the VS dance is closing and reopening the project or closing and reopening VS to get some feature that stopped working to start working again. this is effective when intellisense goes away. other times i haven't been able to build because it complains about missing windows.baml or other nonsense. i remember stuff like that really throwing me for a loop when i was a junior programmer. now i'm all big headed and have more confidence when something should work and am quicker to restart VS and move on. the other beta tip off is the lack of a designer. VS provides pretty good intellisense but doesn't provide a real time view. XamlPad provides a real time view but lacks intellisense. thats called lose lose. and i've gotten XamlPad in a bad state before such that it crashes every time i try to reopen it. this is fixed by deleting its saved state file ... annoying. the final sign is the docs and samples. there is a large # of samples, but there are a number of them that wont run. and there is a decent amount of general documentation as an overview, but the docs for the API reference are mostly nonexistent.

didn't get much accomplished tonight. just played around trying to get my 2nd viewport to work, before giving up and taking the easy way out. right now i need to figure out how to make a good looking scrollable list box. so the topics for the next couple days will probably be about data and styles. need to spend a little time on this because this element is used a couple more places in the application


DesktopWeb FormText   Layout and NavigationThu, 20 Oct 2005 05:00:17 GMT # 

the change i made tonight was to remove the main menu UI code i had in the Window class to a separate MainMenu class. also created separate XAML files for the sub menu items. now the Window class is just used for custom paging. basically following The North Face demos model such that the Window contains all the Panels for the application. then you just Collapse or make Visible an individual Panel based on the applications state. the application that i'm trying to replicate does this a little slicker, and i 'think' i 'see' how to write that code (which would be more complicated) ... but i'm taking this shortcut because i want to get on to the actual functionality of the application. i'm certain i could kick around the main menu for another week before it was 'perfect' ... but i'm anxious to get to different scenarios in the app to see what learning experiences they have waiting for me. and that last bit exemplifies why i'm not a designer.


DesktopWeb FormText   HitTest workingWed, 19 Oct 2005 04:01:11 GMT # 

Bob Brown explains the fix for my HitTest problem. the fix was to switch from Viewport3D.Models to ModelVisual3D/ModelVisual3D.Content ... don't ask. that switch returned a Ray3DHitTestResult to the HitTestResultDelegate instead of a PointHitTestResult ... don't ask. would have never figured that out. anyway, the Ray3DHitTestResult allows you to figure out which Model in the Viewport3D was selected. now i've got a small Z-Order problem that i could look into and then move on to adding navigation.

so what has transferred from my past dev experience? the eventing model, data binding, and working with Controls transfers over from WinForms. working with Managed DirectX to understand 3D concepts was critical for Viewport3D. the declarative model from ASP.NET makes XAML more approachable. SVG transfers over to some of the lower level elements, but WPF supports alot more. i dont actually know Flash, but i think having that dev experience would be beneficial. my assumption is that past experience with Flash would transfer over for working with layouts and animations.


DesktopWeb FormText   HitTest and LayoutTue, 18 Oct 2005 13:28:01 GMT # 

got HitTesting on my Viewport3D to partially work. it can now tell when a part of the 3D model was hit, but i can't figure out which of the meshes is being hit. all the samples i've seen return a Ray3DHitTestResult, but mine is returning a PointHitTestResult? might expect this if i was using an Ortohgraphic camera, but i'm using Projection. need to get that fixed. one other bug i did manage to fix was related to HitTest and caused by Layout problems. the Layout problem was that i had to set a Width and Height on my Viewport3D else it would not render. stepping into the debugger showed that the Viewport3D was getting a Height set, but the Width was 0. this was fixed by setting the DockPanel ListChildFill="True". that change fixed a HitTest problem that was not registering when some of the meshes were getting picked. it also allows the application to scale properly. finally, i started to look at different ways of navigating to other views. right now it looks like i'll be following the model that The North Face demo uses so that the app can fly-in offscreen elements. the side effect of reviewing layout is that it looks like it might be easier to do some animation features that i had already decided to cut. so now i need to get HitTest to work a little better and then rework the Layout to better support navigation.


DesktopWeb FormText   48 hours with WPFMon, 17 Oct 2005 16:24:53 GMT # 

got the 3D animation working late last night. it ended up being easier to do the animation in code instead of XAML. one thing that bugs me is how i apply the texture images to the mesh. doing that in code because i cant figure out how to bind an embedded resource as a BitmapImage to an ImageBrush in XAML? this is especially annoying because of the strong typing of resources with VS 2005. my assumption was that the binding syntax would be something to the effect of {StaticResource myNamespace.Properties.Resources.myTexture}. so now i've got the application splash screen and the main menu displaying and animating. unexpected behavior from the animation is that if you trigger it multiple times in succession, then it just adjusts the animation midstride. wasn't expecting this to happen ... but i really really like it. its not that often that code does something better than i intended it to do :) the next step will be to do hit testing on the main menu and then transition to a page with some actual functionality. i 'think' that hit testing is one of the harder problems left in the app. another thing thats come out of this dev experience is that its pushing me to upgrade my 2 year old notebook. to speed up the dev process, get a much better graphics card, and my current notebook is periodically locking up. 3 forced power downs in the same # of days ... ouch


DesktopWeb FormText   smart tableMon, 17 Oct 2005 15:15:37 GMT # 

WATCH THIS ... from Bill Gate speaking at Columbia. the 23 minute mark is extremely cool. there is some XBox stuff before that too ... which i'm having trouble ignoring


DesktopWeb FormText   3D XAMLMon, 17 Oct 2005 00:03:07 GMT # 

is what i've been looking at today. got my basic 3D model rendering properly and now i'm trying to animate it. this time i'm trying to animate it in XAML instead of code. really starting to get the idea that XAML is just another way to represent code. some of the 3D samples are even represented both ways, either entirely as code or entirely as XAML. hopefully the documentation will give both equal treatment. the documentation right now is very weak (which is understandable). specifically for 3D, there is no way i would have even gotten my scene to render if i hadn't gone off on the Managed DirectX kick for part of this year. but what really sucks is that the XAML intellisense breaks at the Model3DGroup.Children element. mostly flying blind for anything below that.


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : supplementsSun, 16 Oct 2005 19:03:22 GMT # 

this week was ok. the best day was heavy leg day. managed a set on squat for 405 lbs of 5 reps and then followed up with a set of 365 for 10 reps. also took my blood pressure : 121 over 49. that imbalance is due to the strength of my heart from years of heavy lifting. resting pulse is 48. thats in the high range for me. if i were to start doing regular cardio, then that number should drop.

actually had a couple questions about what supplements i'm taking ... so here goes. even though i need to lose some belly fat; since winter is just now starting, i'm going to hide the fat under loose fitting clothing and try to keep adding lean muscle mass. that muscle mass will ultimately help me shed the fat when i concentrate on that. anyway ... my choice of supplements reflect this. if i was trying to lose weight, then my choice of supplements would be different. also note, everybody reacts to supplements differently. some products that work for me will not work for you, and vice versa. alot depends on the diet that you already have.

morning : start the day with multivitamins (extra B, C, E), calcium, joint care, and some random herbs. also take an egg protein drink with about 25 grams of protein. usually add some glutamine to the protein drink. not sure i'm getting enough calories in the morning, so i might start taking a drink with higher protein content in the future.

before workout : take NO-Explode which is a mix of creatine and arginine. plus i add a little more pure creatine. i'm not sure how this is working out for me yet. used to take GNCs creatine clear, which was an effervescent. i think the fizzing of the drink had some pavlovian effect that would really get me excited to workout. GNC seems to be phasing out that product, so this is my 1st experiment for a replacement. also used to take andro poppers. these things were awesome (and cheap). you basically crunch them up and leave the particles under your tongue to get absorbed by the blood stream. i think the act of taking a pill in that manner, which seems entirely illegal, really made me want to go and lift heavy weights. but that product has been pulled from the shelves of GNC ... and i'm not sure why. probably wasn't good for me ... but i would swear by it ... and it didn't shrink my chesnuts :). i've tried T-Bomb as well. that stuff was pretty expensive and didnt seem to do anything for me. now they've got T-Bomb 2, but i'm not anxious to give it a try. anyway, alot of people swear by NO-Explode, but NO products dont seem to work for me in general. took NO2, which is freakin expensive, for about 3 months a couple years ago. i didn't feel the continuous pump; instead i felt on edge all the time. and when i got off the stuff, it was a real downer. all in all, not a good experience for my body or my wallet. in the future, i'll probably try some other pre workout creatine mix, and i need to track down what happened to andro poppers.

post workout : immediately after the workout i take CellMass which is another creatine mix. also add some pure protein to this as well. i'm not sure this is really doing that much for me either? if i was tight for money, then i would just take pure creatine before and after the workout. about 30 minutes after that, then i take a 25 gram whey protein drink.

before bed : take a 25 gram casein protein drink. sometimes i add glutamine too. the casein protein is slow digesting. if i dont take it, then i'll wake up in the middle of the night dying to eat something. also take ZMA. ZMA is some innocent combinations of minerals that is a testosterone booster. i've taken it before and when i wake up i'm feeling stronger and leaner. it also might help you sleep better. serious ... this stuff rocks. i don't notice the effects as much since i've been taking it with the protein drink, but since i've had such good results in the past ... i'm going to keep cycling it.

so thats what i'm taking ... pretty standard stuff. the protein is what i'm really experimenting with right now. this is the first time i've ever taken this much protein, and i'm probably still not getting enough for 245 lbs. going to see how my body reacts and adjust my protein intake accordingly. this could mean that i might end up taking even more. definitely going to keep taking creatine before and after the workout too, although i'll probably experiement with some of the other mixes that are out there. i'll probably try to find some pre-workout andro-like pill for next month too. finally, i'll keep cycling ZMA at night. one thing i definitely need to change is when i consume my calories, because 2 protein drinks at night is filling. need to start getting more of my calories earlier in the day and further reduce what i eat for dinner.


DesktopWeb FormText   after a day with WPFSun, 16 Oct 2005 16:08:06 GMT # 

spent most of yesterday messing with WPF. the first hour was a total beating and i was just getting my butt kicked. but i headed off to workout and when i came back was in a better state of mind. one thing i realized while working out was that i had totally skipped looking at the base class libraries for WinFX. so i took some time to look at those docs and run some of the samples. then i started picking my way through the WPF samples. there are alot of samples with WinFX, and i like that alot, but the bad thing is about 1/3 of them would not run. going through the samples turned up a couple gems. so i started over with my application. was able to make it go full screen by setting the WindowStyle and WindowState. one thing i want to do is be able to do a live preview of an external application. tried to use HwndHost to accomplish this, but was unsucessful. instead, i just take a screenshot and coerced the System.Drawing.Bitmap into a System.Windows.Media.Imaging.BitmapInfo. was able to incorporate that into my app with animations and such. even though i've only got my splash screen working ... i must say that WPF is pretty slick. the couple animations i've done would be ridiculously hard to do in WinForms. and the development model isn't too unfamiliar. i'm now under the assumption that if i were to use the Mobiforms designer, that developing a standard windows apps in Avalon would take me just slightly longer than using WinForms. that is good, except i'm not developing a standard app. trying to develop one of those full on chrome apps that pegs the CPU. so what i'm thinking about now is how to do the layout so that it supports the animations that i want but can also scale accordingly. if i can figure this out, 'i think' the rest should be pretty easy


DesktopWeb FormText   my new goalSun, 16 Oct 2005 15:46:39 GMT # 

is to acquire my very own internet stalker. Russell Beattie just posted about how he's got one. and Jacek's got one too. i know my blog isn't even in their same league, but if i keep eating my wheaties and drinking milk. because everybody really should have an enemy ... competition is good. and i know there are already seeds planted. because somebody gave my MSDN article a rating of 1, and somebody had to of given /cameraFlow a thumbs down at the PDC show off event. so if i can just keep pissing off that person to ultimately make them create an anti-casey blog ... that would be hilarious. and since i'm assuming my enemy reads this blog ... i know you're out there :)


DesktopWeb FormText   Speech Toolkit for MCESat, 15 Oct 2005 23:40:44 GMT # 

One Voice Launches Speech Toolkit for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005


DesktopWeb FormText   WPF beatingSat, 15 Oct 2005 16:10:29 GMT # 

2 weeks ago, i decided to write a W*F application (WCF, WPF, WWF). came up with an idea and a plan. the first part of the plan was to read a book about each specific W*F technology. cranked through the WCF book with no problem and felt pretty comfortable. read through the WPF book next, and was very much less comfortable. i'm finding it significantly harder than i expected. so i changed plans. the new plan is to ignore WCF and WWF for now, and concentrate on WPF to get my comfort level up. this is the first hour of (attempted) development time

the first thing i need the app to do is get a screen cap. quick google to see if there is some new WinFX way to get a screenshot. that turns up an unanswered question in the newsgroup, so no help. also tried some desktop searches of the samples, still nothing jumped out. vs.net help ... not helpful. ok, so i'll use my old code which uses the System.Drawing namespace and returns a Bitmap. the first thing about the port is that System.Drawing is not an included assembly. the new Bitmap class is BitmapImage in System.Windows.Media.Imaging. except i dont see how i can use that to get a screen shot. also, the old screenshot code uses the System.Windows.Forms.Screen class to get the PrimaryDisplays size. some rummaging around and i dont see how to do the same in WinFX. hell, its not even obvious to me how to force my Window to full screen ... nor do i see a sample that goes full screen. stick with the old code and get it to compile. then i try to bind the Bitmap to the Image control and that wont work. a hack would be to write the Bitmap to a file, or stream it into a BitmapImage class, but i'm not ready to do that ... yet. yep ... i'm pretty much getting my ass kicked


DesktopWeb FormText   more MCE dev goodnessFri, 14 Oct 2005 18:10:53 GMT # 

Charlie Owen gives us a hint of how MCE works with XBox 360. depending on how flexible that rendering engine is, i would love to be able to do that with my own applications. i'm sure people will be sniffing the wire when Nov 22 rolls around. at least we will get that functionality with WPF next year

Ian Dixon has a new Media Center Show podcast with Matt Goyer about Rollup 2

Stephen Toub updates his Position Changer Add-In and points out that the MediaState.dll is now signed. yeah!

the bad news is that it doesn't look like MCE has a 64 bit story until Vista. for development i really need to move to a 64-bit version of XP, but it looks like MCE and the associated drivers are still at 32


DesktopWeb FormText   MCE Update Rollup 2 (for developers)Fri, 14 Oct 2005 16:49:15 GMT # 

MCE Update 2 (aka Emerald) is now here. Charlie Owen has a pretty comprehensive post about it. as a consumer, even though i'm not a gamer, i'm excited about the XBox360 support. the rest of the enhancements are pretty much lost on me since i still dont have a proper MCE setup. but i have been holding my breath to see what is new for developers ...

there is a new SDK, and MSDN has a page of Important Changes. i like what they have done with security, particularly for avoiding phishing attacks when browsing. we get just a little bit more functionality including being able to control a disc changer. we also finally get .NET 1.1 support so we can develop add-ins with VS.NET 2003. of course i'm going to be bitching about this in 3 weeks when VS.NET 2005 comes out. my guess is that Vista is their answer

but what i want to know is how does MCE get its interface over to the XBox? is it just remoted over there, or does the XBox have some version of the shell and it just gets op codes sent over the wire? if the latter is the case, does that mean that the XBox MCE Shell is written in managed code and that the XBox360 can run .NET? these are burning questions that i must know the answers to! also trying to find out if i can install MCE with a 64 bit version of XP, because i'm hurting for an upgrade, and hoping the new Emerald hardware will push me over the edge.


DesktopWeb FormText   MKE blog of the week 'cheating'Fri, 14 Oct 2005 14:51:29 GMT # 

er,um ... i meant 'voting'. saw a post last week from BobTheKing about voting for Milwaukee's Blog of the Week. for kicks, i went ahead and submitted my blog as a Milwaukee blog; not realizing that it would be in the contest. well ... now my blog happens to be in the contest for this weeks blog of the week. BTW, i did vote for BobTheKing, and he did win. quite certain my vote was the deciding factor :)

since i generate testosterone i was forced to check out the competition. just so happens that they all have posts about it ... crap, i'm already behind. so i decided to see how hard it would be to do what any politician would do ... cheat. fired up Fiddler and then manually submitted a vote. no i did not vote for myself ... thats weak. absolutely hate when presidential candidates vote for themselves. they should just not vote at all. except i'm certain there are people stupid enough to think 'well he didnt vote for himself, so why should i vote for him'? but to see what was happening behind the scenes, i had to vote for somebody. so i did every guy should do ... vote for the chick. no, i don't know if she's hot. but her blog is sort of pink and has bouncing kitties ... so there is potential. anyway, back to cheating. the POST request looked like the following

redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mkeonline.com%2Fpeople%2Fblogcontestthanks.asp&
recipient=webmaster@mkeonline.com&
subject=Blog+Contest+Vote&
print_blank_fields=1&
required=vote%2CEmail&
order=vote%2CEmail&
outfilename=mkeblogcontest.txt&
vote=5&
Email=casey@brains-N-brawn.com&
Submit=Vote+for+your+favorite


the crucial name value pairs are 'vote' and 'Email'. i'm assuming my vote # would be 3 and then i would just have to harvest (or generate) valid email addresses with a (spider) bot. i dont actually have to have access to the quote valid unquote email addresses, because i have yet to receive an email to verify the vote. if that was the case then i'd just have to write the bot to autogen email accounts on some free mail service (possibly using /aiCaptcha). so it would take less than 30 minutes to write a bot to guarantee victory ... too easy ... so i wont be cheating.


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : bird legsThu, 13 Oct 2005 20:49:06 GMT # 

the following is not my own theory ... but i stole it. the theory is that alot of gym monkeys have huge upper bodies and bird legs because of winter. i haven't thoroughly tested this, but it does look like less people workout their legs during winter (as opposed to summer). and we think the reason is because more people wear long pants into the gym during the winter. so if you're legs are covered up, then you can just ignore them. and you don't have to really work them out again until spring time. personally, i fell into this trip many years ago. when i was getting back into doing legs during spring, i was complaining to some old timer about how i had let my legs go, and he then presented the above theory. from then on i've made sure one of the first things i do during winter workouts is to strip down to shorts. because if you're not hiding them it basically forces you to work them out. this also holds true for wearing sleeveless shirts for arm days.


DesktopWeb FormText   book : Programming Windows Presentation FrameworkThu, 13 Oct 2005 14:13:57 GMT # 

(Sells, Griffiths 2005) this was a good book that covers the fundamentals of WPF. it covers layout, controls, styles, data binding, graphics, animation, custom controls, and deployment. sadly it does not cover 3D or media ... which i'm most interested in. the book was easy to understand, but i'm definitely going to have to re-read the chapters on data binding, styles, and animation. one thing that i'm really liking about WPF is that i doubt i'll ever create a custom control. rarely created custom controls in WinForms, so the ridiculous flexibility of WPF will probably crank that down to zero.

my current take on WPF is that its going to take some time to get comfortable with it. i can definitely crank out WinForm apps faster (at the moment). while i think i could build a WCF service in approximately the same amout of time it would take me to write the corresponding WSE app. the main problem with WPF is the lack of a designer built into Visual Studio. if i had a designer, then it would be much more approachable. and if you refer me to 3rd party tools, then i'll refer you to my raised middle finger. at a minimum, i think MS should provide a WinForm to XAML converter. then you could use the WinForm designer, run the converter, and it would spit out the corresponding XAML. not great, but it would be better than nothing. going to make some mock apps working directly with the XAML, but i'll need to get a hold of Sparkle as soon as possible if i want to produce something beyond the basics ... and actually be productive (its .NET ... go figure).


DesktopWeb FormText   Ray Kurzweil and The SingularityWed, 12 Oct 2005 19:00:42 GMT # 

on Sprague's Weblog ... i cant wait


DesktopWeb FormText   Protected Audio and Video playbackWed, 12 Oct 2005 15:25:29 GMT # 

the following slide from the PDC PRS309 presentation (WPF : Overview of Windows Vista Graphics) concerns me. made me recall this article : Hollywood, Microsoft align on new Windows. with scary quotes like "... the Windows operating system will wall off some audio and video processes almost completely from users and outside programmers ..." and "... the company (MS) is bending over backward--and investing considerable technological resources--to make sure Hollywood studios are happy with the next version of Windows ...". so what exactly is my audio and video playback being protected from? would love for some MS folks to comment (from a what are they doing for developers perspective)


DesktopWeb FormText   WI.NET meeting tomorrowMon, 10 Oct 2005 14:03:23 GMT # 

Brian Nantz will be presenting Inside Indigo


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : supplements and workout changeMon, 10 Oct 2005 01:38:43 GMT # 

back on supplements, primarily creatine and protein. i had the belief that you should reduce your protein intake when you take some time off, but it might be that i should actually increase protein consumption to avoice muscle loss? ... need to look into that. at least it doesnt look like i lost too much muscle, because i maxed out the leg curl, leg extension, tricep pushdown, and chest fly machines in successive sets. if i wanted to get significantly stronger i would really need to find a gym with more weight.

also switching up the workout to avoid a rut. the last 3 months were 2 days on, 1 off, 3 on, 1 off. switching to 2 on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off to avoid overtraining; with one day being upper body and the other for lower body. also changing up the individual workouts. upper body days were typically chest, back, or arms and shoulders days. going to switch to push and pull days. push day will be chest, triceps, shoulders; pull day will be back, biceps, traps. leg days had been one full body exercise (squat or leg press) and then leg curls/extensions. going to switch to a heavy and light day. heavy day will be squat and leg press on the same day. the other day will be lighter stuff like leg curl/extension and abductor/adductors only. the other switch up i'm going to do is to narrow grips and stances. in general i train with a wide grip/stance, so my body gets wide. if i switch to a narrower grip/stance then the body will develop a little more depth instead.

out of this week, my triceps had the best growth. had one set of tricep kicks that made them feel like they were going to explode. they were ridiculously sore for about 2 days and are even showing signs of the skin stretching. legs did ok on squats and i worked up to a set of 400 lbs but they failed early on leg press. the bad part is my abs are feeling weak because our weighted ab machine is broke. hope they fix that soon.


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : hand strengthSat, 08 Oct 2005 19:02:36 GMT # 

getting to the point where my grip is failing me and keeping me from lifting heavier weight. the quick solution is to use straps, but if you become dependent on straps and belts, those will eventually hold you back. personally, i wont wear straps or belts unless i'm maxing out. the idea is if i have to rely on extra equipment to make the lift, then i have no business doing that lift. so i choose to develop my hand strength instead. the best place to find hand strength equipment is at mountain climbing stores ... because those guys are insane. and one of the best pieces i've found is by Nike. this hand grip gel is great for working your whole hand and it has a slit for working individual fingers. but the real reason it rocks is because i think its made out of the same material old school breast implants were made out of. serious ... so its like fondling a breast :) talk about motivation ... now they just need to add a nipple to this thing and i'd never be able to put it down. the side benefit being that you can deliver knuckle crushing hand shakes if necessary.

related to hand strength ... workout gloves are for girls. your body makes callouses for a reason ... so you dont have to look stupid wearing gloves. if you dont believe me, do this experiment at your own gym. just notice who is and isn't wearing gloves, and how much weight they lift. its pretty much guaranteed that the strongest people will be glove free.


DesktopWeb FormText   book : programming indigo (WCF)Fri, 07 Oct 2005 19:21:18 GMT # 

(Pallmann) i really liked this book. the first part is a great introduction to the Windows Communication Framework (WCF). second part of the book goes into more details, but can be mostly skimmed and referred to later on as reference. third part talks about hosting, management, etc... and the fourth section is more elaborate case studies with mostly code listings. i think every chapter might have ended with a sample. the code was easy to understand and the samples did a good job of reinforcing the topic. the only negative i can think of right now is that the book totally ignored the NetPeer Channel for P2P communications. really wish there would have been a P2P chapter


DesktopWeb FormText   Matt made the front page of MSDNThu, 06 Oct 2005 02:58:28 GMT # 

Aspect-Oriented Programming


DesktopWeb FormText   showing offTue, 04 Oct 2005 16:55:18 GMT # 

er, um ... i submitted 3 videos for the PDC Show Off event (/cameraFlow, /cfWorldWind, /mceSapi). the first 2 actually made the cut to be in the show! anyway, i jotted down some random notes during the show ... in case i try to show off again next year

loud music and destroying things is fun (The Finalizer)
making the audience read is bad. especially if they have bad eyes and/or have been drinking
commercial videos are less cool
the channel9 style doesnt work that great either
excessive video editing, transitions and stuff are unnecessary
dont fill the 5 minute time slot with fluff. do the cool stuff and get out
remember that the audience is there to have fun, so make your video fun
narration during the demo works fine. seeing the developer talk before getting to the demo is boring
really quick intros for branding seem ok?
a camcorder is a necessity. my web cap clips were the lowest quality and just barely usable
funny, creative, unique = great (Barcode Blitz, Exploring .NET)
other favorites were the great products (SQL Intellisense, RoboCoaster)
do a quick thanks at the end so audience knows when to clap


DesktopWeb FormText   seattle passes stricter strip-club rulesTue, 04 Oct 2005 04:25:12 GMT # 

this means that i'll never become a full time employee of Microsoft :) actually, the club pictured with the article is the one i went to last week. and there wasn't anything going on that was over the top, it was all the standard stuff. but a 'four foot rule' and a 'tip jar' ... you've got to be kidding


DesktopWeb FormText   Sprint + Nextel = SuckMon, 03 Oct 2005 20:47:27 GMT # 

TS traded in her old Nextel phone for a new Sprint. so we just assume that the Sprint store can transfer the numbers over ... they can't. BestBuy tries it too ... they fail. lame


DesktopWeb FormText   the sandbox gapMon, 03 Oct 2005 16:22:34 GMT # 

the 'sandbox gap' is the gap between what permissions are allowed in a certain sandbox (e.g. Internet Zone) versus the ability of .NET class libraries to support AllowPartiallyTrustedCaller code to run in this scenario. i.e. the sandbox will allow you to do more than what the assembly will. specific examples from WinFX are that WCF, WWF, and Speech will require full trust to run; while WPF and Ink will run in a partially trusted sandbox. ClickOnce solves this problem for the enterprise, but is not intended for internet scenarios. for the internet, our applications will have to prompt the user to ask for the proper permissions to run. of course users are going to automatically say 'yes' because they know the application will not run otherwise. personally, i agree with David Platt, and think this is the wrong model. if the application will not run in the sandbox, then i think it should just display a dialog that it wont run, and make the user go out of there way to do an install. along with that, the class libraries should be able to run in the sandbox so that well behaved apps can run without having to prompt the user at all.

the specific sceneraio i'm thinking about is Media Center Edition (MCE). MCE currently has the Online Spotlight area for premier 3rd party sites. right now they are all HTML applications ... lame. do you really want to view an HTML page on your 50 inch television. hell no. even the addition of Atlas will come up short for a visually rich UI. this is where WPF shines. all the gratuitous chrome we've been seeing from WPF is perfectly suited for MCE. these are always on, powerful machines, with superior graphics cards and a broadband connection. plus they are definitely running IE and .NET because the shell is currently written in Managed DirectX. so the WinFX Web Browser Application (WBA) model is begging to be exploited in this arena. the Online Spotlight partners will retool with WPF to get this radically improved user experience. but the problem comes when they want to call back to the server from where the application was served, because they will not be able to use WCF. instead they will have to revert back to System.Net. and if they've componentized their applications to use WWF, then they will have to rebake that control logic into their application. yes, we can prompt the user to allow the application to run, but is that really the right model for couch potatos with a remote in their hand?

i know its too late for the next release of WinFX, but for the Orcas time frame i really hope that the base class libraries change tactics and provide libraries that will let us use the permissions provided to us by the sandbox. WCF could let us do this by allowing us to call back to the servers from where the applications were served. some security could even be used by letting the app switch to using managed crypto algorithms. it would be even better of the InfoCard UI would work as well. WWF could provide a client safe runtime that persisted long running workflows to IsolatedStorage. and the Speech API could possibly limit the application interaction to command and control scenarios, or require a tap and talk user interaction for dictation to be active. in the short term, i'll definitely exploit WCF and WWF on the server ... but on the client i'll have to revert to legacy libraries. long term, i hope this changes ...


DesktopWeb FormText   dont trust anybody ...Mon, 03 Oct 2005 15:33:06 GMT # 

... as old as microsoft. ouch, i recently turned 30. i can actually feel the testosterone levels decreasing


DesktopWeb FormText   channel9 home pageMon, 03 Oct 2005 03:02:04 GMT # 

awesome! yep, thats my thumb


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : quad travelSun, 02 Oct 2005 20:07:17 GMT # 

got to talk to a trainer about my quadriceps feeling horrible after travel. told him how i did tons of walking (overuse) at the PDC trip and assumed that was the problem, but i basically did no walking (atrophy) for the Summit trip and still have the same problem. his immediate response was that its probably due to being cooped up and my muscles tightening up. this seems reasonable since my sets on squat today felt a little better in the later sets, even though i was adding more weight. his recommendation was to stretch before and after each flight in the airport terminal. also that i do more warmup sets, than i usally do, after travel. the part that doesnt exactly fit is that i'm really flexible to begin with. when further asking him about why its targeted in my quadriceps, and my other muscle groups are mostly ok, he thought it was either just the nature of sitting or an imbalance of leg strength. since i can max out both the leg curl and leg extension machines, that pretty much rules out an imbalance. also did a little searching for some herbs related to leg health. (re)found one called 'horse chestnut'. i'm named after it ... how cool is that? checking my supplement diary, i've actually taken it before, and gave it a good rating. the problem is i cant remember why i was taking it? i do remember it was about 2 years ago and my legs were basically as strong as a horse at the time (but i wasnt doing any travel) ... so i'll stop by GNC later today and give it another shot.


DesktopWeb FormText   'go code something' ... my a55Sun, 02 Oct 2005 17:13:13 GMT # 

Scoble points to Segal giving advice to 'Go code something' as a way to get hired. let me just say that this does not work ... at least not directly. because i've been trying this methodology for the last 5 years. during those 5 years i've tried to code something cool about every 1 or 2 months. the idea was that companies would see the tech article and contact me to work for them. over those 5 years and around 10 contracts ... only one of those has been a direct contact from an article i've written. actually there were 2 ... but it was for a smaller contract and the guy never bothered to pay me ... bastard.

not that i haven't had a number of direct contacts, but they always fall through. MS has contacted me a couple of times to become an employee. the first time was early on from a recruiter search. they wanted me to do SQL Server testing ... lame. the second time was rumored to be one of their tech giants saying they should hire me for an evangelist position. did the interview ... and they said no. they've also contacted me numerous times to hire on their consultancy team ... to which i just tell them i can do that myself. MS has also contacted me a number of times for contract work. they either fail because they want me to travel for substantially less money than i could make at home or everything goes great and they say they'll contact me in 2 weeks ... but i never hear from them again. outside of MS, i get about 1 contact a month from the /cfWorldWind article ... but nothing has happened yet. also get at least 1 contact a week from the /aiCaptcha article. but i'm not particularly interested in working with those guys.

so the direct route from coding something cool to finding work is a sham. and the reason it does not work is because of the disconnect between the employees that can actually appreciate what you have coded and the recruiters that will contact you. and that is how i actually do find work ... recruiters. for every direct contact ... i get about 15 recruiter calls. the recruiters have no freakin clue what i code. they cant tell the difference between AI vs a web app. they dont know the diff between an MVP and an MCSD. all they care about is how much they can make off of me. and they are really the only obstacle to work. the way i look at it is if i can get past the recruiter and talk to the hiring company ... then its a sure thing. but trying to get past the recruiters is a pain in the butt. they can easily not submit you in favor of somebody that they can make more money off of ... go figure.

then the question is ... why do i still code all this crap. answer : because i love to code. the articles i write are about what i want to learn ... they aren't really for you or anybody else. but they do indirectly help for finding work. when i do get past the recruiter to talk to the hiring company, then its pretty much a done deal. meaning i hardly ever get tech interviewed anymore. basically they just look at my articles, and then we just talk about their problem and when can i start. my advice is to code something if you love to code, otherwise get out there and network your ass off. your friends will do a better job of helping you find work then most code that you'll write. granted, i do make alot of friends through code ...


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : SummitSun, 02 Oct 2005 15:02:45 GMT # 

screwed up this week. the workout area in my hotel (doubletree bellevue) sucked, so i was basically forced to take another week off. even worse, almost all travel required buses, so i got very little walking in. about the only thing i did right was lower my food intake and avoid the desert trays. of course my beer/wine intake was increased ... so that didnt help. but my bodyweight did dip below 240 for the first time in months. so some of my fat stores were being used, but there was definitely some muscle atrophy as well since i was not eating right or getting enough sleep. the pattern is that i lost 5 pounds at both the PDC and the Summit. another odd thing is that traveling really screws with my quadriceps. they are in the worst shape after each trip ... and i'm not sure why? the good news is that i can end my detox time and start taking supplements again.


DesktopWeb FormText   stripper smellThu, 29 Sep 2005 08:56:11 GMT # 

somebody needs to figure out how to bottle this stuff. theres nothing like it to soothe the savage beast. that and applying massive amounts of subwoofers.


DesktopWeb FormText   summitWed, 28 Sep 2005 06:04:14 GMT # 

in Bellevue for the Summit. any bets that somebody will give me crap for the CAPTCHA break? i'm thinking that its forgotten. the funny thing is i still get a steady stream of emails asking for me to break some CAPTCHA or give out the code. at least 1 or 2 emails a week, with about half of those mentioning some form of payment. and no, i haven't broken anymore ... too interested in working on other stuff


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : week between PDC and SummitSun, 25 Sep 2005 20:18:29 GMT # 

got back home and hit the weights pretty hard after taking the last week off. to mix things up i did some decline bench on a smith machine. final set was 365 lbs for 4 reps. used to do that much on a proper freeweight decline bench, but i was happy with that set for not having done any decline for 15 months. also went relatively heavy with lunges on a squat machine. that was ok until i woke up the next 2 days being sore as hell. serious, i was so sore from these workouts that i almost felt ill. not to mention i was walking around work like the tin man. since i'm still off performance enhancing supplements, i'm making sure to take take more days off and only lifting 2 days in a row. previously i was doing 2 days on, 1 off, 3 on, 1 off.


DesktopWeb FormText   channel9 vidsSun, 25 Sep 2005 15:40:27 GMT # 

finally made it through the deluge of channel9 videos. they were great supplements to content that i missed at the PDC. my favorites were the new networking and audio stacks for Vista and WWF. the Sparkle video even won me over because its a fully managed app that is used to design itself ... cool. anyway, i've updated the /pdc05 listing accordingly. now i'm going to try and wade my way through the 225+ powerpoint presentations on CommNet


DesktopWeb FormText   WWF smackdownThu, 22 Sep 2005 14:03:15 GMT # 

other than the keynote, i totally ignored WWF (Windows Workflow Foundation) at the PDC. well ... now i'm wishing that i would have gone to some of those sessions instead of WinFS. totally missed the message that its now a pillar of WinFX, that there is a beta out now, and that we will get it when Vista comes out. been spending the last couple days to get up to speed and i'm really liking it. now i'm trying to rewire my brain on how to start using this for my personal development for web, service, and win apps.


DesktopWeb FormText   postmortem PDCWed, 21 Sep 2005 20:31:19 GMT # 

my boss said something to this effect today : 'whenever i come back from PDC, i dont want to continue work on whatever i was working on before the trip'

so true. was planning on doing some side projects with plain old VS 2005 (not even released yet), and now all those ideas have been axed or are in the process of being rethought out within the scope of WinFX. because now i've got a serious itch. i'm actually pissed off that the MVP Summit is next week ... because i need some time to play with the new shiny PDC stuff. you cant show me some new shiny toy, then not give me any play time, and then show me some more shiny stuff!


DesktopWeb FormText   API overloadMon, 19 Sep 2005 22:37:45 GMT # 

Clemens brought it up ... and after the PDC i'm certainly feeling it. there is definitely alot of great stuff coming out, and there is no way i can keep up with it all. think it is best summed up by an anonymous PDC attendee walking out of the keynote who said 'how can we expect to keep up with 60,000 of them'? meaning the 60k MS employees. up until right about now, i have felt like i've had enough time to play with all the different techs i wanted to play with. but now it looks like i'm going to have to start making some cuts. this is going to be tough, especially considering the state of recruting for our industry. it really doesnt matter if i specialize if they still call up and ask for '.NET and C#'. alot of the calls/emails i get haven't even advanced to the point of specifying thick vs thin clients.


DesktopWeb FormText   Milwaukee nerd dinner tomorrowMon, 19 Sep 2005 19:06:35 GMT # 

details


DesktopWeb FormText   PDC wrapupMon, 19 Sep 2005 03:25:05 GMT # 

here is my PDC05 brain dump. i'll update this as i find out answers to questions, come up with new questions, and digest more of the media that was released last week.


DesktopWeb FormText   revolution controllerSun, 18 Sep 2005 21:42:50 GMT # 

trying to catch up on blog reading and write up some stuff about the PDC. well ... i'm at the F's and this video of the revolution controller posted by forgetfoo just floored me. oh yeah, foo periodically posts pictures of partially clothed females ... so you should subscribe


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : week of PDCSun, 18 Sep 2005 19:31:41 GMT # 

the night before the trip to PDC, i got one last arm workout in and managed 70 lb dumbbell curls. form was good but not great. in LA, my hotel had a pretty crappy weight room and the hours sucked. so i had to sweet talk my way into the LA Athletic Club the first afternoon. did a quick full body workout to knock off the jet lag. only went up to 365 on squat because my legs were complaining about sitting on a plane for 4 hours. on bench, i put up a set of 315 for 7 reps without a spotter. this puts my chest about as strong as its ever been. that was my last workout for the week. the rest of the trip was just me walking from my hotel to the convention center a mile away. snuck a little ab work in when i could too. BTW i dont recommend walking around downtown LA (unless you're a big ugly guy) because its pretty much a craphole at night with low lifes (like me) walking around. during the conference MS did a great job of providing healthy lunches and snacks. there was always plenty of water and fruit to be found between sessions. 'Ask the Experts' night was the only time i was hurting to find something that wasnt greasy or fried. granted i did cheat a couple nights with desert ... after i was drunk (of course). the last night i was there i stayed at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. it was an ok hotel and ok gym. got some lifting in the afternoon after the conference ended and some cardio before my flight the next morning. they didnt have tons of equipment and it was somewhat aged and showing rust. at least they had cartoon network so i could watch some 'grimm adventures', 'fosters', and 'puffy amiyumi'. next time i would probably stay at a diff hotel close to a newer health club. when i got home, made sure to get some cardio in and lift the next day to knock off the jet lag as well.


DesktopWeb FormText   HTC Universal will run MD3DMSun, 18 Sep 2005 18:34:22 GMT # 

i saw Chris Muench run one of his MD3DM applications on it ... and it looked great. believe that it might be the 1st commercially available MD3DM device on the market. it uses an optimized software driver to do the vertex processing. it might have some graphic extensions in the CPU as well? going to try and get a hold of one and see if i can get /cfWorldWind to run on it. hopefully the Dell x50v will have a WM5 upgrade available soon too


DesktopWeb FormText   the mile high tabletSun, 18 Sep 2005 03:35:54 GMT # 

blogged about my tablet locking up on a plane before ... and then not coming back until getting back on the ground. well it has happened a total of 3 times now, including today. so the pattern is that it locks up on a plane even though my usage remains the same. its not like i'm doing some new task in the air that i dont do daily on land. is it possible that there is some part in my tablet that fails at 3000 feet?


Tablet PCWeb FormInk   Speech in VistaFri, 16 Sep 2005 19:25:28 GMT # 

[ink recognition] im@the session new. they baled it into the shell. its fredin Awesome! this should bore been a Keynote!

isf


DesktopWeb FormText   PDC booth babesFri, 16 Sep 2005 07:31:31 GMT # 

said i would do this if i won the 'blog your way to PDC contest' ... which i didn't (of course). but since i was one of the winners for the code contest ... then i just had to follow through. so here are the pics. this really needs to be done at more conferences ... and i volunteer. just need to find a sponsor and get a better camera phone. hmm ... maybe i'll do this at the MVP summit. but since there aren't vendor booths, i'll just spin it as 'the Most Valuable Babes'


Tablet PCWeb FormInk   PDC updateThu, 15 Sep 2005 17:00:57 GMT # 

[ink recognition] ire been either too tired and (In drunk to psi/ reply td email (birth bases are in the wrest

isf


DesktopWeb FormText   big pimpin hotel roomMon, 12 Sep 2005 13:50:44 GMT # 

Michael Lehman and the Channel9 crew totally hooked up the contest winners with bad ass hotel rooms. this is how it went down ... i get to the hotel and the check-in person can tell that i'm a totally low class individual by my clothes and treats me accordingly. then when he sees my reservation he starts treating me really nice ... and i start to get suspicious. next, he goes out of his way to get somebody to carry my bags, but i have to refuse because i'm brains-N-brawn and have to use my heavy lifting abilities whenever i get the chance. then i get to the door of my room and its got one of those plaques on it that names the room. yep, my room has a name : 'the music suite'. at this point i had to double check the piece of paper that they wrote the room number on. check. tried the key ... and it worked! walk into my room ... and across the foyer (yes, i said foyer), beyond the conference table (yes, i said conference table), in the living room (yes, i said living room) ... there is a piano (yes, i said piano)! drop my bags and run to the piano and start hitting keys ... its real! then i had to whip out my phone and start calling people to tell them how crazy this room was. finally, i took some pics


DesktopWeb FormText   off to PDCSat, 10 Sep 2005 03:44:45 GMT # 

i'll be in downtown LA tomorrow evening (millenium biltmore) ... so if you need a drinking buddy ... shoot me a mail. mostly packed now too. at least i've packed the important stuff ... computer equipment. clothes are secondary. bringing a notebook, tablet and 2 PPCs ... just the essentials. also picked up an external laptop battery yesterday. had to go to 3 different stores in the Milwaukee area to finally find one. would kill for a MicroCenter or a Frys Electronics.

going to the Yukon precons because i cant force myself to play with DBs on my own (boring). but if somebody else is talking then i'll listen. picked my sessions too. i'm pumped to see the sessions on Tablet, MCE, Speech, and RFID. those presenters should be wary. also going to a pretty even mix of Avalon, Indigo, and WinFS sessions (isn't that what the last PDC was?). picked those sessions because the current betas make them accessible. avoiding the Whidbey sessions and also avoiding the sessions for really far out techs (e.g. Orcas) because i dont want to get all excited and then have to wait a couple years. not sure if i'll be attending sessions or panels on friday? do plan on making a bunch of BOF talks ... even though i cant find a finalized list of what was accepted. but the problem is there are some parties planned during opportunities to learn. FOUL! it should be a rule to not plan an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to drink at the same time. thats a decision i dont really want to make. also, why is the conference in a cool place, when we dont really get any time to explore the city? if we really only have time to go to sessions and sleep at the hotel ... have it at some lame city


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : gym conversationsFri, 09 Sep 2005 18:08:57 GMT # 

when i'm at the gym, i'm there to lift heavy weights ... and not to talk. but the following are some of the short conversations that i've had :)

(finishing set on dumbbells)
girl : you just lifted more than my body weight with one arm.
me : ya, but its only half of what i weigh ... and the dumbbells dont go any higher.
girl : how will you get stronger?
me : more reps and better form.
girl : oh yeah.

(bicep day)
boy : how big are your arms?
me : i dont measure.
boy : i would.

(bench press day)
boy1 : how much weight is that?
boy2: i'm still doing the math in my head.
me : its 335.
boy2: (pause) yep.
boy1 : thats alot.

(finishing set on dips)
boy : how many did you just do?
me : 30.
boy : are you going to enter the competition?
me : isn't that for kids?
boy : mostly, but we have some old people enter.
me : no, i'm not going to enter.
boy : good.

(asking for a spot on bench)
me : could i get a spot?
boy : i cant lift that much.
me : i'll lift most of it, you might only have to help with 10 or 15 pounds.
boy : oh yeah, sure.

(heavy leg press day)
me : could i get a spot?
man : i'd need a spot too if i was lifting a volkswagon.


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : 3 month markFri, 09 Sep 2005 18:05:03 GMT # 

that wraps up my first cut (3 months) at getting back into shape (after taking a year off). now i'll be taking the next week off to rest, because i'm starting to show signs of overtraining (dragging ass in the gym, injuries). not to mention the PDC trip isnt going to allow me any chance to train. its also time for me to cycle off of performance enhancing supplements (creatine, ZMA). overall, i'm surprised how quickly my strength, mass, and flexibility came back. bench max went from about 250 to at least 365. squat max went from about 300 to at least 455. can do the splits again. added muscle faster than i was losing fat, so my bodyweight went from 235 to 250. most people thing that is a bad thing, but i think my body actually looks better at 250 then it did at 235. but i'm still not happy where i'm at. i really just started to add cardio to my workouts, and more fat is starting to come off, but i'm thinking about trying to keep my weight up around 250. not as big and strong or lean as ever ... but this gets me to having a good base to work with.


DesktopWeb FormText   brawn : the workout diaryFri, 09 Sep 2005 18:02:05 GMT # 

last 3 months of getting back into shape :

6/16 the first week of workouts was mainly to get my energy up. i would workout on weights until body failure, then i would drag myself over to the cardio equipment and go a little longer. pretty pitiful. was also judging what weight i could lift on core exercises (bench max ~ 250, squat max ~ 300), familiarizing myself with this gyms particular equipment, and strengthening the joints. the lifts i was doing were core lifts, such as bench, squat, incline press, and lunges, and lat pulls. also, i was taking basic vitamins : multi, calcium, glucosamine, C

6/20 the second week was much better. was actually starting to feel like i had some strength on random sets. joints and muscle movements were feeling more natural, and i was getting some muscle awareness back. energy was up enough to get me through hour long workouts. core lifts was still key, but i started adding some secondary lifts : biceps, triceps, leg curl, leg extension. bodyweight was also going up. i was taking the muscle mass route, put on muscle to burn calories all day long, instead of doing tons of cardio. by the end of this week, my weight had shot up from 235 to 245. and this was my goal for this week, to just gain muscle.

6/27 the third week was even better. weight stayed at 245, but i was starting to sweat at the drop of a hat. this means that my metabolism was up, so i was adding muscle while losing fat. my frame was starting to look better in the mirror too, like i could actually lift some weight. and i could, my strength was going up quick. bench went up to about 325 and squat was now at 400. strength was going up so quick that i had to start working on hand strength, to be able to hold heavier weights. since my lifts were now respectable, i started concentrating on dropping fat. the first technique was to do add bodyweight exercises : dips, pull ups, chin ups. the logic here is that you have to add muscle to move your own bodyweight, but you'll also lose fat to make yourself easier to move. dips went from 10 to 20. chin ups from 3 to 6. pull ups from 3 to 7.

my strength was coming back so quickly from my past lifestyle. before taking a year off, i had been lifting weights non stop for over 10 years. my average weights (for reps) during that time would be 365 on bench and 475 on squat. personal best on both are 395 bench and 595 squat. so its easy to regain strength, but its hard to gain new strength. for bodyweight, my frame can handle 225 to 240 pounds as long as its mostly muscle mass.

7/4 fourth week was a short week because i had some vacation time. went heavy because i would have time to heal. on bench, i maxed out at 345 and got 315 for 3 reps. my standard goal is to do 315 for a couple sets of 5. should be there in just a couple weeks. legs are coming around slowly. squat max is probably just under 400. not too bad, but not coming back as quickly as bench. form is mostly there. i can get low and dont lean forward too badly. the real weakness right now is my hip flexors. they are screaming after each set.

7/11 fifth week was more of the same. leg strength is still struggling to come back. i did max out the leg extension machine, so thats cool. was able to do a set of 25 dips, around 8 chin ups, and about 8 pull ups too. started in on more ab work too. the ab work i've been doing up to now has been pitiful ... because the belly is getting in the way. also my breathing has been hard to control. this week was the turning point where i could get a full range of motion, could breathe comfortably, and can start actually contracting the muscles. really need to build up some muscle here to help out with squat, because my low back has been taking too much of the strain so far. the push muscles (chest and triceps) are doing the best. even got a set of 315 on bench out of the way. but pull (back and bicep) are lagging. was able to curl 60 pound dumbbells with some form, so that was good, but i just didnt feel strong and the peak is loose. i did add some shoulder exercises into the mix because my traps are looking weak. started more supplements around here : creatine before workout, protein after, and ZMA at night.

7/18 sixth and seventh weeks weren't great. bench going up slightly, but back isn't. this is compounded by the lack of good back equipment at my gym. was able to shoulder press 90 pound dumbbells for over 5 reps, so that was good. also got my 1st good bicep workout in. legs are slowly going up to, but joints are fighting back. cardio and ab work is lagging behind. the eighth week was pretty shitty. energy was down and i was pretty sore. decided to make it through this week and then switch it up next week. whats odd is my body weight is going up. weighing in close to 250 now. so i'm gaining muscle mass faster than i'm losing fat. not too happy about the weight, but its secondary, because i'm looking better and my waist size actually is going down. metabolism is definitely kicking into gear too, because anytime i start to do anything, i start sweating immediately. so the increased muscle mass is starting to do its job, but critical mass still has not been reached.

8/1 this week is cardio and ab week. the only lifting i'll do is some bodyweight dips, pullups and such to keep my joints aware. at the beginning of the week it was taking a little effort to get through cardio. wasn't huffing and puffing, it just felt awkward? but after the 1st couple workout things got into synch to where i could crank out 30 minutes on the elliptical without any problem. abs started to get some strength back too, but are still lagging

8/8 ninth week. the week of cardio worked, because i felt strong again lifting. did a set of 6 reps on bench of 315. pullups are feeling stronger, but still below 10. this is still pretty good because my body weight is still staying high. biceps are finally starting to show some size. but my arms are real inflexible right now. i can barely do curls with the barbells because my arms dont want to bend in parallel paths. triceps are still getting stronger too. legs are getting strong on the machines. i can now max out all the leg machines. doing better on squat, but not ready to jump to 4 plates on each side yet. legs seem to be there, but my core (abs and low back) aren't. also, my flexibility came back immediately. started stretching this week, and after the 4th day of stretching i was able to do the splits again. not bad for pushing 250, now if i could just get rid of the belly.

8/15 tenth. chest is basically done. started out this week doing 4 sets of 5 to 6 reps at 315. that should put my max somewhere between 350 and 375. back will be upper body priority now. arms strength is mostly back, curled 70 lb dumbbells for 5 reps each arm. ab strength is coming in too, only 5 more plates to max out the machine. squats are getting a little better, but still lagging behind everything else. bodyweight is still hanging around 250. shape is getting better, but belly is still there. regardless, i'm adding muscle almost as fast as i'm burning off fat. the problem is i'm starting to be hungry all the time. getting from breakfast to lunch is killer. plus i'm getting too big for my shirts, might have to upgrade to XXL. did switch to protein drinks instead of bars, so i could get more protein with less fat, and to spread protein consumption out through the day.

8/22 eleventh week. doh! hurt my elbow last week. upper body is now secondary ... with light weights. so the taking time off to heal did not work ... i'll ultimately have to get surgery to fix this recurring energy. still was able to put up 225 lbs on bench for 20 reps. but the minor injury makes legs primary. managed to do a set of 400 on squat for 5 reps and then followed up with a set of 365 for 10 reps. my whole body was screaming after that and i was extremely sore the next day. the 2nd day of soreness was even worse. arms are starting to show some size. managed a set curling 65 lb dumbbells with pretty good form. triceps are getting a little bit of that horseshoe shape too. finished the week with a leg press of over 800 lbs for 5 reps.

8/29 twelfth. doh! going heavy on legs last week has demolished my low back. been walking around like an old man this week. this has happened before, years ago when i started going heavy on legs again, so i think its just hurt, and not a full on injury. regardless, i still managed to get some lifting in with decent weights. also i added in morning cardio. not sure you can even call it cardio, because its really just light walking. the good news is that my increased muscle mass is helping out and the light walking shed about 5 pounds, so now my weights is hovering just over 245, while i'd been weighing in over 250 for the last month or so.

9/5 thirteenth week. the main change for this week is i started light jogging. that pretty much sucked because my joints didn't want to have it. on upper body i cranked out 3 reps of 315 lbs on incline bench. too bad this gym doesn't have a decline bench. low back is mostly healed, just a little tender, but i was able to do 2 sets of squat at 400 lbs for 5 reps.


DesktopWeb FormText   wheres the brawn?Fri, 09 Sep 2005 17:57:41 GMT # 

haven't posted anything 'brawn' related for a long while. ashamedly, i must admit that i mostly did not workout from july 2004 to june 2005. thats the longest i've gone without lifting over a 15 year period. purposefully took off the 2nd half of 2004 to heal, because i was having recurring minor injuries from working out. for the 1st half of 2005 i bought a home gym and tried to use that. i'd always gone to real gyms previously, but did not like either of the gyms that are remotely close to our home. well ... the home gym did not work for me. but i didn't realize it until Terski posted a picture of me presenting at the WI .NET user group on 6/15. that was the smack in the face i needed, because i had no clue that i'd become such a puss. so i went the next day and signed up at one of the local gyms.


DesktopWeb FormText   awesome channel9 vidsThu, 08 Sep 2005 17:12:01 GMT # 

cambridge research and ms home babes (the pic of Ian is misleading)


DesktopWeb FormText   this website sucks (in opera)Wed, 07 Sep 2005 16:05:03 GMT # 



DesktopWeb FormText   the war against natureSat, 03 Sep 2005 20:37:17 GMT # 

... its only a matter of time. to be a heartless bastard, i really dont think we should rebuild. its freakin below sea level ... have some common sense. save the people, swallow our pride, get over it, and move on. we knew this could happen, we didnt properly prepare for it, and we got burned. hell, i just saw a national geographic show where they outlined (hypothetically) the natural disaster exactly as it happened. the show was at least 6 months old (probably older). i also have trouble feeling remorse for the people that were capable of evacuating and did not. for the people that were not capable and were legitimately trapped, we should have gotten them out. its just another instance of us being reactive instead of preventative (think health care, oil, etc...). the one thing thats bothering me is how quickly culture has crumbled. when i've seen 3rd world countries getting decimated by unwarned natural disasters ... i don't see any negative media coverage like we're getting a full dose of. e.g. xtians blaming it on some gay parade, bush and global warming, looting (including cops), firing at rescue workers, accusing the government of reacting slow, kanye west. the worst i've seen elsewhere is crowds of people rushing to get food rations. i'm assuming stuff like this happens when other cultures have disasters and we just dont see the coverage ... or is this purely american behavior? now for my sickness. every time a disaster happens, there is a little bit of me that is not upset, because i know it'll end up being a 'seconds from disaster' show on national geographic ... and i love those ... sorry


DesktopWeb FormText   politics trumps scienceThu, 01 Sep 2005 19:25:53 GMT # 

again : Day-After Pill Exposes FDA Rift. this time with the morning after pill. the following quote from the article is a beaut : "Another letter from four House Democrats asks President Bush to issue 'a clear directive' to federal agencies that all health-related decisions be based on science." ... good luck with that :(


DesktopWeb FormText   Platt and Lowy podcastThu, 01 Sep 2005 18:13:27 GMT # 

really liked Roy Osherove's podcast with David Platt and Juval Lowy. both SoftwareLegends ... although the site has been down forever. i've met David before, and he is a wealth of information as well as being hilarious. so when David talks ... i listen. never met Juval but really liked his book. one thing that shocked me in the podcast is that ClickOnce is meant for intranet type deployment. i missed that message, and really thought it was a deployment strategy for all internet users? they were also both down on blogs for the signal to noise ratio. personally, i try to keep the signal to a minimum


DesktopWeb FormText   pdcbloggers.netThu, 01 Sep 2005 16:20:42 GMT # 

was able to add my feed to pdcbloggers.net yesterday. NOTE the 'all posts' feed is currently broken ... but the categorized feeds work. the funny thing is that my 'Women in Technology' post is currently on the home page. and they quoted it in such a way as to leave out the offensive parts ... awesome! its great to see when people still have a sense of humor :)


DesktopWeb FormText   coming up with (side) project ideasThu, 01 Sep 2005 02:37:19 GMT # 

first, i pick the technologies to learn or reinforce. this is the easy part. its usually what new technology has come out or what would i ultimately like to work on full time. it also involves avoiding the technologies i do not want to work with. this might start with reading a book about the technology or reading the API to see what it can do. right now i'm leaning towards reinforcing MCE and using DirectX for UI. could stand to add in some tech i've never used before ... to up the fun. more AI would be great too. second step, find a problem. usually check my ideas.txt file first to see if i've already come up with a cool idea in the past that could fit the bill. (serious, i have an ideas.txt file that i've been compiling for years. all sorts of craziness in that.) if thats dry, then i look at the newsgroups / forums to see what problems other people are having (usually the consumer groups and not the developers). still no luck, then i start browsing through books and reading the APIs to see if i can use it in some way it was never intended to be used. if that fails, then i take an overdose of ginko biloba and have extended brainstorm / surf sessions with the tablet. this step also involves doing a bunch of searches and making sure it hasn't already been done before. the current idea was spawned by a news article. its another persons idea that has not been implemented yet (as far as i know). haven't come up with a legit way to work in AI either. third, tweak the difficulty. if its too easy, think about ways to make it harder. e.g. using a beta product, writing it on a mobile device, or mixing technologies. if its too difficult, maybe only tackle the high risk stuff and dont follow through with the grunt code. the more side projects i do, the better i get at knowing if i can actually implement the solution. early on, alot of my side projects would fail; but now its becoming pretty rare. hopefully this doesnt mean that i'm taking less risks! current idea is probably too easy. fourth, tweak the timeline so that it can be done within a month. just so i dont get stuck in a rut or get bored with it. also so that if something super cool comes up in that time, then i can easily ignore it for just a little while and check it out when the current project is done. current idea could be done in 2 to 3 weeks, and almost all of that is grunt code. fifth, judge my commitment. if the problem doesn't consume me so that i have to solve it ... then back to the drawing board. current idea definitely fails in this regard. think that i'm actually going to start to code a piece of it though and see if anything interesting comes up ... sometimes the idea doesn't fully present itself until you set things in motion ...


DesktopWeb FormText   PDC excitementWed, 31 Aug 2005 19:30:01 GMT # 

not too sound like a puss, but i'm getting excited to go to the PDC. i think the surprise WinFS beta is what set it off. and now dasBlonde has confirmed that guys are allowed at the Women in Technology Panel. was thinking i was going to have to sneak in since my first name can pass for a girls. personally, i would go to just about anything named 'Women in *'. i have picked the BOFs i want to go to, but not the general sessions yet. also looked at the schedule, and it looks like they'll be keeping me busy almost the whole time. not sure when i'm going to hit the gym or get some quality 'Women Dancing around a Pole' time?


DesktopWeb FormText   MS and MPAATue, 30 Aug 2005 18:52:10 GMT # 

say it aint so : "For the first time, the Windows operating system will wall off some audio and video processes almost completely from users and outside programmers ..." [Hollywood, Microsoft align on new Windows]. i'm going to start practicing boo'ing if this makes a keynote at the PDC. now i wonder if DirectShow being deprecated is related to this?


DesktopWeb FormText   FSM car emblemsTue, 30 Aug 2005 14:59:42 GMT # 

are in the works ... YEAH!


DesktopWeb FormText   anxious for new booksTue, 30 Aug 2005 14:18:22 GMT # 

i've been mostly unimpressed with the MS dev books for the last year or so. but bonk has a post of some upcoming books that i cant wait to get my hands on. including bills, which he just pointed to the code for


DesktopWeb FormText   milwaukee nerd dinnerMon, 29 Aug 2005 19:34:29 GMT # 

tomorrow. good ... i need a drink (or five)


DesktopWeb FormText   book : Intro. to 3D Game Prog. with DirectX 9.0Fri, 26 Aug 2005 14:01:26 GMT # 

(Luna 2003) really liked this book too. starts out with some basic 3D math including Planes and Rays. this is exactly what i need to come up with my own collision detection for MD3DM. the 2nd section is fundamentals, and had one of the better explanations of Blending and the StencilBuffer. 3rd section goes into more detail about Meshes, Cameras, Terrain, Particle Systems, and Picking ... with some good info in each. the final section is Shaders and Effects. this is the first time i've done any reading about shaders. i see the power, but dont like that their is another language (HLSL), plus i think the fixed function pipeline is adequate for most of my needs. i'm really looking at 3D for application programming ... and not to make the slickest looking game possible. NOTE this book is C++, but the sample code has been ported to C# and is available for download


DesktopWeb FormText   book : Direct3D ProgrammingFri, 26 Aug 2005 03:45:42 GMT # 

(Walnum 2003) i liked this book. its unique in that it starts out explaining 2D and 3D graphics by creating windows programs from scratch to demonstrate the basics of what Direct3D is doing behind the scenes. it also only concerns itself with the fixed function pipeline (ignoring shaders), and does a thorough job of explaining each core concept. the only negative is that the code is C++ and there are too many code listings ... so its a quick read.


DesktopWeb FormText   optical flow on wired.comMon, 22 Aug 2005 13:52:07 GMT # 

New Console Blows Up 2-D Games. check out the 'red light, green light' video ... you could use the /cameraFlow setup to do the same. but a game like theirs is begging for video goggles


DesktopWeb FormText   DirectX bookSun, 21 Aug 2005 16:54:01 GMT # 

i've been looking at beginning directX books to fill in the some of the gaps. right now i am really liking Frank Luna's Introduction to 3D Game Programming with DirectX 9.0. its doing a great job of explaining alot of basic 3D concepts that i had missed. e.g. i now know what 'u' and 'v' represent. the book is C++, but David Goben ported the code samples to C#. [found this through ZMan]


DesktopWeb FormText   going to PDCSun, 21 Aug 2005 14:35:19 GMT # 

/cameraFlow is one of the winners for the Channel9 Code'n my way to the PDC Contest! this will be my first PDC. i've always wanted to go, because PDC seems like my type of conference

the Blog'n your way to PDC winner was announced too. and since i'll be there, the opportunity to take booth babe pictures is back on :)


DesktopWeb FormText   Nick P ... w00tSat, 20 Aug 2005 03:32:47 GMT # 

my boy Nick made the cover with Modular Assemblies. highly recommended. he's also behind HaloRanking.com ... for all the Master Chiefs out there


DesktopWeb FormText   first render to MD3DMFri, 19 Aug 2005 03:55:47 GMT # 

good news ... got it to render
bad news ... its all jacked

not sure whats going on yet? alot of game Update() code is still commented out, but i thought i had the Render() code suitably independent of that logic.


DesktopWeb FormText   /cameraFlow MD3DM port continuedThu, 18 Aug 2005 13:40:54 GMT # 

got a couple more hours in. resources are still giving me a problem. when i use namespace.Properties.Resources.resourceName.md3dm to return a byte[] of the file, the array returned is the correct file size, but its all 0's. might just forget that syntactic shortcut and go back to the 2003 way of embedding resources. just hope they fix this by release. for the missing Mesh.Intersection() functionality, i've discovered Sharp3D.Math, which looks like a great complement to MD3DM. its not explicitly made for CF, but haven't had any problem picking bits and pieces (e.g. the Plane3 class) and moving it over to CF. the plan is to iter through the vertex buffer of a mesh to create a collection of Planes. then i can do Ray-Plane intersection in a similar manner that Mesh.Intersection() does on the desktop. the only question is if this will be fast enough on a PPC? if not, there is a backup plan


DesktopWeb FormText   OS cubedWed, 17 Aug 2005 20:51:54 GMT # 

witnessed. i'm pretty sure it took me longer to mess up the cube then it took him to solve it.


DesktopWeb FormText   porting /cameraFlow to PocketPCWed, 17 Aug 2005 03:33:28 GMT # 

WindowsMobile5 (WM5) has a scaled down version of Managed DirectX (MDX) called Managed Direct3D Mobile (MD3DM). to become more aware of the differences between the 2 i started to port /cameraFlow down to the PocketPC. here are some of the problems i'm running into : i'm not able to add .wav files as Resources because there is no UnmanagedMemoryStream. to get around this i'm giving them a bogus extension to have them treated as generic files which return byte[]. i can add .jpg files to the Resources but TextureLoader does not have a method to do FromBitmap(), so i have to convert it to a stream before i can load it (unnecessary). we have the Geometry class but dont have DegreeToRadian() ... come on, why would you cut the little helper methods? there is no IntersectInformation class and no Mesh.Intersect() method. this really sucks, because this is how i do collision detection in my game. i'll have to re-implement it in an entirely different manner. and it would be easier to re-implement if we had a Plane class. Line might come in handy too. i also need to rewrite my UtilSound class because there is no DirectSound and my UtilInput class because there is no DirectInput. both of these will be easy to replace. finally i would rip out the web cam control stuff and the Shareware Starter Kit. which makes me think that the SSK should be implemented to run on CF as well. everything else is porting over pretty easily. the main pain point will be re-implementing collision detection. after that, the tricky part would be writing an optical flow library to work efficiently on a PPC


DesktopWeb FormText   new article : /cameraFlow Labyrinth gameSun, 14 Aug 2005 22:09:46 GMT # 

/cameraFlow is what i've been working on for the last month. its a simulation of the old Wooden Labyrinth game. the cool part is that its controlled by a web cam attached to a slate Tablet PC. so you physically have to tilt the Tablet PC which tilts the game board and makes the marble roll accordingly. you can also control it with a web cam attached to a desktop computer by holding the camera and tilting the camera yourself (else you can just use a mouse). this is actually the first game i've ever written, and its also the first time i've written a Managed Direct3D application from scratch. oh yeah, the binaries can be downloaded ... and i'll put the code up within a couple days (need to clean it up). finally, there are also some videos of it in usage


DesktopWeb FormText   testing 456Sun, 14 Aug 2005 04:01:55 GMT # 

aha! ... beat the easy level on the 7th try. maybe the 8th? ... lost count :) tried the hard level and lasted about 15 seconds ... not pretty; down right ugly. anyway, i think that means its about ready to be released into the wild. the binaries and the article will be out tomorrow night.


DesktopWeb FormText   testing 123Sun, 14 Aug 2005 03:34:54 GMT # 

one of the local restaurants doesn't know the difference between a single and a double scotch. er, um ... so now its time to do some real usability testing :)


DesktopWeb FormText   more Mesh.IntersectSat, 13 Aug 2005 16:23:13 GMT # 

(famous last words) i 'think' the collision detection is fixed ... again. er, um, actually it was OS that talked me through it. but another thing that bit me was Mesh.Intersect ... again. ZMan had straightened me out about the second vector being direction. so i started treating it purely as direction. thinking that if i put the direction as (1, 0, 0) or (2, 0, 0) then they would mean the same thing (positive X). but they're different! based on the Direction property of the IntersectInformation results, the actual collision will occur at different distances ... dont ask me why? direction means direction ... with some scale?


DesktopWeb FormText   more usabilityFri, 12 Aug 2005 04:35:51 GMT # 

spent all tonight working on the game. optionsScalper tried it out at work today, and showed me that it was unusable. somehow he was able to reproduce a bug almost at will that i was rarely getting. i 'think' its fixed now, but hope to see if he can muck it up tomorrow. also cranked up the friction and turned down the control sensitivity to make it easier. with these settings i can beat the easy level easily and even managed to beat the hard level ... although there were some moments my breathing stopped. so its still pretty tough and you can really crank up the difficulty if wanted.

one thing that is really hard is trying to control it with a pen on a tablet. even though i'm using DirectInput, the tablet output is much more sensitive than the trackball mouse on my notebook. i.e. i'm scaling down the trackball input by 10, and i have to scale down the tablet input by about 150 or more. seems like DirectInput should just handle this for me? if i get the time, need to see if the guys at ArcsOfFire have noticed this and come up with a solution? also tied up some loose ends of functionality, such as end game scenarios. finally, spent some time pretty-ifying it, so it actually looks decent. now i've got a little time for some more testing


DesktopWeb FormText   usability hurdleWed, 10 Aug 2005 23:30:00 GMT # 

finally played the 1st usable instance of my game. granted ... i lost, but if i keep playing i should be able to beat the easy level. talk about hand eye coorination ... whew

so that makes it at least close to being usable. need to take it into work tomorrow for some feedback. next steps are to tweak gameplay, add a bunch of support code, pretty it up, and then create an installer


DesktopWeb FormText   WWFSMD?Wed, 10 Aug 2005 14:38:39 GMT # 

NO! ... i actually believe in the flying spaghetti monster, after i was 'touched by his noodly appendage'. there is no god of boiling water, thats ridiculous, the flying spaghetti monster just is. in spaghetti monster we trust

anyway, OS, you are right that science cannot be used to prove religion ... but it can be used to disprove some religious beliefs. also, you are wrong in your thought that atheism requires faith ... because it does not. unless you want to say 'faith in reason' :)


DesktopWeb FormText   MDX installation continuedWed, 10 Aug 2005 05:26:39 GMT # 

Travis did an excellent job presenting C++ 2005 tonight. he even worked in some Managed DirectX ... how cool is that?

speaking of MDX, i was in the back hacking away at my stuff. was completing the game board, which revealed that my collision detection isnt quite perfect. tweaked it and made it a little better, but it could still use some work. also added the end game elements. this became really frustrating because my models would get corrupted as they got more complex. i.e. somehow the vertices would get all screwed up and the preview in TrueSpace would go bad. but if you had it render the scene then everything looked right ... so maybe it was still ok? except if you exported it and then looked at the mesh, then it really was mucked up like the preview. tried a couple different ways to get around it ... which wasted another couple hours. as Chad said, we've been spending most of our DX time trying to get along with the tools. personally, the tools are kicking my ass ... but i did managed to get one level finished

then it was a matter of getting it over to my Tablet to test. ZMan explained that the /InstallManagedDX argument went away. now the DXSetup.exe from the redistributable just automatically installs Managed DirectX if you have .NET 1.1 already installed. this still does not explain why DXSetup.exe was not updating my DX installation at all ... because i have both .NET 1.1 and 2.0 installed? so i did redownload the Aug. SDK last night and was able to install that on my test machine. that finally pumped my DX version up to the latest. but my app still would not run. the complaint was regarding Microsoft.Direct.Direct3DX. when looking at my VS.NET project, i saw that i had referenced 1.0.2906, although the latest on my machine is 1.0.2907. switched to the latest reference and my program ran!

now i'm over the integration and deployment humps. the game sort of ran the way i want it to. the user input needs some major tweaking and another collision detection bug presented itself. plus i've got a ton of small things to do for polish. regardless, its showing signs of life ... so i'm flying ...


DesktopWeb FormText   failed Aug05 MDX redist installTue, 09 Aug 2005 05:25:08 GMT # 

when i run DXSetup.exe it starts up like its about to copy some files (but it doesn't), then it says its complete. running DXDiag.exe shows that Feb. 05 bits are the latest. went in and deleted any DX SDK bits from this machine too, just in case ... still no go. followed the instructions in the help for the /InstallManagedDX flag ... nope. tried /InstallManagedDirectX from some google searches ... no. tried running the .inf file in the MDX cab ... no. this is getting frustrating ... i'm about to install the SDK on my test device as a last ditch effort, because i just want to see my app run on a non dev machine. anyway, the install experience for MDX needs to improve


DesktopWeb FormText   speech TAP fell throughTue, 09 Aug 2005 03:29:51 GMT # 

somehow i got nominated as a candiate for a TAP program involving speech. anyway i got all excited ... but i just found out i wasnt accepted. this is a common theme with me and the speech group. they get me all excited about something ... and then bucket of cold water. a different instance happened just 2 weeks ago, and a couple times before that. on the possibility i might hear from them again ... if i dont sound excited on the phone ... now they know why


DesktopWeb FormText   WI .NET meeting (C++ with 2005)Mon, 08 Aug 2005 17:35:14 GMT # 

my bud Travis will be presenting .NET C++ with VS 2005


DesktopWeb FormText   yahoo audio searchMon, 08 Aug 2005 04:47:43 GMT # 

got all excited about nothing. i currently need to search for some sound effects for a little program. went ahead and tried to use yahoos new audio search. the problem is that it keeps flooding me with song results. the advanced filter should allow you to filter for .WAV files too. i.e. its no good for finding sound effects


DesktopWeb FormText   Mesh.Intersect() revisitedSun, 07 Aug 2005 20:26:01 GMT # 

Andy came through with some great ideas. and ZMan saw exactly what i was doing wrong. the problem was that i was passing an endpoint for the direction part of the ray, instead of an actual direction. e.g. i was passing the point Vector3(xPos, yPos, -1), assuming that it took that 2nd point and determined the direction from the point of origin. when what i really should have passed was the direction Vector3(0, 0, -1). of course the docs actually do say direction ... so this just confirms that i'm an idiot. at least its all working as i expect now! i 'think' this is the last Direct3D'ism that can bite me in the ass for this project ... it should just be typing from here on out


DesktopWeb FormText   Mesh.Intersect()Sun, 07 Aug 2005 17:23:33 GMT # 

... is kicking my butt this morning. trying to use it in 2 different scenarios, and they are both failing

first scenario. i've got a sphere mesh on a plane mesh. the plane mesh is 10 units by 10 units, and the sphere unit is 1 unit large. everything is centered at the origin. using the directional keys, i can move the sphere mesh over the plane. it goes from -5 to 5 along the X axis and -5 to 5 along the Y axis as expected. the task i'd like Mesh.Intersect to handle is when the ball rolls off the plane. the rays origin is the x,y coordinate of the sphere mesh, and its height is above the plane. the rays direction is the x,y coordinate of the sphere mesh, and its height is below the plane. so the ray used to test for intersection is perpendicular to the plane and coincides to the center location of the sphere. so it should report that there is an intersect whenever the sphere is on the plane ... right? wrong. instead it only identifies hits towards the center of the plane. from -2.5 to 2.5 along the X and -2.5 to 2.5 along the Y. anything closer to the edges does not register an intersect, even though the sphere is still visibly on the plane. for debugging, i render the ray, and it shows up exactly as expected (spearing the sphere perpendicular to the plane). my only guess as to what is happening is that somehow my mesh is being scaled without my knowledge? looking at the plane.x, it seems to represent the units from -5 to 5 as expected. also, nowhere in my code am i scaling or translating the plane mesh. all i'm doing is translating the sphere mesh. no clue ...

second scenario. i've got a sphere mesh inside a cube mesh. the cube mesh is 10 units by 10 units by 10 units, and the sphere is 1 unit large. using the directional keys, i can move the sphere mesh along the X and Y axis (depth is ignored, so basically the sphere is contained in a rectangular wall). everything is centered at the origin again. this time i'd like Mesh.Intersect to to let me know when the sphere hits a wall of the cube. the origin of the ray is the cubes position. the direction of the ray is the direction that the sphere is heading. i shoot the ray out something like 100 units. the expected behavior is that as the sphere moves, it is always reporting a hit, because the ray is passing through some wall of the cube. this does work. then, i check the distance of the IntersectInformation for the closest hit. this should decrease to 0, which specifies actually hitting the wall (taking into account the radius of the sphere). this also works. the thing that is messing with me is that it specifies a hit depending on the speed that the sphere is heading towards the wall. if the sphere is moving slow, then the sphere will be right up against the wall before the distance is 0 (as expected). but if the sphere is moving fast, the sphere will be something like 1 unit away from the wall when the distance becomes 0 (not expected). rendering the ray for debugging shows it positioned as expected. no clue ...


DesktopWeb FormText   more Direct3D flavorSat, 06 Aug 2005 22:07:22 GMT # 

Chad took something like a couple hours and whipped together a physics sample for me too. thanks yall, you really know how to make a guy feel stupid :( no, really ... thanks :)

made some good progress today. one of the phsyics models i've needed is implemented, just one more to go. been looking at the o'reilly 'physics for game dev' book, but i actually prefer the apress 'physics for game prog' book because you can get code samples for it in c#, java, and c++

another lesson learned involves 3D modelling tools. it takes me something like 2 to 4 hours to feel comfortable with any one tool, and each tool is significantly different. so the skills for one dont easily transfer between tools. the good news is that i find working with meshes significantly easier than working with vertex buffers directly. mainly because there's less room for error. also trying to use the mesh for as much game data as possible. e.g. embedding hotspots for a game inside the mesh itself, instead of keeping that positional info in application logic

so the question is, why am i looking at Direct3D? answers : 1) the MCE UI is D3D 2) Managed Direct3D Mobile 3) Avalon 4) Vista


DesktopWeb FormText   fake physicsSat, 06 Aug 2005 00:46:42 GMT # 

i'm definitely faking the physics now! at least i haven't been working on my side project as long as optionsScalpers been working on GAI.NET ...

wasted last night playing with 3D modellers. could get around gmax, but am not using it because it doesnt support .x files natively. couldn't figure out how to control blender or milkshape well at all. trueSpace was pretty intuitive and i was able to make some super simple models, although the materials aren't fully working right. actually, they might be, because i really dont know what the hell i'm doing. dont want to waste anymore time on a 3D modelling app, so trueSpace it is.

now i've got the meshes loaded into my D3D app, and am just starting to wire up the controls to properly fake physics :) hopefully, i'll have something to show before the weekends out. wanted to enter it in the PDC shareware contest, but one of the components i'm using is not license friendly :(


DesktopWeb FormText   revisiting Direct3DFri, 05 Aug 2005 01:56:20 GMT # 

my current side project is giving me an excuse to revisit DirectX ... this time on the desktop. the only other time i've used D3D is for the WorldWind port to CF. even though this app is smaller, its really slow going. my first problem has been just to get the initial world to render. there are no WYSIWYG tools for the Form in VS.NET, and i keep screwing this up. e.g. did i create my vertex buffer correctly with the correct orientation so it wont be culled? are the normals correct? are my vertices in world space or screen space? is my camera positioned correctly? what about lighting? when one of these things is mucked up ... then i only see a form with a blue background

to help with this, i've decided to use a 3D modeling tool to create meshes instead of working directly with vertex buffers. then all i really have to worry about is if i've transformed the mesh properly into world space, camera, and lighting. but now the problem is what modeling tool to use? maya, 3DS max, etc... are too expensive. trueSpace is cheaper, but is still too expensive for the little i want to do. milkShape is real low cost, but i need to see how usable it is, nor do i know if it exports to .x. gmax is free, but doesn't work with .x files unless you use a conversion tool ... lame. blender 3D is free, works with .x, and might do the trick ... but i need to watch some videos on how to use it. if not i'll just use the trial version of trueSpace. anyway, it seems like MS might want to do some work at making the hobbyist modeling tools more accessible. conversion tools and plugins don't count

but what happened to my integrated IDE? i'd really like to see 3D modeling makes its way into VS.NET. hell, let me model my meshes and then drag them into a WinForm and get some design time experience. handle the code behind and such for getting the initial world setup, such as placing lights and cameras. i.e. the WinForms experience for 3D. if MS really wants the rich 3D experience to happen with Avalon in Vista, then the tool support will have to improve


DesktopWeb FormText   recommended readingWed, 03 Aug 2005 01:25:14 GMT # 

causticTech : ... fuckmaster 2005 ...


DesktopWeb FormText   online gym classTue, 02 Aug 2005 18:50:20 GMT # 

would have been an easy A


DesktopWeb FormText   patent prejudiceMon, 01 Aug 2005 13:52:44 GMT # 

news.com has this article slamming MS for going after 3000 new patents. it also complains about software patents in general ... which i agree with. the thing that bugs me though, is it fails to mention that IBM has been granted over 3000 new patents for the last 3 years. if you're going to point out the bad guy ... make sure you get the right one


DesktopWeb FormText   DMCA notice that wont dieSat, 30 Jul 2005 05:01:20 GMT # 

this is funny (in a pitiful way)

background info is that i wrote a web spider about 4 years ago to teach myself WinForms programming. it ended up going after adult content (passwords and movies). for a while, i had one of the better password search sites on the web. it was cool to get alot of hits ... except it kept getting my server kicked off the net ... so i shut it down

used to be served off of the domain mperfect.net (i.e. imperfect). it has been entirely shut down for the last 3 years, but i was just searching around and saw that perfect10 has been including it in their DMCA notices to google : November 2004 and June 2005. 2005 ... you've got to be kidding me. even if the pages are cached, just shut down those accounts and move on

aside ... my site never got shut down directly by DMCA. the way it played out is that the offended party would send a DMCA notice to the ISP. the ISP would then pass that on to me. i would then explain to the ISP that it was just a search site and didn't actually have any content. that would throw DMCA out. but then the ISP would review my site and decide to shut it down based on their usage agreement, which allowed them to shut it down for no particular reason. you cant argue with that

lame


DesktopWeb FormText   get VirtualEarth WiFi location from .NETThu, 28 Jul 2005 16:29:43 GMT # 

forget GPS. the Microsoft Location Finder installs to 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Location Finder'. create your WindowsForm and add a reference to WiFiScannerLibrary.dll. then call ...

WiFiScannerLibraryLib.WiFiScannerClass wfsc;
wfsc = new WiFiScannerLibraryLib.WiFiScannerClass();
MessageBox.Show(wfsc.GetLocation());


DesktopWeb FormText   next article screen grabThu, 28 Jul 2005 04:47:35 GMT # 

'think' i just got past the risky parts for my next article. posting a screen grab of the test app as a teaser. the question is with what input device did i draw those lines? mouse, keyboard, pen, speech, remote ... 'no'. you'll have to wait for the article for the answer. now i need to take that small victory and use it for something practical. got the idea, just need to cook up the UI. its begging to be Direct3D, so i'm using that as an excuse to further my DirectX skill set ... so that'll slow me down


DesktopWeb FormText   citizens arrestThu, 28 Jul 2005 02:02:49 GMT # 

if an old couple follows you home and yells something to you about the speed limit while writing down your license plate and address ... this is what you do. dont say anything. just stare at them and then get back in your car and follow them to their house while bassing loudly. that'll teach them to respect other peoples privacy


DesktopWeb FormText   the islandTue, 26 Jul 2005 03:43:36 GMT # 

good eye candy. some unbelievable parts. some holes in the plot. chick didn't get naked


DesktopWeb FormText   war of the worldsSun, 24 Jul 2005 05:16:09 GMT # 

loved it. its what i wanted 'independence day' to be years ago. there were only a couple things that bugged me, including the ending being too happy.

so now we've got 2 kill all human movies : one with a computer virus and another biological. its obvious the next one will be a self replicating nanotech bot ...


DesktopWeb FormText   indigo on compact frameworkFri, 22 Jul 2005 13:35:23 GMT # 

saw this post by Paul Gielens. it mentions an indigo newsgroup post asking Will Indigo ever be supported on the .NET CompactFramework? from the indigo side, there are currently 'no plans' ... 'but it is (their) intention to do so at some point in the future'. from the compact framework side, we've got this post by Mike Zintel. that tips us off that the CF guys are thinking about WS-* for V3. the bad news is it doesn't look like we will get anything soon ... the good news is that both sides are thinking about it. personally, i am not working on /cfWSE3 or /cfIndigo (no plans either)


DesktopWeb FormText   picture CAPTCHAsThu, 21 Jul 2005 19:19:00 GMT # 

since there are some CAPTCHA links springing up (again) ... i went ahead and poked around to see what has been happening. one of the posts i found was by Jason Mauer. so it displays some text and 6 pictures out of which you have to associate one of them with that text. e.g. from the picture below you have to match the text 'hat and cane' to the appropriate image. this is obvious for humans, but is really hard for computers (currently). so that is better than text based CAPTCHAs right now because computers are good at OCR. a negative is the size of the picture database vs the number of different character combinations that can be made with a text based CAPTCHA. of course you can just add more pictures ... but the problem is that really doesn't matter ... because the system can train itself at its leisure.

here is how i would beat it. the program would request the page and get the associated images. it would parse out the challenge text and generate some fingerprint for each image. for different ways of fingerprinting an image, see /aiSomPic. then it would check a database to see if it had already solved that text. if so, it would pick the image with the closest signature. if the text had not been solved before, then it would randomly make a guess with one of the other images. of course it would only pick a guess that it did not already know was the incorrect answer. finally, the program would check the web response to see if it was correct or incorrect, and record that in the database. then it will just keep doing this over and over again ... remember, its a bot. it would start out with alot of failures, but over time it would start getting answers correct, and it would ultimately end up being perfect. adding more images doesn't matter, it will just learn those on its own, with at least 1 out of 6 odds of being correct. of course you can harden this by adding noise, rotation, and such. also refer you to the /aiSomPic article (linked above) to see how this can be handled using a self optimizing map. actually, you've always got a 1 out of 6 chance without doing any processing ... so for a bot ... those are pretty good odds just by doing random guessing.

the text based CAPTCHA did not have this self training capability, because the answer (or some hash) was never represented in either the request or response. so i had to manually train the text based bot what the letters and numbers were. it would take a guess, and then i would correct it if necessary.

anyway, jason is in great shape because he implemented his own CAPTCHA ... making himself a smaller target. its less likely that someone would write custom code to attack his solution vs one of the packaged solutions that are used by thousands of people ... making themselves a large target. he also reduced his attack surface area by only allowing comments for 2 weeks.


DesktopWeb FormText   robocupThu, 21 Jul 2005 01:02:42 GMT # 

Mike Hall points to a blog with some sweet robocup videos. robocup is a competition with the goal to develop a robotic team that can beat the human world championship soccer team by 2050? do you think thats possible? i'm not so sure. my guess is that athletes will be seriously enhanced with designer drugs by then


DesktopWeb FormText   google moonWed, 20 Jul 2005 16:13:54 GMT # 

yawn. MS had the moon in the MapPoint Web Service over a year ago. they even did a demo of it in the MDC04 keynote. hell ... i think its even an enum in the API.

anybody else bored with all the innovating (cough ... copying) going on. lots of guilty parties, MS included. oh yeah, the cheese zoom doesnt count


DesktopWeb FormText   certsTue, 19 Jul 2005 05:27:43 GMT # 

just voicing my opinions on certs because a couple things have happened recently

1) the 9 (or 10) year old getting MCP. that is impressive. does it belittle the exams ... yes. of course i knew of a 14 year old getting java certified years ago. i'm assuming that was harder than an MCP exam? so what was i doing at 10 ... no clue? could i have passed an MCP exam ... maybe and no. maybe with a transcender, no without.

2) certification changes for .NET 2.0. i'm pretty upset that the name for an MCSD upgrade will change to having the word 'enterprise' in it. when people start talking about anything 'enterprise' related, it triggers a kill switch in my brain to automatically shut down to protect itself. nor am i motivated to upgrade. i used to mock people with certifications, thinking it was a waste of time. why prove that you know something when you could be teaching yourself something new? but i dont like mocking something if i dont know anything about it ... so i went ahead and got certified ... to try it out. full on MCSD .NET, thinking it might improve contract searches. but it hasn't. recruiters used to bring up my lack of certification as a negative ... now they just dont mention certifications at all. serious, its like they only used it as ammo against me ... now that i have that checkbox checked, they won't touch it. on the same note, they dont acknowledge MVP status or MS degree either. but to be a hypocrite ... i will upgrade. and the primary reason is that there are only something like 15K MCSDs. that was a lower number than i expected, so i will get it to differentiate. but if there wasn't an upgrade path, and i had to start over from scratch ... i probably would not get certified again


DesktopWeb FormText   the junk mail folder ate itFri, 15 Jul 2005 16:45:15 GMT # 

yesterday a friend commented about how i was an ass for not replying to one of his emails. but i never got that email? checking my office 2003 junk mail folder shows that it has a handful of false positives, including his email, even though i have spam filtering on the low setting. i had been watching this folder closely after first installing office 2003 ... and thought it was doing great. it was leaving some spam behind for me to manually filter, but there were no false positives. so it lured me into a sense of trust ... and now i'll have to start watching it more closely. anyway ... if you have been calling me an ass for not replying ... that is my excuse ...


DesktopWeb FormText   intelligent design stupidityFri, 15 Jul 2005 01:27:29 GMT # 

flipping through our 20+ television channels, 3 of which are mostly religious, and i come across a guy explaining intelligent design. as an atheist ... i had to listen ... for entertainments sake. i was able to refute most of the points he was trying to make. his ultimate point was that their had to be a god to create the matter and come up with the design. i'll spare you the my reasoning why i think this is bogus logic (e.g. who designed god, some circular arguments) ... but thats not the point of this post. his argument was a little hard to follow because sometimes he seemed to be saying that the bible should be taken literally ... and other times he wasn't? whenever he steered towards literal it discredited him and he totally ignored anything related to carbon dating. at the end, he did a direct attack on evolutionary teachings. the final point he tried to make was that the teachings of evolution are the blame for abortion, homosexuality, pornography ... all the 'bad' stuff in our society. serious. of course i think thats bogus ... but i have to admit its a smart plan. try to fill in the gaps that science has been poking, offer an alternative belief (that cant be proven), and attack the scientific belief. sometimes i really wish that atheists would be more aggressive ... think militant atheists. but thats not the way it works ... because its about thinking for yourself.

oh well, to represent ... i wore my spaghetti monster shirt to workout


DesktopWeb FormText   MCE and AvalonThu, 14 Jul 2005 19:42:19 GMT # 

a few posts back i was asking about Avalon and MCE ... and a couple days later Charlie Owens delivers! : PDC Session Announced: Longhorn Media Center: Developing for the 10-Foot Interface

i'll be there in spirit ... and hope the slide decks make it out :)


DesktopWeb FormText   where's the mic?Tue, 12 Jul 2005 14:34:30 GMT # 

get some speech guys on the MCE team ... because i dont want a keyboard in my living room. you get a remote and possibly an xbox controller as an input device. a mic would make sense too. e.g. for when i want to control music with the TV off. there is one other input device i would tolerate too ... which i'll prototype later


DesktopWeb FormText   U.S. losing ...Sun, 10 Jul 2005 15:38:49 GMT # 

US losing share of science and engineering grads. er, um ... why aren't we doing anything about this? for the last 5 years, i've been contracting in 6 different states ... in that time, i've only worked with 2 people younger than me ... and i'm about to turn 30! where is my replacement? do you really think we're going to out creative everyone else? our tech will be trashed, medical has their hands tied, and our legal system is viral. i'm thinking we really need to get our asses kicked ... that'd motivate us. oh wait ... we did lose the 'war on cheap gas' ...


DesktopWeb FormText   book : preySun, 10 Jul 2005 04:39:02 GMT # 

(Chrichton 2002) so i dont normally read fiction, but Marty brought a copy into work and showed how it had a code listing in it ... so i couldnt resist. not to mention i'd already read 5 of the books that are in the bibliography. the story is a scenario of how nanotechnology could go wrong ... with a little biotech mixed in for good measure. the other technologies at play were genetic programming, swarms, evolutionary computing ... and a pinch of fractals. how cool is that! anyway, it was a quick read and i really enjoyed it.

its fitting that i read this after 'fantastic voyage'. in that book, biotech and nanotech are what stops the aging process and then ultimateley reverses it to allow us to live forever. but there is also the scary side of both techs. the 'killer virus' of bio, and the 'grey goo' of nano ... so expect there to be alot of luddites. expect religion to get in the way too (e.g. stem cells). but this technology will happen ... its just too promising. books like this also have me convinced that bio evolution will ultimately be leapfrogged by tech evolution.


DesktopWeb FormText   Avalon : Speech and InkThu, 07 Jul 2005 21:42:36 GMT # 

for Speech, Robert Brown has some interesting posts

for Ink, Marty noticed this blog spring up yesterday!

... now if they would announce that there were MediaCenter bits in Avalon ... that would be too cool


DesktopWeb FormText   recent questions surveyTue, 05 Jul 2005 18:24:49 GMT # 

i get a decent amount of questions in email from the articles i've written. since the article topics are all over the board, i kind of use this as a judge to determine what people are interested in.

speechServer seems to have the most juice right now, especially for doing multiModal on a PocketPC. also been getting questions about other speech related articles ... so it looks like people are starting to explore. and since MS has announced it will support AJAX development ... how about making sure the Speeck Application SDK can take advantage of it too (because VoiceXML is talking about it). the next most popular item is WorldWind on the PocketPC. most people just want the data and binaries. i'll release those when a commercial device hits the market.

using AI to beat CAPTCHA has lost the most juice. people have mostly stopped asking for the code, or for me to break some other CAPTCHA implementation. i was expecting WSE on the Compact Framework to get renewed juice because of WSE3 and the Indigo Alpha ... but it has only had a few requests. i would have never guessed that project was that much ahead of its time ... in fact, i thought it was late 2 years ago.

i've had Tablet articles out for years, but have never gotten many questions from that space. my assumption is that its because the API is pretty easy for most scenarios. MediaCenter is currently holding my interest, but i've gotten very few questions. at least the idea for the next article has been formed, i just need to crank out the code ... the tech landscape will probably look like AI, MDX, and MCE


DesktopWeb FormText   LinkedIn spamFri, 01 Jul 2005 13:38:17 GMT # 

in the last 24 hours, i have received join spam from 2 of my friends. i really despise these. have i been putting out this vibe that i want to be 'in'? most of my life has been about keeping myself 'out'. its down to my very atheistic core. e.g. when the summerfest singer yells to the crowd to wave their hands in the air, in the unlikely event that i was waving my hands, then i immediately stop and proceed to mentally admonish the rest of the crowd for being sheep. and when i played football, i would tell them that i was on the team ... but not part of the team. only hung out with them because that was an ends to being able to legally hurt people. so who wants to start the 'LinkedOut' service? it would be the list that all social networks would have to check to find out who is anti-social ... because i couldnt care less about kevin bacon


DesktopWeb FormText   god is blackMon, 27 Jun 2005 04:30:28 GMT # 

so i just watched the national geographic episode about finding adam. i.e. the human that we all descend from (and made in gods image). ends up they found him just 60K years back in Africa. this discovery was initially made possible because of the human genome project ... the really cool thing is that they are taking it further with the genographic project. they are collecting DNA samples to better fill out the family tree for modern day humans. how cool is that! IBM is involved with their Blue Gene super computer. the cost to participate is $99. i'm not a charitable person (survival of the fittest), but i am considering doing this. its just good for so many reasons. oh yeah, there is no god ... there is only the spaghetti monster


DesktopWeb FormText   book : fantastic voyageMon, 27 Jun 2005 02:37:28 GMT # 

(Kurzweil, Grossman 2004) live long enough to live forever. the book is supposed to have 3 main subjects : 1) extending your life using available techniques 2) biotech to extend life expectancy 3) nanotech to reverse aging. the idea is that in about 20 years, through biotechnology, life expectancy will increase over a year for each year. i.e. life expectancy will be getting pushed out faster than you age. the book is aimed primarily at baby boomers, since both authors are around 50, hoping that they can live long enough to be alive when that time comes. so the book is primarily about being proactive with nutrition, supplements, and exercise. i like this alot, since the practice of medicine is primarily reactive ... which the authors (and i) disagree with. the book gives hints about the biotech and nanotech advances are being made ... but those are too far out, and only make up a small portion of the book. the biotech advancements mainly involve designer drugs and understanding the human genome to cure the diseases that currently kill us. this basically stops us from aging, and buys us time until nanotech happens. nanotech then allows us to upgrade our bodies and actually reverse the aging process.

i bought this book because one of the authors, Ray Kurzweil, is an Artificial Intelligence bad ass. his transition into medicine involves him beating type2 diabetes by following some of the techniques explained in fantastic voyage ... impressive. its interesting that this book involves using technology to increase (and ultimately improve) our biological bodies. if i remember correctly, one of rays previous books mentioned downloading our brains into a computer to live forever. can imagine that people would prefer having their bodies forever, instead of being downloaded, but i kind of like the idea of backing up my brain in a computer ... because our biological bodies could still be killed by unnatural causes. even more interesting is that the magic 20 year mark also happens to be the proposed time when we get computers that are as powerful as the human brain. coincidence? so in about 20 years we might have multiple ways to keep our brains going, marking the point where technology becomes more of a driving factor than evolution ... at least for our biological processes.

the book mostly ignores the social consequences. its not like we dont already have a population problem over the next 50 years, which would just be compounded if people stop croaking (from old age). but the question is ... how would you live your life differently if you would live for 1000 years? personally, i'd start only trying to tackle significantly more complex problems. as well as becoming more interdisciplinary. could also imagine that i'd be less aggressive ... because time is what i consider the most valuable resource. and what about religion? if you're not scared of death ... do you even care about heaven and hell?

personally, i think the concepts of this book make sense ... and that this will happen. 20 years might be a little aggressive? granted, only rich people will probably be able to afford the procedures ... so i'll probably be checking out as originally planned. oh yeah, this book has nothing to do with scientology :)


DesktopWeb FormText   section 2257Fri, 24 Jun 2005 05:15:02 GMT # 

section 2257 went into effect. this requires that producers of explicit content have proper records for all performers (reasonable). it also requires that distributors point to where that information exists (not so reasonable). finally, a business effected by 2257 must publish their address (unreasonable).

the problem is that it effects my site (the distribution aspect, not production). specifically, the /tskTsk and /spHme articles. these web apps convert images to pocketPC today screens (.tsk), and pocketPC today screens (.tsk) to smartPhone home screens (.hme) respectively. so the user either uploads an image (or a .tsk file) and the app returns a generated .tsk (or .hme) file. it also archives these for others to use as their own today/home screen, and there is a mobile interface to let them browse preview images from their device. but how am i supposed to deal with what people upload? because people do upload adult images/today screens. am i expected to moderate every single image/today screen that is submitted? and how am i to define what is explicit? no way, i wrote those apps to be automated ... they just work. else i have to develop some sort of AI to recognize skin tones and quarantine possible violations. possible ... but not to be expected in the real world. since i'm a small fish, i'll choose civil disobedience to see what happens to the big boys first. take mobog.com as an example ... anonymous camera phone posts ... they're screwed. boingboing have reported how others have already fallen


DesktopWeb FormText   book : software factoriesThu, 23 Jun 2005 18:22:35 GMT # 

(Greenfield, Short 2004) thought the book was ok. the 1st 100 pages are about what sucks with development. the next 100 pages are about what we are getting right and finally gives a short example of a software factory. the next 300 pages go into more detail about 5 main topics already introduced. the last 100 pages give a larger example of a factory. would have been fine just reading chapters 1,4,5,16,17

was really excited by the name 'Domain Specific Languages' ... and made many uneducated guesses for what that name might mean. now that i've read the book ... i'm no longer excited. my current take on software factories is that its primarily glamorous artifact (e.g. code) generation. so it adds a schema defining what artifacts need to be created and how they map together (which i dont know of anybody doing currently with code gen), and could be very useful for traceability / validation. and it provides tool support to create the templates for generating artifacts (standard code gen today, although i dont think the current tools are very good). the main problem i run into with codegen is that it can handle the 95% case, but customizing that last 5% ends up being a real pain. so i consider this a small step. its a step in the right direction, even for one off development ... but people have already made this step on their own, which i think is seen by people that have moved away from OR mappers to codegen. for DSLs, my initial thought was that the name 'domain specific language' sounded like it might be related to ontologies of the semantic web. now i see that DSL is actaully a very generic definition, such that UML can be considered a DSL for OOA&D. on the other hand, DSL provides UML-like class modeling for creating metamodels, but UML was not used because of weak extensibility. i'd like that syntax to be standardized, and would also like to see the schema for the software factory schema file format. finally, i missed the vision of how software factories get us to a supply chain model for development (if that is even intended). i've got my factory setup, and can start stamping out customized instances (economy of scope) ... but that seems like it makes maintenance alot harder. to make me excited again, MS really has to nail the tool support ... which they have a tendency to do. i do not consider the current DSLs in VS 2005 such as Whitehorse and Class Diagrams to be exciting. give me something more useful such as generating the DAL, WS layer, DB scripts, etc... just looking at a webcast the current tools look decent. i like the XML format (cough XAML) for creating designers. but what i want to know is if i'm creating a model textually as XML ... do i get intellisense? also, i really hate the templated model of creating artifacts. its easy to understand ... but just gives me flashbacks of old school ASP


DesktopWeb FormText   stego responseWed, 22 Jun 2005 03:07:32 GMT # 

damn optionsScalper taunts that he has been using steganography in his posts to hide his name. really like stego, so i've been trying to find oddities in his blog. although he says to key off of mispellings, there aren't that many. this has been bugging me beyond belief. so since i cant beat him, i'm going to join him. and start putting stegos in some of my own posts. btw ... this message is stego'd :)


DesktopWeb FormText   why theaters sucksMon, 20 Jun 2005 03:39:16 GMT # 

the TS wont go see star wars with me, so i finally take off by myself to celebrate 'no kids day'. but i screw up and go on a holiday. so its crowded ... and i basically dont like people. yes ... that means you. sit down in front of a family, specifically the mom. during the previews my seat is getting kicked. i hit the top of my seat which usually scares the people behind me and they give up. instead the kicking becomes more frequent. i turn around, and see that i've now got an under five years old sitting behind me. so the mom and the kid pulled the old switcharoo to protect the kids from the star wars pedophile now sitting next to the mom. which leaves me with the punk kid kicking my chair. the left shoulder tells me to just find another seat ... but they're all taken. the right shoulder tells me to dump all my aquafina on this kid. i restrain myself, and the father controls the kid enough for me to finish the movie ... which sucked BTW. so the moral of the story is ... movie theaters suck because parents dont beat their kids. if i ever have a kid, i promise to beat them so that they behave in public ... at least until they are old enough to kick my ass. i really should have just dumped my water on the little shit


DesktopWeb FormText   improved site navigationSun, 19 Jun 2005 05:15:18 GMT # 

some of my friends were bitching to me about how much my website sucks. their main complaints were that it was ugly, and it was hard to find articles because of my terse naming convention. the bad news is that the site will remain ugly. the good news is that i've improved navigation. now the treeview on the right has a dropdownbox which you can use to select the view. you can choose to view by 'technology, device, or year'.

'technology' is the new default view, and i will try to keep it expanded to the latest article. the problem with the 'technology' view is that alot of my articles use 2 different technologies ... so the same article will show up under 2 different categories. 'device' view shows what platform the app was targeting, and the 'year' view is just a chronological listing. the articles should only be listed once in both 'device' and 'year' views


DesktopWeb FormText   book : introduction to evolutionary computingSat, 18 Jun 2005 23:13:31 GMT # 

(Eiben, Smith 2003) this is my new favorite genetic algorithm/programming book. the first half of the book is excellent. even though i've read 2 other intro to GA/GP books, which were real similar to each other, this one was still interesting. this is the first time that i've understood the differences between evolutionary and genetic algorithms and evolutionary and genetic programming. it also went into Learning Classifier Systems ... but i couldn't understand that chapter :( the 2nd half of the book got into variations and advanced scenarios ... which i'm not ready for yet, so i just skimmed it

at least 2 of my buddies are working on GA (possibly GP) implementations, so i'll probably wait for one of those to come out before slinging code. to the point where i understand how other people have successfully used EC for their own projects ... but i still haven't come up with a problem that i want to tackle. about to the point where i'll just copy somebody else's idea to get the ball rolling ... then come up with an original idea later


DesktopWeb FormText   shouldnt it be called 'biostandards' in the USSat, 18 Jun 2005 17:29:31 GMT # 

optionsScalper is talking about biometrics. specifically he mentions the MS fingerprint reader ... which i own but have not used yet (damn you MS fingerprint reader and Media Center Edition 2005 for not supporting domains). fingerprint reco is interesting because it has already been successfully attacked with the gummy finger ... mmm, gummy finger. there are ways to harden this up some by requiring 'proof of life' (not the movie). of course there are other physiological traits that can be used as well ... think minority report (the movie). but there are also behavioral traits such as your handwriting and voice. BTW Speech Server and SALT need a way for me to perform speaker verification. the problem with those is that they can be attacked as well. somebody could use an app running on a tablet to learn my handwriting lack of style, as well as constantly recording my voice to extract the phonemes. granted ... that would be tough ... but not kimpossible. and then there is what i know ... the password ... which can only be obtained through means of torture, women, or looking at the post it note under my keyboard. which brings up multi factor authentication. e.g. doing a blind signature of a password in which i dont use my standard handwriting style. or having voice reco done while my retina is scanned. patting my head and rubbing my belly at the same time while having my DNA extracted is also as unique as a snowflake. so i dont see us replacing passwords with biometrics ... just augmenting them. and that should give us the false sense of security that we so desperately need


DesktopWeb FormText   semantic web linksThu, 16 Jun 2005 14:23:26 GMT # 

just bitched about not seeing much semantic web activity in the .NET space ... but just this month:

Semantic Web and Ontologies
SemWeb RDF Library for C#
It's all about semantics, frankly

so is there any duplication of effort between Domain Specific Languages (DSL) for Software Factories and Ontologies for the Semantic Web?


DesktopWeb FormText   book : pervasive computingThu, 16 Jun 2005 03:37:25 GMT # 

(Addison Wesley 2002) er, um ... i didnt really read it ... i just flipped through the pages and looked at the pictures. so i've had this book for about a year, and just got around to reading it. but then i started reading it, and realized i've already done most of what this book is about. the 3rd sentence of the 1st paragraph of the preface reads 'people will be able to interact with the web everywhere and at any time using mobile devices with speech, pen, ...' crap! i just gave a presentation about that last night. then the technologies they talk about are T9, handwriting reco, speech, biometrics, phones, PDAs, WAP, SOAP, crypto, location, ... check, check, check. finally, the book presents an architecture for pervasive computing. at the highest level, that architecture looks surprisingly like my blog engine ... which can render to phone, smartphone, pda, tablet, desktop, and now media center. maybe this book was cool 2 years ago.


DesktopWeb FormText   UG presentation materialsWed, 15 Jun 2005 14:03:17 GMT # 

posted the slides and code. thought it went ok ... but it started out really bad. LiveMeeting absolutely tanked my machine (1.5 year old P4 2ghz with 1.25 gigs of RAM). took like 5 to 10 minutes to initally load (before the presentation started), and then it totally locked my machine on the 1st slide. had to power down and bring it back up to get started again ... without LiveMeeting. sorry to the 5 or so people that were on it.


DesktopWeb FormText   my take on TechEd announcementsSat, 11 Jun 2005 02:19:26 GMT # 

NOTE i wasn't there, but was watching the keynotes and reading the press releases

WindowsMobile - push email. why wasn't this announced at MEDC? dont run my own exchange server, nor do i want email on my mobile device ... but 40 WindowsMobile 5.0 devices this year ... thats HUGE! of course, we'll only get about 5 of those in the US ... or maybe not? hopefully this will make the US a 1st class citizen for Smartphone releases. as far as security, i still want the self-destruct feature ... we're talking schrapnel

Tablet - Lenovo tablet. not that i care about aesthetics ... but ThinkPads are ugly. give me Dell and Sony ... then we'll talk

Web Services - WS-Management. could you pick a less glamorous domain? still holding my breath for WS-Devices Profile

Office - XML format and Outlook Add-Ins. what about OneNote, so that it doesnt become the same blackhole that Windows Journal was. personally, i have no motivation to hook Outlook or any other Office products

Visual Studio and SQL Server - release dates. ... i cant wait! Biztalk 2006 ... is somebody ever going to write a good Biztalk book? been interested in it since 2004 ... but all the books suck. plus the certification exam needs to be refreshed

RFID - very interesting, tell me more ...

MCE - moving into "20 new markets, making 30 countries and 17 languages by the end of 2005". sweet!

Architect Certification - has promise, but i don't ever see myself getting in. not that i've even been in the game long enough (7 years full time). but the real question is ... what about Ingo. he's a Solutions Architect MVP, but isn't he something like 25? would they make an exception?

Computational Clusters - Ballmer sort of hinted at Grid computing on Windows being able to push out jobs and such ...

Best time to be in SW? - i'm skeptical about the next 10 years. the gold rush is over, and we might just now be getting over it. doesn't it take at least 15 for people to become stupid again?

... anyway, PDC sounds more like my kind of conference ... too bad i won't be there either :(


DesktopWeb FormText   WI.NET UG next weekFri, 10 Jun 2005 18:05:08 GMT # 

hey hey, i'll be presenting Tablet and Speech technologies next tuesday. so you can plan accordingly, i should let you know a little more about what the content will be. optionsScalper is actually wrong, it wont be "blah, blah, blah, Speech, blah, blah, blah, Tablet" ... its going to be "blah blah blah Tablet, blah blah blah Speech". about 45 minutes for each topic. we'll be able to cover the basics of Tablet within 45 minutes, but the Speech topics will be more introductory. those demos will involve SAPI, the Speech SDK, and talking about Speech Server ... but we'll just scratch the surface of each. the goal is to look at Tablet and Speech for both thick and thin clients, plus demos of using both technologies together. finally, the presentation is supposed to be done over LiveMeeting too ... but i cant promise anything. if LiveMeeting starts to interfere with the speech stuff (i.e. battling for control of the mic), then i wont hesitate to pull the plug.


DesktopWeb FormText   blogging my way to PDCWed, 08 Jun 2005 14:03:08 GMT # 

i should attend because i will make the sacrifice to take pictures of all the booth babes and post them on my blog for those who cannot attend

blogging my way to pdc

...couldn't resist :) go here to find out how to enter the competition. i expect we will see alot of entries right before August 12th. just wanted to get mine out of the way early ... before it gets annoying. it does seem a little rude to be push PDC before TechEd is over ... but i'll get over it in time


DesktopWeb FormText   pussy recognitionTue, 07 Jun 2005 19:22:21 GMT # 

from hackaday ... cat door security using image recognition. BTW my kitty kitty is much cuter


DesktopWeb FormText   book : semantic web primerMon, 06 Jun 2005 03:09:45 GMT # 

MIT Press : this was real similar to the last book i read about the semantic web. it quickly covers XML, RDF/RDFS, OWL, and Rules. its a quick read and helped me get further along with understanding both OWL and the Rules syntax. it mentions, but doesnt have any content about Trust, the layer above Rules.

so now the question is ... how come i very rarely hear anything about the semantic web from the .NET community? or maybe i am, and just dont realize it. MS is starting to push DSL (domain specific languages) ... i'm assuming that could be related to ontologies? dont know, because i havent looked at DSLs yet.


DesktopWeb FormText   new article : /mceSALTSun, 05 Jun 2005 17:06:35 GMT # 

/mceSALT shows how to add Speech capabilities to your Hosted HTML apps running in Media Center Edition (MCE) using the Speech Application SDK (SASDK).

dont confuse it with /mceSAPI, which is an entirely different way to control MCE with speech


DesktopWeb FormText   MVP slamSun, 05 Jun 2005 12:13:03 GMT # 

Bill posted a copy from the newsgroup. but i just dont get the anger ... why doesn't the poster just ignore the title? that's what i do. the MVP title is for what the person did last year. while i'm all about 'what have you done lately'? for the current year it might give them some inside perspective, but there's no gaurantee. and if people are giving you FREE advice on the newsgroup ... thats the same quality that you should expect. some of it will be worthless, while some of it is invaluable ... regardless if the person is an MVP, Microsoft, or your mother. anyway, i found it amusing that the person was pissed off enough to flame the whole group, but didnt name names. dont be a puss ... call some people out. at least i think i'm innocent ... because i dont hang out at any of those groups. anyway, i've got to get back to hugging my certification letters and sitting around theorizing about architectures ...


DesktopWeb FormText   brains-N-brawn.xxxSun, 05 Jun 2005 02:53:06 GMT # 

you should have heard by now that the domain .xxx has been approved. now people are arguing about whether this was a good idea or not? personally, if i was creating an adult site, i would choose .com. if i had cash to spare, then i'd pick up .xxx. but i dont have an adult site :(

regardless, i'm considering dropping .com, and going solely with .xxx. doesn't mean that i'd put up any more adult content ... but it would just make my email address so much cooler. then every tech blog that i went to and left a comment would have .xxx plastered all over it, so ultimately the existing adult content filters will start blocking harmless blogs. sucks to be them

also, if i was a legit domain, then i would buy the .xxx just so that a pr0n site cant grab it. e.g. amazon.xxx, ebay.xxx msn.xxx google.xxx ... you see what i mean. think of it as registrar taxation

the good news is that the godaddy commercials will probably get even more interesting ...

finally, this is a perfect time for MS to start thinking about /coding4pr0n


DesktopWeb FormText   when worlds collideSat, 04 Jun 2005 01:59:34 GMT # 

optionsScalpers latest post is about the rabbit holes he is looking into, including : lack of recent programming language advancement, evolving compilers!, natural language processing, exparative modeling?, and SOA. er, um ... its not light reading. but it does exemplify optionsScalper. he's constantly bringing up concepts from my formal education which i can just barely recall the name of, let alone the concept itself, and then using that in an argument for (or against) some higher level concept i currently use in day to day programming. doh ... i was under the impression all of that was just theory that didnt apply in practice? he's also thinking about much harder problems than what i tackle. anyway, he ends with a challenge about becoming interdisciplinary and pushing the industry. agreed and agreed. personally, i've been feeling the need to start looking at problems outside of software dev, as well as feeling that the pace of the SW industry is slowing down.


DesktopWeb FormText   OneNote PowerToy awayFri, 03 Jun 2005 13:44:30 GMT # 

just submitted an entry. now i have to wait 3 months to find out if i won. thats forever! of course i cant wait that long ... so i'm going to judge it myself (scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best)

Added value to OneNote users - 3.5
Broad usage factor - 2 ... but Guys can probably figure it out :)
Quality of code, code documentation, and performance - 5
Usability - 2
Innovation - 5
Coolness factor - 5

chances of me submitting another entry ... 4


DesktopWeb FormText   positive reinforcement for bad behaviorTue, 31 May 2005 16:27:23 GMT # 

some of my buddies have been getting into blogging the last month. they ended up using .Text or CS as their blogging engines, which gives them stats about how many subscribers they have and such. so they just assume i have this info too. well i dont ... i wrote my blog engine to customize it for mobile devices, so never got around to implementing counters, trackbacks, and crap. another reason i've avoided stats is because i did not want to be influenced by hits. i.e. dont want my pure thoughts to be corrupted by the outside world :)

but this weekend i was cleaning up my server, including the log files, so i went ahead and took a peek : from the log parsing tool i used it is hard to tell how many people subscribe to the blog. its either 500 or 2000? either way, its been on a slow steady upward trend. the mobile interface gets about 1/12th the traffic that the main site does ... way more than i expected. firefox is 16% of the traffic. most popular article BY FAR is /aiCaptcha, we're talking a HUGE upward spike. most downloaded file is PaStripClubs.txt ... dont ask. most downloaded image is hootersCops.jpg.

and if you look at the log files before 2005, the hits i get now are just a drop in the bucket as to what the /pass adult search engine was getting in 2002. the good stuff i've done, such as tablet, compact framework, web services, etc... gets minimal hits in comparison. so from this analysis, its clear that people are most interested when i use the dark side of the force. "i am evil homer! i am evil homer. i am evil homer! i am evil homer."


DesktopWeb FormText   parade of homesMon, 30 May 2005 14:52:52 GMT # 

the TS dragged me to an open house of 7 (approximately) million dollar homes in the DFW area. they were all on the same street and done by different builders, decorators, landscapers, etc... the sizes ranged from 5K to 7K square feet. they all had wine cellar areas and elaborate media rooms. sadly, i did not see any Media Center Editions in any of them. there were multiple plasma screens in each house, and some houses seemed to have a TV in every room! even saw a couple of those mirror TVs. only one of them had a library and that same one was the only one with the gym ... my favorite. all the rest just had lots of bedrooms and religious artifacts ... the whole no birth control thing. they all had pools too, but not any outdoor hottubs? nor were any of the pools kid friendly. some of them did have secret stairways and doors ... slick. all the houses were overdecorated. the kitchens and dining room tables had so much crap on them, theres no way you could actually cook or eat there. and the recurring sentence of the day was 'you can never have too much closest space'. if i was some eccentric millionaire ... i'd live in a warehouse. serious, one big open space ... minimal interior walls. i'm talking you'd even pull the car into it. that just seems so functional, and a great way to avoid having to duplicate stuff. shelter and warmth ... home


DesktopWeb FormText   blood pressureMon, 30 May 2005 03:02:58 GMT # 

i sometimes sit down at those blood pressure machines at large stores. the bad news is my systolis is slightly high ... but my diastolic is real low (getting older ... i start to watch this stuff). we asked around, and this seems to be a side effect of all the years (15) of lifting heavy weights for fun. another effect is my resting pulse rate is around 48. thought that was real low because i mostly havent worked out for the last year. the lowest its ever been is 40. now here is what sucks about that ... we've got a treadmill with a heartrate monitor. it knows your age and then determines what your workout heartrate should be to get the optimal workout. but when i use it, my heartrate stays so low that it freakin jacks the intensity up to 11 and runs me into the ground ... not fun. hopefully my home gym gets fixed next week ...


DesktopWeb FormText   tablet crashSun, 29 May 2005 05:37:07 GMT # 

for some unknown reason ... my tablet has a tendency to crash when on an airplane. i'll just be inking along, minding my own business, and it will lock. wait 5 or 10 minutes and it doesnt come back. so then i force a power down and try to bring it back up. waited about 5 or 10 more minutes, but it was stuck on the black screen that says Windows XP Tablet Edition and has a meaningless progress bar that just keeps going from left to right over and over again. ran out of patience and force powered it down again. so at that moment i ran out of 2 patience points. first, i couldnt wait any longer for it to boot. second, i cant wait to get a new tablet. took a deep breath and powered it back on, and set off 2 mental processes. first, to count the number of times that the progress bar scrolled by. second, to brainstorm ideas of how to win a new Tablet in the oneNote competition. the thing about brainstorming is that its usually best to have something to write down the crazy ideas on ... doh. the end result is i have a couple oneNote powerToy ideas to cook up. also, i counted 1111 progress bar passes before it finally booted. serious ... i really think it was 1111 times ... but i went delirious there for a little bit ... the whole brainstorm thing is not always a pretty picture


DesktopWeb FormText   DHTML for MCEFri, 27 May 2005 03:36:08 GMT # 

i pretty much despise web programming. the web is cool, but programming for the web sucks. its just a bunch of piecemail pseudo standards. and they keep piling more crap on. e.g. AJAX is putting lipstick on a pig. the only time i'll do web programming is when i have to. well ... i currently have to for MCE development. the programming model is DHTML for Hosted HTML apps. i'm comfortable with the HTML and Javascript side, but i'm totally lacking CSS. the reason i've avoided CSS is because i'm not a girl. there is something about being a man that forces me to avoid the word 'style' and 'making web pages look good'. the man part steers me towards making the website 'work' and doing the 'heavy lifting' behind the scenes. the only web specs i actually like are the XML flavor. e.g. XHTML, SVG ... for the life of me, i cant figure out why SVG isnt the web programming model for MCE? it could easily scale to the varying television sizes. oh yeah ... IE doesnt support SVG. actually, beyond that, i cant figure out why i'm forced to do web programming for a full screen UI that will run locally on an MCE device? nobody has given me a decent answer for this yet ... ... avalon better make all this go away


DesktopWeb FormText   AEON FLUXThu, 26 May 2005 20:18:51 GMT # 

Gerry tipped me off to the AeonFlux site. i had no clue ... but there is a movie coming out this year! this is most excellent. i still remember having my mind blown when it 1st aired on MTVs Liquid Television. the shorts were the best, but the series was high quality too. signed up for email alerts yesterday, and today there is a video game trailer. it starts out with the old AeonFlux look, but then transitions to Charlize Theron visage ... that pisses me off. i understand that the movie actress cannot look just like her, but do not transition the actresses face into the video games. stick with the old school whenever possible. my guess is they will come out with action figures (read dolls) and screw those up too ...


DesktopWeb FormText   article : /mceStateWed, 25 May 2005 15:02:53 GMT # 

/mceState is a short/simple article about using the MediaState API to receive events from MCE in a stand alone WinForms application


DesktopWeb FormText   MCE SecurityTue, 24 May 2005 18:27:36 GMT # 

optionsScalper did a post about MCE security. i've actually been waiting for him to make that post. one of his points is how the MSHTML UI has been simplified for the 10 foot experience; but this removes alot of the context clues i use when surfing to judge a sites trustworthiness (address bar, secure connection lock, viewing source, no status bar to see links). when he hinted at this during lunch, i immediately saw his point and agreed.

at least the 'Online Spotlight' links are controlled by MS, but they aren't across a secure channel. moreover, i would like to have the security requirements for what the Online Spotlight sites have to meet made public. e.g. i was using MSN Music and it prompted me for email and password to sign in. but i was scared to enter my password because there was no 'golden lock' telling me that it wasnt going to be sent in plaintext. if you put a sniffer on the wire, then you can see that it does go over https:, but there is no visibility to the user to make the right decision. another problem i saw was when entering passwords. the text box would mask most of the input, but the last character entered was not getting masked.

granted, it does do some really good things. popups dont happen ... end of story. ActiveX controls have to be registered. also, some of the sites would kick out to a standalone IE browser for secure data entry. plus i got the standard SP2 installation warning when running an executable.

anyway, i was not getting the warm fuzzy that i need to surf with a remote. so i'm really glad that he decided to post just to get more eyes on it


DesktopWeb FormText   /aiCAPTCHA update and /coding4pr0nMon, 23 May 2005 03:14:23 GMT # 

thought you might find this interesting. since writing the CAPTCHA article i've been contacted by a total of 6 people that want me to beat some CAPTCHA for them. 2 of those have been to beat TicketMaster ... expected. to clear your minds ... i'm not doing any of them. of course i'm honored to be approached for shady business deals ... so keep them coming. "high technology and questionable morals" ... that should be my new catch phrase. now i just need to get the p0rnagraphers to contact me about advancing the state of their industry ... in fact i think MS should take the initiative. they now have the /coding4fun site for hobbyist/game developers. thats great that MS recognizes them and provides free tools, but they are also entirely ignoring the adult industry. MS needs a coding4pr0n dev center. where adult webmasters can learn about how ASP.NET/SqlServer can smoke their PHP/MySQL implementations. how to do Forms Authentication to beat my spider. using GDI+ to create thumbnails on the fly. how DirectShow can be used to convert their videos into multiple streaming formats for Windows Media Player. how to create a mobile version of their site using the Mobile server controls. etc. they should have evangelists and the whole bit. er, um ... so maybe evangelist isnt the right title. sinologists? come to think of it, i would be perfect for the job since i already have the pr0n star last name :) BTW ... i'm serious.


DesktopWeb FormText   oneNote powerToy contestMon, 23 May 2005 02:28:59 GMT # 

so the contest is to write a powerToy for oneNote that uses the new import API (with OneNote SP1). they've got a list of potential ideas, with the 2nd one being importing 'Microsoft Windows Journal to OneNote'. of course ... i already wrote that code here. but i cant submit it to this contest because of the line in the official rules that says "without use or inclusion of code from other sources, open source or otherwise". damnit! this has happened a couple times now with MS coding contests. i really wish they would stop including that line. it almost motivates me to not write any articles about a technology ... until they come out with a contest. and the moral of the story is ... i really want to win a newer tablet ... i'm still generation one ... and still love it. yes, i'm too cheap to buy my own hardware. somehow i need to get MS to realize how much i evangelize their software that they should just shower me with experimental hardware to code against. anyway ... thats my dream :)


DesktopWeb FormText   "no self publish" experiment is overSun, 22 May 2005 18:53:59 GMT # 

for the last handful of years, i've started out each year with some experiment. 00 was the "website year". 01 was "be public". 02 was "self publish articles". 03 was "drink alot" ... no kidding :) last year was "code hog", and this year was "no self publish".

now i'm officially ending the "no self publish" experiment (it actually ended when i released the 2 MD3DM articles). the main reason is that i felt like it was slowing me down. from the time when i come up with an idea, it takes to long for it to get ok'd, to go ahead and write it, tech reviewed, edited, etc. and the times i got turned down, its like a bucket of cold water when i'm all horned up and ready to code. the negative for me is that it will be like leaving cash on the table, as well as ignoring the power of the publisher blessing, and their reach. the negative for the reader is that the articles wont be edited, or massively tech reviewed, and they'll be lower case. the positive is that i can crank out more stuff and be more open (read honest). this should keep me more sane. for the rest of the year, i'll assume self publish from the start, and possibly think about getting an article pushed up to a publisher after the fact.


DesktopWeb FormText   first Media Center Edition article : /mceSAPISun, 22 May 2005 16:57:01 GMT # 

this article (/mceSAPI) shows how to create a MediaCenter AddIn that will allow you to control the core MediaCenter shell using your voice only (SAPI Speech Recognition). it also does Text To Speech to provide feedback to the user. so you can do basic stuff like changing the volume (Volume Up), navigate between the 'My' screens (My Music), and send remote commands (Play). the source code is included, as well as built binaries that you can install using a script. finally there is a video of it being used


DesktopWeb FormText   past initial MCE hurdlesSat, 21 May 2005 01:44:41 GMT # 

just got the basics of my 1st MCE article working. its just hello world type stuff currently ... but i'll try to flush it out into something more compelling this weekend. FYI to get past the tlbimp.exe problem i had last night involved me having to download the 1.5 gig install for VS.NET 1.0. when it was unzipped (without installing), i was able to grab the proper tlbimp.exe and corresponding tlbimpcode.dll. so not being able to install SDK 1.0 cost me the 4 hours it took to download :(


DesktopWeb FormText   more MCE dev painFri, 20 May 2005 02:52:29 GMT # 

wanted to develop a quick proof of concept MCE Add-In assembly. you can code it in VS.NET 2003 but you have to do compile it to .NET 1.0 for the MCE shell to be able to host the assembly (lame). got a HelloWorld AddIn to work in no time. now i was extending it to do some actual work. it has to do COM interop, so i used tlbimp.exe to create a RCW. the RCW also has to be strong named because that is an MCE Add-In requirement. the problem is that the RCW i generated was for .NET 1.1. download .NET SDK 1.0 ... and i get greeted with this friendly dialog. SOMEBODY NEEDS A BEATING


DesktopWeb FormText   scalping optionsWed, 18 May 2005 23:14:54 GMT # 

optionsScalper has started blogging ... and i recommend subscribing. he's a .NET, genetic programming, crypto, and math guy. also BizTalk, patterns ... all over the board. his last post is about an AES attack. that matters to us because the latest service packs of WSE 2.0 use AES symmetric encryption by default. but i'm most interested in the .NET GP Projects he promises. as far as his math stuff ... BORING ... but he makes up for it with SMC. and this is me officially calling out optionsScalper for watching 'as good as it gets'. i would never publicly admit that ... no matter how good the quote was ... there better have been a girl involved ...


DesktopWeb FormText   time to start coding for MCEWed, 18 May 2005 22:36:42 GMT # 

been playing around with the UI and such to get a feel for it. also wrestling with my hardware setup. it doesn't look like i'll be able to get the 'My Video' or 'My DVD' functionality to work. so that means i wont be able to add on a USB tuner to mess around with. now my plan is to start coding some of the ideas that i can do without video to see what the dev experience is like. if i like it, then i'll end up getting a real MCE box when the upgraded OS comes out with xbox360. hopefully those will be 64 bit machines too. anyway, i did a quick read through the SDK last night and have about 10 different ideas to code up; at least half of those dont require video. my initial impression is that i do want both the HTML and Add-in project types, but they also need to provide a windows application project type.


DesktopWeb FormText   MCE Controller with sourceTue, 17 May 2005 23:28:22 GMT # 

Marty just pointed out that Charlie Kindel has released MCE Controller as open source. of course i will now use it for evil purposes ... thanks Charlie!


DesktopWeb FormText   some more MCE painTue, 17 May 2005 23:02:10 GMT # 

spent most of last night playing with Media Center Edition (MCE). its only partially working because i installed it on a notebook that was not intended to run it (missing FM and TV tuners). so its behaving a little abnormal. the 1st problem was that when it starts up it displayed a dialog saying "your video card or drivers are not compatible with media center". this warning can be avoided by adding some registry keys. the 2nd problem occured when i tried to play videos or a DVD. the message i got was "files needed to display video are not installed or not working correctly. please restart media center and/or restart the computer". my 1st attempt to get past this was to install an MPEG2 decoder. specifically, i tried the nVidia implementation. this lets me play DVDs using WindowsMediaPlayer (outside of MCE), but i still get the error within MCE. videos dont play well either. for DivX videos i've been getting black screens and only the audio plays. else the screen flashes at me that the video is 'Finished'. pretty ugly. neither of these problems make much sense to me since i can play both DVDs and these videos on the same notebook when MCE is not running. so what magic is MCE trying to do ... that is breaking me? maybe i should try another DVD decoder? also thought it might be because my video card (nVidia GeForce FX Go5200) only has 32 megs of RAM, and MCE wants more than 32. tried the ehshell.exe hack (linked above) but got an error regarding public private key pairs. did that real quick right before bed, so i might have to try that again. anyway, i really want to get video working, because then i can buy a USB/PCMCIA card that has both a TV and FM tuner for the notebook. finally, the start menu has an item for Media Center - nVidia settings. i can view the initial page, but the page with actual settings is nowhere to be found? the error is "Media Center was unable to load the page ...displaySettingsADV.html The program or web site cannot be found. Ensure that the program is on the computer, or that you have a working Internet connection". no clue how to fix that. and the final problem is when i went into work and found out you cant put MCE 2005 onto a domain. the reasoning i've seen is that restriction is due to Media Center Extenders requiring Fast User Switching, which you dont get on a domain. see that as another pain point for developers. regardless, it is still functional 'enough' for me to start doing some development this weekend.


DesktopWeb FormText   media center edition installMon, 16 May 2005 22:37:50 GMT # 

backed up my devbox all last night and skipped work today to do a clean install. now i've got MCE running on my devbox with an after market remote. it installed fine without having a TV tuner. the other piece of hardware that it was missing was an FM tuner. i wonder if it will work with any USB based TV / FM tuners? i had picked up an xbox extender sometime ago too, and surprisingly that remote will not work with the other infrared receiver ... lame. now i have to get an actual xbox to be extended. then i can start getting acquainted to the 10' experience. going to start reading the SDK too, and see how i can pervert it. think 'boob tube'


DesktopWeb FormText   failed MediaCenter Edition upgrade installSun, 15 May 2005 17:26:08 GMT # 

my next development side project was supposed to be for MediaCenter (MCE). i dont like collecting stuff, including hardware, so the plan was to just do an upgrade install on my existing notebook. my only real worry was that my notebook does not have a TV tuner, but i didnt read anywhere where one was required for installation. i assume the OS will ultimately install, and i just wont be able to access the TV tuner functionality? kicked off the installation with media from the MSDN subscription and the correct product activation key ... and the install went mostly fine. it complained about the smnp??.dl_ file as well as one other in the \I386\ directory ... even though both files were there? since that same DVD had the TabletPC OS install, i pointed it to the corresponding files in that directory, and it worked. weird, but neither of those files looked MCE specific, but just looked like standard SP2 stuff. then when my computer was rebooting after the install, it hung at the WindowsXP screen with 'please wait'. so i left it there all night ... based on some VS.NET installs that seem to hang, but come back hours later. but this morning it was still stuck there. killed the power and brought it back up and it let me log on just fine. now my OS is mostly operational. there are some oddities like the WordPad file extension type is not registered, the IE shortcut is missing, and IIS is hosed. but MCE is nowhere to be found. checking google groups again turned up a post of somebody that had almost the idential experience to me. the install balked at some files, but installed, then MCE was nowhere to be found. and the responses to that post chime in that it has to be a clean install. ... wish i had seen that post earlier :( i was going off my previous experience where you can do an upgrade install to the Tablet OS, although its not recommended. now i'm looking at buying one of those Maxtor external network drives. then i can backup the files on my dev computer, do a clean install for MCE OS, then bring my files back over. plus i've wanted a stand alone network storage device for years. the other option is to just buy another machine with MCE pre-installed. i would do that ... if MCE had a better development story. right now the SDK primarily supports DHTML based UIs and hosted .NET assemblies that can popup MessageBoxes ... lame. er, um ... DHTML is not programming, and MessageBoxes are not UI. so my plan was to try some unsupported dev ideas to see if they were even possible. and i'm not interested in buying another box to workaround a weak SDK. i've got enough boxes as is : dev, external server, internal server, tablet. not to mention i dont watch much TV. if i do get it installed on my notebook, and get some dev stuff working, then i will make that investment ... but i definitely wouldnt buy a desktop. i would either go with an MCE notebook setup or one of those HP digital entertainment centers / Alienware Media Center Series that looks more like an AV component, as opposed to a computer. so my advice to the MCE team is make this a more accessible dev environment ... much like the Tablet team has done. for Tablet, you just install the SDK, the recognizer pack, and a $100 digitizer can get you off the ground running. then you can easily see if you want to invest in a real Tablet. having to buy another box or doing a clean install is not near as friendly. else increase the power of the API, and compel me to do a clean install


DesktopWeb FormText   MEDC wrapupSat, 14 May 2005 01:50:15 GMT # 

thought it was pretty good. the keynote was rather flat. i say that because the stuff i got most excited about was Mike Halls presentation of Embedded XP. after that i attended sessions on Managed Direct3D Mobile, Tablet PC, and the Compact Framework. the MD3DM presentations i went to were the best. got to see a demo of a board game running on an early flash of Windows Mobile 5.0 on a Dell x50v ... too sexy. and Texas Instruments had a great presentation about the D3DM software driver(s) they are working on for the next generation of Smartphones. also spent time helping out with the Hands On Labs for Tablet PCs. er, um ... actually i was just kind of there. the Tablet group was all over handling questions and i couldnt get a word in; but the great thing is they were giving out wacom digitizers to whomever completed the labs so that they could continue trying it out at home. what an excellent giveaway. tried to get a podcast video done of /cfWorldWind, but that didnt happen. did get to hang out with the podcast guys and check out their setup. they were actually using an array of Tablet PCs to do alot of their encoding. didnt get to see much of vegas because my time was pretty much already scheduled and i had to arrive late/leave early, but i did manage to kill some brain cells and to meet alot of people that i know from the newsgroups and listservs ... thats always cool. of course i walked away from it with a bunch of new ideas of stuff i want to code ...

now for the bad news ... there will be no booth babe shots this year. i'm not saying that there weren't any booth babes this year, but there were substantially less than last years, so i didnt even bother. meaning there were hardly any females. so i'm blaming the low babe turnout on the embedded guys. my guess is that the VSLive / Speech guys had a better booth babe ratio? regardless, i hope this trend does not continue


DesktopWeb FormText   TheZBuffer on Dell Axim x50vFri, 13 May 2005 18:08:02 GMT # 

here is some more info. i also recommend subscribing to the ZMan's blog if you want to learn more about Managed DirectX. he is also involved with coding4fun. er, um; now if MSDN would just start /coding4pr0n (4 adult webmasters) ... then i'd be all over that


DesktopWeb FormText   Dell to upgrade Axim X50Wed, 11 May 2005 22:10:06 GMT # 

this will be a device to develop MD3DM apps with. it has a VGA version with 16 megabytes of video memory on an Intel graphics accelerator. and now Dell has announced that you will be able to purchase an upgrade to get Windows Mobile 5.0. ... so how do i get on that beta?


DesktopWeb FormText   2 new articles : MD3DMTue, 10 May 2005 21:49:22 GMT # 

the 1st article (/cfMDX) is the setup punch. it is about the basics of Managed Direct 3D Mobile (MD3DM). it looks at the samples that come with VS 2005 B2 and ports some basic desktop Managed DirectX (MDX) samples over to run on the device. this points out what is different between developing Managed DirectX on the desktop and the device. the 2nd article (/cfWorldWind) is the knockout punch. it is a 1st cut at porting NASAs WorldWind desktop app (C# and Managed Direct3D) to run on a Pocket PC (C# and MD3DM). it currently does not work with the satellite imagery, but it does work with all the locally installed data, as well as handling some of the add-ons.


DesktopWeb FormText   signing out to MEDCSun, 08 May 2005 23:30:16 GMT # 


DesktopWeb FormText   godaddy human verifierThu, 05 May 2005 15:38:08 GMT # 

Marty pointed out that the latest godaddy radio podcast was talking up their human verifier (aka CAPTCHA). the good news is that they also provide a telephone service for the visually impaired. they do mention how you can provide audio CAPTCHAs instead but that those can be beated by computers. the bad news is they fail to mention how image CAPTCHAs can be beaten as well. and the funny part is their 'whois' CAPTCHA has got to be the easiest i've ever seen. its just numbers, always 6, aligned, not touching, same color, etc... way too easy


DesktopWeb FormText   WI.NET UG : design patternsTue, 03 May 2005 14:07:34 GMT # 

The Agile Developer will be presenting Design Patterns at our meeting next week. i've been working with Matt for the last couple of months, and have seen his design pattern skills, so i highly recommend this presentation.

he's basically convinced me that i need to invest more time into learning patterns; which is probably the main deficiency in my skill set. at least he has convinced me enough to buy the books ... now i just need to read them.


DesktopWeb FormText   666 is no longer evilMon, 02 May 2005 22:53:38 GMT # 

and 616 is now evil. thats awesome ... because there isnt a 666 area code, but 616 is at grand rapids, MI. and just under that is 269! so how did MI end up with all the cool area codes? currently, i've got 469 from dallas. i'll hold on to that until 616 becomes common knowledge. so now this means that barcodes are harmless, but i'm pretty sure these guys will be in the hot seat. plus i'm really glad i held off getting that barcode tattoo ...


DesktopWeb FormText   pat patMon, 02 May 2005 04:08:19 GMT # 

thats the sound of me patting myself on the back. been hacking almost non stop for the last 3 weeks, and just figured out the last risk. the end result will be a couple articles to be released the week of MEDC. the first article is complete, and the code for the 2nd is 90% complete. that gives me a week to finish up the code and put together the 2nd article. plenty of time ... anyway, happy happy joy joy


DesktopWeb FormText   the penIs mightierThu, 28 Apr 2005 16:39:09 GMT # 

optionsScalper pointed this out on the MS home page. i'm still laughing ...


DesktopWeb FormText   gay MSTue, 26 Apr 2005 00:05:39 GMT # 

i couldnt care less about MSs stance on gays. people will find some way to make MS evil no matter what they do. but since alot of people do seem to care, i thought i should bring up the bNb stance. well, since i'm the only employee and straight ... bNb has no opinion on the matter (except for being pro lesbian). personally, i lean towards the homophobic side, and here's why. about 10 years of my football career involved me playing center. yep, thats the position where you've got the QB hands between your legs. now the sickening part is when you do the math. each season lasts about 15 weeks. each week has about 5 days where the QB takes snaps. and each day you do at least 100 snaps. that comes to 75000 times that a guys hands have been between my legs. so i instantly became homophobic the 1st time i did that math (prompted by wiseman). it gets even worse if we continue on with the math. say my life expectancy is 50 more years from the date i stopped playing ball (18250 days). 75K divided by 18250 days equals 4.1 times that i need a female to reach between my legs each day to even things out. and the TS is already falling behind. so i've had to resign myself to the fact that i cant beat that number. now the sick part is that i can remember the quarterbacks faces ... but none of their names. ... i'm a dirty dirty girl :)


DesktopWeb FormText   covenantMon, 25 Apr 2005 22:09:41 GMT # 

i really dont like this. not strong enough ... i hate it. the concept is you've got an open channel for web services traffic and every message comes through that same channel and is then routed accordingly. first off, the contract is pushed down a layer so you get strong typing later in the process ... bad. but i really dislike it that you cant tweak out that channel with security, reliability, attachments, etc... i dont want to just put a contract on that channel for the message body that can come in, i also want to have a contract to specify how that message should come in (signed, encrypted, etc...). and i dont want that message to get to me until the framework has blessed it. so am i supposed to have one channel for secure messages, another one for messages with attachments, one with secure messages and attachments ... forget it. i do understand the need for flexibility, and XML is built to handle that with xsd:choice/any/@any, so use that when you have to ... but strongly type as much as possible. if you dont want the strong typing ... then have fun screen scraping HTML with that regex


DesktopWeb FormText   book : Managed DirectX Kick StartSun, 24 Apr 2005 17:33:59 GMT # 

(Miller 2003) i've looked at DirectX a couple times now, but never gotten anywhere. been looking more closely since it offered up a managed interface. read the SDK, but its does a better job of confusing than educating. also read a # of other MDX books, but didn't pick up that much from them. actually, i think i've looked at ALL the MDX books on the market right now ... and this is THE book. i'm only half way through, but have learned a ton. i'm finally starting to understand the Device, VertexBuffers, IndexBuffers, Mesh, Textures, etc. the book does a great job of building upon previous examples, and also pointing out common problem spots to avoid. and its packed with info ... definitely see myself re-reading a good portion of it again. even better, Miller has a 2nd book out ... so i've already picked that up


DesktopWeb FormText   platinum crossbar (broken)Sun, 24 Apr 2005 16:32:59 GMT # 

so i've been slacking in the brawn department. as i get older i'm being forced to stop powerlifting ... because i kept injuring myself. so i took off over 6 months last year without touching a weight (to heal). thats the longest i've gone without lifting since 8th grade. that put me about 10 pounds heavier than i like to be ... and now i'm starting to get back into the workouts, more of a bodybuilding style this time. the crappy part is all the gyms where i live suck. looked at the home gyms for a longest time and went with the platinum crossbar (purposefully did not go with freeweights). had it for just over a month and have really liked it. the range of motion is good and the tension during the motion is decent. been able to get really good upper body workout in on it, and ok leg workouts. the only annoyances have been the interface for adjusting weights. it starts out in 1 pound increments and increases the longer you hold it. first off, nobody needs to adjust the weight by 1 pound increments. 5 pounds is all the granularity you need. maybe 2.5 pounds, but that could be adjusted by having an additional hand weight. second, it should have a number keypad so you can enter the weight directly. also, the gym came with a lousy poster for what workouts could be done and a VHS tape ... lame. so i grabbed the exercise info off their website and put together a WinForms app to help me select exercises. also extended it to record my workout info. everything was working great until last night. its uses motorized resistance for adjusting tension, which allows for greater range of motion. well the problem from reading multiple web sites is that the motors suck. i assumed that these people just got lemons ... but it just hit me as well. my motor went out last night, nor will it reset. all this does is remind me how much i hate STUFF. customer service is the bane of my existence. and now i'm stuck limited to push ups for a while.


DesktopWeb FormText   WSE and NTD messages dont mixMon, 11 Apr 2005 21:54:47 GMT # 

the agile developer just pointed out one of the problems i have with current MS messages. they are pushing WS-* and NTD apps. so of course you want to create your super cool NTD app that uses WSE to call back to the mothership. the problem is that WSE cannot run without enhanced permissions ... which defeats the purpose.

i actually got around this before in the /tabletSign article. the NTD app was an embedded WinForms control served up from a web page. secured it up by rebuilding the /cfWSE bits for the desktop and only using fully managed crypto (SHA1 and TripleDES). it used a UsernameToken for authentication, signed, and encrypted. so it can be done ... it just takes some work. now the question is if Indigo has some way to make this better? but my gut feeling is that the answer is ClickOnce, in which you install to get the elevated permissions for WSE


DesktopWeb FormText   after the MSDN online articleMon, 11 Apr 2005 14:08:04 GMT # 

since it already peaked, i thought it might be interesting to give an update on the 1st MSDN article. first, the ranking is bogus. my friends went and pumped it up ... which is appreciated :) second, i discovered that i have some enemies. somebody swooped in and gave it a rating of 1. its not my best article, but its not a 1 either. not sure how i pissed them off ... all i can come up with is that it was somebody that got /aiCaptcha'd? third, i had to ask about the comments. right now it does not look like i get access to view the comments for the article at all. this kind of sucks because i'm assuming there is at least 1 comment that would help me to write a better article next time. also, the comments might tip me off as to who my enemies are ... so that i can vanquish them. fourth, the article moved up the link chain. it started out hidden towards the bottom of the Tablet dev center. then it made it to the Mobile Dev Center ... with a graphic! ultimately, it made it to featured article on the home page ... with a different graphic! honestly ... its all about getting a graphic (of course i saved a screen shot to show my mom). finally, the SVG sites have linked it ... because you dont see too many articles about SVG on MSDN ...


DesktopWeb FormText   WI.NET UG reminderMon, 11 Apr 2005 13:18:08 GMT # 

tomorrow, Jacob Cynamon will be presenting 'Performance Tuning in .NET'

also, there is a nerd dinner coming up


DesktopWeb FormText   got renewed as WS MVPSat, 02 Apr 2005 05:32:18 GMT # 

cool, because i thought there was a decent chance i would not. mainly because last year was my 'code hog' experiment, alot of it was AI, and the comment spam misunderstanding. i'm very happy to get renewed, even though i'm still trying to find the spot where i really fit. so i asked to be switched and crossed my fingers. the main problem i have is liking too many different technologies. i'll go off on some tangent with tech X for a while, and then want to experiment with Y, or brush up the skills for W. call it blitzkrieg learning. but the most fun is trying to take a # of different techs and to try and make them work together. this crossing of products doesnt work so well with the program. the groups i've been a part of (especially the leads) have been overly helpful (Thank you). but when i've tried to get info outside of my group, its been far from stellar. and its not for the lack of NDAs being signed ... because i've lost track. regardless, i love this stuff, so i'll keep pushing. to the CF guys (and girl), its been a blast. you guys are absolutely phenomenal. hope that you let me visit sometime


DesktopWeb FormText   book : AI Game Engine ProgrammingFri, 01 Apr 2005 13:46:55 GMT # 

(Schwab 2004) this was an ok book. it was pretty interesting but had a little more game info than i was interested in. the main sections were : intro, game genre, basic AI, advanced AI, and game AI dev. the AI techniques it discusses include : finite state machines, fuzzy state machines, message based systems, scripting systems, location based info systems, genetic algorithms, and neural networks (although if you are interested specifically in GA or NN for games, the Buckland book is excellent). the code was in C++ and mostly focused on an enhanced version of Asteroids.


DesktopWeb FormText   beer and tablet PCsFri, 01 Apr 2005 04:58:02 GMT # 

its cool to see Tablet PCs out in the wild. just so happens that a local company has created a Tablet application for Miller Brewing. so what they do is send out Miller representatives (read cute girls) to establishments (read bars) to collect information from patrons (read drunks) using a Tablet. because i like beer and Tablets (in no particular order), i found out their schedule to go and meet them. they use a slate Tablet PC in a rugged case. so that works great for getting around in a crowd and doing surveys. some interesting notes is that they dont let the drunks actually write on the Tablet. which is good, because my handwriting is pretty bad to begin with :) they also had some problems with the Tablet in general (not the application). 1) sometimes they have problem getting the popup keyboard icon to show up in a text field. 2) sometimes the popup keyboard comes up and immediately goes away. i can only recall experiencing #1 once or twice. when it did happen, it was pretty annoying; but its been rare that i've gotten into that state. #2 used to happen relatively frequently when i was just getting started, but i adjusted my behavior so this rarely happens now.


DesktopWeb FormText   freak coincidenceThu, 31 Mar 2005 19:39:31 GMT # 

how funny is that. so no apologies were needed. my feelings were not hurt because i'm not a crybaby. now my feeling were hurt when they rejected my article idea last week. but i've gotten over it by thinking that i'm too cool for them in the 1st place (middle school flashback). of course i will use this to my advantage for future MSDN mag submissions :)


DesktopWeb FormText   is this a challengeThu, 31 Mar 2005 17:13:08 GMT # 

Marty just pointed me to the May MSDN Magazine. look for the article titled : Give Your .NET App Brains and Brawn with the Intelligence of Neural Networks.

its fair game to step on my turf (1) (2) (3) ... but do not use my branding. if this is coincidence ... freaky. if it is a challenge ... i accept


DesktopWeb FormText   speech server utilitiesTue, 29 Mar 2005 20:50:44 GMT # 

Robert Brown blogged a couple weeks ago about New utilities for Speech Server development. i finally got around to playing with them. the 1st mistake i made was trying to run them on my dev machine, when i needed to run them on my Speech Server machine. the rest of this post will just be a quick run through of what the utilities do. they are all command line

GetPron
just takes a file list of words and returns a file list of pronunciations for those words. very similar to CMUDict, but with the addition of the 'ax' phoneme. it can return multiple prons for the same word (marked with an iter). it has a lexicon of prons and can create a pron for a word not in the lexicon (marked with *). if it cannot gen a pronunciation then it spits out the pron for 'bogus pronunciation'. wish that this would return which phonemes should be stressed. and i hope we get programmatic access to this functionality as well.

GramStat
dumps out some stats for grammar files in .grxml and .cfg format. i ran this against a couple different grammar files and looked at the results, but dont see how this is useful to me? maybe if i was editing the grammars by hand, instead of using the IDE. and it lets you easily see the performance diff between .grxml and .cfg files.

Recognizer
this takes a grammar file and a wav file as input (optionally a rule name). it then does the speech recognition of the wav to the grammar and outputs the SML result. this tool could be used to create unit tests for your grammars.

SAPIErr
this returns the human readable error message for a SAPI error code. as a developer, i just want this functionality in my IDE. the doc says its intended purpose is to be run against error codes in the Speech Server logs.


DesktopWeb FormText   MSDN mag shot me downMon, 28 Mar 2005 04:47:15 GMT # 

so MSDN mag just shot down my article idea. ouch. based on 2 of my buddies having their ideas shot down as well ... it takes them exactly 3 days to get back to you with words of rejection. so far i have to say that this 'no self publish' thing is starting to bring me down. mainly because i think of some cool article idea, and then a) there is no place for it b) nobody gets back to you c) you get turned down. oh well ... one of my friends put a great spin on it. and if your into agile / AOP / design patterns ... then you should subscribe to his blog


DesktopWeb FormText   sex, legos, and geneticsSun, 27 Mar 2005 03:49:25 GMT # 

what more could you want? link. not to mention i'm always looking for an excuse to buy a boat load of lego mindstorms ...


DesktopWeb FormText   desktopSat, 26 Mar 2005 17:30:26 GMT # 

i've got a desktop fetish. it was just set off by these sexy transparent desktops. but i also like it when people post a screen grab of their own desktops. so here is a pic of my main dev machine. the organization scheme is called chronological order :) this is it at its worst. now i need to go through everything and organize it appropriately to clear it off. alot of it will just get deleted. so the desktop will be mostly clear and then the cycle of growth will just start again. my tablet desktop looks exactly the same, except vertical. my server desktops are mostly cleaned off and use a plain blue background so i can easily differentiate.


DesktopWeb FormText   the 'no self-publish' experiment beginsSat, 26 Mar 2005 17:10:37 GMT # 

now that the 1st article is out, i can comment on the new experiment i'm running for this year (last years experiment was 'code hogging'). the new experiment is 'not self publishing'. every article i write this year will be for MSDN or professional magazines ... if i can even make those connections. i've written my 1st article for MSDN now, and am talking with some other groups too. what is interesting to me is where the article ideas come from? so far it seems like the article ideas come from authors in the community. my original thought was that the content team would already know what content they wanted written about, and then would look for an author. it does seem like the groups do have specific content they want articles for, but they dont seem interested in sharing that. its more like i share my idea, and they see if it matches. on the off chance there is a product group looking for authors ... then this is me announcing my availability. i'll be able to chew up your code and spit out an article in no time. so for the rest of this year, i will not self publish any articles ... which is also a lie ... because i already broke it with the /aiCaptcha article. could not think of anybody that would publish that? i'll probably break the rule at least once more, because there are a couple of ‘over-the-top’ articles that I want to write ... nudge, nudge, wink, wink, hubba, hubba ;)


DesktopWeb FormText   book : Genetic AlgorithmsSat, 26 Mar 2005 15:23:11 GMT # 

in Search Optimization and Machine Learning (Goldberg, 1989). this was a good book on GA (genetic algorithms) with a touch of GBML (genetic based machine learning). it was light on the math and easy to understand. i.e. there were only a couple places i got lost. plus it even had a little bit of humor. overall, i consider it to be the same level of difficulty of the GA book by Mitchell you can find on amazon. the only problem i have with these books is that the samples are too simple / contrived. wish they would have at least one sample that was applied to some real world problem, in which the solution was not a perfect fit, and the author could walk through their reasoning for how they chose the many classifiers. so now i need to actually come up with an idea of something that i want to code using GA ... or move on to reading about GP (genetic programming). which brings up something i'm not clear on. how is GBML different from GP? the way i currently contrast GA and GBML is as such: GA is an off-line search algorithm that you want to converge to some answer, while GBML is an on-line algorithm that can be used to classify. you dont want its population to converge to one answer, but instead you want its population to handle multiple answers. ... or something like that :)


DesktopWeb FormText   writing for MSDN onlineSat, 26 Mar 2005 00:48:11 GMT # 

i've blasted off a couple times about how i would never write for MSDN ... well ... i lied. changed my mind because self publishing seems to be doing jack for self marketing. so i've decided to see if writing for MSDN works better. along the way i've been keeping a list of pros/cons/moot of what i experienced. overall, the process went fairly smooth. but i'm not sure if the other groups follow the same process ... i'll have to try and find out

pro:
-getting paid. even though i've been writing articles for free ... money talks
-possibly the perceived 'microsoft blessing' that comes with being published by them
-visibility. er, um ... i purposefully have no clue how much traffic bNb gets, but MSDN definitely gets ALOT more
-getting access to the product group for technical review
-possible resume flare?
-high quality editing

con:
-biased. i dont feel i can be as open in an article when finding a bug or complaining about a missing feature or linking to external parties
-having to wait for an article to be reviewed and such before going live. when i finish an article i want it online NOW!
-having to write the article in word using their template. i'm really partial to the VS.NET HTML editor, especially since i can write the article and code in the same IDE
-not being able to update an article later on
-not being able to make the article interactive (e.g. codebehind logic) or being able to add large documents, video clips, etc ...
-it is tedious having to read your article over and over again after each editing cycle
-the article link is to a .asp page ... lame

moot:
-having to use capital letters. cant they get an editor to add capital letters for me?
-selling the rights to the article
-getting my grammar reviewed. yes, my grammar sucks, but i dont really care ... unless you stop being able to understand me
-having to do paperwork to approve the article and such. i really hate printing and sending snail mail
-dont get to cuss in the article or write personal crap that is only slightly on topic


DesktopWeb FormText   my 1st article on MSDNFri, 25 Mar 2005 21:17:34 GMT # 

for the Tablet crowd ... Converting Journal Notes to XML, SVG, and OneNote


DesktopWeb FormText   stacks of booksWed, 23 Mar 2005 00:25:30 GMT # 

i read a decent amount. and a coworker just brought in about 15 books that he thought i would be interested in ... all AI related. grabbed a handful that made the most sense, but the others have to wait, because here is a pic of my current reading stacks. the 2 left most (2 deep) columns are what has been read. those were all read within the last year, minus the 6 CF books front left and the Tablet book i just got for free (those were read previous to last year). mostly AI, certification, and other random tech. if you can make it out, i did not actually read the huge Windows XP 2nd Edition book (1469 pages) ... but its sitting there as a reference. that leaves the 3 columns to the right as unread. the right most stack is 'if i have time'. mostly AI books that are more about history / ideas, than about a specific technology. you could call it pleasure reading. the next column in is AI tech books to read. mostly game programming, pattern recognition, and genetic algorithms. plus the obligatory Russell and Norvig. that stack needs to have books added to it involving bayes, support vector machines, cellular automata, etc... the middle stack is other tech books to read. just random stuff i've picked up for some reason or another. so that could easily be a years worth of reading. the bad news is there are about 10 more books that i've almost committed to ordering. plus i have to actually write code sometime ...


DesktopWeb FormText   [book] Exploring AI in the New MilleniumTue, 22 Mar 2005 14:00:27 GMT # 

(2003) this book was made up of 13 chapters. each chapter was an expanded paper that had been presented at a conference. they were chosen by having been received well at each conference, and to cover some of the major themes currently being worked on in AI : machine vision, multi-agent sytstems, etc... finally, the papers weren't overly aggressive in beating you down with math. i liked about 1/2 of the topics. some of them were more technical, so i had to really slow down my reading rate to get through them. some of them were boring and technical ... and i just started flipping pages on those to get to the conclusion. anyway, i purposefully read this book to see what the current state of AI looked like, because i've been reading alot of dated books. at least this book is real similar to the much older books that i had been reading. the names have changed (people, problems, and algorithms) ... but everything else looks the same. the articles mostly used soft AI, and alot of it was based on probabilistic techniques; so bayes was a recurring theme (which i haven't studied yet)


DesktopWeb FormText   hidden markov modelsMon, 21 Mar 2005 03:40:24 GMT # 

somebody asked a couple days ago what i had done with Hidden Markov Models (HMM), so this is that list :
first, i did the obligatory feed the HMM the works of some famous person, and then that can be used to generate sentences that would sound like something the person might say. so for kicks, i fed it the presidential debates and had it kick out sentences for each candidate. of course the bush HMM was constantly saying 'september 11' and 'weapons of mass destruction'.
second, i tied it to the /aiTabletOcr article. did this by populating the HMM with the words in the Tablet PC dictionary. so given a starting letter, it knew what letter was most likely to follow next. then i tied it to the stroke recognition that was already being done to make it do word recognition as opposed to character recognition. it sort of worked ... but i didnt spend much time on it.
third, i used one with the /ttSpeech article. fed it the CMUdict list of word pronunciations to have it learn which phonemes were used most in the English language, and in what order. then i added some randomness so that it would speak back gibberish sentences that was not english, but sort of sounded like it. this actually could serve a purpose, such as being the spoken language for the Sims characters.
finally, while revisiting the /noReco article. the published article only works with single words, and can only recognize a small vocabulary. tried to rework it to recognize phonemes instead, and then use the HMM above to try and determine what word was actually being spoken. almost identical to how i tried to use an HMM with a tablet above, but using phonemes instead of characters. the problem was that i never could get phoneme recognition to work very good.


DesktopWeb FormText   comment spam outcomeMon, 21 Mar 2005 00:29:12 GMT # 

remember the /aiCaptcha article? just to see if comment spam was effective, i took a screen shot of alexa's traffic ranking for bNb before running the comment spam bot (over 2.4 million). i meant to look at the comparison exactly one month later ... but i forgot. so here is the before / after pic from 50 days later (under 1 million). i haven't really made any noise since then, so it looks like comment spam really does work. the only unexpected variable is that the article got legitimately linked by a # of blogs, so that screwed up the test. i dont keep statistics for my server, in case alexa is not a good source? also, i was really surprised nobody manually spammed the comments for the article (or my blog). really figured that somebody would do that to be funny, and i would have thought it was... but it didnt happen. finally, i get tons of requests for that code. from university students, people that are implementing CAPTCHA, and even spammers. no, i'm still not giving it away. finally, the article did exactly what i intended. the blogs i read used to say something to the effect of : ... blah CAPTCHA blah ... and now they often read : ... blah CAPTCHA (even though its breakable) blah ...


DesktopWeb FormText   [book] The Sematic WebSun, 20 Mar 2005 23:26:50 GMT # 

(Wiley 2003) i've read another semantic web book before, and was not impressed ... but this one really jumped out at me. it was divided up into 9 chapters, with most chapters covering a specific technology. and it just so happens i like almost every one of the technologies : XML, Web Services, XML alphabet, RDF, RDF Schema, Taxonomies, Ontologies. the ultimate goal of the semantic web is to make the web into a machine readable knowledge base that intelligent agents can perform tasks with / on. the beginning chapters were mostly intro and repeat info, so i went through those fast. the one idea that i really liked out of those chapters was SWWS (semantic web web services). also liked the XML alphabet chapter because i have not been keeping up with the less adopted XML technologies like XPointer, XBase, and XLink. then it moved into RDF. i've read another RDF book before too, and didnt really get it at that time either. having read a # of books on expert systems and natural language processing since then ... this time i got it. and i could directly relate my experience with running a spider and trying to get semantic meaning from the presentation web (currently through a combination of regular expressions and some lame AI). after that, the taxonomy and ontology chapters did a great job of comparing and contrasting each against one another. there was also a little bit about predicate logic, which i happened to love from school. overall, i really liked this book.

now for my thoughts on the web. i definitely think the current web sucks, as far as machine processing goes. its great if i want to look at pictures of naked chicks, or teach myself some new topic. but its far from great if i want to make a bot to go and do some meaningful work for me. but what i'm currently struggling with is related to the battle between weak vs strong AI. e.g. strong AI is an expert system, where an expert codifies his knowledge into a form that a computer can then execute, while weak AI is a bottom up approach that is trained (or not) to find some form of meaning on its own (possibly through a neural net). an example is the spam world. a block list of IP addresses is to strong AI, as bayesian determination of spam would be to soft AI. now if we had a computer that could actually read and understand, then i would say the semantic web is useless ... but we dont. and when we do, it will probably only be able to understand text ... but what about pictures or videos? the video and image searches of today go off of surrounding text, and dont actually understand the images without the textual context. so my current thought is we need the semantic web until we can get intelligent agents that can read text. so however many years that takes ... beyond that, we need the semantic web to describe non textual resources on the web. so now we just need for the specifications to be fleshed out and tool support. because people are already half assing the semantic web with tagging.

now i wonder if this relates to the programming concept of domain specific languages? i have not read anything about DSL, but my uneducated guess is they are highly related to an ontology. i.e. the domain is represented by an ontology. so when i start some new programming project, i dont start modeling the domain on my own ... instead i go to some ontology library, and just pick the domain from there. then my domain objects could be used by other applications that know how to work with objects from that domain. seems like a perfect fit for SOA as well. but i have not actually read about DSLs, so this could be way off? and what is the MS position on this? i dont ever hear about the semantic web from the MS-centric blogosphere that i'm subscribed to. maybe MS research has something in the works ...


DesktopWeb FormText   fiona appleFri, 18 Mar 2005 15:32:35 GMT # 

believe it or not ... i am one of those fiona apple fans
that want to pay $ for extraordinary machine

either sony/epic is really stupid ... or really smart


DesktopWeb FormText   server outageTue, 15 Mar 2005 15:20:55 GMT # 

this site was down for the last 5 days. what happened is i've been running my server from a cable modem, and the ISP just had some major outage and it came up with a changed IP address. the ISP was supposed to be doing dynamic IP addresses for the last 2 years, but they haven't. it also took me a while to fix it because my server is located about 1000 miles away from where i live and i could not access it without calling for help. there is a chance that the IP address will change again shortly, and that this site will go offline again. i know there are dynamic DNS services to handle this, but i'm not interested in doing that. which brings up the root of the problem ... i just dont care :) i'm actually on contract right now, so when money is coming in ... i couldnt care less if my server is up. so if it goes down again ... i wont be hustling to fix it. if it does go offline for an extended period of time (think months) ... i will ultimately bring it back online ... someday ...


DesktopWeb FormText   IPEX advanced braFri, 04 Mar 2005 04:48:54 GMT # 

dubbed 'the worlds most advanced bra'. i dont know about that ... i sort of remember madonna having some serious bras? another marketing phrase is 'no bra this weightless has ever delivered so much coverage'. i misread that sentence every time. i'll give them the word weightless, but i totally replace the word 'coverage' with 'cleavage'. when was coverage the goal ... except maybe for sports bras? so from my perspective, advanced coverage is a negative. i want more boosting features with less coverage. they could also stand to be easier to take off (of females) (dont take that out of context) (i dont have man boobs). and let me reiterate cleavage. or how about a bra that sort of kept jiggling them around a bit ... that'd be cool. even cooler than the ones that glow in the dark or have break away panels. maybe water cooled; but 'coverage' ... you've got to be kidding me. and if you're gonna call them technical, give them a version # or tack on the year. e.g. IPEX 1.0 or IPEX 2005. regardless, this is a personal joke for me since i'm on a project called iPEX. and my last name makes me an expert in this sort of thing


DesktopWeb FormText   did somebody say Hailstorm?Thu, 03 Mar 2005 01:03:19 GMT # 

Dare did, and he's got an interesting theory that google might be coming up with their own Hailstorm. my response ... about damn time somebody did. i played (the Rant at the bottom of that link applies) with Hailstorm when it was an alpha over 3 years ago. since then, even with all the WS-* specs we have now, i have yet to see any web service offering that even comes close. it was (and is) the killer WS idea. and the implementation MS had back then was crazy ahead of its time. they were full on contract 1st with extensive schemas. the only bad thing i can say about it is when MS rebranded it with a wimpy name like My Services

so google might be able to pull it off because they 'dont do evil'. thats a cute lie, but it is a lie. they've been slowly becoming more evil as time passes. 1) buying deja.com and crippling it. the recent google groups update finally gets it back to where it was years ago. 2) possibly censoring content for china (but i'm not sure about this one?) 3) gmail 4) making blog engines do googles work for them with the rel='nofollow' tag. 5) AutoLinks. regardless, i dont care that they are evil ... just give me some Hailstorm derivative. because we could write some extremely compelling apps with the raw power it offers


DesktopWeb FormText   MS language recognition supportTue, 01 Mar 2005 03:43:14 GMT # 

dont know how i missed it?, but i just saw that Speech Server has had language packs for North American Spanish / Canadian French available for the last 3 months. so thought this would be a good time to give a run down of the current MS language support for speech and ink recognition. hopefully these will match up better over the next couple years. i also hope that IE7 is going to get the Speech Add-in built-in!

Speech Server
English
North American Spanish (Beta)
Canadian French (Beta)
Speech Add-in for IE
English
Speech Add-in for Pocket IE
English
(i 'think' it benefits from the language packs too?)
North American Spanish (Beta)
Canadian French (Beta)
SAPI Speech Recognition
U.S. English
Simplified Chinese
Japanese
SAPI Text To Speech
U.S. English
Simplified Chinese
Tablet Ink Recognition
U.S. English
U.K. English
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Spanish
French
German
Italian
Japanese
Korean


DesktopWeb FormText   book : Mind HacksSun, 27 Feb 2005 23:37:15 GMT # 

how could i pass up a title like that? the book uses an interesting twist to teach the ways in which our mind works. it has 10 chapters concentrating on different topics dealing with the mind : Brain, Seeing, Attention, Hearing, Integrating, Moving, Reasoning, Togetherness, Remembering, People. each of these chapters has about 10 'hacks' for a total of 100 hacks. each hack is just a couple pages about one small aspect of the mind. the hacks vary from explaining the results of some academic experiment, to everyday experiences, to activities you can attempt by yourself or with friends. an example is how you can find your blindspot, or how you can improve memory by thinking about location. the most interesting parts of the book is when it would explain behavior as important to evolution. e.g. being wary of an approaching shadow, or being able to recognize faces. the problem i had with this book is that it had alot of external links. so i'd have to put the book down to go to those links. once i was on the computer, it was hard to return to the book ... so this book took more time to read than it should have. overall, i really enjoyed this book


DesktopWeb FormText   System.ArtificialIntelligenceSat, 26 Feb 2005 17:45:01 GMT # 

generation5.org (my favorite AI portal) has a poll running about porting their java AI framework over to .NET. so when is MS going to step up to the plate and provide a System.AI namespace? instead of just teasing us


DesktopWeb FormText   tenXtenFri, 25 Feb 2005 15:29:08 GMT # 

everybody is linking to 10x10. i wouldnt actually use it as a news source ... but its sexy ... and has a developer link. now i'm ready for the 'razor blade effect' to take hold ... and for somebody to make it go to 11x11

the 'razor blade effect' is the process of adding more razor blades to a shaver (e.g. Mach 4) with the promise of providing a smoother shave. its the evolution of razors into torture devices


DesktopWeb FormText   roombaThu, 24 Feb 2005 03:27:26 GMT # 

Andy asked about the Roomba. when i got it ... i was like 'hell yes'! since then, i've dropped the 'hell' but still give it a solid 'yes'. our vacuuming habits have changed. instead of vacuuming a room with an upright in about 10 minutes. we just wall the Roomba off in a room and let it run til its out of juice. e.g. dont compare 5 minutes of upright time to 5 minutes of Roomba time. but the Roomba will run much longer than i want to vacuum with an upright. not to mention you can just set it off and let it go as you walk out the door. ours comes with a remote which is basically worthless. it also comes with virtual walls. the virtual walls are necessary, but kind of suck in that they dont broadcast the walls at the angle you would expect. you've got to use the virtual walls because houses are too open. if you dont block it off, then the Roomba will just run off and wont actually get anything done (other than entertaining your cats). instead, you need to wall it off and tell it to clean some room until its out of juice. it also has a docking station that it can return to and autocharge. thats a slick demo for guests, but not necessary either. if you're too lazy to undock it and dock it, then you probably were not vacuuming pre-Roomba. other parts that suck is when it gets stuck. in general you can do a visual 'sweep' of a room and know what it will get stuck on. then you just remove those obstacles. also, you have to periodically clean the vacuum brush because that gets nasty real quick. as far as actual vacuum capabilities, it picks most everything up. if there was something that you had to run over with an upright multiple times to finally get it to pick up, then that will probably be left behind by the Roomba. now i want one that will continually push falling snow off my driveway. i also want another one so i can have my own battlebot wars ...


DesktopWeb FormText   phoneme segmentationTue, 22 Feb 2005 22:31:11 GMT # 

i want it


DesktopWeb FormText   book : Talking NetsThu, 17 Feb 2005 05:01:32 GMT # 

(by Anderson and Rosenfeld, 1998) subtitled 'An Oral History of Neural Networks'. this book was a quick read that interviewed 16 of the big names in NN. each person had their own chapter, and the chapters were ordered based on the birth dates of these people. i found this odd, but it did end up revealing an understandable timeline of the past. the problem with the book is that it went too far into the past. even though the publish date is late 90s, most of the events being discussed happened much earlier. also, the people discussed too much about their childhood and what led them into NN. the good part is that it was somewhat interesting, and each chapter had at least 1 line or paragraph that i consider gems


DesktopWeb FormText   TODO: remove done TODOsWed, 16 Feb 2005 16:58:00 GMT # 

when i'm cranking out code i'll drop little TODO and HACK nuggets for places that i need to revisit. but the problem is ... even after i revisit those places, and do what needs to be done, i always forget to remove the TODO marker ... so eventually i have to do some project level sweep and clear out all the dead TODO markers. stupid stupid


DesktopWeb FormText   February Milwaukee Nerd DinnerTue, 15 Feb 2005 02:24:09 GMT # 

here


DesktopWeb FormText   book : Homeland SecuritySun, 13 Feb 2005 20:08:33 GMT # 

(by Jesus Mena) this was an ok book. its sort of like a high level requirements document for what needs to be done for homeland security. the main topics discussed are : aggregation, integration, collaboration, categorization, intelligence, and mining. for each topic, the author gives an overview and introduces some software products that could be applied. the problem here is that he concentrated mostly on the products themselves, when i would be more interested in the techniques that the products were using. anyway, the 1st 3 topics were boring; aggregation, integration, and collaboration are just basic programming tasks. it was more interesting when he got to categorization, intelligence and mining. these topics were more interesting because they required some form of AI to handle the overload of information. the book was biased towards bottom-up and unsupervised learning techniques. this makes sense, because we only have training data from 1 terrorist attack


DesktopWeb FormText   PayPal made me lieSun, 13 Feb 2005 05:03:57 GMT # 

... and i hate lying

anyway, i had to sign up for their credit to confirm an address. the entry form required me to enter an address, a phone #, optionally enter 2 other phone #s, etc. the problem is that it checked to make sure that the area code for the mandatory phone # matched the viable area codes for that address. so since i only have a cell phone, and its area code is 469 (dallas), then it would not accept it as a valid phone # for wisconsin (262). the only way to get the form to accept it was to put the wrong area code on the mandatory phone #, and then put my real phone # in the optional fields

i've been cell only for something like 5 years now ... and i cannot recall having any other problems. actually ... that is a lie. i cant order pizza. with an area code of 469 and the last name of chesnut ... they generally assume its a prank call and dont prepare my order. then when i show up their like 'oh crap' ... will make it while you wait. cant tell you how many free pizzas i've gotten that way

but there is no way i'm giving up my 469 area code ... its just too funny! ... unless there is a 666 area code?


DesktopWeb FormText   /aiCaptcha aftermathSat, 12 Feb 2005 19:11:04 GMT # 

so i finally looked around last night to see what damage was done (since i was unplugged the last couple weeks). the 1st thing i noticed is that the article seems to have received more links than anything else i've done, in a short period of time. no, i'm not counting the comment spam links. blog posts were over 90% positive. there were some negative blog posts, but it was more likely that a negative response was a comment to a positive blog post. this was a surprise because i generally think people do alot of bitching in their blogs. or maybe thats just me? on the other hand, email responses were not so nice. the initial 24 hour email assult was mostly negative. after that 1st day ended, the email coming in has been positive

the nature of the emails has been really interesting. alot of them have been from people that have written CAPTCHA implementations. so they want my code to test their own stuff. my code is definitely not good for that purpose because i wrote it targeted for a specific implementation ... but it does raise some questions. how exactly are you supposed to unit test your CAPTCHA? the next group of emails that i have received are from the AI crew of people that are writing their own programs to do machine vision. some of them are even writing their own programs to beat CAPTCHA. one of them is even writing his own program to beat his own CAPTCHA implementation! which turns into a cat and mouse routine. write CAPTCHA, beat it, improve CAPTCHA, beat it, ... sounds like fun. and the odd part is that it brought people to my site that had never seen it before. out of the new visitors, they were mostly interested in the /barCode article. there are alot of articles about generating barcodes, but pretty much nothing when it comes to reading them

my current feeling is that a CAPTCHA implementation should offer numerous ways of obscuring the characters. then a blog owner (not the blog engine administrator) should just go down a checklist and choose some small # of those techniques to use when generating images for his blog. each blog that used the CAPTCHA would use their own unique combination of techniques. so even if they are on the same engine, then their images would be radically different. in this manner, every blog on the same site might not be vulnerable to the same attack. if somebody did write a bot to beat the way a blog had theirs configured, then the blog owner could just go and change that configuration to something new. at least until the bot could be made to beat that as well. i do not like the technique of CAPTCHA engines randomly choosing how to render the image each time. because the bot just has to keep trying, and eventually it will be served up an image that it can handle. e.g. my bot can beat a small percentage of the images that gimpy renders. instead, i think each individual blog should use some unique configuration until broken ... and then they just reconfigure


DesktopWeb FormText   el barco grandeSat, 12 Feb 2005 06:32:25 GMT # 

meaning 'the big ship'. that was the extent of the spanish that i had to use on the trip. actually it did come in handy that one time. because our taxi driver was going the wrong way. i told him to take us to the cruise terminal, and i think he was taking us to the airport terminal. when i realized he wasnt going to make a u-turn, i pulled out the 'el barco grande' line, referring to the cruise ship, and he made the u-turn to get us where we were supposed to go. then he tried to double the previously agreed upon rate, even though the distance ended up being much shorter. so it was nice to know a little spanish, but not really necessary at all. we negotiated all our shore excursions off the boat (which was much cheaper). all of these people that were handling the money knew how to speak english. on some occasions the taxi companies had a front guy that negotiated the rate in english and then would tell the driver where to go in spanish. the confusing part was figuring out what currency you were talking about. sometimes they used the english numeric words when asking for pesos and spanish numeric words when asking for dollars. my assumption was that you would use spanish for pesos and english for dollars ... wrong. i quickly learned you had to agree upon currency 1st and then you could refer to numerals using either spanish or english. even if they did not speak english, they did understand the english numeric system. i preferred dollars just because the numbers were smaller in both languages. saying 50 pesos just sounds like alot more than 5 dollars does. it also felt good to have an idea of what was being said in the conversations around you. even though i could not understand them entirely, i could at least understand the topic of the conversation and that i shouldnt be interested in what they had to say.


DesktopWeb FormText   jacked back inFri, 11 Feb 2005 05:33:20 GMT # 

just returned from vacation. too much food, wine, and sun. it will take this weekend for me to get caught back up with email ... just in case you wrote me and thought i was an ass for not replying by now. if you dont get a reply in a couple days ... well ... then roll back to the ass theory


DesktopWeb FormText   /aiCAPTCHA article FAQTue, 01 Feb 2005 12:31:19 GMT # 

i am going to be unplugged for a long while. so if you have a question about /aiCAPTCHA ... please refer to the FAQ below

Q: Where is the article link?
a: /aiCAPTCHA
Q: What crime did you commit?
a: i did not commit a crime. what i did is write a spam bot to beat CAPTCHA and post 94 comment spams. and it wasnt really spam, all it has is an apology and a link to the article. nothing commercial whatsoever. what i'm guilty of doing is hurting some peoples pride ...
Q: You mean you didnt kill 200K people or change the tilt of the Earth's axis?
a: not yet
Q: So if it had been real spam, what would the message have said?
a: all your blogs are belong to us
Q: Why didnt you just spam a couple blogs?
a: i did the whole web site to show the other problem of large groups being on the same system. it was still what i consider to be a small # of individuals. and also large enough to prove that it wasnt done manually. anyway, a lot of people are now more aware of the issues ... good
Q: Did you piss people off?
a: at least 3 people, probably more. i am sorry about doing that, but in reality ... it was just 94 comments. only 1 comment to 94 different people. they'll get over it
Q: Are the people you spammed pissed off?
a: most of them have not responded. more of them responded positively than negatively. one of them wrote and made some good points, so i changed those parts of the article for him. some of them even think that its cool. a number of them just deleted the comment within 24 hours (what i expected to happen). none of them made a blog post regarding it. i take that to mean that they dont really care?
Q: How mad should the spamees be?
a: however mad 1 comment spam makes them
Q: What if they want to get even?
a: then each of them should just spam my site in return. running a public blog ... thats the sort of thing happens. or better yet, why dont i just extend my program to spam my own site with 94 comments ... then they dont have to do any work at all
Q: What about the bandwidth and resource usage argument
a: 10 minutes and less bandwidth than an MP3 file. dont forget the messages probably take up a couple 100K of disk space
Q: Are you going to release the code?
a: no
Q: Are you going to sell the code?
a: how much you got?
Q: Are you going to use it to spam them (or anybody else) anymore?
a: no. it was a one time shot
Q: Why dont you rename it the Death Star, and pummel people relentlessy with comment spam every waking and non-waking moment of the day?
a: note to self, dont piss off the Question guy
Q: How many emails were sent off after your stunt?
a: over 33 emails to at least 106 recipients (over 24 hours). about a quarter of those were to aliases, so there is no telling how many email boxes those actually went in to. in all likelihood there was exponentially more emails sent off about the comment spam than the 94 comment spams the bot posted. i'm actually more sorry about all those mass emails that were sent ... compared to being sorry about the comment spam. note that i did not send or reply to any mass emailings
Q: your kidding me! more email messages were sent than what you spammed?
a: no kidding. that is just counting email addresses in the To: field and Cc: field that were seperated by semicolons. aliases were only counted as 1 email
Q: what were the topics of the email?
a: mostly personal attacks against me. some were meant to be threatening
Q: What have people been saying about you?
a: bad judgement, cocky, immature, attention seeking, saying they could have written it but chose not to, foolish, bad guy, boob, bad representative, dude
Q: What is your reaction?
a: they called me dude! regardless, i dont know these people ... nor do they know me
Q: how many saw the article and contacted you about work?
a: two. but i'm happily on contract
Q: Does SomeBlogSite.com need to immediately work on their CAPTCHA?
a: no, it would be much easier to write a program to mass spam the other blog sites that dont use CAPTCHA at all ... plus those blog sites have alot more users. even if they do write a strong CAPTCHA, there are people that already have better spam bots to beat those; one of them is linked in the article. not to mention they would have to figure out how to stop the manual entry and social engineering aspects as well ... good luck with that. not to mention Roland proved that you could post through the CommentAPI ... and bypass CAPTCHA altogether. i'm the least of their problems
Q: Why didnt you ask permission before doing this?
a: because a black hat hacker would not ask for permission. i think this is what they call grey-hat? nor would anybody have given me permission to do this
Q: Does this reflect badly on MS or your group affiliation?
a: how? this has nothing to do with that. its not even related to the group i am a part of. this is an industry issue. i could have ran this against complete strangers. i chose them because CAPTCHA provided a false sense of security and i assumed they would see the point behind a controlled attack ... i assumed wrong. nor does that affiliation really have a way to classify me. they pigeon hole you in some category for a year ... and thats not me
Q: Could anybody have written this?
a: your mom could have written it. read the article, its pretty simple
Q: Did you do this for publicity?
a: save that question for my PR guy (there is no PR guy)
Q: Why did you write it in the 1st place?
a: to smack the people in the face that think comment spam has been beat. this is purposefully meant to offend google and the rel='nofollow' crew. also to learn more AI
Q: Do you regret doing it?
a: no way. my only regret is how dramatic some people are. this has gotten way too much air play and people have wasted too much time commenting. also that i gave up so easily on figuring out how to determine line intersections
Q: Do some people take themselves too seriously?
a: LOL :)
Q: Are you always destructive?
a: no, you might remember me from such articles as Sys.Sec.Crypto or WSE2 for CF
Q: You mean you wrote code for people to actually better secure their apps?
a: go figure
Q: What did you learn from this?
a: mostly more about image processing and neural networks. specifically about how large sample sets might not converge if you have a real small set of output nodes. because 1 sample might train 1 behavior, and another sample might untrain it
Q: I mean what life lesson did you learn?
a: who not to hang out with at the summit
Q: If you could do it again, would you do it differently?
a: i would do it exactly the same. nobody has provided any logical arguments against my actions. they've provided arguments ... just nothing that holds much water. much of it has been 'what-if' scenarios. of course the 'what-if' scenarios are exaggerated to match their bloated egos. on the off chance any of the 'what-if' scenarios occur, it will be due to their incessant ranting
Q: Did you get in trouble?
a: for what?
Q: What if you do get in trouble?
a: will i care?
Q: Any last comments?
a: yes. i need to Thank the people that have publicly supported me. its good to see that there are still voices of reason. i dont subscribe to all the blogs in the world ... put this is the pattern i saw. only positive comments were made in actual blog postings. the negative stuff was either through emails or comments to blog postings. of course there were also positive emails and comments ... but the lack of negative blog posts (not comments) seems kind of interesting
Q: Why did you write this FAQ
a: because i will be off the grid for a while. when i get plugged back in, then i'll start work on my next project. so this is the last i have to say about it
Q: Was this supposed to be funny?
a: some of it was meant to be funny. some of it is the truth. you can decide for yourself which is which. since people dont like the truth, then they should assume all parts they dont like were meant to be funny. and they can assume the rest was meant to be truthful
Q: What if this blog post upsets somebody?
a: they can talk to the PR guy
Q: Must you always have the last word?
a: yes


DesktopWeb FormText   tablet joystickMon, 31 Jan 2005 17:23:20 GMT # 

Peter Van Ooijen responded to a question i asked about getting tablet pen tilt information with a great blog post : Tablet PC pen capabilities and the tablet API. the results are that his tablet says it can get the tilt info ... but it just returns 0. this is the same behavior that i've seen as well :(

anyway, why do i want pen tilt info? simple reason ... old school video games. you could basically set your pen perpendicular to the screen. then you could control a character by angling the pen like you would a joystick. if you needed to do some action, either tap on the screen, or press the button on the pen. you could certainly play alot of Atari classics in the manner. oh how i miss River Raid ...


DesktopWeb FormText   new article : /aiCaptchaSun, 30 Jan 2005 19:59:38 GMT # 

er, um ... i just comment spammed 94 blog owners at SomeBlogSite.com. not too be malicious ... just to prove a point that comment spam is not beat. the comment spam just says that i'm sorry and points back to the article about how it was done. pulled it off by writing a bot that uses AI to beat CAPTCHA. the article is here /aiCAPTCHA anyway, i wont be using the spam bot anymore. and i hope that nobody is pissed for what i did. i actually hope that you think this was kind of cool :) and er, um ... please dont attack my site back ... you win


DesktopWeb FormText   spanish Tablet dictionaryThu, 27 Jan 2005 15:16:23 GMT # 

from the /tabletDic article, i can say with some confidence that the English dictionary on the Tablet PC has about 150K words in it. since i've been learning spanish, i went ahead and ran the same dictionary attack against the Spanish dictionary. with just a minimal amount of effort, i've found over 180K words in the Spanish dictionary. there are probably a good deal more, because i did not find a plethora of spanish word lists. actually, i know there are alot of words missing by looking at the divergence between the BruteForce and WordList attacks.

initially it was a surprise that the Spanish dictionary would have more words, because the 1st thought that popped into my head was that English is the international language of business. also, we have alot of rappers making up words too ... thus more words. and why in the world would MS provide more Spanish words than US words for ink recognition ... since the Tablet PC user base is primarily English? but on 2nd thought, i think the Spanish dictionary has more words to handle verb conjugation, masculine / feminine words, and plural agreement. those language features basically cause word explosion. NOTE i will not be making the Spanish word list public, but for kicks ... here are the longest words :

Contrarrevolucionarios
Electroencefalografías
Esternocleidomastoideo


DesktopWeb FormText   waiting for these peripheralsSun, 23 Jan 2005 22:36:06 GMT # 

lost my final PPC stylus, so had to go pick some up. the bad news is that neither BestBuy nor CircuitCity carried styli for my 1 year old HP iPAQ PPC ... or any PPC styli for that matter. they also had a pretty sad showing for PPCs in general. CompUsa was the only shop with any sort of selection. has that consumer market gone away ... and nobody bothered to tell me? went ahead and looked for some other stuff i hoped would have made it into stores by now. 1) where are the trackballs? i've been waiting forever for MS to come out with a new trackball. especially with the horizontal scroll capability. bluetooth might be nice too. 2) USB, noise cancelling, behind the neck headphones with a microphone. there was actually a logitech one in the store that had everything except USB. bluetooth would be nice here too, but i'm not sure the quality would be as high, and i'm really looking for this for speech app dev.


DesktopWeb FormText   vs.net 2005 help viewerSun, 23 Jan 2005 16:51:27 GMT # 

anybody know how to read Whidbey Help 2 files on a system that does not have the .NET 2 Beta installed, or one of the VS .NET 2005 Betas installed? i'd really just like to read the help files on a Tablet, without having to install any dev stuff. that is one feature of CHM files i miss badly.


DesktopWeb FormText   spanish 201Sun, 23 Jan 2005 16:41:21 GMT # 

still teaching myself spanish. i've mostly completed all of my beginner level material on both audio lessons and interactive software programs, and now i'm transitioning to the intermediate level material. my current level is that i can understand a decent amount from video and audio programs. of course video is easier with the visible context clues. the spanish channel is still mostly gibberish because of the increased grammar size, the speed and tone at which they speak, and the amount of background noise in the programs. can also read a little bit too. the reading is behind because it is so easy to just listen to audio lessons while driving. those car audio lessons really need to be paired up with a HUD (heads up display), so that i could see how some of the spoken words are spelled. i'm definitely further behind on actually speaking and writing. the audio programs help some, by giving you a sentence in english, and then you speaking it in spanish. except they are cheating, and giving you a sentence for which you can say within your limited vocabulary. the problem i have is that i think of sentences to say within my expanded english vocabulary, and then struggle to filter that down to what i can actually say in spanish. on the writing side, i'm having problems with the spanish accent marks. at the base level, its not exactly obvious to me how to easily type these characters on a US keyboard. secondly, the programs check for the accent marks. i wish the programs had an option to just check the base characters, and ignore the lack of accent marks, which i could sprinkle on later.


DesktopWeb FormText   others beliefsSun, 23 Jan 2005 07:11:20 GMT # 

hey Brian, it took me about 1 minute to start responding. dont know anything about green jelly band, but the 333 word limit is a play off 666; not that i believe in the devil either. and honestly, i think you are giving people too much credit. why? how about because 79% of Americans believe in the virgin birth. there are more stats in that article that are just as disturbing. i also disagree that there is a plan. i live, die, and then worm food. at least until Ray Kurzweil can figure out how to stop the aging process, or download my brain into a computer. because of the whole fear of dying (and hell) thing goes away ... then religion is going to take a big hit. i think aliens would have a similar impact? regardless, i'm a minority. and because xtians have the whole stance against birth control (safety in numbers), then i will remain a minority. i choose to be vocal on the chance of corrupting the youth. a militant atheist ... to let the kids know that its ok to not believe. and if i ever have kids, i wont force them to disbelieve ... it'll be their choice. thats not exactly the way it happens on the xtian side.


DesktopWeb FormText   winter wonderlandSun, 23 Jan 2005 00:30:05 GMT # 

this is my 1st time to really experience winter. thought it might be pseudo interesting to let you know what i've learned. 1) layers. wearing layers is by far the most important thing. i was always under the impression that you would wear 1 really warm thing, that would be better than wearing 2 pseudo warm things. but layers are on an exponential curve, instead of linear. 2) guys can wear earmuffs and not look gay. they are the behind the neck kind, without the princess leia poofs. 3) stay away from the black ice. i already knew about the yellow ice. 4) driveway technology sucks. snow blowers are ridiculously expensive and shoveling snow sucks. we really need a roomba type device for pushing snow off before it accumulates, or some sort of self cleaning litterbox stlye that scraps if off. else x-men style that just opens up and dumps oif off to the side. 5) snow banks are magnets for cars. 6) rain beats snow, if you are playing a modified rock-papers-scissors type game. 7) different frozen lake sports (other than fishing) : iceboat racing, motorcycles, and golfing. i really want to go and play on our lake, but have not gotten to yet. 8) levels of discomfort from cold (best to worst) ... booger freezing, fingernail pain, and then eyelid freezing. 9) mailboxes are magnets for snow plows. 10) atheists dont make snow angels. they make figures of a humanoid race that has evolved wings to avoid tsunamis. 11) if you speak while practicing a foreign language tape in your car, or are yapping away on your phone for a while, then you can put enough moisture into the car so that ice forms on the interior of the windows in your car. 12) leather seats are cold. 13) if you wear a trenchcoat style winter jacket and put on leather gloves, it might make you feel like a hit man. 14) when the metal on your car contracts from the cold, then your bassmobile will rattle alot more, no matter how much dynamat you have. 15) rear wheel drive cars suck on ice, unless you are into not being in control. 16) ice cream loses some of its appeal. 17) you can leave your groceries in the car for as long as you like. 18) when you take a drink in your car, dont put ice in it. 19) become friends with your local mr. plow 20) when shoveling snow, throw it to the opposite side from which the snow plow comes. also keep it away from your mailbox.


DesktopWeb FormText   unsubscribeSun, 23 Jan 2005 00:01:50 GMT # 

this blog will continue to lack technical content for the forseeable future. i've gotten busy with work ... and none of that can be blogged. i'm still doing other tech stuff in my spare time, but that effort is toward an end that keeps me from posting as well. some of my spare time work will ultimately make its way public ... to be discussed later


DesktopWeb FormText   rel="notimpressed"Wed, 19 Jan 2005 03:22:47 GMT # 

this had me almost laughing out loud, Google leads the industry in fighting comment spam. if i ever pat myself on the back for adding an attribute to HTML ... you know what to do. my guess is that this does nothing to stop the spam, because it just doesnt take that much effort to start a spam bot ... and then walk away. so what if your return on investment isnt as good. if its still better than not doing it, then you might as well do it. you can see this with email spam. Outlook does a pretty good job of filtering it out for me ... but looking at the Junk E-mail folder lets me know that it keeps coming. wake me up when we start suing comment spammers


DesktopWeb FormText   the code hog experiment is now endedTue, 18 Jan 2005 23:13:24 GMT # 

last year i ran an experiment to not give away any code for the entire year. ignore that i did put out updated code for WSE and Crypto for CF ... that was just an updated release ... it doesnt count. so what changed from giving away code and not giving away code? the major difference is that i got ALOT of email from graduate students that wanted to use my code in their thesis / final project work. that makes me wonder how people used my code from previous projects? also, my articles did not seem to get linked as much as they used to. so either people link articles more when they come with code, or people assume that my blog is popular, or my articles weren't cool :( regardless, that year is now up ... so now i'm free to give away code as i see fit.

i've started a new experiment for this year ... to be discussed later ...


DesktopWeb FormText   blog anniversarySat, 15 Jan 2005 01:29:24 GMT # 

its been 1 year since the 1st test post. my intention was to only moblog and very rarely blog from a keyboard. that did not hold. there is a possibility i'll rekindle that ... but no promises. i still prefer technical articles to blogs. i think i learned more from other people when articles were tops, along with the aspng listservs. people seemed to spend more time on articles and went into more depth. also, i have to hear the same crap over and over again from different people on blogs. with listservs, the 1st person to send out a message was the cool person. now blogs let everybody think they are the cool person and that everybody else copies them. i've even been guilty of that myself. then i had somebody kick me in the nuts to remind me otherwise. i am proud that i have never implemented a counter. i dont want to know how many people read this blog, or which posts people look at most. i do like that product managers and 'people in the know' are blogging (i'm not one of those people). but my thought is ... there is no reason these people couldnt have been in the community pre-blog. why didnt they join in the listserv or newsgroup communities years ago? and i do like blogs for the gophers. gophers are my pet names for people that live underground most of the time, but occasionally popup with something really cool. i dont like blogs for machine gun posters. about all i can take is a handful of posts from a site a day. anymore and i get stressed out from the # of unread messages. i delete those subscriptions and just add those sites to IE Favorites. personally, i have fun with my blog as well as using it to vent. there seems to be alot of bitching on blogs period. the blog was also supposed to be for marketing. when writing self publishing articles, i got sick of spamming everybody about a new article. so the blog seemed like the appropriate place to drop a line about a new article and then it could spread if people deemed it worthy. the problem with that though, is then people have to wade through all my personal crap to get to those rare technical bits. er, um ... i had the intention to creating categories, but did not. maybe later. also, i've flooded my blog with everything your not supposed to talk about : religion, politics, sex. not sure what that is doing for my career? in some peoples eyes, it has definitely hurt it. granted, i dont hang out with those people. but i do listen to them, and i have certainly considered cleaning up my act, as well as shutting down the blog entirely. but i havent. the thing about blogs that really get me is when people apologize for not blogging after a period of time. its like i've been holding my breath for them to post again. this is me saying 'i couldnt care less if you blog'. and i expect you to feel the same about me


DesktopWeb FormText   put warning stickers on biblesFri, 14 Jan 2005 16:40:49 GMT # 

some county in GA has had stickers on their science books that read, "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered." they just recently had a court order to remove the stickers. of course the religious fundamentalists are probably going to appeal. but as an atheist, i think we are going about this the wrong way. instead of being on the defense ... we need to make an offensive move. i'm thinking that we should use their same techniques against them. imagine a child opening up a bible and seeing a sticker that read, "This theological book contains material on religion. Religion is a theory, not a fact, regarding faith and god. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered." and how about scrapping the religious section in book stores. i dont mean banning the books ... i mean properly categorizing them as fiction


DesktopWeb FormText   Milwaukee .NETMon, 10 Jan 2005 23:41:26 GMT # 

.NET User Group on Tuesday
Nerd Dinner on Wednesday


DesktopWeb FormText   every power shall be met by a greater powerMon, 03 Jan 2005 00:34:01 GMT # 

[Frank Herbert, Dune] thats one of my favorite quotes. it used to be my training motto during football off season. knew i would either kick ass each season (or get my ass kicked) depending on how hard i trained out of season. since i'm no longer eligible to legally beat people up ... i now apply this quote to technology pursuits. used to think you could do a direct translation : i.e. 'every technology will be met by a greater technology'. e.g. the browser wars. but now i think the tech world has become a bunch of pussies, and now it would translate 'every technology will be met by a greater legal threat'. e.g.

-suing over spam
-fines for spyware
-RIAA file sharing settlements
-prison time for virus writers
-shutting down torrent search sites
-software patents

so when did we get lazy and decide to let lawyers do our jobs instead? this is not the path we (as technologists) want to be on. it is the path that lawyers want to be on. anyway, we need to kick them the fuck out and take responsibility for fixing the problems that we are enabling. fight fire with fire ... if you will. the one solace that i take is that most legal actions against technology have been mostly ineffective.


DesktopWeb FormText   sickSat, 01 Jan 2005 00:44:11 GMT # 

i've got a cold thats kicking my ass right now. it sucks, because i get sick at most once a year. thought i was going to skip it this year ... but just missed out by a couple days. since its happening over new years, hopefully this one will fill my quota for next year too. i'm also one of those anti-antibiotic people. quite certain that we are doing a disservice to the human race with the frequency at which antibiotics are prescribed. all that ends up doing is speed up the predator / prey scenario for building a better virus. i live along the lines that the human body was built to heal itself. so i have a distaste for drugs in general. e.g. the kind that just hide the symptoms. i'd rather have the symptoms and know exactly how sick i am. cold sweats aren't that bad. if i'm really really sick ... then i'd resort to antibiotics. the interesting part is, i turned on the TV this morning and saw that a girl survived rabies without vaccination. might have misheard from a fever induced delerium ... but she might be the 1st recorded survival without vaccination. took her something like 11 weeks after getting bit by a bat. damn ... that took some balls. if i were ever to get rabies ... i'm getting the shot. related, i disagree with the parents that withhold medication from their children. i'm under the persuasion that you give the kids the drugs so they survive long enough to decide on their own. granted ... i dont think the same logic fits for religion. thats just brainwashing. the other thing about being sick is that it messed up my ability to accurately recall 'the feed / starve a fever / cold'. the same thing applies when trying to recall the 'beer / liquor never sicker' after you've been drinking. or the color patterns of a venemous snake when you've got a striped snake in your path. in this current state, the only cute emergency drill i can recall is 'stop drop and roll', which isnt applicable. finally, whenever i'm sick, i want osmosis type training materials for my immune system. e.g. audio and video programs that i could watch / listen to that explain how the immune system is supposed to work. just as a reminder to my white blood cells, since they might have gotten out of practice. sort of 'mind over matter' ... which explains why brains comes before brawn. signing out for 04