# Monday, 14 March 2005

Like what’s been coming out of MSN lately? There’s an entire page dedicated to new software and sites coming from MSN like Windows AntiSpyware, MSN Messenger 7, Lookout, and much more.

This is the place to play with new MSN technologies, look at prototypes, and peek behind the scenes at some of our new ideas. Let us know what you think about how we can improve MSN for you. Thanks for visiting the Sandbox.


Also be sure to check out Microsoft’s online RSS reader at http://www.start.com/2/, and their Javascript enabled search page at http://www.start.com/1/.

posted on Monday, 14 March 2005 10:57:05 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Even more on the search engine optimization subject:

Google is the best search engine on the 'net right now. The Googlebot is Google's indexing software. The Googlebot visits billions of web sites over time and records their contents, which makes them available to search. The Googlebot is very smart and works really well. But, like everyone, it could use a little help from its friends.

Help the Googlebot Understand Your Website

Also I couldn’t agree more with this disclaimer. SEOs are indeed thieves:

** Disclaimer: I'm no Google expert or employee, and I'm no SEO. As a matter of fact, SEOs who charge exorbitant amounts of money for "proprietary, secret" methods of upping your site's placement in Google results are thieves. There aren't secrets or tricks to any of this; my sources of information for this list of recommendations are the freely available Google Webmaster Guidelines and my own piddly server logs.

posted on Monday, 14 March 2005 09:43:45 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Interesting to say the least:

This book is a Programmer’s Guide to the Mind. In it, we will attempt to do two things: We will try to explain how the mind works, and we will also show how a person can make it operate more effectively. If we compare the task of developing the mind to that of taking a journey, then this volume could be described as a combination road map and tourist guide.

A Programmer's Guide to the Mind

posted on Monday, 14 March 2005 09:26:09 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
In addition to The Black Art of Google Optimizations you should check out the SEO Toolkit which will help you out in the never ending quest for better search engine ranks.
posted on Monday, 14 March 2005 09:22:50 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Paul Vick of the Visual Basic team responds to the madness surrounding the plead for Microsoft to keep supported VB6 and develop a new version.

To start with the second point first, to those who think we should integrate VB6 into the current Visual Studio shell, I can only offer the perspective of a developer who’s worked in both codebases: best of luck. In VB6, all of the pieces of the puzzle (compiler, debugger, forms package, runtime, etc.) were designed to work solely with each other and were tightly bound together. In Visual Studio, all of the pieces of the puzzle were designed to work with mutiple clients and were loosely bound together. Thus, the architectures are totally different and, in many ways, incompatible. Heck, we spent four years getting VB .NET integrated into the Visual Studio shell and we were writing it from scratch (and therefore could design a compatible architecture)! Trying to extract some of the pieces of VB6 and fit them into an architecture that was not designed to couple with them as tightly as their previous home would be a huge undertaking.

Save Ferris! I mean, VB6!

posted on Monday, 14 March 2005 09:17:29 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 13 March 2005
Speaking of Flickr Derek Lakin, Sma Judson, and Ray Dixon have taken the time to write a managed wrapper for the Flickr API which enables you to do all kinds of tricks. You shouldn’t use the official release from the site, rather you should grab the latest version from their source control system as the release doesn’t work with the current version of the Flickr API. Save yourself the time I spent figuring this out. You will need the free SourceGear Vault Client for accessing their source control, and you should point it to scc.wdevs.com using user name “guest” and password “guest”.
posted on Sunday, 13 March 2005 11:08:40 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I’ve started playing around with Visual Studio 2005 for a small Flickr project I need, and I’m really digging on the new ability to specify different protection levels on get and set accessors. I’ve often found myself needed a public get accessor and a protected or private set accessor. With .NET 2.0 I can have this with writing a separate internal set accessor. Small feature but it’s something I see myself using on a regular basis.

public string MyString




                      return "";


           private set


                      string s = value;



Also: Generics… Wow! I want my next child to have this feature


posted on Sunday, 13 March 2005 09:06:22 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 12 March 2005
Using the moon for remote backup scientists hope to preserve life should the Earth get hit by a meteor: Could a Lunar Gene Bank Save Our Species? Pretty freaking weird to use to moon as a remote backup location if you ask me  Wonder if I could get a gig or two for my family pictures while they’re at it
posted on Saturday, 12 March 2005 21:42:13 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 11 March 2005

Well wooptidoo: Linus Tovalds gets Mac and install Linux on it. So basically every news source has a story on how nothing has changed in Linux land other than Linus is now focusing on the 64–bit core instead of 32–bit. I may just have to go and lay down for moment – the excitement is too much I tell ya!

This one is right up there with the angry MVPs who want VB6 back. I guess nothing much is going on at the moment

posted on Friday, 11 March 2005 13:45:58 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I was struggling with solving an issue with a server control for ASP.NET which I couldn’t quite figure out. After much trial and error I finally pulled up good old Reflector and had a look at some of the control supplied with ASP.NET. This gave me some much needed inspiration on how to proceed.

Once again two thumbs up for Lutz Roeder for writing Reflector. I may have to write an ode to both of them one day

posted on Friday, 11 March 2005 13:41:42 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I’m always on the lookup for something different to subscribe to. Today it comes in the form of Drawn a blog dedicated to drawing. As the name implies you’ll find lots and lots of cool drawings posted every day.

Go take a look yourself. Here’s some art for the movie Robots which I found while looking through some of the stuff.


posted on Friday, 11 March 2005 13:37:08 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed.

More at How to Start a Startup

posted on Friday, 11 March 2005 13:11:43 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Should Microsoft continue to support VB6? No! Why? I’ll tell you why, or rather I’ll point you to Public Class GeoffAppleby where a well put together post sums up my feelings on this non-issue pretty well: Ranting about the VB rant

Be sure to read the comments too, they’re a hoot.

posted on Friday, 11 March 2005 11:29:25 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 09 March 2005

When thinking about new home projects I’d like to create I often get stuck at the point in the process where I need to think about the interface for the application. More often than not I have a very good idea of where I want to take the app, but not really a clear idea of how I’ll get there.

Interface Design Tips That You May Not Know About may help me get to the actual implementation of the interface for a change

posted on Wednesday, 09 March 2005 15:45:12 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 08 March 2005
This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.
posted on Tuesday, 08 March 2005 09:22:18 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 04 March 2005

Looks like we will be able to go live on Whidbey beta 2. Microsoft offers support from this version on. Here a quote from Wes at .NET Undocumented:

I came across a blog comment by a Microsoft employee, that the Whidbey beta 2 should be coming up in the next few days. This is a few weeks earlier than the the March 31 delivery date announced by Somasegar, corporate VP of Microsoft’s developer divisions, but still in line with statements made five weeks ago that the next Avalon and Indigo CTP, both dependent on Beta 2, will arrive in about “six weeks.” It’s about time.

More information about Whidbey beta 2 on .NET Undocumented.

posted on Friday, 04 March 2005 09:22:48 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Sijin has written an article on Code Project on how the internals of the MessageBox works in .NET: Dissecting the MessageBox. Definitely a must-read if you want to get a feel for how the WinForms controls are put together.
posted on Friday, 04 March 2005 09:07:22 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If that head line doesn’t get you off of your chair, nothing will  Graham Glass, John Wiegand, and Erich Gamma offers some useful advice for building good software in a series of posts on Graham Glass, etc.

How to Produce Good Software, Part 1

I've decided to write a series of blog entries about how to produce good software. Over the years, I've had the pleasure of writing a lot of award-winning software, and thought it would be fun to document the way that it was done. I also hope that the lessons learned will be useful to readers of this blog.

The specific areas that I intend to cover include:

  • methodology
  • tools
  • building a team
  • release cycles
  • testing
  • support

How to Produce Good Software, Part 2

In this part, I thought I'd present a little bit of my software writing background to provide some context for future parts.

How to Produce Good Software, Part 3

In this part, before I delve into the production of the software itself, I thought I'd write a little about why we chose to build the particular products that we did.

How to Produce Good Software, Part 4

In this part, I describe the activities that took place in the first few months of development. Things like marketing, pricing, and other such stuff are left out because they're outside the scope of this series.

How to Produce Good Software, Part 5

In this part, I focus on the power of simplicity, which contributed to the widespread awareness of products like Glue

How to Produce Good Software, Part 6

In this part (written during my lunch break while visiting webMethods in Sunnyvale, CA) I focus on how we planned product roadmaps.

posted on Friday, 04 March 2005 08:44:56 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Ever wondered how Google does the things it does so well? Peeking Into Google gives you a technical insight into the inner workings of Google, albeit a high level insight.
posted on Friday, 04 March 2005 08:37:36 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 03 March 2005

I’ve had a problem with the CInt, CDbl, CWhatever casts in VB.NET from day one. Maybe it’s just because I dislike VBScript so much that something carried over to .NET. I must admit that my preference goes to C# for it’s cleanness. The .NET framework was developed from ground up and this approach made it possible to start over and get rid of of the baggage which accumulates during the years a technology exists. Now why would you go ahead and add some of the baggage back in by adding VB6 compatibility on top in the form of VB.NET?

Understand me right, VB.NET is great but one of the things which bugs me about VB.NET are the choices made to keep many of the weird little “features” of VB6 in VB.NET. VB.NET is different in so many important aspects that it’s almost painful to think that anyone in their right mind would keep the little weirdnesses in for the sake of existing developers. I mean come on, they had to learn all kinds of OOP techniques, patterns, and so forth, why wouldn’t you just get rid of the weird stuff?!

Dustin Aleksiuk gives a great example you should be aware of if you are using VB.NET: The CInt cast. Take a few seconds and draw up in your mind the way you think it works. I almost guarantee you that the actual implementation will surprise you.


posted on Thursday, 03 March 2005 14:35:18 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Looking for more information about the Enterprise Library from the Patterns & Practice group at Microsoft? Each and every building block of the library will be dedicated a web cast giving you the opportunity to pick the area you have special interest in.

Enterprise Library Webcast Series

posted on Thursday, 03 March 2005 14:06:37 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

You should definitely check out Mike Roberts’ How to Setup a .NET Development Tree articles which details a good structure for your .NET project along with source control organization. Often I find solutions which are structured in a weird way and it annoys me to no end.

Mike did a series of articles on the subject and you can grab the whole thing in PDF format for easy accessibility. A must read for everyone who sets up new projects!

posted on Thursday, 03 March 2005 10:49:03 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Along with the 30 Minute Regex Tutorial the Understanding Basic Regular Expressions article should give you a solid start into the wonderful world of regular expressions. Often I have found myself comparing regular expressions to SQL in that they both provide very elegant solutions to difficult problems, although getting at the solution may be more than challenging from time to time
posted on Thursday, 03 March 2005 09:15:42 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback