# Wednesday, 11 April 2007

I got turned on to Google Co-op when reading a post on some blog I can't remember the name of off the top of my head but I didn't really get until later when I got around to listening to the Dan Appleman episode on .NET Rocks.

The problem with my first introduction to Google Co-op was that it only searched a single site. Now what Dan has done is basically to add multiple sites to his custom search and thereby he has create SearchDotNet an engine searching only quality .NET sites for content with Dan Appleman as a kind of editor-in-chief. Check out his post SearchDotNet.com – Google custom search for .NET developers.

This really opened my eyes to the possibilities of Google Co-op. I've been toying with the idea of creating a couple of sites with the main purpose of aggregating great content but I never got around to it due to time constraints. Now thanks to Google I can create the sites easily and I can do with very little HTML.

First thing everybody should do is to integration Google search into their blogs if they haven't already done so and then go ahead and start creating searches for their favorite sites. I know I have a couple I visit when I'm trying to solve some kind of problem.

posted on Wednesday, 11 April 2007 16:33:00 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Great news to the people annoyed by the fact that Team System isn't available to everyone: Some of the unit testing features from Team System will start appearing in Visual Studio Professional in the Orcas release. Also Microsoft is looking into adding more stuff from Team System into Visual Studio so be sure to voice your opinion on that.

"Due to popular demand we have decided to add the majority of the unit testing features of Team System to the Pro Sku of Visual Studio.  With the release of Orcas, the support for authoring, generating and running unit tests, will become available to the users of the Pro Sku of Visual Studio. Pro customers will also take advantage of the some of the unit testing improvements we have added into Orcas"

[Unit Testing Trickling into Pro!]

I'm still thinking that we need to see much more especially with projects like TestDriven.NET and NCover providing so much more. Also Team Foundation Server is a big part of the equation. Of course we have the ability to duck tape together an open source solution which does approximately the same thing. At this point I would even argue that an open source solution would be better but taking the future into consideration the open source solution will never be able to keep up with Team System simply due to the fact that the one thing Microsoft does extremely well is product integration. They have all the basics down and they have been moving on the round two for some time now.

posted on Wednesday, 11 April 2007 11:23:01 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 09 April 2007

To create awareness of Mozilla Develop Center, Mozilla Corporation has created a very cute desktop background for us. Check it out. I just had to add it as my own desktop image :)

Get larger versions of the background image.

posted on Monday, 09 April 2007 20:43:18 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

The final release of Enterprise Library 3.0 is upon us. I've have been looking forward to this release for some time and the timing couldn't be better as I'm currently architecting two new solutions which will benefit significantly of the new features offered by EntLib 3.0 such as the Validation Block also the Policy Injection Block looks very exciting. Can't wait to get my hands dirty with those two. Of course the ever popular logging and data access blocks are still included, using those is just a no brainer as far as I'm concerned.

Here's what program manager Tom Hollander has to say:

"If you've been keeping up with the Community Technology Preview releases, there shouldn't be anything too surprising in the final release, although the overall quality should be much higher. All of the major new features have already been described on this blog or in other places, but here is a quick summary of the most significant changes"

[Just Released! Enterprise Library 3.0 - April 2007]

Download Enterprise Library 3.0 - April 2007

posted on Monday, 09 April 2007 10:16:29 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 08 April 2007

For the average computer user finding out whether his or her computer would run a particular application has been somewhat of a hassle it not downright impossible. Game distributors have traditionally added minimum and recommended requirement on the box of the game or application but what average computer user actually know what kind of hardware is inside their computer? Heck I even have trouble remembering all those parts.

To end that particular frustration Windows Vista includes a feature called Windows Experience Index. Basically this is a number as opposed to hardware specifications which tells you whether your computer will be able to run a certain application or game. The overall score is determined by the lowest number (in my case memory) and tells the user where an upgrade would make the most sense.

Add to this that Windows Experience Index is nicely integrated into the Games Explorer and you have yourself a very nice way of easily determining if you will have a nice time playing a particular game.

Now all that remains to be seen is whether PC game makers will have more sense when it comes to determining the recommended experience index than they do today with their recommended hardware requirement. In any event the single number is much easier for the user to get some kind of sense of what is needed to run a particular game.

posted on Sunday, 08 April 2007 18:22:08 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 04 April 2007

In an effort to make my unit tests easier to create I am looking into doing more interface based programming. I highly recommend MSDN Architecture Webcast: .NET Interface-Based Programming with Juval Lowy of IDesign for a good start.

posted on Wednesday, 04 April 2007 12:58:46 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 03 April 2007

Blogging is about writing. Many claim that content is king. If content is king, then the army that protects and defends the king is the written word.

Here are some things to think about next time to put your army to work on your blog.

[Blogging Is About Writing]

posted on Tuesday, 03 April 2007 14:04:12 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Here is something you do not see every day:

It’s cruel to even want to watch these videos. You do know that, right? Not just because people are attacked by animals. The added cruelty is you’ll be enjoying an animal attack on a human who only wanted to enlighten you.

[5 Best Videos: Animals Attacking Reporters]

posted on Tuesday, 03 April 2007 13:59:45 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 27 March 2007

One thing which annoyed me to no end when I made the switch to FireFox was the missing ability to click Run when I start a download like I could in Internet Explorer. Having to go through the entire process of selecting a place to download the file, then waiting for the download to complete, and finally clicking Open in the Download Manager is just a plain waste of time. Not a problem with the OpenDownload extension which adds the missing Run button to the download dialog.

Download OpenDownload extension (file is missing at the moment so use MozMonkey.com for now). No go run some malware executables off of the Internet will ya? :)

posted on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 15:39:45 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 20 March 2007

One of the issues I encountered in my transition to team leader at Vertica is that the number of tasks grew to a number which I was unable to keep organized in memory. Previously keeping everything in memory was an option because it was simply a matter of one task after the other. Now I am faced with many parallel tasks making my old approach impractical. I thought I would share how I go about handling the numerous concurrent tasks using Outlook 2003 and 2007. The main difference between 2003 and 2007 is that colored flags are not available in 2007 so I have switched to using categories instead. Here's how is goes:

The most obvious way of organizing the tasks in Outlook is using the task list which I did but it turned out to be impractical when you receive every task in the form of an e-mail. Also switching to the task list just did not do it for me, I want to have everything available at a glance and the 2003 implementation of the task list did not provide that.

What I ended up with is using my inbox for organizing tasks (each task corresponding to an e-mail). Using categories (or flags for 2003) I distinguish what I need to get done and what others need to get done: High Priority (mine), Work Items (mine), Awaiting Internal (a colleague), Awaiting External (a customer), and Deferred (basically I never get around to these but it is nice to know what I keep pushing in front of me). Each has its own color to make them easily distinguishable at a glance in the inbox.

This way I know not only what I need to do myself but also what members of my team is doing and what I need from our customers. I created the Awaiting External/Internal because I want to keep the ball in my court so to speak. I want to be able to follow-up on a request I have made of a customer and not leave it entirely up to customer to get back to me. The same thing goes for internal stuff. Basically the goal is to avoid a single point of failure. With only a single person keeping track of a task it only takes same person to forget about it and it is gone. My way a number of people need to forget about it for it to disappear; in essence it is distributed task management :)

Additionally I have created a search folder for each of the categories in order to have a nice count of what I have going on. It is a nice reminder of the stuff needing to get done but it also allows me to get my folder organizing on and have tasks residing in other folders without them buried. Right now I do not really need it but it allows me to scale up easily.

Finally I want to mention the To-Do Bar of Outlook 2007 which makes the whole thing make even more sense as e-mails. I simply flag the e-mails I want to deal with at a specific time and it is added to my task list which is available at all times to the right of my screen. Also the e-mails and Outlook tasks are nicely integrated this way.

TIP: Setting up Outlook to do this is pretty easy but I did run into one thing which is not obvious, at least not to me. I wanted the search folders to display total items not just unread items. To do this you need to right-click the search folder and change the radio button from "Show number of unread items" to "Show total number of items". Obvious once you know how.

I would love to hear how you go about managing your daily tasks.

posted on Tuesday, 20 March 2007 16:23:15 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 19 March 2007
posted on Monday, 19 March 2007 09:48:15 (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback