Gas below $2.00 in Nashville


I posted on www.nashvillegasprices.com, a site owned by www.gasbuddy.com, that gas was $1.99 in Nashville. My post was deleted. I posted again. Deleted. I just posted a third time. Let’s see if they are dense enough to delete it again.
 
Tomorrow, I will post pictures of the madness going on at the Highway 100 Kroger (added to this post). Apparently, the other Bellevue Kroger has followed. Let’s see if the morons delete that post, as well.
 
Now, I know $1.99 is hard to believe, since the gas started at $2.49 this morning, but I filled up my tank for less than $30 today. I am happy.
 
Peace and Grace,
Greg

Hanselman hits a home run


I just finished watching Hanselman’s PDC 2008 session. I have always loved watching Scott, but he has refined his presentation with Baby Smash.
 
I have read Andy Stanley’s (pastor of Northpoint Church, son of Charles Stanley) book on speaking. Find one thing. It is a good model on keeping focus. Scott trashes the idea. But, he follows what is probably the more important idea … find something you have passion about. I have watched other PDC videos with deeper content and tried to stay awake. They were hard to remember things (lots of notes). This was not that session.
 
Scott is passionate about his kids. So mixing them with a session on new technology is brilliant. Scott, you need to give this guy a raise! This passion is translated into an application that, on the surface, is rather inane. But what a talk. Here is is:
 
 
In hte session, Scott deals with all of these topics:
 
  • .NET 4.0
  • Surface programming
  • Silverlight for Mobile
  • Twitter – a Microsoft fave (btw, I am gbworld on twitter – make it easy)
  • PLINQ
  • WPF
  • Astoria
  • Entity Framework
  • POCO (for Java guys, think POJO)
  • REST
  • WCF
  • Silverlight charts

And more. And, even if you are not a true geek, there is some goodness to love here. Wish I was actually there live.

Peace and Grace,
Greg

Friend Invites


For all of you clicking and adding me as a friend. I thank you for the complement. But I am a bit picky about whom I add on my blog. Considering some are just adding me to get my visitors, I hope you will forgive me?
 
Peace and Grace,
Greg

Visual Studio 2010 VPC released on MIcrosoft downloads


I guess the non-PDC people will get the new Visual Studio prior to those waiting for the DVD at PDC (it was stealth set up yesterday):
 
There are 11 files, totalling 7.18 GB (10 at 716,800 kb and 1 at 361,730 kb), so it will take some time to download.
 
Here are some features in the bits you can now download.
  1. The IDE uses WPF for the start page. There are instructions in the walktrhough on creating your own start page.
  2. Other elements of the editor can be customized using Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) components.
  3. Editor features include line highlighting and zooming
  4. You can create custom syntax highlighters and your own intellisense
  5. There is an XML Schema Designer
  6. Aslo in the XML realm, there is a new XSLT Debugger and Profiler.
  7. You can dock windows outside of the IDE. This will be great for multi-monitor setups.
  8. If you are designing for Vista, you can now set up your project to auto-restart on failure.
  9. When targeting a specific framework version, the IDE is better at ensuring you only see pieces in the framework version you desire to target. It is also stated VS2010 will support future versions set on top of .NET 4.0.
  10. There are some new features for TDD, such as the ability to implement a class from a test class. This is much better than implementing tests from already created classes.
  11. GelFX – nativecode access to WPF via a data binding layer. Have not played with this yet.
  12. More WPF designer features.
  13. Support for WIndows Installer XML (WIX)
  14. MSBuild enhancements
  15. PLINQ is included, although the VPC download does not support multi-procs.
  16. There are updates for Sync Framework.
  17. Enhancements in the deployment of web applications, inlcuding the transformation of the config file for the deployed server, via MSDeploy.
  18. There are additional upcoming deployment features, including Precompile, Packaging and IIS settings. As they are not implemented, I would not consider these firm features.

There are also some new Team System features, including a good number of UML designers. This is a very nice addition, IMO. In this release, you will find the following UML diagrams:

  • Activity
  • Use Case
  • Sequence
  • Component
  • Class – alteration of the current class diagram

There is also call dependency diagrams, which can be used to visualize the calls in the entire solution, referenced assemblies or for a specific class. I would love to see this extended to dependency matrixes, but that should be easy enough. Of interest is the fact you can reverse engineer some of the UML diagrams from existing software and everything is supposed to be fully synced, at least by final release time.

The bits also include the latest version of Dinner Now, a reference application produced by Microsoft. If you have not seen it, you can see it at http://www.dinnernow.net/.

Of all of the bits, I am especially fond of the test driven bits, as this has been a sticking point to getting newbies into TDD. Now that you can implement from your test classes via a refactoring, the implementation time curve should flatten a bit. I will wait to see if it is enough for the purists out there.

Have fun with the bits.

Peace and Grace,
Greg

Free software tomorrow (10/28/2008)


Codeweavers said they would give away their software for free for 24 hours if lame duck (George Bush) could achieve one of many goals. The one hit was gas below $2.79. It happened October 14, 2008 in their area, so they are doing good on their promise.
 
Tomorrow you can download cross over (for Mac, Linux or Games) for free and get a license for support. The press release is here:
 
Peace and Grace,
Greg

PDC live


I did not get to PDC this year, but the keynote is streaming live right now:
 
They have already featured Windows Azure (cloud computing version of Windows) and deployed an app into the cloud:
 
I am sure the Azure SDK will be available this week. Currently, it sounds like he might be heading towards Zermatt (claims based identity), and I am sure Visual Studio 2010 will rear its head before the keynote is over. Wonder what other surprises we get this week. Wish I was in L.A. this year.
 
Peace and Grace,
Greg

Silverlight 2 released


Man, I really have not paid attention this last week. It appears went RTW (Release to Whatever?) last Tuesday. That means you can now download and not be afraid of beta software.
 
Have fun!
 
Peace and Grace,
Greg

Putting blog on Facebook


This is just a blog to show Facebook I own this blog. Fun stuff!
 
 
Peace and Grace,
Greg

Fun waste of time: Name the HTML elements


Thanks to Cheryl Wise for passing this one on. She sent it yesterday, but I did not have time to start. Of course, that might still be a bit of "cheating", as I knew what I was getting into when I started and had all night to think about it. If the graphic does not show up, I ended up with 85 elements.
 
85

Created by OnePlusYou
 
It was fairly easy to get started on this one, as you start from the top to the bottom of a typical page, being sure to include lists, tables and frames (nice hint, eh). You then go through anything that changes the look of text, then images and finally things that link up external elements to the page.
 
The hard part is thinking of the obscure ones you do not use every day. Like when is the last time you used a PRE for pre-formatted text? or, perhaps a CITE or CODE? The ones I missed are what I consider obscure:
 

You forgot:

ACRONYM, BDO, ISINDEX, KBD, LEGEND, SAMP,

There is also a "How many colors can you name in five minutes" and "how many countries" (as I have made quite a few apps with country demographics, I might do good here), so I have a couple other time wasters to spend time on. Surprised
 
Peace and Grace,
Greg

Deploying ASP.NET applications without overwriting config values


Recently, I have seen quite a few questions about deploying applications. In general, the poster wants to know how to push a file out to production without overwriting values that are different.
 
In repsonse, one person answered to remove web.config from the publish directory. Now, this will work, but there are times you need to send out an updated web.config (for example, moving from 2.0 to 3.5 or adding AJAX, etc.). In these cases, you end up with a lot of editing to the production file, which is not fun.
 
If exclude is your best option, there is an easier way to do this. If you will put your connection strings and app settings in a separate file, you will find you can save yourself a lot of heartaches. Let’s take this config file as an example:
 
  <appSettings>
    <
add key="someKey" value="Somevalue"/>
  </
appSettings>
  <
connectionStrings>
    <
add name="MyConnectionString" connectionString="Server=(local);Database=MyDatabase;UID=sa;PWD=;" />
  </
connectionStrings>
 
Our first change is to add files. I am going to add AppSettings.config
 
<appSettings>
  <
add key="someKey" value="Somevalue"/>
</
appSettings>
 
and db.config
 
<connectionStrings>
  <
add name="MyConnectionString" connectionString="Server=(local);Database=MyDatabase;UID=sa;PWD=;" />
</
connectionStrings>
 
This is how you hook things up.
 

  <appSettings configSource="appSettings.config">
    <
add key="someKey" value="Somevalue"/>
  </
appSettings>
  <
connectionStrings configSource="db.config">
    <
add name="MyConnectionString" connectionString="Server=(local);Database=MyDatabase;UID=sa;PWD=;" />
  </
connectionStrings>

Now, you will still have to add values on the server’s config file(s)  each time you add an app setting or a connection string, but you can now publish the site and deploy via xCopy without fear of overwriting the server values. In addition, if you change an important config element, you can deploy the new web.config file without overwriting local values. You still have to exclude the config files from the publish or deploy, however.
 
There is a variation of config source you should know about (or a different attribute) that allows you to take this one step further. If you do the following:
 
  <appSettings file="appSettings.config">
    <
add key="someKey" value="Somevalue"/>
  </
appSettings>
  <
connectionStrings file="db.config">
    <
add name="MyConnectionString" connectionString="Server=(local);Database=MyDatabase;UID=sa;PWD=;" />
  </
connectionStrings>
 
You can now delete the files on the development machine.
 
Now, you may be asking "did he say I could delete that file locally?" and thinking "won’t it error because it cannot find that file?". The answer is yes and no. Yes, I did say exclude or delete. No, it will not error, as .NET has a built in fall back to look at web.config if it cannot find the file specified in the file attribute.
 
Note that you can put all of the values in a single config file, if you wish. I like multiple config files, as it makes it easy for me to change the value I need to change without going through a large file. Pretty kewl, eh?
 
Most of the elements in .config can be placed in their own file. Any time you find configSource as an attribute on a config element, you can place it in its own file.
 
Peace and Grace,
Greg

Twitter: @gbworld