Thursday, December 21, 2006
The first a tool that will do searches of MP3s. By searches I mean you give it a phrase and it will actually search the entire song for it. For example, if you ask it to find "sparks fly from your finger tips" it will return Witchy Woman and any other song with those lyrics. This cool search can be found here.
The second cool thing is a website. Ever go to a mall or a bar or a friends and couldn't find a parking spot because someone has parked poorly either by laziness or on purpose to protect there car. Well here is your chance to get back at them. The website youparklikeanasshole.com is just the answer. here you can upload pictures of the offenders, and even download tickets you can print out and put on the vehicles.
I plan on making use of both these items in the future and I hope you do too.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Wisconsin Led the whole second half, and the game was never really in doubt. The game was tight up until about 5 minutes left in the first half when the Badgers went on a 20-9 scoring run to end the half.
Dick Vitale was calling the game for ESPN and he was really impressed with Tucker calling him is current favorite for player of the year. He also thought both Wisconsin and Pitt would make a serious push in the NCAA tournament.
In the new AP rankings the Badgers climbed to 4th place there highest ranking ever. Previous they were ranked 6th back on Dec 4th, 1962.
Friday, December 15, 2006
The CF is really a subset of the .Net framework. What make it tough is the fact that things you expect to be in the framework are sometime missing. The example that took me by surprise was the Threading package. If you look at the two packages, you will notice the threading in the CF is rather lite. Some methods one would expect to find are missing, causing the developer (me) to have to find new ways to do tasks.
I don't want this to sound like the CF is crap, because it isn't. I am sure the reason the CF scales down is because of the devices it has to run on. Hand held devices have limited memory resources and processor speed. These limitations are what causes the CF to be scaled from the regular framework.
There are other things that cause this type of development to be challenging, but I think I will save those for another day.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
On Thursdays the wings cost $0.30 each with purchase of a beverage. The interesting thing about the wings is they never taste exactly the same. I have wondered about this and Mark, the owner says he always changes one ingredient just enough to make it different. The other thing I like about the wings is the fact they are grilled.
The wait staff there is really great. They know us well and treat us great. Erica and Brent are very professional and work very hard.
This is not a paid endorsement.
Monday, December 11, 2006
DNN is a content management solution for the web. It is built with ASP.NET 2.0. The basic install walks you through a simple wizard and once complete builds an initial site. To the site you can then easily add new pages with a few clicks of the mouse. These pages can handle any type of content.
DNN is also very expandable. It is easy to create new modules and even link to external resources. I know in the clients DNN site, we link to an ASP.NET web app from inside an ILINK module. The page looks like you never left the DNN site.
Now even though DNN was easy to work with and very expandable, I still prefer developing web apps without it. I like writing code and doing nice design work, but the content management part of DNN is hard to pass up.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
So the first thing I did is create a new team server project. To do this I connected to my team server through the team explore window. Then I right click and chose new team project. The wizard will walk you through naming the project, entering a description, and then you get to pick a project process. I went with agile process. After completing the wizard, the tool goes to work.
Once you get control back, you find a new team project has been created, along with a project portal that can be found on on you team server. I also noticed it created me 15 work items, along with some documents that seem to be stubs for things like requirements, vision statements, testing and so on. It also created a lot of process guidance document to help you through the tasks.
The first 15 work items are relatively straight forward. They range from defining members and roles, setting up check in rules, code standards, and what not. Also in these early work items some ba type items like defining vision, and persona. Pm items include defining iteration length and create iteration plan, and even testers get some items create test approach. Of course most of the documents are already stubbed and just need you to check them out and modify them.
Once I am done fulfilling all these items, I will create anew blog talking about what I did to close them.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
During the interview Bono and Edge talked about the way they write music and it was very interesting. Although they never used the terms requirements, iterative development, and unit testing, those concepts were part of there process so to speak.
The way they discussed music was like this. Before recording they would have a general understanding of what they wanted to achieve. They usually entered the studio only with a bass line, or guitar riff. They would then use that and build on top of it. Perhaps adding a drum beet or maybe a verse like doing an iteration. After every addition they would playback what they did and decided it was correct. After a countless number of these iterations they would arrive to the finished product, another hit song.
I am not sure why I made this connection or found it interesting other than it is the same process I use at my job. I also wonder if other jobs follow a similar process to complete there jobs.
Friday, December 01, 2006
At a past client, I used AJAX for a on the fly rate form. Basically how it worked was when a user filled in a field, the updated line item and grand total was to be updated without a full page post back. Well when I did this project ATLAS, now AJAX.ASP.NET was not ready, so I had to do it the old school way.
Some pros of using AJAX is bandwidth usage, and interactivity. With smaller request to the server, smaller amounts of data or subsets are transmitted. Some cons, are latency and usability. When part of a web page is being updated, some controls can become unusable.
So now that you know a little more about AJAX in general lets talk geek....
Basicly the guts of it all revolves around an object called XMLHttpRequest. This object will make a request to a url and collect the response from the request. the url could be anything, but web services work well. Then you can take the response usually and XML and manipulate it and set controls on the web page.
As you can see, AJAX is a very useful tool. With the help of AJAX.ASP.Net (Atlas) you can really improve on the user experience at any website you have to build.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
So what are the advantages of these technologies over regular DVDs?
Well mainly storage capacity. By using blue lasers in stead of red lasers, the disks are able to contain more rows. More rows means more data. I guess it has something to do with wavelengths properties of the laser beam. It is really technical and honestly I think I slept through that physics class.
So what are the difference between HD-DVD and Blu Ray?
Well the main difference is that Blu Ray disks can actually store more data, something like 50gb compared to HD-DVDs 30gb. So that has a lot of people excited, however the real advantage of HD-DVD is that it more closely mimics current DVD technology so the cost to manufacture is lower thus causing the technology to be cheaper.
So who will win?
Well I don't know. The fact that the Playstation 3 comes with Blu Ray drives, the fact that Sony owns licenses for something like 40% of all movies, and the extra storage capacity put a strong plus on Blu Ray's side, however considering the cost of HD-DVD to be way less and throw in the weight of Microsoft and their will to dominate the console market it is hard to pick a winner.
I think in the end, Sony and Blu Ray will win. The extra storage capacity is really hard to pass up on. I think in a year or even the next generation XBox you will see them offering a Blu Ray solution instead of HD-DVD.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
So last night my Dad, Brother-in-law and I went to see Casino Royale, the new James Bond Movie. The movie was around two and a half hours long. I actually found the time fly by. I thought this next installment was very good. I gave it an 8.5 out of 10.
So the movie opens with a flashback. The flashback explains how someone becomes a double O and show us how Bond became one. This is important because the movie is trying to tell one of Bond's earliest missions. This is confusing since the movie is set to today's time and terrorism is the theme.
As the movie progresses, we get to see a Bond that has never been seen before. One that is a little rough and well brutish. Examples of this is not knowing if his martini should be shaken or stirred. Showing off his driving skills as he crashes his car and rolls several times. Being caught on camera as he does his spy duties. All the early mistakes are what Bond learns from to become the great agent he is.
By the end of the movie, Bong got the girl catches the crook and earns the trust of M. Like I said all in all it was a good movie, and I think Craig will become one of the best Bonds.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Well one task I have taken on is to look into the Microsoft Team Server. The first task was to install it on our network. I asked our network guy to create a new partition. I also download Team Server for Workgroups from my MSDN subscription. I decided to do the single server install since this was to be more of a fact finding/demo of what team server can do, and the workgroup version can only accommodate five users.
The install is a little more complex that I thought it would be. The install document although lengthy was very accurate. Here is a quick wrap up of what I did.
The first thing I did is I had out network guy create three new domain accounts. One was the install account, one was the service account and the other was the reporting account. I had to have them as domain since it was the workgroup install, however if you do the regular version I guess the users can just be local accounts.
The first thing that needs to be installed is SqlServer 2005. there are some setting you need to change form the install wizard. They are well documented in the install manual. After it installs, there are two updates the need to be run. the updates are found on the team server dvd. Next is to install SharePoint services 2.0. Again you must choose the server farm setting. Once installed don't worry about trying to configure SharePoint, since the team server install will do this. The last thing to do is to install Team Server. Again walk through the wizard and let it install.
Once everything was installed, I had to use the command line tool to add users to roles on the server.
Finally I installed the client tool on my local machine and away we went.
As I use the tool more I will blog about my experience with it. For now though I haven't had a lot of time to use it.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Next, on to this weekend. My UW Badgers won and finished the regular season 11-1. The game Saturday was a bit sloppy but as Lou Holtz says "You only need to be the best team in the stadium." It looks like the UW Badgers will be invited to play in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando Florida. Again this assumes that Ohio State, and Michigan will be selected to BCS games.
Also, this weekend was perhaps the game of the year. Second ranked Michigan played at first ranked Ohio State. I wasn't really sure who I wanted to win, but I was cheering of Michigan. I wanted to see the team Bo built win one for him. I thought the game would be close, and it was Ohio State won by three points. What surprised me was the number of points scored. Ohio State and Michigan had two of the best defenses in college football, yet they scored a combined 81 points and over 900 yards of total offense. the game was very exciting and you could tell these truly are the best two teams in the nation.
Well that is my quick wrap up of my weekend. As you can see I really didn't do to much.
Friday, November 17, 2006
So I was bored the other day and looking for neat things on the web. I came across this website. It is a shrine to the original Nintendo. I think the website is very original. The name is one of the greatest cheat codes ever.
I remember playing Contra and other popular games and typing that code in over and over again. It would provide you free lives or allow you to skip to different levels or even to max out your weapons.
I also remember playing Nintendo so much that I would get Nintendo thumb. this is a severe case of your left thumb getting disfigured from the navigation cross. Another sign of this was the fact your thumb would be raw red.
I hope the owner of the website will add more content to help me really re-live my youth.
Have a good weekend!!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I have been a Firefox user now for about one year. I really like they way the browser works, and I am not in a big hurry to try IE 7.
That said I just recently started trying extensions for Firefox. The two extensions I like most are FoxyTunes, that lets you control you media player right from your browser, and PacMan.
Why is controlling music from your browser important, well it really isn't, except I do read a lot on line. Working in software development there is always learning that needs to be done. I read a lot online and while doing so I listen to music. It is very convenient to be able to control volume and song selection without ever leaving the web browser. I never lose my place anymore and re-read the same paragraph multiple times.
I like the PacMan extension because well I like PacMan. It is nice to take a quick break and just play a fun 80's video game.
Some of the other extensions I use are ...
As you can see I do not have that many, which brings me to a question. What extensions are you using and why should I want to use them?
Saturday, November 11, 2006
As a software developer I always keep an eye out for way computers impact life. Las Vegas has seen multiple changes due to the cpu. I have only been going to Vegas for nine years so these observations are based on that time frame.
One of the most obvious place computers have impacted Vegas is with slot machines. Gone are the days of the reeled machines with a single pay line. Thanks to the increased speed of the cpu now you have video slot machines that have up to 100 pay lines. Each line requires a separate bet and thus making the slot machine the number one money maker for Vegas casinos.
High speed networks have allowed slot machines to be linked across many different casinos and thus allowing larger progressive jackpots. The way the jackpots work is simple for every coin in a linked machine a percentage gets added to the progressive. When you have many of these machines linked together that jackpot increase rather quickly.
Table games are always changing. Casinos are always adding new games to the floor to go along with the basic games of blackjack, craps, and roulette. For the game play there is very little technology, in fact casinos will not let you sit at a table while using a cell phone, mp3 player or any other portable electronic device (Poker room is an exception). Behind the table games however is a plethora of technology including some of the highest level security and player tracking computer systems.
Lets start with the player tracking system. how it works is simple. You give the pit boss you players card, and they go over to a computer and pull up your history. They can learn everything about you as a player. Things like your average bet, the times and games you like to play, if you are an advantage player, what you drink, and most importantly your importance to the casino as a player. As you play, the bosses continue to add data to the system. Over time the casino has a very clear picture of there players and thus who deserves free room comp, and who deserves the buffet comp.
Casino security is the most high tech security you will find. There are very few places you can go without the eye in the sky not being able to track you. Also, rarely can you get to places in a casino you do not belong. Every casino has hundreds of video devices and linked with that is software that can scan a persons face and pull up possible matches. The computers are smart enough to analyze video of game play and come to a determination if there are any shenanigans going on and can alert security personal to watch and notify pit bosses. The security is so good that after 911 airports went to the casinos to learn about security.
Technology you don't see
Other ways computers have helped casinos become even more successful is by tracking how money is made. If you walk around a casino you see that the table games are arranged in a pit and slot machines are arranged in banks. Casinos have software that track how well individual table games, pits, and groups do. They also track the same for slot machines. By tracking the dollars the casino knows games customers want to play and what games are flops. With this knowledge a casino can maximize it's earning potential.
Well this brings me to the end of my Vegas posts. I am letting Harrahs off the hook since I was going to devote a whole post to a rant about how the Harrahs chain has really started to fall in quality and service. I decided that it was not worth my time.
Friday, November 10, 2006
While in Vegas I played in a Hold em tournament and I also played a little 1-2 no limit. I consider myself a little better than average at playing poker. I know how to calculate pot odds, and card odds. I have multiple styles of play and have no problems changing up during table play.
So I bought into an $80.00 tournament. There were 30 players who bought in. You started with 2500 in chips. Blinds started at 25 - 50 and raised up every 15 minutes.
I was seated in the 8th seat at the table. My table was mixed with young and old guys. Some talkers and some non-talkers. It was a good mix. I decided I was going to be very tight early on so I could watch a lot of the play. I was only going to play what I call a top ten hand. So after the first 15 minutes I thought I had a god feel for the table. I felt 5 players were poor players and very loose. I felt the 3 players were solid, and the rest I did not know.
I decided it was time to change my game and just play tight. I would play top 20 hands. the first hand I got involved in I was pocket 9's in dealers position. I decided to raise the un-opened pot and put pressure on the blinds. I got called by the small blind and the big blind folded. The flop came with A, K, 10. The small blind raised more than the pot. I thought this was an odd bet, but this was one of the players I just did not have a read on yet. I decided to lay down the hand since there were 3 over cards on the flop.
After that hand Every hand I played at that table I won. Either I had the cards, or my tight image bullied other players. One lesson I learned is the power of betting. If you make bets at the right times, you can really scare some people.
After about 2 hours the thirty people are down to 9 and one final table. At the table I was about 6th or 7th in chips, not great. I had enough chips, that I could last awhile so I didn't have to make any drastic moves. However, the third hand I was dealt pocket cowboys. I decide to push all in. Basically if I no one called and I stole the blinds I would raise my stack by about 50%. I actually got a caller, and oddly enough I had him out chipped so he was really all in. When he turned up is pocket 10's I new I was in good position. The flop came 5,3,j. I am now thinking I am about 91% to win. That is until the turn came up a 10. I ended up losing the hand and having about 1500 in chips left not enough really. Basically I was all in on the next hand since I was the big blind, and ended up losing.
The next day I played 1-2 no limit and it was fun. I again played tight early, but got real loose after watching. I got some good cards, bet them hard and usually one. I was up big until a guy when all in and I had pocket aces. He had Q, 10. he paired his queen and then ended up pairing his 10 in the river. Other than that hand and paying someone else I new had a straight but could not believe he would bet so much chasing it, I did pretty well.
So those are my poker stories. Stay tuned form my Harrah's rant, and other Vegas goodies.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I am back from Vegas. The next few blogs will be about my trip. Today's blog is on my gambling experience.
While in Vegas I tried many different games. I would say the break down is 70% blackjack, 15% poker, 8% Pia Gow Poke, 4% craps, and 3% slots and other.
What can I say about this game. I like to play two deck, with a 3 to 2 bj payout. Well it seams the casino I stay at decided to rid itself of true double deck. They had a couple tables with single deck with a 6 to 5 bj payout. If you are familiar with the game you know that 6 to 5 increase the house percentage in the game, like the house already didn't have enough of an advantage. I ended up mostly playing an 8 deck shoe with a 3 to 2 bj payout. The house percentage is actually less on this game than a single deck with a 6 to 5 bj payout. The troubles I ran across while playing are the same as normal usual, the double down. For some reason when ever I have an opportunity to double down, I usually end up losing. My last night there the dealer help me keep track and I was 2 for 12 on my double downs.
See the next post
Pia Gow Poker
Pia Gow is one of my favorite games. You are dealt seven cards and you make two poker hands out of them. If your two hands beats the dealers two hands you win. If the dealers two hands beat yours you lose. Anything else is a push. For the most part I did pretty well at the game. It is one of those games you can really play for a long time. You don't win or lose a lot.
I love to play craps, I just don't have the bankroll needed to play it often. The game is fast paced and the house odds are low. In fact the best bet in all of Vegas is found on the craps table. I enjoy the action. For the most part I played for a couple hours. I was up and down, craps is a roller coaster. I think when I walked away, I was up a little.
I do enjoy playing some slots. I know that slots are usually the worst bet in Vegas, but they can be fun. I like the themes, and the chance to hit a big jackpot. Plus my brother-in-law likes to play them and we have fun complaining about how lucky each other is.
I did make a few parlay bets. I lost them all. It was a pretty tough weekend with football. A lot of good teams all lost. So I ended up down.
Hope all is good. Stay tuned for the next update.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
So at work, I have been working on a couple mobile computing applications. I am doing one PDA application for one client and a Tablet PC application for another client.
The two applications have very similar challenges. They both need to be able to function disconnected. Both applications need to be able to sync support data and upload gathered data in a timely matter. I think we are going to develop a group of secure web services that will handle the needed syncing functionality.
The PDA also face many more challenges. First are the limiting resources of memory and processor speed. The limited screen size also is a challenge for displaying and gathering information.
Well that is my quick update,
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Scrum is an Iterative and Incremental Development (IID) methodology that emphasizes a set of project management values and practices, rather than those in requirements, implementation, and so on. As such, it is easily combined with or complimentary to other methods.This is how it works.
First there is a backlog of project work items. During the project you are allowed to add and remove work items. work items are also prioritized regularly.
Then, during a sprint/iteration the scrum team will decide what work items they will complete. Theses work items are removed from the backlog and broken down into 8 - 16 hour tasks. Scrum members then will take task as they need. During a sprint, that normally lasts 30 days, work items can never be added, however they can be removed. If a work item does not get completed at the end of a sprint it is added back to the backlog list.During the sprint there is a daily meeting or scrum, where the scrum members all answer three questions:
1) What have you done since the last meeting.
2) What are you going to do before the next meeting.
3) Are there any road blocks to completing your tasks.
The scrum master runs these meetings. The master is in charge of removing road block in a timely matter, and also making sure the scrum meeting is not to long.
Scrum enables the creation of self-organizing teams by encouraging verbal communication across all team members and across all disciplines that are involved in the project.
A key principle of Scrum is its recognition that fundamentally empirical challenges cannot be addressed successfully in a traditional "process control" manner. As such, Scrum adopts an empirical approach - accepting that the problem cannot be fully understood or defined, focusing instead on maximizing the team's ability to respond in an agile manner to emerging challenges.
Some key practices include:
- Self-directed and self-organizing teams
- No external addition of work to an iteration, once committed
- Daily stand-up meeting with special questions
- Usually 30-calendar day iterations
- Demo to external stakeholders at end of each iteration
- Each iteration, client-driven adaptive planning
Hope you all have a great day.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Saturday my Dad, and buddy Paul went to the Wisconsin Badger game. They were facing Illinois who by record is not very good. The Badgers ended up winning the game by a score of 30-24. They had an 18 point comeback.
During the game I think I might have caught a cold. Today my head is full and I feel a lot of pressure on my temples.
Saturday night was my cousins 40th surprise birthday party. There were about 50 people at his house to celebrate. I got to see a lot of my family. He got some pretty crazy gifts. His friends were giving him a tough time even though a lot of them are the same age.
Friday, October 27, 2006
If you want to see the old blog, go here.
With this blog I will try to post observations from all sorts of topics. These observations are just my interpretations of what I read, see, hear or do. some may agree some may not, but hopefully it will spark good conversation.
In this first post I want to share a little about myself. My name is Chris and I am from Wauwatosa, WI. Wauwatosa is a suburb of Milwaukee. I work as a consultant for an IT company called SpiderLogic. I graduated with a degree in Computer Science.
I am a huge sports fan. I love to watch the Brewer, Badgers, and Packers. I enjoy playing golf, volleyball, swimming, and much more.
Well that is it for now. check back for future installments.