Tuesday, January 30, 2007


At works some of us have started playing Sheepshead for fun. We have a good mix of new players and old players. The new players have caught on to the game and really are playing pretty well. I have been playing off and on with my family for about 10 years.

So the real reason I am posting this is I have been asked to run a series of Sheepshead games at place called Papas Social Club. It is a really nice bar that actually is set up nicely to accommodate five handed play. The only problem is I am not sure what type of commitment we could get since the thought would be to run the league over 16 weeks. I think if we could get 3+ games going at a time that would be great.

The other thing I am not sure about is how to play. I don't mean I don't know the rules, I just know how my family plays. I know some people enjoy playing Call an Ace, while others like Jack of Diamonds. Both games are fun and bring about different play. At the same time I am worried that novices would not want to play for fear of doing wrong. I want to run a game that is really more social than cut throat. I really would like to put the game on display and get some people my age more interested in Sheepshead.

So if anyone out there as any ideas or comments on how to make this work let me know.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Who Is the Best Bond

My friends and I have spent countless hours arguing about who is the best James Bond. We all agree that Sean Connery was the best hands down. We also agree that George Lazenby was the worst. But for the other four how do they rank. I never really had a formula for ranking, and just went off my gut when I would argue this question. Now however; I have come up for a formula that seems to work for me.

What I did is I listed all 21 Bond movies with the actor who stared as bond. Then I ordered the movies based on how much I liked the movie. Now this was tough to do so I decided to re-watch all the movies with one exception. I did not re-watch Casino Royal. After ranking I assigned a point value to each film, 1 point to the worst and 2 for the second worst and so on. Then I totaled all the actors points for each film they did and I divided by the number of films. Since Craig and Lazenby only have done one film a piece my findings needed to be modified a bit to take into account for longevity. So what I did was add one point for each film the actor did to the average points.

So here is the data based on my opinion.
Title Bond Actor Rank Points
Dr No Connery 4 18
From Russia with Love Connery 7 15
Goldfinger Connery 1 21
ThunderBall Connery 15 7
You Only Live Twice Connery 8 14
On Her Majesty's Secret Service Lazenby 21 1
Diamonds are Forever Connery 13 9
Live and Let die Moore 17 5
The Man with the Golden Gun Moore 12 10
The Spy Who Loved Me Moore 14 8
Moonraker Moore 9 13
For Your Eyes Only Moore 3 19
Octopussy Moore 6 16
A View to a Kill Moore 18 4
The Living Daylights Dalton 16 6
License to Kill Dalton 10 12
GoldenEye Brosnan 2 20
Tomorrow Never Dies Brosnan 11 11
The World is Not Enough Brosnan 19 3
Die Another Day Brosnan 20 2
Casino Royale Craig 5 17

and the order I will rank the Bonds are....

Average Points Adjusted points
14 20
17 18
10.71428571 17
1 2

So there it is. As like anything this my opinion and can be debated.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Five Things You Didn't Know About Me

So Dan Miser tagged me to carry on the 5 things you didn't know about me. So here goes.

1) The first computer I had was an Apple IIe and the first program I wrote on it was a game called lemon catch. The idea was to move along the bottom of the screen catching falling lemons. It really wasn't that hard of a game, but I was only 8 or 9.

2) When I went away to college, I wanted to be a physical therapist. Unfortunetly I did not enjoy my 7:00 am Friday lab so I dropped the class and changed majors. I think I remember saying "How hard could computer science be?".

3) The Dilbert cartoon still makes me laugh and I wish it was still on TV.

4) I have had the same number of Apple/Macintosh computers as I have had Windows/Dos computers. 3 each. On the apple side I had IIe, Mac LC, and a Duo 230. On the windows side, I had a non name brand Pro 200 pc, and of course a Dell, and a HP.

5) I have a blog. According to Google Analytics, I get roughly 5 visitors a month.

So now that you know 5 more things bout me I get to tag some people. I am going to tag James Roome, Brian Kapellusch, Cobbie Berhend, and Vibhu Srinivasan

Friday, January 19, 2007

Compact Framework Woes

So as I discussed in previous blogs, at work I have been doing mobile development using .Net 2.0 and the Compact Framework (CF). For the most part I have found the compact framework fulfills about 90% of our needs. However the remaining 10% of our needs causes a lot of headaches for our team.

I understand the need for the CF to remain compact but it is surprising some of the things that were left out of it. A great example of this is form and control loading. In a WinForms project using the full framework; Forms and UserControls inherit from Control. Control implements a Load event. So this causes Forms and UserControls to have a Load event that is fired shortly before the control or form is loaded on the screen. So if you are creating your UI dynamically at runtime, you have a way to set properties before displaying but after construction.

In the CF, Control does not implement Load. Load is only implemented on the Form. Controls have a Paint event that can be used to do the setting of properties. Most people will say see the CF still allows you to do what you need, but here is the rub.

Besides not being consistent, let's say this dynamic UI needs to be somewhat portable so that it will run on a mobile device and on a PC. the code will run nicely on the hand held device, but on the PC you get this flickering coming from the controls because the use of the Paint event.

So to solve this problem what I did was rather simple, but really tedious. Since in CF you do have a Load event on the Form, I decided to use that. Every UserControl that can be placed dynamically on a form sets the Load event. This was a bit harder than I thought it would be because my natural thought was to do the following in a method that could be called during setup of the control but before loading of the form...

Parent.Load += new System.EventHandler(Control_Load);
((Form)Parent).Load += new System.EventHandler(Control_Load);

Since the parent is really a Control type, and casting it as Form could be dangerous because the controls parent could be a TabPage or a Panel, I ended up setting the form as an attribute on a base class of all these dynamic control and ended up setting the event like this...

this.ParentForm.Load += new System.EventHandler(Control_Load);

This solution will allow for this dynamic approach to work both on mobile devices and PCs.

There are other places in the CF where the implementation differs greatly from the full framework. For example threading, but that is a discussion for another day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Microsoft Team System(cont)

So this is the next post in my team system posts.

I have been working with Team System at work. Although right now we only use it learning. We are not currently running any projects with it. That said, here are some of my experiences with it so far. In this post I will discus working with work items.

A work item is nothing more than a description of work. Some one on the team will enter a work item into the system. If using Agile this item could be a bug, a new task, Risk, scenario, or quality of service requirement. I have only worked with tasks, although in the next few days I plan on creating risks, and quality of service requirements.

When creating a task I used studio. Microsoft says that excel and project both integrate with team system, however I was having trouble using both tools. When using project I could not get it to publish new work items back to the server. It always failed. I was rather disappointed, however I found when working in studio worked fine for me. I am not a Project Manager and so I really only need the work items to be tracked, and assignable to team members.

When creating new work items, you can define your task. Basically you give it a title, a description, assign it to someone on the team, set the items discipline, and define the iteration the item should be worked on. Additionally you can add documents, link it to other work items, view history, and set other details like remaining work hours, start date, and things like that.

Once the item is saved, there are many in the box queries that can be run in studio to view work items. for most people I would guess they would run the my work items query however certain roles may choose to run other queries like the all the work items, or active bugs, resolved bugs, or queries like that.

As a team member works on work items, they can update information and forward the items to other team members or close the items. Closed items can be reopened as needed.

So here comes my opinion. Yes the tool will meet most needs of item tracking. Have I seen tools that do it better, yes, however if you are doing DotNet, the intergration of these tools in studio is really nice. I currently use Jira and Confluence for these types of activities and although I like the interfaces, the fact they don't integrate to well with studio annoys me.

So that is what I have learned. I wish I could share more about integration with the web portal and other ms tools. In future posts I will be talking about other areas of team system.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Apple iPhone

So Apple had their big keynote address. Steve Jobs got in front of all the fanboys, and fangirls and announced a bunch of new products. The product getting the most press right now is the iPhone.

The iPhone has been rumored in the works for the last year. It basically is the morphing of a video iPod and a cell phone. For $499 + a 2 year Cingular wireless contract you can get a 4gb version. For $599 you can up that to 8gb. The phone also has some other useful things like a large touch screen, Bluetooth, WiFi, a 2 mega pixel camera and other applications like Google Maps, Safari, and iTunes (of course) with CoverFlow. Jobs said the phone will ship in June if you live in the US.

Now lets break this down a bit.

First, it is not a smart phone. There does not seem to be SDKs to support third party development. For example, where I work we do a lot of business applications that run on pocket pcs, this includes devices that have phones. By not allowing for third party development I believe the business world will not adopt this phone. So that only leaves consumers as buyers. I realize there are many people out there ready to waste money on this product but most consumers will find cheaper alternatives that offers similar options. I personally don't want or need a smart phone, so this is not the deal breaker for me.

The deal breaker for me is the iPhone ties you to Cingular wireless. Where I live Cingular provides terrible coverage. Sure Milwaukee is in there plan, and has good quality, but If I want to visit my parents, I might as well leave my phone at home. In fact you venture to far from our interstate highways, you lose coverage quickly. So Even if I wanted to drop $499 for a phone, I would never sign a contract with Cingular.

So a quick wrap up.

On the plus side...
  • the phone looks cool
  • has a new interface
  • nice set of applications
On the negative side...
  • Cingular
  • Cost
  • No third party development
  • Small amount of memory
So there are my thoughts on the iPhone.

Again I have not been given one of these to test nor have I been paid by anyone to give this review. I recieved my information from other websites, like Apple.com and Cingular.com. Also information was provided by Cingular users who phones do not work at my parents house or other places in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Badgers Dis-Respected

So the final rankings came out for the NCAA Football season. In the AP poll the UW Badger dropped to 7th. I don't understand how this is possible. The Badgers, who finished the season 12-1, won their bowl game against a very good Arkansas team who played in the SEC championship game. Some will argue, that USC and LSU played tougher schedules, so there extra loss should not place them below the Badgers, but by using that same logic, the one loss Badgers played a much tougher schedule than undefeated Boise State.

So I guess I have two questions for the audience, one why is Wisconsin so dis-respected. I don't think I have ever seen a team win a January bowl game and drop in ranking. All year it has been like this. Other examples would be every time sports commentators talked about one loss teams that could play for the National Championship every one loss team was talked about except Wisconsin. The fact that we were unranked at the beginning of the year is another example of this disrespect. Here is a Badger team the beat a super good Auburn team the year before in a January bowl game, yet is unranked at the start of the season when that Auburn team is in the top 10. People argued that Wisconsin lost to many players, but when you look at the roster they would have notice they returned virtually everyone on defense and half the starters on offense.

The other question I want to ask is, when will the NCAA go to a playoff system. I realize how much money could be lost, but in fairness to the players, and fans we need a playoff system. I am tired of all the controversy surrounding the BCS, and I have now come to realize if left in hand of voters, it may be impossible for my Badgers to play in a championship. They would not only need to go undefeated, but they would need to end the war in Iraq and find Bin Laden.

All I can hope for now is that the men's basketball team keeps winning, starting tonight with Ohio State, and makes it to the final four. At least they can control their own destiny and wont be screwed at the end of the year by voters.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Video Games

For Christmas I received two new games for my XBox 360. Both the games were released by EA. One of the games I really love. It is one of those games that is truly amazing. The other game well it is a major disappointment.

I am going to start talking about NCAA Football 2007. This game is a huge disappointment to me. I have NCAA 2006 for the regular xbox, and I really like the game. It had a great dynasty mode and the ability to create your own school and uniforms and mascots. Unfortunately the game does not work on the 360 so I was forced to get 2007. Well 2007 left out some parts of the game. For starters, you can no longer create your own school. Even though I am a huge Badger fan, I liked creating my own school and starting off with a really bad team and building it up to a major dynasty. Jumping from a terrible conference to a mid major to a BCS conference. It was fun, made dynasty mode a little more difficult. EA also changed the way kicking works. Instead of using buttons on the meter you use the right stick. At first I found this to be stupid, but the more I hae played, really it is just an annoyance. All in all I wish I could just play 2006, but I can't.

The other game I got was The Godfather. This game has become one of my all time favorites. It is almost as good as GTA Vice City. The game does a great job of following the movie and was very good with all the characters voices and animation. It really makes you feel like you are playing the movie. You start as a son of a slain mobster and after your mother convinces the Don to help you find your way, the Don asks Luca to take you under his wing so to speak. From that point on you will find yourself extorting from businesses, and asked to do favors for the family, and as you do, you move up the family ladder. The ultimate goal is to climb to Don of New York. That means you need to take out all of the other families.

Well I hope you all had a good New Year, talk to you later.