Thursday, January 27, 2005

Science-fiction (double feature)

On this Wired article, some Gary Wolf (who must have a high opinion of his own intelligence) writes a science-fiction story: in the near future, Microsoft has hired Linus Torvalds and he writes an internal memo to Bill Gates, complaining about Steve Ballmer's attitude; who just doesn't dig how Microsoft is able to give away its new operative system, the WinX, and still make money. He also doesn't like having a Linux as the core of Microsoft's new OS.

The main idea of the article is not bad: Microsoft gives away the OS and charges for the tools. As this science-fiction OS has a Linux core, it sells (excuse me, it's given away) a lot; because it's a widely known fact that a Linux core is the solution to all the grief in the world, including hunger, plague and bad body odor.

But I digress: the funniest thing about the article it's this, and I quote: "With an open, universal operating system, users still crave the familiar look and feel that Microsoft sells them. We've got a suite of applications that work closely together. We've got an application development framework that encourages everybody in the industry to write apps that integrate into our desktop suite - and that increases the market for WinX."

Wake up and smell the roses, Mr. Wolf: Microsft already has a suite of applications working closely together, it already has an application development framework which is light-years ahead of any other open source competitor. And alas, they've done it all by themselves, without hiring Linus Torvalds. Funny, ain't it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Code Heroes

For the last two years Microsoft is supporting an ongoing contest: Windows Forms Code Heroes. A lot of very useful user controls and source code there, worth checking.

SharpChess

Peter Hughes has made a complete chess program using C#. You can download it, including the source codem, here.

Smart Clients

Interesting white paper by Microsoft about smart clients: the article explains not only how to develop .NET Framework 1.1 applications oriented to this model, but also exposes its inherent advantages. I believe I've said it before: I hope Microsoft to make a strong bet on smart clients in the near future, because I consider them the ideal solution for quite some problems, including intranets.

Monday, January 24, 2005

But I had 50 Gbs free yesterday...

Nowadays we perform tasks ten years ago (even five) would have seem like science-fiction: we download 800 Mbs (or much bigger) files from the net, we copy DVD images for 4 Gbs each, etc., etc. All that implies that hard disk drives with fantastical (not so long ago, mythical) storage capabilities start feeling like they've got few storage space.

Thanks to Coding Horror, I've downloaded two very useful applications to know how much space I have left on my disk and (much more useful) which applications or folders are taking the most: Overdisk and TreeSize.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Métro

As I've just received word that I'll get my new PDA next week, let's celebrater the good news with an interesting link: Métro, a free application compatible with a lot of PDA and SmartPhones systems (including, of course, Pocket PC) containing an street guide for a lot of cities, Madrid included.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Minty MP3

Via Patricio Cañete's blog, I still can't close my mouth.

New .NET features

On this article, Ian Griffiths explains us how it will be like to design Windows Forms for Longhorn using XAML, the new markup standard by Microsoft. Seems simple enough.

Also, we'll have partial classes avaliable: it seems useful for preserving the separate presentation-logical layers philosophy from ASP .NET in Windows Forms.

It seems that web interfaces are currently the most accepted paradigm for developing: makes your application avaliable everywhere, the client does not need to reinstall anything and maintenance is much simpler. Check the alternative: smart windows forms clients with auto-update capabilities thanks to ClickOnce.

And a third party commercial alternative: now you can write cross-platform applications thanks to Crossfire. Yes, that means you can develop .NET Compact Framework applications able to run on a Symbian phone. At a thousand dollar per license, It's a bit on the expensive side, but considering the huge increase in market opportunities for your product, it could be worthwhile.

On the other hand, I must apologize for the highly irregular refresh rate of this blog: I have four projects pending and making 10+ hours turns, I simply don't have the time. I hope to return to normal mode soon; for this blog's sake, my few (but loyal) readers' sake, and for my even fewer neurons' sake.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Datasets and ListViews

Personally, I like the ListView control much better than the DataGrid. That's why articles like this, where we get a clear explanation on how to mix a Dataset with a ListView are really good as a learning tool, or a reminder.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Another tool

Its name is D4Modelizer, it's completely free and very, very useful. This tool performs the modelling of any selected tables of you database to C# classes. The generated classes include the tables' fields as properties, and the needed methods to add, update, delete and get records. D4Modelizer can make class models out of SQL Server (and MSDE, of course), MS Access, DB/2, MySQL, Firebird and PostgreSQL.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Koders

A new service to programmers everywhere: Koders, still a beta but already showing a hint of its potential. It's basically a search engine, which looks for the keywords we enter on all the open source repositories avaliable on the Internet.

By the way, here you'll see how to make your Firefox browse faster.

KeePass

I'm sure you have my same problem. You're using several email lists, BitTorrent trackers, forums, email accounts, intant messaging services, online banks, and a lot of different web sites or services requiring the usual login/password combination. The proper thing to do is to have a different combination for each, but that requires an astounding memory, so the vast mayority of users choose the same solution: same login and same password for a lot of sites. Of course, if that combination should be one day compromised we would be in deep trouble.

That's the reason why programs such as KeePass exist. Thanks to them we can keep all our access codes. There are a lot of them avaliable, but this one if one of the best I've tried: very secure, really easy to use, with a nice GUI and completely free.

All our login/passwords are stored on a propietary format and encrypted database. The program open using a central password (which from now on will be the only one to memorize) or using a key disk. The problem from now on will be to keep a constant backup of that database, because if we lose it will be surely fucked.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Temptations

I don't know you, but it's really difficult for me to avoid temptation. Worse even when it's so easy sinning as to buy at El Corte Ingles website. Yeah, there are lots of places cheaper, but when you want to spend big dollars on a gadget, I prefer to know that I'll be able to return the gadget if I don't like it and no questions asked. Besides, this little codecruncher is not precisely a millionaire, and the possibility of financing this purchase is really easy and really tempting.

And that's all she wrote: this very morning, after some clicks I've bought myself an iPAQ rx3715. It looks really, really, really good. My original idea was to read a lot of PDF files, without having to print them and carry them all around. But, looking how many features and accesories it has, I'll have to refresh my very rusty knowledge about Pocket PC programming, including .NET Compact Framework and the wonderful third party library OpenNet CF.