.Net Stuff Geek food General

Random thoughts

Thought 1:

So I just laughed out loud at work, thought “Oh my gosh that sounded just like Leo Leporte” and almost said it out loud when I realised that nobody in the office would get it since they don’t listen to TWIT (This Week In Tech).    It was silly, but it got me thinking about how listening to podcasts can really separate you from “common culture”.  Most people in the office will talk about the latest jokes from “The Rude Awakening”, or other radio stations while I’m talking about the podcasts I listen to.


Thought 2:

A friend of mine just updated his GeoCaching website –  It’s writen in .Net and does some cool stuff to get its stats about which cachers have found new caches.  Their old  site had Google maps to show where certain objects were in the world, and a bunch of other fun stuff like that. Most of their data is taken from either scraping data off images on or by parsing XML files that mails to them containing information on caches.  Its pretty cool considering its a part time hobby of theirs and the fact that it is making quite an impact in the local caching community.

.Net Stuff Development General

I finally did it… :(

Today I finally un-installed VS.Net 2005 from my PC.  I keep trying to do things in VS.Net
2005 that just won’t work in Mono, and more recently I had issues with various
application blocks that just didn’t work in .Net 2.0. Apparently there are
work-arounds, but I’m not interested in any of that. I want something that just
works and, despite its many issues, VS.Net 2003 has a much bigger base of tools
that will “just work” for me.

So as I type VS.Net 2003 is installing on my PC and I’m going to have to say
good bye to “built in” support for Master Pages, Refactoring, and a many other
cool features so that I can have “stuff that works”. (Unfortunately for me
“stuff that works” roughly translates to “stuff that works on
.Net and on Mono”) 

Another good reason for the swap is that I need to build a web app at the
moment (needs to be working by January)and, unless they’ve seriously jacked up
their capabilities since .Net 1.0 was released, the likelyhood of any South
African ISP’s supporting .Net 2.0 in the next 6 months is probably not very
high.  So we’ll be far more likely to find a place to host the site if we
use v1.1.

.Net Stuff Development General


Last night’s SA Developer meeting in JHB was on
LINQ.  I unfortunately was about 25 minutes late so I missed some of the
stuff but what I did see was both pretty cool and frustrating.  The new C#
3.0 stuff looks really awesome but the LINQ stuff is “just another teaser that I
won’t be able to use until its released in 2 years time”.  Oddly enough my
previous company had built something similar to the Linq expression trees to
enable you to query our database and return objects.  We had been building
the system for about 3 years (it does a lot of other things besides just
querying a database), so I’m sure they’ll all be kicking themselves about the
fact that in 2 years their cool technology is going to be “replaced” by
microsoft’s LINQ and they’ll be working on “outdated” or “non-standard”

I guess that’s the way things go… I certainly wish I could use LINQ now, it
would definately make my life a lot easier, and would probably make my boss far
happier with using .Net.  I guess that’s the story of MS products, version
3 is the one that finally gets it right and kicks ass…

Not that version 1, 1.1, or 2.0 don’t kick ass… its just that they just
don’t have all the coolness of 3.0. 

Added to that – I’m having to build a new project in v1.1 instead of 2.0
because we have to use Mono. So I’m a bit frustrated with seeing new
coolness that I can’t use  even though part of the geek in me is
super excited at where things are going and how cool the new coolness of 3.0
will be when we finally get it.

.Net Stuff Development Geek food General

New toolkit released

[IMHO just lost my blog entry – it posted it, but the contents were blank, so here’s a 2nd attempt]
I just read via the Daily Grind that Component Factory have just released the Krypton Toolkit.  Its basically a set of windows forms controls that are written for .Net 2.0 and VS.Net 2005, and best of all they’re free for commercial use.

I’m going to go and download it now and check it out.

[And for the .Net bloggers out there, if you blog about their release you can get a free copy of DotNetMagic – check out the offer here.]

.Net Stuff Development General

SA Imagine Cup Entrants – Update…

For the latest info, check out Ruari’s blog and his photo gallery.  Sounds like they’re off to a good start!

.Net Stuff Development Geek food General

SA Team for Imagine Cup

I just read an IT Web article on the SA entrants to the Imagine Cup.  For those who don’t know, Microsoft South Africa has run Project Firefly for a number of years… Its basically a software development competition amongst SA Academic institutions.  The Imagine Cup started after Firefly and is an international “version” of the competition.

I was fortunate to meet the guys from PE who are going to Japan this week for the international competition.  Their system looks amazing!  I had no idea that people at varsity had the ability to write such cool and useful software in .Net.  Their IDS (Intrusion Detection System) is damn awesome in what it does, and they’ve done some amazing work on it.  I know its not from some big name that we can all trust, but after hearing them talk and seeing a demo of some of their project I seriously think they have a winning product.  If I was a system admin I’d seriously want some of their features on any IDS I bought for my company.

Imagine sitting at home on a weekend, and getting a message on your iMate phone or other Pocket PC based phone to tell you that a user’s PC is being used to hack your network.  For most people that would be good enough, but in this case it goes further.  Rather than having to get to a PC or rush into work, you can quickly and easily disable their account, shut down their pc, etc, right from your phone.  Just push a few buttons and get back to watching the game/braai/beer/etc.  No stress, no hassle, network intrusion averted.  This example is just one of the many super cool things that their system does!

Aparently they have only got 15 minutes to present their project in the first round, and 10 minutes in the 2nd round (excluding a 5 minute demo).  I have no idea how they’ll get that right because they could spend hours talking about all the features they have.  Aparently they built most of their UI controls themselves, so their UI is really cool and was made locally!

Needless to say I’m VERY impressed and I hope they get the top spot in the competition!

.Net Stuff Development General Internet/Links

Google Earth and GeoCaching

I’m torn between two statements “There are two kinds of people on the earth, those who hack a use in Google Earth and those who don’t” and “There are two kinds of people on the earth, those who see the value of Google Earth and those who haven’t yet”.

A short while after the bombs in London someone posted a link to a file that contained the co-ordinates of the various sites where the bombs exploded.  It was a .kmz file and when I “double clicked” it, Google Earth opened and scrolled the locations into view.  It was pretty cool.

For an *AGE* I’ve wanted to do something with the waypoints of geocaches  in South Africa so that I can visually see how far the caches are from my house, and try and plan which caches to get in which order when I go caching.

I knew that gave you the ability to download the cache coordinates, so I set about learning their format (based on the file I downloaded), and I did the same for the Google Earth .kmz file.  Basically they’re both simple XML files (the .kmz file is just a zipped up .kml file which contains XML).  Unfortunately as a non-paying member I can only download the cache locations that are displayed in their grid, so I had to manually change to each page of their grid and download the locations on the page.  

20 minutes later I had them all downloaded, and merged into one big file, and I started processing them.  I’m not the biggest guru when it comes to working with XML so I kinda hacked my way around some XPath queries and XPathNavigators in .Net but I ended up with a pretty easy way to get all the info out of the GeoCaching .loc file, and I then outputted the right format for the Google Earth .kml file.  

The outputting of the .kml file is really bad because I got lazy so I’m not using .Net objects to create an XML Document or anything, I just use Console.WriteLine and write out what I want.  (I’ll fix that when next I have some time.)  But the result is a list of all the caching locations in South Africa.  And here is “Paul’s List of Google Earth Coordinates for GeoCaches In South  Africa” the list as of yesterday (12/07/2005)

[Update: There was a problem with the link to the file – aparently IIS 6 didn’t like the file type, butafter adding a custom mime header thingy to my IIS config, it was all sorted out.]

.Net Stuff Development Geek food General

Reflection Talk

Here are the notes from the talk I gave last Wednesday night at Torque IT (Thanks for the venue and the cool caffeteria)…

I hope it went pretty well for the guys that were there…  I certainly enjoyed giving the talk. πŸ™‚

Here are the promised notes/slides/samples.

The PPT is here and the code samples are here.  The PPT’s have word for word what I wanted to say.  The samples are all there, I’ve included a file “demos.doc” which are my notes to myself telling me what to show to the guys.  I didn’t include instructions to myself to tell me to copy DLL’s from one folder to another (which I needed to do in the Dynamic UI demo).

The whole reason I wrote out word for word what I wanted to say was so that even if you didn’t go to the talk you could get the slides and demos and step yourself through it.  (My aim was to put in enough info so that someone from another town could take the slides, notes and code and with a few modifications they could present the material themselves…) 

If there are any hassles, let me know. πŸ™‚

.Net Stuff General

SA Dev June Meeting

I’m talking at this month’s SA dev meeting… The details are:

Date: 15th June 2005
Time: 18:00
Location: Torque-IT, Rivonia (Map here)
Contact: Andre Odendaal 083-410-7702 or email
Topic: Reflection

 RSVP here or here.

I’ve got 2.5 demo’s left to code – So far I’ve planned on 10 demos in total, but I’ve only got like 7 slides.  I’m gonna do some dry runs and fill in some gaps on the slides.  So at the moment I’ll be able to show lots of code to explain all my concepts simply and in detail, but I’m a bit lacking on “non code” visuals.  I don’t think its too much of a problem but I’d rather be over prepared than underprepared.

I hope to be able to show you some of the coolness of reflection, along with plenty of real world situations where they can help.  If all else fails, I hope that what I show will encourage others to take a deeper look at reflection.  After the talk I’ll post my PPT and code on my site and I’ll link to it from my blog… I’ll make certain that all the info that I talk about between slides, when I’m explaining slides and when I’m showing code are typed up in the notes of the PPT file so that even if you don’t go you can still kinda understand what I was trying to say.

.Net Stuff Geek food General Internet/Links

Free software for smartphones from Handango…

I *knew* there was a reason I was subscribed the the Windows Mobile Team‘s blog….

Today they posted an entry about Handango giving away free software… Check it out! It looks like they’re doing PalmOS apps too…

I’ve already started downloading my first SmartPhone app… Ok, so I don’t have a smartphone yet, but I will. (As soon as I either decide to move to MTN who are advertising the iMate SP3, or as soon as Vodacom get their act together and start offering the phone.)  But until then, I’ll be stocking up on free software for my soon-to-be new phone each week till 31 January 2005.