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It’s probably too early to tell, but Don Box and Doug Purdy gave what I bet will be the most interesting talk I will hear at Tech-Ed. This was the opening talk for the Connected Systems track which focuses on that hot TLA, SOA (Service Oriented Architecture).

The implications of The Program is that we are constantly adding code to it while it still runs, but we can’t reboot it. We can take parts of it offline and replace parts, but there are parts (and decisions) within The Program that we may have to live with forever.

One of the big revelations they had was that “There is only one program and it is still being written.” This has pretty profound implications when you think of it. I can attest to this statement as I recently worked on porting Fortran code running on a microcomputer to Fortran 90 code (big upgrade!) that was to run on a modern Intel server. The front end was being replaced by an ASP.NET site that emulated the console currently in use. The ASP.NET site communicates with the Fortran via memory mapped files.

“Choice is an Illusion” Darwin is the system admin for The Program. You can’t change the program, you only have control over a small sliver of it. Your goal is to make your neighborhood better. This addresses the initiatives in the industry to create grand unification architectures. The physicists are still looking for a Grand Unifying Theory, but for software architects, it’s time to give that up. We’re not all going to run on a JVM. There will be no language to rule them all. We’ve tried DCOM, CORBA, etc…

In any case, this keyboard is not ergo so I’m going to have to stop typing and let you research this one on your own. Till next time, over and out.

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I have a new personal record time for the drive from Los Angeles to San Diego.  I believe I made it in 1.5 hours.  It was a harrowing drive, but I made it safely and already received some free code generation software.  Now to find some food and watch the Alias finale.

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DubyaAccording to a new report, the Bush Administration has taken its strong support for outsourcing further than previously thought – opting to move key political operations offshore. India’s Hindustan Times reports that, during a 14 month period from 2002 to 2003 when the Republican Party was playing up patriotism, its fund-raising and vote-seeking campaign was performed in part by two call centers located in India….

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I may be the last geek to have posted this, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

REDMOND, Wash. (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates often takes the stage to talk about the future of software technology, but on Thursday he also told top corporate executives that Weblogs and the way they are distributed can be used as business communication tools.

[Via Reuters: Technology]

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Knew it had to be too good to be true. Ignore my previous post.

Google is not offering users of its Gmail service 1 terabyte of storage, the company says. It’s all the fault of some buggy software. By Amit Asaravala.

[Via Wired News]

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When I first heard of this, I thought it was a glitch in gMail. But hot damn! A whole Terabyte. I don’t even have a terabyte at home.

The search giant may have just escalated the e-mail storage arms race by a factor of 1,000, by quietly raising storage limits to 1 terabyte for some users.

[Via CNET]

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graffitti.TEXT has a neat page in the Admin section that displays all the comments made in your blog. I hadn’t been monitoring this page so when I finally got around to it, I was quite surprised at some of the comments made therein. Most of the comments are from my very nice and intelligent friends, but there are the occasional entries made by people with a one letter vocabulary (literally). My wife and I had a good laugh at many of them, but some of them were a bit disturbing or just plain nonsensical. I ended up deleting a lot of them.

Examples of comments include this gem printed in its entirety by someone named “d”. “d”:

See, one letter vocabulary.

In another post about how my wife spent time clicking on my AdSense ads, “slut” commented “lmao u idiots its tracked by ips NOT cookies”. Thanks Slut! That was soooo kewl of you to reply. However, I imagine that Google uses some combination of both since each request coming from America Online might come from a different IP.

This post which is just a link to Rory’s guide to Hollywood Aliens received this comment “this is gay about aliens because i know what we are like ???????????????”.

Fortunately, these comments are in the minority. It’s too bad. I would expect better than this. If you’re going to comment graffitti my blog, at least write something witty and intelligent. That’s a challenge! I remember the old days when graffitti was an artform. At least that’s what I tried to tell the officer who caught me with the can of spray paint.

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Last Thursday I was lucky enough to attend the E3 Gaming Conference. It’s basically a candy store for adolescent boys (or adults who cater to the inner adolescent). Two words characterize the expo, sex and videogames. Booth babes were plentiful (in number and cup size), but I was more interested in the games, games, games!

Unfortunately, I borrowed a coworker’s camera and I didn’t realize that none of my pics were in focus! Doh!

The game that most caught my attention was Star Wars Battleground. This game just looked fantastic. The part I played is set on Endor (remember them furry little half Wookies called Ewoks? Their home town) and it looks lush. Every plant and tree looks great close-up and you really feel like your in this densely wooded area fighting in an intense battle.

Doom3 on the X-Box also caught my attention. It has a dark atmosphere and a very cool beginning stage. You walk into a dark room and basically need to use your flashlight. As the light falls on some sort of zombie creature, he wakes up and starts staggering towards you. So you put down your flashlight to grab your gun and start firing in the dark trying to hit him till he gets close enough to see. Very cool.

In the “It’s a Small World” category, I ran into an old friend from Alaska, Gavin (pictured on the left). He’s a director of marketing with Motorola and showed me a sweet cell-phone with a touch screen interface and a 3-D J2ME engine. It’ll be coming out in December in the U.S.

\ Those Are Cockroaches., code comments edit

Apparently I’m not the only one to run into this annoying problem. When using the HttpWebRequest to POST form data using HTTP 1.1, it ALWAYS adds the following HTTP header “Expect: 100-Continue”. Fixing the problem has proved to be quite elusive.

According to the HTTP 1.1 protocol, when this header is sent, the form data is not sent with the initial request. Instead, this header is sent to the web server which responds with 100 (Continue) if implemented correctly. However, not all web servers handle this correctly, including the server to which I am attempting to post data. I sniffed the headers that Internet Explorer sends and noticed that it does not send this header, but my code does.

Looking through the newsgroups, several people have had problems with this, but nobody with a solution (apart from going back to HTTP 1.0 which doesn’t work for me).

At this point, I thought I would fire up Lutz Roeder’s Reflector 4.0 and look through the source code for the System.Net.HttpWebRequest class. Aha! There it is. Within a private method named MakeRequest() are the following lines of code:

if (this._ExpectContinue && ((this._HttpWriteMode == HttpWriteMode.Chunked) || (this._ContentLength > ((long) 0))))
    this._HttpRequestHeaders.AddInternal("Expect", "100-continue");

So even if you try to remove the Expect header from the _HttpRequestHeaders collection, the header will get added back when the request is actually made.

Unfortunately, fixing this is not easy since MakeRequest is a private method. Walking up the callee graph, I found that the method I would have to override is BeginGetRequestStream (there are other ancestors aside from this one). Unfortunately this method relies on several internal and private objects to which I do not have access. I hoped to re-use the existing code base and only make a slight tweak.

I even started down the path of building my own HttpWebRequest class using the Rotor source code but ran into several problems there as well.

In any case, I think the easiest way to get this fixed is to find the right person at Microsoft and ask them very nicely to try to get this in SP2. Pretty Please?

UPDATE: Lance Olson points me to the solution in my comments section. The System.Net.ServicePointManager class has a static property named Expect100Continue. Setting this to false will stop the header “Expect: 100-Continue” from being sent.

Thanks Lance!!!

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C64 miniThis press release announced a joystick that has a C64 mini console in a Joystick with 30 games including California Games. I absolutely loved California Games! Especially hacky-sack and surfing.

Man, I need to dust off my Amiga and get that guy up and running again.

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Wow! After posting my update to the TimedLock class entitled TimedLock Yet Again Revisited…, Ian Griffiths posts this gem which outlines a solution to one of the problem’s with my approach to keeping a stack trace.

The problem is that my code acquires a stack trace every time it acquires a lock just in case another thread fails to acquire a lock. The purpose of this action is so that we can examine the stack trace of the blocking thread to find out why we couldn’t acquire a lock. This can be a big performance cost in some situations.

Ian received the solution via an email from Marek Malowidzki. Marek, if you’re out there. I’d love to see the proof of concept code you wrote. I won’t rehash the explanation of the solution, but will mention that it avoids creating and storing a StackTrace every time a lock is acquired, and rather, finds a way to obtain the blocking thread’s stack trace if and only if another thread fails to acquire a lock. How? You have to read the Ian’s post to find out.

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fightThis weekend I nearly got into a fight while playing soccer. To give you perspective, this is a friendly co-ed game with a group of people I’ve played with for six years. Player ages range from the early twenties up to fifty something.

After a tough play, the other player (I’ll call him Bob to protect the guilty) and I got into a verbal argument. I’ve been in these shouting matches before. You yell at each other a bit making sure to look real angry. Eventually, someone else will yell “C’mon. Just play soccer!” and we’ll both agree to quit yelling and continue with the game.

But Oh No! Not this time. Bob had to go and change the rules on me. As the shouting match was in a normal bell-curve progression, he stepped toward me and shoved me hard. This shocked me. My thought process in that moment went something like this.

That a-hole just pushed me!\ Oh no he didn’t!\ No. Wait. He did.\ Now why would that moron do that? Doesn’t he realize this is a shouting not a shoving match?\ Damn, he’s pissed. He needs an anger management class.\ Come to think of it. I’m pissed too!\ He’s a good 4 to 5 inches taller than me.\ I don’t care, I should kick his ass.\ Hmmm… Then again, if I retaliate, I may not be allowed to continue playing.\ Hmmm… I’d rather play soccer than whoop Bob’s ass.

I’m a slow thinker, and by the time I reached this conclusion, there were five people between the two of us, and I hadn’t made any reaction except the look of shock on my face. He is definitely in need of an anger management class or two, but it also gave me pause to consider if I’ve been an angrier person lately. Certainly if you get me started talking about the Bush administration (and calling it an “administration” is being too kind. It’s more of a nitwit circus) I get in a furor. I certainly could have let Bob wag his finger at me without responding in an angry manner. But lately, I’ve lost all patience for fools. I do not suffer fools lightly. I’m becoming Huey from the Boondocks.

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lock In an earlier post, I updated the TimedLock class (first introduced in this post) to allow the user to examine the stack trace of the thread that is holding the lock to an object when the TimedLock fails to obtain a lock on that object. This assumes that the blocking lock was obtained using the TimedLock. Ian Griffiths pointed out a few flaws in my implementation and I promised I would incorporate his feedback and revise the code.

Since that time, Ian revisited the TimedLock based on comments he received and changed it to be a struct in both Debug and Release versions. He adds a new Sentinel class in the debug version. The finalizer in the Sentinal is used to detect whether or not the user of the TimedLock remembered to call Dispose. I’ve incorporated his new changes as well as his comments and have released my newest TimedLock struct.

I posted the code in my TimedLock repository on GitHub.

As Ian points out, there are non-trivial costs involved in keeping track of the stack trace of every lock just in case we wish to examine it later. When I have some non-trivial free time, I’d like to examine other possibilities.

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DubyaThis interesting piece on Slate presents the idea that perhaps Bush chose “stupidity” early on as an act of rebellion and has stuck with it even after beginning to get his act together. An excerpt:

Why would someone capable of being smart choose to be stupid? To understand, you have to look at W.’s relationship with father. This filial bond involves more tension than meets the eye. Dad was away for much of his oldest son’s childhood. Little George grew up closer to his acid-tongued mother and acted out against the absent parent—through adolescent misbehavior, academic failure, dissipation, and basically not accomplishing anything at all until well into his 40s.

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The other day while at the gym, I started regaling my friend with a story about my weekend trip to San Jose. Just as my storytelling juices started to flow, he interrupts and says,

“Yeah, I know. I read it in your blog.”

“Well did I tell you that…”

“Read it.”

“How about…” I sputtered/p>

“Yep. That too.”

“Ok then. How many reps?”

Conversation over, we exercised in complete silence. I call this the “Blogging Syndrome”. It’s the increasingly common situation I find myself in where I cannot carry a conversation because the conversation is already published on my blog for the world to see. I have nothing to say that my friends haven’t already read.

Perhaps it is time to purposely disseminate misinformation on my blog both as conversation starters, and to reserve a few interesting stories for me to tell via the old fashioned oral tradiion.

No matter what happens, I know I’ll end up telling my friend.

“Hey, I just realized that we have nothing to talk about because of my blog.”

Yep, I read that.