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 Friday, December 15, 2006

Each holiday season my employer, Magenic, gives out a cool tech gift. Over the years we've received things like MP3 players, an XBox, Tivo units and an XBox 360. This year the gift is Microsoft's new Zune device.

For all that I'm a techno-geek, I am also quite conservative when it comes to spending money on devices. They become obsolete so fast, and they are so expensive when new that I just have a hard time spending the money. So I've been still using the Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 I got from Magenic some years ago. It is a nice enough device, with a 20 gig hard drive, good sound recording capabilities as well as perfectly acceptable playback. Creative's PC interface sucks, but I got a 3rd party product called Notmad that totally rocks, and all has been well for years.

But Windows Media Player 11, and the very nice Urge music service, don't support anything as old as my Nomad... So I was getting ready to find a new music device in any case when along comes Magenic with the Zune gift. Thank you Greg and Paul! :)

The Zune device is pretty decent. Plays music, pictures and video. Even with the small screen, video is pretty darn good due to the screen's high quality. And personally I like the radio feature, as I listen to MPR a lot, and listening live beats yesterday's news downloaded via podcast...

The drawback to any of these devices, Zune, Ipod or whatever, is that to get the most out of them you need a subscription to the service. I was hooked on Urge before this, so it is fortunate that Zune has the same basic backend and music selection. Better still, Magenic is covering the cost of the first year's subscription, so now I've got all the music I care to have (and more - they do have country music too, and I just can't stomach that stuff... ;) ).

So I have a playlist of several thousand songs - all the five star music in the MetalCore sub-genre - put it on shuffle and I'm as happy as can be.

Friday, December 15, 2006 2:57:49 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

The long-awaited release of VS 2005 SP1 is finally here.

Perhaps most importantly, SP1 rolls up a number of hotfixes that many people have been using for a long time to improve the stability and performance of Visual Studio 2005. I know this is one service pack I'm installing immediately!!

Friday, December 15, 2006 11:36:51 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

I was recently interviewed by Craig Shoemaker for polymorphicpodcast.com, and that interview is now online for listening.

Friday, December 15, 2006 9:40:29 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I thought it would be a good idea to give a quick update on the progress/status of the CSLA .NET version 2.1 ebook. Version 2.1 includes some substantial new features and changes as compared to version 2.0, and I am working on an ebook (about 150 pages) that I'll be selling through my web site in the near future. This ebook covers those changes to the framework, both from the framework development perspective and from the perspective of someone who just wants to use the new or changed features.

My original intent was for the ebook to be done in November. Obviously that hasn't happened, though I am very near completion of the book at this point - in the middle of December. There are many reasons for the delay, most notably some serious family health issues (which, unfortunately, are ongoing) and unexpected activities at work (I have a real job in addition to writing ebooks :) ). Those pushed things far enough into November that a number of other, planned, things impacted the schedule as well.

I really didn't expect this project to be this big - I was thinking 75 pages, but it is more like 150. And self-publishing turns out to be more work than I'd thought. Fortunately, a colleague at Magenic is helping to do the technical review and my very talented wife is doing all the non-technical editing. Another Magenic colleague is kindly setting up the online store. And I found out from my tax guy that I need to get a sales tax ID from Minnesota because I have to actually collect sales tax on the ebook - much to my surprise.

Regardless, what this means is that I now expect the ebook to be available for purchase within the first two weeks of 2007. I'm wrapping up the VB version this week, doing technical revisions and final editing and creating the C# version (swapping in different code bits) over the next couple weeks. This should mean the project is done by the end of the year so I can put it online very early in 2007.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 9:35:06 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
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