Cool .NET Tips and Tricks #15
By Dr. Dexter Dotnetsky
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Dr. Dotnetsky

Howdy, Dr. Dotnetsky here again, with some cool tricks and info to feed yer hungry mind on! First, what I think:

Hell in a Handbasket Dept. (or, "the luckiest people in the world")

What the HECK is going on in the world? Last night I dreamt that George Bush made a personal visit to Saddam Hussein's cell in Iraq and interviewed him (he wore his USS Abraham flight suit).  This got those nutty Democrats even madder (Ted Kennedy's face actually turned purple in my dream-- maybe it was just from checking out John Kerry's rear end too much...)!  After the interview, Hussein announces that he is supporting the presidential campaign and endorses John Kerry for President.  Kerry's poll numbers go twenty percent higher as the Democrat voters reflect their anger towards Bush for starting a war with an innocent dictator -- who was merely minding his own country's business when the Imperialist Americans illegally attacked.  The liberal media elites see Kerry's poll numbers going up and throw their support behind the ''Saddam for Kerry'' campaign. Meanwhile, the Bush camp is still hanging on ("Well, we need to appear Presidential"). It's become polarized as hell, man. Joe Lieberman, one of a number of sensible Democrats who possess an above room-temperature IQ, got squashed early on and simply gave up. Al Gore, (the guy who invented the Internet, remember?) never even had the courtesy to call him first about his decision to support another candidate. Man, I can see it already - Kerry gets elected, market goes down the crapper, and I'm on the street with a handwritten sign that says "Will write programs for food". Wanna see what Socialists / Left Wing Liberals do to stock prices? Take a look at the Madrid IBEX index.

Yes, in Spain, the rain falls mainly on the plain, and the Socialists are baaack in power! Ouch! Do they REALLY think Al Quaeda is going to leave them alone for renouncing support for America and its war against terorrists? I fear that the fine Spanish people have just sent a wakeup message to terrorists everywhere - a message that is the exact opposite of what we really need to be sending... How about the French, with their cozy inside-deal United Nations "oil for food" arrangements and $50 billion in transfer money at a French Bank with zero accountability? Does any western democracy really believe these fanatics won't bother them? They are insane fundamentalists who will kill themselves in the name of their God to destroy anyone from the West - Socialist, US ally, or not! The rules have changed dramatically. We cannot hide from these ogres because they will deliberately seek us out, we cannot appease them because they do not respond to it (Hitler didn't), we must protect our collective asses, or face getting wiped out by these maniacs. Lets face it -political platform planks don't mean diddly when your butt is about to get blown up on some train by a terrorist's bomb in a backpack - or worse - by a Nuclear Dirty Bomb - because YOU didn't have the guts to preemptively head them off at the pass! Hey, Dubya is far from perfect, but you know what? He understands this! Kerry, on the other hand, is still back in the 1960's getting ready to pee on the walls of the Pentagon with Jane Fondle holding it for him. I know. I was there, man. But, I grew up! I seriously doubt whether John Kerry has, based on what he has been saying and voting for the last 18 years.

The leader of the Nationalist forces in Spain, General Franco, headed the authoritarian regime that came to power in the aftermath of the Civil War. In addition to being generalissimo of the armed forces, he was both chief of state and head of government, the ultimate source of legitimate authority. If we are not careful, other so-called "Democracies" in eastern and western Europe will go backward in history the way Spain just did. Don't like America? Hey, get on a plane, Bud! Americans really need to be educated that the war against terrorists is likely to last 35 to 40 years (similar to the Cold War) and that we not only need to eradicate the maniacs whereever they can be found - we also need to work to relieve the abject poverty in many Islamic areas of the world that promotes these schools that teach young children to become suicide bombers.

Meanwhile our friend John Kerry, whose political savvy is admittedly slicker than snot on a doorknob ( "the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen," ) continues to say virtually nothing about his policy on either terrorism or defense. Colon Bowel gets on Fox news with Chris Wallace and sez what I just spouted, only a little more diplomatically. I wonder who John Kerry would ask to be his Secretary of State. . .Oh, I got it! Babs! Yeah, she can sing the right tune! Hell in a handbasket? You bet your sweet ass! I can hear it already - 350 people dead from explosion on some train in Secaucus, and Barbra Streisand singing "People... People who need people...." -- accompanied on the AK-47 by Michael Moore, and on the duct-tape toilet-paper comb by Martin Sheen...Yo, Wake up people now, smile on your brother! Are you sure this is what you really want? Because if you don't wake up fast,and DECIDE, that's what you're gonna get! And it will be TOO LATE to change your mind.

OK, I've vented my spleen, at least a little. Now let's get down to my regular digs.



Whidbey

Whidbey is coming. Big deal, right? They have 28 new articles on MSDN and everywhere else, six new books, "Rah Rah, Yay Yay Whidbey / Longhorn", and the only thing they have to show us developers is some Alpha Software! Not only that, unless you are an MSDN Universal subscriber or attended the last PDC, you can't even get your hands on it anyway! How 'bout it, Microsoft! I'll wait until the first beta - I'm still trying to figure out all the stuff in the 1.1 Framework anyway. I'm glad they are working on it, but guess what? I just don't have the time. In parting, I will say that guru Daniel Cazzulino reports there is "experimental" support for Longhorn on the VMWare Window 2003 Server VM.

Offline Application Block

Dr. Dotnetsky has always liked the MS "Application Blocks" - which are self-contained class libraries that illustrate the solutions to common programming problems and represent their gurus' "best practices" code examples. The latest one is the "Offline Application Block" . Now this is very cool stuff, which enables you to --

  • Detect the presence or absence of network connectivity.
  • Cache the required data so that the application can continue to function even when the network connection is not available.
  • Synchronize the client application state and/or data with the server when the network connection becomes available.

Kudos to Edward Jezierski and all the other MS and affilated experts who put this fine piece together. Highly recommended for intermediate to advanced - level .NET Developers - and remember, Dr. Dotnetsky wouldn't play you wrong!

Compressed DataSet for Compact Framework

Our own Peter Bromberg has published his CompressDataSet class for the Compact Framework, which enables CF developers to perform binary serialization and compression on the ADO.NET DataSet, and store it locally on the Compact Framework - compatible device with no licensing fees.

Self - Updating Technology

Responding to the eggheadcafe.com call for paid authors, Hendrik Swanepol has produced his "Writing A Self-Updating Application in C#" here on the site. Excellent treatment of the implementations of another Application Block!

Top Ramen

Anthony Hart, a longtime frequent contributor to eggheadcafe.com, of Top Ramen fame (he really is "Chief Noodle"!) has published his treatise on OOP programming, along with some excellent source code that compiles right out of the box and some very prescient comments to boot!

Google Dept

Google never ceases to interest me with their innovations and how they have just "swooped the web". They have become, in Dr. Dotnetsky's humble opinion, an "Internet Icon". With 4,285,199,774 web pages currently spidered, I have found more information about what I need to know faster and more easily than virtually anywhere else! Look at their Advanced Search Tips and their Google Features pages for more information about how you can harness this "F1 on steroids for the web" search engine! Before you post to our forums with some inane "I forgot about F1" questions, check out Google with some well-chosen keywords, and especially their 20 + year Usenet history "Google Groups" search. You know, every major Microsoft product ships with free Help, and it simply appalls me how many questions we get on the forums here where its so obvious they never even opened SQL Books Online or hit the F1 key while their question phrase was highlighted to see if there was anything there for them. And don't forget, to search on a multiword exact phrase at Google, surround it with quotes (e.g. "George Boosh" -- oh, yes -- you will actually find stuff on this exact phrase!).

From the Grapevine Dept.

Finally, I've heard from the eggheadcafe.com grapevine that you can soon expect an open-source, .NET version of Peter Bromberg's custom Digest Authentication module (based on Greg Reinacker of "NewsGator" fame's published example), with a combination of Digest, BASIC, and LDAP Authentication against your favorite Data Store, and it supports Single Sign-On across apps and sites! And brother Robbe Morris is hard at work with the Compact Framework. More later!

Cheers, kiddies. And don't forget, when all else fails, just "Press F1".

Dr. Dexter Dotnetsky is the alter-ego of the Eggheadcafe.com forums, where he often pitches in to help answer particularly difficult questions and make snide comments. Dr. Dotnetsky holds no certifications, and does not have a resume. Always the consummate gentleman, Dr. Dotnetsky can be reached at youbetcha@mindless.com.  Dr. Dotnetsky's motto: "If we were all meant to get along, there would be no people who wait for all the groceries to be rung up before starting to look for their damn checkbook."