Cool .NET Tips and Tricks #21
(Featuring Dr. Dotnetsky's All time TechnoPeeve List)
By Dr. Dexter Dotnetsky

Dr. Dotnetsky
Well Kidzies, Dr. Dotnetsky is out of his cage, and rarin' to go with a few Techno-goodies for y'all and a short list of pet peeves for ya to muse over. First, let's get those peeves a peevin' and see if it don't ring a chord. Dr. Dotnetsky has two categories 'a "Peeves" he rants about: Technology ("geek") type peeves, and People ("people") type peeves. Lets get the techno-peeve list going first:

Dr. Dotnetsky's TechnoPeeve Number One: Hot -shot Microsoft web features that don't work.

Now y'all know Dr. Dotnetsky is a big fan of Microsoft. We all here at eggheadcafe.com are dutifully focused and that's our focus, too . (What the heck did I just say?). Now MSN Messenger is a nice litlle booger to have, you can actually communicate with other geeks on it. Unfortunately, if yer behind that DAMN ISA Server (Yup, 'nother Microsoft product) at work, the dang thing just don't like to connect at all. So, you can try their WebMessenger thingy. That is, when it works, which lately....

Web Messenger - using that because regular Messenger doesn't
log in at all. Oops, WebMessenger doesn't either! No IM today!

Well, that 's OK. Let's check MSDN Subscriptions to see if they got any new goodies to download... Oops....

Ok, well Let's be philosophical, we can always sign into our Alerts service and check out a few.... Uh-oh....
Hmmm. Ok, lets go on over to Gotdotnet.com and check out the latest user area submiss... Uh-oh....
GotDotnet.com: Forget it!

You get the picture? Make them WORK doods! They ain't purty at all with these pictures! You guys oughtta be busier than a one-armed paperhanger making those sites and services sing like Janice Joplin at the Fillmore singing Ball and Chain! How 'bout it? OK, Dr. Dotnetsky will try to be fair. Most of these guys do work, most of the time. BUT! Stuff like Passport and Messenger, that stuff needs to work all the time. Can you dig it?

Dr. Dotnetsky's TechnoPeeve Number Two: Annoying Flash "in your face" ads!

You all know EXACTLY what Dr. Dotnetsky is talking about. You go to some site because you are looking for something (and it's NOT advertising, for Christ's sake!), and Google tells you they found it. So you click on the link and --- BAM! Some damn popup Flash thing jams itself RIGHT IN YER FACE and COVERS UP THE DAMNED content you are trying to read, and you CAN"T GET IT TO GO AWAY! Damn, that burns my ass! Are these idiots so DUMB they really think I'm gonna look at this crap, much less buy their stupid product? Jeesh! If Dr. Dotnetsky don't have too big a buzz from those Martinis, he remembers the name of the site and guess what! NEVERMORE! Banned! Banished to Internet Hell! Bastards! There ought to be a "Site filter" you can add these sites to with the click of a button and you will NEVER BE ABLE TO VISIT THEM AGAIN! Crap, I'd even PAY for such a thing! Vote with your browser doods.

Now let's shift gears and start on my short list of People Peeves:

Dr. Dotnetsky's PeoplePeeve Number One: Chicks who block the lunch line while they twiddle with their purses and change:

Yah, that's right, CHICKS. Never seen a guy do this, although I'm getting to one about guys shortly just not to be accused of being SEXIST! You're on the line at CheapHotLee Greel or Mt. Fuji Hamburgers, or whatever yer lunchie place may be. And you are HUNGRY. And you got your food, and there's SOME CHICK right in front of you that's taking TEN MINUTES to rummage around in her DAMNED PURSE to find her money (which she shoulda done TEN MINUTES AGO) and then she finally pays (oh, yeah - she takes an ADDITIONAL FIVE MINUTES cause SHE WANTS to pay with EXACT CHANGE...) and, OH NO, She ain't gonna show some DAMNED COURTESY and take her fat ass (too much junk in the trunk), her food, and her purse and move out of the way.. OH, NO - She's gonna take another FYOOKIN' TEN MINUTES to STAND THERE IN FRONT OF THE CASHIER like she's the ONLY ONE IN LINE, put her change in her purse, close it up real nice, put it in her damned BAG, Zip up the bag, CLOSE THE FLAP, put it over her shoulder again, pick up her food and FINALLY, MAYBE if she REALLY FEELS LIKE IT, she'll move out of the damned way and let YOU PAY FOR YOUR FOOD! Holy Mt. Fyookin' Fuji, Man! Dr. Dotnetsky almost spat out a perfectly good Jumbo Martini Olive on one a them girls, it made me so MAD! Hey, and while I'm on it, how 'bout those drivers that zoom in front of you at 80 miles an hour, just so they can get behind the car that's in front of you and ride 2 feet behind his back bumper? Like, they are REALLY gonna get to work faster, HUH? And how about those drivers that turn without the courtesy of even bothering to put their DAMN Blinker on until just at the moment they decide to make a turn, or they don't even signal at all? Dang! I think we need a popular uprising to put all this stuff in its place! COURTESY. Are people so DAMNED SELF CENTERED that the only person on Earth they can ever think about is THEMSELVES?

Dr. Dotnetsky's PeoplePeeve Number Two: Big-Spending Republicans

That's what I said. Now if you've read any of my previous rants, you know Dr. Dotnetsky is probably "not" a Liberal. But what makes me madder than hell is seeing WEENIE REPUBLICANS who are a buncha wolves in sheeps clothing (I mean, "tax and spend" liberals masquerading as Conservatives). When the Republicans gained control of Congress in 1994, they promised to eliminate the deficit and reduce wasteful spending. For several years, the GOP partly upheld its commitment by modestly curtailing spending growth and balancing the budget. Problem was, they squatted to rise to the occasion and done "cooked themselves in the squat"!

The balanced budgets of the late 1990s created an "easy money" mindset in Congress, which began a spending spree that continues unabated today. Total federal outlays rose 29 percent between fiscal years 2001 and 2005 according to the president's fiscal year 2005 budget. Real discretionary spending increases in fiscal years 2002, 2003, and 2004 are three of the five biggest annual increases in the last 40 years. Large spending increases have been the principal cause of the government's return to massive budget deficits. Doods! It's NOT "FREE MONEY"! It HAS TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE, OK?

Although defense spending has increased in response to the war on terrorism, President Bush has made little attempt to restrain nondefense spending to offset the higher Pentagon budget. Nondefense discretionary outlays increased about 36 percent during President Bush's first term in office. Congress has failed to contain the administration's overspending and has added new spending of its own. Republicans have clearly forfeited any claim of being the fiscally responsible party in Washington. Bottom line? LIBERALS control Congress! And the saddest part about it is, they are REPUBLICANS! Democrats, you can stop bickering and filibustering and figuring out how to put down Georgie Porgie! Them Republicans are already on your side of the aisle! By the way. . . what ever happened to ALL THOSE LIBERALS who were so fed up with Dubya gettin' re-elected that they were gonna get up and MOVE TO CANADA! Couldn't get visas, huh? I know what it is. Those DAMNED REPUBLICANS are spending so much money we don't have, the liberals decided it would be better to stay here!

Dr. Dotnetsky's PeoplePeeve Number Three: Guys with pierced-ear earrings, tongue-bobs, nose rings, girls with tattoos, and such.

Jeesh! Are these guys? Can't even tell anymore. Long hair was once fashionable for guys. Have no problem with that, its actually manly if kept clean. But earrings and tongue-bobs? WTF! Must be the influence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter from TransSexual TransSylvania (no offence, Mr. Curry). Let me ask you, as a programmer, would YOU sit next to one of these, in the next Cubie? Pas Moi, Monsieur! I seem to have lost zee Key to my Rheum! Oh, and what about those girls who think those tattoos (that they will NEVER get off their bodies, after they grow up, if they ever do grow up) on their feet, their backs, their boobs ...are soooo Toetally Valley Girl Cutsie Kewl..... Is that feminine? Jeesh. Hey, would you kiss this girl?.

The Real Technology Department

Ajax, the Foaming Cleanser. . .
OK, now that Dr. Dotnetsky has had a chance to vent his spleen, lets focus in on some real new stuff I've found. No question that this "AJAX" clone of Remote Scripting (which was first shipped by Microsoft LAST CENTURY, in 1998) has taken hold. 'Course, the Google development crew who've made it so popular don't refer to their creations as either Remote Scripting or AJAX. They call it what it really is: Javascript! In fact, they've just implemented XPath and XSLT - in 100% cross browser JAVASCRIPT. Here's the link to their SourceForge.net project. There are a number of other implementations of client-script callback mechanisms including Scott Guthrie's announcement of "ATLAS" - a client callback scripting framework for the NEXT (Not Visual Studio.NET 2005) version of Visual Studio, a preview of which will be featured at PDC in September. (Hint, if you are using IE for the google stuff, remove the self-closing <script/> tags and add a regular closing </script> tag on all the javascript declarations).

The Happy GUID, Neurons and Halle Berry

Robert Coveyou, noted physicist associated with the Manhattan Project, once said "The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance". Neuroscientists at UCLA and the California Institute of Technology discovered the process of recognizing famous faces such as Halle Berry, Brad Pitt, and Jennifer Aniston begins with a single brain cell. These individual "happy neurons" are able to recognize people, landmarks and objects -- even letter strings of names. The findings suggest a consistent, sparse and explicit code that may play a role in transforming complex visual representations into long-term and more abstract memories. (Note: this is not to be confused with the "happy bit", which is strictly a programming term).

So the point of the matter, in Dr. Dotnetsky's opinion, is "less is more". Researchers working on neural networks for face recognition to identify terrorist suspects in a crowd would be better served by reducing the number of feedforward layers to a single neuron, of the al-Zarqawi variety.

On my own, I've been researching some unique properties of GUIDS and shortly I will announce my discovery of the Happy GUID. The Happy GUID, as I've chosen to call it, is a random number that, when a discrete FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) is applied, reveals a secret message that can only be read by Halle Berry and some hackers.

Map Me Baby!

Developers are having a great time with various combinations of the new Google Map API, combined with things like Yahoo Traffic. One good example, replete with various links to get you started, can be found here.

Contract First, Anyone? Enter XSDObjectGen!

XSDObjectGen from Microsoft is a "Contract First" approach to generating Schema-compliant .NET classes from any Xml Schema. Kind of like XSD.EXE, but on steroids! Dr. Dotnetsky is very glad to see that somebody at Microsoft (namely, Colin Cole and Dan Rogers) have been thinking ahead. To quote from the docs, "XsdObjectGen is a sample code generator that creates a managed code library from valid W3C XML Schemas. These libraries consist of class implementations in C# and Visual Basic .NET that provide a simplified programming model that lets the developer ignore the fact that the classes were generated from XML metadata descriptions and can be easily serialized to schema-valid XML. These classes are generated code that contains implementations for the desired classes and programming model.

At run-time, objects that are instances of the generated classes are able to be serialized to XML, binary, or SOAP using the native .NET XML Serializer, Binary Formatter, and Soap Formatter framework classes.

XSDObjectGen is similar in purpose to the XSD.exe tool that ships with Visual Studio .NET. The key difference is that XsdObjectGen creates sample code that can be used to explore the XML serialization attributes in the .NET framework. The sample code that is generated also demonstrates a "contract first" approach to programming that eliminates the need to focus on XML for interop and classes for internal work. The classes generated are fully supported .NET framework code, and there are no runtime libraries or licenses required beyond the normal .NET framework licensing terms. "

Dr. Dotnetsky says, this is a really good productivity enhancer and learning tool. He only wishes he had found it two weeks ago...

Evangelism Department

And for you spiritually - oriented developers, Dr. Dotnetsky offers the following guidance:

 

Finally, for hours of unproductive fun, try the bouncing bubble lady, a flash movie found on a Russian site. Grab her with your mouse and help her out.... (Eh, too lame for ya? How about Tom Cruise Kills Oprah....)

I'll have a bit more later, but I wanted to get this posted 'cause I know my fans have been worried sick over my lack of presence lately!

Cheers,
Dexter

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."

Hey, they showed me how to hook up this discussion thing, so if you have a comment, knock yerself out!
I never read 'em, but if it makes you feel better...