# Thursday, January 29, 2004

I've been hearing a bit of hype around Skype this week, which sounds like a pretty cool idea.  Free download, make free phone calls, etc.  Being a bit of a paranoid, I decided to actually read the license agreement, and found this paragraph interesting

6. Payment.

You acknowledge that certain functions in the Skype Software are only available to paid subscribers after a free trial period of the Skype Software and Services (the "Free Trial Period") ends. After the Free Trial Period ends, you will be presented with the option to subscribe to the Subscription Services. If you do not wish to subscribe, you acknowledge that you can not access functions and services only available to paid subscribers. To subscribe to the Subscription Services you must agree to the terms and conditions of the Subscription Services.

It's interesting (although not surprising unfortunately) that I couldn't find any mention of this bit on their website, like what parts aren't free after the trial period.  So this would be free phone calls as in free sample, not as in free beer...

TANSTAAFL I guess. (If you aren't a big enough geek to grok that, ask a friend.)

Thursday, January 29, 2004 12:57:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, January 28, 2004

For one reason of another (dang HTML) the NPerf graph didn't come out in that last post, and I don't want to spend the time fixing the HTML, so here it is.

XML
Wednesday, January 28, 2004 11:28:55 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [1]  | 
# Monday, January 19, 2004

To spare those who aren't interested, I've set up a new blog all about food, wherein I'll be posting all kinds of stuff on food, nutrition, and recreating recipes from historical sources.

Monday, January 19, 2004 12:01:16 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, January 15, 2004

I'm currently working on doing some instrumenting for the sake of unit testing (using NUnit) and was doing some thinking about Schematron.  I haven't heard much about it lately, and I don't know if people are going forward with it, but it's a pretty compelling idea. 

For those of you who haven't looked into it, Schematron allows you to define assertions based on XPath expressions that can be used to validate XML documents, over and above what XML Schema provides.  For example, if your business logic specifies that for any given order, a retail customer can only have purchases totalling $100, that's something that you can't really specify in XSD, since it involves cross-element rules, but you can with Schematron. 

Anyway, I happen to have XML serialized versions of the objects I'm interested in lying around, so I could create a shim that would work with NUnit to do Schematron validation (using Schematron.NET).  However, I might not always have XML around.  It would be pretty cool if you could do the same kind of declarative validation of objects.  I wonder if ObjectSpaces will facilitate something like that??

Work | XML
Thursday, January 15, 2004 3:56:54 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, January 13, 2004

It’s pretty bad when you’re jonesing to upgrade a piece of clothing.  As mentioned previously, I got a groovy new ScotteVest for my b-day.  The ultimate in geek-wear, with 30 pockets that hold just about everything (the temptation is pretty overwhelming, and mine’s starting to get kinda heavy) and wiring channels build in to hide all the headphone, cell-phone headset etc. wiring.  Or at least I thought it was the ultimate.  ScotteVest announced at the CES that they are coming out with a new version with integral solar panels that are wired to all the pockets and an internal battery, so not only can you haul around all your geek gear, you can recharge it while you’re walking around.  Of course that implies that you go outside.  Actually, they are pretty good outside, and so far the Fine-Tex is proving pretty water resistant. 

Supposedly, the solar option only adds $100 to the price, which isn't too bad.

And of course, while I may feel minorly dorky walking around with all that gear, at least I don’t have a dork watch like Scott. :-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2004 9:39:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, January 06, 2004

There’s a new video of a Longhorn-based real estate application up on MSDN.  I’ve got to say this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long while.  The new Avalon execution model allows you to do some truly amazing things with Smart Client applications.  These same techniques could be applied to stock tracking, or any other kind of notification based application.  Just send out an email with a notification, and an attached Smart Client for more info.  What a great idea. 

Tuesday, January 06, 2004 9:54:18 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Tuesday, December 30, 2003

If you’ve never seen Firefly, it’s a show well worth checking out on DVD.  I don’t get cable (or actually any channels besides our local PBS station, OPB) so I never saw the show when it first ran.  I think I’m glad.  Apparently, Fox did everything they could to screw it up, including playing the episodes out of order, not promoting it, putting it on at a bad time, etc.  On DVD, you can watch the whole first (and only) season in its entirety, in order, with three episodes that never aired.    

All I can say is that if further convinces me of the outstanding genius of Joss Whedon.  It’s amazing what you can do if you start from the premise that your viewers are not only reasonably well educated, but that they actually pay attention.  My wife thinks Firefly is even better than the better known Joss Whedon work, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I haven’t finished the whole series yet, so I’m not sure if I’d go that far yet, but I love what I’ve seen so far. 

Firefly is the classic space-western.  It takes place 500 years in the future, but it’s not a clean, pretty Buck Rogers kind of future, it’s a lot more like the Wild West.  Most of the places they visit are wild little border planets full of immigrants and indentured servants doing hard labor, just trying to get by.  At the same time, the “Alliance” (read, the Empire) is breathing down everybody’s necks trying to maintain (fascist) order.  Good premise to start with. 

They also got some really great (though relatively unknown) actors who really do a great job.  It’s not often that you see a pilot that actually establishes characters that you care about in less than two hours.  Joss Whedon’s direction focuses around subtlety and dialog, with great care given to facial expressions and dialog inflection.  It’s so nice to watch TV designed for smart people, instead of the absolute dreck that inhabits most or the airwaves these days, designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. 

Anyway, if you like Sci-Fi and or BtVS, check out Firefly.  Rumor has it that there’s a movie version in the offing, and my hope is that it might spark a return of support for the series.  There are several open questions that you can tell where meant to be revealed in the second season that never was. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2003 9:49:22 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, December 24, 2003

For my birthday today I got a fabulous new SCOTTeVEST Three.0 (thanks Dad!).  The perfect geek wear.  It’s got 30 pockets of all different shapes and sizes for holding my phone, my iPod, and just about anything else I can manage to stash in it.  Plus it has a ball cap tether (I’ve lost several by setting them down somewhere strange).  Best of all, it has wiring channels all through it, so I can run my noise cancelling earbuds through the inside of the jacket.  A raincoat with cable management.  Bliss. 

I realize it pretty much labels me as a complete a total nerd, but I’m down with that. :-)  My wife says she’s glad I’m enjoying it so much.  I can tell she’s captivated.  No, really…

Now I just need the matching hat

Wednesday, December 24, 2003 4:13:27 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |