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That's cool URL. I mean. The announcement at port25 site goes like this:

Today, Microsoft took another step in its relationship with the open source software community. We did this by bringing up a new web property that clearly outlines Microsoft’s position on OSS by providing specific information about Microsoft, the OSS community and the interaction between the two. The new site also details information about getting started with OSS and Microsoft technologies.  We'll keep the site updated with new content featuring Microsoft’s engagements with the OSS community - be that events like OSCON, partnerships, offers or just interesting articles highlighting different work we're doing across the company. Port 25 will continue to be the source for technical analysis and community with the Open Source Software Lab.

And of course it has a link to the John Lam's IronRuby announcement right on the front page.

There is even "Open Source at Microsoft" feed, consisting mostly of case studies, for those interested.

SourceForge Marketplace

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Apparently is planning to come up with a feature that would allow to buy or sell services or support for open source projects. Here is a mail I received:

Dear community member,

As an active participant in the Open Source community, you may be excited
to learn about a new feature that we will add to in late
spring/early summer. This feature will allow you to buy or sell services
for Open Source software on

Interested? Follow the link below and we'll keep you updated as we move
towards the official launch of this feature:

Thank you for your continued support,
The Team

Sounds interesting. Another way to get rich - create great open source product, make your code unreadable, provide no documentation and then sell support :)

Free Brainbench Certification

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Free Microsoft Training CD-ROMs

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AppDev is giving away these Microsoft training CDs. Free shipping in the US, nominal shipping charge outside. Quite impressive list:

  • Visual C# 2005: Developing Applications
  • Visual Basic 2005: Developing Applications
  • ASP.NET Using Visual C# 2005
  • ASP.NET Using Visual Basic 2005
  • Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Microsoft Office
  • Exploring ASP.NET "Atlas" and Web 2.0
  • Exploring Visual C# 2005
  • Exploring Visual Basic 2005
  • Exploring ASP.NET Using Visual C# 2005
  • Exploring ASP.NET Using Visual Basic 2005
    Visual Studio .NET
  • Developing Applications Using Visual C# .NET
    Visual Basic .NET
  • ASP.NET Using Visual C# .NET
  • ASP.NET Using Visual Basic .NET
  • Exploring BizTalk Server 2006
  • Exploring Microsoft SQL Server 2005
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2000
  • Managing and Maintaining Windows Server 2003 (for MCSE or MCSA)
  • Developing Applications Using Visual C# .NET (for MCSD or MCAD)
  • Visual Basic .NET (for MCSD or MCAD)
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (for MCDBA)

Ward Cunningham: "Wiki is the original Web 2.0 application."

Read the Ward Cunningham talking on "Wikis, Patterns, Mashups and More". Interestng one.


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Microsoft has launched CodePlex Beta - kinda revamped GotDotNet, based on Team Foundation Server:

CodePlex is an online software development environment for open and shared source developers to create, host and manage projects throughout the project lifecycle. It has been written from the ground up in C# using .NET 2.0 technology with Team Foundation Server on the back end. CodePlex is open to the public free of charge.

CodePlex includes the following features:

* Release Management
* Work Item Tracking
* Source Code Dissemination
* Wiki-based Project Team Communications
* Project Forums
* News Feed Aggregation

My experience with GotDotNet was a nasty one and I don't expect its successor to bring SourceForge quality any soon, but anyway CodePlex looks interesting and promising. It already hosts several interesting projects including CodePlex itself, "Atlas" Control Toolkit, Commerce Starter Kit, IronPython etc.

I'm sure my next open-source .NET related project will be hosted at the CodePlex.


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Another alternative to purchasing a hexadecimal calculator is to obtain a TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) program such as SideKick which contains a built-in calculator. However, unless you already have one of these programs, or you need some of the other features they offer, such programs are not a particularly good value since they cost more than an actual calculator and are not as convenient to use.
This is from "The Art of Assembly Language" book by Randy Hyde. Looks like software industry made some progress since then.

W3C: CAPTCHA considered harmful

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W3C warns that using CAPTCHA on the Web is actually bad idea as it poses problems for those who are blind, have low vision or have a learning disability such as dyslexia. That makes sense.

2005-11-23: The WAI Protocols and Formats Working Group has released Inaccessibility of CAPTCHA: Alternatives to Visual Turing Tests on the Web as a Working Group Note. Requests for visual verification of a bitmapped image pose problems for those who are blind, have low vision or have a learning disability such as dyslexia. The note examines ways for systems to test for human users while preserving access for users with disabilities. Read about the Web Accessibility Initiative.

I can't refrain myself from linking to this wonderful "Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind?" paper by Charles Petzold. Sorry. That's gonna be another good source of citations.

We've heard about XML penetration into C#, Java and SQL. Now it seems like 45-years old programming language, 75% of worlds's business apps is written in is ready to adopt XML. I'm talking about Cobol, yeah baby! In the "XML and the New COBOL" article at Barry Tauber explains proposed forthcoming standard that will add native XML support to the Cobol language. IBM, HP and MicroFocus are behind this move, so chances are good.

And btw I'm currently working with Fujitsu NetCobol, which is .NET based Cobol and as such has full access to the .NET XML processing facilities. Not bad approach too!

New new dragon book

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Great news for compiler geeks - new edition of the famous dragon book is to be published November 15. Updated and revised version, now it's called "21st Century Compilers". So far there were "old dragon book" (aka green dragon book, "Principles of Compiler Design", 1977) and "new dragon book" (red dragon book, "Compilers: Principles, Techniques and Tools", 1986). The color of the new new dragon book is still in question. Blue?

I guess what will be on the book cover?

Microsoft refreshes their professional certifications program:

Changes are afoot in the Microsoft Certification Program that can be labeled as "evolutionary"; that is, changes to the certification process will be implemented over time, as newer technologies become generally available.
According to Valvano, Microsoft will follow tradition, releasing exams for SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 about 45 days after the release of the products to the general public. Those exams, however, won't fit into the traditional MCP schema that one might be familiar with. Instead, Microsoft will introduce a new framework for certification that will pair up a credential with a skill-identifying certification based on a tiered approach consisting of the following credentials:
  • Tier 1: Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist will require simply passing one to three exams based on a Microsoft technology. As products meet the end of the support lifecycle, its related exam will be retired.
  • Tier 2: Microsoft Certified IT Professional or Professional Developer require a Technology Specialist certification, plus one to three more exams, based on the requirement for a particular path. This tier is tied to job role at an organization, such as Database Developer or Business Intelligence. Recertification will be required to maintain status at this level.
  • Tier 3: Microsoft Certified Architect is a rigorous, board-level certification that requires recertification. Achieving Technology Specialist or IT Professional or Professional Developer certification not a prerequisite to attaining this level of certification.

"Mathematical Notation: Past and Future" by Stephen Wolfram - amazingly interesting article.

[Via Sean Gerety]

OPath language intro

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"An Introduction to "WinFS" OPath" article by Thomas Rizzo and Sean Grimaldi has been published at MSDN. Summary:

WinFS introduces a query language that supports searching the information stored in WinFS called WinFS OPath. WinFS OPath combines the best of the SQL language with the best of XML style languages and the best of CLR programming.
Necessary update:
In spite of what may be stated in this content, "WinFS" is not a feature that will come with the Longhorn operating system. However, "WinFS" will be available on the Windows platform at some future date, which is why this article continues to be provided for your information.

Like most of us, Dijkstra always believed it a scientist's duty to maintain a lively correspondence with his scientific colleagues. To a greater extent than most of us, he put that conviction into practice. For over four decades, he mailed copies of his consecutively numbered technical notes, trip reports, insightful observations, and pungent commentaries, known collectively as "EWDs", to several dozen recipients in academia and industry. Thanks to the ubiquity of the photocopier and the wide interest in Dijkstra's writings, the informal circulation of many of the EWDs eventually reached into the thousands.
Although most of Dijkstra's publications began life as EWD manuscripts, the great majority of his manuscripts remain unpublished. They have been inaccessible to many potential readers, and those who have received copies have been unable to cite them in their own work. To alleviate both of these problems, the department has collected over a thousand of the manuscripts in this permanent web site, in the form of PDF bitmap documents (to read them, you'll need a copy of Acrobat Reader). We hope you will find it convenient, useful, inspiring, and enjoyable.
The manuscripts of Edsger W. Dijkstra. Really fascinating collection.

[Found in Michael Brundage's XQuery book].

There is a severe problem when using Mozilla Mail and News client (and derivatives such as Thunderbird Mail) - they don't support multiple accounts on the same NNTP server. You know what I mean, right? Yeah, that's about Microsoft private newsgroups. They are using the same news server -, while different accounts to manage an access to different newsgroups. One day I found myself struggling with creating 3 accounts on Mozilla seems to be treating news server name as a unique key, so whenever you add another news account, providing already existing news server name - bad and weird things happen. Ooops, new account isn't added and old one is broken. Too bad.

Happily I found the solution. On Windows one can create as many as needed local aliases to an IP address using old good hosts file, living in system32/drivers/etc directory. So all you need is to add an alias to IP (static IP of, e.g.: whidbey
Then "whidbey" can be used as full-fledged domain name - you can use it as news server in Mozilla mail to create Whidbey private news account. The only difference between real domain name and an alias is that alias will be resolved to IP locally, while real domain name - on remote DNS. Not bad workaround. May be I'm the last one who found it, abut anyway I just wanted to share this info.

40 years of mainframes

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/. reminds it's 40-years anniversary of IBM mainframes tomorrow. Read "IBM's Mainframe Dinosaur Turns 40" thread. Mainframes still host 70% of the world's data and applications (well, IBM says that, granted) and they feel good in modern PC world. "PCs were supposed to kill off the mainframe" he-he-he. Not so fast.

Almost all projects I involved at my day job are mainframes connected. Couple years ago we built DOM and XPath/XSLT engine for mainframes and the latest one we did was about exposing of mainframe applications as Web Services, that was an interesting one. And having Cobol apps to be Web Services enabled allows to not touch them and the mainframes for another 40 years! You know, "if it ain't broke...".

Btw, I'm on Passover vacation this week, so don't expect me to blog much.

Good news for MSDN subscribers: be notified of new downloads available from MSDN Subscriber Downloads via this RSS feed.

Visual Studio.NET Wallpaper?

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Apparently it's possible to set a background image in VisualStudio.NET text editor via undocumented API. Interesting exercise.

[Via Mike Gunderloy]

New Google's Skin

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Looks like Google got new site skin. I like it. Lightweight and clean.

Hey, good news about GotDotNet Workspaces again! Changes on the releases section scheduled for tomorrow include: per-release download count (AT LAST!!!), no more zero-byte/corrupt downloads (I hope), no more Passport sign-in for downloads (great), off-site hosting of releases (cool). Really sweet.
[Via Andy Oakley]

Watch out for some improvements in the Workspaces bug tracker next week (Tuesday 3/16/04).
GotDotNet Workspaces are about to be updated. Improvements: better bug search, separating bugs by a custom field (such as build number), customization of bug display, ability to export bug lists to XML, file attachments. Not bad. [Via Andy Oakley]

Rick Schaut writes about stupidity of the XOR trick these days:

So, not only is the XOR swap stupid because it's obscure, it's stupid because, with modern optimizing compilers, the eventual result often ends up being contrary to the intended result of using the coding trick in the first place.
The moral is, before you consider using some obscure coding trick for the sake of performance, write up some sample code, and take a look at the actual code your compiler generates. More often than not, you'll find that the less obscure method results in better code.
That great deal smells declarative programming style! Just declare what you want and let compiler do optimization tricks. +1. After years of XSLT coding and an optimizing XSLT compiler I developed once upon a time I'd say what Rick said perfectly fits XSLT/XPath/XQuery family. It's the most difficult thing when going XSLT lerning curve - to stop thinking procedurally and start thinking declratively. A common sample is alternating in XSLT - whenever you need to distinguish odd and even rows, do not go thinking about manual counting, incrementing of a variable etc. That's not the way to go. Just rely on XSLT processor and declare you are interested in even (position() mod 2 = 0) or odd (position() mod 2 = 1) rows.

I'm sure many of you know this page, but for the rest - here is useful link to default Visual Studio .NET shortcut keys. I like this stuff. My favorite one is CTRL + TAB to navigate over opened files.

[Via Jason Mauss]