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Finds of the Week – Oct 31, 2007

Here are my finds for this week:

.NET

Tools

  • I hope my hard drive doesn't crash in the next few days… because my initial Mozy backup is still running… about 3 weeks after I started it. At this rate it should be done in a few more days.

    Mozy Backup

  • Oracle SQL Developer is a very nice and full-featured Oracle query and browsing tool. Best of all: it's free.

    Oracle SQL Developer

Windows Mobile / Pocket PC

  • I wrote before about how Verizon Wireless may cut you off if you use up too much bandwidth per month. Good news: Verizon Wireless has just settled a N.Y. probe (news.com) into that practice.
  • I've been checking my Gmail account everyday every since the IMAP announcement on Oct 24. Today, it finally showed up!

    Gmail IMAP

  • Capture Screen Utility from Fann Software is a free screen capture program for Pocket PC and Windows Mobile devices. It's free, and it works.

    Fann Software Screen Capture Utility for Windows Mobile/Pocket PC

Miscellaneous

  • If you are anoyed about that pesky Windows Language Bar that keeps coming back after you tell it to go away, you are not alone. Here's how to get rid of it for good (How-To Geek Blogs).

Finds of the Week – 10/24/2007

.NET

  • Improve ODP.NET Performance (Mark A Williams, via Oracle Magazine) shows how Connection Pooling, Controlling Fetch Size, and Statement Caching can be used to maximize performance with the Oracle Data Provider for .NET.
  • Did you know that you can profile a selected Unit Test in Visual Studio Team System? Read more at Profiling a Unit Test (Noah Coad, via blogs.msdn.com).

Tools

  • Sysinternals (now part of Microsoft) has released a new version (v11.02) of their extremely useful Process Explorer utility. This is one of my must-have utility on any new system.
  • Process Explorer

  • FileZilla is an open source FTP utility for Windows. It's free and has all the features I use. What more can one ask for?
  • Filezilla

  • I signed up for Mozy two weeks ago. The price is right: $4.95 per month for peace of mind. However, it’s been 2 weeks and the initial backup is still only 50% complete!! I have a Verizon FIOS connection with 2000 Kbps upload speed and about 37GB of data to backup. I’ll post an update on how restores work whenever this thing finishes.
  • Mozy

Windows Mobile / Pocket PC

  • Google has just announced free IMAP for Gmail! Unfortunately, it's not available on my Gmail account yet. I am hoping that the IMAP with Windows Mobile Outlook is better than Gmail mobile (via Pocket IE or Opera Mobile).

Blogs

  • Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen is one of my favorite .NET related blogs. I don't know how he does it, but Scott often writes several detailed posts a day. Don't forget to check out his Tools List post.

Miscellaneous

  • Did you know that the best Wikipedia content is often from anonymous "good samaritans"? "Anonymous contributors with a single edit had the highest quality of any group." Read more here.

And Now, Something Different

Alexa.com's current list of 100 Top Sites in the United States (sorted by traffic) has a couple of interesting entries. In addition to the familiar Yahoo!, Google, and Myspace, there are two Vietnamese related sites: VnExpress at number 70, and Vietfun, at number 80. Besides these two sites, there are no other non-English or minority-centered web sites on the list that I could tell.

Possible explanations:

  • Alexa rankings are way off base.
  • Vietnamese Americans are using the net much more than any other minority groups (unlikely). If this is true, there is an untapped market here.

Anyone else has an explanation?

alexa-rankings-usa-1

alexa-rankings-usa-1

Finds of the Week – 10/17/2007

As an attempt to make this blog appears more busy:-), I will begin my "Finds of the Week" series. Each week, I will share miscellaneous finds and thoughts I ran into that are related to mostly .NET development.

Here are the finds for this week:

.NET

  • Parallel Performance: Optimize Managed Code For Multi-Core Machines; by Daan Leijen and Judd Hall; via MSDN Magazine. In a few years' time, I predict that most new PCs will be multi-core. This article talks about the new Task Parallel Library (TPL) and provides code samples.
  • document.f.q.focus(); The Billion Dollar Line of JavaScript (by gst, via blogstorm.co.ok) talks about how many people use the Search Box on their browser to navigate to various web sites, instead of typing in a URL, and how this practice translates into revenue for Google. Interesting read.
  • alessandro pointed out that and IMG element with an empty src attribute will call the browser to make a request to the default document (usually default.aspx).
  • Understanding Windows Workflow Foundation (by razi bin rais, via Codeproject.com) is a nice overview of Windows Workflow Foundation.
  • Where are the basic controls in Silverlight 1.1? When I started experimenting with Silverlight recently (see my Silverlight Hello World application), the first question that came to my mind was: where are all the basic controls such as button, checkbox, textbox, etc?

    XAML Intellisense drop-down

    Don't worry! Apparently, they are not there because it's still an Alpha release. According to this post from Tim Sneath, the following controls are planned to be included in the released version of 1.1: Button, TextBox, Scrollbar, Slider, ListBox, CheckBox, RadioButton, ComboBox, and UserControl (no TreeView, RichTextBox, or DataGrid).

 

Tools

  • Probably old news to most CSS pros, but just in case you have not heard, FireBug is a very useful extension for FireFox/CSS development. Highly recommended if you ever work with CSS. I could have saved countless hours debugging HTML/CSS issues with this tool.
  • Notepad++ is a new addition to my toolset. Supports syntax highlighting, regular expression search/replace, Unicode, Macros, and is light-weight.

Windows Mobile / Pocket PC

Blogs

Miscellaneous

  • I am pretty bad with keeping in touch with people, and I have found that LinkedIn makes it fairly easy to keep in touch with past colleages. Last week I had some free time so I decided to look up old colleagues on LinkedIn. It was great to hear from many people I worked with years ago. I found many people by simply searching on the name of the company we worked for.

And Now, Something Different

Check out the Windows Live Maps Bird's Eye view below. See the black car entering the cul-de-sac? That's me and my car.

Microsoft Windows Live Maps - Chinh's Car

How do I know that’s my car? Well, for one thing, my car is black. But the real reason I know it’s me is that a moment later, my garage door opened half-way… as I was about to drive into the garage:

Microsoft Windows Live Maps - Chinh's Car

At first glance, it seems to be an amazing coincidence (like one-in-a-million amazing). What is the chance that Microsoft’s Bird’s Eye low flying plane would fly across my house and snap pictures just as I am about drive into my garage? However, after further calculations, it turns out that the real probability is around 1/8640 (5-second window over 43200 average seconds of day-light). Still a very small chance, but certainly not lottery-winning “amazing”.

Update on Verizon Wireless Samsung i730 Pocket PC Phone

i730I wrote earlier about problems I have been having with my Samsung i730 Smart Phone from Verizon Wireless. I have been trying to back it up but I have not figured out how to do it yet. In the previous versions of ActiveSync, there was a feature to backup your device from there. It seems that the backup feature is no longer a part of the latest version of ActiveSync (4.1.0). I tried to see if there is a utility on the device itself but I cannot find any. Apparently after I upgraded the thing to Windows Mobile 2005, the included backup utility Sprite Backup got wiped out.

So now it seems there is no way to backup my phone without buying a backup utility. Don’t you just love it.

I am sure I will get to backup the device some day so I can go ahead and get a replacement from Verizon but for now I seem to have fixed most of the problems myself by removing my 2GB Secured Digital card from the phone. I do remember reading somewhere that Samsung only recommends not using SD cards over 1GB in capacity. Argg! There goes my plan for using the i730 as a music player as well! Perhaps this is my excuse for getting a separate mp3 player :-).

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