Exception Management

OSnews and Aspire were running a competition for writing a Development Article where I had submitted an entry on Exception Management in .NET. To my surprise I won that (even though there were not too many entries). You can read the article here. I will be posting here also probably this weekend.

Google into Mirrors?

Karan pointed this one out to me, but seems like google is into Mirrors now. Check out what “eerhab tima” returns. 🙂

IT Manager Game – Simulation of an IT department

First of all here are the sys. requirements:

  • Macromedia Flash Player 6 r79
  • IE 6 compatible browser with Javascript enabled

The IT manager – overworked and underappreciated. You know the story. Back in school, always the last to be picked for football, but the first one they ran to when they accidentally deleted a homework assignment. Not much has changed since then. But the fact is it takes a special skill set to manage an IT department. As IT manager you need to monitor industry trends and administer mission-critical resources for an entire company. At the same time, you have to manage increasingly tighter budgets – finding ways to do more with less – and possess the people skills to oversee staff and run interference with top decision makers.

The Intel® IT Manager Game tests your entire skill set – people management, resource allocation, strategic analysis and planning. It also tests your courage under fire – can you stand up to the scrutiny of top management along with that of your peers in the industry? Will the decisions you make result in breathtaking profits or devastating losses? Will you enjoy the sweet taste of victory or the bitter agony of defeat? Are you destined for management glory or will you be the kid sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the bell to ring?

Running .NET on a J2EE App. Server

Yes it is true and it is very cool! Mainsoft has a product called Visual MainWin for both J2EE and Unix and Linux platforms. You can have your ASP.NET applications (using ADO.NET) deployed on a single J2EE platform. Please note, this is not really “calling” any web services that are running on Java.

How does it work? Well for one you can check out this flash movie (and it surely is amazing!). But basically they wrote an IL compiler that takes the IL generated by .NET app (i.e. ASP.NET in this case) and converts it to Java bytecode which then is run “natively” on a J2EE platform.

When you install their product, they add some extensions to VS.NET that allows you to write your ASP.NET application with VS.NET including using all the features you are used to (such as the debugger). You can also jump to the debugger from the java code/component. In the demo they have on the site, the middle-tier of a typical 3-tier web app is hosted in EJB’s and the presentation tier is ASP.NET which is then run on J2EE. The middle-tier is component (jar file) is referenced in the asp.net solution. The deployed application is a war file on the J2EE application tier.

IHMO, this has a lot of value in an Enterprise environment, and should help avoid the whole “religious” debate that some companies get hung over. Has anyone has had a chance to play with this? If so, what have your experiences been? What do you think about this, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Is it me or .NET?

Incase you did not know, but this blog runs on .Text with minor tweaks to the code. When I run this in the W3C Validator, I get 61 (wow!) errors back. If you examine the results of the validator some interesting things emerge.

Here is a listing of the issues I found:

  1. “End tag for element not found” – If you look at the source you will see that there is an open element and this is the corresponding end tag. So what am I missing? Per the validator, this error means: “The validator found an end tag, represented here by ‘FOO’, without a corresponding start tag. This frequently occurs in conjunction with the previous error. For instance, given <B><I>nope</B></I>, the validator will insert a </I> before the </B>, and then will find the </I> after the </B> and will have nothing to match it with.
  2. “There is no Attribute ‘BLAH’” – Now all these attributes are used by the .NET framework, e.g. Name, Bordercolor, Height, etc. But in my (unofficial) testing, I did not find any issues with this on most of the browsers as most of them just ignore them. So, what is the “standard” here and the cause for concern? This brings up another interesting question, should Microsoft change the way the .NET runtime renders this to “fix” this? How does this compare to what JSP’s render?
  3. “Value of attribute “ID” invalid” – technically this is part of the above, but I was curious on what the issue is with the ID starting with an underscore (_)? I am at a loss there. Any thoughts?
  4. “ALT not Specified” – Now this is truely my fault for not adding that attribute to the images. Next build one can be assured this would be fixed. 🙂
  5. An attribute value must be a literal unless it contains only name characters” – This is interesting. .Text uses an open source (I think) control called FreeTextBox by John Dyer, which is quite cool. Maybe the newer version of the control fixes this issue.

As you gathered, I am not really a HTML guy, I know enough aboout it, but don’t know the protocol by heart, nor do I plan on learning that. So go easy on me if some of my questions are very basic *grin*.

I would be interested to hear what you feedback is and what your experiences with this have been?

Google and Numbers

Though, this has been possible by google for a bit, most people did not know all the power of google. Here are some of the things you can do:

  1. Area Code Maps
  2. Package Tracking (FedEx, UPS,  USPS)
  3. Flight Tracking Info
  4. Vehicle Info
  5. Patent Search
  6. FAA Plane Registration
  7. UPC Codes
  8. FCC Equipment IDs

There is also a calculator which in addition to the simple things (such as addition, multiplications, etc) can also calculate the sqrt, trigonometric functions (sin, cos, etc.), ln (logarithm base e), log (logarithm base 10), factorial, etc. Want to see some binary multiplication?

Now that is cool, the power to have all this at your fingertips. What would be next? 🙂

Personalize input system, is it possible?

Ergodex has made what it dubs as the “The World’s First Totally Personalizable Input System”. They have a pad with a sticky surface that connects via usb to a computer. You can then stick the keys to the surface as you like. You can “record” macros and assign them to keys and can be executed at one touch.

Now, looking at it, my geek factor thinks it cool, but when I put on my practical hat, is it really worth almost the $150 bucks? Sure everyone’s hands are different, but at the end of the day you would probably set it up in a qwerty layout.

This is broken

This Is Broken, run by Mark Hurst, in my opinion has an excellent way to popularise the customer experience on the web. Not only is it “lmao“ funny, but it also tells you which products and companies to avoid! Kudos to Mark!

What is in a Name?

Many people have come to me asking what the heck does the Blog name mean? I have the same as my handle on MSN Messenger also and I get the same question there. For the non-techy folks, it is quite interesting that the first thing that comes to their mind is that there is a virus. Hmm, have we rooted this fear so deeply in them now? If so then probably we have failed, but thats another story. Anyways, if you read carefully my handle reads IUnkown [Deprecated]. For those of you who were lucky enough to program against COM, you would know that IUnkown is the main interface that all COM objects had to inherit – it’s the equivalent to object in Java or .NET; or as I like to say, “Mother of COM” :). With the release of .NET though, COM in general is deprecated now, with minimal new development on COM (or that is what common sense would dictate), hence IUnkown [Deprecated].

Gibberish

A bunch of my friends asked me, what is all the “gibberish” on the test posts that I had submitted to ensure that everything works. I was quite surprised to hear these – especially these are friends who are into custom development on various platforms and technologies. The thought that they have never seen this “gibberish” was quite astounding.

So, the “gibberish”, is basically Lorem Ipsum which is sample or dummy text originally of the printing and typesetting industry, but now is used by the Information Architects in all product companies (that I know of). I did not know this, but Lorem Ipsum is from the 1500’s and is not just random text (or gibberish if you prefer that). On the contrary, it has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old.

Why do you use it? Generally, a reader gets distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at a pafe layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using placeholder’s, making it look like readable English.

You can get more information at this excellent site here.

If you go back and read the “gibberish” again a bit carefully you will notice it always starts with Lorem Ipsum.

"Windows XP Box"

These guys show you how to fit a fully functional PC based on a VIA M10000 EPIA board . They went onto fit it into a Red Hat box and then using a sensor told the boot-loader which OS to run based on which box it is in. Now thats cool! Also check out the other neat projects they have done.