Monthly Archives: April 2004

Panopticon Central’s greatest hits

One of the downsides of blogs is that good stuff tends to gradually scroll off into the sunset. Loyal readers may have caught all the good stuff over the past ten months, but newcomers may have missed some things entirely unless they were willing to wade through all of the other superfluous stuff. To make it easier to find useful information (at least, what I think is useful information), I’ve added some article categories to the panel on the right. The “Articles“ section contains general long-form items like “The Ten Rules of Performance“, while the “Personal FAQs“ and “VB FAQs“ section contain answers to frequently asked questions. I would have liked to just have headers that linked back to the original entries, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that in .Text, so I just pasted them into new articles with a link back to the original. If you want to comment on something, you’ll have to go back to the original entry and comment there. (I’m still working on a comments RSS feed so that comments on old entries can be tracked more easily.)

I still need to talk with Duncan about how this is going to mesh with the newly announced VB FAQ blog

“Hello,” he lied.

I’m afraid I unintentionally lied to you all: I won’t be going on the VB 2004 World Tour after all. I had my ticket and everything, but I’m afraid something very urgent has come up at work and I’m not going to be able to go to Louisville and Chicago, which I am very bummed about. You’ll definitely still be getting Jay Schmelzer, though, who’s a terrific speaker so you won’t be going home empty handed. Jay’s also trying to line up someone to take my place, and I’m sure they’ll be great, too.

I apologize to all those people who are already lined up to get in to see me. Maybe you can head over to the movie theater and start getting in line for Episode III. I’m still hoping to get out on the Tour at some point, though, and those international destinations look pretty good to me!

Mort, the Dead Teenager?

So out of idle curiosity (suuuure), I clicked on MSN’s link to an article on Maxim’s “Hot 100” issue. Apparently Jessica Simpson is number one (beauty before brains) and there was some kind of link on her name, so I clicked on that, again out of idle curiosity (suuuure). Up comes MSN’s “Celebrity Information” page on Jessica Simpson, and there at the top of her filmography is listed the title “Mort, the Dead Teenager.”

Now normally this would just be funny since we use the name Mort as the name of our VB user persona, but there’s an added twist: I’ve heard of this before. At work, we’ve got this wall that’s got all kinds of ironic Mort-related stuff pasted on it (such as a picture of Morticia Addams or the webpage of Dr. Mort Berkowitz, hypnotist to the stars). Many months ago, I was visiting my usual comics establishment to pick up the latest copies of whatever Alan Moore series I was reading at the time when I noticed something funny in the “cheapo” rack: a copy of some weird comic named, you guessed it, “Mort, the Dead Teenager.” I immediately purchased it for our “Wall o’ Mort” and put it up there after a quick perusal to verify that it was, indeed, as stupid as it looks. The comic lasted maybe a month before someone stole it. I think the thief got what they deserved.

Anyway, I’m stunned that someone managed to supposedly convince Quentin Tarantino to produce a movie based on this totally forgotten, totally forgettable comic book. It kinda sounds like it’ll probably never see the light of day, but still…

Weird. Maybe I should have held on to the comic…

VB’s 2004 (pseudo-) World Tour

As Robert and others have blogged about today, VB is doing a “World Tour” of user groups over the next several months. I added the quotes because at the moment all the dates are in the US, but it appears that international dates are also in the works. (I, for one, would love a chance to go back and visit Spain. Or Italy. Or England. Or, heck, anywhere!)

I’m going to be going to the Louisville, KY and Chicago, IL dates next week (4/20 and 4/21, respectively), so I hope to see some readers there! (See sidebar for a link to a full list of places/dates and registration links.)

Another VB weblog…

Somehow I’d missed that one of our VB MVPs, Rocky Lhotka, has started a weblog! He starts out with thoughts on his C# journey for one of his books, which includes the observation:

In many ways, C# really is just VB with semi-colons.

Rocky’s been a great resource over the years (and was even nice enough to do some technical reviewing of my book) and I’m looking forward to reading his thoughts on all things .NET!

Thanks to the MVPs!

One of the reason things have been slow around here is that I was preparing a presentation yesterday to the VB MVPs yesterday at the MVP Global Summit. Since we’ve been talking about the VB 8.0 language for quite a while now (and we’ve had several semi-public releases), there wasn’t a lot new to talk about so we just discussed the new language features in more detail. It reminded me yet again that I need to get more detail on some of the new features up here and out in public.

My only regret was that I ended up missing most of the MVP events, which sounded like they were a good time. I did get to meet Anand M. and Julie Lerman, which was great, although I missed out on meeting all the other bloggers who were there! Maybe next time (or TechEd)…

Anand’s big question was “why aren’t there more VB team bloggers?” He’s right, and it’s something we’re working on…

Sample chapter is available

For those of you who’ve been considering buying my book but just want to make sure that it’s worth whatever they’re charging for it these days, Addison-Wesley (my publishers) has provided a sample chapter online in PDF format. The chapter is about inheritance, so it should give you a good idea of what the rest of the book is going to be like.

As always, you can buy the book here.

Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in…

The transition to .Text has gone very smoothly, with one exception – my bandwidth usage has gone way, way up since I switched. Since I host my own blog and pay for my own bandwidth, this is not an academic issue. I investigated my logs a bit and my percentage of “304 Not Modified” responses for my RSS feed plummeted since I went over to .Text. A little further probing indicated that the conditional GET mechanism that .Text implements for its RSS feeds is somewhat broken at best. It ignores entity tags and can’t agree with itself about which time it should use for If-Modified-Since.

To try and help out my pocketbook, I went in and (I hope) fixed the conditional GET mechanism to work properly now. Because I’m anal-retentive that way, I also cleaned up the code a bit. Anyway, my hope is that my bandwidth usage will drop now that I’ve implemented the changes on the blog. On the other hand, please let me know if your aggregator suddenly stops fetching my entries or something. (I’ll try and post some on Monday to verify this.) I’ve also sent some mail to ScottW to figure out how to contribute fixes to the source code, so .96 can benefit.

As an interesting side note, because .Text is written in C#, I also had to do the most sustained C# programming that I’ve had to do in a while. Boy do I ever, ever, ever miss background compilations (even given the problems with it) and case insensitivity. Like night and day, at least to me…

MVP Summit

It’s been a bit quiet around here because after having a couple of weeks of relative calmness, things have gotten busy again. One of the things that I’ve been busy with is putting together the “Visual Basic 2005 Language Enhancements” talk for the MVP summit that starts tomorrow. The program manager for the language, Amanda Silver, is on vacation next week, so I’m filling in for her. Comparing last year’s presentation with this year’s, it’s amazing how much we’ve gotten done in the last year! Just unbelievable.

I’m also going to try and make it to the dinner on Monday night, but I can’t stay long – I’ve been taking Spanish classes for a few years and my classes are Monday and Wednesday. Se habla español aquí, pero no se habla español bien…