ChiaFong

Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

Remembering September 11

In Personal on 11 September, 2006 at 4:30 pm

On the 5th year after that dreadful day, Charles Petzold, the master programmer and author of such popular book like “Programming Microsoft Window” is recounting some experiences that he encountered.

My wife and I were at the swimming pool when we saw the news broadcast from the cafeteria’s TV.  It came as a shock.  I thought that it was some movie thriller, but it was not.  It was the truth, a dreaded truth.

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Amazing Street Directory

In Software on 11 September, 2006 at 4:00 pm

Singapore is going to host the 2006 IMF/World Bank meeting and because of that security has been up a few notches (or should I say to the highest) at and around the venue.  Roads close to the vicinity have also be closed.  Since I might be going to a place that needs to bypass the area, I have decided to check the Singapore Traffic Police website and see whether any route that I have in mind is affected by this closure.

Since a map depicting the area of closure is available in a PDF form, I have decided to check out the online street directory to have a better sense of area not shown on the PDF map.  To my surprise, the map display by the street directory has information on the temporary road closure as well.  Roads affected are mark with shades of gray and with a no-entry sign at the beginning and end of the closure.  This is what I call, Service!

Applications = Code + Markup

In Programming on 9 September, 2006 at 1:30 pm

Charles Petzold is at it again.  I have just finished Chapter 2 and I am hook!  After playing around with Windows Presentation Foundation for nearly a year, he still managed to give me a whole new perspective on WPF programming.  With just 2 chapters under my belt, I have already learn much more about the Window class.  LinearGradientBrush class is also now much more clearer to me.  I believe I have made a good investment on this book and it will definitely help me on my way to WPF nirvana!

Orcas CTP and Expression suite are now available

In Programming on 9 September, 2006 at 1:00 pm

Finally, tools that are compatible with Windows Vista RC1, .NET Framework 3.0 RC1 and Windows SDK RC1 are now available.  Orcas is now a real gem to use, especially the included Cider (the Visual Designer tools for Windows Presentation Foundation) which won’t slow down your Visual Studio anymore.  I am now quite satisfy with Cider performance and it can finally display my application’s GUI in its designer window.

Other tools of interest to any .NET Framework 3.0 programmer are Expression Interactive Designer, Expression Graphic Designer, and Extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation.  Enjoy!

Hybrid cars only suitable for Sales person?

In Car on 4 September, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Recently, I went to check out the latest Honda Civic Hybrid.  During the test drive, the sale executive told me that hybrid cars are actually more for people who travels a lot; People like insurance agent, sales executive and so on.  According to him, 80km per day is not consider a lot, thus a hybrid car is not suitable.  I beg to differ.

Let’s do some calculation.  If you travels a lot, like say 80km per day, your annual distance would be 30,000km.  You are now driving a normal car which can give you 12km/liters.  Using the lowest grade of petrol that can be found easily in Singapore (which is Octane 95 and cost currently $1.632/liters, your annual petrol cost would be $4,080.  Compare that to a Civic hybrid having 22km/liters and thus gives you an annual petrol cost of $2,225.  Thus, petrol saving per year would be $1,855.  For the calculation of car cost, let’s assume that the normal car is a Honda Civic 1.6 which cost $72,000 (having the same fuel consumption as 12km/liters) and the Civic hybrid cost $79,500.  A difference of $7,500 which means that to break even, you need to drive the Civic hybrid for about 4 years (provided that petrol remains as high, which is very likely).

This shows that if you travels quite frequently, clock an annual mileage of 30,000km and you intend to drive the car for 10 years, go for the Civic hybrid.  The hybrid car will save you $11,130 after the initial 4 years.

Release Candidate for Windows SDK and .NET Framework 3.0

In Programming on 2 September, 2006 at 6:00 pm

Hot on the heels of Windows Vista RC1 (or is it the other way around?), Microsoft has released the set of tools that developers can use on Windows Vista RC1 (or use to develop applications that can work on Windows Vista RC1).

The Windows SDK has been updated to be compatible with RC1 of Windows Vista.  Hopefully, all the header files that had been breaking since Windows Vista interim build 5483, has been fixed and applications build using Windows SDK July CTP will not crash on Windows Vista RC1 (they have been crashing on interim build 5536).

The .NET Framework 3.0 has been bump up to Release Candidate status.  Thus any developer that feels more comfortable in Windows XP (hmmm….. that’s a thought) can install this build of .NET Framework 3.0 (together with Windows SDK RC1) and still be able to program applications that can work on Windows Vista RC1.

Strangely, the Visual Studio 2005 extension for .NET Framework 3.0 (codename Orcas) has not been updated to support RC of .NET Framework 3.0.  It has been missing ever since Windows Vista July CTP and .NET Framework 3.0 July CTP.  I hope this will be release soon.

Lastly, designers who wish to get onto the RC1 bandwagon, have to wait patiently.  This is because Microsoft Expression suite of applications has not been release for RC1 just yet.  Soon.  I hope.

The First Release Candidate for Windows Vista

In OS on 2 September, 2006 at 4:00 pm

Finally, the highly anticipated RC1 (Release Candidate 1) of Windows Vista has been released.  Build 5600 of Windows Vista is now the official RC1 at least according to Paul Thurrott’s RC1 review.  I can’t verify whether Beta Testers have received this RC1 or not, as it is weekend and I am not at work.  However, MSDN subscribers have not received it; I can verify this because MSDN subscribers can access their account online, and I’ve log on to my account and checked; The latest is still August CTP (Build 5536).  This means that I can only get my hand on RC1 when I get back to work on Monday.

If you are interested in knowing what is new since Beta 2, you can check out Paul Thurrot’s review that I have linked in the first paragraph.