Pledge Request: Fax Your TD
John Handelaar is looking for some people to support his efforts to develop an Irish equivalent of the hugely successful UK site WriteToThem.com for contacting UK politicians. The Irish version of the site would allow people to contact their councillors, TDs and MEPs for free. If you are interested in helping out, visit www.pledgebank.com/faxyourtd BEFORE 1ST FEBRUARY.
Duncan (Merrion) RantzUsing custom attributes to add performance counters to your .NET application (31.1.2006, 17:02 UTC)
If you have ever fired up perfmon.exe you will have seen that there is a vast array of metrics that allow you to monitor the performance of your system - from the CPU usage to the average disk queue length. It turns out that it is possible (and indeed desireable) to include custom performance counters in your own applications to monitor their performance using the same tool - you do this with the system.diagnostics.PerformanceCounter class However I found it to be a bit tiresome to add the perfo...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzPlayground football rules apply to business too (27.1.2006, 13:00 UTC)
A lot of journalists are getting upset over Google's decision to censor its results but the fact is that doing business in China is like playing football with the kid who owns the ball - you have to allow them to cheat a little or they'll take the ball away.
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzMy first public speaking engagement... (17.1.2006, 09:47 UTC)
If you discount any that start "I affirm that the evidence I give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth..." ;-) I am presenting a talk on .NET debugging, tracing and instrumentation in Buswell's Hotel (Dublin) at 7pm on Feb 7th. I have the main points done at this stage but if you have any thoughts on things you would like to see included, post a comment here. The code and presentation will be posted somewhere - not sure where yet - after the talk for those who can't mak...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzAnd you thought Soduku was difficult enough... (10.1.2006, 11:53 UTC)
The Register have a T-Shirt : "I do Soduku in Hex" - now that is difficult!  
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzHow to add the date created at the start of each new class you add in visual studio (5.1.2006, 11:03 UTC)
One of my clients have a requirement to include the date created in the header of each source code file added to a production project.  To facilitate this I modified the visual studio wizard files thus: 1. Alter the "new class" file template The file template for a new class is in the directory C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003\Vb7\VBWizards\Class\Templates\1033 (this may be different if you have installed visual studio in a different directory)  called "Class.vb". I m...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzDon't worry, be happy (4.1.2006, 15:50 UTC)
Ode to a hanging database, with considerable apologies to Bobby McFerrinHere is a little script I wrote You might want to parse the single quotes, Don't worry be happy In SQL we have some trouble When you convert from string to double Don't worry, be happy...... Ain't got no space to run your trigger Truncate the log or make it bigger Don't worry, be happy The tran log says its in a state You may have to SHUTDOWN WITH NOWAIT Don't worry, be happy Ain't got no cache, ain't got no file A...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzAn IT Christmas wish list (17.12.2005, 09:28 UTC)
If you were writing a letter to the IT Santa this year what would be on the top of your list? I'd ask for biometrics as login - the computer shouldn't need me to prove my identity to it.  I shall be dissappointed if I'm still having to remember 5 different passwords and a couple of PINs this time next year. Also automated timesheet software that looks at what projects and / or database connections I have open and automatically fills in the timesheet accordingly. Personal computers with...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzStuck for Christmas gift ideas? (16.12.2005, 15:11 UTC)
Astonishingly the Los Angeles Coroner's office has a web store - imagine turning up at a party with a bright yellow coat with "Coroner" written across it
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzParticipation is the name of the game (8.12.2005, 15:45 UTC)
Just a small selection of the goodies you can get by participating in the IrishDev and Developers.ie events - a Channel 9 doll and 101 Microsoft Visual basic .NET Applications book Speaking of participation - any thoughts on what you'd like to see (or hear) from me?
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzOn blogs and developers (1.12.2005, 23:45 UTC)
Big thanks to Robert Scoble for his talk to the Developers.ie (INDA) crowd today - hopefully the Guinness keep coming for the rest of the night. For Pavel : the project to persist objects to/from sql server tables based on marking their properties with attributes is up on this Codeproject article - any input to help fill the whole O-R gap is worth a try...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzWork in progress - structured documents (28.11.2005, 13:07 UTC)
A structured document is one that is created by the confluence of design time document templates and run time data.  Things like mail merges and reports are good examples.  I am currently working on a project on this GotDotNet workspace to simplify the creation of these structured documents for .NET developers. First principles: what is a document A document (in the sense of something that can be printed) is a collection of one or more pages which in turn are a collection of one or mor...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzPrinterQueueWatch release 2.0.1.3 (22.11.2005, 09:34 UTC)
I issued another release of the PrinterQueueWatch.NET component to the licensed users yesterday. This release extends the component by having the ability to enumerate the print providers, print processors, printer drivers, ports , data types and print devices of the current domain. This adds to the existing printer monitoring functionality to provide a powerful extension to the .NET framework for developers wishing to do work with the print subsystem
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzThe future of music distribution? (18.11.2005, 19:27 UTC)
A musician is someone who has invested a considerable amount of their lives in to their craft and music is greatly appreciated by the majority of people so it is right that the musician should be financially rewarded by the audience for their craft. What isn't right or fair is that middle-men control and manipulate this transaction to artificially control the supply and when it comes to underhand protection using rootkits and such like this becomes downright immoral. CalabashMusic and similar si...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzWiki in the workplace? (15.11.2005, 16:51 UTC)
Does anyone know of a .Net type wiki tool which I could use to set up a private (intranet based) knowledge base for a client? Or what is involved in writing such a thing...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzPersist a component as code... (9.11.2005, 13:52 UTC)
This is another one of those brilliant things that are part of the .NET framework:- the ability to persist your component state as source code. Basically what you do is create a class that inherits from CodeDomSerializer and use the System.CodeDom classes to save the state of your component in the form of source code that - when executed - recreates that component state. For example I have a component class called TextStyleProvider which holds a collection of objects of type ParagraphTextStyle.&...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzThe start of something big? (18.10.2005, 18:27 UTC)
Check out www.start.com - it's a very clever implementation of a pretty clever idea...now all I need to do is to convince a few laggards (H2G2 and VBforums) to implement an RSS feed. Edit (2005-10-20) I have just replaced Google.ie as my start page with this. 
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzVB.Net - How to dip in and out of the trace messages (17.10.2005, 19:48 UTC)
In the .Net framework you can emit trace messages form the running application using Trace.WriteLine.  These messages are passed to any trace listeners you have attached (in the application configuration file) and can be recorded or sent to the console.  However, if you don't have any trace listeners the trace messages get emitted using the OutputDebugString. To recieve this message you need to attach a debugger. You can create a quick and dirty debugger using the API calls such as Deb...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzThe Enable Ireland (ERPM) system (23.9.2005, 17:56 UTC)
I am building a system in VB.Net for Enable Ireland ( source is up on GotDotNet) which is basically a specialised customer relations management (CRM) system and there have been some useful spin-offs from this already. In particular the interop between the database tables and the business objects is being managed using attributes applied to the classes and a generic table interop class that can read/write and update items in an SQL server database For example, I have a class called Address which ...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzThe future is bright - the future is Visual Basic (22.9.2005, 11:38 UTC)
Microsoft have posted an article on MSDN outlining the changes that are coming in Visual basic 9 - the next major iteration of the Visual Basic language As with any major change, there are bound to be good parts and bad parts - and what follows is my take on the new features and what they will mean to the Visual Basic programmer: 1. Full integration with the Linq framework The LINQ project is a big and bold new set of extensions that integrate the kind of query, set and transform operations tha...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzThe XML Paper Specification ("Metro" etc.) (21.9.2005, 08:07 UTC)
Feng Yuan (one of the people you whose blog you should subscribe to if you are doing anything with printing in MS Windows) has collected together a set of reference materials covering "Metro" and the XML Paper Specification (XPS) In brief, XPS is a way of specifying fixed format documents in XML that will be natively supported by the Longhorn Vista print path.  It also means that you will be able to query that document (using XLINQ, for example) to extract the text, pictures and other info...
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Duncan (Merrion) RantzTwo steps forward, one step back (15.9.2005, 07:39 UTC)
 The new Visual basic language features coming soon have been announced in this blog. Whilst I am glad to see most of them, I am a tad concerned about Type Inference - have we not learnt from the whole DefInt fiasco? In my opinion you should always force the developer to explicitly state what type any variable is - those few extra keystrokes pay for themselves when the code is being maintained many months later by a different developer.
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