Monthly Archives: September 2004

Shrinklet 1.0.0

I’ve come up with a little utility (download here) which runs as a tray-app which periodically scans the clipboard looking for URLs. When it detects one it pops up a balloon as asks if you would like it shrunk.

 If you click the balloon it will go off and talk to and turn that URL into something smaller. At the same time it will update the clipboard with the smaller URL so you can paste it into whatever document you are working on without having to go to the site, paste in the URL, submit it and copy it back into the clipboard.

If you don’t know what is, check it out! It is a cool little web-app like I was put on to after listening to .NET Rocks! (I think they were using up until then).

Anyway, download the setup file and give it a go, let me know if it rulz or droolz, and to tell others about it.

P.S. Thanks to Kyle Tinsley (blog?) from for making the scraping a little easier and to Darren Neimke from for the regular expressions advice via IM, oh an to Geoff Appleby for being my post man, oh and Hans Blomme (blog?) for his cool NotifyIconXP (link shrunk with Shrinklet ) component. And also . . . *music starts*

Update #2: .NET Geek Weekend

It looks like about twenty one people registered their expression of interest for the .NET geek weekend, thats certainly enough to make it interesting.

Of the locations suggested I have formulated a shortlist:

  • Wagga Wagga
  • Albury/Wodonga
  • Merimbula

Now what I need is for everyone who expressed an interest to e-mail me with the locations in their order of preference. For example:

  • Merimbula
  • Wagga Wagga
  • Albury/Wodonga

I’ll tally up the preferences and look into venues (and by extension viable dates) for the weekend. In terms of accomodation I am thinking it would need to be in two modes.

For those who are planning on bring their families you would be best to organise your other accomodation. But for hardcore geeks maybe a communal arragement could be made. That will depend a lot on the location though I think.

mitchDenny.MentalState != MentalState.CrackPot;

Last week I was delivering our IS.NET training course. I was lucky enough to have Andrew Coates from Microsoft taking the course. As Andrew mentioned, on the second last day I brought up the subject of identity in relational databases.

I going to make a more lengthy post down the track, but I totally advocate artificial keys for maintaining referenial integrity inside the database. Externally I like to have some kind of unique identifier which might make some kind of sense to a human, this includes both human interfaces (web/windows) and machine interfaces (web services).

The fact that Andrew went away thinking that I am a strong advocate for natural keys for referential integrity probably means I overplayed the devils advocate role a little bit 🙂

On the subject of SQL, I did mention this. My point was that I am really looking for a set based language that is a more natural fit for me. Once again I’ll make a more lenghty post down the track about this but if you do some googling there has been a lot of discussion about this. When it comes down to syntax (as opposed to a position about set based languages) it can get religious but it really comes down to personal preference. Why do some people prefer VB.NET over C# or vice versa?


It’s a small world . . .

I was sitting in the lounge at Sydney airport on Thursday night waiting for my flight back to Canberra. I was availing myself of the wireless network since I hadn’t had a chance to sync up my e-mail all day.

As I was sitting there waiting for the sync to finish up Roseanne Stamell walked up. Roseanne is the local lead for Australian and New Zealand MVPs (Roseanne’s photo is down the bottom). Rose had just gotten back from Melbourne.

It was nice chattin’ to ya Rose! It’s a small world . . .

My .NET Rocks Mug Arrived!

This is so cool, right? OK, well my wife doesn’t think so, she kinda thinks its a little sad that I went and purchased my own geek mug, from overseas no less!

But I just had to have one. The above picture is the very first cup of tea I’ve made in the mug, honestly, my lips hadn’t even touched the side.

P.S. Rory, sorry for chopping off your head dude.

The Last Star Fighter – The Musical

Back when I was a wee little boy I saw a movie called “The Last Starfighter” – ever since then I have approached playing space combat games with a little bit more attention, just in case it is just a front for an intergalactic recruiting agency, and I am going to be their next top gun.

The truth is that I was really quite good at Descent 1 & 2, a space combat sim set in the mines of planets. The beauty of this old DOS game was that you could move all six directions and anything in between, the ship controls allowed for straifing too.

Thats enough memory lane for now. The reason I mentioned Starfighter was that according to Playbill, is now a musical! How cool is that. I guess this is kinda like one of those defence force recruitment ads.

“Come and join the star league . . .”

A Wireless Experience

Last night a few of us from the class went out for a drink and a meal, while in the drinking phase of the evening I decided I might take the opportunity to sync up my e-mail via the wireless access point in the pub. While the transfer was happening a Darren Neimke IM’d me (is IM now a word? If not, I would like to submit it for consideration) to give me some feedback on my code review idea (which is going gang busters by the way).

At that point I reflected on how connected we are these days, when its possible to knock away some of the amber stuff and geek out at the same time.

Because of my earlier sync in the evening I decided not to get another twenty four hours of “broadband” Internet access when I got back to the hotel room since I was checking out the next day.

Actually I wanted to do some other things like transfer about 100MB of files to the company server via Offline Files, but given the recent performance of the hotel internet connection I doubted that it would be up for the challenge so the $20 wouldn’t be worth it. It could wait until the morning when I went down to the cafe outside Cliftons early to grab a cappuccino.

Or so I thought. I got down to the cafe just before 8am sat down make an order and whipped out the laptop. For some strange reason I couldn’t see the Azure wireless network. This happens quite a bit because I think the shop owners accidentally kick the cables out that support the wireless access points.

No problem thought I, because my wireless card had picked up six other unsecured networks in range. Being the nice guy that I am, I decided not to hijack someone elses network (there were some big names in that list). Instead I looked for the public access points. The strongest signal (four bars) was “Telstra CBD”. I hadn’t seen Telstra CBD before since the Telstra hotspots at the airport are all called “Telstra”.

Unfortunately, while this network was not secured, it didn’t seem to want to allocate me an IP address. I speculate that this is for one of two reasons, the first possibility is that it is in fact NOT a public access point, but rather an exposed internal Telstra network. The second possibility is that it was getting so much traffic that it had not addresses left to allocate.

So here I am, sitting in the training room, typing this blog entry with no means of getting it to the server. You’ll just have to wait – until now.

(9 links – man I’m handing out the GoogleJuice today)

Mobile Access to MSDN Product Keys

On the weekend I paved my machine to do an install of VS.NET 2003 for a course that I am teaching. Unfortunately earlier that week my wifes machine had a catastrophic hardware failure and is out of action. Of course, due to my superior planning technique I forgot to write down the MSDN Product Key for my Windows XP install.

So when it came to type it in I thought, no problem, and just whipped out my Pocket PC which has wireless and surfed on over to the MSDN sites. I found the Subscriber Downloads link and had a heart attack when it redirected me to a minimalist news page for MSDN articles.

At this point I had to call my little brother in law and give him my Passport account details so he could log in over his satellite connection and read out the key to me.

Sure, you could say its my fault for not writing down the number first, but I would like to blame someone else (afterall, it is always someone elses fault).

What would be cool is if when I hit the subscriber downloads site, it hits me up for my passport credentials and gives me two options – one to go and list out my product keys, and another to get some kind of subscription index (also something I’ve wanted occasionally). It is helpful for just these situations when you are doing an OS install and need a key but you have limited access to a terminal.

Another neat feature for the Longhorn timeframe would be a “tip” when the installer starts to suggest that you cancel out and go and get the key (just in case you forgot). That would help complete dodo’s like me.


Update #1: .NET Geek Weekend

There have been quite a few expressions of interest in a .NET Geek Weekend. I’ve started up a few pages to flesh things out.

Location is probably the first discussion to have, so far Batemans Bay, Eden, Wagga Wagga and Gundagai have been suggested. If you are interested then fill in your name on the expression of interest page and maybe update the activites page with some of your expectations.