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Author: host Created: 3/6/2006 9:55 PM
Adventures in .NET

Book Review: Practical .NET 2.0 Networking Projects
By Andy Beaulieu on 4/25/2007 3:52 PM

As I've mentioned before, there is something really cool about controlling external devices from code (especially humanoid robots). Now I've stumbled across a book that is dedicated to just that: Practical .NET 2.0 Networking Projects by Wei-Meng Lee.

This book walks the reader through several projects, detailing hardware setup and code for integrating with: a GPS receiver, a fingerprint reader, IR devices, RFID, webcam, and an ultrasonic sensor. While the book is a fun read and feels geared towards hobbyists, its projects have definite applications in the professional world as well.

One of the most interesting projects in the book details an RFID attendance application using the $39 Parallax RFID Reader and $2 Parallax Tag. Lee uses the $119 Javelin Demo Board to hook the reader to his PC but also mentions cheaper solutions. It's amazing how mainstream and inexpensive this technology is.

Whether you're a hobbyist looking for a fun time, or a professional working on your latest project, Practical .NET 2.0 Networking Projects has relevant and timely info for home and office.

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Fix: Nikhils Web Dev Helper under Vista w/o UAC
By Andy Beaulieu on 4/23/2007 6:42 AM

If you're doing ASP.NET AJAX development, you've probably become a little dependent on Nikhil's Web Development Helper. And if you've moved one or more of your development machines to Vista and turned off UAC, you would have run into some unfortunate issues with the Web Development Helper.

The problem manifests itself as follows: The Tools/Web Development Helper menu item is missing and if you visit Tools/Manage Add-ons, you will not see the Web Development Helper listed, but will instead see its GUID listed only.

Luckily, Tim Heuer has posted a reg fix to get Nikhil's Web Development Helper working under Vista with UAC disabled.

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WPF/E Gets a Name
By Andy Beaulieu on 4/16/2007 12:15 PM

Personally, I have always had a hard time thinking of clever names for software. But I think even I could have come up with something better than Silverlight. I'm imagining a whiteboard somewhere on the MS campus with scribblings something like:

FLASH      (nope, this name taken)
FLASHLIGHT   (legal says "no")
SILVERLIGHT   (thumbs up!)

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XmlSerializers.dll and "Auto" setting
By Andy Beaulieu on 4/2/2007 12:32 PM

If you do much with web services, this is a headache waiting to happen: in VS2005, there is a well hidden attribute in Project Properties titled "Generate serialization assembly." This option will allow your build process to automatically call out to sgen.exe and generate any types that your web service client needs to serialize...

The default setting for this option is "Auto" which the documentation is kind of vague about, but what others say (and I've also found) means that the serialization assembly will be created for "Release" config but not "Debug." Makes sense I suppose, as we are not all that concerned about performance in Debug mode.

But what can happen in Release mode is, the XmlSerializers assembly can throw a meaningless error and call stack when it encounters an error, but only when it is present... So this can make for very confusing deployment problems between Debug and Release modes.

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Vista Emergency Shutdown
By Andy Beaulieu on 3/21/2007 10:48 AM

I was glad they kept the "Emergency Shutdown" feature in Vista as some nasty component (I believe it was a certain VPN Client beta that will remain nameless) caused my notebook to go into la-la land after an uninstall. I don't know how much more cleanup the emergency shutdown does than just hitting your power switch, but I suppose this might be handy if you are remoted into a machine and can't hit that switch.

To do an emergency shutdown in Vista, hit CTRL-ALT-DEL and then (assuming the next screen comes up, it may not depending on your level of hosiery) you will notice the familiar little orange power off icon in the right corner. Hold the CTRL Key down while clicking this power icon and you will get a prompt saying "If you continue, your machine will reboot and any unsaved data will be lost. Use this only as a last resort."

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VB.NET <--> C#
By Andy Beaulieu on 2/8/2007 7:19 PM

If you are a VB.NET programmer trying to get comfy with C#... or a C# programmer trying to grasp VB.NET, here are some resources to help out...

 

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Ajax Talk at CNY .NET Developer Group
By Andy Beaulieu on 1/11/2007 8:22 PM


Thanks to everyone who attended my ASP.NET Ajax talk at our local .NET Developer Group!! We also had a great sponsor, Telerik, who supplied the pizza and soda.

For those interested, here are the slides and demos.

And, if you want to play around with the game behaviors I showed during the talk, check out the Ajax Sprite Toolkit!

 

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Blog Tagged
By Andy Beaulieu on 1/3/2007 7:19 AM

Let's play Blog Tag - because even I was tagged today by David Laribee

So here's how the game goes: I list 5 things you might not know about me, followed by 5 people that are tagged "it". Basic chain letter type stuff that typically clogs the internet :)

1. I grew up in the Adirondacks, and went to a very small school - with just 29 people in my graduating class!

2. My first summer job as a teenager was as a camp counselor at Camp Overlook - teaching a computer class on Apple II's.

3. While attending Potsdam College as a Computer Science major, I helped pay the bills by joining the Army Reserves as a Combat Engineer and working at a Chinese Restaurant as a waiter and fry cook.

4. Like most programmers, I am a Trekkie and find ST2 to be the best of the franchise.

5. I, too used to be an avid Visual FoxPro programmer... and with the advent of LINQ, maybe VFP had it right so long ago...

And now, TAG YOU'RE IT: (and my apologies if you've already been tagged!)

Thom Robbins   Julie Lerman   Susan Wisowaty   Chris Bowen   Chris Miller

 

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Codeplex Adventures
By Andy Beaulieu on 12/28/2006 3:43 PM

I published the Ajax Sprite Toolkit as a Codeplex project today, which was my first experience using Microsoft's open source hosting.

It wasn't a hideous experience, but it wasn't perfect either.

After requesting a new project, I only had to wait a few days for an approval email which included login and some other basic information. Not bad considering they are limiting the number of new projects and I submitted the request right around the holidays!

I was surprised to find out that Codeplex uses VS Team Foundation Server as a Source Control Provider. So what does an open source developer do if he doesn't own VS Team System? Well, Microsoft provides a free Team Explorer Client which can be used for developers wanting to contribute to a Codeplex project. But the download is an immense 246 MB .img file. ugh.

On a positive note, I have so far found the Codeplex project management functionality to be pretty good. They provide basic Forums, Issue Tracker, License, and Wiki pages which (aside from some less than intuitive interface design) all worked as advertised.

 

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Ajax Sprite Toolkit
By Andy Beaulieu on 12/22/2006 8:23 AM

When I first learned of the cool Animations in ASP.NET AJAX, I was thinking, maybe it would be easier to make simple javascript games - you know, like DHTML Lemmings or Bunny Hunt or these other games.

But, I was frustrated over the lack of collision detection and frame-based image support... So I thought, why not try and create a few behaviors to make simple javascript games easier to develop using ASP.NET AJAX?

So here is what I came up with: The Ajax Sprite Toolkit. It contains a couple of behaviors and extender controls for Sprite support as well as a behavior for Scott Schiller's Javascript to Flash Sound API. Scott's API uses a Flash object to provide mixed sound to Javascript.

There are a couple of tutorials as well as this Fish Game to get an idea of what its all about.

This is an initial beta that I've tested under XP and Vista using IE6, IE7, and Firefox. If anyone has other flavors, especially Mac browsers, please let me know how it does.

[Ajax Sprite Toolkit Project Page]

Comments (2)

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  Diversions
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PHYSAMAJIG
This Windows app was created using Physics Helper XAML, and the Farseer Physics Engine.
DOWNLOAD

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TALKING RAGDOLL
This Windows Phone app was created using Silverlight, the  Physics Helper Library,  and the Farseer Physics Engine. It gets interesting when you import your friends photos and have your way with them!

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BOSS LAUNCH
This physics game won first place in the Server Quest Contest. Created using Silverlight , the Physics Helper Library,  and the Farseer Physics Engine.
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DESTROY ALL INVADERS
A scrolling shooter game where the objective is to destroy the invading UFO's flying over a neighborhood of your choosing. Imagery provided by Microsoft Virtual Earth. Created using Silverlight.
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INFO AND CODE



PHYSICS HELPER DEMOS
These demos were created for the Physics Helper Library, which makes it easy to create physics games and simulations using Expression Blend, Silverlight, and the Farseer Physics Engine.
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INFO AND CODE



HOOK SHOT
This little basketball game took first place in the TeamZoneSports Silverlight Contest. Created using Silverlight and the Farseer Physics engine.
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SORT THE FOOBARS
A game where you need to sort the good foobars from the bad ones. Created using Silverlight and the Farseer Physics engine.
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POLYGON PHYSICS DEMO
A demo showing polygon physics where the user draws physics objects with the mouse. Created using Silverlight and the Farseer Physics engine.
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SILVERLIGHT ROCKS!
Destroy the asteroids before they destroy your ship! Created using Silverlight.
PLAY IT

INFO AND CODE



FISH GAME
A simple game of harpoon-the-fish. Written using the AJAX Sprite Toolkit.
PLAY IT

INFO AND CODE

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