The soda blew out of nose while reading this…

Wil Wheaton answers questions submitted from Slashdot

One of my favorite things to do when I worked on Star Trek was walk through the sets when nobody else was around, just so I could study the graphics. I’m sure you know about the giant Enterprise schematic in Engineering, but for the one person who doesn’t: The huge cutaway view of the Enterprise is filled with little graphical inside jokes, like a hamster wheel where the engine should be, only two restrooms at opposite ends of the ship, NOMAD from the original series, and a few other things that we all figured nobody would ever get close enough to see . . . until one director (I think it may have been Paul Lynch, who liked to yell “Energy! Energy! Energy! Energy! And! And! And! And! And! ACTION!” at the beginning of each take) wanted to do a shot that started close on the cutaway, swept across it, and pulled back into a two shot of me and Brent. When he watched the rehearsal, and saw that there was a giant duck decoy and a “Speed Limit” sign in the middle of his shot, he was pissed. I’m sure the art department felt bad about that, but we all had a god laugh while they reblocked the shot.

The Polaroid-o-nizer™

The picture to left is a snapshot of the girls after it’s been run through the Polaroid-o-nizer™. This is a free site that will take an online image (you can’t upload one directly) and transform it to look like a Poloroid instant picture.

It’s nothing that you couldn’t do your self with any decent image editing application (except for this). You can view a large size of the image by clicking on it. The original version can be viewed from here.

King King Trailer online

Over the weekend, my Tivo suggested that I record the trailer for King Kong. Being easily persuaded by cheeky gadgets, I let it record it. Come on, it’s got Jack Black in it. It looks like a period piece, a remake of the original version. It’s either going to be really good or really bad, I didn’t see any middle ground on this one. You can view it online here (QuickTime).

Uncrippling Windows XP’s IIS 5.1

Testing an ASP.NET application on an XP box can be a royal pain in the ass sometimes (Ok, most of the time). It’s version of IIS is the idiot brother of the IIS that comes with Windows Server. It only supports a single site. That’s kind of annoying, but doesn’t impact the stuff that I work on. The true joy of XP’s IIS is the limit of 10 concurrent connections. I’ve hit that wall before. The Coding Horror has some tips on how to bypass that limitation

RE: Special Directories in ASP.NET 2.0

Here are some interesting tidbits about ASP.NET 2.0….

ASP.NET 2.0 introduces a number of special directories for application resources. These directories live as subfolders in the application root, have special names, and offer various shortcuts and conveniences to web developers. One such folder is the App_Code folder. You can drop a .cs file into the App_Code folder, even while an application is running, and the runtime will automatically compile all the code inside the folder into an assembly.

The App_Code folder is one of those features experienced developers will shun in favor of class libraries. Other folders have definite advantages. For example, the App_Browsers folder will allow you to update browser definitions (browsercaps) for an application. In a shared hosting environment today, you’d have to clutter up web.config with new browsercaps. There are also special directories for skin files (App_Themes), resource files (App_GlobalResources, App_LocalResources, App_Resources), and web references (App_WebReferences). As always, the trusty Bin directory will also be around. Then there is App_Data. You can plop SQL Server data (.mdf) and log files (.ldf) into the directory, and have the engine attach dynamically by using AttachDBFileName in the connection string. App_Data will be a useful feature for people in shared hosting environments, where XCOPY and FTP deployment options are the only options available.

[Via K. Scott Allen]

I would like to see how the App_Data directory will play out in the real world. Most of the shared hosting plans have their own mechanism for handling client databases, it looks easy to add a database by just FTP’ing it in, but what about when you want to replace a database? You’ll still need to detach a database first.

RE: Why is the DOS path character "\"?

It all stems from Microsoft’s relationship with IBM.  For DOS 1.0, DOS only supported floppy disks.

Many of the DOS utilities (except for command.com) were written by IBM, and they used the “/” character as the “switch” character for their utilities (the “switch” character is the character that’s used to distinguish command line switches – on *nix, it’s the “-” character, on most DEC operating systems (including VMS, the DECSystem-20 and DECSystem-10), it’s the “/” character” (note: I’m grey on whether the “/” character came from IBM or from Microsoft – several of the original MS-DOS developers were old-hand DEC-20 developers, so it’s possible that they carried it forward from their DEC background).

[Via Larry Osterman’s WebLog]