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The Revenge of the Anti-Penguin
Redline the engines, there's nothing left to lose.
 
24th-Apr-2009 03:58 pm - Microsoft clones the GNU USRP
Microsoft Research Asia has cloned the GNU Universal Software Radio Peripheral, details at the USENIX NSDI 09 talk.

The USRP guys mentioned it briefly on their own list.

As long as the hardware can be used from Linux, this is a good thing. If it ends up being the standard proprietary gig, I don't think it'll fly. For once, Microsoft has to compete with an incumbent that they cannot flat out purchase, so they have to throw money at the problem.

Should be interesting to see how this turns out. I have some plans in mind for the GNU USRP that mix nicely with my Cell blades.
Today I'm learning to use IronPython to automate MS Office, I've hpasted my latest experiment.


Now that I've figured out how to load the DLLs, it's just a matter of discovering the Microsoft API for automation. Too bad it's not terribly consistent across the various applications.


The one thing I have not figured out is how to get the type signature of a function while in the Python REPL.

I've also not figured out if it's possible to use IronPython 2 inside Visual Studio 2008. I found IronPython studio, but its homepage says it doesn't work with IP2.



Has anyone used IronPython and has more thoughts or advice?
The Selenium IDE is a wonderful tool, you press the record button, do your thing, and save the recording as a test. But the Selenium IDE is a Firefox add-on, and does not work in Internet Explorer.

SharePoint does not work well with Firefox, or maybe that's just this client codebase.
The fix is another Firefox add-on called IETab, that loads the Internet Explorer rendering engine in a Firefox tab. Now I can record with the Selenium IDE, and SharePoint will still execute JavaScript that fails in Firefox.

As a bonus bit of information, the solution to working around https certificate problems with MSIE in Selenium is to use the "*iehta" browser instead of "*iexplore".
I'm on the Accela from Boston to New York City to meet Lemmih. I've never tried taking a train anywhere, this should be interesting.
Much of my choice of Amtrak comes from John Goerzen's blog entries. I'm looking forward to seeing how this compares.

So far, flight to NYC cost is $250, train to NYC is also $250.
Total travel times are 7.5 hours on Amtrak or 2.5 hours on the plane.
Of course, Amtrak didn't make me spend half an hour in a security check, I didn't have to take off my shoes, I'm able to use my cellphone, there's a standard power plug for my laptop and I'm now using my Verizon cell modem to post this entry.
Hm, let me think about this... I have lots more leg room and lots more luggage space on Amtrak, something like 250 pounds of luggage per passenger. The ambient noise is much lower on a train, though that may be from traveling in the quiet car? Actually, the existence of a quiet car is nice, no loud talking or cell phone conversations are allowed in this car. Trains offer lots more scenery than airplanes. Also, these trains appear to be electric, so I suspect they use less petroleum products than airplanes.

So the major disadvantage is that travel time is higher.

Since I'm such an impatient person, I'd probably stick with planes, but there's one personal difference, I study best while traveling. So perhaps this is the choice for me after all.

Perhaps I should take the train down to Kansas or Alabama to get the full experience.
4th-Mar-2009 10:35 am - SharePoint and cygwin?
I do lots of SharePoint development, and the standard Windows tools really rub me the wrong way.

I'd like to do all of my development in emacs, and remotely run msbuild and deployments on the vm via cygwin's ssh, but I don't know enough about msbuild and sharepoint to know how to make that happen.

Has anyone done this, or knows someone who has done this, or can point me to more information along these lines?
2nd-Mar-2009 03:36 pm - Netcat, not allowed.
I just tried to install netcat on cygwin so I could diagnose the flaky network connectivity of the VMWare virtual machine, but Symantec says it's an unacceptable risk, it could be used to get around restrictions, so I am not allowed access to this file.
20th-Feb-2009 10:08 am - Badger Badger Badger BUFFALO?
Clearly I have found the source of the Badger animation. It must be the famous sentence "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."
19th-Feb-2009 06:26 pm - Heard in the last fifteen minutes...
Yes, I seriously heard all this in the past fifteen minutes. I have a morbid fascination with corporate double speak. Can you furnish any famous phrases that I've missed? Or possibly point me to a collection of double speak that I could use to subtly poke fun at people in meetings?

My personal favorite is at the end.


  • knock it out of the park

  • leverage your brand

  • tie strategies around it

  • missed the boat

  • We'll document the lessons learned.

  • We've gotten critical feedback.

  • Here's our current collateral.

  • Here's our current bible.

  • Being the lean folks.

  • I'll test the water.

  • I don't think our ducks are in a row from a deployment standpoint.

  • I want what you're telling us we should have.

  • They're up, using $SOFTWARE, and it shows deployment and adoption.

  • What I don't want to do is air dirty laundry.

  • You're too worried about perfection and transparency would be better.

  • Get it out there, share it. The more people who can see you the more who can help you.

  • $DEPARTMENT wants to shut us down.

  • We're starting to take that over and implement on it.

  • When you're dealing with the implementation instead of the politics, it's a lot nicer.

  • What's the adoption rate? Where are we going with it? What's our architectural roadmap?

  • I want to make sure we're not walking into a lion's den with steak necklaces.

  • Losing the connection back to what your business actually needs to get done.

  • I've scoped out some suitably specific targets.

  • Thinking, rethinking, double checking, double thinking.

17th-Feb-2009 05:55 pm - You need a degree to work for BigCo
I found this today: Why you need a degree to work for BigCo by Reg Braithwaite.

This article covers my thoughts on working for Raytheon, better than I could do myself.

Clearly I'm doing the wrong thing with my life.
7th-Feb-2009 03:15 pm - seen on #happs
<stepcut> shapr: it's either, happstack or Happstack, depending on context
<shapr> It's much easier to type all lowercase.
<stepcut> shapr: it has the lowest casing allowed in the used context
* stepcut keeps typing HAppstack
<shapr> I keep typing "using Microsoft.SharePoint;" somebody SAVE ME!
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