Category Archives: Link/News

GeoEye supplying imagery to Google

My soon-to-be-old-company just announced a deal to give exclusive imagery to my-soon-to-be-rival. Sweet! I am a little disappointed Microsoft didn’t get it, but I don’t know any details of how the deal happened.

The GeoEye-1 satellite will be the highest quality commercial satellite out there when it launches next week. I am a little sad I’ll miss the launch party (my last day is the 2nd of September), but the date is what it is.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Fans of LEGO: BrickFair is coming to DC this weekend!

If you are in the DC area, you must attend the BrickFair LEGO convention on its public days this weekend. The models here will be amazing. There will be over 12,000 sq ft of convention space. Bring the kids. If you don’t have kids, bring yourself–it will be worth it.

I was going to enter a large-scale creation of my own, but sadly ran out of time with dealing with new job, moving, etc. I’m still going to go, though.

When: Saturday, August 30, 2008 – Sunday, August 31, 2008 11am – 4pm

Where: Sheraton Premier at Tysons Corner

More info: BrickFair Website

Pictures of the 2006 event: http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?q=brickfest+2006&stype=dfc

Be there AND be square


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Close-up shots of the Space Shuttle Enterprise

I’m currently building a large-scale LEGO model of the Space Shuttle, and in order to get some detailed shots of a shuttle that are hard to find on the Internet, I visited the nearby Air & Space museum in Chantilly, VA.

You can find the photos on flickr.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Volunteers for Change Fairfax, VA

Leticia has been interested in getting us involved more in the community so she’s been hunting around for local service opportunities. She finally found a great program in our area that I thought I’d share for anybody looking for volunteer experiences in the DC metro region.

Fairfax City runs a division called Volunteer Fairfax that provides volunteers for numerous events through the year. They also organize team-building service activities for your company, up to thousands of people.

Volunteer Fairfax runs a specific program called Volunteers for Change. This program provides hundreds of weekend and evening volunteer opportunities, organized over the web. It’s perfect for people who can’t commit to regular hours every week or month, but want to do something when they can.

Events from their sample calendar:

  • Dinner prep at Ronald McDonald house
  • Bowling with the mentally/physically disabled
  • Bag groceries
  • Thrift store sorting
  • Tutoring
  • theater ushers
  • special city events
  • medical supply sorting

How it works:

  1. Attend an orientation at their building in the Fairfax County Court Complex
  2. Fill out some simple paperwork, sign a release
  3. Wait a day for your info to be added to their system
  4. Log into the web-site, find an event you can do, and sign up online.

Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Software Pick: SyncMyCal

With the acquisition of a Blackberry I wanted to be able to sync both my work and home Outlook setups to the Blackberry (and to each other). I tried a number of free tools (though they aren’t that easy to find) and quickly concluded I would need a better solution.

Enter SyncMyCal. It’s easy, it’s cheap (only $25), and you can try for free. I rarely have duplicated events, and I don’t have to think about it ever–it just WORKS.

How it works: SyncMyCal synchronizes an Outlook calendar with a Google calendar. First I created a Google calendar, then I set up SyncMyCal on both work and home computers. I set the home computer to take priority in conflicts, but at work I set the Google calendar to take priority over Outlook–this way there’s a hierarchy of priority that helps to prevent unresolvable conflicts and duplicates.

I bought it days before Google released their Outlook sync tool, but SyncMyCal can do a lot more and I don’t regret the purchase one bit.

The latest version also syncs contacts, but I haven’t used that yet.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

Announcing: GeekSoftworks.com

I’ve setup a new domain for a front page for my software hobbies and what will eventually be my “store front”:

Geek Softworks

It uses WordPress, but it’s not a blog–it’s for the software I write. So far, only a few products are up, including DiskSlicer (a new version!), Windows Media Top 10 Plugin, and Word Count for Windows Live Writer.

I also setup forums for those projects. The site is still pretty small, but it’s functional and it will grow.

Thanks for looking!


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

I could get cable for this…

My wife and I only recently bought a TV, but we still don’t get cable or even have an antenna. If we ever did, the only things we’d watch are Discovery, History, and Food.

This is the closest I’ve come to signing up:


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order:

How to catch a NetFlix thief

Via Geekologie comes the hilarious tale of a man (boy, really) caught stealing NetFlix DVDs from a mailbox. The comments are funny, too. Some seem like they’re obviously written by the neighbor.

One issue I didn’t really see addressed in the comments on the post is the overall issue of mail safety. People need to consider the seriousness of stealing mail. There’s a reason the fines for it are so severe. A reliable and trusted mail system is the foundation of a good portion of our society and its communications mechanisms.

Having lived overseas, and having had many family members live all over the world, I can personally testify to the need for a secure mail system. There are countries I would not mail a package to–it would just be a waste of money. The security of our system *HAS* to be enforced harshly or people will lose faith in it and it becomes a system of corruption and scamming. This kid got off lucky. If he were older or there were stronger evidence he were stealing more valuable items, or he were being less discriminating in what he stole, I think he could have gotten a far worse punishment.


Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:

Writing High-Performance.NET Code, 2nd Edition by Ben Watson. Available for pre-order: