Category Archives: Link/News

DiskSlicer 1.2 Out

I made some minor updates to DiskSlicer. Mostly, some minor bug fixes, but also I added the much-requested ability to delete files directly from the program.

Go get it and enjoy!


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:

The Nerd Handbook

Found The Nerd Handbook via Phil Windley. I sent it to my wife and told her she needs to read it. A highly-accurate depiction of nerds, I would say. At least in the generalities…

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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:

BugTracker.Net

I’ve been meaning to write about this software for a while. When I started my current job, all software development was done by an outside contractor. I quickly took over, and that necessitated implementing a lot of tools and procedures to handle our large C++ and C# code base.

Choosing Subversion for source control was easy–free, open source, better than VSS and CVS.

Bug tracking software was a little harder. There are a lot of packages out there. I eventually decided on a great little package called BugTracker.Net. It’s written by a gentleman named Corey Trager who does it in his spare time. It’s a very simple system, and doesn’t provide a lot of the heavy-weight features of more complete packages, but if you’re a small team (like I’m in), then it could be perfect. I really appreciate Corey’s web-site, because he acknowledges that it’s not written with every scenario in mind. In fact, he even publicizes comparisons of his system with other popular tracking systems out there.

That said, there is a good degree of customizability in it, and it really was easy to setup, upgrade, configure, and customize.

Some of the features:

Suitable for tracking helpdesk customer support tickets as well as software bugs.

Sending and receiving emails is integrated with the tracker, so that the email thread about a bug is tracked WITH the bug.

Allows incoming emails to be recorded as bugs. So, for example, an email from your customer could automatically be turned into an bug/ticket in the tracker.

Allows you to attach files and screenshots to bugs. There is even a custom screen capture utility [screenshot] that lets you take a screenshot, annotate it, and post it as a bug with just a few clicks. (inspired by Fogbugz)

Add your own custom fields.

Custom bug lists, filtered and sorted the way you want, with the columns that you want.

You can display bugs of a certain priority and/or status in a different color, so that the most important items grab your attention.

Configure different user roles to see different lists of bugs. For example, a developer might see a list of open bugs. A QA analyst might want to see a list of bugs ready for testing.

(and more…)

Like I said, if you’re a small team that just needs to coordinate on issues, this platform could be perfect.

(BTW, this is not a sponsored post–I just want to point out some software that I like).


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:

San Francisco Restaurants – Dining Guide

We have another sponsor! MyChoyce.com is a free dining guide for  the San Francisco area. And wow. It’s nice. I am really wishing something like this existed for the Washington, DC metro area. The site is attractive, easy to use. And they have menus! Awesome.

You can search and filter by food, services, location, price. I’ve used a few restaurant locaters, with varying results, but so far I like this one the best. If you live in the bay area, check them out. If you’re a restaurant owner–I would get onto this site fast.

Thanks to them for their sponsorship, and if you know somebody who would like a little bit of extremely affordable publicity, send them to BuyMeALego.com!

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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:

Door to Door Organics

A few months ago, Leticia and I signed up for a service called DoorToDoorOrganics. Simply put, this is a way to get farm-fresh, organic produce from local farmers, delivered to your door.

How it works is this:

  1. Create an account, decide on the size and type of box you want.
  2. Decide how often you want–every week or every two weeks (or just once)
  3. Friday before the week of delivery, you’ll get an e-mail. You can go to the site and customize the items in your box.
  4. Get the box on Wednesday via UPS. It has ice packs, food is fresh.
  5. Eat. Enjoy good, fresh food.

The quality of food is really high. And you also get occasional things that are new and different. We’ve loved it. We never have to go to the store for this stuff anymore. We go only occasionally now for milk, eggs, bread. Maybe every two months for a huge stocking trip.

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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:

Resume Help

FreeResumeReview.org is my latest sponsor to my Buy Me a Lego campaign. The cool thing about them: they actually really are FREE. The tips section is useful on its own, but the really cool thing is that you can upload your resume and cover letter and they’ll review it for free.

Free Resume Review dot org was created by a corporate executive who saw a great need for free, professional, personalized advice regarding effective resume writing. After teaching courses in career planning and serving on a hiring committee he decided to create his own free site where job seekers could learn great tips, connect to other helpful sites, and most importantly, upload their own resumes and cover letters to be reviewed by qualified staff.

I’m bookmarking this site and am going to come back to it soon when I update my resume. Go check them out.

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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:

digg for developers

I was thinking the other day that there should be a digg-like site that is only for software developers.

Well, it turns out there is! I was analyzing my web traffic and the list of recent referrers. A few were coming from dzone. Apparently, somebody has been submitting some of my articles to this site (thank you!). The site works in much the same way as digg, but the subtopics are programming-related. You can vote up or down various posts. It doesn’t look like it has anywhere near the traffic that digg has, but hopefully it continues to grow.

So if you’re a developer and like to stay on top of new links and articles, get yourself an account on dzone and start contributing and voting.

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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:

Thoughts on Writers Guild of America Strike

This strike is a big deal, but it’s much bigger deal for Hollywood, the producers and writers than for the rest of us. I think they are facing some specific dangers that they had better think about before they drag on too long. The actual points the union and producers are arguing about are probably valid, some on both sides, but whatever–that’s irrelevant for my point. For the viewing public–I don’t think we’ll notice or care as much.

I’m thinking about hockey–they used to be the #4 sport, then they had a strike. Now, more people watch POKER on ESPN than hockey.

And airlines–when their workers go on strike, I think it definitely hurts the airline as a whole, because in the end we the people don’t get our service. We choose something else. And we might not come back.

I think Hollywood needs to examine some facts: TV viewership is going down, way down. There are only a handful of shows that really do well. The 90% of the others will be what’s hurt by this strike. People will come back to Leno, the Daily Show, The Office, and the Simpsons, etc. The other ones are in danger. TV has very stiff competition from the Internet, DVDs, video games (video game industry is MUCH larger than Hollywood), satellite radio, YouTube, ipods, and tons of other little distractions. Sure, lots of online content is derived from traditional content, which comes from Hollywood, but much of it is user-generated or at least independent. If TV goes out, it’s so easy for people to find other avenues for entertainment. I wonder if the same writers that are striking will lose their jobs a week after they get back to work when their shows are canceled because nobody’s watching them anymore. (Of course, they’ll just move on to the next project, but it’s still disruptive.)

I’m also curious (with any union)–how many of the members are really happy with how the union does things. I really don’t have any idea–but at some point a union might not be the best way to do business, especially in today’s global economy.

The strike by itself isn’t anywhere close to enough to doom the TV/movie industry, but put together with all of these other forces, they could be in real trouble. Meanwhile, we’ll just look for the next big star on YouTube rather than Hollywood… (more people watch Ask a Ninja than some TV shows, after all)

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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:

The War on Being Different

Bruce Schneier has a wonderful essay on his site today about how our culture of fear of harmless people and objects is being propagated. I think this is my favorite essay of his.

I really like this paragraph about how this happens:

Watch how it happens. Someone sees something, so he says something. The person he says it to — a policeman, a security guard, a flight attendant — now faces a choice: ignore or escalate. Even though he may believe that it’s a false alarm, it’s not in his best interests to dismiss the threat. If he’s wrong, it’ll cost him his career. But if he escalates, he’ll be praised for “doing his job” and the cost will be borne by others. So he escalates. And the person he escalates to also escalates, in a series of CYA decisions. And before we’re done, innocent people have been arrested, airports have been evacuated, and hundreds of police hours have been wasted.

Please go read the full article and digg it, spread it around, especially to influential people you may know. It’s ridiculous, the things people are harassed for these days.

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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 Spoilage

Jeff Atwood had an interesting post about software spoilage, in which he quotes PC World’s list of no-longer-good-too-bloated applications which includes Windows Media Player 11.

Are they kidding? WMP11 is a LOT better than WMP 9 and 10. It has better organization, and the fact that I can do instant filtering on albums, genres, artists, songs, and anything else is a killer feature. I’ve got about 16,000 tracks, mostly classical and soundtrack. I couldn’t live without WMP11’s organizational and filtering capabilities. Sure, it’s big, but I don’t notice a slowdown.

I do agree about other things in the list. Paint Shop Pro has definitely become much too big. What was attractive about it was its small size and lack of features, which made it approachable. Nowadays, I use Paint.Net. Simple, open-source, easy to use.

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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: