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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here. May 2005 Entries
Charleston Code Camp revisited...
Ok I made a typo on the date in my previous post, so anyway... Charleston, South Carolina MSDN Code Camp We have a date: Saturday September 17th, 2005 We have a location: Blackbaud, 2000 Daniel Island Drive, Charleston SC, 29492We have sponsors: Microsoft, Blackbaud, InstallShield (so far)We need: speakers and volunteers (and more sponsors)!! Visit for more information... I've done GDI+ 3 times now, soon to be 4 in Jacksonville, FL and I'm thinking about doing something different ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 31, 2005 4:54 PM

Charleston, SC Code Camp

Coming to Charleston, SC this September 17th...


More info to follow at , although if you're interested in volunteering or speaking, contact me!


Posted On Tuesday, May 31, 2005 12:28 PM

Open Source Licensing
So I've been thinking about applying a license to HA! (there currently isn't one at all) Unfortunately, not being able to speak legalese with any degree of proficiency, I have a few questions about licenses. I've never really followed them and for the most part I don't know anything about their differences. A recent post to R.G.R.D mentioned looking at and I did, but I still don't really get it. I haven't found anything that just summarizes the different open source ......

Posted On Sunday, May 29, 2005 5:58 PM

debugging my diet
So I was having a hard time figuring out why my weightloss had totally stalled... I hadn't lost or gained any in almost 2 months. So I did some research and found out the low-carb spinach & turkey wraps I was eating at work were in fact, not low-carb at all. Just the tortilla wrap was 27 carbs (which was about 90% of what I allow myself each day) and once you add the other ingredients, it was damn near 30 carbs. Just as a point of reference, the ones I make at home with the actual low-carb tortillas ......

Posted On Sunday, May 29, 2005 5:07 PM

playing with firecrackers
Well, I've been playing with my firecracker today (keep your jokes to yourself) and I have to say it's pretty cool. I grabbed an X10 library dll from Brian Vallelunga's site: here The code below took about 5 minutes to write and now I can control the two modules that came with the firecracker just by clicking on a form button. Next step, speech control... Imports Vallelunga.X10 Public Class Form1 Private DeviceID As Integer Private Sub Form1_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) ......

Posted On Saturday, May 28, 2005 10:26 PM

Object Oriented Inventory & Item Management in Role-Playing Games
My latest game development article is posted here, with code samples...

Object Oriented Inventory & Item Management in Role Playing Games

Feel free to comment.

Posted On Saturday, May 28, 2005 3:08 PM

Home Control Assistant

If you have used Home Control Assistant (v5 or v6) please contact me.  I'm interested in hearing what you think of it before I spend $80 - $250 (depending on the version I get).

I'm downloading the “try before you buy” version, but I'd like to hear what others think.

I'm also looking at the software that comes with the CM15A (ActiveHome) but I've heard some pretty negative things about that one. 



Posted On Friday, May 27, 2005 3:20 PM

something BIG is coming your way...
I know a few of you have been wondering just what exactly it is that I do all day... oh sure I have lots of hobbies and interests, and I talk about cool stuff like game development and home automation, and I get to travel to CodeCamps and all that fun stuff, but what is it that pays the bills?? Well... between us, I work for the coolest company on the entire planet!! I can also proudly say I have worked (and worked) on this product, and I've worked WITH this product, and it is going to absolutely ......

Posted On Friday, May 27, 2005 12:23 PM

more X10 stuff
Got home from work yesterday and there was a package on my desk. Ripped it open and it was the firecracker kit I bought on ebay. Haven't had a chance to play with it yet, but I will be this weekend. (Michael Earls chastized me for messing with firecrackers, due to the serial interface. I'm getting the USB one soon... btw, you never replied to my last email.) There's a few .NET & Firecracker related projects on the net already. GotDotNet and Sourceforge both have some. This is the USB one I want ......

Posted On Friday, May 27, 2005 8:53 AM

You FPS guys might appreciate this...

Some of you have likely seen this before... but it's still funny!


Posted On Wednesday, May 25, 2005 1:00 PM

Reviewer: Theo Moore (Greater Charleston .NET User Group) Publisher: Apress Title: Pro ADO.NET with VB.NET 1.1 I’ve been involved deeply with DB access applications for the last 5 years, and I’ve read many books on the subject. I’ve read some that were bad, and I’ve read some that were amazing. This book is definitely a good one. Note that this not intended to be a full reference on the intricacies of the object model, but more of a “this is what it can do, and here’s ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 25, 2005 11:53 AM

if you think my blog is pointless and boring...
just wait 'til you hear my PODCAST!! haha I kill me... That's right kiddies... it's coming soon. The Blogus Maximus PodCast!! (You have my permission to kick me if I end up actually calling it that.) I've spent the last 3 hours playing with Audacity (which I'm really starting to like, btw) and messing with some spoken tracks and background music tracks. The best thing about Audacity, aside from being free, is that it's incredibly easy to use. I've played with a handful of different audio tools over ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 25, 2005 12:36 AM

XBox 360 architecture
Dana Dill has posted a link to an extremely interesting article on the new XBox architecture here.
(The actual article link is here.)

There's also a mention of XNA and a built-in Media Center Extender! Sounds like some stuff worth getting excited over.

Posted On Tuesday, May 24, 2005 2:42 PM

well now, that's interesting...
and I mean that in a way that says... damn! Apparently Microsoft made a recent(?) change to the MCT program that allows you to get your MCT if you have the MCAD cert. (As opposed to needing what they referred to as premiere certs, such as MCSD, MCDBA & MCSE). Please understand, I'm not knocking the MCAD cert, in fact I had one before I got my MCSD(.NET) and MCT. However, I think it devalues the MCT cert a bit (no offense Robin, you know I love ya...) by making it more accessible. It was always my ......

Posted On Monday, May 23, 2005 5:32 PM

Some thoughts on Media Center Development

Yesterday, Michael Earls posted a great entry titled:

Some thoughts on Media Center Development

It's good reading, so check it out!

(oh and he received the 'NIDs I sent him, so that's cool!)

Posted On Monday, May 23, 2005 2:00 PM

X10... Harry Potter style
Ok I know this is just wrong... but I have small kids and it's pretty hilarious to watch them. They haven't figured out I have X10 (and a remote control) so somehow they've come to the conclusion that this one particular lamp responds to their "magic". My 4 year old will spin around, stomp his foot and wave his hands to make the lap come on and off. over and over and over... eventually the lamp "gets tired" and stops responding for a few hours. but I hear them in the next room trying to convince ......

Posted On Sunday, May 22, 2005 8:28 AM

ok now I'm officially hooked
I've got the X10 bug... Stopped by the local Radio Shack on the way home from helping a co-worker move. had some well-earned cash burning a hole in my pocket, so I grabbed a couple of X10 compatible goodies. Spent about $40. They didn't have anything to tie into my PC, but I know where I can find that stuff online. Once I buy that, I'll already have some of the add on modules from today's purchase. Until then... *click* the lamp goes on... *click* the lamp goes off... *click* the lamp goes on... ......

Posted On Saturday, May 21, 2005 4:08 PM

fun stuff to do at Tech*Ed

While I'm at TechEd 2005...

aside from the speaker sessions, and my time as an INETA volunteer, I defintely want to check out some of this cool stuff:

TechEd events:

Especially the AMD PC Gaming competition, and the free night at Universal Studios!!

Posted On Friday, May 20, 2005 1:45 PM

new term

Bill Ryan coined a new term in his blog recently. Julie Lerman Smart

Never met her personally, but I know a few folks that have and I'm volunteering to work one of her Tech*Ed sessions.

Posted On Friday, May 20, 2005 12:48 PM

As long as I'm going to Tech*Ed anyway...
and I quote from the website... On Wednesday, June 8, Microsoft Influencers from around the world will gather at two of the nation's hottest venues for an unforgettable experience. The Microsoft Influencer Appreciation Party will be held at Orlando's Metropolis and Matrix nightclubs-renowned for their state-of-the-art entertainment systems, including massive video walls, high-tech sound systems, and a multi-million dollar light show. This exclusive engagement is Microsoft's tribute to you-the inspiring ......

Posted On Friday, May 20, 2005 8:26 AM

review: Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (not spoily)
It's 2:50am, and I have just returned from the theatre (conveniently located about .2 miles away). I couldn't speak the entire way home, and now I can't shut up. Wow I loved this movie. Where do I start? The movie was incredible. Were there flaws? Sure... of course, but I'm still riding pretty damn high. I was 7 when I first saw Star Wars (opening night, thank you) and it was, as they say, a life changing experience. Was this one? No, but it could have been. If I had been about 15 when I saw it, ......

Posted On Thursday, May 19, 2005 3:42 AM

gahhh.... it's killing me!
9 hours and 14 minutes to go (by my clock).

Posted On Wednesday, May 18, 2005 2:50 PM

music to work by
If you like listening to punk & metal while you code (and who doesn’t?)… I recommend checking this station out: I found them while googling for my new favorite band *Infernal Machine* (more about them later, my buddy Jason Gates hooked me up with a demo of their stuff last weekend...) So anyway, be sure to click the Listen to WREK link (or click here: ) They’re based in Atlanta (not that it matters online). ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:03 AM

.Net User Group Olympics
This is a cool idea... I'd REALLY like to see the Carolinas do something like this as well. We have numerous user groups. (It's funny... GC.NUG is doing the Open Source Mobile Game Programming Expo, which ends in July. When we first came up with the idea I wanted to include other Carolina groups to make it a bigger event and more fun. The primary opposition to that suggestion ended up dropping out of the contest after a couple months, quitting the company I work at ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 17, 2005 1:22 PM

evening ketchup
Installed SourceSafe 2005 (just the client tools for now)... nice and easy. picked up my existing 6.0d server no problem, and all my SourceControl bindings in HA! are working peachy again. I guess I'll wait a while longer on implementing Vault. Now I just need a decent bug tracker. My wife is getting tired of me writing on the wall (ok technically it's a big whiteboard that I never erase) I'm DL'ing the Speech SDK as I type this, along with Win XP Media Center Edition 2005 (CD1 & 2) I see the XNA ......

Posted On Monday, May 16, 2005 11:58 PM

Inspiring others to greatness...
If I don't have a working demo using XP media Center edition, X10 and Speech Server by June 1st, please feel free to write me and remind me that I am a lazy procrastinating windbag.

It would seem the challenge has been made, the gauntlet thrown, the line drawn... Bill Ryan's blog

You've got 2 weeks Bill...

Posted On Monday, May 16, 2005 10:55 PM

So am I famous yet?

I got a brief mention in Max Karpov's podcast:


Posted On Monday, May 16, 2005 6:33 PM

Visual SourceSafe 2005
It's time to upgrade or find a new direction. All my HA! code is sitting out in VSS 6.0d Aside from the obvious (backing up my database)... are there any other suggestions for making the transition from VSS 6.0d to VSS 2005 a smooth and painless one? Has anyone here done it yet? I'm still tempted to use SourceGear Vault, except for the fact that it requires SQL Server... yes I have SQL Server, but it's just one more potential POF to deal with. I don't exactly run on the NEWEST of hardware... ok well ......

Posted On Monday, May 16, 2005 6:08 PM

cert testing at Tech*Ed 2005... why??
hmmm... 50% off Microsoft Certification exams if you take them onsite at Tech*Ed 2005 Makes me wonder... Does anyone who can afford Tech*Ed really need to save $62.50 THAT bad? Will other people get to watch you crumble under the pressure? Aren't there other, better reasons to be at Tech*Ed? I guess it's kinda like the guy who gets a tattoo at a tattoo convention. Not really the best environment for it, but chances are he cares more about telling people where ......

Posted On Monday, May 16, 2005 5:55 PM

home automation
Ever since I caught the home automation bug at the Atlanta Code Camp... I've been thinking about cool stuff I can do with it. Bill Ryan and Michael Earls both gave me some GREAT ideas. (Neither of their presentations were strictly on that topic, but both of them touched on it in ways that got me thinking.) The problem is, I don't have the first clue on what to buy or where to get started. I've been to and a couple other sites, but until I really figure out what it is I want to accomplish ......

Posted On Monday, May 16, 2005 1:25 PM

I'm not listening to youuuuuuuu
A few days ago, WallyM posted this link in his blog:

Why lightsabers could never work...

Thanks Wally, thanks a lot... :)

Posted On Sunday, May 15, 2005 8:10 AM

Atlanta Code Camp
Well the buzz from Atlanta Code Camp is starting to wear off a bit and let me just say I had a great time. My presentation (GDI+) went very well, with lots of questions (although overall I think the Charlotte one went a tiny bit smoother on my end). I also caught some great presentations on free .NET tools and the Enterprise Library. My two absolute favorites of the day were on Speech Server and Programming Windows Media Center (with a healthy dose of home automation). Oh how I wish those two guys ......

Posted On Sunday, May 15, 2005 8:01 AM

Max Karpov Rocks!
It had to be said... I really want to get this guy at one of our .NET User Group Meetings. I met Max at the Charlotte Code Camp, and ran into him again in Atlanta (more on Atlant in the next post). So Max... if you're reading this, shoot me a line.

Posted On Sunday, May 15, 2005 7:42 AM

Installshield versus the volcano
As many of you know, I've been using InstallShield a lot at work. For the most part, I really like it although it's not without it's share of issues. Recently, someone asked me why specifically I use InstallShield as opposed to Visual Studio .NET. Since I'm creating MSI installs, sure the InstallScript is nice but is there anything that I couldn't do in VS with VB and VBScript? Not having a great answer to the question, I decided it would only be fair to find out. So having said that, I'm going to ......

Posted On Friday, May 13, 2005 10:06 AM

May 12th GC.NUG meeting notes
Last night's meeting of the Greater Charleston .NET User Group marked some high (and low) points for our young (< 1 year old) group. First, the high points: Our INETA speaker, Steven Smith of was excellent. He presented a lot of information (most of it new to our members) in a very effective format. Plenty of demos and discussion. He definitely knows his material and didn't stumble over any of the tougher questions (and there were a few). Our giveaways were pretty terrific. Our ......

Posted On Friday, May 13, 2005 9:58 AM

Sometimes... I can really get under peoples skin

This being one of those times...

(The irony is that I enjoyed his response. Although I'd like to see him post more on his various areas of interest since we have a couple of those in common.  i.e. games development, longhorn, etc)

Posted On Wednesday, May 11, 2005 2:32 PM

new from Microsoft: The "Agreements"
I was checking my Hotmail today, and before I could reach my account, I was asked to sign what they refer to as “The Agreements“. Being the curious sort, of course I read them first. from the MSN Service Agreement... We consider your use of the Service, including the content of your communications, to be private. We do not routinely monitor your communications or disclose information about your communications to anyone. However, to the maximum extent permitted by law, we may monitor your ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 11, 2005 2:12 PM

whoa... when did that happen?
Ok somehow I ended up in the top 10 bloggers on this site. When did that happen?

Judging from the stats (# of posts) I'm still further from first than from last, but good luck shutting me up at this point!


Posted On Tuesday, May 10, 2005 6:34 PM

a worthy cause
Michelle Julian is raising money for WalkAmerica. I think $5 is a pretty paltry sum to fork over for the excellent exposure that GeeksWithBlogs provides us bloggers.

I sent mine in, have you?

Posted On Tuesday, May 10, 2005 6:28 PM

GC.NUG loot
I just took a look at the giveaways for this month, and we're handing out nearly $700 worth of stuff!! Our members only drawing is for a fully licensed copy of MS Office 2003 Professional!! In addition to that, we have drawings for $150 worth of MS Press books, some books from our various publisher sponsors, MSDN tshirts and more. Don't miss your chance to take home some great stuff! The meeting is Thursday May 12th. Visit for more details ......

Posted On Monday, May 9, 2005 3:51 PM

Big commercial win for Mono
Volcker Informatik AG has switched from Microsoft to Mono. Volcker was traditionally a MS shop using VB & C++ to build it's enterprise-level user management and authentication products. But when the city of Munich, one of its largest clients, decided to switch to Linux, Volcker needed technologies that would work in a cross-platform environment. It felt it had two options, Java or Mono; it decided to recode everything in C# using Mono. In 9 months, it recoded seven million lines of VB and C++ ......

Posted On Monday, May 9, 2005 10:21 AM

woohoo... midnight tickets

I've got my Revenge of the Sith tickets for the May 18th, midnight showing. I can't wait. I've also got tickets for a couple showings May 19th, after I wake up... (assuming I go to sleep)


Posted On Friday, May 6, 2005 2:04 PM

a little Episode III trivia question

Can anyone tell me what's engraved on the handle of Mace Windu's lightsaber?

I've got a nifty, new, never been worn MSDN t-shirt for the first correct answer. 

Post a comment with the answer and give me a valid email address. I'll mail you the shirt (unless you live within throwing distance).


Posted On Friday, May 6, 2005 1:57 PM

XNA Studio revisited
So far I'm seeing “end of 2005” as a tentative release date. With 2005 probably shipping around 3rd quarter, early 4th quarter... I'd be surprised to see XNA by 12/5 but you never know. Here are some links to more info about XNA Studio: This article is from last month: is the “official” page from MS: Gamasutra article about XNA: ......

Posted On Friday, May 6, 2005 1:43 PM

Cleanup Tool
I used the VS 2005 BETA 1 cleanup tool, and I have to say it defintely made the transition smoother and easier. Now I don't know if it's responsible for whacking my source control plugin, but everything else worked fine. I'm going to try reinstalling the VSS client when I get home and see if that fixes it. (see earlier post for more info) Still considering making the switch to SourceGear Vault. we'll see. I do like their bug tracking piece (Dragnet) too ......

Posted On Friday, May 6, 2005 1:22 PM

it's amazing how one little post can stir up so much controversy... :)

If I didn't know better, I'd think I enjoy it a little too much.

Heroic Adventure! (HA!) 0.1.6 release announcement on Rec.Games.Roguelike.Development newsgroup


Posted On Thursday, May 5, 2005 9:55 PM

XNA studio
XNA Studio looks interesting, what little I've been able to find about it. From what I understand it's basically VS2005 with some game related stuff bolted on? Maybe the XDK or something? I dunno... I want more info...

Posted On Thursday, May 5, 2005 9:51 PM

where the hell is my source control?
I installed VS 2005 BETA 2 tonight. The install went very smoothly. So I load up my project from VS2005 BETA 1 and I get this... Followed by this... and this... The project eventually loads, but I can't find anyway to bind it back to VSS and bring it under Source Control. I've been considering tossing VSS in the trash and using SourceGear Vault, and now seems like an opportune time (although I don't know if that would fix THIS problem) *sigh* why can't I ever be an early adopter of something that ......

Posted On Thursday, May 5, 2005 9:20 PM

upcoming movies
As has become the norm in recent years, there are a number of interesting genre flicks in the pipeline. Here's a little info about some of the movies that will be hitting the screens this summer. Enjoy and feel free to discuss. First, the release dates for some of the bigger titles: STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH - May 19 BATMAN BEGINS - June 17 WAR OF THE WORLDS - June 29 HOUSE OF WAX - June 30 FANTASTIC FOUR - July 8 CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY - July 15 (Johnny Depp) THE CROW: WICKED PRAYER ......

Posted On Thursday, May 5, 2005 6:52 AM

Tech*Ed 2005

My first Tech*Ed, and I can't wait. Should be lots of fun.  I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of the INETA folks I've emailed back and forth with over the last two years.

I'm staying here (Comfort Inn Universal Studios):

Posted On Tuesday, May 3, 2005 12:34 PM

Be nice to your Garbage Collector, your users will thank you
One of the things I mention in my CodeCamp talk is why you should instantiate your objects before passing them in as params. I was surprised to find out most people in my sessions had never realized why... Look at it like this: myObj.SomeMethod(new OtherObject(param1, param2), variable, variable) By doing the above, instead of creating a variable to contain OtherObject and passing the variable in, you lose the ability to Dispose of it when you are done. Garbage Collection will grab it eventually ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 3, 2005 10:31 AM

Everyone's NOT a winner!

If you have a game where nobody can lose, doesn't that also mean nobody can win?

So I ask you, the reader, which is worse? 

a) A situation where one (or more) persons will definitely lose, but someone will win, based (hopefully) on effort or ability


b) A situation where NOBODY will have a chance of winning, no matter how well they do, because all efforts are rewarded equally, no matter how weak.

Just curious...

Posted On Monday, May 2, 2005 12:52 PM

Review: Graphics Programming with GDI+
Let me start by saying this book does not attempt to be something it is not. It's not a generic book on Windows or ASP.NET programming. It deals specifically with one topic. Having said that, GDI+ is a broader topic than you might think and this book does a terrific job of breaking the information up into relevant subtopics. The material is presented in an interesting, conversational tone that uses REAL WORLD EXAMPLES. You actually build several small GDI+ applications by the time you finish the ......

Posted On Monday, May 2, 2005 12:17 PM

Charlotte Code Camp
Charlotte Code Camp was a blast!! I met some great people and had a terrific time. My GDI+ talk went very well and I got some great feedback for next time. (Next time, by the way, is Atlanta, GA on May 14th) The Enterprise Developers Guild also presented me with a very cool framed certificate for speaking at CodeCamp. They were a huge part of making the entire event happen, and we could not have done it without them. The other huge part of the event was the support we got from Microsoft. Not only ......

Posted On Monday, May 2, 2005 8:36 AM

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