Scary CodeProject Discovery

One of my favorite websites is CodeProject. It’s got all sorts of great code examples, tutorials and explanations for pretty much any topic. As I was perusing their Top Ranked Articles today, I discovered something very scary.

Of the top-20 articles, 2 of them are ones that only a spyware writer would want to read:
Three Ways To Inject Code Into Another Process
API Hooking Revealed

I’m pretty saddened by this. It means there are a lot of programmers out there writing software to steal your keystrokes. Scary! There certainly are a few legitimate reasons to inject code into foreign processes, but there is no doubt in my mind that thievery is the most common…

Glorious Carpool Lane

Glory to thee, foolish politician,
For creation of our traffic congestion,
For the only roads which don’t flow free,
Are those where you made a carpool lane be!

And now, for $25K and a sticker,
I drive straight through this traffic that’s thicker.
I used to frown and snarl, and grumpily complain,
About those selfish, fast pacers in the H-O-V lane.
But now that it is reserved solely for me,
I sing as I drive and I smile with glee!
I even say, “Let more carpool lanes be!”

You might think me unwise to not fear you’ll change laws,
But I know that you won’t due to your tree-hugging cause.
I really don’t care that my car helps with clean air,
I just want to drive without fear and without care,
That my routes will make me just sit there and stare.

To those who do not yet have their free passes,
Let it be known that it’s not for the masses.
If you were to come into my god-given space,
I’d end up put-putting all over the place.
So for now, I’m ecstatic to drive with such speed,
Past all of you suckers with politicians on weed.

Dlink 524 vs Linksys WRT54G Review

I’ve been running a DLink DI-524 wireless router at home for the past year or so. I’ve liked it, but I’ve had connectivity “glitches” – dropped connections, short delays when computers come onto the network, etc. Further, the wireless shared-key mode never worked, which wasn’t a huge problem, but definitely undesirable, as it forced me to use cable drops when I hadn’t intended to originally. Fortunately, my home is already wired. Reading reviews online reveals that lots of other people have similar problems with the DI-524.

I finally decided to get a LinkSys WRT54G router. I bought it for $49.99 at Fry’s. Wow. What a difference! Immediately, I’ve noted a speedup of download performance (annecdotal). A link testing program that I used to run and have consistent connectivity failures with now never fails at all. It’s clearly better right out of the box.

Setup of the Linksys was easy – I was back up and running in less than 5 minutes of downtime. The user interface on the Linksys is good, although the submenus are hard to discover at times. On the administration front, the DLink does a better job of logging dropped packets and such, which the Linksys doesn’t do at all, but its not a feature I really use much. I also thought the DLink had a slightly better UI for configuring access filters and such. The functionality is available on both routers, but easier for novices on the DLink.

But who cares about minor UI differences. The reliability of the router is what is key, and its a feature which the Linksys has and the DLink does not.

Now I just have to decide if I can overcome my conscious and sell the DI-524 to some hapless soul via ebay! (let me know if you want it!)

Windows Live Image Search Rocks

You may have read some of the many announcements about the latest Windows Live Beta that went out today. There is a lot of good stuff in there, and I can’t possibly mention it all. But there is one new feature which I really find innovative, functional, and just plain better than anything else out there.

That is the new Image Search. Try this search for our fearless leader.

Now, pull the scrollbar a bit. See that?! Whoa! That is AJAX at work. No more next-next-next navigation taking foreever. Just tap the mouse and keep browsing until you find what you are looking for! That rocks!

On the room-for-improvement side, the beta still has a few shortcomings. In particular, I think the ajax usage is almost gratuitous – sometimes being used maybe more for its techie-cool-factor than for actual functionality. I’ve found that bookmarking pages is difficult at best, and sometimes pages render slowly. There could be a whole bunch of reasons for this, so I’ll defer to the Live.Com guys to sort that out – but there is no oubt that this image search is better than anything else I’ve seen.

ClickOnce may as well be ClickNever

A few weeks ago I raved about VS2005. One of the things I really liked about it was the ClickOnce deployment. ClickOnce is the ability to “publish” your software to the net and support auto-update all through a simple build step in VS2005. Its very slick!

Alas, today I ran into a fatal flaw for ClickOnce – it doesn’t work for FireFox. Several small companies I know that were excited about ClickOnce have all backed off their initial enthusiasm, with this bug being a major reason why. Unfortunately, not supporting firefox in this day and age just isn’t acceptible. If you are building tools for ISVs, you know that you can’t just “not work” for some segment of your population.

Hence, ClickOnce is relegated to an IT-only tool, where it can be used for internat deployments at companies that don’t allow FireFox.

The good news, if there is any, is that the Microsoft team is well aware and promise that they are working on a fix. But I can’t say I’m not really disappointed in this.

More information can be found from Microsoft Developer Saurabh Pant, and Scott Hanselman.

Upgraded my Porsche

I’m happy to announce I’ve upgraded my ’98 Porsche Boxster to something that gets me to work faster!

Must be a 911, right? Or maybe a BMW 5 series? Something German? How about an ’06 Honda Civic Hybrid!

Sure, this car doesn’t have quite the power, prestige, look, or exhilaration that comes with the Porsche, but I get to work faster in my steadfast little car with brand-new HOV-lane (aka Carpool lane) stickers. I left home at 7:15 this morning and sailed into work by 8am. (this was an impossible time in the Porsche at that hour!) Particularly satisfying was zooming at 65mph past all the stopped traffic merging onto highway 237. It was certainly a congestion that would have cost me at least 15 minutes!

My friends laugh at me now because I’ve switched from being an aggressive driver to a granny. My “porsche lane” is gone (weaving through traffic at 90+mph). Now I seem to be more content trying to optimize my MPG up to 50 instead of extending my spedometer to read triple digits. But that virtual high-speed lane is never open during the commute times anyway, so I’m reasonably happy to replace it with my wide open 65mph commuter lane.

The only thing I miss is the convertible top. I must be getting old. But at least I saved 15 minutes.