How to convert a DTED (Elevation) File to a Raster

A 24 Core and above Machine where Microsoft and Google Collide

18. May 2008 23:01 by scott in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (10)

microsoft1978ew7

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to attend DevConnections 2008 in Orlando, FL.  I spoke to a Microsoft Pro by the name of Steven Toub.  He works for Microsoft in the parallel computing labs.  He currently is designing PLINQ which is a parallel operations for LINQ.  He said in the next 9 years, he expects 100 Core machines to be out on the market and Microsoft has vowed NOT to make any software for 32 bit machines anymore from today on. 

It is interesting to see Microsoft take this route and not develop for single cores anymore and I am questing what can that do for their market. I only think make it better.  There are rumors out there that Microsoft doesn't innovate anymore.  I think some of the rumors are true to some markets of software, but in other markets Microsoft leads the pack.  Microsoft does have a problem with its Internet technology and they just released Microsoft Mesh which allows for a computer desktop to be visualized on the Internet Browser.  Pretty impressive stuff which shows that they can innovate in some areas, but very little in others.  I think the main reason Microsoft doesn't innovate as much in Americans eyes nor in the Europeans eyes because they are in disgust of the the giant gorilla in the room and there for less and less Americans go to work for them.  Its all about Yahoo and Google and working for those folks.  Americas top innovators have moved from Microsoft to Google in a big jump that took about 5 years.  They saw that Google actually had money to spend and it is also a great place to work.  I don't know about Microsoft's working conditions, but Google is supposedly the cream of the crop for developers.

google big three

The entire discussion is wether Microsoft can still innovate in the next couple of years.  I for one enjoy Microsoft's products and the PLINQ will be a gem for them that Google doesn't currently have yet.

Can Microsoft keep up with the Innovations?

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Meeting Richard Campbell, Carl Franklin and Paul Litwin: .NET Powerhouses

15. May 2008 22:30 by Scott in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (13)

A couple of weeks ago now, I had the chance to attend DevConnections 2008 in Orlando, FL.  On the third night of the conference, I had the chance to sit down with Carl Franklin, Richard Campbell and Paul Litwin. Richard and Carl are hosts to the one and only DotNetRocks which has over a half a million listeners worldwide on a weekly podcast they do. Paul is the Chairman of many conferences including DevConnections and is a lover of running.

I had a chance to spend around four or five hours with them over the course of a few beers.  I must say I truly enjoyed talking with them and learning about their humble beginnings. I must say the end of the night didn't end up like Rory Blyths night with them, but I can't complain. The Humble beginning of Rory is below.

 

My career got kicked off for the most part when I crashed a party on the roof of a hotel in LA. I was looking for Carl Franklin and Mark Dunn. I was a fan of .Net Rocks, and all I wanted was to tell them. It was important to me. They took the normally stuffy community of business and turned it into something fun. By extension, my own life became more fun, and, for that, I was thankful enough that it was necessary that I tell them in person.

Nobody up there knew who I was, but because of that one meeting, I wound up being interviewed by them, and went on to co-host the show not long after. The visibility provided by the show led to being noticed by Microsoft, and that led to some of the most interesting work I'll have ever done, and it began with a risk.

The night started with me talking to my Girlfriend and then letting her know I had Richard in my sights and must have a sit down good night with them. So I asked my Girlfriend if I could let her go and she graciously agreed.

So, I started with getting a beer at the bar and then contemplated how to walk over to them. After about of minute of contemplating, I decided just go for it and with the kind of crazy enthusiastic person I am.  I grabbed a stool and pulled it over and told them hello.  They of course came right back and were extremely polite and outgoing just like me.  I was like this is perfect. We covered many topics including Google, Microsoft, the fact that they do little coding anymore and they have actually turned down sponsorship for their podcast.  Impressive, I thought.  I asked them to do a show on ColdFusion V.S. ASP.NET, told them I want their jobs and if they would ever higher me, I would work like a beast.  To no avail, they didn't need any personal assistants. 

Carl and a old school host of the show named Mark Dunn came in a bit later and had the chance to talk with them too.  Of Carl and Richard, you can definitely tell Richard takes his job a lot more serious and Carl is all about having fun in life.  It makes for a good duo and team. 

I spoke to Richard about my job and how un-innovative it is.  I get bored at it and sometimes can't help my self, but to wish for a better job.  I would imagine other jobs are the same way which is understandable.  I do get great benefits and the ability to have an open schedule which is one of the best perks. A big perk that I am proud of is I get 9/10 requirements on my Bill of Rights all except for the comfortable chair. :(

I have included pictures of them below that we took at the end of the night. The guys were just an over all humble people.  I enjoyed the company and would hope that we get another chance at this.

P.S. I will be speaking about our conversation with Google and Microsoft in the coming posts. so stay tuned.

Thanks Guys for one of those nights.

kick it on DotNetKicks.com
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How long will Russia last?

14. May 2008 01:50 by sam in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (8)

09ukraine-artist550

Before Russia fell, it was a powerful and amazing communist country, but lets get one thing straight.  Russia was not able to support it self without Serfs.  Serfs worked as the entire lower class and were released in the 90's because Russia was not able to sustain it self and wanted democratic reform.  The reform has come and gone says some analysts.  Russian Ex-President rolled back democratic reforms into the old age Russia.  People are fleeing the country for a better life and they are finding it in Ukraine.  Ukraine is still highly Democratic and moving more so than before.

Russia itself is losing civilians because of many reasons, but the top two include a Birth Rate lower than the current population. Russians are not replacing them selves.  That has been seen for many years now and Russians are trying to fix this problem by declaring a national holiday to go home and make babies.  Russian towns are giving prizes to couples that have kids on certain days or the amount of kids one couple has.  Things are getting worse than that over there.  Now IHT just did an article about how Russians are fleeing the motherland for a more democratic one.  They are leaving for Ukraine in an attempt to make a better life for them selves that they can't see under the current Russian rule.  This is an example of why the mexicans are leaving mexico for a better country and better way of life.  They leave for the United States and leave mexico without the labor force that is needed to sustain a country economically anymore.  The exact same thing will happen in the Ukraine.  Russia will lose to Ukraines democratic reforms and its willingness for Free Speech.  Because, what does Russia do to artist that talk bad about the government? It puts them into jail. So the artists request Ukraine work visa's and Ukraine accepts them indefinitely.  Ukraine will profit from this and Russia will again lose more of its population.

So the question begs, how long will Russia last?  If the Government keeps pushing back Democratic reforms and keeps allowing its population stop replacing them selves, they will lose faster over time. The country will fall inevitably if it doesn't change its current course of action.

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3 WYSIWYG Editors for Webmasters in ASP.NET and why I chose FreeTextBox

14. May 2008 00:26 by scott in   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (47)

I have built a few sites that required the user to have control over the dynamic data of the site like Indiatlanticfire.com which the editor is used for every page of their site.  It updates all content of the site that they desire to enter in.  Over my search for the best editor I went through a variety of editors finally coming out with the Editor of FreeTextBox, but I would like to show you all the editors that I went through.  This is for me to, so I can remember where I found the editors and what one I used.  By the way, I wanted editors that were .NET compatible, so that was a big qualifier for which one I chose.

1. FreeTextBox - This was the editor I used for the final site of IndialanticFire.com.  I liked it the best because of the easy install and modification of objects on the editor it self.

Demo Here

ftbfrontpage

2. FCKEditor - Small and light editor, but I needed more functionality.

Demo Here

demo_screenshot

3. Spaw Editor - I didn't get a true chance to check this thing out, but it looked good and was built on .NET! It looked to be the editor of choice, but I had already had experience with FreeTextBox, so that's why I didn't choose this editor.

Demo Here

spaw_big

I hope you enjoyed my pick.

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Google listened to me and put something on their front page!

13. May 2008 20:42 by scott in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (9)

A few days ago, I saw a blog post from the official Google blog that spoke about donating to victims of Myanmar victims.  They opened up a Google Checkout to take donations from people to help the victims of the Cyclone that hit Myanmar (Over 40,000 missing and 22,000 dead).  I then decided to write them a little love note and tell them that this is awesome to post on their blog.  Except for the fact it only reaches 499k Readers (current subscription) who RSS it.  I wrote them a little note that said good job, but how about taking one step further?  I asked them to post a link on their front page to actually get the mass amount of people who actually visit Google on a daily basis.  I was completely surprised and IMPRESSED that when I checked back a few days later, they had the link up on the front page and THEY OFFERED TO MATCH IT up to $1,000,000.00.  Boy was I impressed when I saw that.  I then ask my self sometimes as a self prescribed Fanboy of Microsoft and Google, why doesn't Microsoft do something like this?  Are they just in it to make money?  I do know one thing, I will continue to LOVE Google for their charities they give to. Thank you guys for making me a devoted follower!

 

image 

Respectfully, Scott Pio.

Thanks again Google for making a difference in the world. Now only if you would cycle through those bottom links to include other charities for the good and ALSO started to put it on IGOOGLE for those people that never see it.

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Why is Free Speech So Important?

13. May 2008 06:27 by sam in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (10)

american-nazi

I found something over at a Geocities web site. I wanted to share it on my blog, because who knows how long it would have lasted over there and this quote was far to good to read once and not remember. I hope you enjoy.

Why speak up about things that don't seem to affect you? Perhaps Pastor Martin Neimoller's view in one version of his quote will answer that question. He supported the Nazis until he realized, too late, what they were really about and was sent to Dachau concentration camp.  He was one of the fortunate to be freed and live until 1984.

First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Social Democrats, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Social Democrat.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn’t speak up,  because I wasn’t a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.

This version thanks to information researched at Liverpool Community College (which page has since been taken down) and by University of California Santa Barbara Professor Harold Marcuse who continues to  update his pages with further research results.  This version is similar to the one I remember seeing when I was in middle school and it never left me. I hope it never will. 

Thank the good people in this world for we have Freedom.

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HEY YOU! Got Computers that are ALWAYS ON? And almost never doing anything?

12. May 2008 21:07 by scott in   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (11)

SetiBoinc2

Hey guys, listen up and let me tell you how your wasted CPU time and the cost of the Internet could help save lives! Drop that task your doing now and listen up.

Today it was announced that the mere average video game player could win the Nobel Peace Prize. Http://fold.it has come out with a video game to have you help fold Protein to save cure/forms of Humans Diseases and stop the spread of Cancer. This means that scientists have actually made it fun to cure diseases and they want your help in this endeavor.  They created a video game that allows the human being to take part in folding protein. What is it you say?

Folding Protein - After clicking the link, you received a lot of scientific talk, but I am here to tell you that folding protein could ultimately help and lead the way to cure major Human Diseases.

I am not lying to you, and you could be a part of this. If you decide to play the game, or even go one step further with handing over your idle time of the CPU.  The project is called @Home.  The Various projects that can be worked on are:

  1. Seti@Home - By Far the second largest project of the @Home Projects and is the search for Extra Terrestrial Life. This project examines radio signals to view planetary systems that need to be reviewed.  It also has a really cool screen saver when it runs.
  2. ClimatePrediction.net - This is the current largest distribution of the worlds computers that are involved in this project, which helps forecast the climate change of the 21st century.
  3. Rosetta@Home - Is a need to help determine three dimensional shapes which start the folding protein process. It takes CPU cycles that would be other wise not used and turns those into something that can cure diseases and help cure cancer.

The above is only a small list of of the things that could be done to help save lives or find alien species.  I am apart of Seti@home and Rosetta@Home, because those are the two projects I can personalize with and the faster we find alien species, the faster we can grasp new technologies! haha. I hope you do truly take the time to look at these because I know I have now devoted three of my PC's cycles to it and will be turning the forth one on very soon!

P.S. If your looking for a group to join when you actually decide to do this project, I can be found on the .NET group of each of these projects.  Join in and help save a life.  It doesn't take much and its very little to ask from a computer that is always on anyway.

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The Actual Cost of Texting, Short Codes and a 7314% Mark-up

7. May 2008 17:25 by Scott in   //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)

Avoid-texting-while-driving

Two weeks ago, I went to Dev Connections in Orlando for Microsoft.  It was a blast and I must say if you ever get a chance to go, then do it!  One of the nights there, AT&T had a Developer party where they wanted developers to start developing on their network, because they can see a lot of income come from it.  I agree now knowing the total cost of Text messaging.

At this party, AT&T gave out free Tilts which is currently the best mobile phone on the market if you ask me owning one my self.  They also gave out free large HD LCD screen monitors for a group of six. Oh and lets not forget about the free food of course.

Sending a text message to another person can only take 160 characters of text. For the phone companies, it is not compressed data. It is 160 characters only.  Why such a weird number you ask? Well let me tell you. When phones are on and waiting for a phone call or any type of data retrieval, they are ALWAYS connected to the cell phone tower.  The phones and cell phone towers exchange little packets worth of information back and forth so when ever a call comes it, they can find you straight away.  Cool huh?  That is the way they designed it when they did.  Can anyone guess how big the packets are that are sent between cell and tower?  If you guess 160 characters, you are right.  So to recap, a task that already needs to be completed by cell phone companies, they make back by charging an astronomical of money to the consumer.

If you look at the per Text message cost, lets take Verizon Wireless which charges 0.15 for every text message that gets sent. The figure is small enough, but when you think of it on a kilobyte level it cost the cell phone companies 0.015 cents and it costs us $1.09 per text message Kilobyte.  The markup for costs is 7314%. If you think of it like this, they markup the cost by 7314% when it reaches you, the consumer.  If it were me, I would think of it as pretty arrogant of them to do this.  I am on a plan and only get charged $5.00 per month for 1000 text messages. If I were to use their rate at which it costs them I should be able to send over 33000 text messages a month!

2nd Part:

Short Codes, you know the ones that when you send a text message to shows like American Idol which can cost the developer anywhere from $15,000-$30,000 a year for their company. That's right, the current costs are estimated at $5,000 a month to hold a dedicated number and a REQUIRED $1,000 a month for a testing number.  So when AT&T threw this developer party, I decided to go up there and ask them.  But sadly to say they were only third party contractors.  So as a Developer you can spend around $20,000.00, and then the cell phone companies charge the consumer another astronomical markup. If your still reading this, can you please leave a comment if you have ever seen a higher markup on a particular item.

These kinds of costs need to be regulated.  The companies are charging an extreme amount of money for very little and we are buying it up.  Someday's, I wish I could just start a company that would be able to compete with companies like these.  I do know that I think I will probably invest some stock into AT&T seeing that they bring a pretty good rate of return.

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FizzBuzz => BizzBuzz. Can you actually code?

6. May 2008 16:46 by Scott in   //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (50)

42-16920498

Have you ever been in an interview where they asked you to write code in front of them?  Well I haven't, being so young and so fresh in the developer world.  My Interview went along the lines of:

  1. Have you ever worked on CSS, HTML, ASP.NET and SQL?
    1. Yes I have, as of 2008 I have over 9 years experience with this stuff except for only 1.5 years with ASP.NET.
  2. What are your favorite hobbies.
    1. Fun, Fraternity, my Girlfriend and of course all my software projects that I have going on.
  3. Having them critique me if I will actually fit in with the group.

I have never been asked if I can FizzBuzz.

FizzBuzz - To write a program that prints numbers 1-100.  For multiples of 3, print Fizz, for multiples of 5, print Buzz.  For numbers which are multiples of 3 and 5, print FizzBuzz.

It deals with Modules, hope I spelled that right.  Can you do it?  Leave your code in the comments section, I would like to see your answers to this little problem.

FizzBuzz, the phrase is over used all over the Internet.  It is used by multiple programmers and made popular by www.codinghorror.com which covered the FizzBuzz Dilemma here.

Why am I writing this?  I want to start a movement that doesn't use the word FizzBuzz anymore.  I want to use the phrase BizzBuzz. In my college life, I was a pretty big drinker and well we did play a few games that involved a table a die.  It was called Beer Die.  I suggest you look it up and think on it.  It is pretty fun for those people at the main table, but boring to the people that stand around the table. It was a fantastic game.  Like every drinking game, there were key words that couldn't be said. The words are Bizz and Buzz.  Bizz stood for 5 and Buzz stood for 7.  If you said either of these words, you finished a beer.  So lets start this movement!

BizzBuzz - To write a program that prints numbers 1-100.  But unlike FizzBuzz, For multiples of 5, print bizz.  For multiples of 7, print buzz. For multiples of 5 and 7, print BizzBuzz.

Why? well because FizzBuzz has become to popular and BizzBuzz has some history to it.  So lets start a cult following for BizzBuzz just like the following Beer has.

Thanks for listening. kick it on DotNetKicks.com


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Books to Read as a Programmer/Developer

1. May 2008 17:11 by scott in   //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

I think just about every programmer has a list of books they wish to read and since I am a programmer, I am no different.  Below will be my ever growing list of books that I suggest to read or want to read.  These books are things that will change the way I think on things in life and that's why I choose to read them.  No fairy tale novels or romance books here.  Its all books I can learn from.

Currently Reading

The Bible - All about Christian ideals. Okay, I know this book is slightly out of context, but it is something that teaches a lot of things for the regular person.

Books I have Read

  1. ASP.NET Unleashed - This book is an in depth study of everything ASP.NET.  It talks about all controls and the deep code it takes to build web sites and winforms.


Want to Read

  1. Code Complete - Steve McConnell - I first heard about this book on a weekly radio show I listen to called dotnetrocks.  I have not currently read this book, but it is supposed to cover the entire scope of Computer Science and coding.
    71RFXHMCBVL._SL500_AA240_.gif
  2. Don't Make Me Think - Steve Krug - I forget where I read this book, probably from the same dotnetrocks interview that I heard for Code Complete.  This book details all items of usability.  How to make the best user interface that a person can create for the user.
    51W8l2Zy3WL._SL500_AA240_
  3. Mythical Man Month - Frederick P. Brooks - It is another book that I want to read about the human elements of software engineering.  If you write code, this book should be on your shelf from what I hear even though I have not gotten it yet.
    51esG7-GjbL._SL500_BO2,204,203,200_PIlitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_
  4. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information - Edward Tufte - By some this author is called a genius in all user experiences and just making life an easy flow of data.  This is a must for any programmer from what I understand.
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  5. Visual Explanations - Edward Tufte - Another book by Tufte in which this one and The Visual Display of Quantitative Information are supposed to required reading for any person that develops Great UI's.
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  6. Envisioning Information - Edward Tufte - The last and final book that is another must read for Tufte.  People say that it is not required to read all three, but highly recommended.
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  7. Introduction to Algorithms - Something I need to read since I am way behind on the curve of programming real stuff.  I was a Computer Engineer in college and got hired up as a Computer Programmer! 
      41WDWECWVCL._SL500_AA240_
  8. Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software - Supposed to go in depth of why and when to use Object oriented programming and this is another book because I missed my core CS classes while in college.
     sdf
  9. The Elements of Typographic Style - Lets see how to write and display text better in this world.  This book comes recommended from the highest sources and will not pass it up.
     sadf

After I finish reading these books, I will move them to the "have read" section and make sure I give a good explanation of each of them.

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