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SQL, AppFrame and other cool technologies

Tag Archives: Gaming

Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3?

I have got this question several times. Probably because I can’t stop talking about Modern Warfare 2 and Bad Company 2 🙂 So, if you’re going to buy a gaming console, which one should you choose? My short answer is Xbox, and here’s my long answer:

There are actually very few differences between these two consoles. Most games are available on both, they both have media-center-alike stuff, and the graphics are more or less the same. So to be honest, it doesn’t really matter if you’re just thinking about these things. What about the price? Well comparing PS3 120GB with Xbox 360 Elite (120GB), there’s almost a 1000 NOK (about $160) difference between them! You can of course argue that it costs money to play online on Xbox, but one year is about 400 NOK (about $65), so you’ve got 2.5 years’ worth of online playing. And, let’s face it. You’re not going to be using it 2.5 years from now 🙂 By then there’s probably a new Xbox out (rumors says fall 2010) anyways. Jokes aside. There’s a new phone OS coming soon: Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has said that they will integrate with both the Zune software and Xbox LIVE, so if you’re going to buy a Windows Phone 7, you really want the complete experience. And, of course want to play against me, Jan Leon and the other Xbox LIVE junkies!

For the record, I have both. My PS3 won’t read disks, but I barely used it when it was working. I find the online “experience” on Xbox being MUCH better. One other thing I’ve noticed is that the Xbox-controller is much heavier than PS3 controls. Now, when playing PS3 at my brother’s house or similar, it feels like playing with paper. I’m afraid to rip it apart, but this is of course just something you’ll get used to. And the last thing I’ve noticed is that the Xbox makes much more noise than PS3.

To sum it up, you should buy Xbox because the online experience is better than PS3, the integration with Windows Phone 7 (and Zune), and because of the difference in price. Oh, btw, if you’re on a tight budget, you can buy Xbox Arcade with a 20GB (?) disk and some other minor differences.

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News from Ølen about stuff that matters

You might have noticed there was just a holiday. Something about Jesus eating some bad chicken, so everyone thought he died, but then he woke up a couple of days later feeling much better. Anyways, because of this bad chicken, I’ve been VERY busy the last week, playing Modern Warfare 2 on Xbox. Ai can has vacation 2!

AppFrame as a product!
Since I started in Omega I’ve been fighting for releasing AppFrame as a framework for developers outside Omega. Now that’s almost a reality. We’re soon going to offer AppFrame as a product, along side PIMS and our other products. There haven’t been any final decision on pricing and stuff, but I can guarantee it will be affordable. This means that all developers out there that want to use AppFrame as their Framework to make applications can soon start doing this! They MIGHT even get the source code! After releasing CR3 I’m now confident that this is an AWESOME product. If you’ve met me, you know I’m not a sales person. I always say what I mean, and I can say with my full heart that AppFrame is without a doubt a VERY good product to develop applications for customers! Contact me if you want a presentation (from a developer, or a sales person. Your choice!). I’ll probably post a blog about the details when there’s been a decision on price etc.

NNUG and MTUG Haugesund
I’m the chapter of NNUG (Norwegian .NET User Group) Haugesund. We had a meeting at Rica Maritim Hotel in Haugesund March 22nd. The speaker was Einar Ingebrigtsen, and he talked about creating games with managed code. That means, using Silverlight, XNA, DirectX and similar. We had a new record of attendees: 27! That’s really high, at least if you compare us to Bergen which is a MUCH bigger city, but they’ve got about an average of about 20 people every meeting.

Since I’m both interested in programming and hosting-related stuff, I thought it would be cool to start a user group that could concentrate about the IT Pro’s out there, just like NNUG is concentrating on MSDN-people. Timing perfect, as always, I read on twitter that a guy called Jan Egil Ring was about to start MTUG (Microsoft Technology User Group). I’ve offered myself as the contact person in Haugesund, and I’m now working on gathering people so we can get a committee to manage this group. I’ll keep all of you updated when we’ll start having meetings etc.

VB.NET 10
Except playing Xbox, what have I been doing lately? I’ve played a lot with Visual Studio 2010 RC. A hot tip for those of you thinking you’ll play with Silverlight 4 in the RC. Don’t even think about it. It doesn’t work. I didn’t know this, so after 6-7 hours of swearing, kicking, screaming etc. Erik (coworker and friend) told me that’s not possible. Well, thanks! After that I started playing with WPF, since it’s basically the same except that Silverlight is a wossy-version of WPF /me hides under the table, waiting for the Silverlight-folks to start screaming. I’ve already managed to create a simple twitter client, trying out LINQ to XML, LINQ to Entities and a couple of new minor changes to VB. The fact that you now can create a Property on a class with ONE line of code is awesome. And, yes, before you C#-fanatics say “we’ve had this for ages”, you now got optional parameters, which VB have had for about 1000 years. We now also got something that’s got a fancy name. “Implicit Line Continuation”, which basically means that you don’t have to end all lines with _ if you want to continue this line on the next. This was very annoying in for example LINQ, where you’ve got something like:

Dim v = From a In AppDomain.CurrentDomain.GetAssemblies _
		Where a.ToString.Length > 0
		Select a.ToString()

Here is a great example. On the first line you need to specify the _ at the end, if not you’re not “allowed” to continue, but you don’t need it on the Where-line. Pretty confusing. Well, now you don’t need it at all.

One other thing that I find really nice is the improved IntelliSense. Now you can start typing “To”, and you’ll get:

CompareTo, CopyTo, ToString etc

Before, you only got ToString, since that’s the only thing starting with To. You can also search for AD, and get AppDomain, since .NET uses Pascal Casing.

Blogs

We’ve been working a bit on the blogs site. Or, to be honest, I’ve been making tasks and Stian has been doing them. The new (some of them are old, but you might not have noticed them before) features are: Tags. This works the same ways as Categories, except that you can tag an article with more than one Tag. We’ve then got Tag Clouds, to show which Tags are the most mentioned, and which are rarer.

If you’re using TeamDocuments, you will be auto-logged in which gives you the possibility of rating all posts, and commenting on them! You can even comment as an anonym user.

Johnny said today that he’ll start blogging more. Peter also had this statement a couple of weeks ago. Guess it’s just like X-files, “Du tror det ikke før du får se det!” (something like You won’t believe it before you see it!). But I would be very happy to see some posts from them too!

Build 5

The technology department released Build 5 of AppFrame a couple of weeks ago. Peter was our “speaker” at our last cake-meeting where he went through most of the changes done in this build. I’m really excited to start upgrading our clients to this release!

Issue Tracker

To report bugs (yes, we as everyone else, including Microsoft!, produce bugs), the technology department released a new “issue tracker”. This makes it SOOO much easier for me, since I now don’t have to read 10-15 TeamDocs every day to check if the bugs I’ve reported have been fixed. Most of the things I’m reporting is even getting fixed within a couple of hours (sometimes days), depending on the severity of the bug/suggestion. I’m strongly recommending you all to report everything you find, so we’ll get an even better product! Just today I’ve reported two things; resizing issues with the calendar in chrome and the distribution lists not working. They haven’t been fixed yet, but the distribution lists-thing is “in process”.

 

If you’ve got any suggestions on what you want me to blog about, or you’ve got comments, please send them to me! And remember to rate the posts! Good or bad. I won’t bite… Changed my mind. I will bite 🙂

5 minutes interview #21 – Einar Ingebrigtsen (Bouvet)

Einar has been a software developer since the mid-1990s. Now he’s working as a consultant at Bouvet with Microsoft .NET related technologies as is primary focus. 1st October 2008 he got awarded with the MVP title on XNA and DirectX. He’s been developing games for both PlayStation and Xbox and now 22nd March he’ll have a session for us at NNUG Haugesund about this topic. Click here to sign up for this event!

What have you been working on? Any projects we might have heard about?
I worked with gaming till late 90s and started doing Interactive TV applications for a couple of years for TV channels in Norway and abroad, the biggest installation was NRK and TV2 in Norway. In 2002 I started working with enterprise application development on the Microsoft .NET platform, and worked on an ERP product at Visma; shift management software called Turnusplan. Worked there for 6 years and then started in consulting and have been involved with quite a few projects / products during my now 2 year experience in the consulting business. The technology range I’ve been working with in the enterprise spans from .NET to SQL Server, BizTalk, Windows Forms, WPF and Silverlight to mention a few. Customers has been a few, but Nordea and Komplett is probably the most known.

Being rewarded with the MVP title, is there anything you get to do that you couldn’t do before?
One of the biggest benefits with the MVP title is that one gets a chance to work close with the product team one represents, in my case these days, the Silverlight team. Last week we got to go to the MVP summit, which is an annual summit that Microsoft holds for all its MVPs and we get to interact with the development teams at Microsoft. Holding the MVP title is certainly a door opener in other ways. Microsoft uses the MVP directory actively and once in a while you can get contacted by Microsoft offices in other countries if they are looking for a certain profile and you match that.

Any particular software releases you’re looking forward to the next year?
I guess Visual Studio 2010 is something I’m looking forward to. After using the Release Candidate for a couple of weeks now I must say I’m really impressed with what’s coming there.
The technology I hold dearest these days; Silverlight, will have a release this year – and I can’t wait for it to hit the global web – some amazing stuff has been done in this technology for version 4. With Silverlight 4 we are really seeing the full potential Silverlight in the enterprise; I am personally really excited about the new printing support, Webcam/Mic support and a lot of changes and improvements in data binding support.
Also, the out-of-browser experience that was introduced in SL3 has a lot more capabilities. For SL4 we’re getting an elevated security model, which enables us to do a lot more and make our applications richer on the desktop – such as more file access, both read and write COM access and more. In SL4 they are also putting the MEF (Managed Extensibility Framework) in there. There is a lot more, if you want more details, I have a post summarizing most of the features here: http://www.ingebrigtsen.info/post/2009/11/18/Silverlight-4-beta-announced.aspx.

You were podcasting a while. Any chance you’ll continue with this?
I was, and I really enjoyed it – I had to put it on pause due to heavy workload with Balder, the open-source 3D engine for Silverlight, which got a bit of attention. And attention in software means responsibility, so I’ve been filling up my spare time with working on that project. I want to get more time for doing podcasts as well, but maybe in a different form than what I did and possibly targeting a Norwegian audience only. No guarantees though.

Do you have any hobbies, except computer stuff?
Well, I must admit that the last couple of years I really haven’t had time for any hobbies. But I love to do stuff with my hands and used to spend quite a few hours doing carpentry earlier. It’s the kind of work that really makes my brain relax, which is quite necessary when working in the software industry. I will be picking up my hammer again in a couple of months and find a project (usually too large) that I can work on, so I don’t get stuck in front of my computer. Also, I discovered bi-cycling – I have a few personal goals in that area.

Also, remember to check out Einar’s blog at http://www.ingebrigtsen.info

1337 G4M3R

As some of you might already know, I’ve become a gamer lately. I’ve never been a big fan of games (normally playing a couple of hours, and then no gaming for several months). This changed when I bought my Xbox 360. I had a PlayStation 3, but for some reason I didn’t get hooked on this. I was hooked on TrackMania for a while, but got tired of sitting in front of the PC ALL THE TIME. So, now I’m sitting in front of my TV ALL THE TIME 🙂 I thought I’d share my experiences with you, so you know which games to buy when you buy your Xbox!

First off, to play any game online (XBL) you need an Xbox Live Gold subscription. This is about 500 NOK a year (about 80$). Compared to PlayStation this is expensive, since PlayStation is free, but you’ll get a lot of extra stuff like videos, demos, beta-releases, expansion packs etc. You can also buy “Microsoft Points” which enables you to buy games on demand and other stuff. This is of course optional! You also create your Avatar, which is used in some games, to show off your cool sunglasses or similar. Add me to your friend’s list, and I’ll kick your ass in any game! 🙂 My Gamer tag is PolarSirNordnes.

Assassin’s Creed 2
Third person action/adventure game. The story is set in 2012 where you play a guy called Desmond Miles. Desmond enters a device which enables him to get memories from a guy called Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who lived in Italy around 1500. Early in the game Ezio’s father and two brothers gets hanged and your mission is to revenge these deaths. You become an “Assassin”, which is the opposite of the Knights Templar in the Da Vinci Code. You learn to assassinate people using knives, swords and many other weapons. This is a great game, although it’s single player only. It’s got great graphics and a very good story including persons like Leonardo Da Vinci.

Conclusion: Best single-player game made so far!

 

 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
This is THE game. Nothing beats this in my lifetime. I’m 100% sure. This is a game containing three game types. Special Ops, Campaign and Multiplayer.

In Special Ops you can either play alone, with a friend on split screen or online with a friend. There are 23 different missions, going from “sneak around, make sure no one sees you” to HEAVY fire. There’s also 3 levels on each mission: Regular, Hardened and Veteran. Me and a friend are almost finished with all the missions on Veteran. Believe me, that’s REALLY hard!

Campaign mode is single player only. Here you follow Sergeant Gary “Roach” Sanderson, Private First Class Joseph Allen and Private James Ramirez through different missions. Basically USA goes to war with Russia and you (as these three persons) need to help USA win this war. I’m not going to revile much, because you just have to play it! For the record, I’ve completed this on Veteran 🙂

Multiplayer enables you to play maps, not missions like the other two. This is basically the same as all the other FPS (First Person Shooter) games out there, except a couple of things. You start off as a Private (level 1) and work your way up to Commander (level 70). At the moment I’m Brigadier General I (level 55). You can see all the ranks here. To get rank up you need to complete challenges. These vary from blowing up a car to get 100 headshots with one weapon. The only thing I don’t like about this game is all the 10 year olds playing online yelling and being assholes. Therefore I’m glad you can mute people 🙂 This is awesome playing with your friends online, although I haven’t had the chance of doing this much since I don’t know that many people playing it online.

Conclusion: If you’re over 18, you HAVE to buy this game. Best multiplayer game EVAH

 

Fable 2
This is a sequel to the very popular action role-playing game “Fable” developed for the original Xbox. The story begins with you (Sparrow) and your sister (Rose) being two poor kids in a poor part of a town, struggling to get food for the next day. You manage to gather 5 gold coins to buy a music box which grants you a wish. The wish is to live in Castle Fairfax. When visiting the castle, the owner (Lord Lucien) kills your sister. After this you fast forward 10(?) years, and start tracking down this Lord Lucien to make your revenge on him. Not the best graphics, but the story makes up for it. In addition to the main story, they’ve built in several short “missions” where you have to save a town from weird creatures or similar. Pretty fun role-playing game. Btw, the sequel to this (Fable 3) is supposed to come in 3rd or 4th quarter of this year, so be prepared!

 

 

Forza Motorsport 3
For all the gearheads out there, this is THE game. It’s very similar to the Gran Turismo games, but with much better graphics. I don’t know what to write about this except if you’re a gearhead, this is a MUST HAVE.

&
#160;

Halo 3 ODST
Halo is a series of FPS games developed by Bungie and published by Microsoft. You play a Spartan (the cool guy in the picture) where your goal is to shoot as much hostiles as possible. If you want to know more about the history read it for yourself. I started playing the campaign mode, but found it boring and wasn’t impressed with the graphics (after playing MW2). The multiplayer stuff was very cool though! I’ve played this a bit with Aleksander (in Omega’s Oslo office), and this is really worth recommending.

My Issues With Technology

We’re now at the end of January, 2010. 20-30 years ago people thought we’d fly around in our private helicopter-like vehicles, have a device that we could just tell what food we wanted and it made it for us building it from scratch (atom-level). I can go on and on where we thought we’d be. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer and closer every day. But if we’re so close, why is there so much bugging me with technology? I tend to think it’s because the people creating it doesn’t understand the end-user’s expectations. I’m not the most normal end-user, but here’s my list of things that REALLY annoy me:

Podcasts on Windows Mobile
October 23, 2001 Apple released their first iPod. They weren’t the first on the (mp3 player-) market, but they’ve been superior when it comes to user friendliness. When I bought my HTC Touch HD2 “Leo”, I hoped I could get rid of iTunes and start using Zune. Zune is Microsoft’s answer to iTunes. I’ve heard it works perfectly with Zune-devices, but it won’t connect to my phone, even though it’s Windows Mobile 6.5 (latest release). iTunes connects to your iPod, iPhone etc, but Zune only connects to your Zune devices. I’ve tried finding a shop that will send me a Zune HD, but no luck. US ONLY! So, then I’m stuck with using my iPod and my HTC phone. I’ve actually started considering buying an iPhone, just because that makes my life easier when it comes to podcasts. Yes, I know. You can download the podcasts using Zune, manually copy the mp3-files over to your phone using sync and then use windows media player on the phone to play them. But, then I need to do all the syncing manually. After all, I’m subscribing to TWENTY different podcasts. WE’RE IN 2010 NOW! Why is Zune HD only available in the US? Have no idea, but I assume it’s some EU-shit. Microsoft: grow some balls, pay off the people standing in your way and start selling it here too! If not, at least make support for WM, NOW!

X-Box Live Points
This is a sort of payment system Microsoft have made available on X-Box Live (their “meeting place” for X-Box enthusiasts). In my opinion this is a very good system, makes it easy for you to buy games, demos, videos, music+++, but why isn’t EVERYTHING available with points? Some I have to use my credit card to buy, and some isn’t even available at all! I have to go to for instance play.com to order a game which they send in the mail (yes, snail-mail), which takes everything from 7-14 days, depending on if it’s “in stock” or not. WE’RE IN 2010 NOW! Why can’t I just download the game I want, the day it’s released? Pay FULL PRICE (with points), and be able to play the game NOW instead 14 days from now? Again, I assume this is not Microsoft’s fault. It’s probably EU-shit, again (by now, you’ve probably figured I’m not a big fan of EU :P). Microsoft: grow some balls, pay off the people standing in your way and start making it easier for us end-users!

The Music Industry
10 years ago everyone was using Napster to download music, but then came Metallica with their lawsuits. I’m a big fan of their music, but not their attitude to sharing music. Now there’s finally a good client for us that want to download/stream music, whenever we want, where ever we want. I pay 1188,- NOK each year (about $200) to listen to music whenever, where ever. I’m of course talking about spotify. But, why isn’t Metallica there? Or AC/DC? Or Led Zeppelin? They probably don’t get enough money. I’d gladly pay another annual $200 to get them there. WE’RE IN 2010 NOW! I actually expected that 10 years from Napster we’d be able to listen to what we want, where ever we want, without bringing CDs all over.

iTunes
When it comes to podcasts, this application is THE BEST. It’s in its own class when it comes to user friendliness here. But why is it so slow? Do they even know about multithreading? It’s almost as slow and non-responding as Java-applications *hiding behind the couch, waiting for all “Java iz ze bezt”*.

Apple
What do I have to do to buy an (Norwegian) iPhone? I’m using Ventelo as my service provider. I don’t like buying things on eBay and similar sites. It’s not possible on apple.com, not ventelo.no or any web shops I’ve tried. Also, there’s too much talk about Apple in my opinion. Yes, they’ve created a GREAT mp3-player, and from what I’ve heard a GREAT phone, but what about the rest? I’ve tried Mac a couple of times, and I’m not impressed. Yes, the mouse-pad gestures are a great invention, but I just didn’t like the OS. This might have something to do with me being a Microsoft enthusiast, but I just didn’t get used to it. I’ve even thought of buying a Mac, just to see what the fuzz is all about, but what am I supposed to use it for? You can’t run SQL Server or Visual Studio. The only thing I then could do is sync my iPod (or iPhone, if I bought that), and watch series. But, that works GREAT on my Dell Vostro. One other thing bugging me about Apple is their closed attitude. They (almost) never tell what’s in their security updates, they don’t care about open source AT ALL. In addition, the iPad “hoax”. No multitasking, drag’n’drop, USB, flash, SD, HDMI, Camera. What DOES it have? I thought Torbjørn Lunde’s statement “I use FlashBlock on all my browsers and I really miss all those ads” was a good comment, and it made me add a flash blocker. But, would mom do the same? She’s probably one of those clicking those ads, because it’s now new years and “time to burn some fat”. They’ve said that iPad is the perfect way to watch pictures, movies etc. Why isn’t there a SD, or even a camera? I must admit, I want to buy it. I have no idea why, and what I’m supposed to use it for (as well as a Mac book).

SQL Server Management Studio
Yes, there is one thing really bugging me about this. In SQL Server 2005 Microsoft released a new feature called NEWSEQUENTIALID(). I’m not going into details what this is, because that’s not what this is about. My ONLY problem with this feature is if you’re using it as a default value on a column in a table (which is the only place you can use it), you get the following message if you change something in that table: “Error validating the default for column ‘Column1’”. I reported it as soon as I found it, and I’ve reported it several times. I even got a group together to vote for it. 2008 got released, still same message. I’m now using 2008 R2 Nov CTP, and it still gives me this message. Is it really that difficult too fix?

I’m sure I’ll get some hate-mail from Apple supporters, or maybe Metallica, but what I’d really love to hear is how can I get my (HTC) phone to sync podcasts with my computer?

Trackmania

About a half year ago my uncle died and I had to find something to keep me busy, to not think too much. I started playing Trackmania Nations, a free race game. Since then I’ve played a couple of times a week, because I’ve found out that I can’t keep playing with SQL and other servers 24/7. So why not play with SQL 12 hours a day, and then use the rest of the day for Trackmania?! 😀 I’ve never been able to play the same game over and over again, for more than a couple of days, but this have kept me “busy” for almost 6 months now. So why am I blogging about this now? The about page says that “The purpose of this blog is to tell you about all new tips and tricks that I learn”. This is, in my mind, a good tips for you guys. Yeah, some of you might say that I need a girlfriend, but I don’t have time for that. After all, SQL server takes most of my hours 😉 Anyhow.. A bit about this game

Trackmania Nations is a racing game where you have the same car (you may change the looks of it, but the steering, speed etc is the same). You can either race against time (to get medals), or you can connect to servers and play with others. At the moment my ranking is:

Norway: 1 321 of 68 866 players
World: 62 550 of 2 963 861 players

I’ve got 60 000 LP, what ever that is and 173 medals.

Today I joined a clan. I’ve never been in a clan before, but I thought that if Yan Friis (a famous Norwegian radio-dude) can play World of Warcraft at the age of 57 and talk about that on radio, I can join a clan in my favorite game, although all the other members are younger than me! So, sign up (it’s free) and join me at the “TT Norwegian Tech Tracks” server, and I’ll burn your ass! My nick is TTtican (TT is the clan..)