Browsing Posts published in September, 2008

Since Hamilton called me out, I thought I should comment on my recent tribulations around a new laptop. (For those of you wondering, Twitter is unlike Las Vegas. What you say on Twitter doesn’t stay in Twitter.) :) I’m in the market for a new laptop as my Dell D820 is giving me problems. The battery life is currently around 2 minutes. (The 9-cell battery, which initially got 8 hours run-time, is quite near death after only 2-1/2 years of use – mostly plugged in.) The replacement battery was going to cost over $300, but wouldn’t solve the lack of hard drive space, the need for more memory, or the slow processor. (The system is 2-1/2 years old, which is ancient for a developer laptop.) Heck, a new D830 with similar specs to my D820 would have cost less than $1000, which isn’t that much more than the battery!

I was seriously considering a MacBook Pro, likely running Vista. (I know. Blasphemy!) The MBP was very tempting, but the price was steep for something I would consider developer-grade. As Hamilton noted, over $3000 for decent, but not stellar components. I was close to buying the Dell E6500, but the poorly-rated NVidia Quadro 160M put me off. (I’ve had Quadro chips before. They are awful for anything other than CAD/CAM. Want to flake out with the occasional game while on the road? Forget it with a Quadro chip.) Another serious contender was an Alienware m15x, but loaded with developer-grade goodies pushed the price well above $3200 CAD. The systems are built in Miami, FL and I didn’t get the warm fuzzies when I talked to their sales department. I got the distinct impression that any serious problem would require return to Miami for service, which isn’t acceptable for a business laptop, IMHO. Still there is a coolness factor to the Alienware systems.

I’ve never considered myself a “ThinkPad” guy, but when I saw the specs of the T500 plus the price, I jumped at it. For $2K CAD (including tax and shipping), I got a 2.8GHz Core 2, 4GB RAM, Radeon 3650, and a bunch of other goodies. The one downside is that the largest 7200rpm hard drive available on this model is 160 GB. I can always replace it later if needed. One great feature is the dual video cards – an integrated Intel X4500 and the ATI Mobility Radeon 3650. You can switch between the cards without rebooting and reviews indicate that going to integrated adds about 1.5 hours to your battery life, which is already around 4.5 hours. The screen is 15.4″ widescreen at 1680×1050 – same as the Dell D820 that I’m replacing. (I’ve had a 15.4″ 1920×1200 and it hurt my eyes. I run my 24″ Acer X243W monitors at 1920×1200, which is awesome.) I considered laptops with 17″ screens, but they’re quite heavy and unusable in airplanes. (My friend, John Bristowe, told me, “Sure, you can use a 17″ in an airplane. You just kind of angle it right and type on your chest.” Uh, yeah…) Hamilton’s description of “a hundred LEDs blinking in your face” worries me, but it’s already ordered. I await the T500 with expectation and trepidation. I’ll let you know my impressions once I receive it.

Alright, alright. I give in. I’m finally twittering along with the rest of the planet. You can find me here:

http://twitter.com/JamesKovacs

You can expect witty banter, scintillating insights, and breathtaking news bites… 140 characters at a time.

If you’re looking for a good Twitter client and you’re running Windows, I would recommend Witty, a free WPF-based Twitter client. Very pretty, very functional, and very non-intrusive. Highly recommended. There is even a ClickOnce installer.

image A big thank you to everyone who completed the ORM with NHibernate survey. The results have provided me with a lot of food for thought with respect to organizing future courses. Some answers were expected while others were surprising. Rather than bore you with the details, let me get to what you really want to know… Who won the JetBrains ReSharper license? Using an advanced combination of digital and analog randomization technologies (e.g. I printed out the list and pulled one out of a hat), the winner is Brett Baggott of Nashville, TN. Congratulations, Brett. In the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Use it wisely…”

In other news… The Castle Project PMC has selected its winner for The Great NHibernate/Castle Giveaway. Drum roll please… The winner is Markus Zywitza of Aarbergen, Germany. Markus has received Visual Studio Team Suite with MSDN Premium. Asked why he was chosen, he humbly suggested many other project contributors more deserving than himself, but added this explanation.

My involvement of Castle began some 18 month ago as a user. My main involvement with Castle is documentation and small enhancements and bug fixes. Writing docs is a structured approach to learning for me, and I am willing to share what I create through learning. I guess that was the reason for the PMC to select me, as the documentation has been neglected lately.

– Markus

The NHibernate team is still debating the most deserving recipient. (I’ll remind them again in another week or two…) Fabio Maulo – the current project lead – has received his subscription after a bit of work on my part. (I unilaterally decided that the third should go to Fabio, as I mentioned in the original announcement.) I would like to offer a huge thanks to an unexpected person. First let me give you a bit of background. I sent Fabio his license activation code, but it didn’t work as the code turned out to be valid only in Canada/USA. (Fabio lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.) I contacted MANY people at Microsoft to see what could be done. No one could solve the problem of getting Fabio a license key. As a last resort, I emailed S. Somasegar, Senior VP of DevDiv, himself asking for his assistance to solve the problem. That was on a Thursday. I didn’t expect an answer. The guy is a senior VP and I’m a lowly MVP. Plus I was giving the license to the project lead of NHibernate and DevDiv was in the midst of finalizing Entity Framework v1. (I didn’t expect that to have any bearing, but you never know. Conspiracy theorists eat up this type of stuff.) On Monday – just two business days later – I received a personal email from Soma himself informing me that he was getting the issue resolved and apologizing for the confusion around the licenses! Sure enough, James Rice and Manuel Hernandez contacted me and Fabio. They got the license sorted out in short order. So a huge thanks to Soma for his responsiveness and his support of the .NET community.