Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I'm Lost in Star Trek

J. J. Abrams, the director and producer widely known for its hit-series Lost, is going to direct the next installment of one of my favorite SF-series, Star Trek XI. This news is already public for a few weeks, but Startrek.com now sports a short interview with him talking about the rumours related to the movies' storyline. The movie is supposed to be released in 2008, but they already have a teaser poster on their site right now!

Monday, July 24, 2006

New cellphone for me

Various Internet shops did not expect my new phone to arrive before the beginning of August. But to my surprise, it arrived much sooner than that. So check out the picture below to see what I'm talking about...It's the brand new Nokia 6233.

A picture of the new Nokia 6233. Notice that this is just a picture,
and that that hand is not mine ;-)

You can treat it as the successor of the Nokia 6230, a very popular business phone. I own the 6233 for about two weeks now, and I must say I'm very happy with it. I also have the 6230 as my corporate phone, but the differences are huge. The body is partially chrome and partially made of some kind of expensive soft plastic. It is a bit heavier than the 6230, but it feels very robust compared to most phones. I had a Samsung D500 prior to this one, and I hated its small keys. Especially the ones near the four-way button were difficult to use. Well, the 6233 does not have this problem. The keys feel extremely comfortable and solid. To only thing is that because of the material, the keys reflect light easily which makes it sometimes difficult to read the labels.

The display consists of a 320x240 TFT screen supporting 256K colors, and is comparable to a friend's Samsung D800. Nokia has put a lot of effort in getting its operating system to take advantage of those capabilities. For many years, Nokia's OS has been quite dull compared to those of Samsung or Motorola, but this changed. Just check out one of the latest phones for the ladies (my girlfriend has one) such as the Nokia 7370. Nevertheless, I must admit that the fonts the've chosen for the standby mode are not always that readible with all background images. But a little tweaking will help. The camera sits on the back and allows taking pictures of up to 2 megapixels. I haven't had much experience yet, but the few tests I've tried look great. Especially the high-resolution display is very convenient for taking pictures in landscape mode.

The stereo speakers provide a very loud, but clear and crisp sound. The supplied 32 MB mini-SD card contains a lot of nice tones and MP3s out of box that clearly demonstrate the quality of the speakers. Of course, standard features like Bluetooth, infrared, a headset and a built-in radio are included as well. I've even configured it to automatically synchronize its calender and notes with Outlook. As soon as I open up my laptop it start the synchronization.

The mini-SD card comes with an extra application that you can use to control your Bluetooth-enabled laptop or desktop. Just install the Nokia Presenter software and launch Powerpoint or Windows Media Player. The display of the phone will list the songs or slides and allow you to navigate between them. Great for listening on the couch or providing a presentation in front of a large group.

I haven't seen many reviews yet, and even Mobile-Review hasn't posted anything yet, so I suppose it is not available in all countries yet. Anyway, up to now, I really recommend it if you're looking for a 6230 successor.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

C# 2.0 Coding Standard

As Ordina is executing more and more .NET 2.0 (and even .NET 3.0) projects, we found it time for writing up a set of decent C# 2.0 coding guidelines. We essentially studied several existing documents, including the Microsoft Class Design guidelines and a C# 1.0 coding standard I co-wrote while working for a previous customer, and incorporated our own experiences. Since typical projects do not always consist of seniors, we tried to maintain only useful guidelines and ensured ourselves that we provided enough explanation on the 'why' of each guideline.
You can imagine that a endeavor like this has cost us a lot of time and energy, but we felt it useful for the .NET community to be able to benefit from it as well. Check out this link and judge yourself. Feel free to distribute it as much as you like and make sure you contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or remarks.

Updated November 28th, 2008: Updated the links to the document to the Aviva Solutions C# Coding Guidelines.

Updated March 9th, 2009: Check out our new C# 3.0 Coding Guidelines.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Review: Pro .NET 2.0 Windows Forms and Custom Controls

During my holiday, I finally completed reading the 1000+ pages of the excellent book Pro .NET 2.0 Windows Forms and Custom Controls by Matthew MacDonald. I’ve already read many .NET books (both good and bad), but this one really kept my attention from front to back.It covers all aspects of developing Windows Forms application and building rich control libraries. Especially the chapters on building a professional design-time environment were really helpful. In fact, as a long-time Windows Forms developer, I even learned some stuff that was already available in Visual Studio 2003, but which the MSDN failed to explain properly. It also explicitly notes the differences and changes introduced in Windows Forms 2.0. I always find it incredible how an author manages to get so much in-depth details while the actual product is still in development (the book was released in December 2005). Make sure you check out the customer reviews on Amazon as well. What’s next? Well, XAML of course…

What’s next with Enterprise Library 3.0

Microsoft’s Patterns & Practices team are consolidating the requirements for the 3rd installment of the Enterprise Library. Check out the link to give your feedback.

Tips for migrating from .NET 1.1 to 2.0/3.0

If your considering migrating to .NET 2.0 (and 3.0 since that is merely a huge add-on) check out this blog.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Summer Holiday....is over.

I’m back from a relaxing and sunny holiday in the south of France (Cote D’Azur). We spend the first week in a brand-new convenient mobile-home on camping Les Tournels just a few rocks away from the famous St-Tropez beach Pampelone. From there, we visited several beaches in the region and did one-day trips to Monaco, Antibes, and Nice. The next week we moved to a summer house about 20km from St. Raphael. Since it was more or less in the same region, we continued the same kind of trips from there.

I have actually lived in Paris for one year and was quite okay with the French, regardless of the prejudices most people have, but this has changed. These people drive like idiots! Just imagine yourself the tiny roads between and around the mountains. As I carefully stay within my driving lane and try to avoid accidents, these people drive around the corner as if they are the only one on the mountain. I’ve lost count of the many I’ve held my breath while some idiot almost hit my car.

Well, the last week continued back in the Netherlands filled up with home improvements, visiting the beach, watching DVDs, and sleeping… Back to work now…