Please contact me (Phil Haack) at here with any errors, problems, and/or questions.

To learn more about the application, check out the Subtext Project Website.

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New Product: Data Dynamics Reports Public Beta

I am ecstatic about the public beta release of our new product, Data Dynamics Reports. We’ve been hard at work for more than a year to build a new embeddable reporting engine that in addition to many other features will run reports created in the standard Report Definition Language (RDL). We’ve added everything supported in RDL and extended it with many new features that even Reporting Services does not have. I’ll mention a few of the features I’m most excited about…


We’ve added a theme engine so you can reference style information (colors, fonts, etc.) in your report’s expressions. Change the underlying theme and all your reports will change to the new theme.

Master Reports

Create a master report as a base to include data sources, styles, and common report items for all of your reports. In addition to making it easy for us report developers to embed that common information in to a single place, Master Reports also serve as a great starting point for end user reports.

Ajax-Based Web Report Viewer

Our Report Viewer WebControl allows viewing any RDL report in an ASP.NET application easily, and due to the ajax technology it doesn’t require a full page refresh or ASP.NET post backs.

Windows Forms Report Designer Control

We’ve invested a lot in our designer technology and the same technology we use to publish a first class report designer for visual studio you can embed into your own applications. And if you want an even easier way out, we are providing a compiled report viewer application and report designer application that you can deploy to your users. Of course everything is licensed under a royalty free license for you to deploy to your customers.

Formatted Text Report Item

Embed XHTML directly into your reports. Pull documents from your web pages or embed sophisticated text with multiple formats in a single report item.

Data Visualizers

We have numerous visualization features that you can use as a simple expression to graphically visualize data instead of looking at bland numbers in text boxes.

I’ll talk about each of these features in more detail over the upcoming weeks. For now visit our beta site, download the beta and tell us what you think on the beta forum!

These are just a few of the features that are available in the product right now. We have created this product with the future in mind and have many more exciting features planned. I can’t wait to talk about those too!

posted @ 5/11/2007 12:42 PM by Scott Willeke

My Excuse for Missing the Daily Scrum Meeting

wrecked bike

You can borrow my picture if you need your own excuse, but I wouldn't recommend going through the exercise of creating your own picture :) Other than some minor scratches I am fine, thanks to an armored leather riding jacket and helmet. The bike... not so much. My laptop (which was in my backpack that I slid over the pavement on) has a nasty scratch on the corner but works fine. I think I'm lucky Apple used a metal shell:

scratched laptop

posted @ 3/9/2007 12:48 PM by Scott Willeke

Why Identity Management is Needed

"...statistics show ... that new users are added to 16 different directories. When they leave that company, they are only taken out of 10"
Peter Houston, Microsoft's senior director of identity and access management..

posted @ 2/21/2007 12:23 PM by jeemster

Last PingPoet Blog Post

This is my last blog post as VBGuru. I've switched to blogger now. If you are still interested in what I have to say from time to time, please update your feed readers: http://hardbarger.blogspot.com

PingPoet has been good to me (thanks Scott). I'm just consolidating, that's all. :)

posted @ 1/22/2007 7:04 PM by Luc

CodeMash... I'll be there!

CodeMash is coming next month (January 18th & 19th) and I'll be there. Data Dynamics is actually sponsoring the event. We were trying to get a spot to speak at the event, but there were lots of other speakers with a hell of a lot more clout that myself (ie. Scott Guthrie, Bill Wagner, Josh Holmes, etc...). As it turns out, we'll simply be exhibiting at the event, but I do hope to attend 1 or 2 sessions if possible.

If you are able to attend, please stop by our booth. We have a whole new line of products and many people don't even know about them yet. We've demoed the products at TechEd, Tulsa TechFest , and DevConnections so far, but it's been pretty hush-hush outside of those events. We haven't made mention of this new line of products on our website or even in our marketing campaigns. When we do... you'll know though. Once the "cat is out of the bag" I (personally) plan to do a lot of blogging about them with tips, tricks, and all that good stuff. We've even talked about a Data Dynamics Community Blog to allow us to interact more with our customers, but it's just an idea right now. Feel free to send me an email if you are interested in finding out more information about these products or think a Data Dynamics community blog would be a good idea (lucas at datadynamics dot com). Otherwise, if you do come to CodeMash, stop by the Data Dynamics booth and talk to me "mono e mono" or "chicka e mono"... I'd love to give you a personalized demo of what we've been (secretly) working on. ;)

The coolest part about this whole "CodeMash thing" (for me anyway) is that I'm taking the family up with me. I can't wait!! The event is being held at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio... it's an indoor water park. Anybody with kids knows that this easily qualifies me for a "Dad of the Year" award with my girls. We are going up a day before the event and plan to stay a couple of extra days after the event. The goal is to relax and kick back for a couple of days with time off of the farm to not worry about anything.

Jen and I have some friends up around this area too, so if we run out of things to do at Kalahari, we could always go visit our friends from college. It's a shame that CedarPoint won't be open; that place kicks butt. The only times I've ever been to Sandusky are to go to CedarPoint... I didn't even know that there were other things to do in Sandusky to be honest. :)

Lastly, I gotta throw out some marketing stuff because it will give me a chance to win a Zune (details). Here goes:
CodeMash – I'll be there!

posted @ 12/28/2006 1:22 PM by Luc

Address Books; How Many do You have?

Well,it happened again.
Wife said get mt "THE" address list so I can send Christmas cards.
I mumbled something and walked away.

So, off I went to the office to get "THE" address list.
I use the following address books regularly.
Palm - I use an add on called Agendus but it uses the Palm Address Book.
Thunderbird - Email
LDAP      - I have an LDAP server that I run my email server and other stuff from.
Quicken   - To Keep those bills and taxes paid
Delorme   - GIS mapping software so I put in someone's name and it draws a map.
Dymo Label Printer - They have their own software to print Labels.
Legacy Deluxe -
Genology Program

Now in 2006, you would think it should be easy to use one address book for everything, but it well just doesn't happen.

I have yet to find anything that will keep them in Sync, reliably.

Heck, I have yet been able to find a way to export and import them.

posted @ 12/7/2006 2:42 PM by jeemster

Horrible IIS Bug

Today I was trying to run an ASP.NET 2.0 application. And (as we all know) IIS requires us to change our 'Default Web Site' to point to the "Local Path" directory where localhost will run (my rants on this useless process might be found in a future blog post). :) Anyway, once I remapped my local directory to it's new location, I tried to hit the site: http://localhost/lucscoolproject and, after ASP.NET 2.0 finished compiling whatever it is ASP.NET 2.0 compiles, I got this "extremely descriptive and helpful" error message:

App_GlobalResources/' maps to a directory outside this application

WHAT!? I did my famous Google search using the entire string and found the answer right away. IIS bombs when the 'Local Path' on the "Home Directory Tab" has a trailing \.

I was using:
and changed it to:
c:\dev\testprojects\web <--- notice no trailing \ character
Vioala! It worked!

How could a simple trailing "\" at the end of my Local path warrant such a nasty error message? C'mon Team! :)

posted @ 11/1/2006 10:12 PM by Luc

White and Nerdy

This is my new theme song!!

posted @ 10/30/2006 1:54 PM by Luc

Here is my XNA blog post

I've been hearing a lot about XNA. If you are a tech blogger, you have probably noticed as well. I didn't quite understand all the hype at first, but now it's starting to catch my attention... deficit disor... I'm thirsty. Anyway, I'm seeing what all the hype is about now and decided to write my very own post about XNA. This way, someone might find my dorky blog if they do a feed search for XNA. Let me know if this was you. :)

Today I was doing my blog role and ran across a really cool post with oodles of useful code to get someone up and running with XNA using Visual Basic 2005. I must admit that when using .NET, I prefer using C#. Outside of .NET however, I'm a hard core VB junky at heart (hence the VBGuru blog name (nice little self pingback there)). There are tons of C# samples using XNA as well. I remember seeing a whole bunch of them a couple of weeks ago when it was first announced, but didn't feel like digging through old feeds to find them before posting this. Just do a google search if you are interested... they're out there!

I do plan to get into this sometime and tinker around with it. I've always wanted to be a game developer and now with XNA, it sets the "standards" (damn MS) for developing games in .NET. I just need to find some free time between workin, farmin, daddin, bloggin, and livin. Maybe tomorrow. :)

posted @ 10/27/2006 2:30 PM by Luc

Multithreaded Map Reduce Implementation

Map Reduce is a very cool concept. If you have never heard of it or never took the time to really figure out how it works, I highly recommend doing so now. I remember reading about it when Joel mentioned it on his blog. When I first realized how it all worked, I must admit there was some confusion as to when and why I would ever use this. I now see the power of it and can think of many situations where I could use this. It really is an ingenious concept.

I was catching up on my blog role today and ran across Eric Sink's multithreaded approach to this problem. The scariest part about the whole thing is that I downloaded his code and actually understand every line of code. If you would have shown me this code 6 months ago, I would have laughed in your face. It's amazing how fast you learn new concepts and not even realize it when working in the computer field. I love my job hobby passion. :)

posted @ 10/20/2006 11:29 PM by Luc

.NET Rocks!

Today was a good day. Ok, today was a GREAT day! You'll have to excuse me if I'm start rambling on about hmump traughwre phla vie chee shafla chum chum. About 20 minutes ago I was interviewed by Carl Franklin and Richard Cambell!!! Yes, that's right, the one and only .NET Rocks! hosts!! I'm still on cloud 9 about the whole ordeal.

Needless to say, I'm an avid listener to the show and love hearing about all the cool things in the nerd-world. It's so cool to hear then say "Data Dynamics" when they shout out to their sponsors because I know that so many people listen to the podcast. We have lots of people come up to our booth and say they've heard of us on .NET Rocks! and thank us for sponsoring them. I can't wait until Monday's episode and hear Carl introduce ME!! Wow! So cool...

Every now and then Carl will come up to our booth at a tech show and catch up with us on what's new. It has always been on a "nerd to nerd" basis and very informal. He talks up our products and I talk up his show. I had never imagined I would be getting interviewed on his show. Well tonight James and I were leaving the VIP dinner after TechFest and as we were walking out, Richard came up to us and asked if they could interview us... I was floored!

Update: The pictures are in and blog has been updated. Thanks for the "camera phone proof" James! :)

Update: I looked on .NET Rocks! site and see that the TechFest episode won't be available for download until November 21st. All this waiting is killing me!

posted @ 10/14/2006 10:42 PM by Luc

Helpful Resources for Voting in the November-2006 General Election

A wealth of active information about the US Congress with voting records, bills, and statistics. Also has an impressive way to find your US Congressional District. Interesting fact: Runs on Mono.
Election Information provided by Columbus Dispatch. Includes an interesting and independent analysis of Candidates' and special interest groups' advertisements which are funded by "multi-million dollar war chests". Don't accept the sound-bites you see and hear in advertising, analyze them. Also includes commentary and analysis on state issues and candidates.
Franklink County Ohio Voter Registration Search
This is incredibly useful if you don't memorize this type of information. Use this to make sure your registered to vote. to find your Party Affiliation, Polling Location, City Area, Ward, Voting Precinct, US Congressional District, State Senate District, State Rep. District, School District, and to view a Sample Ballot. For Franklin County Ohio only.
2006 General Election Candidates - Franklin County (Ohio) Board of Elections
Franklin County Ohio General Election Candidates.
2006 General Election Candidates, Issues, and Voting Information - Ohio Secretary of State
General Election Candidates and Issues from the State of Ohio.
Ohio District Maps
District maps for the state of Ohio including US Congressional Districts (US House of Representatives), Ohio House Districts (Ohio House of Representatives), and Ohio Senate districts.
Sherrod Brown's Site
Candidate for US Senate. View his Issues page. Find out interesting facts and statistics about Sherrod Brown at GovTrack.us.
Mike Dewine's site
Canidate for US Senate (incumbent). View his Issues Page. Find out interesting facts and statistics about Mike Dewine at GovTrack.us.

Finally, I wish I lived in the Ohio's 12th US Congressional district so I could vote for Bill Buckel as a US Congressional Representative. He has thoughtful explanations of issues on his website with references to just about everything he asserts as fact. I have not seen a candidate validate their assertions and stance on issues as he has in his campaign site (Write In Bill Buckel For The U.S. House of Representatives). All political representatives and candidates should document their stance with references as he has.

His issues include the below and many more:

He also lists the following "Statements in Preparation":
  • The Government of Israel should pay reparations to Lebanon
  • Iraq---past, present, and future
  • Rethinking the "war on drugs", "War on terrorism", and war on whatever
  • Open government protects our civil rights
  • No more wars without a Congressional declaration of war
  • Reducing the ratio of low-paying jobs
  • Immigration
  • Reasonable pay for congressmen/women

posted @ 10/14/2006 3:04 PM by Scott Willeke

Google Code Search

This should be a very handy search utility once I figure out the trick to using it: http://www.google.com/codesearch

I haven't really had much luck with it yet becuase I'm not sure what to search for. Typically when I run into a problem, I just press F1, read up on a topic and tinker with it. I was talking with Scott today on a certain aggregation issue in c# and i found a couple of "potential" links that might help find a solution to the problem. Who knows, worth a try. :)

posted @ 10/5/2006 1:47 AM by Luc

The Hmuan Biran

Well, ok... The subject is a little much, but this is pretty cool... Try to read the sentence below as fast as you can. You'll be amazed at how good you do:

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.

Weried ins't it? Who ndees slpel chckeer aynawy?

posted @ 10/3/2006 9:25 PM by Luc

Tulsa TechFest 2006

Data Dynamics will be speaking at Tulsa TechFest 2006 on Saturday, October 14th. James and I are going to be demonstrating some of the cool new features in ActiveReports for .NET 3.0. Here is our little blurb about what we'll be talking about:

Creating Professional Reports in No Time Using ActiveReports for .NET 3.0
ActiveReports for .NET 3.0 allows you to create professional reports with very little effort. Come join us and learn how to leverage the power of a true object oriented reporting solution as we demonstrate useful features that will interest both the hard core coders and the business analysts. This one hour session will outline the benefits of a robust, event driven reporting library and illustrate how an easy-to-use designer can make you look like a pro.

If you are going to be attending the event, stop by our booth and talk "nerdy" to us.

posted @ 10/3/2006 12:52 AM by Luc

"I don't understand all these people who say that Macs never crash."

As Joel says I don't understand all these people who say that Macs never crash. I couldn't agree more. I've had a Macbook Pro for several months now and my experience is going down hill. It crashes often, not only the same crash Joel speaks of (although the recent Airport updates seem to help), applications are definitely more unstable on Mac than Windows. Even the built-in text editor crashes frequently without warning. Admittedly the UI for a crashed application looks nicer on a Mac, maybe that has something to do with it, but it doesn't get any points with me. A crash is a crash and I have the same reaction every time (of which the words I utter are inappropriate to note here :) ).

OSX was great fun at first. It is beautiful, and a fun new toy with all new apps and system directories to explore. I was completely sold on Mac Mail for quite a while. Telling everyone it was simply the best mail program anywhere. That is until I noticed Mail was not downloading mail from one of my accounts. No error, no nothing, it just didn't download.

It took me quite a while to realize it as I have four mail accounts and a couple of them get lots of email, so I didn't notice I was missing hundreds of messages from one of them. After searching far and wide for a solution, and found others having similar problems, I finally installed Thunderbird and am now using it on OSX.

And I don't need to say much about Finder, as I know even hardened mac users dislike it. It is terrible and has it's own share of crashes when viewing directories with odd file names in them. I wish my beloved Total Commander worked on a Mac. I might keep OSX around longer if it did.

Now that I use Firefox and Thunderbird as my primary applications on OSX, I really don't see the point. I think I'll scrap OSX and install Windows on it until I can get my new laptop. My last laptop was a Toshiba which was the finest laptop I've ever had (and I've had many).

posted @ 10/1/2006 7:23 PM by Scott Willeke

Xaml PivotTable

Going through my blog role today and found a cool link to a PivotTable written in WPF. It has a whole slew of unit tests setup and looks to be pretty cool. I have to install some things before I can get it working, but I look forward to tearing into it...

posted @ 9/30/2006 7:52 PM by Luc

Touch Screen Computing

Too cool!! Jeff Han demonstrates a multi-touch sensor computer screen.
This was the same system (and demonstration) that I blogged about back in March... I've since subscribed to the TedBlog. :)

posted @ 9/29/2006 3:58 PM by Luc

Google Reader

For all of those of you that use BlogLines, FeedDemon, RSSBandit, GreatNews, Sage, or any other blog reader, I have to say that you might give google Reader a chance now. Today they released a major usability enhanced version that (I feel) will be very hard to compete with.

See for yourself: http://reader.google.com

I have quickly switched back to google Reader as of... now.

1.) I started into my blogging experience using some Outlook Add-in that treated blog posts like "Newsgroup Threads". It might have been some early versions of NewsGator, I dont' recall exactly.
2.) Then I used RSS Bandit for a long time
3.) About a year or two ago, I switched to FeedDemon and used it for a while. I really liked FeedDemon, but it had some usability issues. FeedDemon was a hassle for me because I blog on my laptop and on my home pc and the read/unread settings are stored locally. When I travelled or had a big day of catching up on one of the pc's, I had to manually sync my settings.
4.) Once google released their online blog reader, I rejoiced and quickly began using it because I could keep all my RSS feeds updated in one place... online. There were some major usability issues. There was no "newspaper" view, no way to update a group of feeds as "read" without going through them one by one, and some other minor usability issues here and there.
5.) Issam uses GreatNews and I decided to switch a few weeks ago and try to get used to it. He told me about it almost a year ago and I installed it tried it out, but didn't notice anything too impressive. It reminded me a lot of FeedDemon only it had "Labels". I didn't think it was cool enough to swtich from my licensed FeedDemon (which I was using at the time). Well, since he has been so loyal to the app all this time, I basically decided to see past it's "local storage" problem and give it another try... google Readers' usability was getting a bit old and they hadn't made any significant updates yet. I was contetemplating an idea to just write a script to sync my read/unread posts. I was just starting to get used to it's interface and keyboard shortcuts... Until...
6.) google Reader fixed their usability problems. I've switched back. :)

Thanks google Gods!

posted @ 9/29/2006 2:45 AM by Luc


I found this cool link while doing my blog role. This is an app that will allow you to draw a 2d image on it's surface and it will transform it into a 3d image automatically (no buttons, nothing).

It is currently a Java Applet, if anybody ports it to .NET, please let me know. :) Likewise, If I end up porting it to .NET, I'll post a blog and you know.

posted @ 9/17/2006 11:39 AM by Luc

How do you measure success?

I was catching up on my blog role and came across a very simple image described the 'definition' of success.
Diagram of Success
I couldn't agree more. After seeing that image and thinking about my life, I feel very successful.

posted @ 9/14/2006 8:39 PM by Luc

I'm a Book Contributor Now!

Some months back I was offered an opportunity that I am very excited about. Jim Holmes and James Avery have a book to be published in November titled Windows Developer Power Tools: Turbocharge Windows Development with More Than 140 Free and Open Source Tools.

A few months Jim contacted me about contributing to the book, and I was able to contribute two chapters. One on the "Less MSIérables" utility (aka "lessmsi") I developed as well as a chapter about XamlPad. It was a great experience in every way: Challenging, educational, and a joy to write about software development tools! I am grateful to Jim for inviting me to contribute and thrilled about what looks to be a wealth of resources for Windows developers. I am anxiously awaiting the final release and I hope you will enjoy the book !

posted @ 9/13/2006 1:44 AM by Scott Willeke

b. young designs

Bonnie Young is a very talented artist and a very close friend. She now has a 'working' website that displays all of her work and it is just a fraction of what she is capable of. Jennifer and I asked her to paint our girls bedroom this summer and it turned out amazing! If you think I'm kidding, look for yourself:


What blew me away about this room is that Jennifer and I stood around and talk to her while she was painting and she just kept conversation with us as she was painting it. It was really incredible to see her work, it is just so easy for her.

Anyway, the reason for this blog post is to inform the world that her site is up and running. I actually placed my first order a couple of days ago. Of course, we got the 'Daizy Card Set' so that we can send out cards when Daizianna is born (any day now). Her site was a long time in the making; Corey (her husband, and my good friend) gave it a full overhaul and got it looking very nice. He added a shopping cart and posted pictures of some of the amazing work that she can do. The site probably only shows about 20% of her full portfolio (I'm assuming). I've seen her portfolio and was blown away.

Bonnie has done work Crate and Barrel and Longaberger just to name a few of her bigger clients. She has been an art teacher for our local school district (Licking Valley) and she is just a great person. If you are into crafty things and appreciate raw talent, I definitely encourage you to check out byoungdesigns.com.

posted @ 9/9/2006 12:21 AM by Luc

Blue Screen of Death

I'm in pieces again... I turned on my computer yesterday and was presented with the "blue screen of death". I hate the feeling that I get in my stomach when things don't work like they should, especially when it comes to my computer. Here is how it all went down:

The night before last, I installed a "CareBears" game for the girls so that they could play "vee oh games". They played that game for almost an hour, and of course I supervised the whole event to make sure that things didn't get out of hand (apple juice in the keyboard, crayons on the lcd, etc...). When they were done playing, I simply closed the app, ejected the CD and locked my computer. After that, I went upstairs for a while and didn't get back down to the computer until after putting the girls to bed. I went back downstairs after a couple of hours to put my pc in hibernate mode.

Yesterday morning, I turned on my computer to get started for the day and this is when my problems started happening. I saw the 'Resuming Windows' progress bar and then boom... Blue Screen of Death. Unfortunately, I don't remember what it said specifically. To get it to turn off, I had to hold in on the power button for 5 seconds. After I did that, I gave it a minute and tried to turn it back on... Nothing. No clicks. No beeps. No lights... Nothing.

Panic set in and I told myself to take a deep breath. I decided there was no time for that, so I unplugged all my cords and took my computer upstairs to begin surgery immediately. I took out all my add ons, hard drives, and memory. My computer had to be in 100 separate parts (or so it looked). I consulted with some computer nerd buddies and got lots of tips (thanks John, thanks James, thanks Corey). James actually helped me determine that it was not my power supply by using some cool hack to hot wire my fans with a paperclip.

Using the hack I knew that it had to either be my motherboard or my battery. Apparently the battery is a critical piece on a MAC, but I'm not sure that it is that big of a deal on a PC. Anyway, I think that the problem is another fried motherboard. Remember that I had a fried motherboard less than 5 months ago. I emailed MBX support already and I'm sending in my tower tomorrow in hopes of getting it back with "the quickness".  That is where I'm at now... Waiting for morning so I can visit FedEx... CRAP!!

posted @ 9/8/2006 10:37 PM by Luc

Hardbarger Spell Check

The funny-side of having such a cool last name. :)
I thought this little prompt was 'blog worthy'... Another cool one was 'headbanger'... that one almost got the 'Replace' button.

posted @ 9/8/2006 1:29 AM by Luc

Toboso and WikiPedia

I did a search for Blackhand Gorge on google and was presented with a wikipedia link. There is even mention of the great flood of 1946 when Dillon Dam was completely submerged and forced the town of Toboso to be torn down. A couple of years ago, I got to see how a good bit of rain could have caused a whole town to pick up and move. I actually blogged about it... Anyway, I just thought that it was cool to see Claylick and Toboso in a Wikipedia definition. I feel like we're officially on the map now.

posted @ 9/8/2006 12:55 AM by Luc

The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

A friend just sent me a link to page where a guy made up shirts that say "I am not a terrorist" in Arabic. It seems silly at first, but it has a serious point.

I saw this story on the news about Raed Jarrar being forced to remove his shirt that had Arabic writing on it before being allowed to board a plane at JFK. I was really struck when Mr. Jarrar said something to the effect of I wouldn't have been surprised if it happened in Iraq or Saudi Arabia, but never would I have expected it to happen in the U.S.

The shirt page also noted an interesting quote that I've placed below:

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act."
What the Terrorists Want

posted @ 9/6/2006 11:00 AM by Scott Willeke

Freelance Drummer

Pretty cool... I found a site for freelance drumming. This guy (Joe Crabtree) will lay down custom drum tracks for any song. What is cool about this, is that he mic's each drum separately and this allows you to mix them however you wish. So, if you're in a band struggling to find a drummer for all your studio tracks, your band. Don't call me, I'm busy...  instead head on over to Joe's site. :)

If you think this dude is joking, check out his demo video... this guy has got some skillz. Very impressive!

posted @ 9/5/2006 7:29 PM by Luc

U.S. built major Iranian nuclear facility...

Interesting article...
The Tehran Research Reactor represents a little-known aspect of the international uproar over the country's alleged weapons program. Not only did the U.S. provide the reactor in the 1960s as part of a Cold War strategy, America also supplied the weapons-grade uranium needed to power the facility—fuel that remains in Iran and could be used to help make nuclear arms.
U.S. built major Iranian nuclear facility, sun-sentinel.com, August 23, 2006

posted @ 8/26/2006 5:22 PM by Scott Willeke

MDX Ranking Wizardry

Mosha is a MDX madman.

He took a simple query in MDX that took 1 minute and 20 seconds and optimized it down to happening instantaneously. The best part is that he walks you through each step of the way as he incrementally optimizes it. First attempt was strait MDX, then he went through and added a Stored Procedure with a custom C# function. Finally he resorted to using an ordered Named Set. Each step detailed why it took so long and explained what was happening under the covers of Analysis Services 2005. Bottom line is that this is a great post, and I thought it was very blog worthy.

If ranking tickles your fancy, check out this free chapter excerpt on Sorting and Ranking from MDX Solutions, 2nd Edition.

posted @ 8/25/2006 12:40 AM by Luc

Kudos for ActiveReports

Franklin Gauer has posted some kudos based on his experience with ActiveReports in his post Why you don't need much more than Active Reports.... In his post he says:
Any programmer with a little salt will tell you the frustration involved with selecting and sticking with a reporting tool. Traditionally, these reporting tools will only get you about 60% (if you were lucky) the way through any project (the actual percentage is probably around 30-40%). Inevitably the user requests keep coming and they end up exceeding what the tool is capable of.
You need to be able to take a generic datasource (i.e. a dataset served up via a webservice) and be able to format it, group it and total it. That's it. And Active Reports does this very well.

In Apolon's Software Torq blog, there is an interesting post about a new version of the MacroView Studio product that describes some innovative use of ActiveReports' extremely flexible end user report designer.

posted @ 8/24/2006 7:31 AM by Scott Willeke

Liberty, Safety, and Spying

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

I must say I am glad to hear that the court is challenging The Bush Administration's warrantless surveillance program. In the conclusion of her ruling, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor wrote in part:

For all of the reasons outlined above, this court is constrained to grant to Plaintiffs the Partial Summary Judgment requested, and holds that the TSP violates the APA; the Separation of Powers doctrine; the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and the statutory law.

Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the final claim of data-mining is granted, because litigation of that claim would require violation of Defendants’ state secrets privilege.

The Permanent Injunction of the TSP requested by Plaintiffs is granted inasmuch as each of the factors required to be met to sustain such an injunction have undisputedly been met. The irreparable injury necessary to warrant injunctive relief is clear, as the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Plaintiffs are violated by the TSP. See Dombrowski v. Pfister, 380 U.S. 479 (1965). The irreparable injury conversely sustained by Defendants under this injunction may be rectified by compliance with our Constitution and/or statutory law, as amended if necessary. Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution.

"TSP" referrs to "The Secret Program" and AMA refers to The Administrative Procedures Act. I take "the Separation of Powers doctrine" to mean the separation of powers as defined in the United States Constitution.

The reason that I think that this is a good thing is that it is allowing government to execute the laudable process as required by the United States Constitution (which the Bush Administration apparently sought to prevent). The Legislative Branch of the government has passed legislation that makes it legal for the Executive Branch to conduct surveillance on US citizens. This was done in FISA. Contrary to popular belief, in the interest of an expeditious process the current law under FISA even permits the " eavesdropping " to begin without obtaining a warrant, so long as the Justice Department seeks a warrant within 72 hours after the beginning of eavesdropping. So there is a perfectly legal way for the Bush Administration to spy on American Citizens without breaking the law.

Going further, if the process is not acceptable to the administration then they should ask our citizen-elected representatives in Congress to modify the law. Does the administration really think that in a so called " post-nine-eleven world " (a phrase which I despise) and a subservient Republican controlled congress that they wouldn't lengthen that 72 hours to 90 days if the president merely asked?

Secretly ignoring a law because it is inconvenient is not okay. Luckily the citizenry found out how the executive branch is secretly executing the law and asked (well the ACLU asked for us) the judicial branch to decide if their practices are legal. Now the judicial branch has made a decision (pending the administration's appeal), and demanded the immediate injunction (i.e. stop it) of the program. For now, both sides agreed to let it continue until the administration's appeal is decided.

Finally, I am donating to the ACLU as soon as I finish posting this. I hope you will to.

posted @ 8/20/2006 8:25 PM by Scott Willeke

Travels 2006: Russia, Dubia, and London

Long time no blog… I’ve been on some great travels during July and the first part of August including my second trip to Novosibirsk, Russia, and my first to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and with a brief stop in London during a layover. Wonderful trips all around. Russia was wonderful, and it’s great to see it green this time and above -40°C and wonderful green everywhere.

Dubai was amazing and a bit shocking to see the insane construction including that of Burj Dubai commencing at one floor per week, soon to be the tallest building in the world. I was told one third of the world’s tower construction cranes are in Dubai! I was also fortunate enough to eat a fabulous dinner at Burj al-Arab, which really does appear to be a seven star hotel (despite the fact that there are only five stars officially ).

I have made a point to put some pictures up in my Picassa Web Album. Russia pictures here, Dubai pictures here, and London pictures are here. I created a google Earth .kmz file to mark our journey from airport to airport as we went. It is a lot of fun to open it in google Earth and press the play button to animate the trip :)

posted @ 8/20/2006 6:25 PM by Scott Willeke

Photo Recognition

Picasa Team has teamed up with Neven Vision to offer a better way to organize photos. Basically, they are working to include photo recognition technology to allow users to search for photo's easier, without requiring them to use 'Labels'. I've always thought about how cool it would be to have this feature and now they are working towards making it a reality. What this means is that they want to be able to recognize places and people from photo's taken on a camera. How cool would that be?

Image if I took a picture of my girls next to the garage with my dog in the background and then simply open Picasa and do a search for "Lizzie" or "Jazzy" or "Diesel" and this picture would popup along with all the other pictures that have them in it. Now we're talkin!!!

This is very similar to what Microsoft is working on with PhotoSynth... If you haven't heard of PhotoSynth, you should definitely check it out. It is basically an application that will take a bunch of pictures and create a 3D model using the pictures taken... Of course there is a lot more to it than that, but that is the gist of it. You should watch the video to see what all PhotoSynth does.

posted @ 8/16/2006 3:23 PM by Luc

More bloggity

A couple of weeks ago I created a new blogger account: http://hardbarger.blogspot.com

For now, I'll just use the blogger account for family oriented stuff and use this one for all other topics. Basically, I have been having problems here and there with SubText so decided to explore my options to resolve some of the issues. My biggest problem of course is comment spam, I still get tons of comment spam from my email link in SubText (all contain ".... via Luc's Blog" in the subject). A couple of weeks ago I was having some major issues and wasn't able to edit or post new entries. Scott fixed it and it is working well now (duh, I'm posting). :) Thanks Scott!

Anyway, for now, my pingpoet blog will probably be my main blog for geek talk (code, quantum crap, etc...). The blogger account will probably be used more for family oriented blog posts because it integrates so nicely with Picasa and I have oodles of images to blog about. If I find that I am posting to one blog more than the other, I'll either tie them all together or just switch and don't look back. For now I'm just going to see how the blogger account works out for just family crap (farm living, girl raising, family news, etc...). Feel free to check it out and subscribe...

posted @ 8/14/2006 2:49 AM by Luc