Monday, September 29, 2003


Today I'm going to give you some links to other blogs that I read. Since I work on the C#Builder and Delphi for .NET IDE, it is only fitting that I also keep tabs on some of the movers and shakers of the .NET world. Some of these folks seem to always be talking...

The start of my blogroll:

simplegeek - Chris Anderson
Don Box's Spoutlet
Scott Watermasysk
The Frontier - Lutz Roeder
Marquee de Sells - Chris Sells

I'm keeping the list small since I can't really spend my entire day reading everybody's blog... no matter how interesting.

Friday, September 26, 2003


BorCON - That term strikes fear in the hearts of many here at Borland... Mainly because those of us that have agreed to do talks are now starting to feel the pressure to finalize their talks... or in many cases, ahem.. to start them. October is shaping up to be an interesting month for many of my colleagues and I. For those two or three folks that actually read this drivel, I'll be giving three talks, 2110, 2172ab and 3130 at BorCON this year. Also since it is being held in San Jose, CA Convention Center which is only about 20 minutes from Borland in Scotts Valley, the "Meet the Team" session promises to be quite interesting. We plan on having as many of those on the Delphi/C#Builder dev team there. This session is in the evening on Monday, November 3 starting at 8pm.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Maybe I did miss NewGator after all... I just went ahead and registered it... or maybe it was simply to stop it from nagging me that the trial has expired [-)...

MP3s are not the devil

Art Watch - September 14, 2003 - MP3s Are Not the Devil - Part 2 - The Ornery American

Part 2 of a very well thought-out and convincing article... Part 1 is here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Well... my bad. It turns out that Windows Mobile 2003 does exactly what I want with respect to multiple WiFi networks. I just needed to download the updated WiFi driver for my card... to bad the card is now starting to fail.

Pocket PC 2003

This past weekend I finally received the Windows Pocket PC 2003 upgrade for my Dell Axim. It was somewhat painful to perform the upgrade. First of all, the backup format was changed between PPC2002 and PPC2003 so you could not simply use the backup utility to retain all the information, so all the data had to be manually backed up. Then it was a little flakey during the install. It lost the connection with the computer once and had to be restarted, which made me rather nervous since this can cause the flash ROM to be half-burned rendering the device unusable... fortunately it only died during the copying of the new image to the device before it actually started the burn process. After about 20 minutes, it finally completed the upgrade.

The first thing you'll notice is there is very little visibly changed. It does have a little better connectivity management but what I'm really looking for is a utility that will automatically recognize and log-on to all the various WiFi networks I use.

<rant state="on">Right now I have to keep a set of registry files and a registry editor on the device. I place these files in a folder off the Start menu and then when I "lanch" the reg file, it launches the registry editor and imports the file. This was tedious to setup since I had to manually enter the WiFi settings in the card setup utility, open the registry editor and save the keys. This had to be done for each WiFi network which I use. Windows already has the support for this roaming capability for notebooks so you'd think that a mobile Pocket PC would do the same. Seems more likely that you'd carry around the Pocket PC to more WiFi networks than even a notebook. </rant state="off">

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

We here on the Delphi/C#Builder team firmly believe in the term "eating your own dogfood." (I really hate that term, BTW). With that we've moved from an internally developed source-code archiving tool to StarTeam. Our hope is that by providing in-house real-world usage we can help improve the product. There are several of us on the team that have very strong opinions about how a source-code management system should work. This is from years of having to struggle with all the half products out there and also from breaking down an developing our own internal system (let's just say that I know a few things about version-control...).

This transition has not been without its trials... however so far the added benefits of StarTeam are certainly out weighing the pain we are incurring during this transition. I must say that I am certainly impressed with the versatility and configurability of StarTeam. Most of the pain we are incurring is just having to train folks in a few new processes. This is sorta like trying to turn an oceanliner... you have to plan your move in advance and communicate to all involved.

One of the areas in which StarTeam excels in, is in workflow control. StarTeam integrates bug tracking, requirements management, tasks, and developer discussions. These are collectively known as a "process item". By controlling how a "process item" transitions through its various states, you can better insure that things won't slip through the cracks. There's also this really interest "nag" feature in the form in notifications. You can configure an item, such as a Change Request, to notify the responsible developer or manager if the item sits in a certain state for too long. Also, it can be configured such that when a new item is created without an assigned "owner" or responsible person, it will notify a list of users asking each one to accept or decline responsibility. All this is done via email with links to a special web-server on the hosting server.

This is just a small piece of what this system can do for medium to large teams. We also work with many other dev teams located throughout the globe and having a common source-code system has been a clear advantage.

This certainly sounds like a shameless plug... well it is and it isn't... This blog was suppose to include little tidbits about some of the things that happen in the Delphi/C#Builder team. So I figured some insight about what other tools we use would be interesting.

Canon EOS 300D / Digital Rebel Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review

Canon EOS 300D / Digital Rebel Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review

A coworker just stopped by and told me about the new Canon EOS 300D. I've had my eye on the EOS 10D for a while... now I might have to rethink that. This thing is essentially a 10D with fewer "pro" level features... all for $899! vs. $1499 for the 10D.

Art Watch - September 7, 2003 - MP3s Are Not the Devil - The Ornery American

Orson Scott Card has this very reasonable retort to all the shenanigans that the RIAA is pulling as of late. Couldn't have said it better myself...

So far I haven't really missed using NewsGator for reading news groups now that it has expired... However I do kinda miss the RSS feeds from other bloggers out there... Looks like I might have to go ahead and register it...

Monday, September 15, 2003

Oh, BTW.. I was all excited about the device coming with Windows Mobile 2003... well it doesn't. I obviously mis-read the offer... no big deal. It did come with some dev tools from ViewSonic and also the Compact Framework. This was on a separate CD install and the CF was not pre-installed on the device. All the marketing and offer collateral certain gave the impression that it would be pre-installed... but hey it was free so I'm not about to complain.

OK, after playing with the ViewSonic V37 Pocket PC and comparing it to my Dell Axm X5.

My first impressions of the V37 were largely positive. It is certainly thinner and lighter than the X5. The screen is just a smidgen larger, but you can only see the difference when placed directly next to one another. The brightness and contrast of the display was very good and virtually identical to the X5. It has a reasonable feel in the hand, however it does feel a little more delicate or flimsy. The Axim has rubber grips down the side that give it a solid, slip-free feel in the hand. If my hands are a little dry and slick, the V37 feels like it might be able to slip from my hand.

The only standard expansion slot is an SD slot in the middle of the top of the device. It does support SDIO which is just now an emerging standard for using an SD slot for things other than memory, much the same way that Compact Flash slots are now used for a myriad of non-memory devices. They included some collateral in the box that offered an 802.11b SDIO card. However when I went to their site it is still not available. What is taking so long to get the SDIO devices onto the market? Wireless SDIO cards were announced almost a year ago to be shipping Q1 of this year.

I transfered my 128 Meg SD card from the Axim to the V37 and it immediately recognized it and was able to read it just fine (I would hope so...). I have some programs on the SD card and so I ran them. They seemed to load faster on the V37 than they do on the X5. Probably because the SD slot is a newer design and uses the full 4-bit transfer, although I don't have any hard facts on this.

The V37 does't have a user-replaceable battery like the Axim so you are probably stuck with sending the device to a repair center for a battery replacement. However battery technology these days is getting better all the time so I imagine that the built-in battery will give several years of useful life. I also have not run any battery run-down tests so I can't give any details on the battery life.

The docking stand is fairly small and lightweight. This is both good and bad. The connector on the docking stand is fairly tight so you have to hold the base with one hand and undock the device with the other. It is also for this reason, the docking stand is more portable so you can more easily take it with you. The Axim docking stand is a beast. It is very heavy and allows one-handed un-docking. It also has a slot in the back to allow you to keep a second battery charging which contribute to the weight.

Since the V37 and the Axim both use a 400Mhz XScale, I can't say that one performs any faster than the other. They seem to be on par with each other.


  • Thinner and lighter

  • Screen is slightly larger but is about the same brightness and contrast as the Axim

  • SD slot that supports SDIO

  • Seems to read from the SD card faster than the X5

  • Unique telescoping stylus

  • More portable docking stand

  • Cons:

  • Less substantial feel in the hand. More flimsy feeling.

  • SD only. Limited expandability due to slow industry adoption of SDIO expansion cards

  • No user-replacable battery

  • Less sylish. More boxey.

  • Headphone jack is on the side rather than the top (can't listen to audio with it still in the slip-cover case)

  • Requires two hands to undock the device

  • Friday, September 12, 2003

    ViewSonic: Products: Pocket PC: Pocket PC V37

    WooHoo... my free ViewSonic V37 Pocket PC just arrived... This was a special offer from MS for VS.NET customers... well I have an MSDN subscription and it qualifies. It is certainly a little thinner than my Dell Axim, but then it doesn't have a CF type II slot, just an SD slot. It does have Pocket PC 2003 with the .NET Compact Framework pre-installed. Which is interesting since I still have not received my Pocket PC 2003 upgrade from Dell for the Axim... I ordered it back in June... Grrr.... Well at least I have a new toy to play with this weekend...

    Now before all you astute observing folks get all excited... This does not mean anything regarding any future Borland product releases... it is just a new toy, plain and simple.

    In the past, there has been some misunderstandings about what Delphi Packages are and how they are used and/or managed. I recently posted this to an unnamed newsgroup that seemed generally useful. It has been edited for content so that any unreleased information has been removed... however the gist of it is still there.

    Since we are working on the next releast of Delphi that will target the Microsoft .NET platform, assemblies are going to continue this level of confusion in spades. Sometimes folks have trouble visualizing how packages (and assemblies) inter-relate. hopefully this will shed a little light on how the dependencies work. This is valid for both Delphi/Win32/Linux and Delphi for .NET. Hopefully this will answer the common question of "why can't I just link with this one package and have the rest of the units linked into my app?"

    Think of an assembly or package as a tree branch (this analogy will break down at a certain point but the visual is still valid). Now that branch has other branches attached to it as well. You can take any of the "sub-branches" and break them off and they still form a complete independent branch. However the original branch is no longer complete. Now if you sort-of reverse how you view the dependencies... there is always a "root" package. This "root" package will contain the Delphi System unit. Since package rules say that a certain unit can only exist in one and only one package, all other packages above the root must link with that same root package. Just like a tree can't have a branch that doesn't eventually flow back to the root. Now at any point above this "root" you can move units between packages almost at will, but if you view each package above the "root" as being its own "root" then the rules simply repeat. This is all the same with assemblies, however there is a bit of an anomaly with mscorlib and System.Xml.. they reference each-other. The "root" in .NET is mscorlib. In a sense with .NET your apps will always link with at least one "package" or "assembly."

    So when you pick a package or assembly with which to link your application, you will implicitly link with all the packages with which that package links all the way down to the Delphi System unit (or in .NET, down to mscorlib). By carefully choosing a point in this dependency tree, you can control what units will be linked into your application and which ones will remain in packages.

    Thursday, September 11, 2003

    This is the first post after actually telling folks that this silliness exists.. Welcome to the mundane, marginally useful world of blogs...

    This blog is now live... and on a date I know I'll remember...

    Please do take a moment to remember and reflect on the many lives lost on that fateful day two years ago...

    Wednesday, September 10, 2003

    Well.. my trial of NewGator will expire day after tomorrow.. So far I like it for gathering RSS feeds (I'd like to get an RSS feed for this blog so I can find out what I have to say...). The nntp connector leaves me a little wanting. I think the problem is that Outlook doesn't support real threading of conversations like Outlook Express does. I'll let it expire and see if I have any withdrawal.

    Eventually Borland will have it's own blogging engine and we can then use that instead of going to an outside source.. It will also allow feedback comments.. hmmm.. On second thought I don't know if I like that idea. I'd rather be blissfully ignorant of what you folks really think of this mess...