Friday, July 29, 2005

The Most Boring Thing In The World

Okay, well that's exagerating...

I really like Microsoft's development tools. But they have the WORST names for them. For example, project "Indigo" (a pretty cool name) has officially been given a new boring name, "Windows Communication Foundation." Zzzzzzz...sorry. I'm awake again. Anyway, they really need to find someone to come up with better names for their technology. The new "Vista" name for Longhorn didn't seem like too great of a name either, but it is much better than this.

Of course, my non-programming friends who read my blog thing all my programming posts are similarly boring. Oh well.


Here's something that I've posted about before, but I just thought I would do so again. I think this site totally and completely rocks. It is the site for the Online Critical Pseudepigrapha. The site is directed by Ken Penner (whom I have met...he is a very nice fellow), David Miller, and Ian Scott.

The purpose of the site is to put up critical texts of the pseudepigrapha. Rock on. Dig it. One thing I absolutely love about it is that the data is all xml. Looks like html in the browser...but it's not. Rock on. Keep up the good work.

Sharpreader - Update!

Do you know what a feed reader is? If you do, skip to the next paragraph. If you don't, read this one. A feed reader is a program that helps you organize and keep up with changes happening on any site that has an RSS feed, like most blogs and some sites. Sound useful? It is. Say you've got two sites that have RSS feeds that you watch but you don't use a feed reader. You have to visit those sites any time you want to see if something new has come out. With two sites this isn't very tedious. But what about ten sites? Or fifty? If there are a number of sites that syndicate their content via RSS that you care about, you can subscribe to their feeds and your feed reader can keep you updated in regard to new material.

My favorite feed reader is Sharpreader. I have only had one problem with it, which I emailed him about, but according to his release notes he seems to have fixed it. That means I like everything about this program. If you're a windows user and you're not running a really old OS like Windows 98, check it out.


Sorry, everyone, but I've been very busy lately. Not much time to blog. But, I'm back for a moment. Anything interesting happen in the world?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Twice the MCP I Used to Be...

That's right, baby...I'm now an MCPx2. Technically, that's not really true. There is no MCPx2 title or anything. I'm going to have to get another test completed before I can actually change those letters to MCAD. But, back to the subject at hand...

I passed the developing ASP.NET applications certification test from Microsoft! Woohoo! As far as difficulty is concerned, it was about as difficult as the Windows Forms programming test. And just as fun :)

So, what is the best way to study for this test? Here are my suggestions:

1. Start building ASP.NET websites. Definitely the place to start. Build a lot of them, and do a lot of database interaction through ADO.NET. The test is full of questions on that subject (as is the Winforms).
2. Get some really good books and learn from the best. Here are my personal favorite ASP.NET books (i.e., the ones I use most):

a. Programming .NET by Prosise. I cut my teach on ASP.NET programming with this book right after I learned the basics of C# from SAMS. Great, great, book. Covers more than ASP.NET too. Good introduction to Xml and ADO.NET programming as well.
b. ASP.NET Coding Strategies with the Microsoft ASP.NET Team by Matthew Gibbs and Rob Howard. A great place to get into some of the more advanced topics. Dig it.
c. ASP.NET Setup and Configuration by James Avery. Useful little handbook.
d. Developing ASP.NET Server Controls and Components by Kothari and Datye. I haven't even read this whole thing, but I have thoroughly enjoyed what I did read. Packed with lots of useful information.

And if you want to know ADO.NET, I recommend reading Prosise's book, and then pick up Pragmatic ADO.NET by Shawn Wildermuth. Best book on ADO.NET I have seen.

3. And finally, after you've done all that, pick up some books to help you with the test. I recommend the Que press series. I have never liked MS Press's certification books.

That's it for now. Rock on...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Greek Class Update

We've decided on the second weekend of August to have our information meetings for the beginning Greek class I'll be teaching this Fall. One will be Sunday, probably around 2:15. The other will be the following Monday at 6:30. If you plan on attending, please send me an email to let me know. The class is available for anyone who lives close enough to drive (the class will be held at FBC Parker, which is a suburb on the east side of Dallas) and of age junior high or older. More on what is required will be said at the meetings, so if you are interested, show up.

Monday, July 18, 2005

New Book and Current Reading

I picked up a new book this last Friday, and I am very pleased, though I can't read it yet. The book is Programming Indigo by David Pallmann. Before I can read it, I need to finish the books I am currently in the middle of.

The first is Danny P Jackson's translation of "The Epic of Gilgamesh". This book was kindly given to me by Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers as a review copy. The translation is pleasant to read and the introduction good, but that's all I have to say for now. I'll be saying more when I'm finished.

I also need to finish a book entitled microserfs by Douglas Coupland that I borrowed from my friend Mike. It is a fictional narrative about some employees of Microsoft. Still too early on in that one to give much of a review, though I'm enjoying it so far.

Then the Indigo book, or at least not till I've finished one of the others.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New Team System Site

New Team System site built on Community Server, The coolest thing? They have over 40 windows media video tutorials on how to use Team System. Yep. That rocks. Thanks to Omar Villarreal for the link.

Cert News

And now news from the world of Microsoft certifications...

I just saw on Lorenzo Barbieri's blog that MS will be rolling out a new scheme of certification this Fall with the release of VS 2005 and Sql Server 2005. Here's the article. Interesting...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

ASP.NET Beta 2 Install Issue

This is certainly no huge deal, but I found that installing Beta 2 of Visual Studio 2005 flipped the runtime for all my IIS applications from 1.1 to 2.0. This is, of course, easy to change. I found it when I tried to attach to the aspnet process in VS 2003. It would not attach, which is not terribly surprising. So, I checked the settings and voila! Wrong framework.

This happened to me also a while back when I installed the C# express edition. I guess I'll go on the MS forums and alert them about the issue since it isn't fixed yet. I bet others have had this experience, but I don't guess it hurts.

The fix, obviously, is to just change the version of the runtime in IIS.

Almost Sold Our House...Again

Well, last week we got our second contract on our house. Today they officially backed out. Reason? She heard there was crime in the area. Yep, that's right folks. There is crime in Dallas. I'm shocked!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Wider Blog...Aesthetically Problematic?

On my last post I had to lower the size of my xml to an incredibly low point size to get it to fit in my blogger template. That wasn't cool. So, I went into my template and figured out how to widen everything.

The only real problem with that is the rounded corners are done through images, and to widen the blog either meant removing the images or redoing them. I chose the former.

The negative effect of this is that some elements on the page have rounded corners and some do not. Since most of my million+ readership (yes...that was serious hyperbole) probably use rss aggregators, they won't notice. Those of you who don't might. So, if you find this aesthetically distasteful to the point of a strong desire to throw up, let me know. I might find time then to deal with it.

Since the change I have, of course, enlarged the xml in my last post.

Indigo Configuration and Intellisense

With Indigo, important service information is held in config files. Like, for example, the following:

1 xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
2 <configuration 
3  <system.serviceModel>
4   <services>
5    <service serviceType="BookServiceWinform.BookService">
6      <endpoint address="http://localhost:8000/BookService/"
7             bindingSectionName="basicProfileBinding"
8             contractType="BookServiceWinform.IBookServiceContract" />
9    <service>
10  <services>
11 <system.serviceModel>
12 <configuration>

There you've got some pretty important stuff which ends up defining your service and its enpoints. So I'm thinking that I want intellisense support for this in my config file. But how to do it?

First, how is xml intellisense handled by VS2005? It is all done through xsd files. These documents around found here: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Xml\Schemas (if vs is installed on your c drive, of course). You can add intellisense support to your app.config files by modifying the DotNetConfig.xsd file located in that directory. This works very well with any xml file, really. Create your xsd, give it a namespace, reference that namespace in your xml file (like you see above), and you've got intellisense.

Ideally I would like to put two config files in my project, one for the regular configuration stuff and the other for my Indigo configuration. Well, I couldn't figure out how to get that to work. When I had two config files my Indigo code was looking for the new config information in App.config, not my new Indigo.config. How to point it there...dunno yet.

So, what I'm doing now is just adding further schema definition to the DotNetConfig.xsd file. Seems to work just fine.

Another option, which I will probably move to, is to create another xml file to define my Indigo configuration, read that, and setup endpoints and such though code. That should work fine as well.

If anyone has any thoughts on the matter I would love to hear them, especially if anyone knows of any xsd's already created for Indigo configuration.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Cinderella Man - Do We Have An Oscar Winner Here?

The last post reminded me that I never said anything about "Cinderella Man". I saw it last week with my my friend Johnnie.

Excellent...excellent...excellent. Ron Howard + Russell Crow = Excellent Movie. Though I don't believe it is good as their "A Beautiful Mind", it is close. Howard is a great directory, and Crow, in my opinion, is the best male actor around these days. Once again these stellar movie dudes pull off an excellent film.

The movie is about boxing. If you don't like boxing, though, still go see it. There's not a ton of fighting. It's like 90% drama and 10% boxing, if that. Excellent film. Have I said that already?

Not that this really matters, but I actually saw it with my friend Johnnie last week. Oops.

Fantastic Four - Good But Not Fantastic

I just got back from seeing Fantastic Four. If I were to compare it to Batman I would be disappointed. But, if I just wanted to rate it based on general qualities like acting, plot, special effects, etc, I would say it is good. No, it is not a knock-your-socks-off kind of movie. But it is entertaining. As far as recent comic movies, here's my heirarchy, and how it fits, starting form best to worst.

Batman Begins
Spiderman 2
Spiderman 1
X-Men 2
X-Men 1
Fantastic Four

Now, the gulf between X1 and FF is pretty big, because X1 was really good. But FF is definitely better than some of the other comic movies, in my opinion.

Thesis Topics

Over at Euangelion Michael called for some fake thesis topics to throw out when somebody asks you about yours. I figured I would contribute. At the moment I am not in school, though at some point I'll go back for my PhD. Right now I'm too busy having fun programming :)

Back in college my roomate (Ragan) and I used to practice being random in conversation. Perhaps that would be relevant here. Actually, I've seen a number of theses and dissertations in my time that looked pretty random. So here are a few responses:

1. "My topic is on how the raising of the Nephilim was a thematic precursor to the idea behind the modern elevator."
2. "In my graduate study I found studying the tactics of religious and political groups interesting, so I'm doing a comparison between the tactics of the "Left Behind" series and movements in 17th century France."
3. "My topic is about the post-exilic understanding of demonic influence on banking in the pre-exilic period."
4. "Jude 2:6's influence on the most recent 'Batman' movie."
5. "My dissertation is going to argue for a common source, which I call 'F', for the 'Epic of Gilgamesh' and the biblical flood story."

Which ones are more believable? I would say numbers 3 and 5 maybe are, though they would each be better for different types of people. The first isn't going to really pique the interest of anyone, though you'll get more eyebrows raised with the second when talking to most modern evangelicals. The fifth would be useful for flustering conservative/fundamentalistic types. Third and fourth would be best for random encounters, I suppose.

My 2 cents.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Rebuilt Box...Top 10 Programs

Fry's had a great sale the other day on a 60 gig SATA drive. Only $40. I couldn't resist. So I bought one and rebuilt my box. Afterwards I had to install everything again, which got me thinking about the crucial stuff that needs to be installed. So, here's my top 10 list, in no particular order.

1. Firefox (gotta have my browser)
2. Visual Studio 2003 (definitely spent more of my lifetime sitting with this open than any other program)
3. Sql Server 2000
4. Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2
5. Sql Server 2005 Beta 2
6. Office (yes, I'm just going to treat this as one program)
7. BibleWorks 6
8. Unreal Tournament 2004 (all work and no play makes Eric a dull boy)
9. SharpReader (can't live without my RSS feeds)
10. iTunes (gotta be able to manage my iPod podcasts)

I've had the betas of the 2005 development tools on my laptop for a while and they haven't really affected my 2003 environment, so I figured it was safe to go ahead and install them on my desktop. Of course, this means that I'll be rebuilding again come the week of Nov 7th when the real versions are released. Oh well.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

July NDDNUG Meeting

Last night we had another meeting of the North Dallas .NET User Group. A certain Stephen Swienton showed us some of the user management and profile stuff built into ASP.NET 2.0. I thought .NET 1.0 was awesome. .NET 2.o is even cooler. This is why I like being a Microsoft technology programmer.

This time they gave out 5 licenses to Sql Server 2005, standard edition. That's major cool. Unfortunately, I didn't get one :(


Occassionally I hear interesting things about a scripting language
called Ruby. The other day I actually starting playing with it. The
thing that actually precipitated my venture into the language was a
blog post by Scott Hanselmann about using Ruby for unit-testing web
I thought "what an interesting idea". So I've been playing with it
during break times and such for the last few days.

It is still a little early to decide if I'm really going to enjoy the
syntax or not. We'll see. As for IDE's that run on Windows, I've
narrowed it down to two that I want to try out longer,
Mondrian and
FreeRIDE. Both are written in
Ruby. We'll see which one comes out on top.

If any of you out there have played with Ruby, drop me a comment or
email and tell me about your experience with it, and why you like it (or not).

Interesting Quote - Faith and Theology

I was just turned on to the Faith and Theology blog by the Euangelion blog. I really liked the following quote from Benjamin, the author of the new blog, mixed in with some good Käsemann:

The great problem, then, is to speak the gospel in such a way that it really is the same message—in other words, to change the message precisely so that it can remain the same. Ernst Käsemann described this problem, when he said that “continuity with the past is preserved [only] by shattering the received terminology, the received imagery, the received theology—in short, by shattering the tradition.... The truth is that it is this variation which makes continuity possible at all” (“The Problem of the Historical Jesus,” in Essays on New Testament Themes, pp. 20-21).

Interesting post, though I would rephrase it more along the theme of "theology exists for the sake of right thinking" rather than "theology exists for the sake of preaching", which would then serve preaching. But that's just me.

Anyway, welcome to the biblioblogosphere.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Comments Back On

'Nuff said

Indigo Book

New book out that I need to get. I suppose it is probably the first book released by David Pallmann on Indigo, Microsoft's upcoming unified communication framework (essentially has the functionality of web services, remoting, enterprise services and more, all in 1 api). At NerdBooks it's only $27.49. If you are interested in such things, the isbn # is 0735621519. I need to find some excuse to buy that...

[Update 7-6-2005 2:30 PM]
Found two sample chapters online. Can't beat that.
Chapter 3
Chapter 5

P2P In Court, Part 3: What Are The Issues

To get the context, you might want to read these posts:

1. P2P In Court: MGM vs Grokster and Its Affect On Us
2. P2P In Court, Part 2: A History Lesson, Or Why You Have a VCR

So what are the issues? They are pretty simple, actually. This is what MGM is saying:

1. Grokster and StreamCast, the defendants, have built software that is used roughly 90% of the time for copyright infringing uses.
2. The major issue is that the defendants actually actively encouraged copyright infringement.

The response is equally as simple:

1. Many users do infringe copyright with their software, but many also use it in ways that do not. Thus they should be protected under the Sony ruling.
2. They did not actively encourage copyright infringement.

Here is where a conversation with my legally informed brother Kirk was very helpful. Basically, there are two kinds of trials, a trial about matters of fact and a trial about matters of law. In the former the two parties disagree about something that was done, and a jury is assembled and evidence is presented to determine whether or not the defendant did what was said. On the other hand, there are trials about matters of law, where the parties substantially agree on the facts but just disagree on the legality of the actions of the defendant. An example of the former would be a murder trial. The question in that kind of trial revolves around whether or not the defendant committed the murder. We already know it is illegal to commit murder, so that is not up for discussion. In that case it is about the facts. But the MGM vs Grokster case is a matter of law, not primarily fact. It was very clear that Grokster and StreamCast created software that was being used for the infringement of copyright. The question was, were Grokster and StreamCast in the wrong when they did that?

In the lower courts both parties moved for summary judgment, meaning they were both looking for a trial about the lawfulness of the actions of Grokster and StreamCast. Since there wasn't substantial disagreement on the facts, no jury was needed.

Well, in several lower courts, it was the defendants who won based on reason 1, that the Sony rule protected them. But the Supreme Court disagreed. Why? That's the next post.

CSUnit Still Surviving...

I thought that CSUnit was no longer under development. Last time I checked the last release was back in 2003. I just checked a second ago and they released a new beta in May. Cool. I like CSUnit a little better than NUnit, so this makes me happy. I had decided to move away from it because it was no longer under development. Since that's not true I'll have to go back...

There's More Than One Way To Comment

You're certainly right, Tim, but there's more than one way to comment. There is always cross-blog commenting like this :)

But, as the comments on your post note, hopefully this is a temporary measure.

I Think, Therefore I Blog

Saw an interesting shirt post on the 42 blog. Yes, I think I need a "I Think, Therefore I Blog" t-shirt. Somebody want to buy me one of those?

Higher Criticism and "The Fundamentals"

Jim pointed out an interesting article on the Bible and Interpretation website describing the scholarly controversies around the turn of last century and fundamentalists reactions, with special emphasis on The Fundamentals. The debate stills goes on to a certain extent, I suppose, but it looks very different now than it used to.

My first significant exposure to "higher criticism" was in college, where we were required to read Blenkinsopp's The Penteteuch. Though I'm still not sure how to respond, I appreciate the introduction (much more now than then, actually). There are a number of issues raised by higher criticism that I'm still undecided on, but I'll figure it out one day!

In my opinion, the greatest benefit of exposure to higher criticism for the more conservative individual (which I still consider myself, more or less) is the mental flexibility it brings. For example, if you're always reading books by reformed theologians (or dispensational, postmodern, liberal...whatever), it is going to be VERY difficult for you to break out of that way of thinking because you are trained to think only in a particular system. You could say the same for any general approach, certainly including one who only read from a particular branch of higher critical scholarship. This, frankly, is just not helpful. We'll be debating forever which tradition most closely resembles a proper understanding of the Bible, but surely we can recognize that no particular approach is ALWAYS correct in its assumptions and positions. The variety helps us break out of our mental shackles and lets us see the text in fresh, new ways.

Monday, July 04, 2005

No Comments

Wow it's early in the morning.

Due to the sound advice of some and the example of others, I'm going to turn off comments for a while. Why? Just to remove one more means of one particular crazed individual of expressing himself at the expense of myself and others.

However, I would still like comments, of course! If you would like to comment on an entry on the blog, send it to me in an email and state that it is a comment and I will post it myself. That is, if you're not this particular individual.

At some point I will turn them back on. Tomorrow I will continue my little short series of posts on the MGM and Grokster case. I went out of town this weekend and was able to get a little clarification on some legal matters in this regard from my personal legal expert, my brother.

Friday, July 01, 2005

There May Only Be One Biblioblogger

I've been trying to figure out if I should post this or not, and decided to. Since it involves several bibliobloggers and some random guy's insulting of them, I decided to. Basically, if this guy contacts you via email or comments on your blog, it might be best if you just avoid him. But, here's the story.


So I got a comment on an old post of mine ( The post said the following:

Ken Penner = Peter Kirby

His name, though, was a link to Mark Goodacre's blog. The comments involved a discussion between Mark and a Peter Kirby. At then end an anonymous poster (I'm assuming the same one that is bothering me) said that the Peter Kirby shown there was not real, but a pseudonym

So now I see who this fellow is talking about. Now, I've never met Peter (though I think I might have had a short email exchange with him at some point). But I have met Ken, so I googled for his email and asked for more information. After all, who wouldn't be curious? The following is my email. Comments are in brackets.


I found your comment on one of my posts
about Ken Penner == Peter Kirby interesting. I've met Ken before, but
not Peter (though that isn't a surprise[meaning, there are billions of people on the earth, so I'm not surprised there is this guy I haven't met]). I looked at the discussion
on Goodacre's blog where someone (I'm assuming you) said the posting
by Peter Kirby was pseudonymous. I thought I had seen a picture of
someone claiming to be a Peter Kirby once, and it didn't look anything
like what was on Mark's blog [this guy was an older looking computer science guy, if I remember right].

I'm very curious how you came to that conclusion. Could you shed some
light on that?

[At this point I am proceeding to enter into light-hearted conversation. After all, why would I feel the need to show him what I looked like?]

You can find a picture of me here:

And I only go by three names, Eric Sowell and "The Coding Humanist" in
general online, and Mallioch in online gaming. But I never talk to
myself, promise :)


So what am I expecting at this point? Well, I'm expecting a little more explanation. After all, what I've seen so far makes no link between Ken and Peter. I don't get at all what I'm expecting. The following is his response:


Your crap web site Christonomy [a GREAT opener for civil conversation] tells me nothing Eric - four pretty boys all too good to be true [So now we don't have one made up Peter Kirby, but 3 more!]. Prove to me that you all attend the First Baptist Church of Parker [I'm not sure why I should feel that I need to at this point] and that you graduated where you say you did[still, don't see why I should waste my time. After all, I'm already turned off from that first annoying sentence]. I can't see a Baptist Church holding your views [actually, the church does not, though some are sympathetic and all are tolerant. My church is odd. It doesn't immediately take a condescending approach to everyone it disagrees with. Strange church...] and I have to assume [not a good idea] that your web site is yet another Catholic-inspired dummy[sorry, not Catholic. Never have been. Have too many disagreements. I'm assuming that he's pointing to an article by Ragan...I mean, my pseudonym...that says that we don't agree with the doctrine of imputation.]. I can smell them a mile off [check your nose].

Why isn't it a surprise to you that you haven't met wonder boy Peter Kirby, the student from Fullerton College who apparently has an old head on young shoulders? The answer is that the young Peter Kirby is a myth - I wrote that the photograph was a spoof [note the comment on Mark's blog].

So here is the first clue that he is not the four-eyed unsuspecting person
on the photograph which you saw on Mark Goodacre's Weblog - a photograph
which Mark Goodacre at first denied existed on his Weblog [whatever...]- yes he lied [whatever...]- pass that back to him [okay].

"I never talk to myself, promise" Indeed! - Don't make me laugh. [More witty retort]


So at this point I'm a little upset. After all, I'm used to dealing with people who aren't rude. So my response was pretty simple. Here it is:


Now you're just being rude and wasting my time.


So now I'm hoping that this guy will just leave me alone. No, he is persistent. He adds another comment to that same post. It says the following:


The equation is expanded:
Ken Penner = Peter Kirby = Jeffrey Gibson = The Coding Humanist (the Greek geek and the tech geek)


Now I'm just thinking that this guy is really big into conspiracy theories or something. Now we have Ken, Peter, Jeffrey Gibson, and myself, all as one person. Oh, and add the other three pretty boys on the Christonomy website and we've got 7 people wrapped all into one. So, guys, I guess we need to have a wrestling match to see who gets to stay real.

So, I'm going to go ahead and alert the guys about this. I've got all your emails except for you, Jeffrey. If anybody has it, let me know. You should know how to get ahold of me.

Here are my concluding thoughts. First of all, I'm not planning on having any discussion with this fellow until I'm convinced he can involve himself in civil conversation. I wouldn't really recommend responding to him if he pesters you as well.

Second, this I don't get at all. The inconsistency here AMAZES me. Here is some who doesn't like me because he's an uber-zealous Protestant who apparently can't disagree with a Reformer's theology in good conscience because of his great devotion to theology and to God. Yet he can only speak to someone who disagrees in a condescending, insulting manner. This inconsistency and hypocrisy is BLINDINGLY obvious to me. Please, learn to engage in normal human conversation. If you're worried about the state of my soul, I would prefer that you would
at least pretend to act that way.

And I hope it doesn't come as too much of a shock to you guys that I don't exist ;)