This blog is going to have surfing, snowboarding, tech stuff and maybe some 'meaning of life' stuff if I'm feeling particularly stoked.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Poetry In Motion

Route 44: 6:46 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 7:01 Montlake to Overlake

Reading: Windows Internals, Fourth Edition
Listening: Shuffle

I spotted this poem on the bus home last night, it's part of a "poetry in motion" thing which KC Metro do and it really stood out. Gina makes a big deal of putting together life-story scrap books for kids when she places them for adoption and I've even helped out with some so I copied this down because I figured she might even be able to use it in her work.

Pretty strong words from a twelve year old:

Where Am I From by Katrina Carlsen, 8th Grade

I am from faint images, photos
Where waves and sandy shores crash
In salty air

I am from two families
One gave me life
The other supports me now

I am from worlds
Put together to form one
These giant waves I must ride
Before they wash up onto shore

btw April is National Poetry Month


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The one where I forgot my bus pass

Route 44: 6:46 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 256: 7:58 Montlake to Overlake

Reading: Sharepoint 2003 Unleashed
Listening: Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antartica

see title.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

SQLDependency Update

Route 44: 6:45 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 7:01 Montlake to Overlake

Listening: Feeder Pushing the Senses

I've updated my last post because it looks like my msdb was missing the SqlQueryNotificationService (I upgraded a SQL2000 installation - must have been that) and that's why I had to use the [http://etc] names.
Well this seems to work right up until SQL server tries to notify the caller of the change, at which point it generates an error saying that it could not find the service contract.
I presumed it needed the default (SqlQueryNotificationService) contract so I switched over to a fresh install of SQL2005 (making sure the SqlQueryNotificationService was there) and retraced my steps using SqlQueryNotificationService (e.g. GRANT SEND rights again) and it worked.

I have a feeling that the list of query restrictions will make SQLDependency almost unusable in the real world.


Monday, April 25, 2005

SQLDependency in the April CTP

****** UPDATED 04/26/2005 *********

The problem here was that the SqlQueryNotificationService did not appear to get created when
I upgraded an installation from SQL2000. I fixed the problem by creating the service and then all the advice in the posts mentioned works fine. Here's how to create the service if you have the same problem:

USE [msdb]
CREATE QUEUE [dbo].[SqlQueryNotificationService_DefaultQueue] WITH STATUS = ON , RETENTION = OFF , ACTIVATION ( STATUS = ON , PROCEDURE_NAME = [sys].[sp_DispatcherProc] , MAX_QUEUE_READERS = 5 , EXECUTE AS N'dbo' ) ON [PRIMARY]

USE [msdb]
CREATE SERVICE [SqlQueryNotificationService] AUTHORIZATION [dbo] ON QUEUE [dbo].[SqlQueryNotificationService_DefaultQueue] ([])

USE [msdb]
GRANT SEND on service::SqlQueryNotificationService to guest

****** END OF UPDATE ***************

As an update to some very useful posts on getting SQL Notification to work in Beta 1 from Nils, Julie and Bob Beauchemin, as well as a great original article from Bob, here's what you need to do in SQL2005 April CTP with Beta 2 VS.

Use service name of
rather than SqlQueryNotificationService

So to grant the send rights in SQLServer use


To create an instance of the SQLDependency object you will also have to use the overloaded method which explicitly takes a service name (I presume the default is SqlQueryNotificationService), so you will have

SqlDependency depend = new SqlDependency(cmd, "",SqlNotificationAuthType.None,SqlNotificationTransports.Any,10000);

By the way, this will make no sense unless you have read the above article/posts first.



Route 44: 6:50 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 7:14 Montlake to Overlake

Listening: U2 Vertigo

U2 were in town last night for the first of two, sold-out Seattle gigs. I like a few U2 albums but I'm not too fussed on their latest offering and I'm definitely not much of a stadium rocker. Last night though, I realized I had never actually been to a mega-gig in the United States and that, in fact, the shows we see presented in football grounds or large fields in Ireland are designed to be hosted in high-capacity indoor venues of the type only found in the major US cities.
I was massively impressed at the production of this show and particularly how it succeeded in transforming a 17,000 seat, souless, sports stadium into an intimate, lounge-like music venue. No amount of musical talent can do this. We saw the Kings of Leon play a great warm-up set, they gave it their all but just couldn't avoid sounding very small (btw I saw them back in January in a club in Seattle and they blew it away). Caleb Followill, lead singer of KoL came back out to watch the show from the mixing desk so maybe he was picking up some tips for when they headline the Key themselves.

The gig was fantastic; you don't mind paying a high ticket price when it's obvious that a big portion of that money is going into the show. Being indoors means that the crew have complete control over lights, sound, stage setup and this means that the whole thing is more like a theatre production rather than a festival gig, which is unfortunately what these things become when staged outside.

Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone in Ireland know that you've definitely got something to look forward to in June.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

My First VS2005 Beta 2 App

Not very exciting, just a windows app calling a web service calling the db but it's 100% new stuff Beta2 bits and it's something to build on.

Maybe I'll blog about this Bookstore app or maybe I'll come up with something more original!


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

End of an Era

Route 44: 6:46 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 7:02 Montlake to Overlake

Reading: The C++ Programming Language, Bjarne Stroustrup
Listening: Kaiser Chiefs Employment (fits the post heh?)

Well, the good times are finally over. After 2 separate periods of living in the US, over two years altogether, at over seven months pregnant, Gina has got a job!

She starts work on Monday as a social worker at a specialist facility for babies who are born to drug-addicted mothers. Gina knows the center well, having volunteered there last time we were here and is really looking forward to the work.

Congratulations Gina.

Beta2 download stalled last night at some point, using File Transfer Manager so nothing lost. 6 hours 17 minutes left, maybe I'll get it today.

Also, I could only find the Express edition of the SQL Server 2005 April CTP yesterday but the Developer editions have appeared today.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Cougar Mountain

Route 44: 6:45 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 7:11 Montlake to Overlake

Reading: All the Beta 2 buzz on blogs
Listening: Amy Correia - Lakeville

Since everyone will be doing a Beta 2 post today and I've already done mine, it's great to be able to blog about something different.

Yesterday Gina & I hiked some nice trails around Cougar Mountain Regional Park. The park is only 15 minutes from downtown Seattle yet it feels like you've travelled back in time as well as space, to a time when the Pacific Northwest was pretty much completely covered in forest. Not much elevation to the trails but a good chance to break in hiking boots for the summer season.

Anyway back to Beta 2, Scott Guthrie has an interesting post on the final hours of the release and I've started to download it (10 hours 36 minutes left).


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Beta 2

Whidbey Beta 2 is available for download now.

It's build 50215.45, it was signed off on Thursday night and went up on MSDN sometime over the weekend.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to get it on a VPC some time tomorrow.


Friday, April 15, 2005

40 Minutes

Route 44: 6:45 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 256: 6:58 Montlake to Overlake

(XC translation - "that's the ultimate connection - 40 minutes door to door").

Reading: Surfer Magazine
Listening: Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness


Thursday, April 14, 2005

SQL Compare

Route 256: 5:35 NE 20St to Montlake Freeway Station
(XC Notes - g picking me up at Montlake so anything could happen after that! e x t r e m e ).

Reading: May edition of Surfer Magazine
Listening: Beck Guero

SQL Compare is a great tool. Marty & Co introduced me to it and I thought it would be great for db schema upgrade scripts which are always a pain to maintain. I was warned that it does have some caveats and you couldn't always trust the SQL it spat out but it just saved me a whole lot of hassle after I ran a pre-release db upgrade which resulted in a couple of different application failures.
I basically installed a clean version of the app/db, made sure that worked and then compared the db on the working machine to the db on the upgraded failing machine.
SQL Compare quickly told me how the schemas differed and generated the SQL for me to fix the problem.
SQL Data Compare then told me where metadata changes had gone wrong and again offered sql.
Problem solved.
And you're left with a bunch of scripts that you can ship back to whoever wrote the flawed upgrade script.

That's the good news, the bad news involves a MAPI Provider, multi-threading Outlook and a plate of spaghetti in between, but that's for tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Photo Blogging

Route 44: 6:44 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 6:59 Montlake to Overlake

(XC translation - "good first bus, again I saw the ultimate connection pulling away, but I caught the early 242").

Reading: Michael Howard's Blog
Listening: The Perishers - Let There Be Morning

I've made a few half-hearted attempt to add some photos to my blog and finally succeeded. I had to make a special effort because this was just too good not to share.
I used Picasa, Hello & Blogger. Picasa is a great little package for managing photos and it integrates with Hello which can best be described as photo IM. I had already used Hello to share photos with friends who want the original full-size photo rather than the reduced, compressed version they get in my email. To be honest I don't really like the link between Hello & Blogger (a "BloggerBot" process sits on the other end of the IM Client, configured with your blog and you essentially send pictures to that process, which posts them straight to the blog) because of the fact that it actually publishes before you can edit the post. Of course you can go back, edit the post and republish.

I started this blog as a means to practice writing so I'm not going to go mad with the photos but it is very tempting because I've been taking so many pictures since we arrived here in Seattle. Maybe that's another blog!

Check out the Perishers album it's pretty good but there is one standout track for me. It's worth spending the 99c (or pence) to buy individually even if you don't want the album, it's called "Pills" and it's pretty haunting.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Literary Community

I just passed this on my way home from the bus stop. What a great neighbourhood to live in, and people wonder why I don't live closer to work on the Eastside! This is why.

Anyone know what bosky means?

Having an abundance of bushes, shrubs, or trees.


Ultimate Connection


Route 44: 6:45 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 7:01 Montlake to Overlake

(XC translation - "good first bus, just missed the ultimate connection ( a 6:57 256 which drops me right outside my office) but still caught the early 242").

Reading: Last few titbits from May MSDN Magazine
Listening: Beck Guero.


Monday, April 11, 2005

The Pinnacle

Route 44: 6:46 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 7:15 Montlake to Overlake

(XC translation - "first bus came early and was going well until it became disconnected from the wire that drives it, lost time while the driver reconnected which meant I missed the early connection").

Reading: Customizing GINA, Keith Brown, MSDN - Especially relevant to me with nuggets like Debugging GINA, GINA Under the Hood and Turning GINA Off.

Listening: Ruby Vileos This is the Day.

I'm going to a climbing class this evening at the REI indoor climbing wall, "The Pinnacle". Climbing seems to be a pretty intense activity which is very popular here in the NorthWest. It looks like there may also be a cultural tie-in, I suppose a bit like surfing, but I'm not interested in getting that heavily involved, it's more to try something I've always fancied doing. Besides, I think you can do many sports but you can only have one way of life.

Hottest local news this week (well actually last week) is that the map wars are heating up.

Currently I use Google to blog, to share photos and of course to search. I'll probably start using them for maps. If they continue to innovate and invest I suppose they could become to online applications what Microsoft are to desktop apps? Wouldn't that be nice.


Friday, April 08, 2005

The Devlins

Route 44: 6:46 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 7:01 Montlake to Overlake

(In case anyone isn't keeping up with extreme commuting, the above information translates to "My first bus came slightly early which meant I caught an earlier connection with less waiting about").

Reading: .NET Framework Internals, MSDN Magazine.
Listening: Hot Fuss The Killers.

My cousins are in town tonight with their band, The Devlins. I think they've driven pretty much all of this tour, right across the US, finishing up in Vancouver tomorrow night. They're playing The Crocodile Cafe here in Seattle tonight. I've done my bit to promote the gig; Kris & Angela are going along with Kris' brother & sister-in-law who are visiting.


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Beard & Glasses Goes Native

Route 44: 6:47 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 7:16 Montlake to Overlake

Reading: Contract First Service Development, Aaron Skonnard, MSDN Magazine.
Listening: Harvest Neil Young.

Last night I read an article from Dr. Richard Grimes. Anyone who developed ATL COM components in the UK when they were all the rage (don't know if the Wrox book was as popular in the US) will be intimately familiar with Richard. His pretty face shone out among other beards & glasses from the classic tome Beginning ATL COM and then took centre stage alone for Professional ATL COM, the hard-core follow up.

I've got to say I had a soft spot for ATL and was eagerly awaiting the ATL Server Side Support which was due to ship with VS 7.0 before that release became VS .NET. Anyway enough about the good old days, Richard is a classic beard & glasses man, Beginning ATL COM actually had an entry "Beard & Glasses" in the index under B! The page reference was "Front Cover".

Dr. Grimes has been writing a .NET article for DDJ for a few years but last month he went native and quit his column, launching a severe attack on Microsoft & .NET. To be honest I haven't been reading Richard for a while now, maybe he's slowly losing the plot, but you've got to have some respect for a man who's willing to speak out honestly and openly against the very technology that's been supporting him financially for the last few years.

Here's the article, do you agree or disagree?


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Surf Gallery

This looks bad for a bus blogger but I had to take the car again today because we are having a scan and I need to pick Gina up before the hospital.

I really would prefer to be on the bus.

Anyway, if anyone wondered if there really was surf in Northern Ireland, check out Andy Hills photo gallery. He's took thousands of pictures during this incredible year for surfing on the North Coast (which I missed most of) and even had enough action to create a barrel category.

I've got some photo opportunites of my own over here, this is what I get to look at as the bus crosses the floating bridge over Lake Washington every morning.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

No Bus Today

Took the car today because I'm meeting up with Cera (HBOS Architect and the only woman who can save the world from the evil Dr. Bell and his plan for world domination of the global financial services IT landscape). Cera's in town for a couple of days to drink from the Redmond cup, which is always overflowing with love for large financial institutions.

No reading list this morning but I do have one word for anyone who thinks radio in the US is crap: KEXP. It's a great station, this morning I heard The Sugar Cubes, Tim Booth and the Delays. Joy Zipper were playing live in the studio.


Monday, April 04, 2005

Need a new Source Control System?

Just some local knowledge I picked up here in Redmond.

Ever wondered what source control system Microsoft use?

They use a variation of a system called Perforce. Looks like they acquired the source code rights years ago, so their version (excuse the the pun) is not branded Perforce but insiders tell me it is practically the same system (down to the help files) albeit maybe a few releases back from the commercially available product.

Anyway, we've been using the system for a few weeks and it's pretty nifty, features like ChangeSets and a decent graphical interface have already sold me after a couple of years struggling with PVCS. The big plus for me though was that Perforce, unlike PVCS, has a single command that can merge file changes between branches.

So if anyone out there works for a great big company with plenty of money to switch their SCM tool I'd say ...... what are you waiting for!


Extreme Commuting

Route 44: 6:48 Wallingford to Montlake Freeway Station
Route 242: 7:14 Montlake to Overlake

Reading: New May edition of MSDN magazine, Brad Abrams blog.
Listening: Shuffle setting on iPod.

Clock went forward (i.e. Daylight Saving Time began) yesterday so little bit darker this morning, should be worth it to ride home in daylight.
Mariners Baseball opening day, obsessive Mariners fan conspicuously missing from Route 44, good luck M's.


I've completely stopped blogging since moving to Seattle, either reading or writing. I think there are many factors contributing to this; lack of surf, lack of snow, over-abundance of tech but mostly I've lost the daily post hook, i.e. the one thing that you can post about every day without much effort. For me this was the surf report, anything from a one line update to a full blown session de-brief, but something to post either way. I had hoped I would replace the surf report from Portrush with a snow report from Seattle but unfortunately there was no snow to report on with this years freakish weather and the surf was so depressingly good in Portrush that I couldn't even bear to think about it.

Well I've decided to get a new hook to keep me focused. It's the all-new extreme sport of Seattle bus-riding. Yep, I ride the bus every day, most days I read, some days I sleep, some days I even work but whatever you do on the bus, just being on there makes you part of a counter-culture which can't/won't embrace the all-american ideal of One God, One Man, One Automobile.

Anyway more about that to come I'm sure, main thing for now is that I've decided to try and blog the bus ride, hopefully reading some blogs in the evening on the way home and writing some posts on the way to work in the morning.