Thursday, May 27, 2004

CLR Profiler
Have you ever wished you could investigate the managed heap to see what resources are allocated, and what the garbage collector has actually done? The CLR Profiler may be the answer. Learn more at
Team System

Here's a good overview article on MSDN that discusses Visual Studio 2005 Team System:

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I skipped out of TechED this afternoon to walk over to PETCO Park. I paid the $9 to take the stadium tour, since the Padres are on a road trip and I couldn't get into the park for a game.

PETCO just opened this year and is a really nice ballpark. It was designed by KC's HOK, famous for designing sports venues around the world. One of the most interesting features is the Western Metal Supply Building. This historic building is located down the left field line. The corner of the building acts as the fair/foul pole. The stadium was built around the building without disturbing it. The inside of the building was refurbished. On street level is the Padres Team Store. The store is spacious and has a nice variety of Padres merchandise. From the store, you can walk out a door and stand right behind the fence down the left field line. I'm not sure if these doors are unlocked during games, but you could really heckle the left fielder from there. On the upper floors of the building are several suites with seats overhanging the field. The warning track runs underneath the lowest set of seats. There are also seats on top of the building ala the new Green Monster seats in Boston. Our tour guide admitted that the Padres stole the idea of incorporating a historic building into the ballpark from Baltimore's Camden Yards.

The tour also included the dugout, the press box and the luxury areas under the stadium. One nice feature is that the seats down the lines are mounted at an angle so they all face home plate. After feeling the soreness in my neck from a game at Kauffman Stadium, I can see the advantage of this.

Overall a nice tour. In comparing it to the Kauffman Stadium tour, the K is definitely a better value. At the K, you can also go into the visitors clubhouse and the batting cages under the stadium, which was absent in the Petco tour. And the K tour (at least last year) is only $5.00.
SharePoint and Exchange InterOp
At Tech Ed today, I attended an interesting session that Scott Jamison of Dell gave. In it, he demonstrated some code that he wrote to provide for integration with Exchange from SharePoint. The things he wanted to accomplish were to aggregate Exchanges Tasks, SharePoint tasks and custom tasks from a home grown system. He used Portal Server's Single Sign On Service to retrieve credentials for the home grown app, and he used WebDAV to retreive tasks from Exchange. He then pulled those tasks together into a DataSet along with SharePoint tasks and displayed them to the user in a web part. Interesting concepts.

He also wanted to provide a way for users to ask for SharePoint Search results via email. This addresses a case where users are offline frequently and don't have easy access to a SharePoint site. He wrote a Windows System app that polls an Exchange Public Folder. Users can send an email to this folder with a search term in the subject. The Windows Service picks up that message, submits a search request to the SharePoint Search.ASMX web service. He the grabs the URL of the returned search items to retrieve the document, and then generates an email that is sent back to the user. The email includes the top 3 documents as attachments.

This was another interesting concept, but the code isn't quite ready for prime time. Security issues abound, for example, what if a spammer sends messages to this folder...

The session didn't necessarily introduce new capabilityes that I hadn't seen before, but did show some new ways of utilizing those capabilities. I'm looking forward to experimenting with some of this code when I get back to KC.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

.NET CF 2.0

Just attended a session on the new version of the .NET Compact Framework. Interesting features being added:

  • upward migration allowed (v1 apps will "just run" on v2)

  • can do side by side (v1 AND v2 app on same device - use app config like on desktop)

  • Unified JIT for all processors (was just for ARM)

  • COM Interop, RCW provide proxies for native COM, RCW support integrated into VS Shell

  • Enhanced type marshalling (additional types, embedded arrays, MarshalAs)

  • New language features (generics, anonymous methods, iterators, partial types)

  • New Windows.Forms Controls (DateTimePicker, MonthCalendar, DocumentList, LinkLabel, Notification Bubble, Help, RichInk, WebBrowser, others)

  • Clipboard support

  • Better Keyboard support (for devices that include thumbpads)

  • SmartPhone features added - SQLServer CE, DataGrid, IME switching enabled (Input Mode), Enabled multiple menu times on left soft key

  • Displays and Layouts - AutoScroll, Pixel doubling enabled for high res screens, Docking, Anchoring, changeOrientation, bitmaps, custom pens

Community Lounge
The Community Lounge/Cabana areas at TechEd are great. There is a huge room, and around the perimeter, there are areas set up for various technologies. In these areas, folks can informally meet with various experts to ask questions, and have discussions. In addition, small sessions are being presented. This is a great, comfortable way to meet with people and get questions answered.

I am hanging out around Cabana 5 answering questions on SharePoint.
Visual Studio 2005 Team System

At TechEd, I am learning about the new Visual Studio 2005 Team System. This is a new set of tools that will allow teams to work together in a unified environment. The tools pull together Infrastructure Architects, System Architects, Developers, and Tester to work together.

This will be an interesting technology. I'll be intersted to see how this works with or replaces Source Safe. The question of teams working on VS projects together often comes up when I meet with clients.

Monday, May 24, 2004

At Tech-Ed 2004
I arrived in San Diego last night for Microsoft's Tech-Ed 2004 Conference. I arrived at the Hyatt down the street from the huge San Diego Conference Center and checked in. I decided ot walk down to the conference center to register for the conference. While walking down the street I ran into Jon Box. We met up later for dinner and and I met several of Jon's fellow Regional Directors.

This morning, I arrived at the center for a great breakfast. One thing is for certain, I will definitely get some exercise this week. The conference center has to be 4 city blocks long, and Microsoft has taken over the entire building. There are over 11,000 attendees at the conference. Microsoft seems to have taken over the entire city of San Diego. There are Microsoft banners all over.

The Opening Keynote was delivered by Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. His address was somewhat interesting. In it, he announced WSE 2.0 and the Office Information Bridge. I will try to post more information about these new technologies as I find it. (WSE 2.0 can be found here.)

I also saw a good presentation by Don Box that discussed the Services Oriented architectures. They discussed the future of COM, COM+, SOAP and other interop technologies. Interesting to hear them say that folks should avoid .NET REMOTING in favor of ASMX. Their point is that although performance isn't as good, the model is better and improvements in ASMX performance are coming.

I am currently hanging out in the Community Lounge, near the Cabana area. I'm looking forward to learning more about the upcoming technologies planned.

Friday, May 21, 2004

1-2 Punch
One thing that definitely has hurt the Royals this year is the perormance of their 1-2 starters, Brian Anderson and Darrell May.

Anderson is 1-5 with a 6.79 ERA and May is 1-6, 5.76. The Royals are 2-17 in their starts. Both pitchers have been terribly disappointing this season. Last night, May gave up 5 runs in the second inning, after his team gave him a 2 run lead.

Anderson, especially, has again and again killed the Royals by giving up big innings early in the games. May has been guilty of this as well, as shown:


Those are the two best pitchers on the staff??? Something is very wrong here. Both these guys need a kick in the butt. Hopefully, bringing Zack Greinke up will put some pressure on these two. I say send them to the bullpen until they can prove that they can give the team 5 innings without blowing it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Tech Ed Next Week!

I was fortunate enough to be asked to work in the Community Lounge at Microsoft Tech Ed (San Diego) this year. The great thing about this is that I didn't have to pay the $1500 entry fee to attend. I'm looking forward to the event as I've never attended Tech Ed before, but I understand that this is the best event for Microsoft Developers.

The Community Lounge will be an area where folks can ask questions of various "experts." (the quotes are for me, I'm sure the other Lounge workers really are experts). I will be hanging out there when I'm not attending sessions of interest for me. I've listed ASP.NET Development and SharePoint development as my areas of expertise. Look me up in the Lounge if you're there.
A couple of years ago, I began scoring games. I was regularly attending Royals games, and one night forked over the $1 for a scorecard, and learned to score as I went. Since then, I've scored just about every game I've attended.

I'm not even sure why I do it. I've always discarded the score card after the game, so I wasn't preserving the game for later. I think for me, it is a tool that allows me to remained glued to the game. It enhances my enjoyment of the game.

Earlier today, I was perusing the Baseball Prospectus web site, and found an article by Derek Zumsteg on scoring. I don't have a subscription to the site to read the entire article, but the abstract caught my attention:

If you've scored games for any length of time--no matter if you were in the press box or the cheap seats--you've probably had this happen to you: 1) Someone mocks you for keeping score; 2) Later, the same person asks you for information off your card.

Scoring leaves a personal record of the game. Done well, it's like a familiar photograph that recalls the memories of a vacation. If I ever need to know what happened in some game, I can look up the results, or even the box score. But if I want to know how it felt to watch it, that's when I dig up my score cards. The long innings stretch out on the card, my chess-style notes next to great plays and weird manager decisions to revisit later. The guy who mocks the scorer goes home after the best game he's ever seen, but a week later remembers only what he saw on SportsCenter the next morning. The scorer has a hand-drawn portrait of the game he actually watched; what he experienced.

A win, and a phenom on the way
Last night, the Royals came back from a 5-0 deficit to beat the Rangers 7-6. They did it by mashing. This year's team was built to hit the long ball, but they haven't been successful doing that. But last night, the Royals got a 3-run shot from Matt Stairs, a 2-run homer from Beltran, and a solo shot from Sweeney. Juan Gone didn't go yard, but did go 2-3, raising his average to .280.

And today, it is being reported that Zack Greinke will be promoted to the big league club and will start this Saturday in Oakland.

The sports talk guys on the radio have been suggesting that the Royals should call up Jamie Wright and Zack Greinke for the rotation and move Jeremy Affeldt to the closer spot. I'm beginning to think this might be a good suggestion. Last year, as a closer, Affeldt was absolutely dominant. As a starter, he hasn't quite been as impressive. With Affeldt in the back of the bullpen, the Royals might have a few more wins right now (several leads have been blown in the ninth). The rotation has been abysmal. I don't think having four (or five, counting Reyes) lefies in the rotation is going to work (and it hasn't yet this season).

I'd like this rotation: Anderson, Gobble, Grienke, May, Wright.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

When the Royals traded for left handed pitcher Brian Anderson last year, we were told that he is an innings eater. He had given up a lot of runs, but several were unearned. In checking, I see that during his time in Cleveland last year, he gave up 88 runs, and only 61 of those were earned. This means he was a "hard luck" pitcher whose defense let him down.

So far this year, Anderson again seems to be a "hard luck" pitcher. In his last start against the Blue Jays, he gave up 6 runs in the top of the first, but only 2 of those were earned.

I'm curious though. Why would one pitcher give up so many unearned runs? Is it an indication of his stuff? I'm beginning to think that Brian Anderson may not be as effective as we thought. Unearned runs are a result of errors. Errors, commonly, are the result of balls hit hard that fielders get a glove on, but can't handle. This happened in the Blue Jays game, when a hard grounder shot to Joe Randa at third and got through him to left field. I don't think Anderson is fooling anybody right now. Batters are hitting the ball hard, and the Royals are giving up mass quantities of runs when he starts. In his last two starts, the opposing team scored 10 and 9. He's given up 46 runs in just 8 games (10 of those are unearned runs).

It will be interesting to see how Anderson fares in his next few starts.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Are things getting better?
The Royals just completed a dismal road trip, winning only 2 of 9 games. The second win came yesterday against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Some of the losses on this trip were excruciating. In Toronto and Boston, the Royals had leads going into the late innings, only lose the games. In Boston on Friday night, the Royals looked to have an easy win, but Mike MacDougal entered the game in the ninth and gave up the game-tying home run. The Red Sox later scored the winning run and the Royals were crushed. The Royals tied a franchise record for their worst start.

Yet, I am optimistic. I'm probably crazy, but I think things will start to turn around for this team. I can't say why, really, but I just have a gut feeling. If you look at the standings, they are only 7.5 games behind. That actually isn't an insurmountable lead. (Royals fans may recall that KC had a 7.5 game lead at the All-Star break last year, and the Twins ended up winning the division).

I think also that Tony Pena and the management has learned a great deal about what they have this year. You will see less of Mike Sweeney at first base. You will see less of Mike MacDougal in save situations. You will (hopefully) see less of Juan Gonzalez in right field. In the Toronto game, Pena moved Gonzalez down to the sixth spot. I think moves like that will continue until his players can show they can perform. Zack Greinke will be with the team soon (by the end of May, I predict). And, in the last few games, I've started to see things beginning to come together. Yes, they have lost games, but the team is started to put the pieces together (better starting pitching, better relief pitching, more timely hitting).

I expect the Royals to win, if not sweep the next two series at home. By this time next week, that 7.5 game lead will be more like 5 games. Please - cross your fingers.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Sports Movies
What's your favorite sports movie? The other night, I slipped Bull Durham into the DVD player. That's a great movie. It's funny, and portrays a somewhat realistic view of life in the minors. Who can forget Annie's opening monologue: "I believe in the church of baseball... I've tried them all, I really have. And, the only church that feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the church of baseball."

Another of my favorites is Caddyshack. This one is just pure comedy. There are so many quotable lines in that movie. "So I got that going for me... which is nice."

Media Ramblings...
I heard a rumor that Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski has put an offer on a house down the street from me. Wouldn't it be fun to sit in the driveway, have a few cold ones and chat it up with JoPo? I think so. In fact, I really enjoy Joe's columns. I seem to be in the minority there, however. I also enjoy reading Rob Neyer's comments on the Royals, and he invariable slams Joe for sugar-coating everything. Hey, sometimes I like to read a little sugar.

Joe's column in today's Star is a great one. In it, Posnanski discusses his disgust for all of the advertising in sports these days. Here's a snippet:

Then, there is the latest news that Major League Baseball has decided to put a Spider-Man logo on the bases to promote the movie “Spider-Man 2.” (Starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst! Opening in theaters on June 30!) They say this is an effort to get younger fans involved, a brilliant plan because, as you know, many younger fans were very upset with the general blandness of the bases.

I mean, how many times have you heard kids on skateboards wearing their I-Pods and listening to Hoobastank and Outkast say: “Dawg, who is going to watch a game with all white bases? Unless they get some movie advertising on those sacks, there is no way I'm watching.”

Great stuff.

I also seem to be in the minority on the Royals' play-by-play guys. I keep hearing folks (again, Rob Neyer and also Greg Hall) criticize the work of Denny Matthews and Ryan Lefevre, the radio guys for the Royals. Callers to the radio talk shows slammed Denny after opening day, because they felt he wasn't excited enough when Carlos Beltran won the game with a homerun in the bottom of the ninth. I say get a life. Come on. The guy has been doing Royals broadcasts since the team's birth. Everybody knows his style. It's obviously worked well enough to earn him a berth in the Royals Hall of Fame. Live with it. I also hear a lot of criticism of Denny's partner Ryan. I like Ryan. He's knowledgeable, had a good voice to listen to, and has a good rapport with Denny. It's a quality broadcast.

Which differs from the TV broadcast. Bob Davis is a legend in Kansas City sports broadcasting, but I can't stand him. Fortunately, I'm not a big KU fan, or I'd have to listen to his football and basketball broadcasts all winter. He just yells so much. And he over-uses phrases. Next time you watch a Royals game, count how many times he says "oh boy."

But, I'd still rather hear Bob and his partner Paul Splittorf. (this blog is getting pretty negative, isn't it?). Paul is really annoying. He was a great pitcher for the Royals, and obviously knows the game as well as anybody. But his broadcast style is bad. Everything he says is broken up into small phrases, usually 7 words or less. Then he alternates his inflection on these phrases. One ends with his voice going up, the next ends going down. Up. Down.

But have you seen a White Sox game? Their announcer (I only know him as the Hawk, I don't know his name) is terrible. He never says anything. The batter hits the ball, the shortstop fields and throws to first to get the out, and you will hear nothing. After the play, he'll say "one down." On a strike-out of an opposing hitter, he'll throw out this annoying "He Gone!" phrase. Terrible.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Jimmy Gobble pitched a freakin' gem last night. He was perfect into the sixth, and had a chance to complete a shutout in the ninth. The guy looks about 12 years old, but he is by far the best starter the Royals have had this year.

But, of course, since the Royals are struggling so much this season, we must second-guess the manager. The radio guys were saying that Gobble's pitches were elevated in the eighth - a sure sign of a pitcher getting tired. I understand wanting to give Gobble the opportunity to get the complete game shutout, but the guy's tank was empty. He went back out in the ninth, got the first two batters out, but then gave up a double and a single to lose the shutout. Closer Mike MacDougal entered, gave up a single and 2 walks to allow the Jays to tie the game. Pena then summoned Nate Field to get the third out of the ninth.

The good news is that the Royals got a run in the top of the tenth on Aaron Guiel's homer, and held on to win. The bad news is MacDougal's failure to secure the save. Mac spent the first month of the season on the DL recovering from the flu, and had only one appearace before last night. I felt like MacDougal would have been better served to enter the game starting the ninth to give him a clean slate. Of course, he may have still given up two runs, but until he gets comfortable it seems like it would be better to avoid situations like that. Then again, that's what he's paid to do.

It was nice to get the win, and hopefully the Royals can string a few together and get out of their funk.

One other interesting thing about last night's game. Two Royals hitters wore the Golden Sombrero. Both Benito Santiago and Angel Berroa struck out 4 times last night. That's quite an achievement. I wonder how many teams have had multi-Golden-Sombrero games, and how many of those actually won their games.

BTW, I'm still trying to figure out why Eduardo Villaces got the start Saturday against the Yankees...

Monday, May 03, 2004

Shake Up...
Just heard that the Royals have shaken up the line up for tonight's game against the Blue Jays.

Here's the top 6:


Interesting. Harvey bats below Sweeney and Juan-Gone gets a demotion. This sends a message to Gonzalez - he's not been getting the job done. Guiel's back, which may signal the end of the road for DeJesus at the ML level. He's been bitterly disappointing.
It's Over
Well, it was fun to dream about an American League Central Division title, but now the dream is over. The Royals have gotten off one of the worst starts you could imagine. I won't go into all the details, but over the weekend, they were swept by the Yankees. What really has me irritated with this team, is that it looks like they themselves have given up.

Injuries have killed the team. And I can live with struggling through injuries (though the Royals' injury problems are another issue altogether). But, can anybody explain to me why they bring up a pitcher from AA who has thrown a total of 59 innings in his entire career to start a game in Yankee Stadium??? Eduardo Villasis (sp?) started Saturday ahead of Kris Wilson (in AAA and has ML experience), Jamie Wright (in AAA and has ML experience) and even Zack Greinke (in AAA, the pitching phenom who the Royals refuse to bring up because they want him to develop). They want him to develop??? Why is David DeJesus in KC? He obviously isn't developed (currently hitting .050). Why do they bring up Villases? He's hasn't been above A ball until this spring. The Royals had 66 players in Spring Training, including a country singer, but Villases wasn't one of them! And he starts against the Yankees???

And then, even more irritating, the manager of the team guarantees a division title. Excuse me, Mr. Pena, but your team is currently playing .304 ball, and you are 7.5 games behind in last place, and 9 games under .500. Let's worry about stringing together a win or two before promising division titles. The team looks lost this year. They aren't playing with any enthusiasm. They don't look interested in winning.

But the story, for me, is the injuries. We are about a month into the season, and already the following players have missed playing time due to injuries:

  • Kyle Snyder, pitcher - out for season, arm surgery

  • Miguel Ascencio, pitcher - out for season, arm surgery

  • Kevin Appier, pitcher - started on DL, came back, rehurt his arm

  • Angel Berroa, SS - out 3 weeks, migraines

  • Mike Sweeney, 1B/DH - out 1 week, sore wrist

  • Darrell May, pitcher - missed 2 starts, groin injury

  • Desi Relaford, 2B - out 3 weeks, hamstring

  • Juan Gonzalaz, RF - out 1 week, flu

  • Tony Graffanino, 2B/UT - currently on DL, knee

  • Curtis Leskanic, pitcher - currently in KC getting treatment on shoulder

  • Mike MacDougal, pitcher - out 1 month, flu

Struggling through those injuries has thrown the team into a tailspin that they can't get out of. Now, they don't know how to win. It's just sad.