a window into my world.

Layers | Screen forensics

by Benjamin Anderson 31. January 2009 13:06

This is a very cool little app for the Mac.  I don’t need it right now, but I do wish I knew of something similar on the Windows side of things.  Layers takes screen captures with each element/window in its own layer within a PSD.  Very cool.

Layers | Screen forensics

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Categories: Mac

Partial Review - Daemon

by Benjamin Anderson 30. January 2009 18:19
I haven't completely finished the book, but it is very entertaining, and I'd recommend it to anyone that enjoys sci-fi or tech thrillers.


Categories: book | review

Creating an Outlook My.Blogs Managed Code Add-in

by Benjamin Anderson 30. January 2009 17:42

This is actually a little old, but the examples and information are pretty cool for anyone wanting to add RSS and blog support to their .NET application.

Creating an Outlook My.Blogs Managed Code Add-in

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Categories: .NET | Programming

Week in Review

by Benjamin Anderson 23. January 2009 18:35

Wow, this has been a pretty crazy week.  I’ve been completely swamped at work.  Rebecca got back into town Monday night, and started school Tuesday night.  I’ve been working like crazy the last three weeks to get things ready for the multiple deadlines that we’ve had at work, but this week also had a bunch of interesting things happen in the news.

    • President Obama has his inauguration.  The Justice of the Peace jacks up the oath which brings up questions as to whether Obama can be official called the President.  This has lead to people saying that Biden was president.
    • Heartland Payment Systems announces one of the largest Data/Security breaches in history the day of the inauguration. Millions of credit card numbers and account information stolen by a sniffer within their own system.
    • Microsoft contributes to the Apache SOA project Stonehenge.  The sample looks very interesting.  It’s on my to-do list to download and experiment with.
    • Viz launched their Naruto anime subs last week on Hulu, and this week marks the first new one that hadn’t already been subbed by most of the fan groups. Viz is supposed to launch the sub episodes the week after the episode originally airs in Japan.
    • A bunch on the media is starting to pickup and examine Windows 7 with very positive reviews.
    • Microsoft announced that it will laying off 5000 people and cutting $1.5 Billion in expenses.  That’s 300K by individual they let go, so it’s obvious they are cutting more programs than they are cutting people, but it is still a huge deal.
    • Intel shuts down four plants and lays off 6000
    • Steve Jobs takes a leave of Absence.
    • Seagate announces flash update to prevent the 7200.11 drives from bricking on some systems.  The new flashed caused some drives to brick…  They are offering data recovery services for free though.
    • Tests for a new cloaking device have begun.

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Categories: life | news | technology

Twitter Turns off HTTP 1.1 requests

by Benjamin Anderson 11. January 2009 21:03

If you're a .NET developer and you've worked with interop projects before, you've more than likely run into problems with HTTP 1.0 vs. HTTP 1.1 support.  .NET supports 1.1 by default, and as a result will break requests and responses up with the HTTP 100 continue header status.  Twitter apparently turned off HTTP 1.1 within the last week or two.  As a result my extenstion for my blog had to be modified since it was throwing as exception when trying to post to Twitter.


Adding System.Net.ServicePointManager.Expect100Continue = false; to your code before making the post will fix the problem.  In a web app though, you'll want to turn it back on afterwards.  Switching states isn't a good thing, and it is application wide, so be aware of the changes.

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Categories: .NET

First Impressions of Windows 7

by Benjamin Anderson 11. January 2009 20:00

I'll start off by saying, I already use Vista.  I use XP.  I use Windows 2003 Server and Windows 2008 Server.  I beta tested every version of Windows since Windows95, so I've had my experiences with beta operating systems.

Windows 7 is nice.  The taskbar takes a little getting used to, but it works.  The updated versions of the included apps aren't anything to really write about, they are still too under featured to evaluate in comparing operating systems, but they are nicer looking and work very well.  Mind Sweeper now requires a GPU for it's fancy effects, but they aren't required to play the game.  The HomeGroup feature looks kind of nice, but I'll have to setup another VM to see how it really panes out.  MediaCenter updates are nice too, but it crashed while I was playing with it.

 All in all, it is nice and stable, but I think I'll install the 64-bit version on one of my laptops to give it a fly one a more general usage, including some development work.  My experience in the last three hours hasn't differed from that of the 98, XP or Vista betas.  A couple of "oh cool" moments and very few problems setting it up, but it will need to be really used before the real evaluation occurs.  Windows98 beta worked great until you selected a video in explorer.  XP beta worked great until you tried to install certain apps.  Vista's beta was actually on of the more stable betas, but driver support and some legacy apps didn't work.  Windows 7 looks like it will be more like the XP beta since there are fewer architecture changes.

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Categories: mental dump | software

The Future and Concerns about Obama's road ahead

by Benjamin Anderson 11. January 2009 19:10
With the many different financial and employment situations people are dealing with lately, it isn't a surprise that so many people are looking for change.  Every Presidential election has Change touted as its main purpose, but this election for so many meant something more than it has in most recent history.  It didn't surprise me that Obama was elected, nor did the fact that the media played such a large role in the election shock me either.  It did how ever baffle me that so many "sources" were pushing, and still are pushing Obama as a change leader.  I don't have anything against the man, nor do I think he will fail, but I do think he will fail to meet expectations.

The media isn't helping Obama now that the election is over, instead they are over hyping and over inflating the people's expectations.  Every news story that comes out from sources such as MSNBC,  CNN, and the New York Times are pushing him further and further up the ladder of unrealistic expectations.  The media served their own agenda in getting him elected, now for their own health and his ability to get work done, the media needs to step back and off of the topic for six months.  As it is, Obama's supporter will be ready to crucify him in six months if things are drastically different than they are right now.  The saddest part isn't that this is an unrealistic expectation, but that the majority of Obama's blind voters were lead by the media and are too ignorant to know enough about the complexities of our government, our economy and the intertwined relationships of our economy with the world's.

The financial "crash" hurt other countries as much as it hurt the US.  When the number one economy trips up after drastic and overhyped inflation, it takes the rest of the world with it.  Some are impacted more than others, but the countries that aren't impacted are either completely isolated or are hurting too much to be hurt farther.  As a result, unlike other "crashes" and "crisis" times, this one will take longer to recover from.  Inflation has taken its toll on the world, and as a result our paper, our time and our possessions are worth less now than they ever have been before.  No President could ever fix that.  Our Government can't fix that.  It requires the people to regain confidence and start over to rebuild the country.  It takes all the selfish and blinded people of the US to take action on their own, which isn't something that the generations outside of nursing homes have every had to deal with.

I'm confident that things will start turning around within the next six months, but they will not be fixed.  The stock market will recover in the next 4-5 months and indexes will rise above what they were a year ago, but there will still be people without jobs and even more people struggling to put their lives back together.  The last 10 years have seen too much exponential growth in too many areas for us to just get up and walk away.  The housing market blew up.  Health coverage has blown up, and continues to rise.  Until the entire world start to struggle the oil market was trying to gouge the world for its own gain.  As a result of impatience and greed, the world's economic stability tripped on its face.  Now everyone has to begin to fight for better deals, work for better, more healthy profits and actually work for a living.

The next country that will fall on its face within the next 10 years will be India, then followed by China.  The difference is, India's and China's struggle will be a result of the US companies tightening belts and cut the fat.  Less money will be throw away over seas for whatever comes across the board room table.  India's exponential salary growth and inflation will do itself in, causing the outsource industry to crumble, and therefore causing the companies depending on that industry to re-allocate jobs in other countries and move them back home.  China's manufacturing industry will begin to lose out to "greener" manufacturing processes and see it's thin profits eaten away by the cuts for green production and less production.

 The housing market will begin to build nice, but smaller homes for energy and financial reasons, which will lead to less people buying for the fun of shopping simply because of less living room than the exponential housing market lead people to believe they needed.  This will lead to companies manufacturing smaller quantities of their key products, which will also lead to less manufacturing over seas.  China's factories will not be able to handle to small production runs and be able to move on the next project without increasing costs, which will begin to drive productions back home and to other countries.

 I've wrote all of this to say; if the media wants to help Obama, they need to stop hyping him and start praying for him.  There isn't a man on earth that is going to fix this problem.  There isn't a cabinet of people that can fix this problem within a year.  The only one that can pull us out of the mess is the one that can see all of the mess, and that is God.  Along those lines, it is time for all of us, whether we voted for him or not to pray for our next President and his advisers.  They will need all of the help they can get, and when it comes down to it, we're all in this mess together and we all have to work together to get each and everyone one of us out of it.  There wasn't a single person or group of people that got us into this mess to begin with and there isn't a single person or group of people that will get us out, unless that group includes everyone.

Greed, pride and selfishness were the things that got us in this mess to begin with, it's time to run away from those three poisons and work together to get us back where we need to be.

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Categories: life | mental dump

Networking Problems

by Benjamin Anderson 4. January 2009 20:34

I’ve always known that there was a problem with the Auto Negotiations for my 1Gb network, but I’ve never looked into it much because there were a lot of other factors playing into the problem.  My newest desktop is an HP Elite m9180f, which has a Core 2 Quad Q6700 and 4GB of RAM, so it is plenty fast and it can really take a beating during development work.  But it has been the slowest device on my network, including the wireless and 100Mb devices.  It has a Broadcom 1Gb chipset, but while diagnosing the problem it ran faster at 100Mbps Full Duplex than it did at 1Gb.

Here were the issues that contributed to the slowness:

  • Vista’s network buffer and auto management.  In order to improve performance Vista will auto manage the communication buffer so that it can expand and shrink it as it sees fit.  I’ve disabled this completely and have seen drastic improvements.  The settings also disable several of the more advanced communications changes in Vista’s new network and IP stack, but my old network equip doesn’t support any of it anyways.  I also saw improvements at 100Mbps after disabling it as well.
  • Disable the wireless chipset on the desktop.  This model includes a 802.11n chipset, which works well, but Vista gets confused as to which network it should communicate with when both NICs are on the same network and subnet.  This might not be as big a deal now that I have the duplex issues resolved, but I haven’t tested it yet.
  • Removed an old Netgear 1Gb switch.  It was my first 1Gb switch, but I’ve had it for at least 5 or 6 years, and it isn’t working correctly.  The iMac won’t even communicate with it at any speed.  In order to remove the switch I had to rewire most of my network and move some of my equipment to another room in the house, but everything is running much faster now.
  • Part of the problem was covered up by bad Time Warner Cable service, which slowed down all of my systems when accessing the Internet.  This is still an issue a lot more than I’d like, but it isn’t related to this system.  It did how ever cover up the biggest internal networking issue.
  • Concurrent back ups.  I have two Home Servers, an older smaller one used for my business machines and a newer larger capacity one for my personal machines and Rebecca’s desktop.  The backups with running on top of each other, and were saturating the network since both machines are on a switch on the on the other side of the house connected with an up link to my main switch at my desk.  I also have other backup devices scattered out on the network that kicked off around midnight till 2:00AM and everything ended up running over the top of each other.  I’ve rearranged the backup scheduled to speed them all up some.


The issue was really only noticeable when transferring data from one of the NASs or from the Windows Home Server for my personal machines, but today it started impacting everything, including dropping my transfer rates to and from the internet to below 500kbps.  That makes working on a project over the VPN impossible.  I tried to watch some streams on Hulu, but it was so slow that the videos could never even buffer.

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Categories: troubleshooting

Review: Brisingr (Book 3 of the Inheritance Cycle series)

by Benjamin Anderson 2. January 2009 12:30

Christopher Paolini’s third book is a little bit of a let down.  While it was still good, especially for a fantasy novel geared towards the younger audience, it was less entrancing and pulling than the first two books.  The other part of the problem is that Paolini tries too hard to make up an alternate universe and languages, which makes following book three more difficult, especially after having read the other two books so long ago.  While I’ve enjoyed other series that make up languages and vocabulary for their universe, I’ve never had as much difficulty keeping it all on track as I did with Brisingr.  Instead of pulling you in to the universe, all the language and terms pull you back out of it while you attempt to remember what it all means.

The third part of the saga of Eragon’s struggle against the evil empire is entertaining and still worth picking up, but it is not as good as the first two books.  Readers will feel the drag as they force their selves through stories about the dwarf elections and forging of swords.


Categories: book review


by Benjamin Anderson 1. January 2009 08:38
I finally graduated, as of the 19th.  Which means I'm finished with school.  Indefinitely.  I will not be going back for another degree.  I might do other things, take classes and stuff but I will not be committing to school again for another long term session ever again.

My Dad ordered me a Kindle for a graduation present, but they have been on a waiting list since November, so it will ship sometime in March.  You'd think that Amazon would have a little better understanding of the demand for their product.  I just hope that the management and teams for the Kindle supply and development are not the same as those overseeing their infrastructure and cloud technologies...  If so, then once demand ramps up for things on the processing side, several customers are going to find themselves up a creek without a paddle due to the lack of processing resources.

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Categories: life | school


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About the author

Benjamin is a software developer in the DFW area.  He spends his free time playing video games, programming, doing graphics design and photography, and reading.

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