See#Party 2010 – PowerShell for Developers – Material

I really enjoyed my session PowerShell for Developers at last weekend’s SeeSharpParty in Konstanz/Kreuzlingen. I did even more enjoy all the other sessions I attended during the day plus the talks with a lot of smart people.

Find the session material here.

Thanks again to all the helping hands and the .NET user group Konstanz-Kreuzlingen for making this party happen.

.NET Open Space Sued 2009 – the Spaceship took off

First of all: Excellent organization of the event – big THANK YOU to Thomas and Alex. Even vegetarian meals were covered 😉 ! Lot’s of interesting session discussions, floor discussions and evening discussions. Was really a pleasure (but exertive) to have that for a complete weekend with many competent peers.

Multiple sessions – „Schema-less DBs“ and „ORM“ – touched the relationship between .NET/OO/Client developers and database developers. I do observe that the data store is seen as a necessary evil when developing applications. My understanding is that it is more than a data tomb to dump some data in in a canonical manner. Multiple challenges we’re currently seeing in mainstream languages/environments – rich metadata, higher declarative tools to solve problems, resource management (CPU, Memory, IO), scalability, distributed topologies, parallelism, dealing with data in a set oriented manner – are solved in these database dinosaurs since decades. All in all a discussion that I would like to continue. It’s too important to use the right tool for the right job – even if 2 types of developers are involved. Finally: Did you know that database people (these inflexible guys with strange ideas…) do also discuss about topics like Agility and Refactoring?

A small session with 3, later 5 people was about „Getting things done„. A good part of the session the discussion circled around how to manage email traffic. Interesting enough as IMHO reading/writing emails is not the core competence of a software developer. We also touched Microblogging in the enterprise which triggered me to put that topic on the table again. How to manage blog reading etc. was another interesting part of the discussion. All in all a topic that could be continued in detail in a future Open Space as we all have to deal with information overload, information filtering and knowledge aggregation.

Some of my proposed topics „Administrative Toolsets“, The administrator as an additional further user“ didn’t find enough interest to be discussed. I must admit that ‚client‘ developers still don’t have these topics in their focus. But being able to provide manageable applications will be a key differentiator in the foreseeing future. Maybe these topics get a higher priority in future Open Spaces. I should be better prepared to talk about experiences I made, to come up with best practices, to propose the usage of frameworks and tools.

Still struggling if I should attend the next .NET Open Space in Leipzig, think I should…

Logitech Squeezebox Duet – First Impressions

The Concept

The Squeezebox receiver is a unflashy small device which gets some basic commands to stream audio from URLs, volume up/down etc. The value here comes from the audio decoder quality. It’s connected through LAN or WiFi.

The Squeezebox controller purpose is to act as a comfortable remote control. Technically it’s a device mainly running a customized browser. It’s connected through WiFi. To get the receiver running, you would not really need this device – you could control it with every ordinary web browser running on your desktop, netbook, mobile etc. But using the Squeezebox controller is definitely more comfortable.

The Squeezecenter is a required software component to run the Squeezebox hardware. You can use Internet radio, podcasts and the like without running your own Squeezecenter. Squeeznetwork is a customized public Squeezecenter instance. Furthermore it is used to bootstrap the process of bringing all mentioned components together. You have to have an account at Squeezenetwork and every player (software or hardware) has to be registered there.

Try It Yourself

Software player? Yes, you can test the whole setup of Squeezecenter, Squeezebox controller and player without any hardware required (Good before you buy!). The following steps are necessary:

  1. Create an account at Squeezenetwork.
  2. Download the Squeezecenter Audio Server.
  3. Start the Softsqueeze player which comes with Squeezecenter as Java Webstart application
  4. Register the player with Squeezenetwork.
  5. Connect server and player.
  6. Enjoy!

The Softsqueeze application does only mimic Squeezebox Classic and Transporter. To test Squeezebox Duet, use Squeezeplay which runs exactly the same user interface as the hardware controller. For me it worked on Windows only, I couldn’t get it to run on my Ubuntu box. Use the same registration procedure as described above.

Energy Efficiency Considerations

Keep in mind that the Squeezebox Duet setup includes 2 devices communicating over WiFi (the receiver optionally through LAN). Furthermore, to access your stored music library, you need to run a Squeezecenter instance somewhere. You can’t attach a passive USB disk to the receiver box. All in all a lot of additional energy consumption.

Although the Squeezebox receiver can be ’switched off‘ from the controller, it still keeps the WiFi (and the rest?) active to be able to get the command to ’switch on‘. I doubt it just switches of the front LED… A side effect of this is that my WiFi router, which is programmed to switch off WiFi at night, keeps it on because there is still a connected device – the Squeezebox receiver. I will install a Master Slave Adaptor and switch off the receiver with my amplifier in future.

The Squeezebox controller can be switched off and on with the Home button. The boot process takes 15..20 seconds which is acceptable. After some time not being used it switches to standby mode, disconnecting WiFi and switching off the display. The wakeup from standby takes 3..5 seconds. The worst thing is that it doesn’t disconnect from WiFi when in the loader, so I have to switch it off then.

Midterm the Squeezecenter will run on a NAS and not on my desktop PC. The NAS consumes a lot less energy than a common PC hardware. It’s also timed to switch off at night.

Pros

The Squeezebox concept is very flexible and open. Services like radio, Internet radio, podcasts, your music library etc. are melting together to a common music service. It’s the perfect gadget for a geek like me, not necessarily for the pure Audio enthusiast.

Cons

The Duet Controller reproducibly gets problems as soon as a second Squeezecenter server is added to the network (i.e. Desktop PC boot with Squeezecenter running) while the controller runs. After some strange effects (depends on what you’re actually doing) it mostly hangs. A reboot of the controller fixes it. This topic isn’t too big for me as I will setup Squeezecenter on my NAS sooner or later.

I tried the player sync option with the Squeezebox receiver and Softsqueeze. Although the sync basically worked, I had a 3..5 seconds time shift between both players – nice sound effects in my flat. Even after pausing and resuming the players the time shift was still there.

I had multiple cases in the last few days where the controller couldn’t connect to Squeezenetwork and/or to the player. I hope that this will get better if I run my own Squeezecenter on the NAS.

Conclusion

Nice gadget for a good price! A lot of plugins are available to extend the functionality (I will describe that in another post).

Welcome

After spending a lot of effort and time on intranet blogging only, I thought it is a good idea to force myself to communicate with the outside blogging world again. My previous attempts to do that are aged meanwhile. Being a WordPress fan I decided to have this new blog on wordpress.com.

Why the name of the blog? Well, I’m well-known for asking a lot of questions in conferences, meetings and presentations. It’s a part of my personality. And I’m still thinking I should keep it this way. Btw: When searching for a blog title I’ve found this nice little post about How to Be Inquisitive.

What will go into this blog? I’m not sure yet. My current thoughts: Whatever doesn’t fit into 140 characters. Whatever went onto my intranet blog but could go public. Time will tell.