Christopher Diggins has a post on his blog about how to become a better programmer. He has some advice: share some code!

"I encourage all programmers to find some public code sharing forum, such as CodeProject.com, and take the plunge and share some code with the community. You may be surprised at how much more you have to learn than you have to teach. The people who learn something from your sharing experience will also be grateful, and will make the experience that much more gratifying."

In fact, many programmers have trepidation about sharing their code in a public setting, mainly because no one likes being judged or criticized.

I have shared some pieces of code on CodeProject.com (Chart Control .NET and Wizard Control .NET), both of them being pretty well received by users. Sharing code is actually a kind of test that you endure. You need to be prepared for criticism, and you have to take some action to prevent you code from becoming obsolete.

One side effect of this kind of sites is that they allow you to read other people's code. I don't think, though, there is one single most effective thing to improve coding skills, but code samples always gave me a jump-start at any new domain a needed to cover.

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BitTorrent Inc., makers of software technology used before to download pirated copies of movies, is launching a Web site that will sell downloads of films and TV shows licensed from the Hollywood studios.

The content is protected by Windows Media DRM and will only play back using Windows Media Player.

BitTorrent is betting that at least one-third of the 135 million people who are using the software will be willing to pay for high-quality legitimate content rather than take their chances with pirated fare.

New movies will cost $3.99 and older films will cost $2.99 to download. TV shows will be $1.99 though high definition versions will be $2.99. Once downloaded the TV shows available via the service can be kept indefinitely but movies can only be stored for up to 30 days.

BitTorrent also hopes to encourage the creation of a community around the entertainment site where customers will be able to post videos they have made for others to download, targeting market share from sites such as YouTube.

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Business 2.0 has published the second annual Next Net 25 list of startups that are pointing the way to where the Web is going.

Many of their choices are still here: Digg, Trulia, Technorati, JotSpot, Writely. The last two were snapped up by Google, though. But one of the 25 succeeded even beyond wildest expectations: YouTube, purchased in October by Google for a game-changing $1.65 billion.

Let's hope their list of 25 startups to watch in 2007 will hold the test of time.

Via: Business 2.0 Blog

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Cristi Potlog's Weblog (http://cristipotlog.blogspot.com) is worth $1,129.08, according to Dane Carlson's Business Opportunities Weblog.

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Virtual PC lets you create separate virtual machines on your Windows desktop, each of which virtualizes the hardware of a complete physical computer.

New features include support for running Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional, or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.

The Virtual PC application requires a 400 MHz Pentium-compatible processor (1.0 GHz or faster recommended), and requires approximately 20 MB of disk space.

You cand download your free copy from Microsoft Downloads

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The Mono Project announced yesterday that it has developed a Visual Basic compiler that will enable software developers who use Microsoft Visual Basic to run their applications on any platform that supports Mono, such as Linux, without any code modifications.

Visual Basic .NET support in Mono is relatively new. The Visual Basic runtime has been available for Mono for a while, and with the release of Mono 1.2.3, the Visual Basic support will be complete, with the introduction of a self-hosting compiler and class libraries for Visual Basic development on any of the Mono supported systems.

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Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 (SP2) enables existing SQL Server 2005 users to take advantage of the enhancements within Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system.

SQL Server 2005 SP2 is available for download here.

Key enhancements to SQL Server SP2 include the following:

  • Data Mining Add-ins for the 2007 Microsoft Office system enable data mining functionality from SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) to be used directly within Excel 2007 and Visio 2007.
  • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) compatibility with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides integration with the Report Center in SharePoint, enabling the seamless consumption and management of SSRS reports within SharePoint.
  • SQL Server Analysis Services improvements for Excel 2007 and Excel Services relate to performance and functionality.
  • Data compression (varDecimal) is an important feature for data warehousing scenarios, requiring less disk storage of decimal data and increasing overall performance.
  • Manageability enhancements, based on customer feedback, provide management capabilities for database administrators such as improvements in database maintenance plans, enhanced management reports and a new copy database wizard.
  • Management reports added to SQL Server Express Edition enable customers to get insights into the performance of their Express Edition and SQL Server Compact Edition databases.
  • Interoperability improvements including Oracle support in the Report Builder feature enable customers to use its functionality on top of Oracle data sources. Customers also have access to SQL Server Reporting Services to build reports on top of Hyperion’s Essbase cubes.

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The latest version of the DirectX SDK is now available. New features in this release include updated libraries to support the initial release of Windows Vista, In addition, several new samples and articles have been added.

NOTE: DirectX no longer supports the targeting of applications for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, or Windows ME.

You can download the software at Microsoft Downloads.

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"Yahoo!'s new Pipes service is a milestone in the history of the internet", says Tim O'Reilly on his blog. Maybe is an overstatement given that it's hard explaining the significance of a new product when the immediate benefit to consumers may not be so obvious, but the technology looks promissing.

Pipes is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator. Using Pipes, you can create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant. It works like a visual procedural programming language with the output of the process dropping out at the bottom, in the form of text output, RSS, SMS alerts of even JSON. You can use feeds, user input or other pipes as input.

Yahoo! Pipes lets people make highly customized feeds that combine information from multiple sources and weed out the junk. Pipes could, for instance, enable a feed that includes New York Times articles featuring the phrase "plasma TV," Flickr-posted pictures taken in a specific neighborhood, and traffic updates along a commute. So, instead of drowning in headlines from standard feed aggregators, the user gets information that is winnowed down and personal.

The name of the service pays tribute to UNIX pipes, which let programmers do astonishingly clever things by making it easy to chain simple utilities together on the command line.

So if you're interested in an interactive on-line data mashup construction set, check out some existing pipes developers have created. Watch the Yahoo! Developer Network blog for more...

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Here's a new article about Jeff's Hawkins latest startup, called Numenta, is on its way to creating the first truly intelligent computer - a thinking machine that, in essence, learns the same way the human brain does.

Numenta has nothing to do with the field known as artificial intelligence. Their approach is radically different.

Computers running Numenta software will not be programmed like regular computers. Rather, algorithms that Numenta has come up with allow machines to learn from observation, just as a child learns by observing the world around her.

A white paper describing Hierarchical Temporal Memory is now available, and can be downloaded here (PDF).

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With the release of the January CTP of Orcas, Microsoft is announcing two important changes to the Visual J# offering:

- J# 64-bit Runtime Support Information

and...

- Retirement of J# language and Java Language Conversion Assistant from future versions of Visual Studio

The J# language and JLCA tool will not be available in future versions of Visual Studio. To preserve existing customer investments in J#, Microsoft will continue to support the J# and JLCA technology that shipped with Visual Studio 2005 through to 2015 as per our product life-cycle strategy.

For more details see this: Product Announcement

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A short film by Kansas State Cultural Anthropology Professor Mike Welsh. Find out what happens when content and structure finally break-up and structure gets a place of its own.

Pretty interesting if you pay attention to details.

Link: Web 2.0 (2nd draft)

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