Oh my God

Sometimes I cannot forgive and these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we’re better, scales were gone and faces lighter
When we wake, we hate our brother, we still move to hurt each other

Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent
Falls below my heavy breathing, What makes me so badly bent?

We all have a chance to murder, we all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder
Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up, all the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds, hospitals that cannot treat

All the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children – this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers – this is our greatest offense

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

Jars of Clay – Oh my God

on10 has video of the Xbox 360 Elite

Xbox 360 Eliteon10′s Tina Wood has an interview with Albert Penello about the soon to be released Xbox 360 Elite, including a Xbox 360 Elite sitting on the desk in front of them. Albert talks about the new features, the HD support with a HDMI cable included.  It comes with an audio adapter that will split out the audio for people with surround sound. It won’t be a HD-DVD player though. Another important point he makes is that there will be no exclusive Xbox 360 Elite only games or content.

He also talks about the upgrade options available.  It’s coming with the same free pre-loaded content that the premium Xbox 360 pack.  You will be able to upgrade to the 120GB drive separately if you already bought the harddrive pack.

Very nice. I like the black too.

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Gears of War movie on its way

Gears of WarWell if we can’t have a Halo movie, we’ll take Gears of War.

New Line Cinema have bought the rights to a movie version of the top-selling Xbox 360 game Gears of War.  The screenplay will be written by Australian Stuart Beattie, one of the writers on the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.   Movie adaptations of games do not have what I would call a stellar reputation (think Doom, Resident Evil or *shudder* Street Fighter), but New Line have a good reputation and Pirates, while not being a cinematic masterpiece, was definitely good fun to watch.

There’s no word yet on what the story-line will be, but there is suggestion that it will be a prequel to the game. The Variety article notes

Epic developed an extensive backstory in hopes of utilizing it for a film as well
as potential novels

I don’t know if there’s anything to this, but I find it kind of ironic that Peter Jackson was going to direct the now halted Halo movie, while New Line have picked up Gears.  Jackson and New Line are in the middle of a rather ugly dispute over royalty payments from Lord of the Rings, which has had the added effect of stopping the development of the rumored Hobbit movie.

You've really got to wonder sometimes

UK Fireman faces punishment for risking his life in rescue

Tam Brown, 42, is the subject of an internal investigation by Tayside Fire and Rescue because he breached safety rules during the rescue in the River Tay in Perth.

He spent eight minutes in the cold water and at one stage feared that he would be swept to his death. But after dragging the 20-year-old woman to safety he was told by his employer that he had acted improperly by risking his life.

Mr Brown, who has 15 years’ experience as a fireman, was hailed as a hero by the young woman’s family but Tayside Fire and Rescue said that he had broken the brigade’s “standing instructions” on safety procedures.

But wait, there’s more…

The brigade’s rules state: “Personnel should not enter the water.” The fire crew should instead have tried to haul the woman out using poles and ropes.

Stephen Hunter, chief fire officer of Tayside Fire and Rescue, admitted that fire engines in Perth were not equipped with the correct poles and ropes, but insisted that Mr Brown had broken the rules.

You’ve seriously got to wonder.  This followup Courier article says that Tam was cleared and has now been commended by CFO Hunter.  Hunter is quoted in that article as saying:

It is important to stress that at no time during this investigation did principal managers indicate that any firefighters involved in this incident would be the subject of a disciplinary investigation.

This myth has been perpetrated by the Fire Brigades Union.

However, in the Times article he’s quoted as saying:

We know they broke procedure because we know he went into the water. We are investigating exactly what happened, and once that is concluded we will consider what action is necessary. That could include disciplinary action.

No, they didn’t say they would be the subject of an investigation, just that they could be.  Yes it’s all the nasty Fire Brigades Union’s fault for muddying these very clear waters.

Always implement the ToString() method

One of the great features of Visual Studio is its debugging interface.  The ability to watch variables change through the code and inspect them on the fly is invaluable.  The on-hover inspection and quickwatch dialogs are great if you’re dealing with lots of variables or long lists that need analysing.  Being able to view the value of a whole list of objects at once is great.  But this only works for simple data type objects (string, int, float, etc.).  More complex objects just show the fully qualified type name.  This can become really frustrating if you’ve got a long list of objects and you’re trying to find a specific one. 

The reason for this difference is that when it’s displaying your variables, the watch dialog does an implicit ToString() call to display the ‘value’ column.  If ToString() hasn’t been implemented, it calls the ToString() method of the base object type, which as mentioned, just returns the fully qualified type.  However if you do implement ToString(), it can be a God-send when you’re debugging.

Here’s a trivial example:

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Week in review (11-17 Mar 2007)

Firstly, Scott & Vivian had a new (as yet unnamed) baby girl.  Go say congratulations.


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WordPress Plugin Directory

WordPress have just (read: finally!) released the public WordPress Plugin Directory where you can download all the plugins that have been submitted to the development plugin site wp-plugins.org.

Plugins now have a permanent download link, because the directory always takes the latest version and links straight to the download file.  It also provides stats on downloads over time. Brilliant!

From the post, here are the benefits to plugin developers:

  • Exposure to the millions of people who visit WordPress.org every month.
  • Free SVN hosting for GPL plugin development at wp-plugins.org. (Like always.)
  • Automatic download packages and free hosting of those.
  • Statistics about how many people are using and downloading your plugins.
  • Prominent links to your homepage, and the ability to specify a Paypal donation link from your plugin page.

Here’s a link to all my plugins on the directory.  This is so very great.  Thanks to Matt & his team for getting this up & running.

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ReSharper 3.0 Pre-Beta release

JetBrains have released the first EAP version of ReSharper 3.0.  According to the 3.0 Roadmap, the 3.0 release is going to be mostly about adding in VB.NET support for ReSharper.  There is a full list of changes for this build available here.

VB specific changes:

  • Rename works in Visual Basic
  • The following refactorings work in Visual Basic:
    • Rename
    • Move type to another file
    • Copy type
    • Move static members
    • Introduce variable
  • Live templates work in Visual Basic (not all macros work; no bundled templates)
  • Type name completion (Control+Alt+Space) works in Visual Basic
  • Smart code completion (Control+Shift+Space) works in Visual Basic

Non-VB specific changes:

  • TO-DO Explorer (try ReSharper -> Windows -> To-do Explorer)
  • Solution-wide error analysis (enable it by checking the ReSharper -> Options -> Highlighting -> Analyze whole solution checkbox)
  • Automatic member reordering (configured at ReSharper -> Options -> Member Order; configuration UI is plain XML for now as the options are not finalized yet)
  • More context actions and quickfixes
  • Suggestions
    • Make field read-only
    • Make parameter type more specific
  • XAML is supported (to the extent of recognizing symbols declared in XAML files and resolving some references; more will come in future builds)

Download here.  I’d highly recommend installing this in a Virtual PC image if you use your machine for development normally. I’m using the Orcas CTP image, that way I get to test two things at once. 

Windows Server 2003 SP2

Microsoft has released service pack 2 for Windows 2003.  There’s a summary of what’s new on this TechNet article, and a full list of updates here.  There’s a marketing promo for installing the service pack, the most interesting points of this release for me are:

  • Utility improvements
    Making common tasks easier, SP2 introduces customer-driven improvements to the Domain Controller Diagnostics tool (DCDIAG) and MS Configuration (MSCONFIG) tool. SP2 also has an updated Access Control List (ICACLS) program to allow for greater flexibility when backing up Access Control Lists.
  • Management tools made easier
    SP2 includes the Microsoft Management Console 3.0 (MMC 3.0). MMC provides a framework that unifies and simplifies day-to-day system management tasks on Windows by providing common navigation, menus, toolbars, and workflow across diverse tools. MMC tools (called snap-ins) can be used to administer networks, computers, services, applications and other system components. MMC does not perform administrative functions, but hosts a variety of Windows and non-Microsoft snap-ins that do.
  • Performance improvements
    Service Pack 2 offers performance improvements for Windows Server 2003 running as a Virtual Server guest under high Advanced Processor Interrupt Controller (APIC) rates. It also improves SQL Server performance under intensive workloads. Both of these improvements lead to more efficient data processing.