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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here. December 2007 Entries
nothing like holidays to really get some work done...
The last few days have been incredibly productive for me, in terms of cranking out VB.NET XNA samples. Not only did I post several new conversions, but I also managed to wrap up two that had been giving me trouble since day one. The Bloom PostProcess sample and the Billboard sample have both been a real pain to convert, and I had pretty much given up on both of them until just recently. I've learned a lot from converting some of the recent samples (I've learned something from all of them really) ......

Posted On Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:22 PM

if your date starts misbehaving
My good buddy Paul Pearce (Roanoke, VA) shares this relevant tip: This affects those of you supporting Classic ASP. There is a bug in DatePart that makes it occasionally return the wrong week of the year ("ww") Apparently the first day of the first week of the year returns as week 53 sometimes (3 times per 28 years, once per 400 years)... and of course 12/30/2007 is one of those times :) So... pages that figure out the week and period are saying that 12/29 ......

Posted On Thursday, December 27, 2007 9:28 AM

Thank You Shawn Hargreaves
One of the earlier XNA samples I tried converting from C# to VB.NET was the Bloom PostProcessing sample (original sample here.) After converting the code, I fought with it nearly every night (after work) for several weeks trying to debug it and get it to perform properly. It seemed I was plagued with problems and eventually shelved it, writing it off as one of those things you just can't do in VB.NET. After I knocked out several more samples, and learning a lot more about what works and what doesn't, ......

Posted On Monday, December 24, 2007 10:12 PM

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all my friends at GeeksWithBlogs and to everyone else that reads my blog.


Posted On Monday, December 24, 2007 9:48 PM

oh, you actually wanted to WATCH your tv?
For the last 6 weeks, my DirecTiVo has been on the fritz. I have called DirectTV EVERY WEEK to get someone out here to fix the problem. Their phone support is largely unhelpful, usually giving up fairly quickly after the standard scripts run out. Eventually, I got someone to show up after 6 weeks of calls. I ended up taking the day off waiting on this clown who didn't check the dish, didn't check the wiring, didn't check the signal, etc... and pronounced my receiver dead. He ordered a new receiver, ......

Posted On Friday, December 21, 2007 9:05 PM

Eve Online yes or no?

My son wants to play Eve Online. I don't mind WoW or City of Heroes (although we dropped that one due to inactivity) or Guild Wars (no monthly) but I don't know anything about Eve Online...

Have you played it?

What do you think?

Would you let your kids play it?

Posted On Friday, December 21, 2007 2:48 PM

Butt Numbing Code-a-thon II
Last year we tried and failed. (Ok, we had a LOT of fun, and got a lot done... but we didnt finish.) We were too ambitious, we tried to do too much (we quite possibly also hit the pub and drank too much) and most importantly we let Jason get a little carried away with the whole Framework thing... This year things are going to be different. I've got a plan. We're using TorqueX... We're using the Platformer Starter Kit... George is doing graphics. Jason and I are doing programming and I'm helping George ......

Posted On Friday, December 21, 2007 2:26 PM

Rock Band
Seen on XKCD

Posted On Friday, December 21, 2007 1:51 PM

Twin Cities XNA User Group update
We had our second meeting last night and it went really well. Everyone that could make it did a terrific job and we got to see some really impressive stuff. A big thank you to Microsoft and Magenic as usual for providing swag, pizza and a terrific place to meet. Currently, the plan for January 17th (3rd Thursday) is to focus on TorqueX. Chris Williams will be speaking and demoing some beginner TorqueX stuff and we're going to see if we can get someone to do a second, more advanced session the same ......

Posted On Friday, December 21, 2007 12:19 PM

XNA Collision Detection in VB.NET
If you're interested in XNA Code Samples, Starter Kits and Tutorials then the XNA Creator's Club Website is a fantastic resource. Unless of course, you're looking for samples in VB.NET... Fortunately, all is not lost. Yours truly has been very busy this holiday season, converting the various Code Samples and Tutorials to VB.NET just for you... I've still got a long ways to go, and I haven't touched the starter kits, but I have finished converting the 2D Collision code. (This includes all three examples ......

Posted On Friday, December 21, 2007 10:59 AM

The "WoW Ancient Enemies FragMat Mousepad" Review
The World of Warcraft "Ancient Enemies" FragMat Mousepad review Let me start by quoting the marketing materials: "The World Of Warcraft® Ancient Enemies FragMat Gaming Mouse Pad from Ideazon™ provides your mouse with a smooth surface ensuring precise and accurate control. It is made of high quality materials for both laser and optical gaming mice and provides you with high gaming performance. With Non slip under-padding, slim profile of 0.07-inches and a excellent gliding surface, this Mouse Pad ......

Posted On Thursday, December 20, 2007 11:20 AM

That's no moon...

 I have no idea what this all means, but it sounds really cool!

Galaxy Zapping Neighbor With Deathly Beam:

Posted On Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:34 PM

December Twin Cities XNA User Group Meeting

The December meeting for the Twin Cities XNA User Group is tomorrow night at Magenic.

If you're in the area, come check it out.  Just be sure to RSVP so we have enough pizza!

Please visit the site for more details.

Posted On Wednesday, December 19, 2007 2:45 PM

MS Adsense?

In continuation of my previous post (Google Adsense) does anyone know if MS has a similar offering yet? (I'm sure it's coming at some point...)

Just curious.

Posted On Wednesday, December 19, 2007 10:49 AM

Google Adsense
On the off chance anyone hit www.ILoveVB.NET tonight around 11:30CST, you may have seen some Google Ads showing up... for about 5 minutes I guess. They're currently turned off again. Honestly I haven't decided if I like them or not (regardless of whether they generate any money.) I'm really not thrilled with how they look on the site and I'm even less thrilled with the "relevant" content they are showing. (The "Free VB Code" stuff was fine, the "Get A Date" stuff was not.) I'm pretty sure some/all ......

Posted On Tuesday, December 18, 2007 11:53 PM

11th Grader hoaxes internet community
11th Grader gets detention for being a jerk, not for using FireFox. This is priceless for several reasons. The story is pretty brief, but it's the comments that make it worth reading. Watch how the angry and self righteous comments gradually turn from targetting the teacher to the student once they realize that it's a hoax. If half the people who claimed to send hate mail to the teacher actually did so, he or she has a lot of reading ahead. ......

Posted On Tuesday, December 18, 2007 4:44 PM

Caligari GameSpace review
I've been messing with this in my occasional free time for a few weeks now. If you havent heard of it, it's a fairly high end 3D graphics authoring environment specifically for Game Devs. There's also a lite version, which this review focuses on. The full version is about $300 and the "lite" version is free. From what I can tell, the lite version offers a decent subset of the full package. Less polygons and less export formats to choose from, no plugins, a watermark and no real support to speak of, ......

Posted On Tuesday, December 18, 2007 12:55 PM

Where the heck did 2007 go?
It's hard to believe that we are 2 weeks away from 2008. So much has happened in the last year... I've gone from traveling 100% to zero. I've been on 3 different gigs for Magenic and moved across the country from South Carolina to Minnesota. I've owned and sold a retail game store and drank a hell of a lot of coffee in the process. I've seen new people come into my life in one way or another and seen good friends leave. I've said hello and goodbye to a LOT of people this year. I've made a lot of ......

Posted On Monday, December 17, 2007 8:56 PM

HA! mentioned on Dot Net Rocks

Recently HA! got mentioned on DotNetRocks.  (If you're interested, it's here at around the 30 minute mark.)

The whole show, about Open Source, is actually quite good. So even if you don't care about HA!, give the show a listen.


Posted On Monday, December 17, 2007 12:44 PM

Twin Cities Code Camp 4
Twin Cities Code Camp 4 is right around the corner (and by that, I mean less than 4 months away) on April 5th, 2008 at New Horizons. You can visit here for more details: http://www.twincitiescodeca... and the call for speakers is open. I'm helping out with rounding up some killer swag for this one, and I'm hitting all the usual suspects (book publishers, software shops, etc...) but if you're interested in donating something to be used as a giveaway, feel free to contact me via the blog ......

Posted On Sunday, December 16, 2007 11:35 PM

Twin Cities Geek Dinner

If you're in the Minneapolis or St Paul area, you are invited to come to a geek dinner at my house.

This first event is capped at 15 people, so let's see how it goes.  Time to "break in" the bar in the basement.

When:  Thursday December 27th, 2007 at 6PM. 
What:   Geek Dinner, of course.... menu TBD. 
Where:  RSVP for directions

We'll have some Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Halo3 action going on, along with good food and some geek talk.

Posted On Sunday, December 16, 2007 11:21 PM

tis the season
This is the time of year that people pass around all those fun little flash games like snowball fight, polar bear penguin toss, etc... So here are a few I've received recently: Buddy the Elf's snowball fight: Polar Bear Parking: Penguin Toss: Santa Line Rider: Enjoy ......

Posted On Sunday, December 16, 2007 8:48 AM

Brrrr, it's freakin COLD here

I know, I know, you're looking at this and wondering why the hell I'm up at 7:25am on a Saturday... but focus on the important stuff... it's FREAKIN COLD here!!

Yes, it's celcius... I set all the thermometers in the house to celcius when I moved here so I could watch my kids flip out whenever they see double digit negative temps... cruel? maybe... funny? definitely.

Posted On Saturday, December 15, 2007 7:32 AM

The Twitter Problem
aka "Who gives a twit, really?" As a technology geek and an "always on, always connected" kinda guy, I love twitter. I think it's a neat idea. The micro-posts, or tweets (tweets? twits? I dunno...), are an easy way to let people who actually care know what you're doing and where... without bothering the ones who don't care. One message to Twitter via my gTalk, can easily save me from having to write (or copy and paste) 10 messages to the same people. It also saves me from having to have an actual ......

Posted On Saturday, December 15, 2007 7:16 AM

VB.NET yesterday, today and tomorrow

Scott Hanselman has recorded a podcast with Paul Vick and Paul Yuknewicz about VB.NET yesterday, today & tomorrow.


Posted On Saturday, December 15, 2007 6:40 AM

New Batman movie info

This one's primarily for Theo (who has dropped off the face of the earth lately...)

There are some new Batman: The Dark Knight posters and a theatrical trailer. Assuming it hasnt been yanked already.

I can't WAIT to see this one...

Posted On Friday, December 14, 2007 12:36 PM

Awesome gift for your favorite geek...

I want one of these for christmas...


Posted On Friday, December 14, 2007 12:28 PM

What Would YOU Do if Burger King Discontinued the Whopper?

The Great Whopper Freakout

What Would YOU Do?  Would you get mad? Would you be sad? Would you behave in a way that is bad? 

Posted On Friday, December 14, 2007 12:21 PM

Jeff baked me a cake!

Jeff baked me a cake for being top of the hill on posts.  Thanks Jeff!

edit:  and apparently the crack in Canada must be really really good... Or else D'Arcy is getting his fix during his periodic trips across the border. He does come down here a lot, after all...

Posted On Friday, December 14, 2007 8:41 AM

XBOX 360 Return Process
For those of you who have had to return your XBOX 360, please share your experience with me. I havent returned mine yet, but I think I will be soon. Shortly after the most recent update, I started experiencing some really odd graphical problems. Green, and lots of it, starting appearing on my screen. Not just during DVD games, but on XBLA also, and even when I played DVD movies. More and more green on screen. No Red Ring of Death, just lots and lots of green on screen. I am going to wait a little ......

Posted On Thursday, December 13, 2007 9:27 PM

Hellgate London review
I don't get many chances to play games any more, at least not for lengthy periods of time. It's usually a few minutes here and there. I haven't played WoW in well over a month, although I sign in periodically just to stay updated on patches. So I'm not really sure why, but I picked up a copy of Hellgate London a few weeks ago. I think it was the cool looking box that did me in. I even bought the Collector's Edition in the big ass box. I'm a sucker for packaging, what can I say? Anyway, I let the ......

Posted On Thursday, December 13, 2007 9:11 PM

Twin Cities .NET User Group Installfest
Tonights TC.NETUG meeting / VS2008 was a total blast! In addition to getting a free copy of VS2008 and a cool VS2008 tshirt, I also won a copy of Ninety-Nine Nights (360) and got to play Rock Band (guitar) in front of about 125 people. My lowest score was 98% and I got at least one 100%. Our "set list" included Dead or Alive, In Bloom, Should I Stay or Should I Go and Maps. Jeff Brand recorded a video of our "band" which I named XNA of course. I'll post a link to the video once Jeff posts it online. ......

Posted On Thursday, December 13, 2007 7:11 PM

XNA 2.0 out...


Posted On Thursday, December 13, 2007 2:22 PM

Convincing your family you "need" Windows Home Server

Brian Lanham already blogged this, and if you don't read his blog, why not?

If you've been on the fence about Windows Home Server, or just enjoy good marketing, you have to read this:

It is absolutely brilliant. It's also, quite possibly, hilarious.


Posted On Wednesday, December 12, 2007 1:30 PM

Spike Video Game Awards

My DirectTV / TiVO is completely hosed and has been for a couple weeks now.  The repair guy won't be showing up until 12/18 (lucky me.)

So I missed the Spike Video Game Awards on Sunday, and I'll likely miss the upcoming reruns for the foreseeable future.

Did ANYONE happen to record these? I would really really like to watch them. Drop me a line if you did.


Posted On Wednesday, December 12, 2007 1:08 PM

bad day at work
Yesterday was pretty frustrating for me. I try not to blog negatively about clients, especially current ones, but I'll make an exception for this. As usual, no names will be used. Our environment uses separate servers for static image hosting. No big deal. Yesterday, I had to deploy a bunch of static images from development to these servers. Not having done this before, I looked at the server map, confirmed I had the names right (we'll call them Z1 and Z2) and pushed the files out to both servers. ......

Posted On Wednesday, December 12, 2007 12:02 PM

my 21 thoughts on starting a user group
Sometimes people ask me what it takes to get a good user group going... so hopefully these tips help to minimize the pain a bit. 1. INETA ( won't even talk to you until you've had at least one meeting on your own. Then you go to their site and fill out an application. (You'll need to register on their site first.) 2. CodeZone ( works basically the same way. Both of these will net your group some free swag, and INETA will get you a couple speakers per year. 3. Find out ......

Posted On Monday, December 10, 2007 12:21 PM

Web Dev Helper

My buddy Ramesh is trying to organize a fund raising effort to solicit donations from developers who have benefited from using Web Development Helper, created by Nikhil Kothari.

He has outlined his request here:


Posted On Monday, December 10, 2007 11:31 AM

Why Heroic Adventure! looks like crap...
Ocasionally I get people who email me and ask why HA! doesn't have all the gnarly graphics of, oh I don't know, Diablo or some other kickass game. Read this and get back to me. (Thanks to my artist buddy George who pointed it out to me.) In this case, I was actually aiming for a specific style (that of the Roguelike game) but the advice to "Build a game that fits your level of art skills" is certainly valid. It's why you don't see me trying to crank out a 3D game. and for the record, I LIKE the way ......

Posted On Sunday, December 9, 2007 12:43 PM

TCXNAUG Member Projects
The December 20th meeting of the Twin Cities XNA User Group promises to be a good one. We've got the following members presenting some projects they have been working on. Be sure to visit the website and RSVP so we know how many people to expect. Member Projects Justin Chase will show us Drop In, a 1 or 2 player game featuring a simple MinMax algorithm for AI. The object of the game is to get five pucks of your color in a row by dropping pucks into a column and by rotating the game board. Greg Wurm ......

Posted On Friday, December 7, 2007 12:22 PM

Maryland trip part 3
So yesterday was the big day at St. Mary's. We did another mid day session, and then last night was the final judging for the senior game projects. There were some pretty interesting concepts on display and it was obvious an amazing amount of work had been done (by SOME of the teams) in the time given. It snowed pretty much all day, so we were a bit worried about what kind of turnout we would have, but since almost all of the students live on campus, we had a great turnout! Thankfully we had plenty ......

Posted On Thursday, December 6, 2007 8:20 PM

We're getting a fair amount of snow here (in Maryland) today.  Our flight leaves DC very early in the morning, so HOPEFULLY we won't end up getting stuck.  The snow is supposed to stop tonight, but that doesn't necessarily mean that everything will be clear at 5am.

Apparently, there's a fair amount of snow falling in Minneapolis as well (or at least there was yesterday.)

I like snow as much as the next guy, but I like being home more.

Posted On Wednesday, December 5, 2007 12:43 PM

Maryland trip part 2
So the first day went really well, the lodge we stayed in was very old and cozy (in a good way) and very WARM. We left the lodge around 10am (after getting a bit of work done) and walked to the building containing Alan's office and hung out with some of the students for a bit before going to lunch with them. We got to see a bit more of the campus since we were walking everywhere. Very nice area and it was good to be back in this part of the country. (I grew up in Virginia, so this is *like* home.) ......

Posted On Wednesday, December 5, 2007 12:40 PM

Maryland trip part one
The flight in to DC from Minneapolis was great, as far as I know, I slept through most of it. The last 10 minutes are so were pretty rough though, very windy. It was fairly late by the time I arrived, so the rental lot was a little sparse. Free upgrade to convertible sounded good, except for it being incredibly cold. So I doubt we'll take advantage of that feature. After an hour and a half drive to St. Mary's City, we met up with Alan and Lindsay and they showed us to the lodge. The lodge was really ......

Posted On Tuesday, December 4, 2007 10:51 AM

Blizzard and Activision MERGING??
I'm having a difficult time imagining what will come from this. Good, bad or other. Huge fan of Blizzard. Not a big fan (at all) of Activision. I guess if you take things that rock and combine them with things that, well, don't... you should prepare for mediocrity. Part of what makes Blizzard great is the ability do the right thing, without bowing to pressures to ship an unfinished game. I don't see that staying intact with Activision. I'm being unfair, ......

Posted On Monday, December 3, 2007 2:49 PM

St. Mary's College of Maryland
In about an hour, I'll be heading to the airport to catch a flight to DC, and then ride to Maryland (St. Mary's City) to St. Mary's College. Andy "The ZMan" Dunn will be meeting me in DC and riding out with me. We'll be talking about XNA, hanging out with some students, evaluating some final projects, etc... should be fun. I'll be out there Tuesday and Wednesday, and then fly back early Thursday morning ......

Posted On Monday, December 3, 2007 2:41 PM

A Zune Christmas Story
It's a short story with a crappy ending (so far) Man buys super special Halo 3 Edition Zune. Zune Breaks. Man sends in super special Halo 3 Edition Zune for repair. Man receives fixed (though beat up) plain old Zune, NOT super special Halo 3 Edition Zune. Man contacts Zune support. Zune supports tells man "Too Bad, So Sad." Man pissed, Man blogs. Show him some support at his blog: And if you work for Microsoft, make his day (and his ......

Posted On Monday, December 3, 2007 12:25 PM

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