Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hot Dog

While my wife and I were on vacation, my parents were kind enough to take care of our Old English Sheepdog, Molly. They live out in the woods near Kenora, so this is a real treat for Molly because she can run free out there; plus, my parents are retired and home during the day, so she isn't alone as much.

Now, life with Molly is always a bit of an adventure, so when we got back from Hawaii we called to ask how things were going, and sure enough my parents had a lot of stories to tell. Most of them were pretty typical Molly stories (running directly at oncoming vehicles, licking one of my dad's leather slippers so thoroughly one night that it is now hard as a rock since it dried out, and general tales of her legendary clumsiness), but one story truly stood out.

As the story goes, one night shortly after we left, my parents were relaxing in the house watching TV. As with most dogs, Molly likes to be wherever the people are, so she was lying in the room with them, off near a wall. As they all sit there, my dad begins to pick up the scent of something unpleasant. Now, Molly is well known for her profound ability to light up a room, so to speak, so assuming Molly has just let loose, my dad continues to watch TV in hopes the smell will soon dissipate.

As the minutes pass, however, the smell not only remains, but it strengthens. And it doesn't smell quite like gas... it smells like burning. So my dad starts to look around for a fire. He wanders out to the kitchen, around the house, looking for the source of the smell. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, but the smell is still there. As he is doing this, Molly goes to the back door and waits to go outside, so my mom lets her out.

Over the next few minutes they continue to look around for the source of the smell, but nothing seems amiss. So they resume watching TV, and sure enough the smell starts to lessen.

Later, Molly barks to come inside. As my dad lets her in the door, he discovers the source of the smell: all down one side, Molly's fur is a nice burnt orange. It seems she was sleeping next to an electric baseboard heater, and her fur must have pushed up against the heater coils and caught fire. Luckily she didn't go up in flames, but rather the fur must have smoldered for awhile, causing the smell. It seems that she never even noticed, and most likely just went outside to either avoid the smell, or because she was feeling a bit on the warmish side... likely from being on fire!

Looking at her now, about 2 weeks after the incident, the burnt fur isn't very noticeable, although it does cover quite a large patch of her right side. My dad says that for the first few days it was very obvious, and that everyone who saw her immediately asked what she'd gotten into, or why her fur was discolored. So he would have to tell them the story of Molly catching on fire, and most listeners would respond by telling him that he'd better trim the fur off and pretend that nothing happened if he ever expects to be able to watch his soon-to-exist Grandchild.

All I can say is, he's going to have to try harder than that if he wants to get out of babysitting.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lots to talk about, so little time

I can't believe all the stuff that's been going on that I haven't blogged about! Obama is on his way to the White House; our own politicians back home are acting like children at best, idiots at worst (and I mean all of them, Harper, Dion, Layton, the whole lot); I spent 10 days in Hawai'i; I did a presentation on WPF Data Binding at the Microsoft Tech Days conference here in Winnipeg; and many more little things that I've been itching to spew opinions on. Oh, and my wife is 7 months pregnant.

Unfortunately, life has been a bit of a maelstrom and I just haven't taken the time to nurture this web site. Hopefully this post will be the beginning of the renaissance here at Chez Code Baboon.

So, with all the amazing things happening right now, what am I going to talk about first? A petty annoyance with a technology, of course!

At Tech Days everyone received a free copy of DVDs containing videos of every presentation from Tech-Ed 2008. I was pumped, so this evening I plopped a DVD into my computer and got ready to see what all was on there. There is an absolute boat-load of content, so MS has provided a Silverlight app to allow you to search and discover the content and figure out what disc it will be on.

Sounds great, right?

Well, it would be if the app on the DVDs wasn't written in Silverlight 2 Beta 2. You see, I like to stay current, and Silverlight 2.0 RTW has been released so that's what I have installed. You'd think the final release would be able to handle running an app written in Beta 2 of itself, right?


That's right, the DVD tells me I need to install Silverlight (specifically Silverlight 2 Beta 2). It provides me with a link to the Silverlight download site, but that site kindly informs me that the page I was redirected from is running an old version of Silverlight and needs to be updated to the latest version. Seriously, check it out (you may need to click the image to see it in full size to read the hilarious text in green):

Kinda hard to update something burned onto a DVD.

I tried to uninstall Silverlight and follow the link again, but it just had me install the 2.0 release again (since it is the latest version, after all). In order to actually view the content on those discs, I ended up having to Google search for the Beta 2 bits where I eventually found them on some filehippo site. I downloaded and installed it anyways; I mean, if you can't trust filehippo, who can you trust? Of course, the upshot here is that I now can't view any Silverlight sites written for 2.0. Sweet!

I've noticed problems like this before with Silverlight apps. It seems like there are about 25 different versions of the Silverlight framework out there, and none of them can view apps written in older or newer versions than themselves.

MS needs to sort this crap out; this is not the path to becoming the Flash/Flex Killer they aim to be.