Back to Profile: Lwatson


  • Larry Osterman - The toughest technical problem that Larry faced

    The toughest thing I can remember doing was getting a Commodore 64, and AIM 65 Data monitoring bit of kit and a Modem and a Voice synth connected to a Battery backup and the phone. With all manner of weather monitoring stuff and power line monitoring sensors so we could create something we called Weather Voice. Back in 1985.

    The tricks were getting serial communications to occur between the aim and the C64 on the modem. But we needed to leave enough of the modem intact to allow it to sense a ring and pick up the phone. Then we had to impose the Voice synth output onto the phone line via a hand wound transformer (8 ohm to 300 ohm if I recall correctly)

    I remembered I hand crafted the rom firmware in in a cartridge that we wire wrapped together to read the AIMs data and craft a weather report. You could call the thing from anywhere and get the weather up to the minute. BP, Rainfall, Wind Speed and direction, We even had cloud cover sensors with trends. It was pretty cool. Of course I farged the wire wrap job and forgot to reverse the pin connections initially. So I just bent all the firmware roms pins up 180 degrees and inserted the chip into the socket upside down and mirrored. Worked like a charm.

    I can say that Database apps in .NET are a hell of alot easier now.Perplexed

    I'll bet Larry has seen some seriously kludged stuff like that as well...

  • Brian Jones - New Office file formats announced

    JoeShak wrote:

    Not sure what your point is.  For those wanting more clarity around the licensing, the following page is very good: https://www.microsoft.com/Office/xml/faq.mspx

    Actually that page points to the Old Office 2003 XML FAQ. Anything about the new stuff has yet to be made fully public. If we assume that things stay more or less the same, then My original assertion remains. Most anything we chose to write in .NET may use Microsoft Patented Code. If the application is running on windows it may use Microsoft Patented Code. Thats is all....

  • Brian Jones - New Office file formats announced

    JoeShak wrote:
    LarryOsterman wrote:This is PATENTLY UNTRUE.  Read the page again.

    You need to include the following language in your products (prominantly displayed in both the license and documentation):

    "This product may incorporate intellectual property owned by Microsoft Corporation. The terms and conditions upon which Microsoft is licensing such intellectual property may be found at https://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/odcXMLRef/html/odcXMLRefLegalNotice.asp."

    Simply reading the notices is NOT sufficient.

    Absolutely - I stand corrected.  Sorry for the confusion!  I am not a lawyer and should not be trying to interpret legalese.   Nonetheless, it's still relatively painless, royalty free and you don't have to sign a contract with Microsoft.

    But can't that be said of any application that is written in .NET and runs on Windows anything?

  • Brian Jones - New Office file formats announced

    Its about time....

    Finally a format that I can leverage directly without COM control of an installed OFFICE application. Our Grid control will finally be able to write to an Excel file directly. Our letter managers will be able to do the document creation from Word teemplates without having to COM interop on word thus avoiding all the mess that is Com interop with version differences and different default conditions in one installation over another and what not...

    Kudos Microsoft for finally listening...

    Let the countdown begin....

    T minus 1.5 years and counting.... sigh....
  • Tony Goodhew - The path to Orcas, (future Visual Studio), studying the market research

    I for one can't see the new stuff come in fast enough. My one issue with the new is how to deploy to something that only now, got the old. (How can I justify to my clients that the need exists for a rollout of the 2.0 framework when they only recently got the 1.1 framework and all its patches in place, is one example.)

    By an large the new stuff coming in the next VS and perhaps the one to come after that on the surface appear to be pointed at coding style rather than methodology. Doing things with generics or partial classes rather than learning a whole new language and api. The framework is still there, there is just some new stuff along with it. Some if the NEW stuff is really compiler tricks (ie Partial Classes) not really new paragigms for development. Really now the .Net framework and the C# language is approaching 5 years in the wild now. I hardly think that its been radically changing overnight.

  • Jim Gray - A talk with THE SQL Guru and Architect

    Of course at almost 1 hr long...They might have had to cut somethings out. I am also sure that the content gets filtered in some way. Geeze it would have to and not just because Micosoft is who they are, any company in a simillar situation would be foolish NOT to at least examine such content.

    A fascinating listen though. I definately downloaded it just to watch it again...

  • Michael Connolly and Jim Horne - Talking about MSN Spaces

    I realize that the thing is beta right now, but, its completely unusable. Always down or unreachable. Maybe if the servers were not able to handle such a mass of influx then they should not have released to the world. It just leaves a bad taste that even a fixed and stable product won't wash away
  • Larry Osterman - His one interaction with Bill Gates (over DOS networking stack)

    Beer28 wrote:
    I wouldn't worry about it. Bosses always try to act like what ever they did "in the day" was god like compared to what employees are doing. I've had it happen to me as well.

    I'll have to keep that in mind since I am now the grizzlebeard of the bunch and often muse about past goings on 'In The Day'

    Beer28 wrote:
    I don't have anything against .NET, don't get me wrong. I won't use it over C++ and standard libraries either, but I don't have anything against it other than it's huge and it's not shipped with the system. I'm not posting this to be inflamatory either.

    I agree that being shipped with the system would be a giant step in the right direction. I agree that a fresh winxp build takes 3 or 4 trips to the update site to bring in-line with 20+megs of patches before even getting to the runtime. That said the benefits of Managed code development over C++ talking to COM or even MFC are just far to great to be ignored on the basis of ( If it aint in the box I won't use it ). Simply put its just another requirement to have this on your machine to run that. Is it a pain in the posterior? Absolutely. Is it worth that pain? The answer is once again Absolutely.

    Being upset about 60k being used up back then for something like a network stack, read as (Your are saying that My lotus spreadsheet wont load up any more because I can now get a file from that machine over there?, without getting out of my seat) Guess what? Everybody would just continue to get up out of their seat and go and get the files via the good old sneaker net. Anyone who thinks otherwise never had to futz around with memory managers on a real mode dos env just to get some stupid game to run for little Joey, or do the same thing just to get some bloated beyond usability spreadsheet to load up for Joey's Dad...

  • Gavin Bierman - Microsoft Research in UK works on database query language


    One thing that is needed in these samples is the source for the Northwind.dll this way a person could presumably create a BHIS.dll or some other database accessor dll paterned after the northwind.dll and experiment with Cw in a data collection that had some meaning to the person rather than the Oft used and now tiring Northwind... ( There just is not enough data there to make anything experimental be of much use to the PHB's of the world ).

  • Boyd Multerer - What would you show a fellow developer in Xbox Live's source code?

    I would love to see some source for the game software that Microsoft has pushed out over the years. Flight Sim for example, or Age of empires, or Dungeon Seige. I know that these game houses developed their wares and were bought by microsoft for the most part but I would still like to see the things.

    For my own development I wrote our own display grid that we use all over the place in our development efforts. I wrote it initially so that I could get around some of the limitations inherant in the standard data grid that shipped with the .Net env. (Like getting mouse events on a cell without cumbersome tricks) It has since grown into a small lightening fast, feature rich grid control with all sorts of user options (Programatic and manual) It can easily handle half a million rows and is still responsive when that full. It has taken me over 1 year to write it on and off but I can say its now pretty powerful. I am pretty proud of that baby. Another thing  I wrote is a  thing we call claims explorer. Its used by our clients to display correlated day level detail about claims activity, authorizations for that activity,  and eligibility and capitation (think of capitation as Dues for membership, in the commercial sector that would be your premiums paid every month, in the public health sector thats the kick in that the governing body pays for a member usually also monthly). The tool is pretty powerfull showing all manner of detail graphically. With day level detail is easy to find descrepencies between payments and claims being paid, Authorizations for service and services rendered, or eligibility and services rendered. These things happen more often than anyone cares to admit, and are costing the healthcare system Gobs of money anually. Of course our grid is used in this thing also.

  • Kevin Schofield - Tour of MS Research's University Relations Group

    Keskos wrote:
    Her last statement didn't make sense to me though. She said these new programs will help universities to recruit more women and minorities. That doesn't make sense, because throughout the conversation she focused on how to get more women on computer science programs, at the end she mentioned the minorities. Miniroty men are not women.

    Frankly, it is a mistake to recruit more women for the sake of it. I wish there were more women, but what I have seen is that, they are less likely to work in front of a computer like males for long hours. I guess it is against their nature. Artificially increasing women participation may work against the women themselves, maybe you are encouraging them in the wrong career.

    I'll agree that the last statement was a bit off but to say that Woman in general won't work long hours in front of the computer is just not right. I have seen many a guy who is just as averse to do the long stint. There are plenty of professions where men and woman put in some of the most grueling work one would ever want go through.

    Case in point:
    How about ER Staff Doc and Nurses, male and female. How would you like to work a 48 hour shift taking a 30 min nap on a gernie(sp?) in the back closet every 12-14 hrs. Until recently that was the way it was for medical students and nurses. Trial by fire in the ER. Makes you wonder how someone coming in the door with a knife wound ever survived.

    The point is that given the same sets of circumstances, folks with the inclination be they male or female can become a very good at (Insert you profession here). Computer science is certainly in that list.

    Clearly there are things that are making some woman look elsewhere, these barriers should be sought out and torn down.

  • Kevin Schofield - Tour of MS Research's University Relations Group

    I believe that I have echoed this sentiment before in response to some of Sara Fords video here at channel 9 but I will say it again

    In my own experience here locally with a technical college I found that the actual course matter was lacking in any definitive energy. The connection between what was being done in class to real world application was broken and there was just no fire there. By the time 3rd or 4'th quarters had rolled around most of the woman had bolted for greener pastures. Some of this observation was echoed in this piece when the examples of just making the courseware more applicable to real world application rather than the contrived and seemingly pointless exercises present in so many texts and courses that I have been subjected to through the years.

    For the record I met my wife in this technical college, she was taking the same courses I was taking. Her reasons for sticking around in the course I have come to understand was because I was there or she was going to leave it also. (I guess I am grateful for that at least but I am saddened to think that something as simple as some real world applicability might be what is stopping some woman from perusing a carrier in computing sciences)