Chris Pietschmann

husband, father, hacker, entrepreneur, futurist, innovator, autodidact

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Can you do 100? Pushups that is.

Today, I was introduced to hundredpushups.com, via a Tweet by Scott Hanselman. In short, the One Hundred Pushups training program is a simple program that requires about 30 minutes a week of exercise doing pushups, with the goal of working up to being able to do 100 consecutive pushups at the end of the 6 weeks program. This is such a simple program, it's free, and there isn't much easier than doing pushups.   What is the hundred pushup program? Here's a quote from the website: If you... [More]

Why wait for Windows 7? Dell XT has Multi-Touch already

Really the only feature that Microsoft has promised for the next version of Windows after Windows Vista, is Multi-Touch. We're all becoming familiar with the idea of multi-touch displays thanks to the iPhone and iPod Touch, but it's about time for this capability to come to the PC (or rather Laptop / Tablet). I haven't owned a Table PC yet, but I've had my sights on getting one for a while. I just found out that the Dell XT (Dell's version of the convertable laptop / tablet) ... [More]

C#: Generate WebPage Thumbmail Screenshot Image

There are a few services out there that serve up screenshots of any webpage for you to display on your website. One popular one is Kwiboo; this is the one that DotNetKicks uses. For some time now I've wondered what the easiest way to do this in .NET was, and today I stumbled upon the undocumented WebBrowser.DrawToBitmap method that makes this extremely easy to do. By the way, I stumbled upon the WebBrowser.DrawToBitmap while taking a look at the source code for the WebPreview tool over at SmallS... [More]

Free Vista SP1 Support through March 18, 2009

Microsoft is offering Free technical support for Windows Vista SP1. Free, unlimited installation and compatibility support is now available for all worldwide customers using Windows Vista SP1. Telephone support is available worldwide. Some countries also offer Chat and Email support. This is effective from now until March 18, 2009. Find out more information and access the service here: http://support.microsoft.com/common/international.aspx?rdpath=1&prid=11274&gprid=500921 ... [More]

dotNetExt - .NET Extension Method Library - v0.1 Beta Released

This is the first release of a small, new project I created. This is just the first release of the project, and I'll keep adding more functionality to it if there is enough interest by me or others in the project. So, please post any comments you have in the project discussion area. dotNetExt - .NET Extension Method Library dotNetExt is a small Extension Method Library for .NET 3.5 that extends the BCL Types with helper methods that make simple tasks simpler. So far there are extensions for the ... [More]

C#: Enhance Enums using Extension Methods

Extension Methods are one of the coolest features that have been added in .NET 3.5. I've heard arguments that there is no reason to use them, and the only reason Microsoft added them is to enable the ability to buid LINQ. Well, I do not entirely agree with that statement; in fact, I have found a cool way to use Extension Methods to enhance the System.Enum object since it cannot be inherited. Even though Enum can not be inherited, it can be extended using Extension Methods. [More]

Bing Maps: Polygon Search - Is Point Within Polygon?

Today, I found an article on MSDN that covers how to perform a polygon search to determine if a given Lat/Long point is within a given Polygon. I copied the logic for searching within the Polygon and made it more reusable than what is posted in the MSDN article, so I thought I'd post it here. if (GeoHelper == undefined) var GeoHelper = {}; GeoHelper.IsInPolygon=function(points,latlong) { // This code adapted from the following URL: // http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc451895... [More]

Community Coding Contest to start July 1st - Chance to Win MSDN Premium Subscription with VS'08 Team Suite, plus more

A few weeks ago Microsoft sent me 3 MSDN Premium Subscriptions with Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite to give away to members of the community. I thought long and hard, and the best way I could come up with who to give them to is to hold a coding contest. So I'm happy to announce the Community Coding Contest! I don't have the website up yet, but I'll get it up as soon as I can. The website is now Live! What are the Rules? Here are the basic rules for the contest. Once the webs... [More]

ASP.NET: Fix for WebParts + UrlRewriting/UrlMapping Issue

The problem with using WebParts with UrlRewriting (or UrlMapping) is the WebPart PersonalizationProvider uses the path of the page being rendered to save/load the personalization state, not the path that was rewritten that the user sees. So, to fix this you just need to create a custom PersonalizationProvider and override all the methods that reference path, and call the base methods but pass in the path that was requested instead of the path being rendered. Here's a SqlPersonalizationProvider I... [More]

Plot ZipCode Boundaries on a Map: Part 2 - Import Zip Code (U.S. Census ZCTA) Data Into A Database

Now that we've Made Sense of the U.S. Census ZCTA ARC/INFO Ungenerate (ASCII) files in Part 1 of this series, we are ready to import the U.S Census ZCTA Zip Code data into a database. In Part 2, we'll create database tables and import the Zip Code Boundary data into those tables in a MS SQL 2005 database. Create SQL 2005/2008 Database Tables First lets create a couple database tables to hold all the Zip Code boundary data. One table will hold the ZipCodes, the other will hold all the Boundary Po... [More]

Plot ZipCode Boundaries on a Map: Part 1 - Making sense of U.S. Census ZCTA ARC/INFO Ungenerate (ASCII) files

One question that I get fairly oftern is "How do I plot Zip Code boundaries on a map?". Well, the answer isn't simple, well at least it hasn't been. So, I've decided to write a series of articles going through the steps needed to obtain Zip Code boundary data, makes sense of it and plot it on a map. I'm not sure how many parts this series will be, but it'll probably be at least 3. Where do I get Zip Cod Boundary Data From? There are a number of campanies that sell geocode data that includes Zip ... [More]

Silverlight and JavaScript Interop Basics

I've been looking into Silverlight in my spare time a bit, to see what it has to offer, and the JavaScript "Interop" is actually pretty neat and simple to use. About three months ago I wrote a post titled "Working with HTML DOM in Silverlight using the Bridge Pattern"; so I think this time I'll go over some of the basics involved with communicating back and forth between Silverlight and JavaScript. This article is written by referencing Silverlight 2 Beta 2, but should still ... [More]

Virtual Earth Staging Environment Launched

The Virtual Earth team has officially launched their Virtual Earth Staging Environment. The staging environment allows you to access all the features of Virtual Earth (during development and testing) without incurring transaction costs against your production account. How do I access the Virtual Earth Staging Environment? Simple, just use the following url when you include the VE JavaScript Control in your page. Notice, the only change in the url is the "staging." in the beginning, otherwise the... [More]

Web.Maps.VE 2.0 Released - ASP.NET Virtual Earth Mapping Server Control

Today, I released Web.Maps.VE v2.0!! I had originally planned to release it on June 30th, but was able to reach that goal about 2 weeks early, so here we are. Web.Maps.VE v2.0 builds on top of the previous v1.0 release, and adds many new features. If you aren't familiar with Web.Maps.VE, it is the industries first ASP.NET Virtual Earth Mapping Server Control. It enables you (the developer) to implement MS Virtual Earth mapping into your ASP.NET web applications by writing only server-s... [More]

Bing Maps ASP.NET: Web.Maps.VE v1.0 Update, v2.0 Coming Soon

Today, I released the 8th update (v1.00.08) release to the Simplovation Web.Maps.VE v1.0 ASP.NET AJAX Virtual Earth Mapping Server Control. This control has come along way since the initial (v1.00.00) release last October. It greatly simplifies the implementation of Virtual Earth into any ASP.NET web application by enabling full server-side (.net, C#, VB.NET) control of the map, while eliminating the need to write javascript/jscript. Unless of course you want to write javascript; in which c... [More]

Medical Technology - Robotic Assisted Surgery

One of my family members recently had heart bypass surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System from Intuitive Surgical. Robotic assisted surgery seems like something from the future, but it's done today and it pretty freaking cool. Here's a video demonstrating the da Vinci Surgical System: http://www.intuitivesurgical.com/products/da_vinci_video_overview.aspx Go check it out!

Software Development Meme - How I got started programming

Ok, I'm it. I've been tagged by Larry Clarkin with the latest questionnaire floating around the blogs. This one is focused on how everyone got started into programming. How old were you when you started programming? Even though I first started playing computer games on the family Apple IIe when I was 3 years old; I didn't actually get started into programming until I was 14. I still can't really believe that my dad trusted a 3 year old (me) to take the 5.25" floppy disks in and out of the c... [More]

Amazon.com is down

Wow, Amazon.com is currently down. It just shows a message of "Http/1.1 Service Unavailable". I know this isn't really worth a full blog post. I was going to Twitter it, but Twitter is down for maintenance at the moment.

Virtual Earth: Get Center Lat/Long When In Birdseye or Oblique Map Style

One of the tricky things that you need to work around when programming Virtual Earth is the VEMap.GetCenter() method doesn't work when displaying the Birdseye or Oblique Map Style. I'm not exactly sure what the reasoning for this is, but this is one thing that I would like to see fixed in a future version. Luckily, there is an unsupported method of doing this. The code shown below gets the center Lat/Long coordinate for the BirdseyeScene being shown, not the actual center of the M... [More]

ASP.NET 3.5: Create AJAX Extender Controls using the ExtenderControl base class

As a followup to the "Create AJAX Server Controls using the ScriptControl base class" post I wrote a couple weeks ago, I've decided to write on how to create ASP.NET AJAX Extender Controls using the ExtenderControl base class in ASP.NET 3.5. There is already an article titled "Adding ASP.NET AJAX Client Behaviors to Web Server Controls" in MSDN, but it doesn't show all the code involved in creating Extender Controls, especially the JavaScript code. What is an... [More]

Mount ISO Images in Vista x64

In Windows XP I used the Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel Utility from Microsoft to mount ISO images to virtual drive letters, but surely Microsoft has built this functionality into Windows Vista, right? Wrong. It would be nice, but they haven't built this into the OS yet. I hope they do in the next release. Well, this utility doesn't work under Windows Vista. I thought I was out of luck, but a quick search revealed a new option to try. The new utility I found to mount ISO images under Windows Vist... [More]

My Virtual Earth Interview on The Thirsty Developer podcast

A couple weeks ago, while attending the Heros Happen Here launch event in Milwaukee, I ran into Larry Clarkin who is co-host of The Thirsty Developer, and we recorded The Virtual Earth Edition episode that he just released today. In the podcast, I talk about how I got into Virtual Earth development, and give a good overview of the Virtual Earth product, among other things VE related, including the Virtual Earth JavaScript Intellisense Helper and my Web.Maps.VE product. Listen here: The Thir... [More]

DNR: Building Communities at Dallas TechFest

I just listened to episode #344 of DotNetRocks, that was released last week. This episode is on the topic of Building Communities, and the benefits of user groups. Normally each episode is very informative and top notch, but this episode is really rather interesting. Even though this is really not so much tech related, I really encourage anyone interested in user groups and dev/tech communities to take a listen. Building Communities at Dallas TechFest

Silverlight: Load JavaScript from Embedded Resource and Execute Within Page

I've been playing around with Silverlight 2 Beta 1 alot lately, and one of the areas I've been focusing on is interoperability with JavaScript and the DOM. Here's a technique I've found that allows you to inject JavaScript into the page from within your Silverlight application. This example also starts with the idea that the JavaScript you are going to inject is stored as an Embedded Resource within your Silverlight Application. Step 1: Create your JavaScript (.js) file and... [More]