Chris Pietschmann

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


My Top 10 Tech Netcasts (podcasts)

There are alot of podcasts being produced out there. I've had trouble over the last couple years in finding good quality podcasts to listen to. Here's a collection of the podcasts I listen to regularly: Windows Weekly - A weekly look at all things Microsoft including Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Xbox from the foremost Windows expert in the world, Paul Thurrott of the Super Site for Windows Security Now - Steve Gibson, the man who coined the term spyware and created the first anti-spyware p... [More]

JavaScript/AJAX Example 1 - Load File Asynchronously and Display within TextArea

Here's a basic JavaScript/AJAX example that demonstrates the process of asynchronously requesting the contents of a file and displaying it within a textarea. Download Code Here I've done alot of JavaScript/AJAX programming from scratch (without using any AJAX frameworks) over the last couple years, so I thought I would share some of what I've learned. This is the first of a series of examples that I'll post if there is an interest. So, please let me know if you want me to post more.

Cheap PC - Build a Vista Premium Ready system for under $500 including the OS

People keep talking about how Vista (w/ Aero enabled) will only run on high-end systems, and that everyone will have to buy a new computer in order to run Vista. Well, I have a laptop thats 3 years old (2.4Ghz Celeron, 512MB Ram) and it runs Vista ok without Aero glass enabled (because it doesn't have a capable video card). Based on that, pretty much any system that is 2 years old should run Vista (w/ Aero enabled) just fine as long as it has 1GB Ram and a video card that support DirectX 9. ... [More]

Virtual PC 2007 released with improved performance!

Microsoft released Virtual PC 2007 today. I've been waiting for this since Virtual PC 2004 wont install on the 64-bit version of Vista. I just installed Virtual PC 2007, turned on hardware virtualization and loaded up the Ubuntu virtual machine I previously installed on Virtual Server 2005. I'm actually seeing that the exact same Ubuntu virtual machine performs much better under Virtual PC 2007 running on the same PC as it did under Virtual Server 2005. I did see one peculiar th... [More]

I've been slacking lately...

Basically, I haven't been working on much in my spare time lately. A week and a half ago, my wife and I got back from spending a week in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We went to an all inclusive resort and everything was very relaxing. Neither of us had ever flown, so this was a whole new experience for both. Well, it basically took a week to get back in the flow of things after being in paradise for a week. And, now that I'm back in the flow, I'll be continuing work on all my side proj... [More]

Ubuntu 6.10 is the easiest version of Linux thus far!

I've installed many distributions of linux (different versions of Red Hat and Mandrake) over the past seven years to play around with and the install process was always a little cumbersome. The user doing the install was always required to have some technical knowledge to get things installed and configured. I have to say though that Mandrake 10 was the easiest, that was until now. I installed Ubuntu 6.10 last night and it was a breeze. It actually took me longer to get Microsoft Virt... [More]

Setting Up Ubuntu with virtualization on Vista x64

I've decided to make the leap into Ubuntu; well sorta. I'm going to run it in a Virtual Machine for now. I'll set it up in a multi boot on my main pc once I'm more familiar with Linux and related stuff, but then again I may keep it running in a virtual machine if virtualization works out well enough. Below are the steps I took to get things setup. Step 1: Install Virtual Server 2005 R2Since I have Vista x64 installed on my pc; I am forced to use Virtual Server 2005 R2 instead of Virtual P... [More]

Apple iPhone has been confirmed, but functionaly similar to Windows Mobile Phone

The Apple iPhone has been confirmed. I wasn't anticipating much for this thing, but it sure looks sweet. There are no keys, you just touch the screen. There seems to be alot of posibilities with this. The iPhone also runs Mac OS X. Here are some links to images of the iPhone: I wonder what kind of development tools/options they will have available for the... [More]

Get Office 2007 FREE until Feb. 26

FREE copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2007 and Microsoft Office Groove 2007 when you attend a Windows Vista, 2007 Microsoft Office system, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 launch event! The luanch events are happening between Jan. 16th and Feb. 26th; so be sure not to miss the one nearest you. Now this is pretty cool! Microsoft seems to be building a reputation of giving away some of their big products for Free at their respective launch events. They have also done this back in 2005 wit... [More]

My first look at VS'05 Team Edition for Software Testers

I've been meaning to dig in and get to know unit testing for quite some time now. Tonight I dove in and took a look at the Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers. Unit testing is actually quite easy to do. The Getting Started with Team System Testing Tools section in the MSDN library has some nice How-To's on getting started with unit testing using VS'05 Team Edition.

An Open Source Virtual World like Second Life

In Mark Shuttleworth's post "#6: Sensory Immersion" he mentions that the open source community needs to take the idea of Second Life and innovate. An Open Source "Second Life" like virtual world would be very cool. Granted that anyone could take the code and make their own virtual world out of it. But, then what's the point? We would end up with 1,000 virtual worlds. We would need to create some standardized protocols for this type of virtual system to run on; much the same as how the Web and ... [More]

Vista Experience Update: Vista Sidebar Gadgets

There 11 Sidebar Gadgets that come baked into Vista. Some basic ones like a photo  Slide Show, Calendar, Clock, CPU Meter, RSS Feed Headlines, Weather and a couple more. But, what if I want to create one that offers different functionality? How can I create a custom Sidebar Gadget? It's actually rather easy to do. As long as you are comfortable with HTML, JavaScript and CSS with splash of XML. The Gadget Development Overview article in the MSDN library explains how easy it is t... [More]

Vista Experience Update: Windows Vista x64 runs 32-bit Internet Explorer by Default

The Internet Explorer shortcut in the Quick Launch toolbar and in the Start menu of Vista x64 will run the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer by default. Why run the 32-bit version if IE on the 64-bit version of Vista? There are actually two shortcuts for Internet Explorer in the "All Programs" menu. Why two and what's the difference? Here's the title of each and the exe's they run: Internet Explorer"C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" Internet Explorer (64-bit)"C:\Progra... [More]

Vista Experience Update: DVD Backup Programs

Vista doesn't have any DVD backup programs builtin, but I'm just testing a couple of the popular DVD backup programs and they work perfectly. The programs I've tested: DVD Shrink 3.2 DVD Decrypter DVDFab Decrypter - Free Edition I'm actually seeing that the performance of DVD Shrink is a little higher on Vista 64-bit versus the same machine running WinXP 32-bit. Updated 9/24/2007: I added links above to pages where you can download the above mentioned software.

64-bit Vista no longer available on MSDN?

Apparently I downloaded the 64-bit version of Vista at a good time. They have since removed it from the list in MSDN subscriber downloads. I wonder why they removed it? Update 12/11/2006: I don't know exactly when they put it back up, but Vista x64 is back up on MSDN Downloads.

Vista Experience Update: Vista automatically defragments your hard drives for you

I guess this is one of the changes they made to always keep Windows running smoothly. When Windows Vista is installed it automatically sets up a schedule to defragment your hard drives once a week. You no longer need to remember to defrag your hard drives once in awhile in order to keep your system running efficiently. Now, this is a feature that I was a little surprised they didn't add in XP, but I'm glad it's here in Vista. One thing I always thought was a little interesting is if you check ... [More]

I have Windows Vista Ultimate x64 installed in a dual boot with WinXP Pro

The installation went really smooth. I just booted up the box with the Vista intallation DVD in the drive, and installed Vista on a newly created partition (not the partition WinXP is on). And, it setup dual boot automatically. It couldn't have been easier. Oh, yeah, and it only took 15-20 minutes for the install; that really beats the approximate 1 hour WinXP takes. Vista runs extremely smooth and the overall experience feels smother than WinXP Pro on the same pc. The specs of m... [More]

I now have my key for Vista Ultimate

I just recieved my Vista Ultimate product key from MSDN after many failed attempts earlier today. I don't know if it'll work for everyone now, but at least I wont be one of the many hammering the system. Also, my download of both the x86 and x64 ISO's have finished. I have to say my over all experience of getting Vista (ISO image and product key) from MSDN was pretty good, especially since their server are being hammered so much by everyone with an MSDN Subscription wanting to downloa... [More]

Windows Vista is currently available on MSDN

And, thanks to the MSDN Subscription I won at the Deeper in .NET event, I am lucky enough to get Windows Vista for Free. Yippee!! As you probably know there is only one installation DVD to install all editions of Vista. Finally, only one disc to keep track of. But there are however seperate discs for both x86 and x64 editions. Both of which are up on MSDN right now. Also on MSDN are the product keys for Visa Business, Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate. When I requested th... [More]

Wisonsin .NET Users Group website - Some enhancements may be coming...

After the last Wisconsin .NET Users Group meeting (on Tuesday) I discussed with Scott and a couple others some potential ideas for enhancing the groups website. Hopefully in not too long, we will be working on a new website for the group. A couple of the ideas we've come up with are adding Blogging and/or Forums functionality. These feature sets would allow members to contribute more easily and communicate with one another outside the meetings. If you are a fellow WI-INETA member, ... [More]

Building a "successful" blog...

Yes, I know there are tons of posts on other blogs that describe how to create a "successful" blog. Since, I've been bloging for over two years now, I thought I'd share some things that I've learned. Below, in the order they came to mind, are some tips for building a successful blog: Make sure you have an RSS feed. This one is crucial, otherwise how would people subscribe? Pick a main theme to center your blog posts around. For instance my blog centers around .NET and web development. ... [More]

Polymorphic Podcast: Awesome .NET Podcast!

I've searched for quality development related (specifically .NET) podcasts, and there really aren't very many. The Polymorphic Podcast is an awesome .NET podcast with some really great content. I really recommend checking it out. Listen: Polymorphic Podcast

Wisconsin .NET Users Group (WI-INETA) Website is lacking...

I've been thinking about it awhile now and have the following comments/suggestions to make regarding the Wisconsin .NET Users Group (WI-INETA) website. The current WI-INETA website is lacking in the following areas: The "Next Meeting" info on the homepage is often outdated to the previous meetings info. The only "usefull" content on the homepage is the next meeting announcement. The discussions forum is framed into the site shows a "The res... [More]

CSS + DIV = Scrollable area for site content

Using the CSS Overflow property you can create a box of scrollable content in your page without using an IFrame. This means you can have the same visual and usability effect that an IFrame offers and still be search engine friendly. Here's some example HTML w/ CSS: <div style="overflow: auto; width: 200px; height: 50px; border: solid 1px blue;">It's just this simple to do.It really is!Isn't CSS great?</div>