December 2005 - Posts

IBM acquires Bowstreet

Read about it here - An producer of Enterprise grade portal...

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'Touched by Angel and Ah Lian'

During Cally Ko and Angel Yuan's short visit to Singapore, KitKai and I was fortunate enough to invite MVP Lead Lilian Quek and MVPAA Angel Yuan to a short yalk yalk gathering session. Here's the only photo that we've taken together.

 Left to right, myself, Angel, Lilian and KitKai

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Upcoming Releases of Useful ASP.NET 2.0 Things

Check out this post from Scott Guthrie about things coming in ASP.NET 2.0.
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Community Launch - PPT and Photos are online

The slide decks for VS Track and photos for the Community Launch are available.

Resources on VS Track during Community Launch is made available via our Events system. Navigate to Community Launch Event, click on the individual topic and find the respective slide decks and demos available.

Opening Note - Slides

What's New in ASP.NET 2.0 - Slides / Demos

XML Services in Visual Studio 2005 - Slides

A Short Lap Around Visual Basic 2005 - Slides

VSTS - Focus on TFS - Slides

Make sure you check them out...


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Merry Xmas and Happy New Year

Year 2005 is coming to an end and the season of festive is upon us again. Where has 2005 gone? Are we satisfied with the outcome of our efforts? Has the user group grown in numbers, passion and practice?

Whatever our answers may be, 2006 is a new year which we can look forward to. In 2005, SGDN has organised many 1st with the aid of the entire community. In 2006, we will try to make the UG even better, if not repeat them.

On behalf of the entire SGDN council and moderator team, I would like to wish everyone in the UG (and your family), a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year filled with good health, good friends, good cheers and great progress for your passion, career and family.

My very best wishes...

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Community Launch - Success!

SGDN and SGSQLPASS would like to thank all participants who've taken their precious Saturday off to attend our very own Community Launch on Dec 17 2005. The event will not have been so successful, if not for those who've shown lots of passion and zeal to listen and share their knowledge.

During the event (for VS Track), we gave away:

  • 7 licensed copies of VS 2005 Professional + Sql Server 2005 Standard + MSDN Library
  • 14 copies of Sql Server 2k books (courtesy of SGSQLUG)
  • 3 VS fridges
  • 20++ copies of 90-trial for VS 2005 + Sql Server 2005
  • Many free certifications for the new MS Certifications 

And most importantly, lots of knowledge!

Also, we would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to our VS Speakers, namely

  • Alan Andrew Dias (co-presented with me on What's New in ASP.NET 2.0)
  • William Tay (XML Services in VS 2005)
  • Bernard Oh (A Short Lap Around VB.NET 2.0)
  • Boon Tiong (Team Foundation Server)

FYI, Boon Tiong was voted as the best speaker for VS Track - Congrats Boon Tiong.

Another note of thanks for Lilian, Howard, Cecilia, Colin and Matthew Hardman for the show of support and help rendered for the event.

Thanks to KitKai for being the photographer of the day

Lastly and most importantly, I would like to thank SGSQLUG for making this event possible and generously donating some prizes of our lucky draw.

Here's some photos:

 Speakers from SGDN..;)

 United 'Speakers'

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jstack One of the useful troubleshooting utilities in J2SETM 5.0 is jstack. It prints the stack traces of all java threads for a given process or core dump. The -m option will print a mixed-mode stack so that you can see native frames in addition to the java frames. jstack was originally created for troubleshooting problems involving hangs and crashes but developers have found it a useful utility to look at running applications too.

jstack isn't the only way to obtain a thread dump of a running application. Developers have long been accustomed to using Ctrl-\ (or Ctrl-Break if you are on Windows) to get a thread dump of an application that is running interactively. An alternative to the key sequence on Solaris (or Linux) is to send a QUIT signal to the target process. In that case the target processs prints a thread dump to its standard output (which can be pain if you don't know where the log file is).

If you are lucky to be on Solaris 10, then yet another way to obtain a stack trace is using the the pstack utility. This has been updated in Solaris 10 so that it prints java method names for interpreted, compiled and inlined java methods. pstack prints a mixed-mode stack and the output is similar to jstack -m.

Mustang (Java SE 6.0) brings more improvements. For starters the default mode for jstack is to work a bit like a remote Ctrl-\. This means that the output of the thread dump has changed a bit but there is more information on deadlocks and JNI Global References in additional to the thread stacks. If the VM is hung then a thread dump can still be forced using the -F option.

The second improvement is that jstack is included on Windows. It doesn't have all the features yet of the jstack utility on Solaris but it does solve a long standing requirement from developers to get a thread dump of an applications that run in the background as a Windows Service.

The third improvement is the "-l" option to print information about java.util.concurrent.locks. More specifically, it instructs the utility to look for ownable synchronizers in the heap. This should be useful for applications that make use of the concurrency APIs added in J2SE 5.0. Without the "-l" option the thread dump only includes information on monitors. One word of warning though, this option can be expensive if the heap is large

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Complimentary Telerik r.a.d.controls suite

I've finally got my hands on the complimentary suite of r.a.d. controls from Telerik, courtesy of MVP team. The suite comprises of license for

  • r.a.d. controls
  • r.a.d. navigation
  • r.a.d. editor
  • r.a.d. grid
  • r.a.d. callback
  • r.a.d. calendar
  • r.a.d. chart
  • r.a.d. combobox
  • r.a.d. treeview
  • r.a.d. menu
  • r.a.d. tabstrip
  • r.a.d. panelbar
  • r.a.d. spell
  • r.a.d. dock
  • r.a.d. window
  • r.a.d. toolbar
  • r.a.d. input
  • r.a.d. upload
  • r.a.d. rotator
  • r.a.d. designer

What's more: "Your license includes the Gold Support Package. It entitles you to a year of free support with an unlimited number of incidents and a guaranteed response time of 24 hours. We understand that in a fast-paced world a prompt response is essential so we always do our best to reply within a reasonably short time."

Awesome. Kudos to the team that made it possible for MVPs..

Enterprise Library: Cryptography Application Block

One of the seven application blocks in Microsoft's new Enterprise Library is dedicated only to security issues: the Cryptography Application Block. See how easily you can implement it in your .NET applications to encrypt and decrypt sensitive data. Read it here.
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Windows Communication Foundation: The Security Model

Securing communications has never been easier. See how to set up the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) on your system, and use configuration-based security to add or change the security requirements for your applications. Read it here.

Visual Studio 2005 TFS Dec CTP is out

MSDN subscribers - VS 2005 TFS Dec CTP is out..

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JetBrains Omea Reader refuses to start up

Yesterday evening, I re-booted my working laptop and attempted to launch my Jetbrains Omea Reader. To my dismay, it complained that my license key is corrupted (or invalid - can't remember actual message). I obtained the free license key from the website and tried to key it. The same box refuses to go away despite recognising the key as a 'Commercial License' key......:(

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Preparing for Community Launch

After much data entry (assisted by Hean2), I managed to collate the registration for the Community Launch Event (on Dec 17, 2005). Till far, we've around 100++ people signing up for either VS Track or SQL Track! There's great news! Boy, am I excited about the event!

I'll be meeting up with Alan Andrews tomorrow in order to figure out whether it's feasible to have a co-presentation/demonstration during the Community Launch (topic: ASP.NET 2.0).


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Understanding BizTalk 2006

Here's an article from David Chappell to help you understand about BizTalk 2006.

Stop Blurry Images

As quoted on

Stop Blurry Images

While it's impossible to fix an already blurry image, there are a number of ways to ensure future images are ultra sharp - each with it's benefits and disadvantages.

1. Turn on the flash! Modern cameras warn you if they think a flash should be used - usually by flashing a hand symbol (which basically says you'll get a blurry image if you take the shot while holding the camera in your hand). A flash will provide enough light for the camera to use a quick shutter speed and stop the blurriness. The disadvantage of using a flash is the flash light 'dies away' quickly, so only the subjects close to the camera are fully lit. The background will be very dark.

2. Use a tripod. This will steady the camera while the shutter is open. When shooting people, you also need to ask them to be still while the shutter is open. You also need to be aware that your finger depressing the shutter button will shake the camera, so you should use either the timer, or a remote trigger, so the camera is still when the shot is taken. This method works well when you want to take shots of inanimate objects, but not so well when taking shots of people, such as in this photo.

3. Use "Shutter Priority Mode". Some of the more expensive cameras have a shutter priority mode that you can use to override the camera's default shutter settings. Using this mode, increase the shutter speed as far as you can go. The camera will compensate by opening the aperture more (to let in more light) and also increasing the ISO value (so the camera needs less overall light to get an acceptable image). If you use this method, your images may turn out to be too dark, so either take a few shots at different shutter speeds, or increase the EV level to brighten the image. This method also tends to increase the 'noise' in the image.

I also recommend practicing. Practice taking some more indoors shots using each of the tips above. Make a note of which settings you used for which shots, and then check the images on your computer. Note which ones turned out best and use those settings next time you need to take shots in that situation.

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