Archive for August 2006

XNA GSE Can Install Side-By-Side with VS2005

Ah. Although you cannot develop with XNA GSE inside a VM (either VMWare or Virtual PC), you can install Visual C# Express side-by-side with Visual Studio 2005. There’s a slight weirdness in that VC# Express can only install to $PROGRAM FILES, while I normally keep my dev tools on a separate partition, but that’s just a quibble.

XNA GSE Won’t Render Games Under VMWare

Oh, bummer! Given that XNA GSE is a beta and given that it requires C# Express, not Visual Studio, I installed it in a VMWare OS, but when I went to run the sample SpaceWar game, I received a “No suitable graphics” message. I think that leaves me out of luck. Maybe I’ll install it on one of my laptops, but if anything actually needs the power of my development machine, it’s game programming.

Meet the new boss…

Nope, not a clever job-related post. I’ve been listening to my “5-star” songs on Windows Media Player and, y’know, is there any better minute of rock than the end of “Won’t Get Fooled Again”? (Tell it to the hand, Zeppelin fans.)

XNA Game Studio Express Available

I’m kicking myself for having two weeks ago written a column on Microsoft’s outreach to non-professional programmers. If I had waited until my current deadline, I would have an excuse to spend the day programming a game for the XBox. As it is, I have GSA sitting in my /Downloads folder and have to spend the day writing about… oh, I dunno’ … Vista pricing or some crap like that.

Concurrent Programming in C# Intro

DevX has published my introductory article on concurrent programming in C# (a companion piece to my earlier article on C++/CLI and OpenMP). The interesting thing is that OpenMP makes parallel constructs easier to express in C++ than is possible in C#. On the other hand, C#’s memory management and reflection make it easier to write a general helper function.

Intel Releases New Threading Tools

I had a preview last week of Intel’s new threading products, including “Threading Building Blocks,” a C++ runtime library (template-based) that provides high-performance thread-safe data structures. I was very impressed by the slides showing performance:

I look forward to trying out the tools myself.

(Thin) Book Or Article To Convince CEO Of Agility in Develoment?

I’m ashamed I don’t have an answer for this: a client is a CEO who finds himself, after a successful career in the domain, in charge of a company developing software in that domain. Naturally, he is more familiar with traditional project management and when he thinks about what worked for him in the past, it’s what you and I would call “waterfall process.” He sees that there are problems with this and when I explained to him that it’s now widely agreed that iterative, incremental approaches are more effective, he was receptive and wanted to learn more.

What should he read? Even the highest-level books I know to be excellent (authors like Jim Highsmith, Mary & Tom Poppendieck, DeMarco & Lister) are really for technical managers. What this guy needs is, like, a Harvard Business Review study. He doesn’t need to know the details of XP versus Scrum, he needs to see that abandoning the concept of “perfect requirements” can lead to business success.

Thoughts?

8 Planets? 12 Planets? Slow News Day

So now they’re saying that Pluto is going to be demoted. A week ago they were saying that Cedna, etc., were going to be promoted. Is anything official yet? Or have things gotten to the point where even science news is the subject of 24-hour cable news speculation? What does John Mark Karr (he must be a criminal because they use of his middle name) have to say about the classification of solar orbiting objects?

Thinking Parallel Blog

I just discovered Michael Sļ’s blog on parallel programming. He comments pro and con about my DevX article.

Article on Using OpenMP with C++/CLI

My latest article on DevX shows how easy it is (in the best case) to use OpenMP with C++/CLI. OpenMP is a low-level library to help create concurrent operations. One of things I talk about in the article is that it is at the finest-grain (loops) and the coarsest-grain (service-orientation) that concurrency is easiest. It’s when you get into concurrency while manipulating data structures (including objects) that disaster looms.

Update: If you like the article and would like to see more like it, consider digging it.

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