My Dev Kit

There’s a new meme of sorts on the web, folks talking about the tools they use to develop with. I first saw it on Shawn Wildermuth’s blog. Shawn’s a great guy, he co-wrote most of those .Net MCTS/MCPD study guides from MS Press, and does a lot of training on Silverlight. So I thought I would keep the meme alive and talk about my own tools.

Hardware

I do a lot on the road, so a laptop is essential. Mine’s getting up there in age, it’s an HP Pavillion dv8000. 2 gig ram, two internal 160 gig hard disks, 17 inch wide screen, single core 64 bit processor. It’s OK, but will hopefully get replaced next year with something with more cores and horsepower. I don’t care much for the keyboard, so I bought an external keyboard from Lenovo. It’s got a trackpoint so I don’t have to take my hands off the keyboard very often, and I use it with both my laptop and the Dell that work supplies me.

At home I use a larger wireless Microsoft mouse, on the road I use one of the smaller Microsoft travel mice. Also in my hardware list is an external Seagate 1TB drive. It hooks up via either firewire or USB, which is nice when my USB ports are all full.

Also in my list is my Zune. Yes my Zune. Cubical farms can get noisy at times, some good tunes on my Zune really help me to zone out and ignore my surroundings, focusing on my code. It’s also nice on my commute or daily walk, I listen to podcasts to keep up my technical knowledge. At night I hook it to my TV via my X-Box 360 to watch video podcasts, or sometimes I lay in bed before going to sleep and watch.

My final piece of hardware is my iPaq, it helps keep my appointments in line and my contacts, plus I have lots of e-books loaded on it for reading. I also used to use it for podcasts prior to getting my Zune.

Operating System and Dev Tools

My laptop currently runs 32 bit Vista Ultimate with Service Pack 1. Since it maxes out at 2 gig, and some 64 bit drivers were not available when Vista first arrived, I saw no benefit to 64 bit and took the path of least resistance. I have quite a few virtual machines in a variety of OS (Server 2008, 2003, XP, Vista, and Ubuntu) for testing, development, and running Beta versions of programs. For a web browser, I bounce back and forth between FireFox and IE7. For a while I was using FF most of the time, but IE7 was a big improvement over 6, and I’m now using them about 50/50. I suspect when IE8 comes out I may be using it more, but will have to see.

Like Shawn I also use Outlook 2007 for my e-mail client. It’s so much easier to organize my mail in Outlook than the g-mail host. But I also use the other features, such as the calendar and task list to help manage my life. I also use the rest of the Office suite for my daily tasks.

I use SnagIt for grabbing still screen captures, awesome tool, and Camtasia for video screen captures. I’m working on several video tutorials now, which is fun but time consuming (which also explains while my blog posts have been off of late). I use Paint.Net for basic photo / image editing. For creating my blog posts, I write them originally in Word 2007, then use Windows Live Writer to post them to my blog.

For quick access to my daily programs, I use one of two things. I really like Bayden Systems SlickRun. I also create a shortcut menu using a technique I blogged about in February.

Developer Tools

As you might expect I use both SQL Server Management Studio and Visual Studio 2008 Team System for day to day development. My top add-ins are Red-Gates SQL Prompt bundle for SSMS and CodeRush for Visual Studio. For a text editor, I absolutely love UltraEdit. Since I have blogged a lot about my dev tools in the past, I will keep this section short.

The Cloud

I’m on a couple of social networking sites, in addition to this blog:

· Twitter

· Posterous

· LinkedIn

· MSDN Code Gallery – One site for SQL Server Full Text Searching and one for SQL Server Compact Edition.

Passing the Baton

OK, your turn, let’s see your blog with your tools!

Arcane Fun Fridays – Game Review – Tiger Woods PGA Golf 2007

As some of my readers are aware, I recently won an XBox 360 Elite. Naturally I’ve started collecting a few games for it, being thrifty though have picked up some of my titles used. I thought it’d be fun to post a few game reviews.

Way back when, I used to really enjoy golf games on my Amiga and old 286 era PC. (Yeah, I know, I’m a wild man.) So one of the first things I picked up was last years Tiger Woods golf game.

The game adds in little character plays between shots, showing players doing various things. This is cute the first few times, but after a bit gets a little slow, there are times when I wish I could press a button to skip over these little plays and just take my shot.

In addition, some of the little plays show what I consider to be bad sportsman like conduct. For some rougher games like football or soccer this might be more common, but I’ve always thought golf to be more of a gentleman’s game. Perhaps I sound like an “old fuddy duddy” but I didn’t care much for the scenes of a player snapping his club over his knee or throwing a club across the field. I’d hate for non golfers to think this is the way Tiger or any of the other Pro’s really act on the golf course.

On the good side, game play is challenging, smooth, and fun. I’ve really enjoyed it as I’ve begun working my way through the Tiger Woods Challenge play. And the training system is one of the best I’ve ever seen in any game, any time. It takes you step by step through each component of play, and lets you practice it. Very through and comprehensive.

Overall I give Tiger Woods PGA Golf 2007 eight out of ten on the Arcane scale of fun.

Update:I played some more over the weekend, and found that in many scenes pressing the Green “A” button allowed you to skip over the scene. Really helped to speed up play. Note that not every scene has this, but give it a try and you’ll start getting a feel for which ones do and don’t.

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