Saturday, March 25, 2006

Novell Brainshare 2006

This is my official first Mono/work related blog entry!

Let me start with the few pictures that I took.

I was able to go to Novell Brainshare in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. It was absolutely fantastic! I had a great time and learned a lot about Mono (mostly from listening to some tidbits of information that Paco and ‘the Mystery Shopper’ always had readily available). It was also nice to be able to get to know some collegues better as well as meet lots of people who are excited about Mono. And if they weren’t excited when they got to our booth, most of them were excited by the time they left.

My first demo was an interesting experience. I was approached on Monday morning pretty much right when the Technology Lab opened. He started out with, “Hey, uh, what’s new in the Mono world?” I continued to say how this cool new gui plugin had just been checked in a few weeks ago. I then asked, “Are you familiar with Mono or .NET technologies?” “Yeah, a little.” I wrapped up the stetic demo with, “Pretty cool, huh?” In the meantime, Frank (Rego) comes back from his session and says, “Hey, Niel! How’s it going?” I look down to find a nametag with “Niel Bornstein” on it. Wow, was that embarrassing or what? I let him know how tricky that was and he said he had fun being the ‘Mystery Shopper’. I ended up bringing my copy of ‘Mono: A Developer’s Handbook’ with me the next day and he signed it. So, Niel, this is to you: next book you co-author, make sure it’s got a picture of you on the back cover. That would really help us poor vulnerable fellows out :) In fact, if I man a booth sometime in the future I’ve got a few intro questions up my sleeve now. “Have you heard of Mono?” “Have you used it before?” “Have you written any books on Mono lately?” Niel hung out and helped at the booth for several days. It was great to meet him and to have another person with some serious Mono experience there to help answer questions and man the crowd.

Anyway, like others have been blogging about, we did some Winforms demos as well as showed off the new stetic MonoDevelop plugin. I wasn’t sure what I should show for demos. I hadn’t messed with MD nor stetic much. Lluis integrated things so well, that it only took a couple of minutes to put a simple example together. Of course, Dan deserves much credit.

It was really easy to show Mono off. I would start out with, “Did you see the SLED [NLD] demo? All of those cool apps Nat and Guy showed off were implemented in Mono!” Then we’d do a simple gtk# app in Mono with stetic, and copy the binary to a win32 box and run it.

So, Paco is a Mono evangelizing machine! I’d be doing the above demo, and he’d say, “You know… that’s cool, but why don’t we try that binary on another machine… say my Nokia 770!” We had great fun.

We also showed SWF apps on win32 and linux. And wow, what a difference between and People would ask, “So, how far has Mono come since 1.1.4?” Or, “Will my app work.” “I dunno, let’s try it out!”

There were a lot of people there interested in One cool example that I’d never considered was pulling content out of eDirectory. I knew that eDir was fast, scalable, replicatable, etc… but never thought about it until the guys from AppGenie showed me their site ( ) running on Mono using the Novell.Directory.Ldap connector.

So then I’d try to answer any questions best I could. Can’t wait for Brainshare 2007!

One more tidbit… I switched to Debian (from RH) in 2001. Ubuntu totally rocked Debian’s desktop and I’ve been using that for a few years. I’ve always made sure that I was running either NLD or SuSE on my work machines so I would be familiar with it. But, I must say, this latest CODE10 release that is coming soon leaves me next to no excuse for not running it at home. The Gnome is beautiful (and certainly much more attractive than Dapper’s new orange theme). A big part of of my mindset change is the new zmd/rug integration. apt coupled with Ubuntu’s vast repositories is an amazing combination. I’ve never been a big fan of the yast module for package management. Now, there are some performance problems with zmd in beta8, but one memory leak has already been fixed and hopefully the cpu taxing will be fixed soon. In time these issues will get ironed out. I am a little concerned that ath/nvidia/fglrx/etc drivers will not be shipped (Ubuntu makes this space very easy for the user), but I understand that it’s difficult for Novell to provide support and fixes for software they don’t have access to. Hopefully some collaboration can take place between these companies to provide a pleasant experience for the user.


  1. Paco Martinez Says:

    What a fantastic way to debut in monologue!


  2. wberrier Says:

    Thanks! Now… I just need to figure out how to get the full posting listed in monologue instead of the description overview. This also happens when I read my blog via blam. But, I’ve noticed that other people using wordpress don’t have this issue. As far as I can tell, the xml looks the same… Ideas?

  3. wberrier Says:

    Ok… I just modified wp-rss2.php to put the same stuff in as what’s put in . Seems that’s what others’ feeds using wordpress were doing…

Friday, March 24, 2006

DIY Projector

I’ve been enjoying my homemade projector for several weeks now and it’s about time to post some pictures.

Projector Screenshots

Some of the pictures are quite blurry, but this is because of my digital camera. This camera typically takes good pictures. Unfortunately, they are often fuzzy, especially when there is a lack of light in the shot.I first heard of building a projector from Dan Rhimer while living at Wymount on BYU campus. I later saw this article which showed how to do this with very little construction and easy to get parts.

Cheryl and I enjoy watching movies together and I’ve always wanted a projector. Me being the cheapskate that I am jumped aboard the idea. I told my Dad and some family members about what I wanted to do. My first purchase was a flat panel display at Novell’s surplus store in Orem. I bought it as a gamble at $30 without a power supply. I soon bought a universal power supply for lcds and laptops for $30. This screen worked pretty well, but I realized that at 18″ it was too big for the surface of an overhead projector.

My Dad loves shopping at places like DI and garage sales and such (surely where I get it from). He found an overheard projector at Another Way for $5. Bingo.
The next peice of the puzzle came when I was visiting Jake Cahoon’s office at work. Baha Masoud, a fellow co-worker had an old monitor that needed new backlight bulbs. Jake’s quite a handy man and decided to see what it would take to replace the backlights. After finding it would be $45 he wasn’t sure it was worth it and was going to bag the screen. I happened to show up and I told him I was looking for an lcd with a broken backlight. He didn’t object to my aquiring the screen. I use it at 1024×768 because that’s the max resolution of the driving laptop, but I believe the lcd can do 1280×1024.
The only missing link now were the bulbs for the overhead. I found them on the net for $5 a peice at 350 watts lasting 75 hours. (Which, interestingly enough, happens to be about the same cost per hour as commercial projector bulbs). I was quite impatient one Saturday night and decided to try the setup out with a halogen lamp (the types used for night time construction). I had worried if the image would be bright enough and I figured that if this lamp wasn’t bright enough, nothing would be. I mean, this lamp could practically heat a small home.

This image ended up being horribly fuzzy and almost indistinguishable. I was quite disappointed, but my ordered bulbs were already in the mail. Oh well, I figured if it didn’t work out I was only out $20.

So, I finally got the bulbs and tried them out. The image looked GREAT!! I was very excited to have my own bigscreen in the comfort of our home.

Cheryl helped me tune the color with methods I learned from this article.
I sometimes notice that the image still isn’t bright enough. Luckily, pumping up the brightness does the trick. I’m able to do this with Totem, mplayer, and mythtv. Not bad for $20. Now if I could just figure out where to put it in my house…