Independent Scotland?

Over the last few days there has been a lot of talk, especially from the SNP, over Scotland becoming an independent entity should they win the upcoming election (May next year).

Normally I don't pay much attention to politics, however, this particular argument has caught my eye. I don't understand how they can actually realistically think that Scotland could be (financially) self sufficient. They are saying that we could tap the oil / gas reserves (much of the North sea reserves would fall under Scottish control), make use of foreign trade, etc. But still, I don't see it being enough.

Running general services such as refuse collection, postal services etc in a town is expensive enough, but it is even more so in the Northern areas where you can have many miles between each (exceptionally small) rural community. How is this going to be funded? Increased taxation? On a population that is already earning an average salary of £16k?

Personally, at this point I'm neither for or against the idea, assuming the interested parties can provide extensive detail on how they propose to generate the required revenue...

Slow network in Vista?

Heres the fix (well, this worked for me).

This problem existed in RC1 and to some extent RC2 too. I did report it, and it's partially fixed but still not good. Microsoft at the time blamed my Cisco router.. Anyway, I get really poor intermittant network performance. It turns out this is due to a new addition in the TCP/IP stack called Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level.

To check the status of this feature, run "netsh interface tcp show global" at a command prompt.

You will see something like:

Querying active state...

TCP Global Parameters
Receive-Side Scaling State : enabled
Chimney Offload State : enabled
Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level : disabled
Add-On Congestion Control Provider : none
ECN Capability : disabled
RFC 1323 Timestamps : disabled

In this example, you can see I have it disabled. (My network performance returns to normal with it off!).
To disable it, run: "netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled"
To enable it, run: "netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=normal"
(Both these last two should be run from an Administrator Command Prompt, not a "normal" command prompt).

Vista on my Lenovo N100 Laptop

Just finished installing Vista Ultimate on my Lenovo. Not bad - certainly eats up the memory though, so will probably have to drop another Gig in (already got 1Gb).

Three gotcha's appeared: I had to force the finger print, memory card reader and sound card drivers to install. Everything else was detected straight after install. Overall, not a bad experience so far!

Excellent Visualisation Suite

Over the last few months I've been experimenting with different visualisation suites for a development contact I'm managing at work.

For those that don't know, a visualisation suite is basically a set of controls that mimic (for example) Gauges, LCD readouts etc. Essentially a way to mimic the look and feel of real hardware electronics but on screen. It never ceases to surprise me how many customers ask for this sort of thing, but there is a significant lack of a decent library.

Until now.

Along my travels, I was speaking to a company called Dundas. These guys are User Interface Geniuses. They have some of the best looking visualisation controls that I have ever come across.

If you ever need anything like this in .Net, I wouldn't hesitate in recommending them. Oh, and check out their charts library too!

Microsoft Live Writer (beta)

While browsing the ever growing web today, I came across this:

This appeals to me; not only have I been toying with the idea of writing something along the same lines (there are actually many tools out there that profess to do this, but many are exceptionally poor), but this is free too.

A short download and install later and it's up and running. I'm actually using it to post this...

So far, very impressed. Anyone who has a blog, I'd suggest you check this out.

Stress City

Wow - I've never realised before how stressful Software Development under pressure can be; just back from spending a very full on week on a client site with a nonfunctional system. I'm pleased to say that it is (mostly) work when I left.