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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here. November 2007 Entries
Yoda for Christmas
Life Size Yoda Monument Product Information: The Lifesize Yoda monument stands 37" tall (51.5" to the top of the Lightsaber) by 55" wide. Made of fiberglass with real fiber clothing. The Lifesize Yoda monument features a light-up Lightsaber with dual working modes and adjustable sound effects. Comes with AC adaptor for destination country and 6 AA batteries. Now fan can bring home one of the most beloved characters from the Star Wars Universe. This item will be special ordered while supplies last. ......

Posted On Thursday, November 29, 2007 11:10 AM

Community Credit integration

Awesome.  Jeff has made some serious improvements to GWB. I use twitter a fair amount and I stopped using for a while because it was a pain to enter in every blog post. Now, thanks to Jeff, I don't have to.


Posted On Wednesday, November 28, 2007 9:08 PM

what exactly is ILoveVB.NET anyway?
By now, if you read the main GWB feed, you've probably noticed a few posts mentioning the www.ILoveVB.NET community. One of the perks of being a Microsoft MVP is that you occasionally get free software and services from various companies. This give me an opportunity to try new things and experiment without a big investment up front. The I Love VB.NET community is one of those experiments. So, what's it all about? I suppose you can think of it as a safe haven for VB.NET developers. When I first registered ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 28, 2007 7:26 PM

Rejoice brave Zunelanders, there is hope
No official word from Microsoft on the Zune power drain issue, but there are a few workarounds floating about the net to tide you over. The first one is mostly common sense. Turn off your Zune when you aren't going to be using it. (Remember brave Zunelanders, this is a workaround, not a cure.) Doing a full power off at night will help your battery survive longer. The second one is a little less obvious. Let your Zune drain all the way down to dead. Charge it up completely and then do a Hard Reboot. ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 28, 2007 7:01 PM

Some VB.NET Blog Bling

Are you a VB.NET developer, enthusiast, evangelist, MVP?  Just really like blog bling?

Show your VB.NET love on your blog or website.

(Link to www.ILoveVB.Net greatly appreciated.)

Posted On Wednesday, November 28, 2007 1:54 PM

Trouble in ZuneLand?
Rut row... I'm hearing lots of complaints from formerly happy Zune users that say the new firmware update royally screwed their battery life. Stuff like a fully charged Zune (40 or 80) at night being completely drained by morning. Perhaps a hibernation issue? I'm not experiencing the problem at all (yet?) but if YOU are, I'd like to hear about it. So drop me a comment. Microsoft would too, by the way, so drop them a comment over there and be heard ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 28, 2007 1:01 PM

XNA GS 2.0(beta) deployment platform bug (what causes it and how to work around it)
Crossposted from the VB.NET XNA Project blog at www.ILoveVB.NET First... how to cause the problem. 1. Create a new C# Windows Game 2.0 project in VS2005. If you take a look at this point, in the Configuration Manager, you will see 2 entries. One is for the Content project and the other is for whatever you named your new project. So far, so good. 2. Add a new VB.NET Class Library project to your solution. (Make sure to add it to the solution, not create a new one.) Take a look in the Configuration ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:57 PM

This (upcoming) month in User Group land
Depending on where you live, December can be a tough month for user groups. In Minneapolis, that's no exception. Several of my area groups are forgoing the technical content and opting for "Holiday Socials" instead. But hey, at least they're still meeting... right? December 4th: MN.swf (Minnesota Flash/Flex Programmer Group) - progress continues on the scorched earth game, December meeting topic & location are TBD. December 6th: Twin Cities IGDA (International Game Developers Association) - Holiday ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 28, 2007 8:31 AM

XNA: new Windows Game (2.0) Content Project build platform defaults to 360
If you're getting a strange error in XNA Game Studio 2.0 like this: Error loading "whatever". This file was compiled for the wrong target platform. Be sure to check your content project's build platform. Even when you create a Windows Game, there's a bug that points it to the 360. The fix is easy enough, just change the target platform back to x86 and recompile, you should be good. update: This has been fixed ......

Posted On Sunday, November 25, 2007 7:07 PM

Cracking MD5

Need some help cracking that MD5 hash?

I think I may have pee'd a little when I read this article in the guardian. 

Posted On Saturday, November 24, 2007 4:54 PM

All good things must come to an end...
No no D'Arcy, I'm not quitting GWB. Far from it. In fact, I may occasionally stray from the fold and experience a little bloggish rumspringa if you will, but as long as Messirs Alexander, Julian & Co. will have me, I'll be here. I'm not quitting Magenic. Not even close. The two best career decisions I ever made were, in order: 1) joining Magenic and 2) moving to Minneapolis. I've been given more room for professional growth and development than pretty much anywhere I've ever been. (We're hiring ......

Posted On Saturday, November 24, 2007 3:39 PM

By the time you read this, it will likely be too late.
If you're a Cthulhu fan, or a H.P. Lovecraft fan in general, or into horror, weird tales, etc... or just really dig boardgames... then now is your chance to pick up one of the coolest games ever at a good price. Tanga ( has Arkham Horror (one of my favorite boardgames ever) on sale. Check it out!! This was one of the constant favorites at Reality Check and almost always out of stock. We could barely keep it on the shelf ......

Posted On Saturday, November 24, 2007 11:49 AM

Tap Tap... Is this thing on?

Hey, if you use Technorati and you read my blog, do me a favor and get some peanut butter on my chocolate by visiting the following link and marking me as a favorite:


Posted On Saturday, November 24, 2007 11:29 AM

One thing that comes along with the Zune software upgrade is the ZuneCard (if this was around in the first version, I apologize, they did a damn good job of hiding it.) It's exactly what you think it is, the Zune version of the XBOX LIve GamerCard, only with a little more. It shows your friends, what music you've listened to lately, along with what you've listenend to most. It also give you the ability to buy & send tracks, add comments, send messages, etc. If someone hasn't created a web badge ......

Posted On Saturday, November 24, 2007 11:18 AM

more gamer goodness

Still playing Rock Band... still loving it.

Just wanted to put this out there. has Bioshock and Orange Box (PC Versions) for $25 each.

Sweet.  They probably won't last long at that price.

Posted On Saturday, November 24, 2007 12:01 AM

Rock Band released today
If Guitar Hero I, II, IIe:RtE & III no longer provide you with enough of a challenge, try your hand at Rock Band, which released today. There are a number of great tracks on this game, including Metallica's Enter Sandman and BOC's Don't Fear the Reaper (more cowbell, anyone?) The equipment is pretty sweet too, featuring not only a guitar controller, but a drum controller and microphone as well. This wikipedia article has more details and some pretty decent pictures: ......

Posted On Tuesday, November 20, 2007 12:41 PM

it's here, it's here... finally
Everyone is blogging about VS2008, and that's great. I certainly don't have to. SO what am I so excited about? Well duh... XNA 2.0 of course. See the announcement here: and here: and of course here: Yeah it's only a beta, but it's still chock full of Game-Devy Goodness. Why are you still reading this ......

Posted On Monday, November 19, 2007 11:34 PM

XNA 2.0 coming soonishly If you're too lazy (or excited) to click, keep reading: XNA Game Studio 2.0 Beta Available Soon Michael Klucher Program Manager - XNA Community Game Platform It's been a while since we posted on the upcoming XNA Game Studio 2.0 release. The good news is that there will be a XNA Game Studio 2.0 beta available for you to download very soon! This beta is considered "feature complete." This means that while we still ......

Posted On Thursday, November 15, 2007 1:09 PM

reading brain waves In this story, neuroscientists are experimenting with a "locked in" patient (someone who is conscious but incapable of communicating due to paralysis) in an attempt to use brain imaging and implanted electrodes with speech software to give him a voice. They say they are a long way off from conversation, but it's still pretty impressive. Yesterday's sci-fi is tomorrow's outpatient procedure. I can't help but wonder... if he's unable to communicate, how ......

Posted On Thursday, November 15, 2007 9:41 AM

I know you're probably sick of reading about how awesome it is here in MN... tough! We had snow today. Not a lot, and none of it stuck, but it was definitely snow. Awesome. As a point of reference, it was 76 degrees today in Greenville. No snow there. Moving to the home office was the smartest thing I ever did. Not only is there enough work here in town that I'll practically never have to travel (unless I want to) but it gives me the opportunity to do all the fun, awesome community stuff I love to ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 14, 2007 4:00 PM

first impressions
Sometimes the first impressions you get about someone or something are 100% bullseye accurate. For example, Gil Gerard really is a flaming pusbag, Dairy Queen Frozen Hot Chocolate is every bit as bad as it sounds, and moving to Minnesota has been the smartest thing I ever did. On the other hand, sometimes first impressions are horribly wrong. Jason Olson is an excellent example of this, since we pretty much hated each other when we first met and now he's one of my closest friends. Another bad first ......

Posted On Monday, November 12, 2007 5:05 PM

I've probably been watching too many Star Wars movies lately, but I think I've come up with a new word. Googlechlorians. I know, you're wondering... what on earth am I talking about? Well, you know how people refer to their blogs having "google juice" when they get good search rank results? I think the word they are looking for is "googlechlorians" It's a measure of the living google force in all of us (or at least in our blogs.) usage: His blog had the highest googlechlorians count I had ever seen. ......

Posted On Friday, November 9, 2007 4:11 PM

One week left until the Twin Cities XNA User Group inaugural meeting

If you are planning on attending and haven't registered already, please do so now to ensure an accurate count for pizza and refreshments.

Just hit the RSVP link at the bottom left of the page.

See you there!

Posted On Thursday, November 8, 2007 4:01 PM

Windows Home Server and VB.NET
There's an interview on Channel 9 with Windows Home Server Dev Lead, Chris Gray, where he talks about the extensibility model and then walks through how to create an add-in for the Home Server console using Visual Basic Express. Get Chris's code here: Also, the Home Server team is working on Visual Basic samples. Way to go guys ......

Posted On Thursday, November 8, 2007 1:25 PM

FaceBook Developer Toolkit
If you're interested in writing .NET apps for FaceBook, here's your chance: (My favorite part of this: We are going to start by trying to maintain both the and C# code bases. Hallelujah guys!!) And of course, if you're in Chicago, and interested in learning more about how to do it, and seeing it done firsthand: CNUG Downtown Meeting ( Date: Wednesday, November 7th Time: Pizza/discussion: 6:00, Presentation 6:30-8:00 Location: 1 N. Franklin ......

Posted On Monday, November 5, 2007 3:47 PM


My long time buddy, and fellow Magenic Consultant, Theo Moore tied the knot this weekend.

It's been a long time coming, and he couldn't have picked a nicer bride. They're perfect for each other.

So if you get a moment, stop by and wish him well.

Congrats buddy!

Posted On Monday, November 5, 2007 11:29 AM

Fun with Fonts in XNA
If you want to display some text on screen in your XNA game, the easiest way is to use a SpriteFont. The cool thing about SpriteFonts is that you can use any TrueType font and XNA will render it into an *XNB file and allow you to use it in your game. You can distribute the game without worrying about whether people have the font installed on their machines. (edit: XNB files can be opened using the XNB Viewer, downloadable here, although it doesn't seem to work on Vista.) So, anyway, to do this... ......

Posted On Saturday, November 3, 2007 8:57 PM

Deer Season
It's deer season here in Minneapolis. Tonight though, it seemed more like Silver Minivan season. We (the whole damn fam) were driving over to my buddy Mike's house for a cookout, and had gotten slightly lost. (Don't ask, just blame Google Maps) So we're heading down county road 47 and this deer charges across the road, narrowly missing a van in the opposite lane, and slamming head on into the side of our van. Needless to say, we were all WTF was that?!?! We pulled over immediately to check things ......

Posted On Saturday, November 3, 2007 6:48 PM

Programming Microsoft Surface - where's the VB.NET love? Interesting post, but no mention of VB.NET... (of course, it doesn't say it WON'T support it, so we'll see...) and here's the Surface Team Blog: Come on Microsoft... this sort of stuff is a perfect match for VB.NET ......

Posted On Friday, November 2, 2007 3:43 PM

Guitar Hero III deal

I hate Target (not as much as I used to, but Christmas is fast approaching) but this is a deal that's hard to pass up:

Guitar Hero III for the PS2, with not one but TWO guitar controllers, for only $99.

If you're looking to get into the game, that's a steal.

Posted On Friday, November 2, 2007 2:57 PM

Art for NonArtists 101
When working on my latest XNA game project, Super Mega Brick Smash, I decided to give it a go and do all the art myself. After all, how hard can bricks be to draw? Keep in mind, I'm no artist. There's a reason HA! never had any graphics and it isn't just for nostalgia's sake. So the rectangle bricks came out ok, although not terribly flashy, and the ball was simple enough. I did both of those, and the paddle in MS Paint. Ball: Brick: Paddle: (If you're curious about the magenta background, it's a ......

Posted On Friday, November 2, 2007 2:03 PM

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