Catching Up On Missed Innings

Phillies Panorama (8/24/2013)I’ve never been a big baseball fan. Even so, I do like to attend the occasional game, so in the 26 years that I lived in Manhattan and then in St. Louis, it would be a rare year that I didn’t end up in a stadium at least a couple of times a year.  Regardless, in the 7+ years that I’ve been living Philadelphia, I’d yet to catch a single Phillies game.  Call it a slump, but that slump most definitely ended last night.

By an especially strange confluence of events (that I’ll omit, here, for brevity!), I won a silent auction for a pair of tickets to last night’s game.  The seats were absolutely perfect, on the 1st-Base side, but right on the 3rd-Base to Home Plate line, in Row 25 of Section 119, as shown above.

To cut to the chase, The 7+ hour 18-inning record-breaking marathon was nothing short of amazing, even if the Diamondbacks did end up winning 12-to-7 in the end!

I lost count of how many times each side had the bases loaded only to fail to bring a runner home.  Nail-biting stuff, but quite a thrill nonetheless, especially as the stadium thinned out after midnight.  It felt like being a rare witness to a titanic struggle and after the 12 inning or so I got the distinct feeling that the game could go on for ever.  As it was, it was the longest game in Diamondback history.  For the Phillies, it was their longest since 1918.  As I said: titanic!  Beyond the above I won’t go into the details, since ESPN has an excellent recap.

Suffice it to say that this one game certainly made up and more for my my recent hiatus…

Code Camping (Tent Optional!)

For the uninitiated, Code Camp is a free development conference that is most typically sponsored by Microsoft then staffed by both local volunteers and up-and-comers on the national / international developer circuit.  The received truth is that they’re not quite as good as the more well-known conferences (i.e. Build, VSLive, etc.) but I have found them in my own experience to be extremely good, especially in terms of learning actual coding techniques as opposed to simply hearing simple announcements.

By way of disclosure, it’s important to note that I will be speaking at the next Code Camp NYC (Saturday, September 14, 2013, from 8:00 AM until 6:30 PM), so I am more than a little biased.  My topic will be:

Supercharge your apps with TPL Dataflow

The TPL Dataflow Library allows mere mortals to craft CPU-intensive and I/O-intensive applications that support high throughput and low latency while tightly controlling memory usage.  This code-centric session will explain how TPL Dataflow works (along with a number of related technologies, such as async / await), the advantages of TPL Dataflow over more traditional parallelizing constructs, and most import of all, how to supercharge your own apps.  As drive the power of TPL Dataflow home, I’ll also show you how to write a blazingly fast web-crawler in less than 200 lines of code.

While I’m in a disclosing mood, I just finished the above described web-crawler, called PodFetch.  It is indeed blazingly fast.  On the other hand, I couldn’t stop myself from adding a number of refinements (like colorized logging) so it came out to something like 350 lines of code.  Never fear, though, because though the magic of JIT, the code squeezes down to a mere 59 lines of MSIL, which by at least my count is less than 200! 🙂

You can download the code from GIT.  If you attend Code Camp NYC, be sure to stop by and say hi!