I’ve always loved Laurel & Hardy’s 1934 film “Babes In Toyland,” and have certainly been known to intone the toy soldier’s signature phrase to myself during any number of odd—and usually inappropriate—moments. Ore-oh, OREO, indeed! If I could only fit myself out with one of those natty enameled uniforms then I’m quite sure that I’d be styling with the best of them.
But I digress. On this day, my purpose is to discourse on orreries; not ore-ohs, nor even oreos. For the uninformed, an orrery is (to quote Wikipedia): a mechanical device that illustrates the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons in the Solar System in a heliocentric model. In this somewhat mod-ern era, mechanical orreries have fallen out of fashion, particularly since online orreries like “The Planets Today” are so easy to use, and exceedingly more accurate.
The problem with electronic orreries is that they lack my favorite component: gears! Continue reading →
I attended a sort of corporate symposia last week where my peers and I discussed the current technical state of affairs; most specifically to figure out how we could leverage this rapidly expanding realm of possibility. One key area of discussion was “The Internet of Things.” The basic idea is that more and more of the artifacts around us are becoming—at least in some sense—intelligent and interconnected! Now I’m not necessarily talking about your toaster discoursing on Shakespeare with you, but even as I write that purposefully “absurd” phrase, it occurs to me that it isn’t so very absurd at all. Everyday objects are being enhanced with more and more capabilities, and I have started to take advantage of this pleasing fact.
It would be fair to say that I have struggled for years to get Windows Communications Foundation (WCF) services to work well with Microsoft’s Access Control Service (ACS). I’ve written dozens of such services, but it’s always been harder than it should.
Needless to say, I lay most of the blame at Microsoft’s feet. A ton of “How-Tos” have been published, but the examples have overwhelmingly fallen short in one way or another. Now don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t have made the least bit of progress without the various demos and write-ups (by Microsoft and otherwise), and I very much want to thank their authors. Even so, the problem space is way too huge to get good traction without a sample that does works extra hard to to help you get up and working! Continue reading →