Nice post by Joseph Guadagno about database drivers not provided by Microsoft. He missed a few though, so here they are:

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL needs no introductions. Probably my favourite open source DBMS. Npgsql is de facto the ADO.NET provider. Performance and stability seems alright.

PostgreSQLDirect .NET is a commercial provider, and its supposed to out-perform Npgsql while providing more features. I have never used it so don’t take my word for it.

Firebird

Firebird was forked from the open source release of Borland’s InterBase. Most of you tech-oriented folk might know of it due to the name dispute with Mozilla Firefox (a.k.a. Firebird a.k.a.Phoenix) back in 2003. Its a pretty sweet product, easy to work with. I have not implemented very large projects with it, but the word is that it scales well, and has a small footprint both on disk (downloads are ~5 megs) and in memory. The only features I miss are temporary tables (coming in 2.1 which is in beta now) and materialised views.

In any case, the .NET data provider is available for download. as well as a DDEX provider.

SubSonic

Probably the MVP in my .NET development toolbox at the moment. SubSonic generates a full DAL based on an existing database, provides Rails-like scaffolds and provides other helpful controls and utilities. Supports SQL Server 2000 or 2005, MySQL, or Oracle (with SQLLite, SQLCE, and PostGres coming soon!).

ActiveRecord

An implementation of the ActiveRecord pattern by the Castle Project, built on top of NHibernate.

Its been three years since the public last release but now CDBurnerXP 4.0 is finally available. The official website features a spanking new design too. CDBurnerXP is a freeware CD and DVD burning software for Windows, in case anybody did not know that.

Most exciting new features for me, Unicode support and the ability to burn FLAC files. It is now based on .NET which could be a turn off for some users, but the setup file itself is now a stupidly small download at 1.92 megs.

Like I was saying, it is freeware, so there is no reason for anybody to not try it.

Addendum: I gave it a whirl, and while it feels and works great, it does not yet handle the burning of audio CDs from CUE files, so I guess it will not be my primary burner for a while.

Its been a long time since I touched any classic ASP, apart from the odd quick fix to legacy projects.

Anyway, I recently helped a friend out with a project and was surprised to learn that there was an update to Windows Script, from 5.6 to 5.7. Wow! 5.6 shipped with XP, so it’s at least 5 years old.

No official release notes, but the comments in this thread indicate that:

  1. All the security fixes/updates made in Windows Scripting from Windows Script 5.6.
  2. The adaptive GC fix which was done in Jscript that ships with IE7. This is now available publicly on down level OS and for all hosts.

…and a partially fixed circular reference problem. Sigh…

It seems that the GC fix will really boost AJAX performance on IE6, so it’s a good download for Windows 2000 users who have not yet gotten with the programme and switched to Firefox, Opera, or anything else, really.

In any case, downloads:

Windows Script 5.7 for Windows XP

Windows Script 5.7 for Windows 2000

Windows Script 5.7 for Windows 2003 Server

I have been using QuickTime Alternative for a long time, but onegoodmove is crashing Firefox with the last available version of QT Alternative. And given the developers stopped any further development after Apple requested that they remove the package from their website, I needed an alternative.

Now, I am not keen about going back to the official QT Player, even though the developers of QT Alternative published a guide on configuring QT Player “for optimal performance and user satisfaction”.

I managed to find “QT Lite” (thanks, Google!) which is very well put together, with just the components I need. CoreAVC and CoreAAC are not longer included but that is not a huge issue.

Overall, very happy with this “update”, and Firefox is no longer crashing on onegoodmove. Thanks, whoever put this package together.

CCCP15 “Chiyo-chan’s Cute Player” is released. Whoo! Lots of smashing changes which you can read about on the release thread, but for me the best thing about this  release is the new, custom MPC Chiyo-chan logo. Though I guess it would be pretty weird firing up pornos after seeing that face

…*cough* not that I watch pornos or anything…

I’ve been putting this long overdue update off due to some ridiculous workloads and just plain laziness (which would explain the lack of posts too). But yes, That Stupid Club is now running on Community Server 2007, only with the same stupid theme. The new skinning engine is really nice, but unfortunately I am just not imaginative enough to do something nice with it.

I have not ported my blog skins over so this blog is not currently running on my favourite skin Barthelme. Soon, I hope…

MAME

Note (Jan 2011): this guide is pretty much outdated. I might write an update soon.

What is MAME? It is an emulator intended to document the hardware of arcade games systems. Of course, for most average users it is the side-effect of being able to play more than 3000 unique games that’s the important thing.

Well, that’s all well and good, you say, but how do I start? I’m glad you asked.

First, you will need to download MAME itself. If you run Windows, you can download the official release which is run off the command line, but I would recommend Mame32, which has a really nice GUI. For Mac OS X folks it’ll have to be MAME OS X (not very imaginative, yes) or SDLMAME, which is also the best option for Unix/Linux systems.

Next, you will need the ROM images*.

You can download some freely available ROMs to test. Place the downloaded ROM files into the roms folder where you unzipped MAME to.

To obtain more, Pleasuredome is the best way if you can work BitTorrent. The total size of the ROMs stand at almost 16 gigs currently, and so might take a while. The MAME ROM torrents are ratio-free but please do not abuse the ratio. Some games require CHDs which are compressed hard drive images, but these are generally not worth it as most PCs are too slow to emulate these games properly.

Or if you prefer, you can request for one of the Lazarus guys to burn you a copy. Read the instructions carefully, and note that I have never used their services.

That’s really all you need to start playing. You will probably want to grab the “Extras” torrent from Pleasuredome too. Lots of niceties such as screen captures and photos of the cabinets.

Additional stuff to grab:

* downloading of ROMs is illegal in most cases. You are downloading at your own risk.

Fantastic, been waiting for it. Features I have been looking forward to are message tagging and saved searches. What I consider the essential add-ons (Enigmail, Lightning and SmoothWheel) already work with 2.0, so no pain for me there.

The look and feel got an update too. The new theme is more refined, but perhaps a little duller compared to the previous version.

Thunderbird-2.0

Without further ado, the links:

Woo! No protocol encryption yet, being dependent on libtorrent’s implementation, which I hope is underway. Can’t find a changelog, but 0.29 has got to be 0.01 better than 0.28, right?

Get it from the official Halite site, as usual.