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At ZYB we test SyncML synchronization of just about every cell phone on the market, so we can optimize the sync process. That’s because phone manufactures have very different ways to support SyncML to say the least. It also means we get our hands on a lot of cool devices from time to time – and some not so cool ones too.

Today, I was so lucky to get my hands on the brand new LG KU990 Viewty. It is a Symbian smartphone with a huge 3” touch screen and no keyboard. It also has a 5 mega pixel camera with flash and auto focus.

I was a big sceptic to begin with about the touch screen, since I’ve only seen it work properly on the iPhone. My fear was that it would be a hassle to write text messages or perform just the basic operations like it was on the HTC Touch.

After playing around with it all night I must say that I’m very impressed with the responsiveness and precision of the screen. It just works. Sometimes though, my fingers are too big for some small icons and the stylus that is bundled in the box is just not a thing I would like to carry around with my phone. That being said, it is a rare case when the stylus is needed – I have no plans to use it not even once.

There’s nothing like a new gadget.

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For a lot of good reasons I’m sure, Dell just launched their new blog one2one in order to communicate directly with their customers. It even has video entries or vlogs, which I think is great and very informative as well. One2one has had mixed reviews in the blogosphere so far - just take a look at Shel Israel’s blog post, which also has links to other reviews.

I think it’s very obvious where Dell got their inspiration from: Channel 9 mixed with old fashioned blogging. The thing is that those two concepts don’t mix that well I think. Channel 9 separates the two very well while Dell mixes them as they feel like.

Channel 9 has been very successful the last couple of years mainly because they where the first to let people into Microsoft and meet the “Average Joe Employee”. This has been a huge part of the image lift Microsoft has undergone the last year or so from developers point of view.

I just can’t seem to get what exactly Dell want to achieve with one2one or what segment they try to communicate to, but I do like the fact that they let us meet the employees through vlogs. Thumbs up for that, but maybe Dell should work on separating the vlogs from the regular news as Channel 9 has done with great success. I love vlogs, but not with my morning news.

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"GhostDoc is a free add-in for Visual Studio that automatically generates XML
documentation comments."

I have known about GhostDoc for some time now, but didn’t believe it to be very useful in any way. I expected it to provide poorly written XML comments for the methods it’s commenting.

Anyway, today was the day I gave it a go. I downloaded it and installed it in about 30 seconds without errors. I opened Visual Studio 2005 and was met with this new context menu item:

GhostDoc

GhostDoc writes XML comments and only XML comments, so it has no need for more than a single context menu item. I like that. Now, the real test; how will it write the comments? To my big surprise, it almost writes better comments than I can do myself.

If you haven't tried it out for your self, I can only recommend that you do. It will save you a lot of time.

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I have unit tested my code for years now, but have never got around to using a unit testing framework like NUnit. I’ve been dancing around it for some time now, but haven’t had the time to get to know it or maybe I just forgot about it. I manually write my tests and it works fine, but it does not provide the level of consistency that NUnit provides.

So I decided to read the book "Test-Driven Development in Microsoft .NET", to get me started, or at least inspired. The book is written by James Newkirk and Alexei Vorontsov. James works with Patterns & Practices at Microsoft and has also been involved in developing NUnit. So who better to write a book about test driven development (TDD) than him??

The book does a very good job describing the philosophy behind TDD and the idea of writing scenario based unit tests. I have never thought of doing that, even though it is very simple. That covers about 3 of the chapters, and they were very informative and interesting.

The funny thing is that the book is about TDD, it says so on the cover. Nevertheless, the authors spend approximately 9 chapters writing about something else. If I wanted to know more about creating web services, I would buy a book about it. The same goes for refactoring and data access code.

The book is written for beginners to .NET development, even though the authors claim it is for experienced programmers. If you are an experienced programmer, expect to be bored for three quarters of the book.

My guess is that the authors had written their 3 interesting chapters when the publisher, Microsoft Press, wanted at least 12. So the authors had to write a lot of words to get to the 12 chapters - and so they did. The book suffers from the same disease as "Naked Conversations" does - example overflow. Read my review of Naked Conversations here.

However, the three good chapters are actually worth the while, so I will recommend the book, but instruct people to skip 9 chapters.

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The product manager at Traceworks and my boss, Morten Wulff, sent me the eBook Getting Real by 37signals on e-mail last friday. I was a little reluctant to read it, because it was written by the guys from 37signals. They have become much hyped amongst the designers at my workplace and the name 37signals is almost a buzz word like web 2.0 and AJAX. It’s not unusual to hear one of the designers use a sentence like “I like that lamp on your desk, it’s very web 2.0”. That’s just wrong :-)

Well, I just finished the book and boy, oh boy, it was really good. I’m sorry I doubted the brilliant guys from 37signals. The book explains to people riding the buzz word hype, why we as developers do why we do certain things. Hopefully, it will have a positive impact on the general understanding of how developers think. That is not what the whole book is about, but it was the theme that it left me with.

There were very few things I didn’t agree with the book about. For instance, I don’t believe that meetings are toxic. I think it's about discipline. A really recommend it for anyone in the sphere of the development of software. From the marketing department, project managers, designers, developers and so on and so forth.

As a developer I have always used the rule of saying no as default when someone asks me if it is possible to add some new feature to our product. The book explains why it is important to do so. I like when someone agrees with me or maybe I agree with the authors, I don’t know.

Conclusion: Read it, it’s good.