This past week has been quite busy for me. I have been putting my hands on a product that I find very exciting and will write about in a few weeks. I also read a good book on the MODx CMS, and my review of it post to TechRepublic this week. In the meantime, check out this hodgepodge of interesting programming news.
H-1B visas, offshoring, and wages
Computerworld reports that employing H-1B visa holders pushes wages down about 6%. Additionally, offshoring puts an additional 2% - 3% downward trend on wages. The bright light is that the people most affected are recent college graduates and people changing jobs. I believe it. My experience has been that offshore work is often about equal to a local entry level or low-intermediate developer; most of the H-1B visa holders I have worked with, though, are very good. Granted, this is strictly anecdotal information. I am actually surprised that H-1B visas make this much of an impact, simply because the difficulties in obtaining and maintaining one make it a hassle to hire people with one. As always, my advice to protecting your job remains the same: learn more, do more, get better.
Red Gate's "million dollar challenge"
Red Gate has $1,000,000 to spend by May 31st 2009, acquiring one or more software products and/or companies. It might spread the money across multiple purchases or put it into one big purchase. If you own a software product or company and are willing to sell it for $1,000,000 or less, go to Red Gate's site, read the details, and make the pitch.
ACM offers free career advice
With the current economy being what it is, finding a job is a lot more work than just throwing your resume onto a job board and waiting for the calls to come in. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has a really good career news section, available for free to both members and nonmembers. The most recent issue is particularly pertinent.
VA Smalltalk 8.0 released
Instantiations, Inc. has released version 8 of its Smalltalk system. This latest release improves its Web development capabilities, including Seaside integration. It also includes an improved IDE, a Web services "cookbook," and much more.
Google picks the Summer of Code projects
Google's Summer of Code has picked its 2009 projects. The list is fairly interesting and covers a huge variety of projects, from Ruby on Rails to Mono to Plan 9.
Team System 2010's feature list
Brian Harry at MSDN has a list and summary of the new features available in Team System 2010.
Silverlight gets even better video streaming
Microsoft, continuing its assault on Flash in the streaming media sector, announced IIS Smooth Streaming, which provides true 1080p video to Silverlight and PVR functionality — even on live feeds. Unless Adobe responds soon with some upgrades to Flash, Silverlight will very quickly replace both Flash and Real for professional-grade online video. (What am I saying? I haven't had the Real Player installed in years.)
ELMAH makes troubleshooting ASP.NET apps much easier
From Scott Hanselman comes a great writeup/tutorial on a tool called ELMAH. ELMAH records your unhandled exceptions and allows you to view them, including the stack traces. It also can provide an RSS feed of the exceptions, which is great for detecting errors in production. If you are not familiar with this tool, I encourage you to read Scott's blog and learn more.
Dr. Dobb's Journal and Microsoft to give away $10,000 in prizes and bobbleheads!
Dr. Dobb's Journal and Microsoft have put together a little online game and provided ways to extend it. There are $10,000 in cash and prizes available to folks who make the best new levels and other modifications.
Refcardz gives away free developer cheat sheets
Refcardz has 50 (with more coming all of the time) cheat sheets for developers. Once registered, you can download any of the sheets for free. The cards are high-quality PDFs. I downloaded the .NET Essentials and C# cheat sheets, and I was impressed with them.
Visual Studio 2010 allows historical debugging
From InfoQ comes news of an insanely cool feature in Visual Studio 2010: historical debugging. With this functionality, you can essentially "roll back" an application and "replay" it, because stack and variable data are stored on disk. You can control what is saved in order to fine tune it to your needs. This means that instead of getting an exception and trying to find out what lead to it, you can "rewind" and see precisely how it happened. Expect your debug sessions to be much shorter.
Good information on allowing ASP.NET MVC applications to store views in the database
Phil Haack has a really nifty piece on how you can store ASP.NET MVC views in the database. Why would you want to do that? Well, if you want your end users to be able to modify the look and feel of the system, this is a great way to do it. It's perfect for CMS systems, blog engines, e-commerce, and more.
The ASP.NET team wants your feedback
The ASP.NET team would like your feedback; specifically, they want to know what improvements you think should be made to ASP.NET debugging.
Scala 2.7.4 goes final
The most recent version of Scala (2.7.4) has been released in its final form. This is a maintenance release that fixes a number of bugs. The Scala IDE for Eclipse has also been updated.
I will be speaking in Charleston, SC on April 29th
I will be giving my presentation on the Microsoft Parallel Extensions Library to the Charleston Technology Users Group (Charleston, SC) on Wednesday, April 29th. The event begins at 6:00 PM.
J.JaDisclosure of Justin's industry affiliations: Justin James has a working arrangement with Microsoft to write an article for MSDN Magazine. He also has a contract with Spiceworks to write product buying guides.
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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.