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Thursday, September 04, 2003

The new version of NUnit has been released. I love the way it leverages attributes and reflection to make writing tests extremely simple. The 2.0 version is the best unit-testing tool that I have worked with ever so I am really looking forward to working with this new version.

Hurry on over to NUnit V2.1 Final Release and grab it. It is free and open-source.

Highlights:


This is the third major release of NUnit and the second since it was
rewritten to take advantage of .NET custom attributes. Highlights of this release include:

* Support for the .NET framework versions 1.0 and 1.1
* The ability to run test suites across multiple assemblies
* New TestFixtureSetup and TestFixtureTeardown attributes
* Improvements to the GUI interface
* New command line switches for both GUI and Console runners
* Some degree of integration with Visual Studio
* Tests now execute in the same order as they are displayed in the gui.
* Substantial improvements in error and exception reporting.
* Now runs on Windows 98"


Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Der Spiegel has a short story about this year's Burning Man. It includes some very nice photos.


Tuesday, September 02, 2003

According to this article [bbc.co.uk] there is a correllation between negative thoughts (centered in the right pre-frontal cortex) and the immune system response.

Excerpt:


"Negative thoughts 'make you ill'

Sad thoughts could cut your immunity.
Having negative thoughts really could make you more illness-prone, say scientists.
A study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences links 'negative' brain activity with a weakened immune system.

...


It really begs a much more important question, "what is the cause and what is the effect?" For example, it would be interesting to know whether the pre-frontal cortex activity is the cause or just an expression of an underlying mechanims. Therefore, it would be interesteting to see whether stimulating the left pre-frontal cortex (positive emotions) could lead to better immune system response.

I have no domain knowledge so this is a wild guess - but I think that the cortex activity is just an expression, not the cause itself.

This morning when I was looking for web services security frameworks I came across an implementation of WS-Security for ASP.NET by the nice folks at Newtelligence. Free, with source code, even. Get it here.

If you have ever used a data store without a query language - like the network databases of lore, or currently used data stores like Berkeley DB - you will surely appreciate the expressive power of a declarative language like SQL.

WS-Security makes the same kind of leap, eliminating a lot of the footwork in security through a declarative approach based on attributes. It makes for very concise, readable code that will surely be a hit with the AOP crowd - notice how attributes are used to introduce argument validation.


[WebMethod(Description='This method will reserve a seat on a specific flight cycle for a person.')]
[KerberosAuthentication]
[ExceptionMonitor]
[MethodStatistics(UsePerformanceCounter=true)]
[PrincipalPermission(SecurityAction.Demand,Role=@'TRAVELSHOP\FlightsRUsAgents')]
[TipTransaction(true,TransactionOption.Required)]
[CheckArguments]
public string MakeReservation(
[MinLength(8), MaxLength(8)]
string FlightCycleId,
[Between(1,100)]
int Row,
[Between('A','K')]
char Seat,
[Match(@'[A-Z]')]
string Fare,
[MinLength(1),MaxLength(80)]
string FirstName,
[MinLength(1),MaxLength(80)]
string LastName,
[OneOf('MR','MRS')]
string Title,
[Match(@'[0-9]*'),MaxLength(20)]
string AirlineCustomerCode)
{
// implementation of Web Method
}

Monday, September 01, 2003

Brian Whitman at MIT is creating synthetic music based on the "eigensound" of music played on popular radio stations.

My girlfriend thinks it sounds like a gang of gremlins invading a record studio. It could probably pass as art. Listen for yourself at Eigenradio.

It has been some time since I looked into statistical modelling of music - when I was researching reinforcement learning I looked into
music style classification and found some good work in the field, but then I settled on having robots teach themselves how to walk.

However, it is an interesting field. Some interesting papers covering the underlying principles are available, for example check out
Musically Expressive Sound Textures from Generalized Audio (PDF).
by Brian Whitman and Ben Recht.


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