Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ESP now on MSDN!

Did you know that Microsoft ESP is now part of MSDN? As a result of months of hard work by the good people at ACES (yes, Todd, that includes you too! :-)) you can now find the ESP developer center on MSDN. If you're an MSDN customer, you can also download ESP without having to go through the normal purchasing channels.

Let me know if you need assistance with developing on ESP! Also, if you are a current or potential ESP customer and require contract work or help with developing your software, I'd be interested in hearing about it as well!

Here's the link for where all that good fun happens!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Penryn Q9450 - just received it!

I owe a small debt of gratitude to my good friend George Marinakis for picking up one of the new Penryn Q9450 CPUs (Intel specs here) on my behalf and shipping it to me (it took five days to ship from Cincinnati, OH to Athens, Greece! Amazing record for the US and Greek postal services, during Greek Easter busy shipping times too!).

Installation was pretty straightforward... (Yeah - I wish!) My rig is a Thermaltake Kandalf LCS super tower box which includes liquid cooling. It weighs in at a hefty 20kgs so removing it from under the desk was tough to begin with... putting it sideways was pretty much out of the question, as I didn't want all the crap spilling out of the pump container, so I had to undo the screws that were holding the pipes and heat sink onto the old (Core 2 Quad 6600) CPU, remove the CPU itself without harming the myriad pins and install the new CPU into its slot (try doing that all while the motherboard is still hanging vertically!).

Once that was done and the heat sink was put back in place, I had to endure about five panic-stricken minutes of pain during which the box would start booting, beep, then cycle power down and up again to go through the same process... ugh. At least I had my wife's PC on the desk next to mine, so I could log onto the Internet and see if anyone else had gone through that problem. Sure enough, I found out I had to update the BIOS on my ABit IP35 Pro motherboard to a new (beta!) version which would boot the new Penryn generation (funny - I thought the IP35 Pro was designed with those Penryns in mind... guess not).

How do you get the box stable enough to replace the BIOS? You guessed it (right?): Out comes the Penryn, in goes the old Q6600 (yes, yes, heat sink, hold vertically, unscrew while holding CPU in place, screw back on, etc. etc) and the process continues.

The rest was quite uneventful. New BIOS went back in, CPU was replaced again (yes, yes, heat sink out, etc. etc.) and booting now was successful.

After about three hours, I am typing on this new Penryn box. Wow! Amazingly fast performance for writing Blogger articles! :-) :-).

I couldn't resist though, so I put it through some preliminary tests: I am seeing about 20-30% faster performance with the PMDG 747-400X in Flight Simulator X SP2 with my settings. This means I can now turn back on the ground and aircraft shadows and put a modicum of AI traffic for a more pleasant outside view, or fly online at VATSIM with the new Squawkbox 4 Beta version...

Overall? Well worth the $320 I spent on it (shipping included - but not counting the free flight George gets in the C172 as a well-earned thank you for his willingness to help me out!).

Go get it? Heck yeah!

It's all about the weather...

Literally! If you're interested, there's a huge collection of weather forecast and related links here.

The titles are in Greek, but I am pretty darn sure that everyone will understand from the URLs what the topics are.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ESP - now blogging at a URL near you...

Excited to find out about this from fellow MVP Arno Gerretsen:

The product team responsible for Microsoft ESP is now blogging! They just started, but you can find more here.

(Soon I'll start talking about what I've been doing in Stealth Mode and I'll start inviting queries on it - and it might also be ESP related - who knows!).

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

In Stealth Mode...

I've been quiet for awhile. You haven't seen much written here because I've been very busy with work. I can't say what it is I'm working on, but I'm very excited about it...

In other news, I was honored to be part of the Heroes Happen Here 2008 Hellas Launch of Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 - I even had a small part in the Visual Studio 2008 technical presentation, demonstrating how cool the new Team System features are, which allow a developer a very rapid cycle of bug catching / source control checking / bug fixing / source control restoring process; all this while showcasing the new Microsoft ESP platform and an example of new features that can be added to any simulated aircraft.

As soon as I find out that the video of the presentation becomes available, I'll update everyone with a post here (sorry - it will be in Greek :-)).