Cheese and Cheeseburgers!

Honestly, I eat maybe 1 or 2 beef cheeseburgers in a year (and I don’t even care for most cheese!). Regardless, I still thought this web site, Cheese and Burger Society is really well done (pun not intended!).

It uses Adobe Flash, but really to good effect. There’s a voice over for each recipe.


“Number 7… it’s not for the guy who makes spreadsheets for a living.”

“Limburger, I once fought off three hungry bears to protect my Limburger. True story.”

There are interesting cheese facts:

Famous for its pungent tendencies, this brave and bold Belgian cheese does nothing but intensify with age. Limburger was created to complement the highly flavored meats commonly eaten in Belgium and Germany. Today, a single cheese plant in Monroe, Wisconsin produces all the surface-ripened Limburger made in the United States.

(Monroe, Wisconsin is relatively close to the WiredPrairie homestead.)

Resource Intensive WPF Progress Bar (animation)

I’m using a progress bar in a small WPF application I’m working on and noticed that the Private Working Set for my application seemed higher than I expected.

My application, once simplified down to it’s most basic element, consisted of:

Window, Grid, ProgressBar

On my Windows 7 x64 machine, running the application uses around 29MB (private working set).

Removing the animation only from the visual template drops the private working set to 19MB.

So, it appears that the animation alone causes an extra 10MB of private working set to be needed. Sorry, but that’s crazy (especially for my application)!

If anyone has any specific theories – speak up! Here’s the basic starting Window I created:

    xmlns:Microsoft_Windows_Themes="clr-namespace:Microsoft.Windows.Themes;assembly=PresentationFramework.Aero" x:Class="PerfProgressBar.Window1"
    Title="Window1" Height="300" Width="300">
        <ProgressBar x:Name="progressBar1" Value="100" />

I’m not going to post the entire ProgressBar template, but if you want to reproduce the problem (and see how the animation impacts the memory requirements, just comment out the “Animation” rectangle in the control template (and in the trigger as well):

<Rectangle x:Name="Animation" Fill="{TemplateBinding Foreground}" Grid.ColumnSpan="3" Grid.RowSpan="2">
            <Binding Source="{StaticResource ProgressBarIndicatorAnimatedFill}"/>
            <Binding Path="ActualWidth" ElementName="Background"/>
            <Binding Path="ActualHeight" ElementName="Background"/>

<Trigger Property="IsIndeterminate" Value="false">
    <Setter Property="Fill" TargetName="Animation" Value="#80B5FFA9"/>

Apparently, the ProgressBarHighlightConverter is intense (a little double checking in Reflector confirms!).

(All animations have some price of course – as an experiment I rotated the progressbar in a storyboard and that used about 7MB).

The moral of the story here really is to make sure you do some sanity checks against your [fill-in-the-blank] technology so that you understand how it uses system resources such as memory, CPU, etc, as it may have an impact on the success or failure of your application. I’ll leave out the gratuitous animations in my application so it doesn’t use memory unnecessarily.

Disabling automatic Sys.UI.Control attachment

If you’re using the Microsoft Ajax Library (learn), you may not always want to start the automatic “attach” process that takes place when the page loads. It’s easy to disable, but not yet documented any place I could find easily.

<script src="Scripts/MicrosoftAjax/Start.debug.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">

    var ajaxPath = "";

    Sys.activateDom = false;

All you must do is set Sys.activateDom to false as shown above (make sure this is set after the new Start.js JavaScript file loads, otherwise your code will crash when you try to set the Sys object before it has been properly constructed).

Then, to begin the attach process, just call Sys.activateElements:


In the code line above, though I’ve specified that I want the entire HTML document activated, you could provide any element you want as a starting point (for example to optimize the use of the library and prevent unnecessary DOM searching for example).

I’m adding the delay in some JavaScript code because I wanted to set up a few variables in advance of the attach occurring. I tend to write my JavaScript code in an object oriented fashion these days (using the prototype pattern), including code that is interacting with the DOM. In this case, I’ll create a class that represents the logic of the page rather than following the typical purely functional model that is done on many JavaScript pages. But, when using the “eval” syntax of the Microsoft Ajax library “{{ code }}”, occasionally, I’ll need to delay the eval or the page will crash.

From my recent post on making a simple command extension to the Microsoft Ajax library, I wanted to make that more object oriented by referring to an instance of my class, rather than pointing directly to a function:

<body sys:attach="wpc" 
    xmlns:sys="javascript:Sys" xmlns:wpc="javascript:WiredPrairie.Commanding">

$view represents the instance of my page’s behavior. However, if the attach were to occur too early, this variable is not yet set. I’m using the slick script loading functionality of the ajax library, specifying the various JavaScript libraries and their dependencies, including my page’s behavior. It’s not until that JavaScript code is loaded that the code can create an instance – and that could be AFTER the page has already done the attach logic. The attach happens before Sys.onReady for example. (Sys.onDomReady happens before onReady, but not all JavaScript files may have been downloaded).

Sys.onReady(function() {
    $view = new WiredPrairie.MainView();

When using the sys:attach attribute, note that the attach and instantiation process happens before any code you’ve specified in onReady is executed (Microsoft currently uses the same method for determining when everything is ready by adding a function call to onReady – but their call is first in the queue).

Free Jeffrey A Carver Science Fiction E-books

Jeffrey Carver has provided a number of his science fiction books for free on his web site here. I’ve just completed reading the free Chaos Chronicles series (books 1-4) and enjoyed them quite a lot. Each book isn’t very long, so it’s easy enough to get through the series without drowning in sci-fi tech details.

My only “new year’s resolution” this year was recorded on Twitter thusly:


So, I just threw some money in Jeffrey’s tip-jar as a thank-you for the e-books. I’m sure it was more $ than he would have gotten directly from me if I had purchased the physical books from a reseller like Amazon.

Amazon has the fourth book in paperback at $7.99: Sunborn (Chaos Chronicles)