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Static Methods in BREThursday 28th January 2010
If you want to call a .NET function from within the BizTalk 2006 Business Rules Engine (BRE) then you need to first create an instance of your containing class and the instance into the engine.

This is even the case for static functions, which is a pain in the arse. All I want to do is concatenate two strings - so it makes sense to use System.String.Concat().

The reason for this is because the rules engine needs you to "assert" "facts" before they can be used.

Lucky for us, somebody thought this was silly and has added support for static methods without having to pass or assert a .NET class. It's easily enabled according to the MSDN documentation.

Or so I thought. The registry key mentioned in the above article does not exist on my computer, nor any of our servers. Finally after much head scratching I realised my repeated school boy error and found the node under Wow64. So if you're running on a 32-bit OS then the registry key is as described by Microsoft, otherwise it's here:


The net benefit, you can now add "mscorlib" to your rules composer to access base classes such as String. Which opens up the ability to run String.Concat().

Energy saving light bulbsWednesday 27th January 2010
What's wrong with them? Energy Saving Light bulbs, of CFLs (Compact Florescent Lamp) are these slow to get bright, odd coloured flickering replacement to the trusty incandescent light bulb.

It's so we're all green. Or something.

At between 8-10, they don't come cheap. But apparently saves our energy bills almost a fiver over the year (which really impacts against my 1000 energy bill).

The problem I find though, is the energy saving costs are outweighed by the vast volumes I have to purchase of them.

Living out in the sticks, my electricity is fed by overhead cable and there is a limited pipe. But when I last checked, it never dropped below the 210V allowed tolerances. I also have new internal electrics everywhere including the fuse board. And been through several bulb holders on light fitting just to be sure.

But still - *ping* - goes my energy savers. I bought one the weekend before last to replace one which had amazed me and lasted probably the best part of a year. Alas, the new one (7.99 from a reputable independent trader, no receipt issued) went ping tonight whilst I was watching TV.

In contrast, I do have some 100Watt bulbs kicking about (the ones that have now been banned by the illustrious EU). And I've found these to be more reliable than their modern alternatives. I've got one in my outside light which went in 3 years ago after it became apparent that the "dimmable" energy saver couldn't handle a dimmed voltage (it just turned off). And it's still going strong.

I've got candle bulbs that are dimmed, turned off, turned on, knocked about etc., which have lasted 4 years. And halogen bulbs that have lasted 2.

Yet some hippy has decided that I should not be allowed to buy these bulbs in order to save the environment. I'm not one for shouting "stealth tax" at everything, but I'm finding it hard to find the benefit of these bulbs.

2010 the year of 3D TV?Sunday 10th January 2010
I'm not so sure. I haven't had much exposure to 3D TV. I can remember watching Comic Relief or something similar in 3D many years ago, there were a couple of impressive things, but nothing really to warrant wearing glasses.

And then there was Chuck, and I couldn't find any glasses, so instead it was just a rubbish episode with funny colour ghosting.

We've all just got our heads around HD. I still don't have any HD source, just the tele. TV's should last 10 years without too much hassle, so what am I going to do with my plasma? It's too big for the bedroom that's for sure.

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