Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thought it was about time I start these back up.  Simply a few links I find interesting, perhaps some short brief thoughts that don’t necessarily deserve their own post, or whatever tidbits I may find interesting.


  • I hate nulls, I hate checking for them, I hate having to muddy my code up testing for null.  In code that I write I try to avoid return nulls as much as possible.  John Sonmez seems to agree with me in this nice article.
  • I love enums… I love using them, I love the readability they give me… I love the aspect of limiting my choices on values so I don’t have to worry about bad values, I love not having to check for nulls…I could go on, but it seems once again John Sonmez agrees with me.  Read his article.
  • I love var….ok, that is an exaggeration….I do like it though.  Resharper suggests strongly that I use it (by default anyway), so I got in the habit of doing so.  I’m not extreme, I only use it when the type of the variable is evident from surrounding code.  Yes, here again John writes and speaks of his conversion to the var side.
  • jQuery is just cool.  The plugins people create are incredible.   Here is a cool one I found today, jQuery Circulate.   That’s one I just want to find a use for.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010 10:51:05 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00) | Comments [1] | Midnight Snack#
Thursday, March 01, 2007

There just hasn't been much out there over the last week or so that has caught my eye. But here are a few things I want to read closer when I get a free moment.

Thursday, March 01, 2007 10:24:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Been a while since my last post and February has been slow in general as far as the blog is concerned….just too much work to do. I'm trying to finish up a very large project and running into a few snags here and there which are taking that extra time and just putting in the extra hours to get it done. Here are a few links that I need to go back to once I get a free moment or two.

  • Reflector 5.0 – This is a no brainer….just go out and download this. I grabbed it the day it was released and as always a great tool with some nice new additions. Scott has a nice write-up on some new features so I won't repeat that here, just go get it.
  • ViewState Helper – This looks like a promising tool to check out. Haven't played with it as yet, but reading up on it, it looks very useful.
  • I'm no CSS guru so I definitely have not used these…but here is a list of CSS Properties you Probably Never Use.
  • I've been on a Pattern kick lately. Here are a few articles I need to read sooner than later.
  • One thing in regards to patterns….I've got to watch, because as I read and learn more, I tend to look at my current project and see where I can fit this pattern in there and that one in over here. That is not always the most productive path to go down as you're meeting deadlines. I've got to focus on finishing the project (which the architecture is already set) and come back to some of these things as we do revisions in the future. I have a fairly large project which design will start on in another month or so which I can look forward to implementing some patterns in the design of that project if they fit.

Be on the lookout for a new post or two on things I've learned from a previously employer. Some topics coming up are taking a look at my first day on the job (or how not to treat your new employee), how we were tasked with the impossible task of translating a huge system originally in DOS to a windows application in 3 months with ever changing requirements yet a firm due date, and how to kill a giant (otherwise known as reinventing the wheel).

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 11:16:10 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | .NET | Midnight Snack#
Monday, February 12, 2007

We're going to get blasted with a major snow storm tomorrow….they're calling for at least a foot by tomorrow evening…I know that pales in comparison to some areas this winter, but this will be our major snow storm this season for our part of Ohio. Went to the grocery today and have plenty of worked lined up to work from home.....just need to get to the dentist first thing in the morning tomorrow. Well been awhile so got some links piling up, won't bore you with all of them tonight, but will spread over a few days.

Monday, February 12, 2007 10:53:39 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Just some quick links tonight.

  • AJAX Hover Panel Control – I've read many of Rick's blog for some time, always interesting. I'm going to play with this panel control as the samples look very slick and I happen to be working on a project where something like this would fit nicely.
  • As some of you may know, I have a book review blog that I maintain with a few friends of mine (thanks Todd and Dave). Well anyways, you'll see that we all read a lot. Here are some articles on improving your reading speed and comprehension. Now most of this is better for non-fiction. When I read fiction, I'm reading for pleasure and like to savor the words on the page. But if I'm reading non-fiction for knowledge then better comprehension at a nice speed would be very useful. Anyway, lots of good tips here.
  • One of the tips I read about reading comprehension suggests creating a mind-map soon after finishing your book. Here is a free alternative for mind mapping software that looks interesting. I have yet to install and play with it, but I will.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007 10:49:35 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Thursday, February 01, 2007

Boy I'm glad this week is almost over…ready for a quiet weekend of relaxation. Oh wait….got a lot going on this weekend too, never mind.

  • Whoops!! This doesn't affect me, but I could imagine it would suck pretty badly if it did.
  • I've never been a big user of Outlook's notes. Oh sure, I keep an occasional bit of information, but I usually tend to forget it's there and it languishes there for all time. Well here's a novel idea for using the notes to help you learn any subject. Repetition does well for me. I do well to read things over and over and it will stick with me.
  • I'm sure everyone can use a bit of tune-up from time to time on their financial health. I'm notorious for reading about new techniques or ideas , but never really implementing. Perhaps this guide to fix your finances in 31 days will be useful and something easy to implement. We shall see.
  • Another HanselMinutes on one of my favorite subjects, PowerShell. Haven't had a chance to really sit down and listen yet, but I'm sure it will be a good one.
  • While we're on the subject of PowerShell, here's an interesting article on creating providers for PowerShell. An interesting read.
Thursday, February 01, 2007 9:34:38 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack | Powershell#
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

We have a house full of sick kids. All have pretty bad chest colds. It really hasn't been that pleasant around here, though I'm hoping that I may escape from getting it.

  • I just heard that author Sidney Sheldon died today at age 89. I can't say that I was a huge fan, in fact I don't think I've ever read anything of his, though I know some who just love his work. I can however respect anyone who has the muse within. I have been trying to get myself to sit down and write. While I work in a technical field, I have no desire to write technical books (in fact I read very few technical books these days). I have too many stories inside that I need to get out someday. A friend of mine, who is an aspiring author, once told me that the only way to become a good writer is to just sit down and do it.
  • On that note, however, I read an article today that states called, How to Become a Better Programmer by Not Programming. Interesting premise and to a certain degree I agree with Jeff on that. It is true that there is a vast divide between those that are excellent programmers and those that just get by. I think that I can tell in a very short time whether someone is an excellent programmer or not. Unfortunately those mediocre programmers often see themselves as top-notch and on the flip side the really excellent programmers are normally fairly humble about it.
  • Ahhh yes….. tax season is upon us. I've just finished up preparing the last of my 1099s I need to prepare for some sub-contractors I had work for me this past year. Nothing like waiting until the last moment. I've only received one of the one's I'm expecting as of yet, but should see the rest of them here in the next week or so.
  • I think I'm going to start a series of posts relating some interesting stories (funny, scary, sad …) from a previous employer. The names will be changed to protect the innocent, though if you know me; it won't be hard to figure out who I'm talking about. No offense meant to anyone, but hey, they are my life stories and I'm going to tell! I learned a lot from working there some good, some not so good. So anyway, be prepared for some.
  • Just for a taste of what I'm talking about, here is a list of some SQL don'ts. This list that Brian put together mirrors some things that my former employer did, despite advice against.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007 10:54:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [1] | .NET | Midnight Snack#
Saturday, January 27, 2007

I have some work to make up this weekend so my Saturday will be pretty busy. I'm making a "fourth quarter" push to finish up a huge project hopefully by mid-month February. But I'll take a break in the work to see what has been going on.

  • Joel announces version 2.0 of their Copilot remote control tool. While I haven't had the opportunity to use it yet as most of our clients I have a direct VPN in, I have used their trial and it is pretty slick. I keep it in my toolbox for that odd ball time when nothing else will do. Some nice new features including direct connect if possible resulting in possibly faster connections, file transfer, and support for the Mac for those so inclined. Also the lowering of the 24 day pass to $5 makes it so much more inviting.
  • Forgotten SQL Functions – Jason brings up a good point, how often do we go about creating the greatest function to perform some operation only to discover that it's already available built-in? Whether it's SQL or .NET, C# or doesn't really matter as I'm always discovering something new. I have to agree with a few of the commenter's in the original post. COALESCE is the bomb. See here for a performance comparison between Coalesce and IsNull. Also here is a novel usage of the Coalesce function to build a comma-delimited string.
Saturday, January 27, 2007 12:31:55 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Snowing pretty good right now, always wonder what you'll wake up to.  If you don't live downwind from one of the Great Lakes, and have yet to experience the joys of lake effect snow.  What a joy.  You can wake up to 20 inches and half a mile down the road, nothing but a trace.  Hard to predict what you'll end up with.  I'm on the southern reaches of the snow belt in Ohio, so I can be thankful for that.

  • I've looked briefly at the Validation Block of the Enterprise Library and it's attribute validation.  And now I've found EViL which also does attribute validation.  Seems like these will be pretty handy tools.  Still trying to mentally wrap my mind around setting up my validation with attributes (just seems a bit odd for some reason), but I think I may just being old fashioned. 
  • Installed Office 2007 this evening and have really only messed with Outlook.  I'm liking it the To-Do Bar, love the way you can collapse both the To-Do Bar and Navigation Pane.  Love the Ribbon and while it can be a bit confusing at first, it really is much more intuitive.  Be back with more updates as I dig deeper into Outlook as well as the other office apps.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007 11:17:20 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [1] | Midnight Snack#
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Went to the Launch 2007 Tour event in Cleveland today.  I was in the developer track and while it was interesting to see some of the new things you can do, it was really nothing new if you've been paying attention at all.  It seemed like a sales pitch when really most everyone there was already sold.  But hey, can't beat the free license of Office 2007!.

  • Speaking of Vista, here are "5 Sins of Vista" to watch for.
  • I have yet to go through this yet, but this workshop on .NET Instrumentation looks real interesting.
  • If you haven't heard by now.... ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 is released.
  • I've known this was available in 2.0, but have yet to really have a reason to explore deeper, but reading this about creating network aware apps sparked a few ideas for an app I've been working with lately that runs on a slightly unreliable network.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007 10:51:09 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Monday, January 22, 2007
  • Maintainable Code - Another great post by Jeremy Miller.  I love to optimize code, I find it quite enjoyable to take a bit of code and tweak the last few cycles out of it.  I know, however in the process, I've made my code hard to maintain for a not so beneficial gain.  I'm striving to focus more and more on making my code more maintainable and Jeremy adds another fine post to move me closer to that goal.
  • Performance Iterating Generic Lists - well in seemingly contrast to the above link, here is a post on an optimization.  I absolutely love generics and have found the use of anonymous methods beneficial in making my code more maintainable (at least to me), so I'm happy to see that my prefered technique for iterating through those generic lists in some cases (#3 List.ForEach method with a delegate) is at least not the slowest.
  • I was working today on making some changes to a website for a client today.  These changes involved some enhancements to the login and password maintenance routines.  This stuff was hacked together years ago in 1.0 (upgraded to 2.0, but the code has changed little) and while it has worked fine for many years, it is not the prettiest code.  I tried to incorporate the membership providers into this site with no luck.  Was receiving an OutOfMemory Exception while it was parsing the provider section of the web.config. No solution could be found so after a few hours of trying to solve it, I needed to move on.  I will have to create a test site from scratch and see if I can get a handle on the provider stuff before trying to hook it back into the existing site.
  • Error handling in PowerShell - Nice little post about topic that is not documented very well. 
  • Well it's coming time for a new computer.  While my main machine (my laptop) is working just fine and still has a few good years left in her, my desktop, which is more of my non-work / gaming / wife's machine is in need of an upgrade.  I'll hand my current desktop over to my kids and get a nice new shiny one for myself (and of course my wife!)  I don't think I'll go the route of my buddy Dave, but I'll be interested in hearing how he likes it once it comes.
Monday, January 22, 2007 10:54:54 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Saturday, January 20, 2007

Not sure if I'm coming down with something or not, but just haven't been able to shake a chill I've had since I got home this afternoon. 

I'm to bed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007 12:05:16 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Thursday, January 18, 2007

Went to my son's 6th grade band concert.  Love watching my kids do about anything, whether it's sports (he's quite the athlete, didn't come from me) or his music, I just love these things! 

  • 7Zip In Memory Compression C# Code - I've been wanting to switch to 7Zip for awhile.  I purchased WinZip a few years back and it has worked well, but 7Zip has intrigued me.  Now with this SDK, perhaps I should take a closer look.
  • TryParse() - Here's another one I like to use alot.  I'm always on the lookout for code that simplifies my code.  Very nice addition to 2.0
  • Start and Stop Services - This is here more for my own info.  I have used this a few times in the past and always spend a few minutes looking this I'll know exactly where it is.
  • As a small MicroISV myself, good the hear Scott talk about it on his latest Hanselminutes.  Another nice place, though it hasn't been updated in a while, is
  • Blog about your favorite developer tool tomorrow.  I've got so many, I'll have to think which one I would like to highlight.
  • The front-runner for my favorite tool blog post, Resharper, has just released an update.  Nice to see a quick update to fix some stuff.  Looking forward to the next major update.
  • <begin soapbox>Watch the price of gas creap back up if this gets signed into law.  Don't forget that most any tax placed on business, get's passed right back to the who ends up paying these extra taxes?  Yep, you and I, the ones the Dems say they are trying to help.</begin soapbox>


Thursday, January 18, 2007 11:37:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Let's get right to it:

  • I've seen this around before (I think I may have even installed it once to try it out), but one of my goals this year is to focus a bit more on writing.  Darkroom may just help me out with that.  I'm easily distracted and that is probably my main reason for not writing more.
  • Managing Processes in Powershell.  I'm just now getting into powershell so I'm reading up just about everything I can find.  Good examples on the flexibility and power of PowerShell.
  • Using Anonymous Methods - I for one love anonymous methods.  I use them quite a bit and have been meaning to write up something a bit more is a quick and simple post on a good usage of anonymous methods.
  • One Stop Shipping Tracking  - Nice service here to track all your shipments from different carriers.  Also some nice tools to estimate shipping charges.  Might be handy if you do a lot of shipping or buying / selling on eBay.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007 7:39:19 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Monday, January 15, 2007

Well here it is late at night waiting to see if I'll be driving in snow in the morning...I hate the idea of waking up to the roads covered in snow in the morning.  Been a very mild winter so far here in northeast Ohio...I've gotten spoiled.

  • Yes I watch 24 almost religiously.  I really don't watch much TV, but that is one show I do enjoy.
  • Ever wanted to manage multiple assembly's version info from one place.  Well there ya go.  Seems pretty obvious now that I've read it.

I'll keep it short tonight...

Monday, January 15, 2007 11:38:36 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Friday, January 12, 2007

Wow, I managed to do this two nights in a row!!

  • It's really amazing how easy .NET makes some things.  I whipped up a quick app today that handles some data uploads to a web app I'm developing.  I created it to allow for plugin modules for different data uploads.  Really some basic stuff and from start to finish, about 2 hours of work.  I can remember trying to do something similar in VB6 many, many moons ago...not quite so easy.
  • Tomorrow is my daughter's 9th birthday...tonight is her sleep over with some friends at our house....use your imagination what a house full of 8 and 9 year old girls looks and sounds like!
  • Good article on Coding Horror today on the importance of setting good defaults.
  • CodeRush and Refactor! Pro 2.1 are released.  I'm a Resharper man myself, but Refactor Pro has always looked very good and many have spoken highly of it.  I'll be honest, Resharper got me on their holiday $99 dollar special which I believe runs through the end of this month and it does have some great tools (love the usages F7 tool). 


Friday, January 12, 2007 10:44:20 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
Thursday, January 11, 2007

Who doesn't enjoy a quick snack before bed.  Well here is my attempt at what everyone else seems to be trying.  A few quick snippets of information, links, thoughts, ... whatever, more or less as often as I can.

  • I may be a bit behind, but I've finally starting working with Enterprise Library from Microsoft.  Specifically the Data Access Block.  I'm really diggin it.  I'm just now scratching the surface, but it didn't take very long to take a fairly large ASP.NET project I'm working on and converting all my data access to use it.  I'll probably blog about it more eventually. 
  • Speaking of the Enterprise Library and application blocks in general, I need to check out some of the other blocks and see what I can use and where.  I'm really intrigued by the Smart Clients blocks
  • I've also started playing with PowerShell.  Again, perhaps I'm late to the party, but I guess better late than never.  Scott Hanselman has been talking about for quite a while and is quite the proponent, so I figured I needed to take a look for myself.  So far so good...learning curve seems big, but lots of potential.
  • Been using the Emergent Task Planner from David Seah for the last week...and I must say, putting things down on paper is very conforting to me.  I always did prefer to write things down, but as an IT consultant, I always feel like I should be using something electronic, seems a little "dirty" to me to be using paper...but I like it!


Thursday, January 11, 2007 11:33:37 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Midnight Snack#
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