Thursday, January 26, 2006

In an effort to try and keep this blog technical in nature, I've decided to create a new blog dedicated entirely to books, reading and other publishing news.  New blog is at  Check it out if you were even half interested in what I was reading.  I'm also extending an invitation to a few friends that were keeping track of their reading lists in different areas.  Perhaps this way we can create a useful blog for book reviews.

Anyway, I'll try to keep this blog mostly technical from now on, so if you're here for my .NET / Consulting stuff, then stay right where you are.  If you were interested in my reading preferences and reviews, then head on over to


Thursday, January 26, 2006 8:37:05 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Books#
Sunday, January 22, 2006

Yes, book #3 (The Hawkline Monster) is completed already, since this was a short one coming in under 200 pages this only took a few nights before bed and a few mornings over the cereal bowl to knock this one out.  I must say this was not a book I really enjoyed.  The only reason I really kept moving through it was the sheer shortness of it and the speed I was moving through.  The book is written in a very juvenile manner that is really quite annoying, in fact, I would rather have read my sons picture books. 

The story itself wasn't bad, though there was a bit of gratuitous sex that really didn't add much to the plot.  Had the story been written by a better author, it could have potential to be quite a story, however, I just could not get past the writing style.  There was little character development and plot turns and twists that seemed to go nowhere for no good reason.  Just a strange, strange book.

I know this author has quite a following and judging by some of the reviews on Amazon, it appears that this was considered one of his better books (though perhaps not his most famous) but this is just not my style of story and I while it showed promise, it just wasn't something that I enjoyed.  I give this a 3 out of 10;  one point just for the briefness and two points for the main plot line that could have been interesting.

Next up.... something more interesting I hope.

Sunday, January 22, 2006 11:04:49 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Books#
Thursday, January 19, 2006

Well book number 2 is done (1/18/2006).  Gerald's Game by Stephen King from 1993.  This book was a quick read only taking about a week reading a half hour or so at a time in the evening before bed.  Very intriguing and a page turner that was very suspenseful up to the last few chapters.  However, fairly typical with King's novels, the endings leave something to be desired sometimes.  This is no different.  Up to the last two chapters or so, the book moved quickly and was a page turner...the last couple chapters really felt just like "oops, I have some loose ends to clean up, let me try and explain everything now"...while it was interesting to see the reasoning behind everything, it also took away somewhat from the "thrill" of the story. 

Having said that, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick horror read.  I would say, the best way to read this is late at night having put the kids to bed, climb into your own bed, with just a reading lamp with just enough light to read by and read a few chapters.  This will maximize the thrill as once you turn the lights off, you can put yourself in the place of the lead character and feel a little bit of what she must be feeling.  Certainly a creepy feeling. 

I won't say this is one of King's best overall novels, but it is one of his better in bringing the reader into the story.  Very worth the short time it will take to read.  I'd say about a 7 out of 10 for this one.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 8:12:24 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Books#

I switch daily between c# and for different projects with different clients.  One of the things I've always plagued me was those subtle little differences between the languages; putting semi-colons at the end of code, typing Then....EndIf in c#, those types of things.  Those are easily noticed as soon as they fly off my keyboard.  The ones that are really evil are differences in techniques that, at least I, just don't use that often.

For example, yesterday I was working on a project for a client.  I created a new class that I wanted to implement an interface.  Not a big deal, I remembered that in VB you need to use the Implements keyword.  What I didn't recall, and embarrassingly enough took me a few minutes to discover what I was doing wrong, was that you needed to use the Implements keyword tagged on the end of each method in the interface.  It's something I don't do quite enough to have it instantly recalled when I need to (although perhaps by writing this up, I will forever have it etched in my brain, "What's wrong here, why isn't it seeing the methods I implemented....Oh yes, remember that blog entry you wrote last year....need the Implements on the methods!!!"   Another benefit to blogging!

Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:37:18 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | .NET#
Saturday, January 14, 2006

Well the first book finished of the new year (on 1/10/2006) was Dragons of a Vanished Moon by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.  Book 3 of the War Of Souls Trilogy.  This really brings to a close a great story line that began many many years ago with Dragons of Autumn Twilight, probably one of the most influential fantasy novels and series of all time.  This series I feel brought the Fantasy genre into the mainstream of literature. 

Perhaps that's an over-dramatization, but it's a good read non-the-less.  The War of Souls bring to a close this story line.  Without giving too much away, the ending of this book really leaves no where to go in the current story line without making it feel like a completely different world.  I'm no author though, so I'm sure Weis and Hickam could manage to pull that rabbit out of the hat if they so desired.  You've got plenty of dragons, elves and battling between gods.  Everything you could ask for in a good action fantasy.  I would definitely recommend this book and give it a good 8 out of 10.  Best way to enjoy this would be to start from the very beginning in Autumn Twilight and continue through the rest of the Chronicles series, read the Legends trilogy,  then read Dragons of Summer Flame which nicely sets up the War of Souls trilogy (though you won't realize it at the time).

One book down, lots to go!

Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:33:07 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Books#

I've made a decision, call it a resolution if you'd like, to read more books this year.  I've always read plenty of books, but the last few years I've slacked off quite a bit....just been too busy I guess...never took time out to sit down and read like I used to.  Well this year I plan on making time to read more. 

So with that in mind, I plan on writing mini-reviews here on this blog (while this blog is mainly development related, I have the luxury of writing about whatever my muse reveals to me).  I read a wide range of books.  Obviously I read the occassional technical book (though not as much as I used to now that most the information is available to me as quick as I can type up a search on google), I read other non-fiction: history, science / math books, Christian subject books.  I may even pull out the occasional medical, psychology or political book.  I also read a fair share of fiction as well.  Over the years I've mainly leaned towards reading fantasy, sci-fi, horror, but have been know to read the occassional mystery, action/adventure or classic literature from time to time.  I often have 2 or 3 books going at once, though I will normally focus on one of those (my wife laughs at me, but I can keep them all straight).

Here's my plan for this.  Here in this blog, unless I decide to setup somewhere else, I'll give mini-reviews of the books that I read as I finish them off (or put them back on the shelf if it's a bad read or not just the right time).  I will also setup a page here that I'll keep a running list of what is currently being read and what has been finished.  I'll be curious to see how many books I'll finish off over the next year.  I doubt I will catch a buddy of mine (who is the inspiration for doing this) who is shooting for 100 books this year (had 34 in 2005), but would like to increase my count of about 10 -15 this past year (purely an estimate, I kept no stats).  These posts I will be sure to put them in the Book category so if you aren't interested in those (or perhaps only interested in those) you can filter them out.

I think this will be a fun diversion for me with my busy schedule, I'll look back at the end of the year and see how I've done.

Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:16:31 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | Books#
Friday, January 13, 2006

Two days ago my host (a fairly well known host that I recommend to almost all my clients) changed the trust level on all their shared .NET 2.0 servers at the recommendation of Microsoft.  Unfortunately, little warning was given and some sites broke because they were depending on Full Trust.  I had two of those myself, not really sure what was causing  the need for full trust. 

After investigation, it appears that third party web control I was using on these sites require full trust and was causing my problems.  Now that I figured that out, I contacted those third-party companies and unfortunately those controls do not work in partial trust, although one company at least put the request on the feature request list for a future version.  Not much comfort for me at the moment however. 

Fortunately, the dependence on these controls is minimal and in my case will take some minor work to work around.  However, I know of some other sites that will not be as lucky.  I can understand the security reasoning behind running in partial trust, but it is very hard to explain to a client why there site which worked fine in the morning, suddenly no longer works in the evening, seemingly for no better reason than the site host upgraded the security.  Security of your site matters little if it is down.  So needless to say, I have some work ahead of me to change the sites to work under partial trust.  I also imagine we will see quite a few updates to 3rd party controls to run under partial trust if that is what Microsoft is recommending to hosts now.

One good thing that came from this, it put me in a position that I had to learn more about the different trust levels and what I can and can't do in each....something I perhaps took for granted in the past.

Friday, January 13, 2006 12:46:12 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | .NET#
Monday, January 09, 2006

Older post on setting focus to a control in ASP.NET, but found this useful today.  Something I do often enough that I don't want to have go searching again for it.

Monday, January 09, 2006 10:03:26 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) | Comments [0] | .NET#
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