Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The soda blew out of nose while reading this...

Wil Wheaton answers questions submitted from Slashdot

One of my favorite things to do when I worked on Star Trek was walk through the sets when nobody else was around, just so I could study the graphics. I'm sure you know about the giant Enterprise schematic in Engineering, but for the one person who doesn't: The huge cutaway view of the Enterprise is filled with little graphical inside jokes, like a hamster wheel where the engine should be, only two restrooms at opposite ends of the ship, NOMAD from the original series, and a few other things that we all figured nobody would ever get close enough to see . . . until one director (I think it may have been Paul Lynch, who liked to yell "Energy! Energy! Energy! Energy! And! And! And! And! And! ACTION!" at the beginning of each take) wanted to do a shot that started close on the cutaway, swept across it, and pulled back into a two shot of me and Brent. When he watched the rehearsal, and saw that there was a giant duck decoy and a "Speed Limit" sign in the middle of his shot, he was pissed. I'm sure the art department felt bad about that, but we all had a god laugh while they reblocked the shot.

The Polaroid-o-nizer™

The picture to left is a snapshot of the girls after it's been run through the Polaroid-o-nizer™. This is a free site that will take an online image (you can't upload one directly) and transform it to look like a Poloroid instant picture.

It's nothing that you couldn't do your self with any decent image editing application (except for this). You can view a large size of the image by clicking on it. The original version can be viewed from here.


"Your Dumpster Diving and Curb Crawling Resource."

What the frak is this? Everytime I think I'm getting close to the End of the Internet, I come across something like this site

[courtesy of Metafilter]

WSE SOAP tracing

This looks cool, a "WSE tracing tool written in WSE. I'm not sure if I would ever use it, I like using Etheral because it's not limited to SOAP or WSE. I would like to see the source code to see how it was implemented.

King King Trailer online

Over the weekend, my Tivo suggested that I record the trailer for King Kong. Being easily persuaded by cheeky gadgets, I let it record it. Come on, it's got Jack Black in it. It looks like a period piece, a remake of the original version. It's either going to be really good or really bad, I didn't see any middle ground on this one. You can view it online here (QuickTime).

Lemmings in DHTML

They're back! Just when you thought the 80's were finally over, somebody has ported Lemmings to the browser.

Uncrippling Windows XP's IIS 5.1

Testing an ASP.NET application on an XP box can be a royal pain in the ass sometimes (Ok, most of the time). It's version of IIS is the idiot brother of the IIS that comes with Windows Server. It only supports a single site. That's kind of annoying, but doesn't impact the stuff that I work on. The true joy of XP's IIS is the limit of 10 concurrent connections. I've hit that wall before. The Coding Horror has some tips on how to bypass that limitation

RE: Special Directories in ASP.NET 2.0

Here are some interesting tidbits about ASP.NET 2.0....

ASP.NET 2.0 introduces a number of special directories for application resources. These directories live as subfolders in the application root, have special names, and offer various shortcuts and conveniences to web developers. One such folder is the App_Code folder. You can drop a .cs file into the App_Code folder, even while an application is running, and the runtime will automatically compile all the code inside the folder into an assembly.

The App_Code folder is one of those features experienced developers will shun in favor of class libraries. Other folders have definite advantages. For example, the App_Browsers folder will allow you to update browser definitions (browsercaps) for an application. In a shared hosting environment today, you'd have to clutter up web.config with new browsercaps. There are also special directories for skin files (App_Themes), resource files (App_GlobalResources, App_LocalResources, App_Resources), and web references (App_WebReferences). As always, the trusty Bin directory will also be around.

Then there is App_Data. You can plop SQL Server data (.mdf) and log files (.ldf) into the directory, and have the engine attach dynamically by using AttachDBFileName in the connection string. App_Data will be a useful feature for people in shared hosting environments, where XCOPY and FTP deployment options are the only options available.

[Via K. Scott Allen]

I would like to see how the App_Data directory will play out in the real world. Most of the shared hosting plans have their own mechanism for handling client databases, it looks easy to add a database by just FTP'ing it in, but what about when you want to replace a database? You'll still need to detach a database first.

Monday, June 27, 2005

RE: Why is the DOS path character "\"?

It all stems from Microsoft's relationship with IBM.  For DOS 1.0, DOS only supported floppy disks.

Many of the DOS utilities (except for command.com) were written by IBM, and they used the "/" character as the "switch" character for their utilities (the "switch" character is the character that's used to distinguish command line switches - on *nix, it's the "-" character, on most DEC operating systems (including VMS, the DECSystem-20 and DECSystem-10), it's the "/" character" (note: I'm grey on whether the "/" character came from IBM or from Microsoft - several of the original MS-DOS developers were old-hand DEC-20 developers, so it's possible that they carried it forward from their DEC background).

[Via Larry Osterman's WebLog]

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Scott Hanselman's 2005 Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List

Scott Hanselman has put together an extensive collection of programmer tools in one list. As I move deeper and deeper into the .NET world, this kind o' stuff becomes more and more valuable. Lot's of cool stuff.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Autoruns, a must have utility

One of the best sources of free Windows system utilities is Sysinternals. Their Autoruns utility shows everything that gets auto-started when you machine boots. It checks more locations than the MSConfig utility does.

Why I use Delphi

Because it's so easy to get under the hood and make the UI work the way you want it to. Here's a tip from Deepak Shenoy on how to set the default button for a Message dialog.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


I must have been sleeping under a rock, but when did "Upsert" become a word? It refers to the combination of insert and update statements for a RDBMS. What it means is: add the row it does not exist, otherwise update the row using the primary key.

It would be cool if SQL Server had this feature. There have been a few times where it would have been useful, mainly with batch operations. In those cases, I wrote stored procedures to handle upsert operations. At the server level, it should be trivial to implement an upsert statement as opposed to manually coding it in SQL.

It caught my eye when I read Ashvini Sharma's blog.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

How to pick a lock with a common house hold hard drive

I came across an article on how to make a lock picker by hacking a hard drive and a mouse. MacGyver would be proud. As available in Spanish!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Slip 'N' Slide

It was pretty hot Sunday afternoon. While Laura was napping, Kathryn and I went down to ToysRUs and pciked up some backyard toys. We grabbed a Wham-O Slip 'N' Slide and a pair of pump action squirt guns.

We went with the cheapast Slip 'N' Slide, the $4.95 model. It was well worth every penny, I wouldn't get the fancy models, everything they want is in the basic model. I hooked it up and Kathryn had tons 'O fun with it while I tried to inflate her pool.

We have an Aero pool that we bought last year on E-Bay. It's a great little pool, but you can only inflate it with their rechargable pump and the pump needed a charge. While Kathryn was slipping and sliding, I was try alternative methods of getting that thing inflated. I have a small electric pump that I use for tires and I tried that, but after 20 minutes, it wasn't pushing enough air in. The Aero pool has a large opening for air, it's pump inflates the pool in just a couple of minutes. It was time to bring out the heavy artillery. I grabbed Anne's hair dryer it was the same diameter of the pool's intake. I was able to get the pool 95% inflated (close enough for toddler use) in about 40 seconds with the hair dryer.

By this time Laura was awake and wondering what was going on. She didn't like the pooln last year and I wasn't sure what her reaction would be this year. She was hesitant on going in, but when Daddy picked her up and swung her through the water, she started having fun. Then it time to go Slip N Sliding with her sister.

While Laura was napping and I was letting the tire pump attemp to inflate the pool, Kathryn and I broke out the squirt guns. We had some fun, but first we covered the rules of Squirt Gun.

  1. Don't squirt Mommy
  2. Don't squirt Grandma
  3. Don't shoot the dog
  4. It stays outside.
With the ground rules out of the way, we had lots of fun. I'm not used to being outgunned by 5 year old, it's a good thing I can still out run her.

It turns out Aero has an AC only pump, but it costs almost what I paid for the pool. And it's out of stock.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Hot .Net Tip: This will save you a lot of time

Hot .Net Tip: This will save you a lot of time
Here's a quick tip for adding the "View code" and "View designer" buttons to the main toolbar. That way, they are always visible.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Causes of Colors - Why are things colored?

Causes of Colors - Why are things colored?

Everything you ever wanted to know about color. I found the bits about color blindness to be very interesting. When we design programs and web pages, we always have someone with severe red/green color blindness use the program to make sure it's readable to him.

There are a couple of web sites that allow you to upload images and view them as they would appear to someone with color blindness. Try this one and that one.

When I was growing up, one of my friends that lived down the street had red/green color blindness. He would come out to the bus stop wearing strange color combinations. We would send him back in to pick other clothes. I assume that these days, his wife gets that task.

Coding Horror: Recursive Page.FindControl

Coding Horror: Recursive Page.FindControl

Some handy code for recursively searching for a control on a page. You need IE to view that page correctly, the source code does not appear when viewing with Opera.

.NET Framework Developer Center: New Recommendations for Using Strings in .NET 2.0

.NET Framework Developer Center: New Recommendations for Using Strings in .NET 2.0

This is good article about the best practices for performing sting comparisons in .NET 2.0. It's interesting to see how code written for English can behave badly when used with other languages.