26 July 2006

Dating Advice for Programmer Candidates

Allow me to impart some sage advice to all you up-and-coming programmers on the subject of dates. If an interviewer asks you for sample source code don't pick the one with all your custom and so-very-fancy date validation functions. Especially if those functions check dates by string parsing. You're going to look like a fool.

If you aren't trying to invent a new programming language then there's no reason your date validation should be more than a few lines of very simple code. I can't think of a modern high-level programming language that doesn't have some sort of basic date object & regular expression syntax.

20 July 2006

Snapfish Sucks

Does anyone know how to view a friend's album on Snapfish without registering? I'll be damned if they're going to scam some personal data out of me just to view my friend's photos.

Stem cells: Bush's shameful first veto?

Scott Rosenberg at Salon needs to rethink his morals. Mr. Rosenberg has brought forth the argument that Mr. Bush is a morally inconsistent for allowing fertility clinics to produce embryos while disallowing their use for research. Mr. Rosenberg is wrong. Bush's actions are consistent with his stated morals. Mr. Rosenberg contends that since President Bush cannot stop all forms destruction his attempts to stop some is hypocritical. It is in fact Mr. Rosenberg who takes a morally inconsistent and indefensible position.

I'd like you all to note at this point that I am strongly in favor of embryonic stem cell research. I have and will continue to express my support through my words, actions, and monetary contributions. I do not agree with Mr. Bush's position. But at least I am able to recognize that President Bush has in this case constantly applied his stated morality.

18 July 2006

Microsoft's Documentation is Borked

I would like to thank Microsoft for once again completely fucking up my Visual Studio Combined Help Collection. Thanks for nothing asshole. I now get to spend half my day repairing installations of MSDN and experimenting with different combinations of collections. My help collection list now has three listings for Windows SDK and two for .NET Framework 3.0. These are not erroneous listings. This means I actually have 3 versions of the former and 2 versions of the latter documentation installed on my computer. Since Microsoft can't be bothered to display so much as a date and time of installation I have to waste time experimenting and risk completely horking my collection.

If this were just a problem related to installing lots of CTP and beta releases I wouldn't be nearly as angry. Duplicate documentation has been a problem with Microsoft's Combined Help for a very long time. I'm also not the only person that is tired of this shit. I'm not sure if the people in charge of the Combined Help Collection are powerless or apathetic. I know one thing, they've just made me into one highly motivated pain-in-the-ass.

.NET 3.0 July CTP is a waste of breath

If you are a developer, don't waste your time downloading the July CTP of Microsoft's .NET Framework 3.0. It is only compatible with the latest RC4 Worflow Foundation. There is not and will never be a compatible release of the Visual Studio toolset for the July CTP. The next compatible version of Orcas awaits RC1 of .NET 3.0. When will that arrive? Who can say?

Notice of this incompatibility is nicely buried inside the Overview section of the updated June Orcas release:
IMPORTANT: Visual Studio 2005 Development Tools support is not available for the .NET Framework 3.0’s July CTP release. This June CTP Refresh is the most up-to-date release of the Development Tools for .NET Framework 3.0. Support will continue with the upcoming RC1 release of the .NET Framework 3.0
This refresh to the previously published June CTP bits contains some important fixes for Windows Communication Foundation uses. If WCF scenarios are important to you then you may wish to uninstall your existing June CTP and then install this new version of the June CTP. If you have not yet installed the June CTP of the Development Tools then you can simply download and install this version.
This is a nice trick. If you want the latest version of the Workflow Foundation tools you have to install the July CTP. But if you also need to develop for WPF or WCF then you are screwed.

Update:
After much searching. I found a tiny little para on Channel9 about why the July CTP for .NET was released.

Will a Visual Studio Code Name 'Orcas' July CTP be released to match the .Net Framework 3.0 July CTP?

  • There will be NO VS Code Name ‘Orcas’ July CTP. The .Net Framework 3.0 July CTP is primarily targeted at enabling some new scenarios for Windows CardSpace customers. So we (Cider Team) decided to continue to work with the WPF team here at Microsoft to focus on features that will appear in future CTPs. The combination of updates to both WPF and Cider in future CTPs will provide much more value for Cider customers to upgrade, so we will continue to focus our efforts there.

12 July 2006

U.K. To Outlaw Standby Buttons On Electronics

Banning the standby mode is not a smart move. This completely ignores why the mode was created in the first place. There are plenty of instances where in the abscence of a standby mode people will opt to leave a device fully powered. Thee are better solutions.
  • Help manufacturers reduce power consumption in standby mode
  • Perhaps standby mode could be supported by a battery that is charged while the device is in use
My biggest power hog is my computer & would love to put it into standby but I can't. Why not? My computer is configured to perform numerous automated maintenance operations during non-work hours. My computer must stay fully powered cecuase there is no way to set these operations to power up and down the system on a schedule. Such a capability would be a HUGE power saver.

01 July 2006

Dreaming

I just woke up from a dream in which I was arguing with Arianna Huffingtion about US investment in China.

Really

28 June 2006

[ASP.NET 1.x] Storing ViewState in Session State

Help.Net wants to know if storing the ASP.NET ViewState in memory is scalable...

OF COURSE IT'S NOT SCALABLE!

It's really unfortunate that MSDN Magazine published this method. It's an insanely bad idea to store ViewState contents in memory. In-memory Session objects are subject to timeout and memory pressures. This means that you cannot rely on in-memory Session as a container for critical data. It's also why .NET 2.0 provides two other providers for Session storage, file and SQL. If you're now thinking it would be really smart to store ViewState in Session and Session in SQL. Well then you haven't thought things through. This method would result in the data being serialized/deserialized twice. Not very smart.

If your ViewState is so freaking huge that you are looking for better places to store it then your problem is poor application design. If you really cannot trim the size of your ViewState then write a filesystem or SQL provider for ViewState storage. That way at least your still only serializing the data once.

22 June 2006

ADO.NET LINQ rebranding

This is getting old. First some smart guy decides to rename the WinFX trifecta as .NET 3.0. Now all the subsets of LINQ are getting rebranded as well. Someone inside Microsoft Marketing needs to get slapped. It's one thing when a product is rebranded after living under an obvious code name like Longhorn or Orcas. But when a name like WinFX is used repeatedly for a year, trademarked, and copyrighted then it should stay.