Like, uh, whatever, I guess


  Tuesday, June 29, 2004
    [8:15:52 PM]

Good article on the why XQUERY shouldn't follow SQL

Apart from anything else, apparently SQL isn't a well thought out language, I don't know how many hours I've spent westling with fiddly queries.

Full article: http://www.dbazine.com/pascal19.shtml

  Monday, June 28, 2004
    [10:56:15 AM]

Young people not happy

Interesting article in the times about 25-30 somethings who are chained to a desk job they hate due to mountains of debt, and are desperate for a way out. Personally I love my accidental career as a programmer, but I know plenty of people that this applies to.

THEY are 30 years old, but feel like they are 50. Instead of revelling in the energy and rude health that youth affords, they are worrying about their debts, regretting their career choices and dreaming of leaving their job to find personal satisfaction.

Full article: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,174-1157420,00.html

  Saturday, June 26, 2004
    [7:37:32 PM]

Can Google UI

It's an interesting question from Rands In Repose, aimed specifically at gMail:

The question is, "Does Google have good UI?"

Personally I love it. There are few features missing, like the ability to save a draft message, but on the whole the simplicity and clean interface make for a pleasant web-based email system. But really, as a programmer I'm the first to admit that I'm not the best person at UI design. Oh I reckon I'm better than some, but I can't help but think that the user will figure it out, sadly often not the case...

  Thursday, June 24, 2004
    [8:35:59 AM]

Hotmail to up it's free storage limit

According to Omar Shahine, Hotmail is going to up it's storage limit to 250MB for free accounts: http://www.shahine.com/omar/PermaLink,guid,a340b7fe-ddc5-42cf-96ec-4710a517d16f.aspx

From Hotmail:

  • Coming soon!

  • MSN Hotmail Upgrade

    • Summer: Virus cleaning of incoming email

    • Fall: 250MB of storage for your Inbox

    • Fall: Send/receive up to 10MB of attachments

    • Keep checking here to learn more!

    [8:32:02 AM]

Counter argument to "How Microsoft lost the API war"

Interesting counter argument by Leon Bambrick (http://www.secretgeek.net/) to Joel Spolskys article posted last week.

Here's a couple of pertinent quotes:

Joel is clever, knowledgeable and very convincing. Joel writes in a way that suggests he is your friend.

But is Joel Spolsky really your friend? Do you even know Joel? Is it possible that Joel sometimes uses his charm and wit to hide his true feelings and his true agenda?

After all this, I've learnt a lot of things. But I've also come to some rather harsh conclusions.

The harshest conclusion is that Joel's article is a piece of FUD from a very frightened ISV (Independent Software Vendor), who has decided to try and invent the future.

  Monday, June 21, 2004
    [12:26:19 PM]

More MS Open Source

Just saw this VB.NET component that'll parse and scan VB code, could be useful for someone... http://www.gotdotnet.com/Community/Workspaces/workspace.aspx?id=d8da92aa-354c-4bb0-8e9b-e4763b49a0e3

  Sunday, June 20, 2004
    [12:04:28 PM]

System tray GMail notifier

Superb. I've missed having little pop-up bubbles notifying me of new email (a la outlook etc), so when I found this via BlogDex, I was chuffed: http://torrez.us/archives/2004/05/23/000272.html

  Thursday, June 17, 2004
    [9:25:33 AM]


Last night I tried out the new-ish Dim Sum restuarant, Yauatcha in Soho. Cunningly I checked other reviews
before going, so knew that
we were going to be constrained to a measly 90 minute slot. In fact this was made pretty clear by the staff:

  • When I called to make the booking

  • When they called to confirm the booking

  • When we arrived and were being taken to our table

So we knew not to look forward to a long evening of food, drink, and conversation !

So rather than spend an age pouring over the menu, half of which I couldn't make head nor tail of, we went right ahead and ordered a recommended number of eight or so dishes between three of us. The ordering technique was basically to scan through the menu and order anything that sounded like it might be nice, or at least interesting.

The food started arriving about five minutes after we ordered, one of the joys of Dim Sum I suppose, and was lovely. The scallops were great, and even the chickens feet went down well (though they didn't actually get finished).

All in all a very pleasant meal, and the place itself is visually pleasing, from the serene "lounge" area upstairs, to the brick lined basement
dining room downstairs. Heck even the bathrooms were cool; the slate waterfall/sink was especially zen-like.

    [8:48:20 AM]

For Loop, for who?

Great stuff from the Daily WTF:

You know, I can just picture the conversation Jose would have with this coder ...
Jose: You should really use a FOR LOOP over there.
Coder: A loop for whom?
Jose: No, no ... it's a type of loop.
Coder: Oh, so, it's a loop for me?
Jose: No, no ... I mean ... it's a loop that executes a block of code a fixed num--
Coder:  Ooh, I get it. I don't have one of those ... it's your loop? You misplaced it?
Jose: Err, I mean, instead of having to write out all those If-Then, you can use a loop to build the output.
Coder: I see. So ... If you're building output, Then I should write a loop for you? Uhh ..
Jose: No, the Loop is a programming construct, you put it in your code.
Coder: So I construct a code file? I already have it all in Code.bas ...
Jose: Argh -- no, actually, err ... never mind!
Coder: Will do.
Coder (mumbling to self): Pfft. Like that makes sense anyways ... make a loop out of my code file ... what an idiot!

Full post: http://thedailywtf.com/archive/2004/06/16/316.aspx

  Wednesday, June 16, 2004
    [5:21:35 PM]

Paul Ford on Geekery

I just love it when someone manages to sum up some of what goes in my head/life in such a nice, humorous way, here's a quote:

Why are so many of the things I love so embarrassing? Computer programming, science fiction, blogging-every one of my passions is something to sneer at. You're supposed to not care, to just do the things you love and ignore public censure-but who doesn't know better than that? When I discovered computers, I used to hide the manuals, so that no one could see. From the age of 12, I knew it was better to be a cipher, invisible to my peers, with no obvious preferences, than to be known as a boy who loved fractals. The alternative was beatings, and spitballs. Now, when I meet strangers, I talk about anything but websites and sci-fi. I keep the topics urbane. Art, serious film, well-reviewed books

Full article: http://www.ftrain.com/Gallivespians.html

  Tuesday, June 15, 2004
    [10:35:59 AM]

How to write technical documentation

Nice easy guide to writing technical documentation, and contains some points that I tend to use, mainly:

Use lots of sub headings. Sub headings are easy to write. (if you can't even write the subheadings then you're really in trouble) write enough sub headings the thing is practically done. That's your first draft. Print it out. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Full (short) article: Technical Writing: breadth first with iteration.

  Monday, June 14, 2004
    [9:33:12 PM]

How many times have I wanted to say this?


  Friday, June 11, 2004
    [1:41:39 PM]

No more goo

The bbc is reporting that Eric Drexler no longer thinks that the possibility of "grey goo" due to rampant self replicating nanomachines could become reality.


Full story:
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Nanotech guru turns back on 'goo'

    [12:05:13 PM]

Got .NET 1.1 but not ASP.NET 1.1?

Then you need to do this:

  • Open the visual studio .NET 2003 Command Prompt

  • Get to C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322 (or
    whatever exact version you have)

  • Run aspnet_regiis.exe -i


  Thursday, June 10, 2004
    [11:23:08 PM]

Result, just in case I wasn't spending too much time fiddling with my
mobile phone, here's an RSS to WAP converter href="http://www.rss2wap.com/">http://www.rss2wap.com/

    [10:59:56 PM]

Mono is real

Having been working with .NET for about eighteen months or so now, I have of course been aware of Mono, the open source port of the dot net framework.

Part of the reason for the port (I think) is to lessen the disparity between purely Microsoft technology based developers, and the rest. So for example a Windows C# developer should be able to easily write C# code that'll run on a Linux box.

Part of me has always thought that the whole effort was, to be frank, a bit of a waste of time. My reasoning was how are a group of developers (even the obviously talented Miguel de Icaza) ever going to keep up with the Redmond behemoth's aggresive movement in terms of functionality and innovation?

Perhaps they're going to be ok though. Ok it's perhaps a little thing, but the current ports show that what they've so far accompolished is by no means trivial: check out the current ports which include DasBlog and FlexWiki.

Of course, I only know about these ports because of my involvment with DasBlog through working at Numerica, and subscribing to Clemens Vasters weblog.

    [1:38:50 PM]

Google Mulls Syndication

Interesting article on Google and syndication in general:

... According to an internal Google e-mail seen by CNET News.com, the company has been considering the change and last month assigned at least one staffer to write a memo summarizing technical details relating to RSS

... Google also has plans to introduce a raft of community services, including e-mail discussion groups (Google Groups 2), free Web-based e-mail and search personalization tools, which could eventually tap the syndication format.

Full article: http://techrepublic.com.com/5100-22_11-5229339.html?tag=e019


  Wednesday, June 09, 2004
    [3:58:45 PM]

Distinguish between a File and a Directory in .NET

Whilst writing some code to manage new DasBlog releases for a number of DasBlog instances, I became a bit stuck on how to distinguish between a file and a directory when using the FileInfo class.

It turns out that it's actually pretty easy.

An instance of FileInfo has an Attributes property, and to check whether the instance refers to a directory you need to do a bitwise AND, like so:

if ( ( file.Attributes & FileAttributes.Directory ) == FileAttributes.Directory )
    // Its a directory

More information:

    [8:28:17 AM]

More gMail Invitations

I've been given another three invitations for Googles 1 Gigabyte free email service.

Let me know if you'd like one....

All gone !

  Thursday, June 03, 2004
    [1:25:37 PM]


I've always been one for trying to log as much as possible when writing applications, partly out of a sense of nosiness, but also because when something weird happens, they're worth their weight in gold.

John Udell has some interesting points in this article: InfoWorld: The artful logger: May 21, 2004: By Jon Udell : APPLICATION_DEVELOPMENT : APPLICATIONS

  Tuesday, June 01, 2004
    [2:11:51 PM]

Problems with RSS 2.0 - Silent Data Loss

From http://www.intertwingly.net/blog/2004/05/28/detente

Suppose you are Reuters. You produce a feed with BusinessNews. Not a non-ASCII character in sight. Your feed conforms to the specification, but contains some GUIDs which are not sufficiently unique. This may cause aggregators like RSSBandit to not show you items in feeds that you are subscribed too. Silently.

But again, another rare problem that occurs in few aggregators. Edge cases.

Now, view source on the business feed. The descriptions are completely valid and conform to the spec in every way. As you would expect in a business feed from a company like Reuters, may of these descriptions contain stock ticker symbols. Now subscribe to this feed (or perhaps this snapshot) in your aggregator. Look for the stock ticker symbols.

We have yet to find a single aggregator which will show the stock ticker symbols.

Not a single one.

This is called data loss. Silent data loss. We are not talking about unusual characters. Or the occasional item in a few aggregators. We are talking stock ticker symbols. In a Reuters Business feed. In every single aggregator that we have tested with so far. Silently.


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