Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ASP.NET ActionPack

Link Here

The ASP.NET Action pack is a "zero code DAL" inspired by Ruby On Rails. I have watched the video and it looks nice. Haven't tried to do any code yet, but will report back when I have.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

New Zealand Drivers

I come across this in my sent items from Outlook when I was doing a clean up. It was a post I made to the .NET NZ Developers List a year or so back. The topic was something to do with salaries are cars, but I posted my thoughts on NZ drivers. I believe the points are as true now as they were then. So here are my observations in no particular order

Changing the subject a little, I used to drive up to 1000k a week and from my experience (please don't take anything seriously if you own one of the

Holden Drivers tend to think they are Greg Murphy and drive accordingly, usually in a Piece of Sh*t that they've convinced themselves is an HSV

Subaru drivers are the worst on the road, probably due to the fact that they think 4wd makes them bullet proof

Toyota Corolla's are usually driven about 20k less than the speed limit and have a bowling hat on rear parcel tray

Most Ferrari's and Porsches are driven by middle aged men with a balding head and a long pony tail

The majority of SUV's never go off road, Toyota Prado's being the worst.

There is an unwritten law to travel at 95kph on the open road, up until passing lanes where the acceptable speed limit is 150kph.

A large percent of drivers don't know the basic road rules. Just look at any intersection where the traffic lights have failed. Give way to the right rule is overridden by the "Give way to bigger vehicles" law.

Speed Cameras are not to slow down traffic, but to pay for Auckland's roads.

There are a section of drivers whose driving ability is inversely proportional to how good they think they are. They generally are the ones who drive "by touch" on the open road. You know the ones that travel about a coat of bumper paint off the back of your car. Their cars ABS system obviously doesn't obey the rules of physics.

Caravans are magnetically attracted to the center line, and enjoy being popular by having a kilometers worth of traffic behind them.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Online Office "Clones"

According to some pundits these web applications are the beginning of the end for Microsoft. They argue that people will use these applications for free in difference to Excel and Word. Heady stuff indeed. But, how much truth is there in that? I thought I would try out the offerings and see if I would use them instead of Excel or Word.

Google Spreadsheet ( http://spreadsheets.google.com )

Google spreadsheet is still pretty basic. It will do all the basic things like formatting, coloring backgrounds and sorting. It doesn't do auto fills which is a major to me. No charting that I could see either. It is pretty snappy.

Rating - 45%

Zoho Sheet ( http://zohosheet.com )

Crashed Firefox ( twice so didn't evaluate.

iRows ( http://irows.com )

The UI of iRows is very nice. It took a while to load, but once it did you couldn't really tell you were using a Web page. It does everything that google spreadsheet above does, plus has charts built in. You can also drag and drop copy selected cells. Again, I couldn't find a fill function.

Rating - 55%

EditGrid ( http://editgrid.com )

Again the UI of Editgrid is very good. It loaded quickly and was easy to use. EditGrid has the standard features you would expect except charting. The major plus for Editgrid is that it DOES do auto fill. Type Jan pull down 12 columns and it fills in the rest of the months. Big tick for that.

Rating - 60%

So would I use any of these online challengers to Excels crown? Well no. Not for anything other than very basic stuff. Maybe I would if I wanted to share and allow others to update my sheet. That is the only reason I can think of at the moment. Given time however, I can see online version becoming more and more useful. So I guess the final answer is, watch this space.....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Growing up in New Zealand

There is an email going around about growing up in NZ (see below). As a child of the 80's this is so true. Man things were easy back then. We used to go and build huts down at the river from dawn til dusk in the never ending school holidays. No one seemed to worry about us. We weren't worried about being abducted or anything like that. We got into a little but of trouble from time to time - usually involving firecrackers. We'd ride our bikes around on the main highway, hang out unsupervised, basically we were kids and we weren't over protected. Above all else, we were outside all the time, even when it rained. I get a bit sick of the children of the 00's(?). They have everything - Video Games, Computers, the internet, reliable transportation, cheap toys and games etc, and they still complain about being "bored'.  The only person who is bored is a boring person....

BTW it's quite long but well worth the read if you haven't already.

I'm talking about hide and seek/spotlight in the park. The corner dairy,
hopscotch, four square, go carts, cricket in front of the garbage bin
and inviting everyone on your street to join in, skipping (double
dutch), gutterball, handstands, elastics, bullrush, catch and kiss,
footy on the best lawn in the street, slip'n'slides, the trampoline with
water on it (or a sprinkler under it), hula hoops, jumping in puddles
with gumboots on, mud pies and building dams in the gutter. The smell of
the sun and fresh cut grass.

'Big bubbles no troubles' with Hubba Bubba bubble gum. A topsy. Mr Whippy cones on a warm summer night after you've chased him round the
block. 20 cents worth of mixed lollies lasted a week and pretending to
smoke "fags" (the lollies) was really cool!.. A dollars' worth of chips from the corner take-away fed two people (AND the sauce was free!!).
Being upset when you botched putting on the temporary tattoo from the bubblegum packet, but still wearing it proudly. Watching Saturday morning cartoons: 'The Smurfs', 'AstroBoy', 'He-man', 'Captain Caveman','Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles', 'Jem' (trulyoutrageous!!), 'Super d'',and 'Heeeey heeeeey heeeeeeey it's faaaaaaat Albert'. Or staying up latea nd sneaking a look at the "AO" on the second telly, being amazed when you watched TV right up until the 'Goodnight Kiwi!'
When After School with Jason Gunn & Thingie had a cult following and What Now was on saturday mornings! When around the corner seemed a  long way, and going into town seemed like going somewhere. Where running away meant you did laps of the block because you weren't allowed to cross the road?? A million mozzie bites, wasp and bee stings (stee bings!).Sticky  fingers, goodies & baddies, cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, riding bikes til the streetlights came on and catching tadpoles in horse  troughs.
Going down to the school swimming pool when you didn't have a key and your friends letting you in, drawing all over the road and driveway with chalk.
Climbing trees and building huts out of every sheet your mum  had  in the cupboard (and never putting them back folded). Walking to school  in bare feet, no matter what the weather. When writing 'I love....? on your pencil case, really did mean it was true love. "he loves me? he loves me not?" and daisy chains on the front lawn. Stealing other people's flowers from their gardens and then selling them back to them...
Running till you were out of breath. Laughing so hard that your  stomach hurt. Pitching the tent in the back/front yard (and never being able to find all the pegs). Jumping on the bed. Singing into your hair brush in front of the mirror, making mix tapes... Sleep overs and ghosts stories with the next door neighbours. Pillowfights, spinning round, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for the giggles. The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team. Water balloons were the ultimate weapon. Weetbix cards pegged on the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle. Collecting WWF and garbage pail kids cards.
Eating raw jelly and raro, making homemade lemonade and sucking on a Rad, a traffic light popsicle, or a Paddle Pop... blurple, yollange and prink!
You knew everyone in your street - and so did your parents! It wasn't odd to have two or three "best friends" and you would ask them by sending a note asking them to be your best friend.
You didn't sleep a wink on Christmas eve and tried (and failed) to  wait up for the tooth fairy. When nobody owned a pure-bred dog. When 50c  was decent pocket money. When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for 10c. >When nearly everyone's mum was there when the kids got home from school. It was magic when dad would "remove" his thumb. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at the local Chinese restaurant (or Cobb'n'Co.) with your family.
When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed her or use him to carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it. When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of >drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! Some of us are still afraid of them!!!
Remember when decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo" or dib dib's-scissors, paper, rock. "Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in Monopoly. Terrorism was when the older kids were at the end of your street with pea-shooters waiting to ambush you, or the neighbourhood rottie chased you up a tree!
The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was boy/girl germs, and the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to one. Where bluelight disco's were the equivalent to a Rave, and asking a  boy out meant writing a 'polite' note getting them to tick 'yes' or 'no'. When there was always that one 'HOT' guy/girl. Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot. Your biggest danger at school was accidentally walking through the middle of a heated game of "brandies".
Birthday beats meant you didn't want to go to school on your birthday!Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better. Taking drugs meant scoffing orange-flavoured chewable vitamin C's, or swallowing half a Panadol. Ice cream was considered a basic food group.  Going to the beach and catching a wave was a dream come true. Boogie  boarding in the white wash made you the next Kelly Slater. Abilities were discovered because of a "double- dare". Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.
Now, didn't that bring back some fond memories??

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Getting ActiveControl in Compact Framework

 The Compact Framework does not have a property for ActiveControl. This is a bit of a PITA really. The following is some code that you can use to add an Active Control to your forms:

public virtual Control ActiveControl
      return GetFocusedControl(this);
      if (!value.Focused)


private Control GetFocusedControl(Control parent)
   if (parent.Focused)
      return parent;
   foreach (Control ctrl in parent.Controls)
      Control temp = GetFocusedControl(ctrl);
      if (temp != null)
         return temp;
   return null;

I normally just add this in the form.designer.cs file to get it out of the main code, or you could create a new class called ActiveControlForm or something and bang it in there and inherit all your forms from this rather than System.Windows.Form.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Testing Windows Live Writer

I am just testing out the Windows Live Writer beta. Available Here

It looks quite nice so far. Has the "Office 2007" look and feel. Live Writer hooks into most popular blogging engines such as WordPress and Blogger. One thing with Microsoft currently though, who is coming up with the names? Windows Live Writer - bit of a mouth full. Some of the other names they have come up with recently are equally verbose. A list off the top of my head

  • Windows Workflow Foundation
  • XNA Game Studio Express
  • Microsoft Expression Web Designer
  • Windows Communication Foundation

I guess it tells you what it is, but I like catchy one word names.

One option I wish that Windows Live Writer (WLW?) had was the ability to insert Tags from Technorati and others - I can never remember the correct format. 


Monday, August 14, 2006

Free Framework to create games in Win and Xbox360

Info Here

Microsoft have created a framework called XNA specifically aimed at the Student / Hobbyist market. It is built on C# Express and is completely free. Initially for Windows, but it will create binaries for the XBox360. There is a US$99 fee to allow creating and debugging on XBox360 though. This is for membership to the "Creators Club".

I haven't read too much about it yet, but on the surface this looks really cool. Just wished I had a little more time to spend exploring this. I used to make 2D games in DOS using Borland C++, back in the days when VGA ModeX was pretty leading edge. Back then you wrote directly to the VGA memory. I suspect things have moved on a little since then.....


Monday, August 07, 2006

Turbo is back!

Borland Brings Back Its Turbo Tools

I spent my formative years (in both programming and life terms) learning how to program using Borland's Turbo range of tools. I started in the late eighties using Turbo C/C++ 1.0 and Turbo Pascal 5.0. They were great tools, and well ahead of the competitors at the time. The were pretty much the first toolset to use the IDE paradigm to its fullest.

It's great news then that Borland (or whatever they will be called) have decided to go back to the future, so to speak, and rebrand the current toolset under the Turbo brand.

It has been stated that the Turbo range - Turbo C++, Turbo C#, Turbo Delphi for Win32 and Turbo Delphi for .NET - are aimed at hobbyist, student and independent professionals. The professional version for example will be under $500US. I think this is a good move, as in my experience, most Delphi users are independent contractors or small software shops.

If this is the sort of thinking we will see under the new DevTools spinoff, then I think the future is bright for Delphi.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bunch of Free Microsoft software

The Road to Know Where: Ultimate List of Free Windows Software from Microsoft

Microsoft take a lot of shit about being money hungry and are the arch villain in the software world. Those of us who aren't penguin zealots know differently. They give away a lot of free software development tools and database engines. The source isn't published sure, but I really dont care about that.

If you add the free software Microsoft makes available, to the wealth of free information in the form of things like Webcasts, Documentation and websites such as Channel 9 then they really should be commended not lambasted.I really fail to understand a lot of the time where the angst is coming from. I will acknowledge that in the past there has been some fairly dodgy practises at Microsoft, but from my point of view as a developer, they go out of their way to supply all the information and training that I need - all free.
Bashing Microsoft is the easy option to take in my opinion. I say good on you Microsoft. Keep up the good work.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

TradeMe etc

Nic posted this:

The Chicken Coop - TradeMe gets all Web2.0 (kinda)

I'm with him - the best way to do AJAX is where it's needed, not whether it's needed or not. Nic mentions the "Smart Bunnies" at TradeME. I have mixed views about this. I guess being the countries most successful and biggest website they are always in the public eye, but if I see another wanky "Look Sam did this" article in a reputable magazine or T.V. Show, I'm gunna hurl. I mean good luck to him, I'd love his bank balance, but there are other smart people do great things in the Web arena too.

They can't be that smart anyway - I don't work for them ;-). Someone there has a sense of humour though. Just right-click the webpage and go view source. Thats a pretty novel way to find employees!

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