Thursday, September 28, 2006

PM's husband responds - "Yes I am gay. I married a man didn't I?"

That headline is just a test. It seems the more grabbing the headline the more people read this blog. The headline "Hamster Injured in land speed record", got 3x the page views than "Merge Replication revisited" for example.

Just a test. No lawsuits please.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Merge Replication revisited

Merge replication services from SQL 2000/2005 to SQL Mobile 2005 is great. When it is setup.
I have to set it up from time to time. Usually long enough gaps that I forget how to do it! The main problem isn't the setup, like I say if it works it just works, the problem is if it doesn't work. The error messages that get returned are practically useless.

Case in point: Today I setup a new publication from SS2000 to SSM2005 on a PDA. I have a VDIR setup already from another publication, it has the appropriate permissions and works fine. I figured that all I would have to do is setup a new publication, point it to the VDIR and have the snapshot point to that folder. Which is infact what I have to do.
However, in my config file on the PDA, I had the URL one character out. The error message that returned was just plain stoopid.Something along the lines of "IIS has encountered an error. Please restart IIS on the server". Erm, wtf? Even the IIS log wasn't helping much. Anyway, after going through every setting I saw my mistake, fixed it and hey presto Merge Rep works like a charm.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Article by JC about Hamster crash

This article is without a doubt, one of the best articles I have ever read. It articulates exactly what I was thinking about the crash, the future of Top Gear and the current "Find a scape goat" mentality we seem to have developed as a society.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hamster injured in land speed record attempt

Richard from my fave show Top Gear was injured today filming for the next series.

Story Here

Update: His condition has been eased to Stable from Critical, which is great news.

Resolution to the Flight Centre issue

Craig has come to an amicable agreement with Flight Centre. I am glad they came to the party and should be congratulated in the end.

I would like to think the blogosphere played some part in helping reach a settlement. We have a friend who works at Flight Centre, and didn't feel strongly enough not to book flight's through her, but I do feel that injustices should be put right.

The is a discussion going on over at Tims blog. I take the opinion that you shouldn't rewrite history. Let the facts speak for themselves and let the reader decide which side of the fence they stand on. Assuming that all sides have an opportunity to have their side of the story voiced, which I believe has happened in this occasion.

In the long run I don't think this has damaged Flight Centre too much, and hopefully they have taken something out of this.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Getting Application Path in Compact Framework

Application.StartupPath is not supported under CF. Usually you would use System.Relection to get the Application Path using:

string appPath = System.Relection.GetExecutingAssembly().Location;

But again this isn't supported under CF so you have to:

string appPath = Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().GetName().CodeBase;
appPath = System.IO.Directory.GetDirectoryName(appPath);

Easy eh?

Loud Shirt Day this Friday - pass it on

Friday is Loud Shirt Day. I'm sure as developers we have several loud Hawaiian shirts in the back of the closet somewhere.

I will wear my personal favourite

Rewarding Good Customer Service

For anyone that has been following the Flight Center debacle , customer service is a touchy subject. While we are quick to highlight bad customer service such as Craig received, we tend not to wax lyrically about good customer service.

My personal philosophy is that you people shouldn't be defined by their mistakes, but how they respond to the mistake. Flight Center were terrible, and have finally made up for their mistake after concerted pressure by the blogosphere.

I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Expansys. They overcharged me for an item ( Socket SDIO barcode scanner). It didn't show up until we got the Credit Card statement. I emailed them the mistake, and they took my word for it, and reversed the charge.

Obviously to Expansys, goodwill is worth a lot. Well Done, and I would recommend Expansys to anyone wanting PDA accessories.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Shiver me Timbers mateys

Shiver me timbers!
All ye lily-livered landlubbers and scurvy dogs best be talking like a pirate yarr, or ye'll be facing the plank!
Aye, e'en the wenches and sprogs yarrggh!!
It be a fine day for a bit o swashbucklin, swag-liftin and piracy oh aye!
So all ye keelhaulin, lootin curs don't be shy me hearties If any squadrons o land scum be eyein ye lass or ye doubloons show no quarter YAAARRggh!!!

If ye be after any tips on how to talk like a buccaneer ye can check out tharr:

Link here


Test the Nation '06

I have been watching Test the Nation 2006 tonight. I'm not a Nutritionalist, or Doctor so probably not qualified to comment, but hey it's my right of free speech!

Some of the "facts" given by the "experts" were a little annoying. The "Evil Diet (b)Witch" and her side kick were so smug about their viewpoint. This was highlighted by the discussion on Margarine vs Butter. The Naturalopath's took the Holistic approach, saying Butter was better because it is natural. The diet (b)witch completely dismissed butter because it is high in fat. I agree with the Naturalopaths myself. You have to take the world view rather than a blinkered view that low fat is the best.

It was suggested the Margarine has been linked to some cancers, but they were completely dismissive of this.

The other thing I took issue with is the Cholesterol part of the risk test. My wife and I both scored 3 points in this section. This equates to elevated risk. The test didn't take into account exercise, which studies have shown to reduce "bad" cholesterol and increase "good" cholesterol. We scored 3 because we use olive oil to cook, occaisonally use marge, and sometimes eat cheese.

Man, the experts may be exteremely healthy, but have a very boring life! I think the key to life is exercise well, and eat what you like - in moderation.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Microsoft Naming committee at it again

Atlas is to be renamed.

The client side will be called - "Microsoft AJAX Library" and will work in all browsers. The Server side will be called - "ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions".

Is their marketing department paid by the word or something?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Shame on you Flight Centre

This article outlines a sorry story about bad service and a company not willing to pay for their mistakes.

It's been a bad week....

I was no fan of Steve Irwin, but understood the grief with his untimely passing.

Peter Brock was different. He was my childhood idol. I played soccer as a kid, so didn't idolise any specific All Black, or any soccer player really. In fact as a kid I didn't really idolise any sporting people. That was until I saw Peter Perfect driving around Mount Panorama. He optimized everything a role model should. He was a gentlemen and top bloke off the track, and on the track he was uncompromising, unrelenting and very very fast. His biggest asset was his Aussie larrikin, almost impish demeanor and unending positive outlook.

He was an Austalian icon, a legend in New Zealand, and to a small boy in the 80's, living in rural New Zealand, a hero.

Goodbye Peter, thanks for the memories. God we'll miss you.

Writing Business Software Easy?

I read a blog post the other day. I can't find the URL but it was basically saying that writing business applications is easy, and boring. The writer said that standard CRUD type code is so fundamentally easy, that anyone could work it out.

This is true. An entry level programmer can easily work out how to code CRUD level code, in a standard business application. BUT. That is one very, very small part of writing a business application. I have been writing code for well over 10 years now, so I think I have enough experience now to categorically state that writing business applications is easy, but architecting apps is hard. Very hard in fact.

It takes a good deal of experience, trial and error and frankly, cock ups, to get the sort of experience needed to architect a successfull business application. The main problem lies in the fact that there is many ways to skin a cat, and no one way is better than the other. It takes someone with a wise head to think through the issues and come up with the best approach for that particular application.

Take for example, a typical n-tier application. There are many questions you need to answer before you can start coding.
Things like:
- how will you pass data between tiers? DataSets? DataReaders? Custom Objects?
- how many users will be using the app concurrently?
- what are the possibilities of deadlock issues?
- what sort of lock mechanism do you need? Table level? Row Level? Field Level?
- will the tiers be located in different sites? If so use web services or remoting?
- what are the chances the data provider will change? Use a data factory pattern?

I could go on. These are easy questions to ask, but not so easy to answer. It takes someone with knowledge and experience to even know what questions to ask, let alone come up with the correct answer.

So, is writing Business software easy? Maybe, but only if it is architected well.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wow my blog is worth $8k!?

According to this my blog is worth about $8k. (I am about 15 on the list). I am asumming they are getting the data from Technorati links and assigning a value somehow?

I'd gladly sell for that! I haven't made a cent off this blogging lark, and don't expect to. I don't think that is the point. The reason I got into blogging, was as a bit of a vehicle for my rants, and maybe get my name out there a bit. I have always fancied a job writing for an IT rag, so I guess this is the next best thing.

Blog Worth

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pay rates, Brain Drain and politics

I'm far from a political person. I don't really have time to worry about which flavour of idiot is running the country. To me they are as bad as each other, but I'll leave the country running to them, while I get on with the real work.

One thing that does annoy me is the lipservice politicians pay to the I.T. industry. I have always thought - and still do - that NZ would make the ideal Outsourcing country. We speak English as our first language, we are brought up to think outside the square, and we have technical ability to match anybody. Add to this the time difference - we can be working overnight for Europe, and we crossover the working day for the US.

And we come cheap. Which comes to the point of this post. I get Computer World every week and read the Job Sections with interest. Every week there are jobs that read along the lines of - "Senior Developer/Team Lead, 5-10 years commercial experience, ability to lead a team or project. $65-75k"

Come on people. $65 - $75k for the top of the tree in a highly specialised field. To me that is ridiculous. It is no wonder people are bailing overseas. Until we get real with pay rates in this country people will continue to look further afield to get ahead.

The government has introduced tax benefits for film studios making movies here. That is great and good luck to the movie industry. Why don't they offer tax breaks from companies setting up IT operations here?

Pesimists would argue that we would struggle to find enough people to fill the jobs. My arguement to that is, pay peanuts get monkeys. If the companies were able to pay on a world scale, then surely people would have no reason to look further afield and ex-pats would look at returning.

I mean we are the best country in the world in every other respect.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Best Fathers Day present

Yesterday was my first Fathers day. Had a good day. Of course Maddy had no idea only being 3 months old.

I got a book by Jezza and some socks. The best present though was when I switched the TV on at 7:30 expecting to see a tired old repeat of Top Gear. To my surprise and joy it was a new series. Brilliant. If you haven't seen it, check it out. You don't have to be a car nut to enjoy it. It's on Prime at 7:30 every Sunday IMHO it's the best show currently on T.V.

Brighten up your Monday

Mondays suck. Here is a couple of songs to lighten things up:

My Cubicle

Code Monkey