Thursday, May 24, 2007

Life changing gadgets

On the back of Nics blog post about a Scott Hanselman blog post I thought I'd add my 2c, sorry 2p worth.

In no particular order:

  • Macbook Pro

  • I'm a born again Apple addict (as I keep telling anyone who will listen). I was getting thoroughly sick of wasting my time rebuilding Windows PC's after 6 months because of slow down, and generally getting sick of Windows. After 3 months with a Mac, my passion and excitment for computers is back. Every geek should have at least one Mac.

  • Sky+

  • Ok it's hardly bleeding edge and I should get around to getting a "proper" DVR, but being able to record two Sky channels at once, live record, and season link is brilliant.

  • iPod Video

  • Watching webcasts and listening to podcasts while commuting to work is a god send here in Britain. I didn't really understand how great these things were until I got here. I do think people use them to hide behind, so they don't have to talk to strangers on public transport but I guess that's a good thing for those people. They say copying is the greatest form of flatery, then take a look at most other MP3 players and Apple should feel very very flattered indeed.

  • Wireless Internet


  • Not really a gadget but hey it's my list. Life before Wireless broadband sucked. Surfing in a dark, dingy, cold computer room. Now I can surf infront of the box and talk to the missus! Actually the Internet in general is IMHO the single greatest invention in the history of the world. Don't agree? Ok think about your life now. Now take the internet away. Sucks doesn't it. Communication, Information and Entertainment has been changed forever because of the Internet. I was a programmer before the Internet, but can't remember too much about those days. Man it must have been hard getting information. These days a quick Google finds the solution to most issues. Huge productivity gains there I think!

  • Amstrad CPC 464


  • This little machine started it all for me. I got an interest in computers and programming because of that little 8 bit machine. Who knows what I would have been if I hadn't met the Amstrad, but I can genuinely say that my life would be completely different. So the Amstrad must rate as number 1 on my list of life changing gadgets.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

AC Milan 2 - Liverpool 1

Buggar.

Notice to Microsoft - Stop. Stop now.

Silverlight, Linq, Astoria, even .NET 3.0 are all either out or on the horizon.

I want to learn all of them, but with the need to: work, commute, eat, sleep and spend time with the family - there just isn't enough time in the day. So I say to Microsoft, stop now. Let me catch up ;-)

As a born again Mac fan boy I am pretty buzzed about Silverlight 1.1 and all it entails. Hopefully it will give all those devs out there that are bi curious (Mac and PC) an excuse to buy a Mac - testing silverlight apps on Mac!

Technologies like Silverlight and to a lesser extent WPF are creating a paradigm shift in the world of software development. It won't be long before you need a designer and/or user experience person on your team. Hopefully it will mean a richer experience for the user and nicer web sites and apps to use.

And it will allow developers to get back to what they are good at - developing. To often websites are either designed by developers or developed by designers. The end result can be disastrous. I mean you wouldn't get your dentist to remove your appendix?!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Zealands greatest export

The pilot episode from the FOTC new US TV show is up. Funny.

http://www.hbo.com/conchords/

not sure how it will go down in the States with the dry humour but hope it goes really well.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My first play with Oracle

On the current project I am working on, I have been introduced to Oracle. I have never come across it before - usually use SQL Server in various guises.

The installation process was a little harder than SQL Server, as the server we had been supplied had Java locked down on it. Basically the installer wouldn't run as it's a Java app. A boffin managed to find a work around and got it installed.

I guess being multi platform is a good thing - but to me the Java interface looks dated and is a lot slower than a native Windows app. The actual interface itself is a little clunky also. I don't believe it's as intuitive as SQL Server 2005 for example, although I am a lot more familiar with SQL Server.

Once you get up and running though, it's not too dissimilar than SQL Server. I did read an article talking about update-read locking and how Oracle allows users to read data on pending updates. I guess the thought process is that the update may never happen so why lock a process from reading. I guess it's a good feature to have that option. SQL Server just locks the read in that scenario.

From a front-end point of view the two are the same - I use the new .NET 2.0 data factory pattern (System.Data.Common) when connecting to databases anyway, so from that point of view nothing in my code is different for use with Oracle or SQL Server (or mySQL or any other db for that matter).

Anyway, so far no real issues with Oracle. I much prefer SQL Server, but I guess that is more to do with familiarity than any negative aspects of Oracle.