Tuesday, March 27, 2007

.Net again

So, I've been working on this .Net project for about a month now. The thing I've enjoyed writing the most? A ruby rakefile to handle our migrations. I started to use NAnt. But, found it lacking. Particularly, I wanted to be able to get a sorted list of files (so I could store my migrations as 001_something_cool, 002_something_else_cool, etc) But, that was easier said than done without writing C# code. A few minutes later I had a rakefile that would do just what I wanted.

I guess if I had to pick a most enjoyable component that was actually in .Net - it would be the comparer (comparator for the Java folk; you say color, I say colour) that allows us to sort our GridView using reflection. Yeah, I love reflection.

I'm sure this is just because I am familiar with Eclipse, but I have to say Visual Studio IDE blows compared to Eclipse. The code browsing/navigation, refactoring, and code shortcuts that Eclipse provides are just amazing. I've tried Resharper and the DXCore & Refactor! Pro add-ins from Developer Express, but neither of them replace the power I get from Eclipse. And those are CommercialWare! SlickEdit does make a pretty cool add-in called Gadgets that provide some neat utilities. I especially like the CommandSpy that keeps track of all the menu commands you've selected, and shows you the shortcut keys when available.

Another piece of CommercialWare that is disappointing is VisualSVN. This is just basically a front-end for Subversion, but all it seems to do is launch TortoiseSVN and refresh your project when you are done in there. Admittedly, it gives you some menu choices to work on specific files. But, again, Subclipse is free - and much more useful.

Ah well, I'll keep on looking for useful add-ins (especially of the free as in beer variety), but I'd like some suggestions to which ones you find indispensable.

The Google 15

This is a pretty cool little Google widget that you can put on your Google Homepage.

You put in your scale weight every day, and it tracks the moving average for you. I've found it useful, since I use Google as my homepage, everyday I see the widget, reminding me I need to enter my weight. Of course, right now, it's also screaming at me: "Danger! You're heading away from your goal!" So, that reminds me every day that I need to work out. This provides me with a nice little feedback cycle, which is what I need right now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sick Cat

Dale, this is dedicated to you - what good is a blog without a post about a cat?

One of our cats has been pretty sick the past few days. Vomiting-type of sick. This is very unusual for her, we always joke that her stomach is made of iron, because she seems to be able to keep anything down. And she hasn't left my room much lately either. She just sits there on my futon. She doesn't even leave the room to get food, we had to start bringing it in here. It's really quite disheartening.

Of course the first thought, with the recent pet deaths in the news, was that it was related to the pet food recalls. However, we only feed her dry cat food, and it's not one of the ones on the list anyways. So, we brought her to the vet this morning. Renal failure. That didn't come as a huge surprise to us, her and her sister were actually diagnosed with failing kidneys as kittens. But that was more prevalent in her sister, who continually gets bladder infections. So, the surprising part is that it's this one that's having problems now. Way back then the vet didn't give them much time to live, and they are about 9 years old now, so definitely not a bad life for a cat.

She still seems happy, if I go sit by her and pet her, she looks up at me and purrs. They took some blood and will get back to us on whether or not it's Chronic Renal Failure, or Acute. I guess the acute one is fatal pretty quickly, whereas chronic is more treatable. So, we're just waiting to hear back on that.

For those of you that know our cats, this is the one we lovingly refer to as "the fat one", Eponine.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Oracle on Intel Mac

Very disappointing, Oracle. I have been doing Oracle development for the past 7 years. I've finally decided it was time to install it on my beautiful, shiny (literally) Intel Mac; one more nail in the coffin of my Wintel box.

So, I grab Oracle 9i Release 2, Developer Release for Mac OS X. I chose 9i, because that's what my current client is using, so I figured I'd try to be compatible. It installs just fine, then when I go to bring up the server - I get a shared library error. After googling for a while, I determine that running 9i on a Mac is a waste of time.

Okay, how about 10g, release 1, which also has a Mac release? Download that - can't even run the install for that one. Some more googling, and it looks like installing Oracle on the Intel Macs is not supported at this time.

Thankfully, I have Parallels, so now I'm installing Oracle on the Windows side of things, so at least I can get my database up and running.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Meta Review: Soapadoo.com

In a bit of self-referential fun, I feel the need to give a shout out to

As the front page says "Say Goodbye to official editor reviews and anonymous opinions." This is a great site for searching reviews. But more than that, it's a review site built upon the web 2.0 wunderkind "social-networking."

Of course I can go the normal route of a review site, and search for specific reviews. Or, I can go read what the contacts "in my network" have reviewed. Assuming my friends are like-minded, this should introduced me to things I might not have even considered searching for, but are worth my time to try out or alternatively to avoid.

Beautiful Day, Isn't It?

2 years ago I moved from Maine, where the high yesterday was 58°F and the low was 41°F.

I know live in North Carolina where the high was 81°F and the low was 54°F.

Definitely feeling that was a great decision.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Well, all the Cool Kids are Blogging

I figure it's time to jump on this bandwagon. It seems all of my friends have blogs now - I always hear comments about how I need to read their latest post(s). So, now I have a place to make such comments. Why anybody would want to read this - I'm not sure, leave me a comment, and let me know!

One of the things that is motivating me to blog is my current contract. Well, that and my 11 month old daughter. Probably a good amount of my posts will be about her. But not tonight, there'll be time for that in the future.

Back to my current contract ... I accepted a one month contract to build a VB.net app. I have never worked in the .Net world, so this seemed like a good opportunity for me. It would give me a chance to see what all the hype from unacoder is about, but not lock me into something long term if I don't enjoy it. I've been doing Java and Ruby, so this could be a nice change for me.

The part I didn't realize is that it's hard to find examples in the VB.net community. Most of the examples I find are in C#. So, many times I am looking at C# examples, and then figuring out the best way to do something similar in VB.

For instance, I am an agile, test-infected, object-oriented developer. So, I run out and get nUnit, nHibernate and Watir. Then I start Googling for some quick start guides on getting this to work under VB.net. Wow - spartan. There are some guides out there, sure, but it seems most of them are geared to C#. So, my pair-programming partner and I are talking about whether or not it would be useful to prepare some of these guides as we go along. If we weren't under such a time crunch, I'm sure we would. We'll see though, maybe we can drop some breadcrumbs for some of the later adventurers.

Well, I'm starting to get a cold, and I haven't worked out at all this week(!) so I should probably think about getting to sleep soon and getting up early enough to exercise.

Good night.