Friday, November 28, 2008


I downloaded Bioshock from Steam for a measely $19.95 a while back.  If you're one of the six or seven people who haven't played it already, it's a very cool game.  Definitely a five... out of five.  It's not a very long-lasting game, though, as is typical of the gaming industry these days.  And it's not the hardest game in the world, either.  I played it on all three difficulty settings, and on the hardest setting, it started out kind of hard, but I got used to it after a while and it became rather easy to beat down the splicers.  On the easy setting, it was ridiculously easy.  Fun to whack everyone with the wrench, though.

Friday, November 21, 2008

When It's Okay To Use C# 3.0 var

I ragged a little bit on "var" a while ago, but there are some cases where I think it's a handy shortcut.  Those being when it's abundantly clear what the underlying type is, like when creating new objects.  For example, it makes perfect sense to change this.

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Sean/Red said,

Var sucks

Corporate GMail

I didn't realize this, but you can actually brand Google apps.  The place where my wife works got some new computers, and their new web-mail system is actually GMail with a different logo up in the corner, which they get to through their own domain name.  After a little digging, I found that it's "corporate GMail," apparently a component of Google Apps.

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LINQ to SQL and Entity Framework Classes

I've been starting to work a little bit with LINQ to SQL and now the ADO.NET Entity Framework* (to implement ORM** for UvMoney, my home banking system).  There's something that troubles me about both frameworks.  Both require you to build a "model" of your database with a designer, from which strongly-typed classes are generated, which you can then use in your LINQ queries.

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Sean/Red said,

You should check out iBatis SQLMAPS ( SQLMAPS is an ORM originally written in Java, but recently ported to .NET. Its fairly light weight and offers modest time saving features and "best practice" implementation. Because it doesn't aim to completely abstract the developer from the database many find it more palatable than frameworks like NHibernate or MS Entity Framework.

Tom said,

Hey Red I looked at the iBatis thing the other day, it's kind of cool. I like how you can put SQL into external XML files. I might steal that idea and do something like it myself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CookieContainer, HttpWebRequest and Secure Cookies

I ran across a troublesome problem that took several evenings to debug.  I couldn't find a solution with Google so maybe somebody else will benefit from this.

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Mark VL said,

Thanks for posting this, it helped me out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Less Mergers, Less Bailouts

I've been thinking about this bailout thing.  I'm no economist, but it seems to me that instead of the government bailing out large companies that fail, the government should instead work to prevent companies from getting so large that their failure would impact the nation's economy.  So I would suggest that whichever government agency is responsible for regulating corporations start cracking down and don't allow big corporations to gobble up smaller corporations anymore.  (You'd think that's what anti-trust laws would be for.)

Fed up with SyncToy

I've been trying to use Microsoft's SyncToy for my directory synchronization tasks, and I'm just about fed up with it.  For reasons I can't fathom, it routinely "forgets" what to synchronize.  I frequently synchronize to and from a USB stick, and I find that SyncToy usually wants to copy far more files than have actually been changed.  Like I'll make a couple of changes to some files on the stick, and then for some reason SyncToy thinks it needs to re-copy all kinds of files from both the stick and the computer.  So I end up having to copy files manually from one side to another.  It's a bit aggravating.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Disabling Pluralization in Visual Studio

I noticed with some concern that the Visual Studio 2008 designer puts an "s" on the end of table names when it builds LINQ to SQL classes.  If you want to disable that, open Tools/Options, go to the Database Tools O/R Designer page, and change "Pluralization of names" option to false.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Azure and C# 4.0 at PDC

Most of the buzz from Microsoft's PDC is about Azure and C# 4.0.  I don't usually pay too much attention to bleeding edge Microsoft technology until it might actually be used in real-life situations, but I thought I'd break from tradition and peek at these two shiny new things.

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Sean/Red said,

I am glad to hear you share my beliefs. I recently switched from a Java to a .NET project. The last time I used .NET/C# was version 1.1 and I must say, I do not like where the C# language has "advanced". I'd like to think a good programming language is easy to read, I guess that's relative, but I have found many of the new "features" contribute to very ugly code, mainly the VAR, and now dynamic variables? give me a break. I am going to convert my new .NET project over to Java, I don't think the other 10 .NET programmers will mind. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post-Election Musing

I have many post-election thoughts.

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Sean said,

Not one mention of the super flawed voting process? I mean hell, I can print hundreds of those cardboard paper cards and continue to go through the voting line, over and over. No one is watching it closely at all.

Tom said,

I think somebody would have noticed me going through the voting line more than once, at least where I voted. Well, okay maybe only after the third or fourth time. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Poll Results from 2000 and 2004

It's popularly believed (at least by the handful of people that I've overheard lately) that polls don't mean anything, and the actual results of today's election will be far different from what the media says it will be.  I tend to agree with that theory, up to a point*.  But I was curious to see if that viewpoint bears up against the historical evidence from the 2000 and 2004 elections, which as you may remember turned out to be toss-ups.

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A Minor Reflection upon the Election

For some parts of the country, tomorrow will be a day of joy and relief, and for others, it will be a day of anger and despair.  Both of those extremist groups will be flailing around a lot on television, radio, and the Internet in the days and weeks ahead while media producers scramble to further dramatize what is supposed to be the (latest) defining news event of our time.

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Jeremy said,

Extremely well said, sir.