June 2005 - Posts
Last night I finished up the first draft of the How-To-Select Guide for .NET Charting Components. Wow, that was a lot of work. I knew that there were a lot of charting vendors out there but didn't realize how much work it would take to compile a profile and review the products of each one. What's really scary is that for this edition of the Guide, we probably only included one-half to one-third of all the vendors out there. Some we included are open source and I was actually surprised at the quality of them. Others like Dundas, Telerik, Nevron, ComponentOne, Infragistics, etc. just blew me away with the breadth of charts they could create. Truly amazing.
So far, it looks like I'm in for the same kind of challenge on the O/R Mapper Guide. It should be interesting...
Thanks to all of those that left comments on my last post about O/R Mapper decision points. I'll be looking over them again when I compile features.
I haven't even finished watching Billy Hollis' GrokTalk but I've gotta link to it. Not only does it provide a good dose of comic relief but it drives homes an important point. There are a number of interesting videos there actually. I just watched Jon Goodyear's talk on Master Pages, too.
GrokTalk.NET - 10 minute micro-presentations
Honestly, I found it pretty funny when I first read about it. But, I'd probably be pretty upset too if someone jacked a lot of hard work I had done and called it their own.
"B2IP" jacked ForgetFoo
I figure there might actually be 1 or 2 readers of my blog that care how I'm coming on my website project 'DevCampus'. It's also good for me to write about my progress so I can evaluate where I'm at in my mind. Since the only time I really have to work on it is weeknights after work and weekends I was having to take a lot of time usually spent doing other things and work on the website instead. I soon realized that totally neglecting certain things couldn't continue so I've had to moderate my time spent on it. I've made really good progress on the admin tools and the behind-the-scenes stuff that only DevCampus authors/admins/helpers will ever see but still, stuff that had to be built. I've also been brainstorming as I go and have come up with some really cool ideas for the site. I'll discuss them more when the site is closer to being ready. Since I've taken on writing a couple of How-To-Select Guides for Xtras that's taken up a fair amount of "after hours" time, too. It doesn't help that this past weekend was spent driving down to SoCal and back for a wedding (but I gladly did so...I wanted to be there). Since about half of July will be taken up with vacation and other work it looks like I'll resume DevCampus work around mid-July. I'm hoping to launch the site before the end of the year though so, I've really gotta bust my hump. Once the first "beta" version of the site is ready - I'll invite (by invitation only) people to test drive it for me so if you'd be interested in doing something like that, ping me.
I figured I might as well write another feedback gathering post for O/R Mappers for .NET while I'm at it. Once the first draft of my .NET Charting Component guide goes off to the editor I'll start focusing on the O/R Mapper for .NET Guide. So - any experiences evaluating O/R Mappers for .NET and what features sold you on one in particular (if that was the case). I know that asking questions similar to "which O/R Mapper is best" often ignite religious debates in some comment threads so if you can please - keep from turning comments here into that. I'm looking for objective opinions and opinions backed with actual experience.
As some of you might remember hearing, I'm writing a How-To-Select Guide on .NET Charting Components. My first draft deadline is approaching fast - this Wednesday actually. I've written most of the content but I thought maybe I could collect some valuble feedback here on my blog also since the primary readership is developers.
If you've ever had to evaluate and/or purchase a .NET charting component before, and you'd like to spend a moment commenting on your experience, I'd be very interested to hear what you have to say. I'm not really looking for "I used product X because product Y was a real loser" type feedback - since it's likely I've already come to a conclusion on each product. I'm just trying to find out what your decision points were or which features really sold you on any particular component.
Since Rory started the whole thing (ya...ya...blame stuff on Rory...I can get used to doing that) I thought I'd chime in on the whole "crappy jobs" thing not only to let younger readers know that their lives aren't doomed if they're in a job like what I mention. Also - I'm on a mission to help Rory turn this into one of those chain-blog posting things. Just kidding. I hate those things. I'm ashamed that I'm even writing this right now. Chris did it too though, so I'll put the blame on him if Rory denies responsibility.
Crappiest job ever? Well, like Rory's, it involved movies. It all started way back in 1995. No, I wasn't on the Windows 95 team. I was in high school working at a movie theater. Yep...I was an usher-boy. The thing is though, when you take a job at a movie theater it seems like it's going to be a lot more fun than it really is. I remember thinking, "I'll get to see all the free movies I want (which I did)..and all my friends and family will get passes to see movies (which they did) and I'll get as much free soda and popcorn for breaks (which I did)...and life will be great". Unfortunately, you don't realize you'll have to clean up a bloody mess left by someone in the bathroom (which I did), clean up a big pile of vomit off the lobby carpet left by a kid that ate way too much junk food (which I did), smell some of the most vile smells ever to assault human nostrils while taking out the trash (check), see some of the most disgusting human remnants when cleaning the bathrooms (check), and routinely work overtime on holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years and any other holiday when a lot of people will be out to see movies (double check). Now, most of the gross human stuff has already been trumped by what my kids have done to me over the years - but I still remember how great it felt telling my boss when my last day would be.
I just noticed today that rather than the previously standard http://gmail.google.com/gmail I'm now being redirected to http://mail.google.com/mail/.
Does anyone know if Google announced plans to release GMail v1.0 ?
Whenever I work with other technical people - whether they're developers or not - I'm sometimes surprised at home much they rely on the mouse. As most developers have already come to realize, mastering the keyboard allows you to work much faster. I'm not just talking about stuff like using the tab key to move through input controls on a form or web page, I'm talking about stuff that's helpful for things you do almost every time you open a web browser. It's been a long time since I learned these shortcuts (probably 5+ years) so I thought everybody knew them by now. For those that don't, here's a quick run-down of the more useful ones. As far as I'm aware, these work in both IE and Firefox:
- Alt + D (highlight the current text in the address bar so you can type in a URL)
- Ctrl + Enter (this will add 'http://www.' before what you type into the address bar and '.com' after it. so 'google' and Ctrl + Enter will enter in http://www.google.com. Use Shift + Enter for a .net domain and Ctrl + Shift + Enter for .org (those last two are Firefox only...yet another reason to switch from IE).
- Ctrl + D (to bookmark the current page)
- Alt + Shift + Tab (this helps if like me, you have dozens of windows open and want to Alt + Tab to one that's just a couple before the one you're on, no need to hit tab 20 times to get to it)
- Alt + Arrow Keys (to go back and forward use Alt + the left and right arrow keys)
- Ctrl + T for a new tab in Firefox
- Ctrl + N for a new window (this is helpful in IE if you're in a window with no menu/tool bar/address bar and want to load the same page w/ all those tools visible)
- Esc key to stop loading the current page (like you'd have to click the red x in the tool bar to do)
I'm sure there are probably more of them out there. If anybody knows some that I missed, feel free to leave a comment.
To those working on IE 7 - could you make sure you fix the CSS rendering issue with this:
That is perfectly legal CSS 2.0 as far as I understand - and it means I want a transparent border, not a black one. This has bit me several times, and reared it's ugly head again tonight. There's some moderately easy work-arounds that involve switching padding and margin values on mouseOver and sure, they work. It would just make my job as a web developer a bit easier if IE rendered Transparent as Transparent, and not black.
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