Jeff and .NET

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August 2005 - Posts

DHTML is a pain in the ass
I have to say that every time I try to do a little DHTML, I start to curse the world. I found a neat little Javascript function that finds the position of an element, which makes it handy to position another element on the page relative to that one.

It works like a champ... in IE. It doesn't work in Firefox. The weird thing is that it doesn't throw any kind of error in the Firefox Javascript console either.

Stuff like this makes it amazing to me that anyone ever gets ajax stuff to work in most browsers.
Posted: Aug 31 2005, 11:36 PM by Jeff | with 3 comment(s)
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MTV VMA site a big piece of shit
Message to the kids at MTV: When you build a Flash site, it's not an excuse to make navigation suck or to bring even high-end computers to their knees with animation. The 2005 VMA site is a complete piece of shit.
Posted: Aug 28 2005, 10:20 AM by Jeff | with 7 comment(s)
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I should be podcasting

You know, given my radio and television background, you'd think that I would have been podcasting ages ago. The thing is, I can't think of anything particularly exciting to talk about. I suppose I could do one in conjunction with CoasterBuzz, but God only knows how interesting that might be. I guess it would depend on who I conferenced in, and I wouldn't do it without at least one woman in the mix. That scene is a sausage party as it is.

I listened to the latest This Week in Tech and Digg Nation last night, and they're fairly interesting to listen to in part because they're done by people who have done real broadcast work. I'm sorry, but just because any idiot with a computer and a microphone can do it doesn't mean they should. There's so much crap out there.

Posted: Aug 25 2005, 01:31 PM by Jeff | with 1 comment(s)
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POP Forums getting sexy
I'm really starting to get excited about POP Forums v8 now. It's finally starting to feel like something I could actually use in production. And the part that gets me most excited is that my goal of making it "hackable" is really coming together, with features that other ASP.NET forums don't have. It truly will be a forum for developers that want to work with look and feel on their own terms.

It's also fun to solve new problems. There are little things I've always wanted to implement that you'll find in the various PHP forums out there, but never really got around to it. That stuff is coming together quickly.

And just a side note, I'm really impressed with the generic List<T> collection. I did some performance tests just adding and iterating and it beats the pants off of ArrayList. I realize that's what is supposed to happen, but the tweak monkey in me had to see for myself!
Posted: Aug 23 2005, 01:00 AM by Jeff | with 5 comment(s)
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Windows Forms n00b question about text boxes
OK, Windows apps are obviously more foreign to me than I thought. Is there some property I'm overlooking for text boxes that, when the user presses enter, will fire a particular button press?
Posted: Aug 22 2005, 12:48 PM by Jeff | with 4 comment(s)
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OS X on Intel... it's for real
Actually, the theory is that OS X has been running on Intel CPU's for a long time internally at Apple. But anyway, the build that went out to developers, that was supposed to be tied to special prototype machines with a DRM chip, was hacked and it's all over the Internet now.

I watched one of the video clips someone did, where the thing boots natively on a laptop with a 1.6 GHz mobile Pentium. It loads really, really fast. I can't wait to see this thing run on actual Apple/Intel hardware next year.

Yeah, I'll buy one. I've always loved the Apple hardware, and OS X, but being a Windows developer, it's not like I can totally switch. Give me a box that I can run Windows and OS X on, and you've sold me, especially a laptop.
Posted: Aug 15 2005, 11:27 PM by Jeff | with 1 comment(s)
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What are the kids using to develop with Java on the Mac these days?
What are the kids using to develop with Java on the Mac these days? What the heck, I might be interested in broadening my horizons.
Posted: Aug 15 2005, 11:27 PM by Jeff | with 5 comment(s)
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Perhaps self-publishing is the answer
No one is interested in picking up my next book proposal, and they all seem to have a ridiculous number of books in the pipe. A lot of them are the kind with a dozen authors that they can crank out quickly but generally aren't very good at teaching the subject matter. (I've been approached about writing on these... no thanks.)

I had heard about it before, but forgot about LuLu.com until I heard one of the founders on This Week In Tech. There's a service that speaks my language. It may not offer the really broad distribution that book stores offer, but if you have something you really want to get out there, now you can. If I could sell a dozen or two copies a month, I'd be more than thrilled.

I still believe in books. I'm not sure I believe that publishers are making the right decisions though on what to publish. I probably wouldn't have published my book unless it was part of a bigger strategy, a real understanding of where it fit. The publishers don't really have the expertise to sit down and look at the big picture in terms of the potential audience, then map out a strategy to give them a sensible offering. The old Wrox did this well, but obviously they made a lot of bad decisions financially.

Does anyone have any self-publishing experience to share?
Posted: Aug 15 2005, 11:07 PM by Jeff | with 2 comment(s)
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To delete or not to delete, that's a tough question
I had a discussion with a "customer" (or I guess technically it's a freeloader ;)) about why the old version of POP Forums didn't allow you to delete a forum. That's a good question.

The truth is that in terms of the database, there is a mountain of data that is eventually connected to a forum record. It has topics, which in turn has posts, favorite topics, e-mail notification, search word records, moderator associations, moderation log entries... I'm sure I'm forgetting something. That's a whole lot of relational data. Even with the database set up to cascade deletes, that's a whole lot of data. I could do it in a new thread so it didn't time out or hang up the page, but I'd hate to see what happens to a live forum in terms of performance. The biggest pool of data I have involves about 400,000 posts in a single forum, so I don't even have that big of a data pool to test against.

Despite all of that, you can simply turn a forum off, which for end user means it's essentially not there, but I can see how someone on a shared SQL Server account might have limits and they need to blow away a particular forum.

It might still happen... but not by the first beta.
Posted: Aug 13 2005, 06:41 PM by Jeff | with 1 comment(s)
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Editing web.config through the configuration API is less than ideal
While it's pretty cool that you can programmatically mess with web.config, I'm starting to feel that it's not entirely practical because of the security implications. NETWORK SERVICE needs permission to write to it, or you need to use impersonation. Regardless, this is not xcopy deployment.

If there's a simple, streamlined way to work around this problem, I'd love to hear about it.
Posted: Aug 13 2005, 02:08 PM by Jeff | with 4 comment(s)
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