simply me

June 2004 - Posts

My contribution to The Daily WTF
My entry just got published on The Daily WTF. That's cool :)
Posted: Jun 26 2004, 07:24 PM by michu | with no comments
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Tons of great resources (not only) for webmasters

Have you ever been looking for interesting photo, font, pattern etc. for your website, presentation or something else?

Stock photography - free & commercial
Vector clipart
Fonts - free & commercial
Photoshop brushes
Poser objects

Somebody did a great job of putting literally hundreds of links to sources of such items. Most are of very good quality. For me - the site of the day and a must-have bookmark: http://www.bluevertigo.com.ar/ (and I love its design).

(Allways check for conditions of use, even on free sites - sometimes 'free' resources are free only for private use, sometimes it even differs for each image, but I was always able to find real gems very quickly)

Posted: Jun 16 2004, 12:05 PM by michu | with 1 comment(s)
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Generating Excel files from web - line breaks in cells

As many of you probably know, you can output data (a report, for example) as an Excel file, simply by adding right content-type and content-disposition header:

Response.ContentType = “application/vnd.ms-excel“;
Response.AppendHeader(“content-disposition“, “inline; filename=report.xls“);

If client has MS Excel installed, your output HTML page will be opened in it instead of web browser. Excel will interpret all formating (borders, fonts etc.) and TABLE tags, which can result a nice, formated worksheet, without using heavyweight server-side controls.

The problem I was struggling for some time was with multi-line cells. I needed to wrap text in cell, but when I put <br> tag into HTML output, Excel interpreted it as a new row, not a line-break in existing cell.

The solution I found is to add into a stylesheet:

    br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}

Then it works like a charm. I hope somebody will find it useful :)

Tip: You can make ContentType and header conditional, providing alternate HTML/XLS reports with one file.

Posted: Jun 15 2004, 10:32 AM by michu | with 28 comment(s)
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Telecommuting is all wrong or is it something with me?

For last three years I was working as a programmer from home, using Internet, VPNs, Terminal Services etc. to connect to my company's network. I find it a very unpleasant experience. My employer wasn't a software vendor, it was a retail company, I was working on internal projects - intranet site, website, sales software, CRM etc - and for last year I was lent to work on intranet & workflow projects for one of my employer's clients, who has seen and liked what I did before. But for me it was a very hard time.

One problem is that we live 4 person in a small 2-room flat. It means that my workplace was in my bedroom and our small children were everywhere. Second, because I was a developer in a no-development shop, I was the only person who know anything about software development. It generated all wrong practices that are possible, for example introducing new features during development, lack of documentation, unrealistic schedules (wonder if somebody consulted them with me? no way!) etc. There was no chance to explain those things to management and make it proper. And of course it damaged all schedules, as you probably know.

But what was really bad, was the way that my work started to slip into my life and 'overwrite' it. I was working more and more, catched in mutual feedback between growing expectations of my employer and my own efforts to do everything I had to do on time, struggling with what I described in above paragraph. At first, I was working 8 hours a day. Then, there was an urgent project and I increased that time to 10 hours (telling myself it was only temporarily), then to 12... For last year or so I was working about 16 hours a day, including saturdays. It was a nightmare. Then I quit.

I wonder if it is a fault inherent to this way of working, a fault of my employer or myself? In any given short period of time I didn't feel that I was working more. It was a lot of small steps - “I'll work an hour more to finish this”, “Michal, could you do it on Monday? It is very important” etc. I was giving away a bit of my life more every week. Why I let it happen? I don't exactly know. One thing is that I'm passionate for what I do. Second - it was a quite good payd job, what is hard to find at this moment in Poland. Third - working at home I felt a kind of ilusion of freedom, for a long time I haven't noticed that I just switched a harness of office-work for the one in my mind.

Two weeks ago I started a normal, regular, 40-hours-a-week job in office, in a big software company. And I already love it. I finally have time for my daughters and wife, time to read something, time to do many things I haven't done for a very long time. Time to work on my little project which I probably announce soon ;-) (and the money are better, too)

If you worked from home or considered it, please share your experiences. I'd like to see if somebody went through something similar, or maybe it works for other people?

I wonder if somebody has a GMail invitation to give away... I feel that I could find some use for such an account (some details soon).
Posted: Jun 14 2004, 10:50 AM by michu | with 5 comment(s)
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More programming fonts

Paschal pointed to quite nice programming font. Personaly, I prefer (and use) a ProFont - it is more clear and condensed, and is available for preview and download here. It comes in most formats - as bitmat and truetype, as Windows, Mac, Linux and (even) Atari font.

Below you can see a short sample:


Posted: Jun 11 2004, 10:31 PM by michu | with 6 comment(s)
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