These days we’re lucky. SSL is becoming pretty pervasive. Facebook uses it. Twitter uses it. Most modern start ups now use it. Sadly there are still other sites or services that you may be accessing on the internet that are still insecure allowing others to listen in on your internet usage, and for these your want an encrypted VPN link to route your traffic through. VPN’s can be expensive though if all you have is a home PC and a laptop on the road – lucky for us this can be a magic combination that is all you need and saves the day.
Today marks the official start to Microsoft’s TechEd Australia Conference on the sunny Queensland Gold Coast. With over 4 days of talks, product launch education, hands-on labs along with device and software manufacturers spruiking their wares, it is sure to be a great week – if you are around shoot me a tweet so that we can try and cross paths during the week.
As Software Developers, our passion can sometimes be all encompassing. You can find a new language or framework and something inside you lights a spark and the obsession begins – it’s part of what makes a great scientist, developer, engineer or doctor. It can also be a part of what drives people insane. Recently I've wondered where the line is, when its time to back off, or even if you should.
My old design lasted a long time. In fact it was the design that I launched this blog with in 2009. I loved it when I launched the site as although it wasn’t the easiest design on your reading eyes it had a certain shock/wow factor. Times change though, so i wanted a fresh look – and i wanted to claim some of that wow factor back – So if you’ve been reading for a while you’ll notice that the change has been quite dramatic. As always though, the Ninjas had to stay.
One of the most annoying things I find when i start working with a fresh installation of Visual Studio 2010 is that when implementing interfaces and base classes using the “Implement Interface X” function (CTRL + period) it inserts those crappy #region tags.
The past 6 months started out as looking like yet another elected Communications Minister of our great island nation was simply out of touch with his portfolio. However things have started to take a sinister turn with the recent direction our elected leaders have started to take in relation to how we consume the internet in Australia – and i honestly believe they think they are making the right move. This is BAD.
So about a month ago, i thought I'd make the fickle decision to add advertising to my blog. A tricky decision for a personal site owner to make at the best of times. Lucky for me there was a relatively new player in town that has made it their business to cater to a very niche market better than the big boys.
My day-to-day job is always interesting to say the least. I work in an “Agency” atmosphere, where catch phrases, high budgets, high hopes and a lot of other hoo-hah take place on a daily basis. I am, however, a realist. I would prefer you to drop the f-bomb in a meeting if it meant the difference between clarity and shades of grey. It is because of this, that i am constantly mystified by a lot of my fellow agency brethren’s conversations when it comes to the topics of emerging media and the social media space in general. How much bullshit can these people spew before the world wakes up?
With the launch of .Net 4.0 there have been a lot of excitement about some of the new features, Optional parameters being one of these. What a lot of people don’t realised it that with a bit of leg work you can pull this off with c# 2.0 – so those of you unable to deploy to a machine running .Net 4.0 can still join the party.
I’m currently involved in a new project for a client that involves a lot of user contributed video, that then gets viewed on the site. This means video encoding, and lots of it, and the budget and timeline involved mean that the client can’t afford to implement the dedicated hardware to do this themselves. Why not encode in the cloud you say? Why not.
Social networking has taken the world by storm, and added a new tool to web developers’ marketing arsenal (along with Digg, Reddit etc), in the form of link sharing. The problem is that it is nearly impossible to have a say in most social network link sharing, along with how you are promoted. However in Facebook’s case we have a few tricks up our sleave.
So we've all read posts like these probably a million times. I've recently been getting close to burn out in my current position, as we have had incredible amounts of work on. These are the things that I have found helped me. You may find variations on the theme but I thought it was important to get the conversation started, so that if anyone out there is feeling the same way i was, and is looking for potential answers, I'd be able to give them some ideas.
Mountain View must be starting to worry more about applying to it’s “Don’t be evil” mantra, by releasing a new web application security testing tool that has been under development internally. SkipFish is its name, and its sure to add another tool to your developer toolbox. On the flip side, this tool will definitely also pop up on the radar of the very people its trying to stop;
Under certain conditions there are times when you have a machine in your domain that you don’t want to update its DNS A records. These are usually edge cases however the need is still there. I needed to do this recently, so as they say on Law and Order in a robotic Stephen Hawking voice - “These are their stories”
So this may be a post that exists in a million places on the web if you know where to look, however it would appear that whenever i do this a colleague gets the idea that i am channelling black magic. How does one “debug” a mail server connection – this is as easy as 123.
For those of you kiddies loving you Windows 7 goodness you may have discovered that from a web development point of view having an Internet Explorer 6 installation without much hassle is a pretty cool thing. Although the fact that you have to launch Windows Xp mode up and can’t use it as a “native” application by launching it from within Windows 7 is a bit of a let down. Let’s fix that :)
Today i was reading a post by Rob Conery in which he discussed both his thoughts on developer productivity in relation to the creation of a new OS project (ASP MVP), and how he may have thought that in some instances hiding behind WebForms and not touching MVC was really just laziness or ignorance mistaken for productivity. Additionally i also read another post by Scott Bellware in which talks about a similar subject, in that developer productivity when viewed in isolation, is really a myth.
Today i was reading an article on the Sydney Morning Herald website by one of their travel bloggers. In it they asked the question “Have you noticed that backpackers tend to talk about the same things to world over?” and it got me thinking something that i used to think quite a bit: “Are most conversations that people have the same ones everyday?”. A lot of developers I've worked with definitely fit this statement.
Recently I was working on a project where I had to return a simple list of products, and if they had images associated with them, return information about only one along with the product. Times like these, a simple left join or inner join just doesn’t cut it if there are more than one image/record per product. When this happens there is almost always a simple solution, so let’s take a look.
There are times when you want to read a text file that is in use – or as i have had many times, code you have recently execute hasn’t fully let go of the file when you go to read it – when you copy something to a directory and the AV scans it or any other times when you want a file’s contents but don't want to have to worry about locks.
It’s official kids, November, the month of the moustache, is going to be my month of the moustache as well. I am taking part in the fundraising event known as Movember (http://au.movember.com/) in which i will rejoice in the god given right of growing a porn star moustache. Movember is an international cause to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer and Male Depression. Time to get involved!
Well this week i started work on my new development machine – a 64bit Windows 7 machine mmmm tasty. Everything has run perfectly smoothly until i hit one weird little issue. While attempting to generate a new data layer for a SQLite database using Subsonic i received nothing but errors – Another simple fix which I'll show you in this post.
I was recently read a blog post recently by Eric Spiegel, that made it to Slashdot where he asked the question: “Are software developers naturally weird?”. I think deep down everyone who works in IT is a bit weird, and i will repeat Eric’s remark: “Go on admit it”. Whether it is something tiny or their complete character, you can usually put your finger on something out of the ordinary. My REAL question is: Is everyone weird in some way once you get close to them?
If there is one blogging related tool that I've come across lately that i think has been a game changer it would have to be Windows Live Writer. However some people are using either a custom written blog engine (like me) or are using a blog engine that doesn’t support Live Writer. If that is the case i will show you a simple way to integrate Windows Live Writer support into you blog with WebServices and the MetaWebLog API.
If you have ever had to setup or manage an Umbraco installation you will know both the pleasure and the occasional pain that it can bring. Umbraco is part of the growing list of “oober cool” up and coming Dot Net CMS that are getting attention in the “get it up quick” world of marketing driven sites in the market place (Ford Australia for example). I recently had to upgrade a clients installation from 3.0.5 to 184.108.40.206 and the story that follows will hopefully help someone in a similar position so that they can revel in the same relief that I do currently.
This is a quick one today. I was recently working with a web application that runs a spider to index content on a bunch of intranet sites. The client was a large company with a very security conscious IT team, that had locked down all intranet access from the web server server in question. Luckily Dot Net supports proxies in a loving fashion, and I'll show you how.
Today i was battling in the trenches while trying to fix a deployment issue on a foreign webhost with a support team that had a lead time of 3 days on a support ticket when i came across a very annoying issue. While trying to import a large MSSQL script (140mb) i was having a repeated dual to the death with the error “701 Insufficient Memory” and his evil twin (kind of like the white dreadlock guys in the Matrix) - “System.OutOfMemoryException” in SQL management studio. But never fear, there is a solution, and its really simple.
I recently took Rob Conery of SubSonic fame’s advice and decided it was time to be a good Jedi and build my own blog engine – on a side note: If you haven’t jumped in and at the very least tried Subsonic well… “friendship over”, not much else i can say. Obviously if you want to write a blog engine, there is no better way than to create your own blog using it – So here goes!