Thursday, December 30, 2004

A Post By Email, and On Contracting

On Jay's suggestion I'm
trying post by email. Cool stuff.

Now onto Contracting, and I mean the type with hammers and nails. My
wife and I are presently doing a good bit of renovation work on our
house. One thing we're both realizing is that there is a potential
business opportunity if you ran a home renovation company as you would
a normal professional services firm.

Some of the guys in that industry just kill me. We've been
essentially trying to give somebody several thousand dollars for
months and only recently have we found people who are interested,
qualified, and available to take the money. If you ran a consulting
firm like that you wouldn't be around long. Then again, maybe you'd
be Accenture.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Personal Note

A frequent reader of this space recently had a comment:

why don't you do a personal blog instead of this resume blog.

Good point friend. How about this:
  1. Some recently observed excellent songs for programming are:
    1. Genesis, "Turn It On Again"
    2. Zeppelin, "Since I've Been Loving You"
    3. Afro Celt w/ Peter Gabriel "When You're Falling"
  2. T-Mobile recently took care of me when my Blackberry 7100t stopped working. I went into their store, explained the issue (no sound out of headset), and they shipped a new one in 4 days. Nice.
  3. Here's a picture of my son and me on a recent trip to northern California (this is from near Trinidad).

  4. Only those with something to hide have anonymous blogs.

On Windows, the Registry, and Sheer Stupidity

So I've got a client now that is using a Cisco VPN box for remote access. I needed to do some extra work on the project from home last night, and I installed the Cisco VPN Client.

So far so good.

I typically have my Start Menu organized into hierarchies of folders, such as Applications, Development, etc. So I moved the new Cisco group into the Applications group.

Cisco didn't like this when I tried to run it. It copied itself back to the main Start Menu. Cisco and I entered into a frustrating cycle where neither one of us decided to give up.

I decided to uninstall Cisco. I did this, but kept getting a Windows Installer dialog come up when I started Windows. I couldn't get rid of it.

This is the part of the story where we enter into Sheer Stupidity.

I decided to manually go into the Registry and remove all traces of Cisco.

Dear readers, please stop laughing.

After I removed all traces of Cisco, I realized that I had inadvertently removed my entire Windows networking configuration. I tried to reinstall the drivers for my networking, but it was too late. Gone.

So that's right. I had to stay up practically all night rebuilding a machine I'd rebuilt only a few weeks before.

My fault, clearly. However it got me thinking.

Why in the hell is it so tough on Windows to install/uninstall applications? Why can't an application write everything it needs into its own directory, use XML files for configuration, and then leave everybody else alone to go about life the way they see fit?

I mean damn.

Friday, December 10, 2004

A Better XML-> .NET Code Generator

Take a look at this page for a greatly improved way to generate .NET code from an XML XSD schema.

xsd.exe, the tool which comes with the .NET framework, works fine for generating very simple classes. The problem is that it generates classes with only public variables--no properties are created. The issue is that the .NET data binding controls (and most third party controls) are set to only look for properties, not public members.

This new generator (which is technically a sample) fixes this problem nicely, and also throws in some nice ArrayLists as part of the deal.