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Archive of Blog Entries

Any blog entries that have 'fallen off' the front page have ended up here...

Mon, 24 May 2004 01:48:56 GMT

Just keep zooming -- the resolution never degrades.

On law and order last night they demonstrated the Infinite Scalability Principle of Surveillance Cameras on Television Shows.

They used a computer to zoom in on a photograph taken for a gymnasium identification card, and they found a figure lurking outside the gym! They then zoomed right in on this figure until they had a crystal clear image of the lurker (who did indeed turn out to be the murderer!)

That must be a pretty expensive camera they use for ID's in that gymnasium, what with having near-infinite resolution. Most identification card photographs just take grainy, warped ugly little photos. (Or is that what i really look like?) I bet their membership fees are near infinite too.

(continues... more about tech-mistakes on tv)

Read On...

Sat, 22 May 2004 00:58:17 GMT

You are NOT inadequate.

It is about time someone told you!


  • You do NOT have to refactor all your code.
  • You do NOT have to keep up with the latest news from microsoft, and know everythnig there is to know about longhorn, whidbey, avalon, XAML, indigo and star wars III.
  • You do not have to have perfectly de-coupled tiers in your technology independent SOA software.
  • You do not have to comply to every standard, achieve the perfect balance between maintainability and performance. Usability and familiarity.
  • You don't have to do "first things first every day"
  • You DO NOT have to memorize and understand every patten the gang of four have catalogued.
  • You do NOT have to read every technical blog, print out every technical article and learn every technical thing there is to learn.
  • You are beautiful just the way you are.
  • You are brilliant, interesting, wise and fun to be around.
  • You rock.

And you are not inadequate.

Read On...

Sun, 16 May 2004 23:14:00 GMT

Shake that keyboard baby!

If, like me, you eat your lunch at your desk (and I know you do, cause while you're reading this, i too am reading you) then you'll know that once in a while you've just got to pick up that keyboard, turn it upside down and shake out those crumbs. Shakity, shakity shake shake! Shakity, shakity shake shake! Out comes cheese! Out comes bread! Out comes chocolate! Out comes tuna! This is more fun than updating your timesheet! More fun than deleting old emails! The most fun you can have in your cubicle during daylight hours and with your pants on! Shake that keyboard baby!

(no further details provided)

Read On...

Sat, 15 May 2004 04:28:07 GMT

Let Us Welcome 'The Nemo Fish'

I've just returned from a trip to the Whitsunday Islands on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. I declined to inform you (my small but devoted audience) that I would be away for a week, in the hope that you wouldn't use the opportunity to break into my house and steal all my stuff.

The Whitsunday islands are fascinating. Amongst other facts, I learnt that the Clown Fish (Amphiprion percula) has now, apparently, been renamed 'the Nemo fish'.

image courtesy of the Australian Museum Fish site


Read On...

Thu, 06 May 2004 22:11:51 GMT

Going Full Circle: Using "Commands"

I'm disturbed by a change in the way I use windows. I strongly prefer keystrokes to menus.

To run a program I press "[Windows]-R" to bring up the "Run Dialog," then I type the name of the Exe I want, e.g. "WinWord", "DevEnv", "Excel", "Calc", "Notepad", etc.

Is this some malingering malady? A form of Linuxitus? Or a deep-seated DOS depravity?


Read On...

Sat, 01 May 2004 13:51:52 GMT

XPLT: eXtensible Parser Language Transformations

When you dream of software regularly, it's a bit of a worry. Anyhow, this is an idea I had while mowing the lawn today. I think it could really speed things up interconnecting legacy systems with the XML-aware world. What do you think?

XPL: completes the transformation cycle

XPLT borrows from XSLT and Regular Expressions (RE), but also provides a more human-readable style of Pattern-Matching, encapsulated within the Pattern element. Patterns are combined with templates and flow control semantics, that allow for very flexible document transformations.

XPL Transformers could be written on any platform, for any technology. Collections of specific and re-usable XPL documents for converting between any two text-formats could be shared and distributed.

Underlying principles of XPL

  1. Human Readable
  2. Not concerned with Terseness
  3. Platform Independent
  4. Transport Indepedent
  5. XPL documents are valid XML documents

How is it used?

Here are some typical scenarios for which XPLT is useful.

  • EDI documents, containing data in fixed-width fields, need to be converted to XML for transmission to a web service
  • A legacy system produces CSV documents. They can be converted to XML using XPLT.
  • A trading partner produces XML documents that are not always well-formed. They can be 'pre-processed' with XPLT to produce well-formed XML.
  • An RSS aggregator receives some documents that are in an obscure format. They can be transformed to valid RSS using XPLT
  • A HTML doc needs to be parsed to retrieve certain values.
  • code needs to be changed into C#
  • HTML code includes embedded font tags. It needs to be altered to use CSS.
  • Wiki Text needs to be converted to xHTML.
  • A regular expression needs to be converted into a human-readable explanation
[Read on for further details]

Read On...

Thu, 29 Apr 2004 04:44:40 GMT

Your New PC Won't Let You Work On ASP.Net?

Here's a problem you're likely to get when setting up a new dev' box.


Open a command window and run 'aspnet_regiis' with the -i option

	aspnet_regiis -i

What is the -i option for?

(Continues, if you're real damn interested...)

Read On...

Thu, 29 Apr 2004 02:32:34 GMT

Roy's Competition: Some Suggested Add-Ins for Visual Studio.Net

Why suggest add-ins rather than write them? because as Ratbert says: "I'm more of an ideas rat."

You're free to implement these suggestions if you wish. If you end up winning Roy's competition the prizes are all yours, though I wouldn't mind Mike Gunderloy's  book  (Coder to Developer).

The suggestions fall into two categories:

  1. 'Producitivity' Enhancements
  2. Embedded mini-apps

There's about thirty suggestions. I make no guarantee that these things have not already been implemented.


Read On...

Wed, 28 Apr 2004 05:20:02 GMT

Excel-Lite: Hey coder! This spreadsheet's for you!

Excel-Lite (XLL) has all the calculating power of regular Excel, but without the bloat, the baggage, the bulge, the.. the.. obligatory overheads, the albatrossicle accoutrements, the embarrasing encumbrances, the chaff.

For generating SQL statements, or HTML, or any sort of code, for manipulating raw data, you can't go past XLL.

There is no limit to the number of rows or columns you can use. No limit to the number of sheets.

XLL does not reformat your data. It won't drop the '0' from the front of a number. It won't alter the format of a field that happens to resemble a date. Currency symbols don't confuse it.

It has excellent support for Regular Expressions. Plus a genuinely comprehensive 'reveal-codes' mode to help you get to grips with your data.

Okay, there's no ability to set text colours or bold or italics or varying fonts or font-sizes, and there are no charting capabilities and even no printing (without plug-ins). But those features are outside the intended use of the product. The trade-off is a fast, versatile, bloat-free application, targeted at programmers and information-workers.

It's quick to load. And damn quick at performing calculations. It takes up about 100k of memory (excluding spreadsheets) and has a versatile undo/redo capability that appears to be unlimited.

Files are internally represented (and stored) as XML. Hence spreadsheet searches can be performed with XPath!


Read On...

Mon, 26 Apr 2004 07:50:53 GMT

I am not worthy

Some of the people who read this blog are amongst the cleverest, most productive and influential programmers and technical authors in the world. This, despite the fact that I am an utter fool, obsessed with toilet humour and cheap satire. I am utterly bewildered at how fortunate I am to have the ear of such industry legends as Kathleen Dollard, Julia Lerman and Mike Gunderloy, amongst others.

I was so blown away, just now when I found a comment from Kathleen Dollard that I burnt the meal I was half-way through cooking. The long suffering Mrs. Secret Geek was less than impressed, but ultimately sympathetic.

Kathleen, in case you don't know, is the author of 'Code Generation in Microsoft .NET', a topic which I am right behind, even though I confess to not having seen the book personally. On her site she uses a lord of the rings metaphor to explain the importance of Code Generation:

Read On...

Thu, 22 Apr 2004 04:28:52 GMT

Riddle me this, batman.

Why do database designers deliberately create one-to-one relationships?

e.g. You can have a table with 50 columns, or you can have two tables with a one to one relationship, having 25 columns in one and 25 columns in the next (the foreign key acting as a primary key). Maybe the first column is called "Contact_Details" and the next table "Contact_Details_Extended"

What's the big advantage? Something tells me Frans Bouma might have an opinion on this. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Read On...

Wed, 21 Apr 2004 21:40:18 GMT

Stupid Code To The Rescue!

A big dose of .NetFrustration this morning.

When you upgrade an assembly from version 1.0 to version 1.1 you are likely to get a lot of squiggley blue lines and warnings such as:


OR worse yet:

Google turned up blank, MSDN turned up blank, but I finally got rid of the warnings, by writing stupid code.

(Read on for some dodgy solutions and some stern lectures. :+))

Read On...

Wed, 21 Apr 2004 02:15:08 GMT

How to match a string value to its equivalent Enum value.

How to retrieve an Enum member given its name

To retrieve an Enum member given its name, use the ConvertFrom() method of the TypeConverter class and cast the result to your Enum type:

  MyEnumVal = CType(TypeDescriptor.GetConverter(MyEnumVal).ConvertFrom("gamma"), MyEnum)
  Debug.WriteLine(MyEnumVal.ToString())    ' The output is "gamma"

Read On...

Tue, 20 Apr 2004 04:00:14 GMT

the unbearable lightness of being Delpino

A little bit of philosophy from Brisbane band Delpino.

(end of comment)

Read On...

Mon, 19 Apr 2004 21:21:32 GMT

Two security hacks i'm looking forward to:

  1. XML-Injection (XML-DML injection, and XQuery injection)
  2. XSX: Cross Site XML

(end of comment)

Read On...

Mon, 19 Apr 2004 09:52:04 GMT

Things I miss about London

  • leaves falling from trees
  • big coats and bitter cold
  • europe on your doorstep
  • crooked narrow streets
  • depressed shop assistants
  • people like roger, dinesh, anthony wong, liffey and scott
  • a swift-half after work that accidentally runs into the closing-time bell
  • belgian beer, belgian chocolate
  • italy just a stone's throw away
  • every alley wafts of piss
  • the tube. i even miss the frigging tube.

end of comment

Read On...

Fri, 16 Apr 2004 22:40:58 GMT


Just a reminder. If you're writing an page that invokes a RCW (runtime callable wrapper) to a COM component... you may need to include the attribute 'ASPCompat=True' in your page directive.

In particular, if you have this situation:

then it may be because ASP uses a STA (single-threaded-apartment) threading model, which the COM component may rely upon when returning calls.

The way to get the component to behave in is to include that attribute, 'ASPCompat=True' in the calling page's page directive.

You already knew that right?

Well, should you accidentally forget... the chances of working it out on your own are very slim indeed, even with Google's help.

(end of comment)

Read On...

Fri, 16 Apr 2004 21:51:03 GMT

Royo on TV?

is it just me, or does Roy Osherove look like that guy off "Alias" whom Jennifer Garner is secretly in love with?

the guy off alias roy osherove

Come to think of it, there's someone else they *both* look like...

the guy off alias roy osherove royo?

(It's traditional to now say something like 'oh thats roy on the right, by the way.' But you know by now that I never indulge in such cliched humour. [100% sarcasm])

(end of comment)

Read On...

Fri, 16 Apr 2004 20:52:33 GMT

Double-posting comments: blame the software!

Everyone double-posts a comment at times. I've done it. You've done it.

When you accidentally post a comment twice, you feel like an idiot.

You curse yourself. You belt your head against the monitor, you bite your tongue and you jab needles into your eyes.

But is it really your own fault? The software could handle for it. But it doesn't. Blame the software. The major commenting engines *should* handle for it. It's an easy feature to include. But they're so damn rich, fat, lazy and yes, butt-ugly, that they left it out on purpose just to make you feel like a newbie idiot once in a while.

Read On...

Fri, 16 Apr 2004 03:29:59 GMT

A few changes on the way

After getting some excellent reader feedback, I'm going to make it browsers to secretGeek (as opposed to RSS subscribers) to find material quicker -- and to know at a glance whether they're clicking on something Funny or Serious, Very-Technical or Non-Technical.

One idea is that I can use the 'name' attribute of the anchor tag to help with this, along with little warning buttons, such as: [100% Sarcasm] or [all geeky] or [not serious]

Anyway -- nothing will change quickly. That's how we are around this place. We sit back on our rockin chairs and just taaaake our time....

Read On...

Wed, 14 Apr 2004 06:40:59 GMT

I don't speak good really

And yet, apparently... you might not believe this but...

Read On...

Wed, 14 Apr 2004 05:40:32 GMT

A Handy Little Button

Mitch Denny, an Australian .Net blogger, suggested this morning that we have a 'mute' button on every window.

I guess it might look a little like this:


I could turn off the volume from Internet Explorer (or some instances of it) and keep volume from Winamp turned on.

I think it's a great idea, cheers Mitch.

Read On...

Tue, 13 Apr 2004 04:55:47 GMT

Email Personality Quiz

I have this so-called friend who emails me those quizes that start with 'Send this on to ten of your friends blah fucking blah.'. Here's my take on just such a psychologically revealing quiz.

Read On...

Tue, 06 Apr 2004 04:36:29 GMT

Programmer's Creed: The Mark of Quality

  1. I will not begin the design phase until the user requirements have been unanimously agreed upon by all users, and etched onto large stone tablets.
  2. I will not begin development until the design is signed off, preferably in blood.
  3. Issues that arise during testing will be recorded in the issue management system, and the relevant developer shall be notified, in writing, before he or she is taken out and flogged, not after.
  4. Product upgrades will not be released into the production environment until the quality assurance manager has scheduled a time to place his or her head on the correct chopping block, and the axman or axewoman has verified that the ax is indeed sharp.

Read On...

Thu, 01 Apr 2004 06:51:16 GMT

Test Your Security

Does your office have a culture of security?

How many of the following questions can you truthfully answer "Yes" to?

  1. I never open an attachment without first verifying the sender and scanning for viruses.
  2. I do not use obvious passwords.
  3. I do not recycle passwords amongst different systems.
  4. I lock my computer before leaving it unattended.
  5. If a stranger enters my workplace, I challenge him or her for identification, even if it appears to be a child.
  6. I know how to use a handgun.
  7. I know how to fake a lie-detector test, and have methodically increased my tolerance to truth serums.
  8. I have a diamond cutting laser pistol hidden in my belt buckle.
  9. I know how to pick locks and can smash my way out of handcuffs. Pow! Just like that.
  10. Even if tortured, I won't reveal company secrets. (Just like Mr Takagi in DieHard).
  11. When my anger rises, I am like a tiger, and will search out my enemy and crush him beneath my heel, utterly. (Just like Bruce Willis in Diehard, or Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs)
  12. I won't allow a stranger into my house, even if it is a ravishingly beautiful naked woman holding a case of beer.
  13. I laugh in the face of Death every chance I get. So much so, in fact, that Death is often embarrassed to see me.

These may all seem obvious, but for a lot of workers security is not a serious topic at all. Test your workers today, and record their marks. For each 'No' answer, beat them savagely with a hammer. In six weeks, test them again and I'll bet they'll pee their pants in fear. That's human nature for you. A cruel heart, a sadistic mind and a weak bladder.

I've said enough for one post.

Read On...

Fri, 26 Mar 2004 00:48:36 GMT

Court Fines Microsoft over Anti-Competitive Calculator

The EU has ruled that by bundling a calculator with their popular operating system, Microsoft has clearly engaged in anti-competitive behaviour.

The Association of Independent Manufacturers of Calculator Software has been awarded $600 million to make up for profits they have lost due to Microsoft's evil, vindictive and clearly satanic practice.

The anti-competitive calculator.

In a related case, the McDonalds chain of restaurants has been fined $8 billion for allowing salt satchels to be given away with their meals. The Anti-Competitive-Practices League complained that the 'free' salt satchels made it virtually impossible for small traders to continue to walk from restaurant to restaurant selling their own hand-crafted satchels of salt to customers, resulting in less choice of salt for consumers.

And clothing retailer Target has been fined $57 billion for including buttons on shirts. The EU has ruled that by bundling buttons on shirts, it has become virtually impossible for independent button retailers to entice customers into purchasing buttons crafted by independent conglomerates. Target was further criticised for not including instructions on how to remove buttons from garments.

In a similar case, Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, has been sued because evolution has led people's bodies to come pre-bundled with arms and legs, thus restricting the trade of prosthetic limbs. The American Association Of Plastic Arms and Legs has been awarded over $50 billion for lost profit caused by natural selection's clearly monopolistic behaviour.

Consumers were thrilled with the results as they would now have to pay more for everything and will finally have a full choice of salt.

Read On...

Wed, 24 Mar 2004 03:44:17 GMT

Beware of this email

There is an email going around with the subject 'What do you mean you've got a splinter?' Think twice before opening it. That's all I'm saying. Don't be a fool. Think twice.

Read On...

Wed, 10 Mar 2004 00:46:47 GMT

Cubicle Messages

The way people decorate their cubicle says a lot about their personality.

It often gives a meaning they didn't quite intend.

(continues with 4 examples)

Read On...

Fri, 05 Mar 2004 03:34:38 GMT

Never Trust A SysAdmin

Ever. Just don't do it.

I head to a client's site. In order to connect to their domain I have to let a sysAdmin f*ck with my machine.

Alarm bells go off, but I let the monkey have his banana.

To cut a long story short: it's the next day, many hours of work have been lost. Much frustration has been achieved. And I have a new rule:

It's the thin edge of the wedge. We let sysAdmin's screw with our machines today. What's next? Database administrators messing with our databases?

Read On...

Thu, 26 Feb 2004 07:19:34 GMT

The Toilet Reservation System is finally online

My office, like a lot of offices, has always suffered from a toilet-related problem.

You walk all the way to the toilets, only to find that the toilets are already busy.

You then waste time walking back to your cubicle, where more uncomfortable minutes pass, during which you are barely productive. Finally, you return to the toilets, only to find that they are still busy!

This 'bog-polling' can continue for half a day, putting you behind on your schedules and impacting your bowel.

All this has come to an end now that we have finally turned on Version 2.0 of the intranet-Based Toilet Reservation System (TRS).

The process is as simple as it is brilliant.

  1. You check on the intranet if a toilet is currently available.
  2. If it is, you reserve it.
  3. The door to your reserved toilet then locks, and the "reserved" sign lights up. The door will not unlock for anyone but *you* and your electronic security tag.
  4. If no toilet is available, then you can inform the TRS to email you, SMS you, or page you, when one does become available. (Paging doesn't yet work -- but should be online in a day or two!)
  5. If any toilet is reserved but not in use for more than one hour, then you are asked to go online and confirm that you still intend to keep the booking, otherwise it is released.
  6. You can now book ahead by up to six months and can even set a recurring booking for the same time each day.
  7. Before you start worrying: User identity is fully protected -- you can't see who is hogging a cubicle, or who has blocked off a period of time.

Of course, user-identities are still recorded in the back-end system (pun intended...), as they are used for management reports on user productivity. (Personally, I think the data could also be used for assessing mental fitness and for identifying health patterns in the work force. But that level of abstraction is still philosophical at this stage.)

We developed all of this just for our own department's purposes. (We're a government department -- in case you couldn't guess already ;-) ) But I'm wondering if other offices will want us to install a TRS for their benefit too. The equipment involved is little more than a few lights, some electronic locks and an intranet application. Potentially it could be opened up to the internet, of course, so you could book while en-route to the office.

In case you're wondering, version 1 of the TRS is system is still in place. It consists of little more than a blurry webcam above the urinals. It gives a fair indication of traffic levels while maintaining anonymity.

Well - i'm off to "download an attachment into the porcelain internet", if you catch my drift.

Read On...

Wed, 11 Feb 2004 05:23:30 GMT

Why ".net" is crap.

I know I am supposed to be '.: dotNuts about dotNet :.' And I am, I really am, but the name '.net' really annoys me.

'.net', the name, is so very dumb. It's dumb in a number of ways.

[Continues, with 3 examples]

Read On...

Wed, 11 Feb 2004 03:12:30 GMT

<Rant topic='Hungarian'>Damn I get mad about stuff!

Some things get me really fired up.

Not your typical high school debating issues (abortion, euthenasia, religion, ho hum?) -- but Hungarian naming standards. Now that's a fiercesome topic! Full of emotion! A political minefield!

Oh I've tried to code without Hungarian. I've followed the new standards. But it's a crock! A marketing foible!

Getting rid of Hungarian is just a terrible piece of 'Fashion' that will later be looked back on with regret.

'Well we've got .Net now, so we'd better make all of our code look minimalist, clean and non-technical...'

'Everything's an object, you know, like Java, so let's do what sun does'

[Rant continues, with comparisons...]

Read On...

Wed, 11 Feb 2004 01:30:02 GMT

I'm rich!

I'm affluent, bloated, comfortable, easy, fat, filthy rich, flush, gilded, in clover, independent, loaded, moneyed, opulent, plush, propertied, prosperous, rolling, stinking rich, swimming, upscale, uptown, wealthy, well-heeled, well-off, well-to-do!!

Thanks to the magic of the Amazon referer program, I have now amassed $4 in discount vouchers.

Hence, this blog can no longer be seen as a drain on my time and mental faculties, but rather a gushing stream of filthy lucre.

The $4 was produced by links I provided in the (mildly popular) .Net remoting article I wrote just before christmas. It's the only page at secretGeek that has any affiliate links. I helped in the sale of three books, including one by the excellent Mike Gunderloy (so hopefully Mike can afford a few more racoon traps now).

Read On...

Fri, 06 Feb 2004 02:42:18 GMT

'Try again after midnight'? Yeh, right!

If you've visited secretGeek in the last few days, there's a good chance that all you found was this message:

The daily bandwidth limit for this customer has been exceeded. Try again after midnight, EST.

('Midnight EST,' in case you're stuck wondering, is Midnight in New York, Eleven PM in US central states, 10 PM in Arizona, 5 AM in London [unless they're on summer time, in which case, 6 AM] and 3 PM in Brisbane, Australia, where I am sitting in my cubicle typing this.)

Thanks for your patience if you've put up with this behaviour and *haven't* un-subscribed. I'd give you lollies and other bribes, but alas, i'm stingey.


Read On...

Tue, 03 Feb 2004 23:36:05 GMT

Technical Writing: 10 Mistakes you don't wanna make

These are not the most common mistakes -- but they may be the nastiest.

Read On...

Mon, 02 Feb 2004 00:20:03 GMT

Dogfooding Your Mother-In-Law

'Dogfooding' is an excellent principle. (in short: developers *use* the software they write, and they use it every day. That way they find and fix usability issues very quickly).

My proposed extension to dogfooding is called, "DogFooding your Mother-in-Law".

The practice has nothing to do with putting your mother-in-law through a mincing machine and feeding her to your pets. (though that may be the topic of a future post.)

Read On...

Fri, 30 Jan 2004 06:53:45 GMT

The four horsemen of the online apocalypse

The four horsemen of the online apocalypse do not ride on fearsome steeds. They zip around on Segways.

Read On...

Fri, 30 Jan 2004 01:12:32 GMT

It's the Little Things that Sh*t Me Most

Today's pet gripe: SQL Server Magazine.

This magazine claims to be "Magazine of the year".

Well, what do i think about that? I think it's a crock! A dirty, dirty crock!

Read On...

Wed, 28 Jan 2004 02:07:33 GMT

Live Mars Feed!

All week we've been getting some phenomenal high-resolution photos of Mars. I've put together a pictorial summary of all the thrilling events.

Read On...

Wed, 28 Jan 2004 00:39:49 GMT

Anti-Trust: bad geek movie

Over the weekend I saw the film 'Anti-Trust', a tech-conspiracy thriller, staring Tim Robbins as a crazed billion-dollar software psychopath; a thinly-veiled cartoon of how the media likes to portray Bill Gates.

Tim Robbins character in Anti-Trust

(His name, 'Gary Winston' cleverly resembled the name 'Gates William.' Mind Blowing Stuff!) He wasn't really all that evil though. He just needed to chill-out a little, maybe browse through a copy of 'The Mythical Man Month', and lost that 'Ship-It!' mentality.

The main character, a young software developer, looked like a very serious version of Rory Blyth. (What a crock! Everyone knows real nerds don't look that geeky.)

Fri, 23 Jan 2004 00:17:35 GMT

How **Not** to win friends

I forward a possibly useful link to a colleague and what response do I get? A thank you? A simple nod of gratitude? No siree.

His reponse, delivered in caustic tones:

'Thats so, like, four days ago, man!'

The cruelty! The wicked brutish perniciousness!

As thumper said to bambi:
'if you can't think of anything nice to say, then shut the f*ck up, you stupid skinny-ass little deer!'

Read On...

Thu, 22 Jan 2004 23:53:25 GMT

Rory Blyth style shout out to my homies

  • Mike 'racoon hater' Gunderloy (RSS)- he da man.
  • Julia 'call me Julie' Lerman (RSS)- she really knows how to think in ink.
  • the ever persistable Roy Osherove (RSS)
  • axr - my beloved audient. (not a blogger)
  • loki, my cat. (blog currently offline)
  • Bob, the little protein chain from which all life evolved. (no blog.)
  • a big shout out to the 'system.xml.serializable' name space - you're still my favourite - all those other namespaces didn't mean nothing! me and you is like together forever!
  • Bill Gates - thanks for a great christmas party on your yacht bill. the lobster was excellent and sorry i chucked up on the skipper!
  • and a big shout out to the skipper. 'sorry' doesn't really cut the mustard does it?

Read On...

Wed, 21 Jan 2004 23:21:51 GMT

Nasty Tricksy Microsoft MVP Awards

Microsoft is currently handing out its 'MVP' awards for the year.

Here's mine:not a microsoft shill

Thanks to Mike Gunderloy, who delivered this rather natty little parody of the MVP program in his 'daily grind' column this morning.

Read On...

Wed, 21 Jan 2004 02:28:10 GMT

The Animated Woody Allen

After seeing a great documentary on woody allen earlier in the week, i decided to revise the animated woody allen. Here it is, re-launched.

Read On...

Tue, 20 Jan 2004 02:05:15 GMT

Why blogging is dangerous

My written output is generally of low quality and miniscule popularity. But rather than blame my own poor writing skills, I'd love to blame the blogging medium itself and claim that blogs are inherently bad and lead directly to shitty content.

So here's a quick break down of the pluses and minuses of blogs.

AttributeGood SideBad Side
High Volume Lots to read! Most of it crap :(

Broad Topics unpredictable irrelevant

poorly edited full of soul illegible

non commercial honest unappealing

very personal touching self indulgent, opinionated

instant distribution idea viruses at the speed of thought!damage control not possible

Read On...

Mon, 19 Jan 2004 23:10:05 GMT

Excel VBA: We hates it! We hates it! We hates it for ever and ever!

One of my new-year resolutions was that I would endeavour to allow certain portions of my brain to dry up, rot away and never be used again.

Brain segments marks for deletion are those containing skills for:

  • MS Access
  • Crystal Reports
  • Word VBA
  • Excel VBA
  • VBA in General

Read On...

Sun, 18 Jan 2004 23:42:09 GMT

ASP and the Tower of Babel

Currently working on a 'traditional ASP' application. And the technical term 'Cluser F*ck' certainly springs to mind. The sheer architectural madness of this stuff is staggering. I pity the fool who'll have to maintain it.

Languages and sub-languages needed to program this sucker:

  1. html
  2. Css
  3. client-side javascript (for multiple browsers)
  4. server-side VBscript
  5. server-side Javascript (don't ask)
  6. client-side regular expressions (for validation)
  7. embedded SQL

Read On...

Sun, 18 Jan 2004 23:30:57 GMT

Lessons I have learnt

  • A woman considers it very romantic if you simply sit together and watch a romantic comedy
  • The effect is somewhat diminished if, every time a main character speaks, you roll on the floor graaning in agony, attempting to beat yourself unconscious by ramming your head against a coffee table.

Read On...

Tue, 13 Jan 2004 23:09:07 GMT


If you haven't seen Return Of The King yet, (and you haven't read the book) then let me be the first to tell you:

  • Gollum is Frodo's great-grandfather.
  • Sam dies at the end

I meant to warn you to look away if you don't want to know how it ends.

Read On...

Tue, 13 Jan 2004 06:38:56 GMT

Einstein Quiz

Are you as smart as Einstein? Only 2% of people are clever enough to answer this quiz question. (Allegedly.) Can you handle it?

There are five visitors from the red planet in five adjacent space ships hovering above the earth.

Each alien has a different Rank, Skin Colour, Number of ears, preferred earthling love slave and a unique alien pet.

Which one owns the Plutonian Whistling-Cat?

There are no tricks. The following hints will help you...

Read On...

Mon, 12 Jan 2004 23:44:53 GMT

Web Snob

You are a Web Snob if:

Read On...

Fri, 09 Jan 2004 03:51:29 GMT

An Open Letter to Technical Authors

This is addressed to you, you übergeeks who spew out endless books intended to help us learn the wiles of .Net, the secrets of COM+ and so on.

I have two gripes with you lot, so listen up.

Read On...

Wed, 07 Jan 2004 07:20:18 GMT

Visual Basic Professionals versus C++ Professionals

This is a few years old now, but if anyone can help me find the study (and the hard data) from which this old graphic is drawn, I would be much obliged.

Soft Skills Amongst Visual Basic and C++ Professionals

Read On...

Wed, 07 Jan 2004 04:07:22 GMT

Constraint Files Explained

I've received a number of queries regarding the structure of the constraint files used by my thesis, lecture timetabling using genetic algorithms, so i've decided to post up a page describing the format of these files.

Read On...

Wed, 07 Jan 2004 01:45:16 GMT

Who Plays Golf?

Although this is off topic, I just had a great idea for a New television show: "Who plays golf?"

The format is as follows:

Contestants are shown two people, one of whom is a golf player and one who has never played golf in their life. The contestant is asked to guess which one plays golf.

(Wait for it, I'm going somewhere with this...)

Read On...

Tue, 06 Jan 2004 23:55:34 GMT


i guess i've changed a little over the last few years. Here's a recent depiction and one from six years ago.

(thanks to Chris Doyle's Reasonably Clever for the enabling technology)

Read On...


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