Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Road Rage

As some of you may know, I'm a happy TShirt Hell customer from some time on. On that site you'll be able to find pretty tshirts with fit and politically correct messages, useful for any social ocasion you'll attend.

In the same spirit, now they've expanded their business and here you have a very good idea: car cards.


I hate Oracle

And I'm not alone on this: please join the club.

Monday, November 29, 2004

It's war!

I'm utterly convinced there's a bunch of people ready and willing to transform the current controversy in a full blown war between browsers, willing to use the foulest tricks in the universe just to make their chosen option the winner.

Please indulge me in a little experiment. Let's open the following link, first using Firefox and then using Internet Explorer. It's in spanish, but that's irrelevant.


You've realised, of course, how crappy the page is displayed in Internet Explorer. The link was emailed to me by a friend, as an example on a poorly done page. But I thought something more was going on: it was so badly done it had to be done like that on purpose. And, of course, that's the answer.

I you open the source code for it we find out the page loads a CSS file, estilo.css. If we download said file we'll be able to find, just in the BODY instruction a quite suspicious line of code:filter: 'Blur()'

Well, well, welll,... that seems to be a CSS trait native to Explorer, for displaying text special effects, and not recognised by another browsers. Used wisely can show really nice looking effects.

Use it like a bastard (he can't plead error or incompetence in this case: he's used Blur() without a single parameter, please) it's only use is a pathetic example of making I don't exactly know which stupid pledge to I don't know which stupid ideals. Or maybe this is the poor excuse of a hacking this guy knows.

Luckily, the vast majority of people getting into this crap of a web page using IE (90% of potential users, by the latest polls) instead of investigating why it displays so hideously ugly; they'll use Google to find the same information in another place and everyone happy. If this is somekind of a gesture by this guy, I seems to me an idiocy bordering excellence.

It's so easy

I'm learning Oracle, financed by my current firm. Befor ethe anti-Microsoft (and pro-everything else, of course) begin attacking me for this post, I have to say this is not a post against Oracle, far from it. SQLPlus command console is bad as a toothache, but that's not the objective of this post.

The curious thing about this course is the teacher. The guy is a clear example of a tendence I'm beginning to notice in colleagues, forum people and technical geek-types in general. Lacking a more scientific term for it, I call this trend (which surely doesn't even exists and it's only a byproduct of my paranoid mind) like this: blame-it-on-Windows, or bioW for short.

Just in the first class of the course, when we were setting everything up for it, the Oracle listener needed for connecting to one of the test servers was failing. I must say that the machines we're using for the course are the same machines we usually use for work, all of them with Windows XP, even the machines that are to function as servers for the course are Windows XP boxes. Well, all the listener troubles we're meet with the same exact answer from our funny teacher: That's what it happens when you install Oracle on Windows XP, something not recommended by them(untrue). You don't have this trouble in Linux.

I'm OK with that. Really. Opinions are like asses and everyone has at least one; even more, everyone has the rigth to have one, no matter how wrong it is. What I'm not OK with is using an opinion as a dogma, or disguising your lack of knowledge with such nonsense. He should have said I don't know how to use Oracle under Windows XP. Setup Linux partitions on every box or I can't work. Today he's gone as far as saying (and even my anti-Windows colleagues (which are majority, by the way) have blushed hearing this) that the number of concurrent users to a shared network folder on Windows XP depends on the number of licenses purchased of that Windows. He hasn't even blushed. He also said that he imparted a course on which Windows XP deleted an Oracle's password file and they have to create it from scratch, time and time again. I swear to you I've been with different flavors of Windows for the last ten years and as far as I know the guys at Redmond have not discovered artificial intelligence: the computer or the OS don't delete files on their own, de motu propio. And the guy just keeps talking: if the database fails it's the fault of the user or Windows. Literally.

But let's come back to Oracle, and just for the kick of it, let's say we believe my teacher and that Oracle don't works that good with Windows XP. And XP is to blame? A firm develops a software that, as far as I remember, doesn't state anywhere it is Linux specific or only for server flavors of Windows (if that was the case, why having client tools?). Then the software does not perform as expected, and the OS is to blame? That's like saying that the Packers can never win a game in Washington. The environment can affect the final result, granted, buty a winning team (and a really expensive one) should be able to work on every possible field. Just the same with software.

And I'm afraid this guy is not alone in his opinions. I'm afraid that the vast majority of Linux advocates (which by default are Windows enemies, something I can't understand) areholding to the easy mantra of since Windows is a piece of crap, this (change this for anything) does not perform as expected.

And just now it's been discovered spyware in Firefox. And vulnerabilities in JVM.

Looks like, after all, nobody's perfect.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Sorry, world!

From November 2 onward, programming books made in the US of A should replace the überfamous string "Hello, world!" for "Sorry, world!".

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I wanna buy this

Arfs. I'm drooling.


What at first seemed like a simple trend is being confirmed as a naked fact: VB .NET programmers are paid a 26% less than C# programmers, on average, on the United States. On the link I've referred you'll see a graphic calledC# gets the bick bucks, where you can see it clearer than crystal water.

The usual focus over these two languages makes me quite mad. For example: you still see VB and C# as separate course on tech seminars, courses, bookstores and so on. There are books published over a general .NET framework topic, but they publish it focused on C#, and then they transform it to VB .NET, or the other way around.

And beware, I don't believe this to be the publisher's nefarious plan for making more money: I believe they just do what they think the market is asking. Or, to say it clearly, this separating of contents is a clear indicator that bookstores, publishers and seminar-makers believe their customers are too stupid to realize a simple and fundamental truth: the only thing that matters is the framework. Which language you use to handle that framework is less important.

If you carefully compare any book about .NET application development either on VB or C#, you'll realize that at least 95% of the given information is identical between both languages. This is a radical change from Visual Studio 6, with that C++ programmers had MFC and ATL: two huge frameworks we VB6 programmers didn't need to know. Here, the framework is one and the same: the differences are mainly syntactical.

I started on this field as a VB6 programmer, and I've had to endure a lot of shit along the years: it's a kiddie's language, all VB programmers are bad programmers, coding VB6 you'll never be l33/, yadah yadah yadah puke!

I've had this kind of stupid discrimination for years (as if using a simpler tool made you automatically more stupid), and now it seems it's not over. Even though VB .NET is not Visual Basic 7, even though VB .NET is completely and totally object oriented, even though VB .NET is every bit as good, fast and stable as C#,... even though all that, if you prefer VB .NET before C# you're stupid. Or incompetent. Or, simply, you just make less money.

I learnt the little C# I know the same way I learnt the little VB .NET I know: on my own using books, playing with it at home and working with it at the office. Taking into account my VB6 programming origins, with more than 6 years of VB6 working expertise, which language do you I think I found harder to learn?

Visual Basic .NET. Hands down.

It's syntax is dangerously similar to VB6, so in the beginning you think it's all the same but with more features. And no, it's not the same: you have to learn the framework and change your programming mind set to OOP. Just when you begin understanding this paradigm change, then it's when you start liking the language and the environment. Changing to C# after that is a simple question of syntax, no more no less.

For example, as I was learning VB .NET, I had a book with me at all times: Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .NET, by Francesco Balena.
It is, hands down, the best and more exhaustive book I've read about .NET. And now, even though the vast majority of the code I write is in C#, it's still my preferred tech book, and the one I use the most. Even though it's published for a language apparently different.

Beware of what you wish...

... because it can get true. If being a videogame programmer implies this, I don't want to make it.

Of course, we standard codecrunchers also have crunchs and overtime, and ninety hour weeks; and on top of all that we have to endure the l337 people telling us how mediocre we are. F*ck 'em!

VB's daddy

Here you have the amazing true story about Visual Basic's inception, birth and first steps, told by the creature's own daddy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Do droids drink synthetic alcohol?

Check this out:
The Bar Bot.

By God, there are people with way too much free time on their hands...

Silly tests

I don't usually like or do those silly tests so profuse over the Internet of late, but these made me laugh:

You are .doc You change from year to year, just to make things tough on your competition.  Only your creator really has a handle on you.
Which File Extension are You?

You are Apple Dos. Simple and primitive with a good understanding of the common man.  You're still a work in progress, but a good start.
Which OS are You?

I gotta say I feel very little identified with the results...

Monday, November 15, 2004

Longhorn news

Via CodeProject.

Some interesting links about it:

Longhorn Developer Center
Microsoft PressPass

Music Plasma

Thanks to my pal Néstor, I've found a website I didn't know: Music Plasma, a music mapper. You enter a band or a singer and it loads a pretty map with its musical relationships. It has some strange things (from Evanescence to Pink on a single step, for example), but it's OK.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

New Firefox release

No, I haven't tested it yet. Anyway, there's word saying that some extensions are not working properly with the new release. Just in case, here there's a quite complete extensions site for Firefox, and on the site forums they explain which extensions still work, and which are not compatible with the browseer we're learning to love/hate.

I've just installed the Link Preview, a really cool extension: when you hover the mouse over a link it loads a thumbnail of the referred page. The thumbnails are from Alexa, and it doesn't work with every link, of course: it mainly works with links to main pages.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Some .NET links

OK, I've not updated this for a few days. So waht? Sue me. No, wait, for that you should actually read me first.

Anyway, just for the record:

Cropper, by Brian Scott (a little utility for screen capture).

Reflector, by Lutz Roeder.

Expresso, for building and analysing regular expressions.

Snippet Compiler by Jeff Key. I love this one: it's for compiling small chunks of code ww want to test without the burden of creating a new project only for them.

NUnit - Test unit for .NET, just like JUnit.

NDoc - Source code documentation generator for .NET, just like Java's XDoclet.

And another blog reader: SharpReader, by Luke Hutteman.