Saturday, February 28, 2009

How I use Python

i love Python. i find it one of the most expressive programming languages i know. It's saved my bacon quite a number of times. for instance, when i generate test data for other applications i write, i generally generate the data (and usually the SQL to insert it into a database) with Python. also, when it comes to sorting data, it's much faster to write scripts to do basic data sorting (as an example, sorting out CDRs from Asterisk) in Python than it is in most languages. today was no exception. i had loads of numbers to send text messages to and i needed to weed out invalid destinations. for the first 50 or so, it was easy enough (but tiresome) to do by hand. when i started to look at just how many, i decided to write a script to help me sort out the numbers. abut 10 minutes later (mostly spent trying to create regular expressions that would do just what i wanted), i was done. and most of the program worked beautifully (well, there were some hiccups. i'm not perfect!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

The value of multiple cores

my laptop uses an AMD Turion 64 processor that clocks in about 1.8GHz. i've always thouht it was a pretty good one — at least until this morning. i've never been faced with the value of multiple-core processors personally as today. what happened is i was trying to get back into design & 3D, so i decided to model & render items i could find around me. so i started modeling this: after modeling and setting up the scene in Blender to render with Indigo, i started a render. almost six and a half hours into the render, it looks like this: then i take the scene to the office and try rendering on a Pentium Dual Core 2.0Ghz. about four and a half hours later, it look like this: obviously the second render is better. and it ran for a shorter time. i'm officially jealous! i want a multiple-core system now! :D

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Accessing SQL Server (2005+) databases in .NET Windows services

just a simple quickie here. i completed my application ( we ever really complete applications?) - and the service it was meant to configure — then found out that while it ran beautifully in console mode, it just sat there after connecting to the SMPP server. i kept wondering what the problem was. much later i realized that the service was created to run using the local Service account, which is a low-privileged account. as such, it cannot connect using Windows authentication to SQL Server versions that support it. in reality, this is the second time i've faced this issue. at any rate, all i needed to do was change the service to run under the local System account (a highly privileged account) and the problem was solved. another solution would probably be to use SQL Server authentication, which Microsoft doesn't recommend. yet running a service using the local system account is also seen as a bad idea. i guess you'll need to make a tradeoff to solve this problem.

by the way, this is the app i was complaining about. . many thanks to Component Factory for the excellent (and free) Krypton Toolkit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Weird issue in Visual Studio

i was working on the config application for a service i wrote...but i ran into something really strange: