Thursday, April 23, 2009

God, please don't do something!

Saturday was not the nicest day I've spent in a while. Church had a program that day and the next, and I had a number of responsibilities to handle, including the ones I normally have at home. On the good side, my brother was home for the weekend, so he could handle some of the chores at home. On the minus side, he had to go out, and I was just informed that morning that painters were supposed to come to the flat that day :(

So the day basically progressed…after the church program in the evening, I was supposed to go somewhere with some other folks — when the clouds turned dark for the umpteenth time that day — but they meant business this time. it started raining, and we weren't able to get bikes where we were headed because of the rain. Everyone fired up his "Legediz Benz" and started hurrying while being pelted. Someone then said, "God do something", and I (jokingly) remarked that what if God, acting mischievous, decided to turn the knob controlling the rain to "Heavy Rain"? It started as a joke, but the rain did indeed get heavier — we all got soaked through and through. Still being pelted by the rain, I brought up the issue, and we all agreed, "God, don't do something! Turn off the rain!"

Moral of the story? Don't ask God to do "something". Ask Him to do something specific. :D

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Software gripes

this post is fairly ordinary — it's just a rant about some software i've had to deal with today. this morning, i was using my brother's computer when iTunes informed me that there was an update. great. i decided to update it, only to be reminded why i no longer use iTunes — it's bundled with QuickTime. you can get QuickTime by itself, if memory serves me, but you can't get iTunes by itself. shame.

something similar happened today when updating Aptana Studio. i'd installed the basic distro quite all right, then i wanted to update it to get some functionality (Javascript libraries, etc). most everything went smoothly when i only installed functionality for the latest version of the Javascript libraries except YUI and MooTools. i'd install support for the latest supported version, restart Apatana Studio, and it would prompt me again. the problem went away for MooTools when i decided to install support for the older version as well. the problem for YUI is that the download is large, so installing support for older versions will just eat disk space and not give me any returns. sigh.

UPDATE: yes, installing support for versions 2.4 through 2.7 of YUI for Apatana Studio left no more complaints. whoopee.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I envy Python programmers

I've sort of settled with a programming language I generally use, C#. I know other languages too, and sometimes I wish I did more Python programming. Python really simplifies programming. As an example, I coded an application recently that automated pushing form values to a web page. In C# 3.0, the code would look like this:

using System.Collections.Specialized;
using System.Net;
var formData = new NameValueCollection { { "Var1", "Value1}, {"Var2", "Value2"}};
var webClient = new WebClient();
webClient.UploadValues("http://localhost/localapp.aspx", formData);

In Python 2.X, the code would look like this:

import urllib
formData = urllib.urlencode({ "Var1" : "Value1", "Var2" : "Value2"})
urllib.urlopen("http://localhost/localapp.aspx", formData)

There's no error handling or anything special in this. This example is rather contrived, to be completely fair, but when you add other things like multivariable assignment, and take into consideration Python's standard library, you might understand why I'm envious. Ah well

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Remarkable service

Joel Spolsky has an excellent article on customer service. I didn't really think there was much to the article until someone shocked me by doing something like that for me

there are several ORM toolkits for the .NET platform, most notably NHibernate. i came across Habanero sometime back, and i can't remember how, but i tried using it for a project, and found out that the FireStarter tool didn't apparently support Windows authentication for SQL Server. i decided to send them feedback about this, and got an immediate email that my feedback had been received. nothing strange about that. what is remarkable was that i got an email from the Habanero team yesterday detailing some workaround that allowed me use Windows authentication with both Habanero and Firestarter. considering that i'm not a paying customer, i'm really impressed with this. here's a big one for the Habanero team!