Archive for January, 2008

Back to Lesser of Two Evils

January 30, 2008

Great. My man manages to blow an early lead by adopting a strategy of focusing on one state for most of the primary season. I guess there was some sense to that because of the need to prioritize, but he essentially wrote himself out of the press for several months. And I think that is what killed his chances. *sigh*


On a ReSharper Kick Lately

January 29, 2008

I’ve been tweaking ReSharper something fierce lately. I’ve talked about it before, but some day I’m going to write up all the things that make me love that little Visual Studio add-in. I know some suggest you should learn to love defaults, but others argue for knowing thy editor.

One of my favorite features are live templates. If you can get used to them, your productivity will soar since your hands will never leave the keyboard. I have gotten used to them and regularly create new ones when I find myself repeating.

Today I created an awesome template for doing StringBuilder.Appends. Now all I type is sb and it expands to actualStringBuilderObject.Append("MESSAGE"); with the cursor replacing the “MESSAGE” string and the enter key dropping the cursor off at the end of the line. That description doesn’t do the template justice, so just make one using the screenshot below:

Screenshot of ReSharper Live Template dialog

You can get to that dialog by clicking ReSharper > Options > Live Templates and then clicking on the + icon.

Full to the Brim

January 11, 2008

I put 4 GB of RAM in my MacBook and 2 GB of RAM in my iMac. I don’t know why I hesitated for so long in spending the $150! Everything is so zippy and I can have many, many applications open at the same time without worry. Now I just need to sell back all these 512 MB RAM cards I seem to have accumulated over the years…

My New, New Thing

January 8, 2008

It’s done! Today at 12:45 PM, I submitted my latest project to the Google Gadget Directory, marking the final step in the deployment process. It’s a Domain Search gadget that’s actually quite a powerful little application. What’s really great about it is that it marked my first foray into serious test-driven development!

In the past, deadlines and inexperience had always prevented me from doing the kind of layered, thorough unit testing I’d wanted. That little application, actually the server-side piece that’s powering it, has 65 unit tests underneath it. It’s so refreshing to make changes and see that no tests were broken in the process.

TDD is one of those things best experienced firsthand. Now that I’ve had a taste, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. It just makes too much sense: the rigor added is intoxicating. Not literally, but it is self-reinforcing for sure. Anyhow, here’s how you can get your own Go Daddy Domain Search Gadget for your iGoogle homepage‚ÄĒuntil the gadget gets added to the directory officially when I will replace these instructions:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the “Add feed or gadget” link in the right navigation section.
  3. Type or paste into the text field.
  4. Click OK in the dialog box that comes up.
  5. Click on the “Back to iGoogle home” link right above the iGoogle logo.
  6. You should now see the gadget.

[UPDATE (1/10/2008): I completely forgot that Google has an easier way: Add to Google]

[UPDATE (1/14/2008): It’s in the iGoogle Directory now!]

[UPDATE (1/17/2008): I just deployed a revision to it that adds in plain, Candice Michelle, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. themes. Time to start working on the next version and it’s going to be huge. Sorry, that’s all you get.]

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Resolution Recap

January 1, 2008

A year has passed so it’s time to look at how I did resolution-wise:

  1. Get things done: I’ve finally figured out my system. It’s a modified version of Zen To Done and it’s paper-based. I never did bother learning PHP. I’m not perfect, but I’d consider this one met.
  2. Reduce my Mountain Dew consumption to one can a day: I started the year out really well. Until maybe July, I was Mountain Dew free. Then I started drinking them again. Irregularly—once a week—until October and then full tilt until now. I’m up to about three cans a day and then miscellaneous soda as needed. Not surprisingly, I’ve inched above 200 pounds again so this one will likely make a re-appearance in this year’s set of resolutions.
  3. Stop the fighting: it’s gotten better but I wouldn’t say that it’s been met. Plenty of room for improvement.
  4. Reread Atlas Shrugged: got to Galt’s speech and my motivation just fizzled.
  5. Develop a Web application: hooked up with my cousin and we’ve got a great idea. I frittered away most of 2007 not writing code in Python and Django until I realized that I should just bite the bullet and develop in what I know: ASP.NET. Now that I’ve made that decision, I have made some progress but it’s just not enough. I must finish the app in 2008.
  6. Start saving money: negligible. I’m counting this one as a failure.
  7. Re-carpet the downstairs: we’re getting estimates in January, so fail.
  8. Blog more: I started the year off quite strong on bblog but ran out of steam pretty quickly. I may move this blog to WordPress or I may split it into a philosophical/political blog elsewhere and focus this one on coding and business.
  9. Get Phoenix history site rolling: does killing wiki spam count? If so, then I was a big success.
  10. Simplify my life: yes, I would say that I have. The garage is vastly improved, I’ve shed a lot of obligations, and I’ve never been happier. 2008 will focus on simplification again though because there’s plenty of complication still remaining.
  11. Do something romantic at least once a week: I probably did, but not consciously so. I count this as a failure.
  12. Keep library fines under $5: I think I kept it under $10 total. Frankly, given the poor performance of the past, I’m considering this a technical win.
  13. Go the entire year without a traffic ticket: made it. Technically, I have one photo radar ticket but it was mistakenly issued to me even though I wasn’t the driver. I’ll leave it at that.

So by my count, I achieved four of the thirteen resolutions. That’s pathetic and reflects my general laziness of the last year. I’ve been working hard the last six months or so and I just haven’t been terribly motivated in the rest of my life because of that. But that’s an excuse and it’s not going to fly in 2008. I’ll craft my new resolutions probably tomorrow.