LINQ resources

January 14, 2009

I have had the occassion to use a lot of LINQ to objects lately. I remembered there was a great resource for this, but couldn’t remember where that resource was. So, I’m posting it here now so I won’t lose it. I’ll update it as I find more linqs (okay bad pun, and I don’t care).


Non-profit information

January 13, 2009

Some guys from our local .NET User Group (FSDNUG) and I are going to be in Dallas later this week for the WeAreMicrosoft event. It looks to be a lot of fun, very rewarding and educational. That’s the trifecta of awesome, IMO. 

Last night, at the FSDNUG SQL SERVER 2008 launch party, Michael Paladino brought up that we are going to be using a CMS in our project at WAM. There wasn’t a lot of input on the matter (I not so secretly hope we go with Graffiti since there will be a little bit of training on it there). However, one of the members, Randy Friend, brought up a great resource for non-profit organizations, called TechSoup (  Evidently, for organizations that qualify, you can get great deals on hardware and software.  If you work with non-profits often enough, it might be worth your while to check it out.

Frustrations in learning MVC

November 13, 2008

I’ve probably just been so far behind where technology is that I never had to deal with anything like this before, but I’m having a serious problem finding MVC applications which  work for the MVC Beta. It seems that the types of people that write good applications targeting new technologies have no problem learning things so quickly that they have it fully understood well in advance of a Beta version. It may also be a shortcoming in my google-fu, but if anyone comes across this and has a good example of a fully fledged MVC site that works and I can take apart and put back together and modify, PLEASE post a link to it here.

Truth Project

November 12, 2008

We started a new topic in our life group yesterday. We will be going through the series called The Truth Project, which is developed by the Focus on the Family people. I have to say I am impressed. Dell Tackett is an excellent speaker and there is no denying the truth that is brought out through the skillfully selected verses. I really liked the guest speakers that they brought in to answer some really tough questions, I think I’ve seen them cited in a couple of Lee Strobel books (Case for Christ, Case for Creation) and that guy pretty much rocks as well.

I guess the thing I appreciate the most is systematic study of a topic. I guess there’s still a lot of mathematician in me, but I like taking an axiomatic approach to things. That is to say, “What things do we know to be true, and where do they lead?” I think it will be eye opening to say the least.

I have been trying to make the transition to the 3.5 framework on my own with mixed success for a little while. After having read this book, I am much further along in my pursuit. This was a book which helped illuminate exactly how much I do not know, which is always a good thing. In most of the topics covered, they point out the differences in value and reference types, and are quick to direct the reader to using the IL to check out the underpinnings for themselves. Being mostly skeptical, I did, and have now started using this newfound ability to peel back the hood and see what makes the whole thing tick. As a result, I came to understand the stack, heap and boxing conversions more.

As far as the meat of the book, there are some great chapters. My favorite chapters were those on Exception Handling, Delegates and Events, Generics, and Threading. These are topics which are not new to VB 2008, but prior to this book I had not spent a great deal of time studying them. Any book which explains threading or generics in a way that I can understand is great to me, which this one does a great job at doing. The examples were not as trivial as I sometimes see in books, but were succinct enough to be used at a later time to try to understand the concepts. In addition, the Best Practices chapter contained some good nuggets to keep in mind and I found the LINQ chapter to be a good primer on the topic.

Overall this was an excellent book which I think could be used as a textbook if someone took the time to write problem sets. I would especially recommend this book if you are like me, and have not had a great deal of formal training but want to fill in some gaps and want to head into the latest iteration of the .NET framework.

So much to learn

October 29, 2008

I recently posted a question to stackoverflow that has been bugging me for a long time: Should I take programming courses when I already have experience? I have been a developer for 3 and a half years. I think I’m pretty good at it, but I know there is a lot out there that I could stand to learn. Mainly, it’s probably an inferiority complex I have about not knowing as much about some things as other people. I have kept this feeling suppressed for a while by learning as much as I could about as much as I could. Once stackoverflow came out of private beta, it has really dawned on me how little I know, and how much is out there which I would like to learn.

As is somewhat the norm, the answers to my question were mostly helpful, and I thought I would post some of the things I found most helpful (since I don’t feel all that great about accepting one particular answer when the question is obviously subjective). 

MIT OpenCourseWare

The online course materials at MIT OpenCourseWare are pretty good. The first course on the list is an intro to Comp Sci. Their language that they study in the intro course is Python and that happens to be one of the languages I have been wanting to learn. I had a professor who absolutely swore by it but he was a bit odd, even for a Mathematics professor, so that was not a glowing endorsement. I have been wanting to learn a scripting language which is object oriented and I think python is a pretty good choice. Ruby is a close second.

There were also a number of books mentioned. If I get around to reading them I’ll have to post what I learned. In another question (that one being about functional programming), I came across a book that I had heard of before Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (the link goes to a pdf version which could disappear at any time I’m sure). This could be a good study as well.

SO d’oh!

October 26, 2008

Yikes! So, I see on a friend’s Google reader a way to track my stackoverflow reputation points and I give it a shot. I learned today that the polling interval on this application was very short.  How did I find out? Here’s a little story:

I tried going on to stackoverflow to look up something about MVC (which I’ll be studying with some of the FSDNUG peeople) and I just keep getting an untitled page. Now, I am certain that Jeff Atwood, et al are not prone to the same mistakes that I would make and that something else must be afoot. So, I google stackoverflow and notice that there is a blog (imagine that). I go poking through the blog and the second post is about scripting responsibly, and the author of the tool that I was using posted something about it checking every 30 seconds.  I wish I had known that, before I tried using it. I don’t even have enough reputation points that I would need to check it that often.

I think I should get a gold lemming badge or something. That is, if my IP for my house ever gets unbanned. So, for now I am relegated to the old way of google + hunt + peck + wading through the mire that is the interweb. That’s what I get for trying something out and not just doing it myself.

UPDATE: The ban has been lifted. Whew! It’s funny that I use it as much as I do after it has been public beta for not very long. The use of MVC on stackoverflow makes me think that learning MVC is well worth the time. Granted I might not write many things that have to scale as quickly as it has.

Not good enough

October 25, 2008

I have been holding out for an Android phone for almost as long as I knew that it was a possibility. My sister and brother-in-law both have one. (He works for T-Mobile.) However, I have been a loyal Sprint customer for coming up on 10 years. So, it was quite a blow when I learned today that in the words of Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse, that the Android operating system isn’t “good enough to put the Sprint brand on it.” I would think that Sprint would need something, anything to boost their sales given the last couple of quarters. Maybe that’s why I am not a CEO of a corporation (or maybe that’s precisely the reason I ought to be).

Quite honestly, I have to say that that sucks and if my wife hadn’t just gotten a new two year contract, I would probably switch carriers. Oh well, patience is a virtue, and I probably need to be more virtuous. AND if worrying about a phone coming out or not is the worst thing I have to worry about at a time like this given the state of the nations economy, I’m doing pretty good.

We recently reviewed recursive SQL and I wrote a query which will return the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence which are less than 100. (This is for DB2)






 WHERE SCND < 100  )   SELECT FRST FROM FIBONACCI; [/sourcecode] The source code here was placed in here using a shortcode as pointed out here.

Hello world!

October 20, 2008

This is my first post on the new blog. This blog will hopefully document my progression through a number of .NET topics.