Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My 2008 Review

Well it's here, the last day of 2008 has begun and is about to end. I just wanted to get a quick post out to say that I had a great year!

What cool happened this year?
Now that 2009 is about an hour away, I think it's time to set goals for the year so that I stay happy and driven. I'll post my resolution (merely for my records) shortly...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


My eyes have been opened!

I've heard a lot about jQuery in the last few years, but was too stubborn to try and figure it out.

I thought it was not for me; I barely did any web development.
I thought it was something that only pertained to elite web developers.
I thought it was probably too complex to learn... let alone use.
I thought it was just a fad.
I thought way too much.
I thought wrong!

Tonight I was chatting with a buddy of Skype and asked him how to get around a problem I was facing in my web app. He turned me onto the jQuery site and praised how useful it was. Of course, my immediate reaction was a cringed and I thought "damn, now I have to try and learn this thing".

Man, was I wrong; there isn't much to learn at all! I simply went through the 5 minute tutorial on how it works and I'm up and running with a killer javascript API.
jQuery is a fast and concise JavaScript Library that simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development. jQuery is designed to change the way that you write JavaScript.
If you have ever used javascript (or html even), download this and add it to the top of your page html header section. Period. Thank me later...

Be sure to go through the tutorial: How jQuery Works - jQuery JavaScript Library

Thanks Ivan!

Friday, December 12, 2008

DevExpress Refactor!

As most of my geek friends know, I'm a huge advocate of DevExpress CodeRush with Refactor! Pro add-in for Visual Studio. I honestly feel lost when coding without these two tools and they are the first thing that I install on a new box.

It's a great product. However, I never understood why they named their product "Refactor!" with the exclamation point. I always thought it looked out of place with the exclamation point after it, but they trademarked it and everything... Well, tonight I was going through some nasty code that I'm working through and saw a set of methods that I needed to fix, so I highlighted them and pressed [CTRL]+[3] to create a region and then I typed "Refactor!".

I get it now.

Friday, December 05, 2008

CodeMash 2009

I CaN't WaiT!! Jason just posted his excitement about the session list for CodeMash 2009! I must say that it is very impressive. This event kicks ass! This year will be very different for me, as it's the first time ever that I'm going as an attendee rather than an exhibitor. The first year, I took my family, last year I went with my DD family and had a blast. This year, I'm going solo! No family, no booth, and no last minute presentation changes to worry about with James. I never minded hovering around the booth talking about Data Dynamics great products, but there was that whole "look professional" aspect to it.

This year, InfoPlanIT is sending me and I'm free to not worry about anything for 3 full days. I will be wearing un-tucked street clothes and I'm going this year to just learn, learn, learn. My latest project at InfoPlanIT has got me doing a lot of web development these days. I've been trying to learn the best way to build customizable enterprise business intelligence web portals... from scratch. The session list at CodeMash is very impressive and gives me a lot of different opportunities to learn from (Ruby, Silverlight, Flex, F#, and so on..).

If you are into technology and can talk your employer into sending you to CodeMash, then, by golly, do it! This is the hippest event in the midwest and you will get your money's worth, ten fold! Not only in the value of the sessions, but also in the fun factor, I mean it's an indoor water park!?. When you're not hanging out with geeks talking about code, your jamming out to Rock Band or screamin down the slides at the indoor water park. Oh yeah, you can also learn about the latest and greatest technologies in the industry by some of the smartest people in the industry.

So there it is! Lots of .NET, Silverlight, Flash, Python, Ruby, Java, PHP, F#, you name it... there's even sessions on developing applications for Microsoft Surface computer and the iPhone. Excuse the huge link, but I'm that impressed with where it takes you. :) I'm going with a wide open mind this year and not restrict myself to any one topic. Hope to see you there! Oh yeah, did I mention I'm taking my drumset again!? I told you this event kicks ass!

Monday, December 01, 2008


Tonight, Jennifer and I went to town to recycle our cardboard, magazines, newspapers, plastics, and drop off some clothes at the Goodwill. I realized tonight that recycling should be less stressful and made more mainstream and easier. I know this sounds selfish and lazy, but it's true. If you want to recycle, you have to make the conscious effort and either go to some recycling drop off location (like Jen and I do), or get with your trash company and get on a "recycling plan".

Recycling should be a mandatory and free service for every trash company in the US. The ideal solution would be for me to throw all of my trash (milk cartons, newspapers, beer bottles, pop cans, food scraps, etc..) into a single bin, just like I do today. I would take my trash down to the road once a week (again, just like I do today). The trash company comes and puts it in their truck, and compacts it down just like normal. Once all of the garbage gets back to the company, they run the garbage through some magic machine that gets out all of the aluminum, all of the metal, all of the plastics, papers, iron, copper, leaves, grass clippings, clothes, shoes, wood shavings, glass, , etc... Once all of the different materials have been sorted out, there would only be a handful of actual trash that would ever make it to the landfills.

I know it sounds far fetched, because it really is. However, I feel somebody needs to step up with some ideas to start making baby steps with the garbage that people just pitch. I drive by landfills every now and then and just cringe sometimes. Trash companies should try to start thinking of a way to (somehow) sort out what is recyclable vs. what is trash, rather than just packing it all together and unloading it into the ground. People are lazy by nature; I mean, I know Jennifer and I are. Making recycling an effortless process is key in my opinion.

If a new company came into town claiming they were working to resolve this problem, I would pay 2x more than I do today and make the switch.