The State of Wisconsin has announced the cancellation of yet another IT project. This project, according to the Wisconsin Technology Network was a $42 million project. Fortunately (I guess), they halted the project after wasting only $23.6 million on the project. This is on the heels of a failed project by the UW system that cost Wisconsin taxpayers $26 million over 5 years.
Yes, it is true, I’ve switched to the dark side. The last bastions of VB.NET have fallen.
After a conversation with a pair of developers I work with, I have finally been convinced that C# is a better syntax than VB.NET. That’s saying something, considering I used to believe I liked my languages verbose. You know, like COBOL. There were three things in the C-based syntax of the language that bothered me:
- Case sensitivity
- Curly braces
37 Signals, the Web 2.0 darlings, published an eBook (in PDF format) last year called Getting Real. At the time, I had just bought their other book, Defensive Design for the Web. Defensive Design is a thin tome and is mostly screen shots with some quick notes describing them. After flipping through it a bit, I parked it on my bookshelf and, until I needed its ISBN, haven’t looked at since.
At the time, I passed on purchasing Getting Real. Recently, Fried and the gang have offered an html version of their book for free on their website. Sales must have tapered off or something. I read through it over the last few nights, and my review is as follows:
I paid nothing for it, and got what I paid for.
The book is simply a bunch of essays stitched together by the thread of marketing their products to their readers. Nothing in the book is new or particularly revolutionary. Some things are even scary… like working without any sort of a spec. As they admit, web apps aren’t the same as designing software for NASA, but there’s still a use for some documentation – like thinking through problems before you start solving them. Communicating with your customers and building some buzz ahead of launch make sense. That’s pretty much the playbook for the rest of the Web 2.0 followers.
Over all, it was worth reading, but had I plunked down $19 for the PDF, I would have been highly disappointed.
Having recently started at a new client site I found myself sitting at a fresh PC. With an empty machine, I suddenly realized how many productivity tweaks I use. It was daunting trying to remember all of the tools that were seamlessly integrated into my workflow. By the end of the first day, I had most of the tools installed, but it was only when I realized I was missing them that I remembered what they were.
I have always believed that code is a form of art. It should not only serve the purpose for which it was written, but it should also be pleasing to the eye when read.
DCOM, it turns out, is #2 on the all time Spawn of Satan list. I haven’t run into a project with more problems than the one using OLE for Process Control (OLE) over DCOM.
This week’s adventure happened because the client upgraded their machine to Service Pack 2 of Windows XP. Most in the tech industry know it was rolled out to curb zombie PCs. So the firewall and nearly everything else was closed down. Without being told about the upgrade, I was at the client site trying to figure out what was wrong.
Fixing the problem was relatively simple once I Googled DCOM changes in SP2. In fact, I even found an article on the OPC Foundation’s website on Using OPC via DCOM with Windows XP Service Pack 2 (direct link to the .pdf).
(Hat tip to Professor Z.)