Musicians please…

March 29, 2006

Cocking a gun at the start of your song does NOT make it cooler or edgier or suck less. You know who you are. Please stop.

*marks song with thumbs DOWN on Pandora


Now I’m a Rushie…

March 28, 2006

I've always taken some sort of perverse pleasure in doing things the hard way and learning for myself. When I first started working with HTML, I used Notepad – not that wholesome goodness Notepad2; plain old, suck ass Notepad. While I was involved with NaviPress in its infancy (I'd link to it but NaviSoft was gobbled up by AOL in 1995 and is WAY gone), one of the first WYSIWYG HTML editors, I felt that writing in Notepad made be smarter tougher better. Ah…the days of stupid youth.

Fast forward to today. I now understand that benefits of productivity tools and attempt to invest at least a few hours each week in either finding them or developing them myself. Even though I like doing things the hard way, I'm a big "Intelli-crack" addict. With the .NET Framework ever expanding, I can't possibly know all the classes and methods that I need so I rely on Intellisense to inform me of my options. It's like pair programming with someone who "knows what they're doing" and I also no longer see these tools as a crutch to help me hobble but rather as a turbo charger on my "350 small block V8" that is my coding skill…but I digress…

A while back I found two candidates, Resharper and CodeRush (with Refactor! Pro), I wanted to explore for us to use here at work. Being the "try before you buy" person I am, I attempted to download each of them. Unfortunately, CodeRush was in one of it's "blackout periods" so I was unable to test it so Resharper won by default. Sidenote: I didn't realize that the CodeRush installs weren't going to work until AFTER I'd spent the time to install them – this just added to the frustration and made it that much easier to kick it to the curb. While I realize that a little reading on my part (the expiry date was noted on the site near the download link) would have clued me in to this fact, Mark, if you're reading this I'd recommend changing up the installer to check the date BEFORE installing so as to warn the users.

So I've been using Resharper for a while now and I like the fact that it did a few things really well and stayed out of my way for the most part. The "Live Templates" and "Surrounds" were very cool and a big help. Auto-completions such as closing braces, adding both parentheses and even adding semi-colons to the end of the lines were also big boosts in that it reduced the amount of typing that I had to do. Being an OCD type, the code formatting feature was AWESOME. Once I defined how I wanted it to handle whitespace, carriage returns, braces, etc. it would format my code (even the entire solution if I desired) for me. Ah…all neat and tidy. Although it was a hassle to share these settings across devs (something that's supposed to be fixed with version 2.0), it was nice to standardize these and kept from distracting me when reading code. The refactoring stuff was ok. I found the "Find Usages" to be invaluable when refactoring over a large number of files and/or projects. All of that was nice but the number one thing that I LOVED about Resharper was the dynamic compilation. The ability to provide "real time" syntax checking, declaration checking, using statement cleanup in a very graphical way via the red/yellow/green sidebar. This allowed you to see the state of your code and the location of any errors or warnings at a glance. Sadly, its downfall has been the fact that it doesn't have a VS2005 version. Well, they HAVE one but it's in beta, which acts more like an alpha than anything else. So after fighting with it for a few days via re-installs, IDE crashes, and a general lack of usability, I decided to re-evaluate my use of Resharper. Plus, since there was supposed to be built-in support for some of these features, I figured I could limp along without it. Turns out that was roughly the equivalent of trying to program using only my thumbs.

I read Scott Hanselman's blog on a daily basis, have kept up with him for some time now, and deeply respect his abilities and opinions so I figured I'd give CodeRush another shot. He's been a "Rushie" for some time now and enjoys telling folks about it. So I've been using it for a few weeks now and while it's complex, the power lies in that complexity. I'm not very far up on the learning curve yet (did I mention the steep learning curve) and I'm seriously missing a few of my Resharper features (dynamic compilation and code formatting especially) but I've found some serious gains in productivity already. Due to the depth of the product, I know that I'm not using half of the things that would save me time on a daily basis but there aren't really all that many tutorials and those that exist don't really help you learn what keystroke does what. So for now, I'm going to continue fumbling my way thru and figuring out as I go what I need and what's what. I'll post again once I've got a firmer grasp on everything.

(Whew that was a long post – sorry about that!) 🙂

Visual Studio 2005 Commercials…

March 27, 2006

(Sorry couldn’t think of a witty name for this post – guess you’ll just have to deal with “informative” instead of “humorous”.)

I just found this link to some great little ads (UPDATE: ads are gone – here’s all that remains) for the new Visual Studio 2005. You may or may not get some of the jokes depending on your level of geekiness. 🙂

I’ve actually had Team System installed for some time now on our development network and am really impressed. While the upgrades to the developement environment (IDE) are significant, the most important portion has been the integration of the collaboration and project tools. Being able to generate, report, and track work items (bugs/features/etc) without leaving the IDE is great and really cuts down on the amount of time needed for the project management details (once you get over the learning curve). Plus, all the project related reports are available without the need for an “update meeting” to constantly reasure “The Bobs” that you’re actually doing something. 🙂

TextPayMe Awakens the Giant…

March 23, 2006

Well, it looks like the guys over at TextPayMe now have some competition. PayPal is finally catching on with mobile (you have to login to see the page – I don’t know why…). I’ll be watching this closely and most certainly cheering for the small guys – actually, maybe they can get bought up. 🙂

A Night Out…

March 23, 2006

If you’re ever near Denton, Texas and want to have a great meal by all means, eat at Hannah’s Off The Square. It is just off the square, which is kind of neat itself, on the corner of Cedar and Mulberry with its own parking lot so that you don’t have to “shark around” for a parking space.

Since it was a special evening for us (see previous post) and we don’t get out very much, I figured I’d call ahead and let them know it was our anniversary and ask if they would set aside a secluded table for us. We’ve been there a few times previously, we (just Darlene and I) try to get out every couple of months for dessert and wine so we’d been there a few times previously (go have the desserts – they’re killer) but had not had dinner there yet so we were excited about this visit.

The greeter knew who we were without even asking (not sure how he pulled that one off) and escorted us to a private dining room. We were told to select a table (there were about a dozen) and our server, Matthew, would be in shortly. When he arrived, he informed us that there weren’t any specials yet because they aren’t selected until 6:30 (we were there shortly before 5 – having kids is tough 🙂 ) but he recommended some of their finer dishes from the standard menu. We selected the crab cakes, Polenta encrusted Tilapia, and sesame Ahi Tuna (rare) with a Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel (yeah I know – we just like red better white).

The crab cakes were fried without being crunchy and moist but still firm and arrived on a well dressed dish with a sauce that was unremarkable other than the fact that it didn’t interfere with the flavor. We were given moist, warm towels for a post appetizer hand bath and left to our conversation.

The entrees arrived and were very well presented. Darlene’s Tilapia had an orange seafood sauce that added some nice spice to the fish (sorry don’t remember what it was called or what all was in it – I was way too engrossed in my own meal). My tuna was excellent. The sushi grade tuna was tender and rare without being cold at any point. It had a subtle raspberry sauce that complimented the sesame well and made the Soba noodles it was sitting on really pop. The mixture of tastes and flavors really pulled me in and kept the meal fresh on my tongue.

Unfortunately, we were too full to have any desserts so now we’ll just have to plan another trip there to follow up. While I’m no food critic (in spite of my attempts in the previous few paragraphs), I would say that this had to be a four star restaurant and HIGHLY recommend that you give it a try. Oh…and ask for Matthew. You will treated to a level of service that you rarely find these days – just be sure that you respond in kind (read: tip well ;)).


Happy Anniversary…

March 22, 2006

Today marks 3 years that I’m been wed to my beautiful wife. It has been an action packed 3 years that alternates between feeling like the blink of an eye and an absolute eternity – we’ve gotten married, built a house, had 2 kids (ok, so SHE did that part but I helped with the breathing stuff, honest), and even managed to fall in love on a daily basis. It has been the happiest time of my life and I look forward to spending the rest of it with her.


My Girls

Fastest Growing???

March 22, 2006

Wow, I just saw that I’m on the “Fastest Growing Blogs” list at #6. Generally I get between 30-40 hits daily, mostly friends and family as well as a few disappointed folks who think that they’re stumbling upon the personal blog of the “other” David O’Hara :), but yesterday I got 70+. And I know what did it – BlogMad.

If you haven’t noticed the little badge to the right, I’ve signed up to participate in the beta. It went “live” yesterday and hence the spike in traffic. I’ve got to say that I’ve enjoyed surfing around and seeing the sites of the other participants and I’ve even grabbed a few for future reading. If you’re interested in getting in on the BlogMad craze, drop me a note and I’ll get you an invite.

UPDATE: Well, I made it to #5 today (March 7th).

UPDATE: Woohoo!! I hit #1. Many thank to my fellow BlogMad folks. I know it was you. 🙂
#1 With Love