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Written by WATYF on Thursday, 15 September 2005 (3974 hits)
Category: Serious Crap

I don't really intend to talk about serious stuff too often in this Blog. Not because I don't have a serious side (which I do), but because I've learned after many, many years of "discussions" (if you can call them that) on the internet, that most conversations on the web, of even a remotely serious nature, eventually end up in some kind of worthless "us vs. them" flame-fest. There is very little objective, rational conversation left on the net, and I'd much rather stick to facetiousness and sarcasm then try to cut through the fog of years of bitter, divisive verbal lambasting.... but that's just me.

Anyway... the point is, every once in a while, I'll probably end up posting something resembling a serious topic... and this happens to be the first time that has happened...

The ultimate musical nerdery...
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Written by WATYF on Wednesday, 14 September 2005 (5048 hits)
Category: Nerdery

You know... I thought I was the quintessential musical nerd. I'm nerdy: I write my own software... I own a watercooled computer (I'll pause while you giggle)... I build all my computer systems (and those of my friends.... and family... and people I don't even know)... I spend every waking hour in front of a computer. And I'm musical: I play drums... I play guitar... I do my own home-recordings. So you'd think that would qualify me as the ultimate musical nerd.... but you'd be wrong.

And it's all because of these guys...

Apple's continuing iPod woes...
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Written by WATYF on Tuesday, 30 August 2005 (2251 hits)
Category: Apple Bashing

As if the patent issues that Apple is having with their best-selling iPod weren't a happy enough event, they had to go and have another problem with them, just to brighten my day.

It looks like Apple put some really crappy batteries in that ridiculously over-priced, fad-tech, MP3 player of theirs. Consumers reported having problems with batteries that wouldn't hold a charge. And what was Apple's first response to their blindly-faithful consumers who plunked down 400 bucks for something they could have gotten for half as much....?



....buy another one.

Doing Microsoft's job for them... again.
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Written by WATYF on Sunday, 28 August 2005 (18430 hits)
Category: .NET Programming

In an earlier piece, I detailed all the trials an tribulations I endured while trying to deal with the problems and shortcomings of the VS.NET installer (i.e. the MSI file generated by a Setup and Deployment project). Well, you can consider this article to be Part II of that miserable saga.

It's bad enough that some of the most basic and common functionality of installers isn't available in the .NET Setup and Deployment project... but what makes it worse is just how hard it can be to implement some of the simplest features into your installation process.... and that's where I come in. I subject myself to hours of unimaginable misery, just so you don't have to... but that's just the kinda guy I am.

But before I tell you all you need to know about hacking up your very own MSI files, let's list off all the things that a VS.NET Setup and Deployment project won't do for you...

The oxymoron that is an arrogant nerd...
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Written by WATYF on Saturday, 27 August 2005 (8668 hits)
Category: Nerdery

I think I may have found the biggest jerk on the internet.... or, at least, the biggest jerk of all nerds on the internet.

So I’m browsing around codeproject, trying to find a tip on how to hack the MSI file for TaskRunner (a topic which I'll be posting on soon, no doubt), and I run across this old entry by some guy from India (or Pakistan, or wherever 90% of the programmers in the world are from these days ) who posted a tip on how to access data in an MSI file using some API calls. Now granted... the solution wasn't elegant... and his english was pretty bad.... but he at least gave a simple example of how to open an MSI database and run an SQL query against it.

Well... apparently, some nerd was in a bad mood (probably because he hadn't gotten his daily ration of twinkies yet), and he decided to totally rip into this poor, unsuspecting sap...

Help me, or shut your big, fat piehole.
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Written by WATYF on Friday, 26 August 2005 (8690 hits)
Category: Nerdery

Has anyone else ever noticed this....? It happens all too often when I ask a question on a technical message board. Let's say I have a simple problem... I can't figure out how to defractalize a corned-beef hashtable... (yes... I realize those are made up terms... it's a story... deal with it ) And let's further say that I've spent a few hours (or even days) going through ideas on how to do this, and come up empty. So naturally, I head to my favorite message board/newsgroup/whatever that relates to the topic I'm having a problem with at the time. I then post a new thread saying, "Hi there. I'd like to defractalize a corned-beef hashtable. Can anyone give me ideas on how to do this?"

At this point, I'm expecting someone to come back and say something like, "Sure... you need to instantiate a Fractilization object using the Bioformatter Class, and then call the Defractalize method."

But instead, I get worthless crap like this....

Fixing what annoys me about the NumericUpDown control...
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Written by WATYF on Monday, 22 August 2005 (19745 hits)
Category: .NET Programming

One of the things that bothers me the most about .NET controls (or... I should say... most any platform's stock controls) is that there's always that one behavior in the control that just totally screws up what you're trying to do with it. I remember this problem haunting me all the way back in my early programming days, as a young pup, working with VBA. I'd be building some groovy new interface in Access that was just gonna "wow" all my coworkers... I'd add a control to my form to perform what I considered to be a perfectly simple, menial task... and I'd throw some code behind it and test out the app, only to find out that there was just one... stupid... little... quirk about the control that grated on me like nails on a chalkboard. And sometimes it wasn't just annoying... it was even conflicting with the way I had coded the form, or causing me to have to add additional code just to account for it. Sometimes, piddly little crap like this would have me hunting for hours (sometimes even days ) just to find a suitable workaround.

There are way too many of these experiences for me to recount right now (not to mention that I've repressed most of those memories by this point), but one such example just happened to me the other day, involving the NumericUpDown control and the wonderful way in which it doesn't bother to validate user input to make sure it stays within the Minimum and Maximum range... so I thought I'd share with you how I got around it.

I hate the VS.NET installer with all of my soul...
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Written by WATYF on Friday, 19 August 2005 (7946 hits)
Category: .NET Programming

So.... after I finally got the Beta version of TaskRunner ready, it was time to clean up some of the deployment processes, one of which was making sure that the installer worked how I wanted it to. This involved diving back into the blood-pressure-friendly world of the VS.NET Installer. Oh, how I've missed it.... I remember back in the day.... with my peeps... when I was first releasing TaskRunner 2.0. I have so many fond recollections of pounding my mouse up against my face in unabashed fury while trying to accomplish the simplest of installation tasks. Fortunately, before I lost the last shred of my sanity, I gave up on trying to get the installer to do anything more than the most basic task.... INSTALLING THE FREAKING PROGRAM! At least it could do that much... for the most part.

But apparently, I enjoy pain and suffering so much that I decided to try to work some "advanced" (and I use that term loosely here) features into the installation of Version 3.0.... unfortunately, as with most things involved in Windows programming... things did not go so smoothly...

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Written by WATYF on Sunday, 14 August 2005 (4238 hits)
Category: Apple Bashing

So get this... Apple just found out that they're (most likely) going to have to pay royalties for each and every iPod that they sell... in case you've been living with your head stuffed in a toaster for the last 3 years, the iPod is Apple's best selling item.... ever.  For those who don't know, I love making fun of Apple (and Apple users in general ), so this fact alone is enough to send me into fits of glee.... but that's not the best part....

...the kicker is who they have to pay the royalties to.....

You too can be a staaaar!!!
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Written by WATYF on Sunday, 07 August 2005 (6508 hits)
Category: Musical

Have you ever seen an "artist" perform live (on some music awards show... or maybe a late night talk show), and they sound like absolute crap? And even though you're a mindless consumer who just gobbles down whatever the flavor of the week is that they're shoving down your throat, did you ever have that faint, small voice in the back of your head ask, "How come they sound so good on their albums, but every time I hear them live, they suck?".

Well ladies and gentlemen... It's my self-appointed job to reveal to you the mysteries of the universe, and I've decided to start with this one... You see... you don't need talent to sing like the pros... because the "pros" don't have any talent either...

Microsoft makes me schizophrenic...
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Written by WATYF on Monday, 01 August 2005 (10462 hits)
Category: .NET Programming

It's weird... one day, I wanna give Bill Gates a big, warm hug... and then the next day, I wanna punch him in the throat and staple pasta to his face. I think it comes with the territory when you're a MS platform nerd, like myself.

The latest incident started, as most incidents do, when I thought to myself, "Hey... it would be cool if I could get [insert name of application here] to do [insert name of unbelievably simple task here]." One of the things I'm adding to the next version of TaskRunner is the ability to add a "system cleanup" task to the Task Scheduler. And part of that function would be to cleanup all of your Internet Explorer temporary internet files, history, and cookies. This, by itself, seems to be an extreeeeeeemely simple thing... I mean... that's what I thought, anyway...
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