Software "Easter Eggs" have long been a fun thing to stumble across. Hidden features, not documented in the standard user guides but found by users (or leaked by developers) are then spread by word-of-mouth as everyone has to go find and see it for themselves then tell their friends. Often, these gems are small and don't take much time as developers sometimes have to sneak them in. Others, like flight simulator in Excel 97 are more involved.
I often have to write up contracts or work agreements and have a few templates for this purpose. Microsoft Word has a field function where you can create fillable entries which is nice for making forms but that's not what I need to do. What I would like to do is once I fill out one of the fields, I'd like it replicated to other places in the document where that field appears. You'd think this would be easy but I've struggled to find good documentation on how to do this.
Today, I finally got it!
I listened to a podcast today entitled, The myth of turning your hobby into a job. It discussed how so often people discover too late that doing something you like doesn't keep its luster once you have to keep doing it day-in and day-out in order to support yourself. The thing they once enjoyed with a passion has become a drudgery, an obligation.
It got me thinking about my career history.
As an independent software developer, I make my living writing scripts and applications for others. In order to maximize my opportunities, I need to be a master of many environments. Since much of my career has involved Windows applications, I am spending quite a bit of effort in other areas.
DevArt Software has been busy at producing a great number of database tools and components for both Delphi and Visual Studio developers over the last few years. They're still coming out with new ones as well. One of the most recent additions is dbForge Data Generator for SQL Server. I purchased version 1.0 in April, 2015 and they've been hard at work improving and adding features--they're already at version 3.5! You can read about their features on their web site linked above, but I'd like to highlight a few I think are notable and have been very useful to me.
Programmers can be grouped into two broad categories: 1) Career Developers, and 2) Passionate Technologists. Career Developers will pick a language and a job and be very good at what they do, produce excellent work for their employer, and live happily ever after.
I've used Pascal-based compilers for a long time. Similar to many others like me, I started with Turbo Pascal 3 in the 80s, embraced object-oriented extensions in Borland Pascal, attempted to understand OWL but quickly moved to Delphi when it was released, and now churn out blazing database applications on the latest Windows operating systems using internet technologies, advanced reporting tools, and multiple third-party component sets. Sure, I've dabbled in other languages such as C/C++, Visual Basic, .NET with C#, and some scripting languages, but Delphi has been the bulk of my experience for the past 17 years or so.
The amount of information available and the proliferation of video over the last few years is nothing short of astounding. Watch this video and ask yourself, are you ready for the future?
The Internet is 40 years old today. Or thereabouts depending on what you define as the actual birth of the internet. Here's a neat video that explains the origins of the what we know today as the Internet:
I got this request from a friend recently:
"Well, I'm finally going to finish building my quad core PC. It may be overkill as I don't play games, but I'm sick of having a slow computer! About the OS, it seems like I have a few options: pre-order Windows 7 upgrade, get Windows XP-64, or get Windows Vista Ultimate. I'm looking for some quick, brief advice, and I respect your time and opinion. I don't have experience with anything beyond regular XP... What are the advantages and disadvantages of Vista? Are there UI improvements that make Vista really worth the upgrade? Are there enough improvements in Windows 7 that make it worth waiting for?"
Between my home office desktop, my son's computer, my wife's computer, a laptop, and the machine I use at work, I use XP-64, XP Pro, Vista Ultimate, Vista Home Premium, and Vista Business 64, so have a lot of experience dealing with a variety of applications in a variety of environments. In addition, I'm playing around with Windows 7 in a virtual machine. Being a developer, I read a lot of technical journals, RSS feeds, and newsgroups. Knowing all this is what prompted my friend to ask for my opinion.
Here is my response.
I opened the box of the new server for the Beaverton SDA Church and was reminded that we didn't order a keyboard or mouse to go with it. At first this makes sense--why not just use the one we have on the old server? Well, the old server is, uh, old! Like over 8 years. That's an eternity in the computer industry. Some people alive today haven't even heard of the OS we still have on that machine, Windows NT 4.0.
But still, keyboards and mice don't wear out quickly on servers--they just sit there and collect dust over the years. You blow them off twice a year when you actually need to use them. So why get new ones?
I've heard it said in many conversations, blog entries, and articles that people automate tasks because they're lazy. I disagree. Often, this "laziness" is in the context of programmers writing scripts to do some mundane operation over and over. They're supposedly lazy because they don't want to do the task themselves.
Have you ever wondered what a Blog is? OK, that term may be an every day verb/noun by now. But what about DHTML or Landing Page or Reciprocol Link? Do you know what a Spider does? Have your heard of ODP or know what your Page Rank is?
All these terms and more are listed on the Glossary of Web Terms.
I had no idea infections could cause a sunburn-like rash, but that's what happened on my stomach after going home from my appendectomy. I thought a heat-lamp had been too strong on me during surgery or something. Anyway, my bandages were leaking and not looking good, so Saturday morning, my wife drove me to the hospital again and I checked myself in for post-appendectomy check up. I figured I'd be waiting in the lobby for her to come pick me back up. Wrong. The appendix was so bad when it was removed, there was actually very good possibility of infection--why hadn't I been told that when I left just days before? I guess the surgeon always likes to think positive. Anyway, it looks like I'll be in just as long this time as last.