Technological pondering, career advice, and the occasional random fact
Text Editors Revisited
Admittedly, text editors isn't a terribly important topic to blog about but since I wrote a public comparison of UltraEdit vs EditPad just over a year ago and since my preferences and stance on these have changed, I thought I should explain my new perspective. My license for the UltraEdit package was the All-Access Subscription, which means I had a full license to use all of the products in the suite for a year after which I would need to renew the license in order to keep using them.
UltraFTP vs. WinSCP
A few weeks ago I compared UltraEdit with EditPad Pro; an ancillary product that comes with the UltraEdit Studio suite is UltraFTP. I've been using an open source FTP client for many years and have come to rely on WinSCP for keeping websites up to date, uploading software for customers, and more. I figured since I now own the UE suite of products, I should at least look at UltraFTP. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations.
UltraEdit vs EditPad Pro
This review doesn't cover every feature of the two editors nor does it go into great depth as there are tutorials and videos on each of the respective sites. It also concentrates on just the task of editing files, mostly ignoring file comparison, FTP, and file-finding features of UltraEdit's companion tools. This review is the personal conclusion I came to based on my experience, interest, and needs--your view may be different. The bulk of my time is spent in the full-featured Delphi IDE; nevertheless, I do have need for a good-quality text editor in many circumstances and having several time-saving features built-in are well worth learning about and using.
Keep it Cool!
It Works Better If You Plug It In
There are many stories I could tell with this title. It's such an obvious rule when dealing with electrical devices but so often overlooked as a possibility of the source of a problem when everything else works. Here's my most recent experience that took its toll on more than just myself.
I Finally Understand High DPI
I Wrote a Book!
I'm a Delphi MVP!
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 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.
I try not to make too many public comments about issues that frustrate me, especially when they pertain to a product I use and support. But Embarcadero has another "offer" to buy or upgrade Delphi (or RAD Studio) that just makes me angry all over again.
The User as Content
Websites publish content for people to read, search, and sometimes experience through visual or audio means. Typically, the content is geared around a specified subject such as products sold by a store or discussions over a set of topics.
Broadening My Skill Set
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.
dbForge Data Generator for SQL Server
Career Developers and Passionate Technologists
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.
Delphi Developer Dilemma
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.
Information and Media Explosion
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.
Operating System Advice
"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.
The PInvoke Live Template
A live template can call YOUR custom function when a user invokes it. For instance, a template could brings up a message saying "How disgusting." when a user types "GOTO", and then proceed to erase the GOTO. There's a blog post that tells you how to extend this script schema. The extension involves writing a package with a new "script engine" and then calling that script engine from the live template XML file.
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.
Glossary of Web Terms
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.