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Thoughts from David Cornelius

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


UltraEditEmbarcadero's parent company, Idera, recently acquired UltraEdit which includes the company's namesake product, UltraEdit, a long-standing favorite text editor among many programmers, and some accompanying tools that have grown up around the main product, namely UltraCompare, UltraFTP, and UltraFinder. I decided to go through the feature set and compare this suite of tools with EditPad Pro the text editor I've used for several years from Just Great Software.

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!


Programmers are not typical office workers--they use lots of memory, graphics, and CPU cycles. The standard heat sink and fan combo that CPU makers "generously" provide with their CPUs just don't cut it for us. Do your development machine a favor and upgrade it to one that runs quiet and cool.

I Finally Understand High DPI

I've heard a lot about High-DPI monitors and 4K TVs for the last several years and wondered what the hype was all about. I had watched webinars and seen demos exclaiming how crisp and clear everything is, even with more on the screen, but had not experienced it for myself. This year, I acquired my own High-DPI monitor and hooked it up next to a Full HD (High Definition) monitor to see the difference.

I Wrote a Book!

Early last year, I was contacted by Packt Publishing with a request to write a book about Delphi. I was surprised, honored, and a little scared! I know the Delphi community is world-wide but does not have as large a following as other languages so was unsure how much of an audience there would be. Was I up to the task?

Delphi's Easter Egg


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.

Repeatable Fields in Word


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!

Do What You Love To Work At


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.

dbForge Data Generator for SQL Server


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.

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.

Operating System Advice

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.

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.

Ubiquitous USB


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?

(Non) Laziness


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.



I recently had a discussion with a fellow developer who sees a new feature in Delphi as opening a possible security hole in the application. The Welcome Page in Delphi 2005 and 2006 is an embedded web browser that views a local HTML file. This file has some JavaScript code that calls ActiveX objects to load Delphi projects and such, but mostly is a great collection of resources for the over-burdened programmer trying to remember where everything is.

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