Friday, April 02, 2004

Geek Glossary Part I

It was brought to my attention that I use a lot of acronyms ;-). And it's true, I do. With my job, it saves me about ten hours a week using acronyms in emails, phone calls, and in meetings. The computer industry is just over flowing with them. However, some acronyms have a different meaning depending on how they are used. It's like all the rules we have in the English language at it's worst. Let me give you an example. Here are two sentences using the same acronym to say two different things.

  • wrote something in ASP today.
  • I need to call our ASP to find out what happened.

So if that wasn't confusing enough I use phrases like "Classic ASP" and "ASP.NET". These are referring to versions of Active Server Pages. So in truth "Classic ASP" means version 3.0 and "ASP.NET" means version 4.0 and 4.1.

During a recent meeting at work, we were discussing the "API" for interfacing with this or that, and one of the people in the lending department asked what an "API" was. I thought this was a great question, because as geeks we forget that not everyone knows or even has any clue as to what we are talking about. So what does "API" mean? Well, it stands for Applications Programming Interface. Don't you feel better knowing that? So now you are going great, what does an Application Programming Interface mean in English. What it really means is, it is a way, or more correctly an program that someone has written that has methods of letting you talk with this other program, without having to know the particulars about it. Now, you are thinking so APIs are something that makes it easier to program for something. And the answer to that is a very positive, ummmm sometimes, maybe...

The last one we will cover today is "blog". It isn't really an acronym, and it's barely a word. Basically it's slang. What blog actually started out as was "Weblog". Then someone started to drop the "we" of "weblog" to make it "blog". So basically a blog or weblog is a web page that is updated almost daily that consists of someone?s ramblings, rants, raves and even geeky thoughts. (Kind of like this one).

Until our next installment of Geek Glossary, here is a link to a great Geek Glossary to look up computer acronyms and other computer industry mumbo jumbo.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Thing one and Thing two

thing one
 I noticed something the other day but didn't have time to mention it. The blog has passed 1000 views. What's even cooler than that is for the most part my views aren't counted. Which is kind of cool because it is just the count of you guys visiting.

 When I started this blog four months ago, I didn't think about anyone visiting it. It was more like writing to the ether. However I have had people visit the blog from Sweden, Italy, Japan, Spain, Germany, China and of course from all over the United States. It's interesting to see on my little blog, the effect the internet has, and the whole global village idea coming true.

 Now I know that most of the readers of my blog are friends and family and I thank you for thinking that I have something interesting to say. Even when I go on and on about ASP.Boring (as one comment suggested ;-D ). I want all of your feedback, so please don't hesitate to use the comments feature. Just click Comment(n) and write away. If you have a popup blocker on, you may have to turn it off to use comments.

thing two
 On tuesday's blog I talked about a little utility called BlogJet. What it is, is a windows applications that works like Word for your blog posts. You don't really have to know any html to write you posts and have it look like you want it to. It has bold, italics, underline, bulleted lists, images and hyperlinks tools built in. It also as a really nice feature for people like me that lets you look at the code. (Being that I dream in code, I couldn't image not being able to see before posting my blog.)

 Every post since tuesday has been done through Blogjet. I am not sure why, but I find it more convenient to write and edit my posts in it. It's fairly intuitive and is really easy to set up. It even has settings to allow you to post blog account (for example I use and upload any images you are using for your blog to another server. While I haven't used this yet, it is a great idea and really speeds up the time it takes to post content to your blog.  Another nice feature is it allows you to connect to different blogger accounts. Not everybody uses only one  blog service and the creators of blogjet understand this.

 While I do think this is a great little product I do have a short feature wishlist. (Remember it is still in beta 1)

  • Spellchecker
  • CSS support
  • Cleaner HTML code in Code View

I am happy to tell that these features are on the feature request list on the BlogJet forum.

Got to code today

Today ended up having fun coding this afternoon. We needed something that let people securely move the data. So that is what I wrote. It was in classic asp and it was made up of little components that I have created over the last year or so. I also used some components from AspUpload that are really nice and easy to use. We also purchased and are using thier XUpload product which is a very user friendly way of uploading multiple files. It even lets the users drag and drop out of windows explorer.

It has been a little while since I've done anything in classic asp. It was actually nice. I am surprised about how easy it is to switch languages some days and so difficult others. I didn't have any problems today. Everything just flowed from a code point of few. For the most part I got a secure upload and download application done in a couple of hours including the user interface and security. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a modular piece of code that is reusable and perfect to use in ten other things. It was a one off solution. But it works and it solved a problem. Sometimes it's really nice to be able to solve a problem quickly.

Of course I am working on a .NET version of the same thing that is way more modular and will use Active Directory for security of the internal users and a salted hashed password for the external users. It will always create and delete directories and documents on the fly or scheduled. It will allow the helpdesk group to create the secure transfer sites on the fly.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

late train early day

So today started at 5:00am, to make it to the train at 5:30am to get to work by 7:15am to get work done before the meeting at 8:00 am. After the Meeting at 8:00am ended at 9:00am, we had a meeting that lasted from 9:15am to 5:30pm. I caught the last train for home at 5:50pm. Got stuck in union station because the train taking me home at 7:00pm hadn't even showed up yet at 7:15pm. So I took the gold line to pasadena that left at 7:20pm to get to old town pasadena at 7:50pm. My beautiful wife picked me up at 8:00pm and we got home at 8:45pm.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

XML-Based page templates

So at work I am trying to find ways of automating and templatizing everything. One of things that I found today with this goal in mind was an article on regarding XML-Based ASP.NET Page templates. This is such a nice was to things. While all of the internal/intranet applications that Ed and I write have different functionality, we are trying to keep them having the same look and feel. This goes a long way to help that happen. The other great thing that this article addresses is making it easier for Jr. Developers and Content Publishers to use these templates. They only need to know basic html to get the job done. If you've ever tried to discribe a for loop to a non-technical person, you know how wonderful this is.

Test of something new

I downloaded this cool little utility called BlogJet. It seems to be working okay. I will try it for the next couple days and let everyone know what I think.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Happy Monday

Well today is my Beautiful Wife's and my three year anniversary. Three years has gone by so fast. It is such a pleasure to be with her. I so enjoy her company, her wit and sense of humor and even her `onery streak. (I find it so adorable, I can't help but be completely in Love with her.) She really is the love of my life!

Today is going to be a happy monday. I am playing hookie from work (with the proper forms filled out in triplicate and signed by the correct people in human resources and management) and the little boy is play hookie from school (told the bus driver friday he wasn't coming in) and we are going to Disneyland. It should be a beautiful day for it.

I do have to say, I got the coolest thing for my anniversary present. I got a 20gig apple iPod.It is an amazing device. This little mp3 player will hold up to 4000 songs and is about as thick as two CD cases stacked. The other thing about it is the sound quality is so amazing. It's really nice gift. I know I will enjoy it for a long time.

I know that it's been like three days since I've blogged, it was almost a test to see if I could go a weekend without writing anything in C#, XML, XSD or HTML. So apparently I can, however the withdrawals and terrible :-). I ended up dreaming in code. Speaking of code, one of the other gifts I got was a gift card to Barnes and Noble. This was very nice indeed, and of course I ended up picking out a book on C#, XML and XSD. (Not a big surprise now was it). It's called ".NET and XML understanding the code and markup behind with Wizards", its one of those great O'Reilly books, that us techy geeks love to have on our bookshelves.

Welp, I am off to get ready to go to the happiest place on earth....The Apple store... hmmm I mean Disneyland.