seeing good in vista

February 28, 2006 under Computers, Software, Windows Vista

Last summer, I posted a couple of entries relating to the upcoming Windows Vista that were a brief daydream from a developer’s point of view and musings on the possible inclusion of a more-verstile command-line interface. Then I tore it all down by espousing Mac OX X. Finally, we’re getting more and more details about Vista everyday and I’m actually pleased with what I’m reading/hearing/seeing.

Extremetech has a good article here.

Right off the bat, I love the idea that more and more things are being moved into the user level of Vista‘s internals, instead of the kernel level such has been the case in Windows up to now. Drivers will operate at the user level – right on! If I never see another IRQ_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL BSOD error again, I’ll be truly impressed. I can live with a bare-bones VGA-type of mode if I’m trying out a new driver for my video card and it pukes; it’s much better than rendering the computer unbootable into anything other than Safe Mode. The fact that installing new drivers won’t necessetate a reboot anymore sweetens the deal. Then, of course, is the malware threat that is the bane of using Windows – hopefully it’ll be a real bitch for any ol’ app to gain access to the kernel. Stay in the user level where you belong, you hastily written piece o’ code!

Surely, everybody’s talking about the new Aero Glass interface in Vista. The screenshots from the beta versions of Vista make it appear to be super sexy for those lucky enough to have the beefy hardware for it in the first place. I can hear all of the Apple loyalists shouting “hey, we had a kick-ass GUI first in Mac OS X!”. Yes, Mac OS X has the best-looking uber functional interface right now without a doubt. Vista will 1-up it, then (hopefully) Mac OS X 1-ups Vista and so on. It’s a pissing contest for the fanboys but it sparks innovation, which is good for everyone. For me? If it’s functional and improves productivity, I’m cool with it – that’s it.

To earn a living, I develop for Windows on Windows. However, I can easily see myself using an Apple system for general use. I’d love to be able to have mutliple dedicated computers running various operating systems working together in perfect harmony – not virtual machines or dual booting – dedicated computers. Either way, I’ll probably continue to run Windows until as long as there is a marketplace for Windows software and the majority of the best games are for Windows. I’m just hoping that Vista is a the improvement over XP that it’s hyped to be.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 3 »

sspu

February 23, 2006 under Music

Check out an interview Barry and I did with the Silversun Pickups – a promising new band from Los Angeles.

The interview’s over at Earlyfish.com.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 0 »

don't be frugal with your code, …

February 16, 2006 under Computers, Programming

…be Krugle! That one was a groaner, I know 😉

It’s a source code search engine that I’ll be keeping an eye on. Anyone who falls into the “not invented here” trap is doomed to fail in their software development endeavours. Sure, Google is great, especially if you actually know how to use it. However, specialized search engines are handy as well. There already exists a few good ones like Koders, but there are some pretty weak ones too like igrep.

Krugle promises to be akin to Koders but as a “Web 2.0” app (I’m sick of that term already). As a Web 2.0 app, it uses large fonts, bright colours and plenty of contrast like any good Web 2.0 site should (I’m rolling my eyes with large doses of sarcasm here). It also appears to promote some interactivity in a wiki sort of way, which I can see being benficial. Check out this presentation.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 0 »

where is the love?

February 14, 2006 under Life

Today’s Valentine’s day, so I’ll get all mushy and shmoopy-woopy for a second. Here are some reasons why I love my wife, Dena:

  • Her eyes are a funky green-ish hazel-ish something or other that look super-cool in sunlight.
  • I’m a computer geek – Dena is not. She deals with my geekiness like a champ.
  • “Supportive” should be her middle name. She backs me when I’m nervous or anxious or bummed.
  • The cheeks! Any Zia (aka: Italian aunt) would love to get a hold of her face for some vigorous pinching.
  • She’s fun. If you’ve been out with her for a night on the town, you know what I mean.
  • Sync: she usually knows what I’ll say/not say or do/not do before I do
  • Feisty lil’ devil – she’s got spunk. She’s not a push-over and stands her ground more often than not. BTW, if you see her driving, do not cut her off!
  • She’s very photogenic. Sometimes she looks wicked pretty in pictures. Other times she’s hilarious, in a good way, for those moments when I need to be cheered up.
  • She loves me back 😀

Ok, I’m done being all lovey dovey and going returning to my normal self. Halmark and the flower industry are a bunch of greedy bastards! 😉

I Choo-Choo Chooose You

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 5 »

super sunday

February 5, 2006 under Football, NFL, Sports, Super Bowl

I’m not sure what the outcome will be but…

Go Steelers! Do it for The Bus!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 5 »

sabres 4 – flyers 2

February 3, 2006 under Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, Life, NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Sports

Yesterday, Dena and I went to our first regular season NHL game. Last year, we saw a Bulldogs / Amerks game at Copps Coliseum, but that’s the AHL and not the biggest of the big leagues – but pretty close. I’ve also seen a couple of “Baby Leafs” Blue ‘n’ White games…again AHL. A couple of years ago, we went to a Sabres / Lightning pre-season game at The Aud, but The Aud isn’t an NHL arena.

Last night, along with my parents and 400 Kitchener Rangers fans, we went to HSBC Arena in Buffalo to watch the Sabres take on the Flyers. It was a seven-bus convoy to Buffalo to see two Kitchener Rangers alumni; Derek Roy and Michael Richards.

Being an Ontario boy, I’d always thought that my first NHL game would’ve been a Leafs or Sens game. Actually, I’d prefer to see the Flames but I’m not sure when I’ll ever actually be in Calgary – it’s a bit of a trek 🙂 So yes, I’m one of those loser hockey fans who’s played 12 years of competitive organized hockey, countless pickup and street hockey games, attended many OHL and CCHA games and watched plenty of hockey faithfully on TV since I can remember, but never have been to an NHL game in an NHL arena. Sure, Kitchener is super close to Toronto so making it to a Leafs game should be a snap, right? Wrong. Decent tickets at the ACC are crazy-expensive (the Leafs aren’t the highest-grossing team in the NHL for no reason). Also, and it’s the story of my life, I never know the right people who have extra tickets or the availablity of a box seat. But Buffalo isn’t all that much further from Kitchener than Toronto and good Sabres tickets are really affordable.

All in all, it was a great game and a good time. Standing in the rain for an hour waiting so that most of the 400 Rangers fans could talk to Derek and Michael was pretty lame. But other than that, it was a good experience. Check out some pictures from last night.

Anybody have good seats at the Saddledome and a means to get to Calgary on the cheap that they’d like to share with me? 😉

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 3 »

wow, you're ugly

February 1, 2006 under Computers, Programming

I’ve got a question and I’m looking for an opinion. If somebody has written some code and they’re looking for a bit of help with something, is it rude to clean it up if it’s hideous to look at? Now I’m not talking about instances where they used a gazillion variables to store some data instead of, at the very least, an array. I’m talking about the look of the actual code. Often during the course of a day, somebody requests that I take a look at their code and offer them some help. I have no problem with doing that. What irks me is how some people do absolutely nothing to make it easy for anybody else to read and follow their code. For example, reading something like this isn’t fun.

function Dostuff(xval,yval,zval)
dim d
dim zx,zy,zz
 
dim aname, greeting
aname = inputbox("What's your name?","Name Prompt")
  greeting = "Hello, " & aname & " . I'll yammer on here."
msgbox greeting
 
          zx=0
          zy=0
          zz=1
                d=(xval*zx)+(yval*zy)+(zval*zz)
 
If d= 0 then
dostuff = True
else doStuff =FALSE
End if
end function

Arg, my eyes! I can’t even begin to understand how this is readable to anyone. Sure, VBScript isn’t case sensitive, but consistency is nice, I think. The use of white space – sometimes overuse and sometimes lack thereof – is mind boggling. Where’s the comments? I’d rather read English to quickly learn what the code will do, rather than determining that by reading the code itself. And the variable names. The variables names!!!

Using the style that I’m acustomed to, I’d probably clean it up to look like below.

' Purpose: Determine if the supplied vector
'          is perpendicular to the Z axis.
'       I: X value of supplied vector
'       I: Y value of supplied vector
'       I: Y value of supplied vector
'       O: True = perpendicular, False = not
Function IsPerpToZAxis(iXVal, iYVal, iZVal)
    Const ZAXIS_X = 0         ' Z-Axis vector X value
    Const ZAXIS_Y = 0         ' Z-Axis vector Y value
    Const ZAXIS_Z = 1         ' Z-Axis vector Z value
    Dim iDotProd              ' dot product
    Dim strName               ' user-supplied name
    Dim strGreeting           ' greeting to user

 
 
    ' Prompt the user for their name and display a useless
    ' greeting.
    strName = InputBox("What's your name?", "Name Prompt")
    strGreeting = "Hello, " & strName & _
                  " . I'll yammer on here."
    MsgBox (strGreeting)
 
    ' Calculate the dot product of the supplied vector and
    ' the Z axis vector.  If the dot product is 0, then
    ' the supplied vector is perpendicular to the Z axis.
    ' Return the result.
    iDotProd = (iXVal * ZAXIS_X) + _
               (iYVal * ZAXIS_Y) + _
               (iZVal * ZAXIS_Z)
 
    If (iDotProd = 0) Then
        IsPerpToZ = True
    Else
        IsPerpToZ = False
    End If
End Function

Yes, I could’ve created my own point class or used an array for the Z axis, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. I think the latter code snippet is much more readable than the former, don’t you?

The real question is, though, is it ok to modify somebody’s code to make it more readable and then send it back to them like that. Or should you preserve the way they did things in the first place?

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 1 »