Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quick Hits

With the wedding now 12 days away, as you can imagine things have been a little busy. Add to that the fact that I'm trying to get a big project done at work in the middle of all this and you basically have a situation where when I do have some free time available I haven't been spending it blogging.

In lieu of some meatier updates, I'm just going to do a real quick rundown of some things I've wanted to blog about but haven't done so yet.


Last weekend I spent about an hour or so putting a bookshelf together. It's one of those "no tools required" bookshelves so that anti-handymen like myself may end up with something that has an outside chance of actually holding up books when completed.

I used to love to play with Lego when I was a kid, but I have zero skill (or desire to develop skill) when it comes to building things. I have no idea why this is. I love design when it comes to writing software, which a lot of people seem to think is like building. I say anything you can do while eating M&Ms is not really "building". Building to me requires some kind of physical component, and it's that lack of ability to make my hands do what my brain is telling me that usually results in the problems I have on any type of home improvement project or sport.

The bookshelf sat in the box for several weeks before "Build the damn shelf" ended up on last weekend's honey-do list. Obviously I complained as much as possible to avoid more construction projects ending up on future lists, but I dutifully built the darn thing. For me there's not even a sense of satisfaction when I finish putting together a piece of furniture because I usually end up with four or five critical pieces that I missed putting in their proper place; I'm more concerned with the structural integrity of what I've just "finished" than any feeling of accomplishment.

At any rate all of my comics and tabletop gaming books are on the new shelf, so if it collapses the worst thing that will be hurt is my pride, which I'm pretty sure consists solely of scar tissue at this point.


Speaking of the "building", I've been using ASP.NET as the back end for this web based project at work that's been monopolizing my time.

Is there any company that so has so thoroughly screwed itself lately as often as Microsoft? The mess of a release that was Vista has been well chronicled. The Xbox 360 had unbelievable failure rates: even though the console has sold well it's difficult to tell if Microsoft has made a single dollar yet on the console due to having to replace so many of them. Their developer tools are the best in the business, but they release new versions of their languages too often to be comfortable keeping up with the latest and greatest, particularly since the backwards compatibility from one version to the next isn't always there.

ASP.NET is just a mess in terms of how it expects you to design. My problem with the very basis of the thing is that it tacks on too many new tags and components and they don't ever seem to render quite the same across browsers. When you are doing web design there is only ONE thing you really should be thinking about: making the app cross browser compatible. ASP.NET is the absolute worst tool possible for doing that if you use it the way Microsoft seems to want you to use it.

Instead of using all of the special stuff that comes with ASP.NET I've just been writing small web pages that will never get seen by the user that handle all of the heavy lifting (database calls, etc.) and writing the whole front end in plain ol' HTML and Javascript. I'm using Prototype to make all of the calls to the back end. I've basically taken away everything that makes ASP.NET special and that seems to be what works best.


Prepare for the most annoying two weeks in American sports. Seriously, does it get any worse than the build up for the Super Bowl?

Also, when is it going to be okay to start suggesting that the Packers may have won another Super Bowl by now if Brett Favre had retired?


Jules and I went car shopping last Saturday and got her a new ride. Car shopping is another experience that I have found pretty unpleasant in the past as well, but this time with some good research and a target price in mind the whole thing went reasonably smoothly. The downside is that it made me want a new car, as the Hyundai Accent I'm driving right now runs fine but is missing some amenities, like door handles.


There's a lot of buzz starting to build around the latest Wii game: Endless Ocean. It's being praised for being "innovative", which I think these days means that it isn't a first person shooter.

I haven't played the game and probably won't because I sold my Wii over the holiday, but after reading some reviews it looks a lot like the space exploration simulator Celestia, which similarly has no goals, plot, etc. but is just a gigantic sandbox. It also came out several years ago and is free.

Point I'm making here is I'm not really seeing the innovation angle on Endless Ocean. It looks like it might make a nice screen saver though, and the soundtrack does feature at least one tune by Hayley Westenra, who can flat out sing.


Somebody needs to take away my copy of MLB Power Pros. The debate about whether or not to get a PS3 or Xbox 360 this year has been put on hold indefinitely by this game.

You know how when you were a kid playing baseball games you would make a team with all of your friends on it? That's basically what I'm trying to do with MLB Power Pros right now, which means I've been playing Success mode nonstop trying to assemble what will be the most awesome team ever (still working on a name, but it's a tossup between the Juicers and the Djerkababalash).


Andy, who is basically the reason people find this blog, started one of his own. Make sure you check it out.


Finally, if anybody has some book recommendations toss them out there as I'm almost at the end of my reading queue and I'll want to stock up for the honeymoon.


Andy said...


I got plugged!!!

LastBestAngryMan said...

Book recs:

"The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch. Best fantasy novel I have read in a long time. Probably the best debut fantasy novel I have ever read.

The Tyranny of the Night series by Glen Cook. Anything by Glen Cook is money. These are like a Guy Gavriel Kay novel gone horribly, horribly wrong.

That'll do for now.

Mia said...

"A Year of Living Biblically"

by A.J. Jacobs.. an agnostic decides to follow the rules of the bible literally. Worth it for the chapter when he feebly stones an adulterer! It'll do your Godless heart some good ;-p