January 2006


Click “more” to see a list of all of the interesting web sites I found this week. I keep track of my favorite sites using del.icio.us, a free web site where you can access your favorite links from any computer and share them with friends. You can also see all of my favorite links (not just the ones from this week).

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Joy and I had our dinner group from church over this evening, and it was a lot of fun. We had three people in our group that we didn’t know very well, so it was fun to spend time getting to know everyone better. After dinner we ended up playing a bunch of games, which was great. We played two rounds of Scattergories (which I love), a game of Apples to Apples (where I did miserably), and Uno Attack (Jeremy, one of our guests, completely owned the rest of us). My best moment game-wise came during Scattergories. The letter was “T” and the item was “TV Celebrities”. My answer was “Tim the Toolman Taylor” for three points. :-)

This is just a quick update on our progress at work. We’ve completed the transition from Visual Studio 2003 to 2005. The program had very few errors when we pulled it up in VS 2005, but it had tons of warnings, which are basically things that will compile, but are probably not in line with best practices.

The program had over 10,000 warnings, and at least half of them involved passing objects to functions before the object had been initialized. By our standard practice, all of our functions can handle that without issue, but we decided to go ahead and fix all of the warnings anyway. That way if we make a mistake in the future that causes a more important warning, it will really stand out. So we eventually got to the point where the program was completely free of errors and warnings (and yes, that meant making over 10,000 individual changes to the code!).

The next step was to switch all of the standard Microsoft controls over to the new DevExpress controls we’re going to use from here on out. At this point we have managed to replicate all of our core functionality from the MS controls using the new DevExpress controls. Most of that was pretty straightforward, but we use outlines and grids in fairly complex ways, and it took us a little while to get everything working correctly.

We wrote a program to handle most of the actual switch, but we were still left with lots of old code referencing properties and methods of the MS controls that don’t match up with the properties and methods of the DevExpress controls. So now we are in the process of cleaning all of that up. We probably have a week or two of that left, and then we’ll only have a few major pieces of the puzzle left.

So what are the last few pieces of the puzzle? We still need to switch all of our old Lead Tools based imaging controls over the new Atalasoft controls we recently purchased, and then we need to swap out the ApproveIT digital signature control we use for the native .NET control from Topaz (our signature pad vendor). Once that’s done, I hope to have time to experiment with the new MS HTML control that comes with VS 2005 to see if we can use that instead of the custom control we wrote that currently handles our HTML.

It may sound like a lot, and I can assure you that the work is long and tedious, but I think we are all excited about the direction we are headed. The new controls will allow us to do some really neat things that we couldn’t really do before, and we’re getting very, very close to having the entire project running on 100% .NET code, with no old COM controls whatsoever.

Click “more” to see a list of all of the interesting web sites I found this week. I keep track of my favorite sites using del.icio.us, a free web site where you can access your favorite links from any computer and share them with friends. You can also see all of my favorite links (not just the ones from this week).

(more…)

I was cleaning the kitchen today while Joy was out with Charis at JoAnn’s to pick up some fabric and I listened to “A Collision”, the new David Crowder Band album. I got the CD for my birthday, but this is the first chance I’ve had to listen to the entire album all the way through. I think it’s great! I’m not sure that I like it better than their previous album, “Illuminate”, but it’s pretty close, and that’s saying a lot since “Illuminate” is one of my all time favorites. I don’t think there’s a bad song on the entire album, and I especially like the two bluegrass (!) cuts about halfway through.

Tonight Joy and I watched “Broken Blossoms” (1919). Well, I watched it and Joy watched part of it (she was tired and fell asleep part way through). This is the oldest film I have in my DVD collection, and I found it very moving for a silent melodrama that’s almost a century old.

The film certainly stereotypes the Chinese character by today’s standards, but in 1919 the film was considered quite progressive and contains what may be the first portrayal on film of an interracial couple. The ending of the film is devastatingly sad, and there are numerous scenes throughout the film that convey a great deal of emotion. A scene that comes immediately to mind is Lillian Gish, locked in a closet, utterly terrified as her father breaks down the door with an axe. It is simply amazing to me that so much tension can be created in a film without sound.

We had a game night this evening with our small group from church. Every few weeks we do something “fun” instead of our normal study. Not that we don’t enjoy our study, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, we played two rounds of Taboo and two of Scene It. I’m not exactly a Taboo wizard, but I did okay and we had a good time. I had never played Scene It before, so it was fun to try something new. We played the standard version of Scene It that primarily deals with more recent movies, but I think would have done better with the Turner Classic Movies edition that is also available, just based on the movies I tend to watch. Still, it was fun, and there are several people in our group who definitely know a lot of movies.

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