April 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).


We’re really making progress on our big conversion at work. The DevExpress conversion is pretty much complete except for one lingering problem. We have a strange error with some of the TreeViews where we get a StackOverflow exception when we assign a DataTable to the DataSource property. However, I managed to create a sample project demonstrating the bug, and DevExpress was able to reproduce the problem on their end using our sample. So now they are working on it, and hopefully they’ll get back to us soon with a fix.

The Atalasoft conversion is also nearing completion. I still need to work out a few of the TWAIN methods, but the documentation is pretty clear, so I’m not anticipating too much of a problem. I do have one odd bug trying to get an ImageInfo object from the JPEGDecoder, and I guess I’m going to have to call that one in to Atalasoft because I’ve tried quite a few things and I can’t seem to get around it. When we feed the control one of our jpeg images as a byte array, it can correctly display the image, and if we pass the array to the GetDecoder method, it correctly returns a JPEGDecoder, but when we pass it into the JPEGDecoder to get the ImageInfo, we get an error message back that says the file is not a valid jpeg image. Weird. I’m probably just doing something wrong, but it looks like I’ll need them to tell me exactly what the problem is.

Yesterday I completed the switch from our old VB6 wrapped WebBrowser control to the new WebBrowser control in the .Net Framework 2.0. Everything is working properly, which is great, but it’s not quite as clean as I had hoped it would be. The new Framework wrapper only wraps a portion of the properties and methods that are actually exposed by the WebBrowser control and the various DOM objects, so the rest of them use what I think of as a “jump” property that flips things back over the unmanaged DOM objects from MSHTML. The downside to that is that our project still needs to keep a reference to MSHTML in order for all of that to work. That means that MSHTML will be the only unmanaged reference in our entire program. If Microsoft had just wrapped a little bit more in the Framework, we could be 100% managed code, which would be great. So that’s kind of a let down, but it’s still way better than the VB6 wrapper we were using before. Plus the new control finally lets us use XP styled HTML controls in the WebBrowser inside our project, which makes things look much nicer. It also makes it possible to do programmatic scrolling down to individual pixels again, which is something we lost when we switched to .Net 1.0 several years ago.

All of that is just to say we are definitely in the home stretch now. I knew the user interface changes were going to be kind of neat, but I never thought they were a particularly big deal. But now that I see the code running with all of the new controls, I have to admit that it really does look good. It’s a big step up in terms of the initial impression that the program makes.

This video of a live re-enactment of a Super Mario Bros level is making the rounds on the internet today. Now normally that isn’t something I would post about, but this one just happens to be from a talent show at Gordon College, my alma mater! How crazy is that? When I was there they had smaller open mike night / talent shows maybe once every two or three months, and a big one at the end of the year. This video is apparently from the big one at the end of the year. I think the skit is quite clever and it’s clear the crowd appreciated it.

Nintendo announced the official name for their new console today: Wii. Apparently it is pronounced “we”. What in the world kind of name is that? The code-name for the console was Revolution, and I really think they should have stuck with that. I still want to get one when they come out this fall (mostly to play all the original NES and SNES games that will be available for download), but I cannot figure out what their marketing department was thinking when they came up with the new name.

Yesterday afternoon I spent almost three hours ironing (it took so long because it was a large pile of clothes and because I am a slow ironer). I have to tell you, I’m not a big fan of the ironing. I think it’s mostly a peer pressure thing. If nobody else ironed their clothes, then I wouldn’t have to iron mine. Why can’t we all just stop the nonsense and wear clothes with a few wrinkles? I really don’t think that would be the end of the world.

Even extreme ironing doesn’t do it for me (also see here and here). More exciting, perhaps, but still a waste of time in my book.

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).


Joy and I took Charis on her first trip to the zoo today. It was fun to get out just as our little family, and Charis really enjoyed being outside and having so many new things to see. However, I’m not entirely sure exactly what she thought of the animals. She stared at them with wide eyes and sometimes made her little grunting noises. She kept laughing at the waterbuck, but for most animals it was just a stare. She has all kinds of little toy animals in her Noah’s ark set and her animal alphabet set, and I think the fact that all of the animals at the zoo were so BIG in real life is what really surprised her. It was fun to watch. At the very least I’m glad that the animals didn’t totally freak her out or something, because you just never know.

I also got some cool pictures of a beaver while we were there. I like beavers. I think that’s partly because they’re cute, and partly because they’re so industrious, which I can appreciate. :-)

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