better software through user-centered design

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Site Theme

You may notice that this blog has a new and fresh look today!  I am pleased to announce that after careful consideration, I have chosen to switch the theme up from modern-grunge, to spectrum.  I love the clean look this template provides and being slightly wider seems to make it easier to read, specially when code examples are involved.  Let me know what you think and a big thank you to Ignacio Ricci for designing this easy-to-read layout.


Shocking HTML5 Boilerplate Discovery

I was recently building a deployment and description site for an Adobe AIR application I am building for school.  Any site I turn in to Full Sail must have 100% validated HTML markup and CSS.  As long as the design is half way descent and the markup is clean, all is well.  In appeasing my need to use HTML5 because I am a cool kid, and bearing graceful degradation in mind, I was all jazzed up to use the much acclaimed HTML5 Boilerplate.

Paul Irish totally rocks so I was shocked when my incredibly simple HTML5 page with CSS3 did not validate.  Upon further investigation, I realized not only does the HTML5 Boilerplate site not validate, it has 92 errors and 4 warnings (as of December 6, 2011).  I guess I should be happy mine only has one error, but there are weird validation errors coming from that site, including the use of custom characters in the DOCTYPE declaration.  I concede that the validation I speak of is the W3C Validation Service, and that is not always necessarily 100% accurate, however the amount of errors is aPAULing…get it? Paul…appalling?  Sorry, terrible sense of humor took over.


Anyway, I am curious if anyone else has ran into issues with the HTML5 Boilerplate not validating and if so, is there any other alternatives out there that give us the HTML5 goodness we as web developers so eagerly crave.

Mounting IMG File with VirtualBox

I just downloaded a new version of Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit and to my dismay, Dreamspark shells the image out as a .img file instead of the typical and beloved .iso. I looked online to find out what the heck to do with the .img file and found a bunch of sites explaining how to run a command line program (VBoxManage) to convert the .img into a .vdi.  The conversion went well but the .vdi did not work when I tried to mount and start the VM to boot to it.

To my delight, I then tried renaming the .img to have an extension of .iso and SNAP!  It works.  Mounted up the .iso in typical fashion and Server 2008 is now running on my MacBook Pro.  I understand Ubuntu is handing out .img files instead of .iso as well.  Must be some better compression value or the like (the Server 2008 R2 Standard/Enterprise/Web/Datacenter all in one was only 3GB).

A Fascinating Endeavour in Human Behavior

It was not surprising to come on board with my current employer to find a custom in-house built development framework that was a total hybrid approach between WebForms (ewe) and ASP.Net MVC. This scenario plays out every day in software design shops all over the place. Upon arrival, I was greeted well with constant warning of this limited and poorly written framework. Not only does it violate loads of programming standards and pattern, but encourages the constant use of bad practices. All who work with this framework agree, it must go.

Having had experience in this scenario before, and having been fortunate enough to have high-end developers as mentors, I knew I could help. With the help of a colleague, we presented a new ASP.NET MVC 3 solution. Combining web solutions into one using Areas, and simplifying just about every aspect of the solution, we presented to the development team with excitement and great anticipation.

Remembering that everyone “hates” the existing framework, the thought was that they would be excited to jump into a shiny new, clean solution….they weren’t. The push back and hostile resistance to anything new was shocking. The room was filled with questions such as “why would we upgrade to Visual Studio 2010”? and “why would we use ASP.Net 4.0”? The old ways work best right?

Throughout the process of trying to encourage others to examine the best practices put in place in the new solution, I was shocked to get total push-back and being fought on just about every aspect of the new design. The push-back came in the form of saying “we can use what we have” and “the old framework just needs updated”.

The same developers who wanted the old framework gone, now cherish it’s existence. A very interesting observation in human social behavior to say the least. They were not given input in the early stages of new development, and I cannot help but wonder if that is the sole reason for the resistance. Not the threat of a glamorous new technology, but the threat of anything new, and not having control over it.

MyTouch 4G Impressive Submersible Capability?

Last night I dropped my brand new MyTouch 4G into a pan filled with water.  I do not mean it got a few drops of water on the cover, but actually dropped the thing submersing it completely into a pan in the sink.  This happened mid-phone call so I promptly retrieved the soaking device, ended the call, and shut it down.  I instantly removed the back cover to let the battery compartment dry out.  Early I had complained about how difficult the batter cover is to remove, but to my surprise there was not a single hint of liquid or even moisture anywhere near the battery.

The build of the phone seemed like high-quality (metal cover and all), but you never know until it is put to the test.  If I had purchased many of the other wide slew of phone choices last week, I would be calling the phone insurance company and coughing up $175 for a replacement.

To that I say thank you HTC!  Not only is the 4G fully featured with the fastest phone OS available, but it is well-build with quality in mind.  Alas no more rickety phones with sub-par components to keep the price down.

Timothy Gets First Karate Belt

Timothy received his first karate belt, the white belt.  He did have to earn this belt by helping around the house and completing several tasks for Joey.  He is really enjoying it and we look forward to sharing his next achievement.


Quantitative Easing Explained

This is a hilarious video that uses computer generated voices to explain our current economic position.  With no emotion attached, your guaranteed to laugh as the Fed is explained.  Enjoy!

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