Wednesday, December 9, 2009

News…

I’ve been pretty busy with work over the past few days.  During that time several exciting things have happened.  Beckett busted a case of 2008-09 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball:  the hobby world complained.  Becket busted a box of 2009 Donruss Threads Football:  the hobby world complained.  Becket busted a box of 2009-10 Topps Basketball:  the hobby world complained.  Beckett busted a box of 2009 Topps American Heritage:  no one cared.

Several products were also either released or previewed over the past few days.  In baseball we’ve got another retro set from Topps:  Topps T206 100th Anniversary Edition.  Tristar has announced Obak which will bring the vintage tobacco look to the minor leagues.  Topps has also announced Star Wars:  The Clone Wars (Widevision) for the non-sports fans out there (more sketch cards).  Panini announced that they will carry the Elite brand over into the basketball line-up with as few design changes as possible (more shinny die-cuts… woo… hoo…)

The BGS 10 1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan RC recently sold for about the price of a luxury car:  $82,000.  I don’t really get behind the card grading industry, so I’m a little bias but…. ummm…. that’s just freakin’ dumb.  The money could be better spent on a few Jordan autographs, a Lebron auto or two, some Kobe autos for good measure, and a moderately priced sedan.  I suppose this sale and the recent Joe Montana BGS 10 sale both go to show just how important it really is to get your cards graded.  There is no way this could have been a publicity stunt to drum up business.

I’ve got a quick take on 2009-10 Topps Basketball, review of Bowman 48, a preview of 2009-10 Panini Elite, and some other articles coming soon.  Right now I’m off to pack up my cards and send them of to Beckett.  I’m hoping my 1989 Fleer Update Albert (Joey) Belle RC comes back a 10…

Friday, August 28, 2009

News…

I’ve been pretty busy with work over the past few days.  During that time several exciting things have happened.  Beckett busted a case of 2008-09 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball:  the hobby world complained.  Becket busted a box of 2009 Donruss Threads Football:  the hobby world complained.  Becket busted a box of 2009-10 Topps Basketball:  the hobby world complained.  Beckett busted a box of 2009 Topps American Heritage:  no one cared.

Several products were also either released or previewed over the past few days.  In baseball we’ve got another retro set from Topps:  Topps T206 100th Anniversary Edition.  Tristar has announced Obak which will bring the vintage tobacco look to the minor leagues.  Topps has also announced Star Wars:  The Clone Wars (Widevision) for the non-sports fans out there (more sketch cards).  Panini announced that they will carry the Elite brand over into the basketball line-up with as few design changes as possible (more shinny die-cuts… woo… hoo…)

The BGS 10 1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan RC recently sold for about the price of a luxury car:  $82,000.  I don’t really get behind the card grading industry, so I’m a little bias but…. ummm…. that’s just freakin’ dumb.  The money could be better spent on a few Jordan autographs, a Lebron auto or two, some Kobe autos for good measure, and a moderately priced sedan.  I suppose this sale and the recent Joe Montana BGS 10 sale both go to show just how important it really is to get your cards graded.  There is no way this could have been a publicity stunt to drum up business.

I’ve got a quick take on 2009-10 Topps Basketball, review of Bowman 48, a preview of 2009-10 Panini Elite, and some other articles coming soon.  Right now I’m off to pack up my cards and send them of to Beckett.  I’m hoping my 1989 Fleer Update Albert (Joey) Belle RC comes back a 10…

Monday, March 16, 2009

Forms Authentication….

Today I had the pleasure of getting to know Forms authentication better than I’d like to know it.  I am not a fan of “magic” making things work for me and Forms authentication is no exception.

I’ve picked up a new project that I’m working which relies quite heavily on the added benefits of Forms authentication.  While I must admit:  there are some very nice perks that come with this .Net feature, it really sucks to debug.

When authentication fails with no exceptions being thrown or any error message of any sort being displayed, where do you put the break point?  There is no actual code to debug since it’s all wired up by Visual Studio:  how do you debug code that isn’t there?

I’ve also discovered that (like most Microsoft ways), it’s not the easiest thing to tweak into what you want it to be.  If you want to add some extra information to the user that isn’t stored by default there isn’t an easy way to do it.  Sure, you can create the custom membership provider easy enough, but what if you need to add an extra bit of information (such as company id) to the CreateUser method?  There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to do it.  Sure, you can get into the custom profile providers, but all that work just to store an extra foreign key?

This experience has helped cement my long standing opinion:  the Microsoft way is great then 1% of the time your requirements actually match the model Microsoft implemented.  The other 99% of the time you’re better of going at it on your own.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Removing the Ask.com Default Search From IE 6

When installing BitTorrent I mistakenly allowed the Ask.com toolbar to be installed on my computer. Removing the toolbar was easy enough, but I couldn’t get rid of the stupid Ask.com search page that would come up if I made a typo when entering a URL or if the URL did not start with “www”. It’s really annoying when every time you want to go to my.ebay.com you get redirected to Ask.com. Here is how I removed the Ask.com default search page:
  1. Close all of you open instances of IE.
  2. Uninstall the Ask.com toolbar.
  3. Using a command prompt execute the following command:  Regsvr32 /u defaultsearch.dll
  4. Delete all files in the folder:  C:\Program Files\AskSearch\bin
  5. Delete the folder itself (this may require a reboot).
  6. This should have fixed the problem. Launch IE and see what happens.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wizards… Magic or Voodoo?

I started programming in QBasic, moved onto C++ with Visual C++ 6, and then into Java using Notepad and the command prompt.  I’ve always been one of those guys that truly enjoys fully understanding everything that is going on in my code.

I’m also one of those guys that enjoys getting my code to perform the best that it can.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to use inline Assembly or to pad my data structures for better byte alignment when I did a lot of C/C++ programming.

Over the past two years I had the pleasure of working with a developer that did everything via wizards in Visual Studio.  If you asked him to make a webpage that had a databound GridView he would have that completed in a heartbeat.  If you asked him to alter one of the columns to show stars instead of a raw number suddenly there was a problem:  he was entirely dependent on the magic of the wizards. 

He didn’t understand the code they generated and therefore didn’t even know where to begin to modify that code.  Over the past two years I did my best to teach him things like why you would use a Short over an Integer in VB.Net, how to take advantage of bitwise operators, and the difference between reference and value data types.

My question is this:  are wizards a form of magic or voodoo?  On the one hand they can save a lot of time, on the other you have “programmers” that don’t really understand the code that has been created for them.  How much longer until a “programmer” is just someone who knows which wizards to use to generate the desired piece of software?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

So… What’s In a Name?

I’ve decided to start a blog so that I would have some place to put my ramblings.  I don’t know that anyone will ever read this; however, this doesn’t change the fact that I need a good name for the blog.

Given that I primarily do web development the choice WinProc may seem a bit odd.  My reason for the name is pretty simple:  I know where I’ve been, but I don’t know where I’m going.

I started programming in C++ at age 12 just over 15 years ago.  At that time I became very familiar with the Win32 API and that is where I come from.  My freshman year of college I swore I would never make web pages (of course at that time animated GIFs were considered “advanced”, frames were a good idea, and I believe a dancing hamster was all the rage).  I never would have guessed I’d be doing RIAs for a living so I’m not going to try and guess where I’ll end up.

I tried the names “bitwise”, “bitshift”, “uselesscode”, “malloc”, and a few others.  All of these were taken and most of them either never had any posts at all or were last updated in 2004.

I make no promises as to exactly what I’ll post here in the future, but odds are it will involve code and a mistake I’ve made.