Definition of an Expert

This definition was categorized as 'cynical', but it looks pretty honest to me...

My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what's really going on to be scared.
--P. J. Plauger, Computer Language, March 1983

Found on the Quotations Page.

Transferring from Network Solutions is like hostage negotiation

5 or so years ago, I had all my domain management and hosting done through Network Solutions. It turns out they were charging $35 per year for domain name renewal, when relative newcomers like GoDaddy were charge about $8. Switching away from Network Solutions was purely cost-savings for me then, and I haven't been disappointed with GoDaddy since switching.

I just got off the phone with Network Solutions, after about 2 weeks of mind-numbing attempts to wrestle another domain from their clutches. Here's the run-down:

Reading binary data (image fields) from SQL Server 2005

I'm working on a project which requires me to read (with C#) existing SQL Server 2005 'Image' datatype data, making it useful to the end user in an ASP.NET application. The trouble is, the mime type for the data stored in each row is not stored...there isn't an easy way to tell, in advance, if the data I'm pulling out is a pdf, gif, jpg, zip, docx, xml, bmp or some other file type.

Looking closely at the stored data, I noticed that they start with consistent values (headers), and there are only a handful of different headers there.

The chili incident

Warning: Strong Bathroom Humor

I don't know if this is original, but a quick Google search didn't turn it up. If you wrote it, let me know and I'll give you credit:

A Postfix open relay?? Who, me?

Earlier this week, I started receiving emails (apparently) from the folks at Actually, the messages are from unmonitored accounts on their mail servers, but let's not split hairs. The point is, jef is passing rejected email messages 'back' to me...apparently they're seeing (and stopping) spam messages that originated on my own mail server.

Windows update patch broke ZoneAlarm's protection

While troubleshooting what I *thought* was a problem with my Linux DHCP/DNS/File/Gateway server today, I found myself knocked off the Internet. I wrongly assumed something in the Linux box had broken (will I ever learn?) and focused there. It wasn't until I tried shutting down ZoneAlarm on my client (Windows XP Pro) machine that the Internet came back. Very weird, since ZoneAlarm didn't seem to update or anything prior to the problem.

Windows Update = So annoying

I've been building up for a blog-rant over this issue for weeks...

"Windows recently downloaded and installed an important security update to help protect your computer. This update required an automatic restart of your computer."

That's the message you get when you leave your Windows machine sitting overnight, when Windows has downloaded something _really_ important, shut itself down, and wiped out all the work you had in progress. VERY annoying.

Trouble upgrading ChatterEmail on Palm 755p

I've been having trouble forever with viewing some attachments in ChatterEmail on my Palm 755p; some attachments just don't appear at all. When I go to a desktop PC, the attachments appear and load just fine with Thunderbird, but Chatter can't see them.

So, I tried the OTA upgrade from within Chatter. It looked neat, said it downloaded the update and installed, but when I tried to load the application I got "The version of chatterutils on your treo is out of date" as a fatal error message.

C# Brain dump

In a moment of severe mental weakness, I couldn't remember how to assign an integer's value as a text (string) value (yes, really). I found it funny enough to write up here. Here's what I tried (this actually works!):

this.lblItemID.Text = ((int)0).ToString();

After I wrote it, I just stared at it for a few seconds, before realizing the better (and easier, and obvious) way:

this.lblItemID.Text = "0';

Clearing a CheckBox after changing a DropDownList's selection

I had an ASP.NET form, where I wanted a quick Javascript function to un-check a CheckBox if the user changed the selection in a related DropDownList. Restated, I wanted any change in the DropDownList's selected item to clear the CheckBox. The user could then (if needed) re-check the CheckBox once they're done selecting from the DropDownList.

Adding the javascript onchange() event to the DropDownList's attributes from the ASP.NET class file turned out to be the easy part. In Page_Load():

this.ddTeams.Attributes.Add("onChange", "uncheckbox()")

Setting a TextBox 'width' with ASP.NET

Even though I've been using Firefox as my primary browser for months now, I still haven't spent much time checking some of my old (but production) code for compatibility. After taking a quick look, I can't believe customers haven't complained...

In that context, I noticed that Firefox doesn't respect the 'width' setting for the ASP.NET TextBox control. IE handles this just fine, but FireFox (and probably other browsers) just stick with the 'default' TextBox width, which is often too long/wide.

Forest Fire near Grayling, MI

The big news this week in our area is a forest fire that broke out Thursday (4/24) around 3-4pm just south of Grayling, along I-75 just north of 4 Mile Road (Exit 251). Helped by high winds and extremely dry conditions, the fire spread north and west, along the west side of the city of Grayling, burning off some 1,100 acres of woodlands and 6 structures. A significant number of businesses and homes in Grayling were evacuated ahead of the flames...

Apparently, the fire was finally contained when it slowed down at the swamp directly west of town, around 11pm.


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