Month: October 2006

The bulge, huh?

Posted by – October 15, 2006

Last night, The History Channel showed ‘The Battle of the bulge’, a typical 60s/70s war movie depicting the 1944 hard fought battle in the Ardennes. Typical, because it features many big screen stars in a story that is not soo close to the truth. Obviously, back in the days, most of the effects were filmed in the studio using miniature models and that.

Maybe the essence of these kind of Hollywood movies is to have people look up the actual stories behind the film (Wikipedia).

Which reminds me that Eastwood’s war movie (‘Flags of our fathers’) is supposed to be in theatres really soon. ‘Flags’ tells the story of the soldiers that raised the flag on Iwo Jima. Eastwood also directed a movie telling the other side’s story (which is now in postproduction).

Holy Cows!

Posted by – October 11, 2006

So,Hey, I like Int64s! a question programmers (the Earthly types) should be able to answer:

How many cows can you store in a genuine Int64?

If you’re a smartass, take it away!


Posted by – October 11, 2006

I‘m both mixed pleased and skeptic about the Qualcomm’s decision to open source that legendary e-mailer Eudora. I have no problems with the open-sourcing part, but more or less with the plans to use Thunderbird as the base for the (new) open source version of Eudora (Mozilla’s announcement).

I’m pretty sure that the very first e-mailer I used was Eudora Light and that must have been around the end of 1994 and the start of 1995. Yeah: that’s that long ago. Eudora at that time was called postcardware and long time users will probably remember the following text:

Eudora Light is postcardware!

I moved and lived on Eudora for years, up to 2000, when I decided to move my data to a relatively unknown branch of open source mailer Phoenix Mail (maintained by mr. Ruder). The rest is (relatively said) history: I hardly use my e-mailer nowadays nor do I actively check my e-mails. I guess, that’s not because of the loads of spam that come in everyday: it’s also because I don’t think it’s necessary to reply each (well-intended) e-mail.

If you didn’t hear from me a month ago, hi to you again.

Who you gonna call?

Posted by – October 10, 2006

Ghostbusters!Ghostbusters We saw both the films (I & II) and liked them both (naturally). While the effects are rather old-fashioned, the Ghostbuster movies still stand the test of time.

Earlier this evening, I played a rather unlucky game of Winning 11 where my players kept either missing the goal or losing the ball. For a moment I considered cursing the (built-in) randomizer routine, which was (apparently) to blame for my unfortunate streak of not so coincidental near misses. We need truly random numbers.

That said

Posted by – October 10, 2006

I had the opportunity to play around with Microsoft’s C# and I must admit it’s a breeze (and fun) to learn if you’ve got a C++/C, Pascal or Java background. Obviously, Microsoft’s C# designers took the best of many worlds, which means, the best of all the programming languages above.

This is no surprise if you know who’s the principal lead architect of C#: Anders Heylsberg. Yes, it’s that guy who happened to be the main designer of Turbo Pascal and who shook the computer industry when he decided to leave Borland for Microsoft (there are plenty of rumours around that Hejlsberg was working on C# at Borland, but these might or might not be true. Here at xsamplex, we’ll leave that to the readers to figure out).

There’s a couple of catch-on’s I don’t specifically like about VS 2005: from its original release it was obviously targeted to compile for Framework 2.0 only. I can only assume that Microsoft wants their faithful developers to force their companies to move to the Framework 2: In the practical world, this makes no sense since most Windows based servers and desktops don’t necessarily come with Dot Net 2.0 installed (that’s an understatement).

Secondly, the IDE is extremely giddy and doesn’t seem to work completely for me: The actual coding area looks so small that it proves the point that in some cases MDI does work (in this case editing code).

Programmers are from Earth

Posted by – October 10, 2006

The latest popular ‘programming article on a blog’ is “Developers are from Mars, Programmers are from Venus”, which, mind my language, is a piece of crap, obviously written by somebody who is an application developer. It is so full of stereotypes that it leaves me wonder if the author has some kind of grudge against someone else who happens to have a better paying job because his technical background is better than the average knowledge of the article’s author. Accidently that covers the difference in this industry: one is called ‘senior programmer’ the other one is called ‘junior programmer’.

In an organization, you need the people who know what they’re talking about and, who above all, can easily adapt, switch programming languages, teach themselves new things. Their love for programming does not just start at 9 and ends at 5. They know the limitations of enviroments and will tell you exactly that: up front, too. And most likely, their sense of ‘arrogance’ is just their over-confidence, as in, ‘I’ve seen this before. I’m on it’. If they can communicate with users, well, that is a plus, but you surely don’t want your programmers to ‘milkman’ around. That’s obviously a job for the coffee man or lady.

And then some tech

Posted by – October 9, 2006

Earlier, Google announced that it is taking over YouTube1, the popular video sharing site. There was a lot of speculation last week and rumours were abound about what would happen if Google bought YouTube, with many ‘experts’ expecting lawyers readying their bankaccounts. We shall see.

Last week, Google also rolled out ‘Google Code search’, a search engine to find sourcecode. A word of caution if you’re a commercial developer: most of the code is covered by the GPL. That said, there was quite the buzz about the features where analysts and other experts suggested that ‘Hackers Could Now Finally Reverse Engineer Passwords and that and the end of civilization is night because the source is all open and bare and that’. Yeah, that figures: I mean, what is their definition of ‘Open Source’?

Yesterday I watched some scenes of ‘Mythbusters’ (warning FLASH), the ever popular Discovery Channel show. I’m not sure what the point of it all is: yesterday’s myths being busted were the ‘security features regularly shown in Hollywood movies’ (like laser security and that). So the moral of the story of last night episode is that, Hollywood movies don’t really tell the truth. I didn’t know that. But definitely fun to watch.

1 Official Google press release


Posted by – October 9, 2006

With The best pumpkin pie you wish you ever had Halloween around the corner, businesses have been focussing on pumpkins and other harvest and Fall related items and products.

There’s a local restaurant that still serves home-made1 (seasonal) cheesecake: in this case pumpkin cheesecake pies, which apparently are of such good quality that there was a need to show one of them on this blog.

1 Not too many local restaurants serve home-made cheesecake nowadays.

In other news…

Posted by – October 9, 2006

On this Thanksgiving Day, I predict a slow newsday, despite yesterday’s news (‘North Korea conducts first nuclear weapon test’). I tend to believe that this proofs the failure of the current US policy.

However, last night, I saw brief segments of CNN, the station that broke that news: at that point the nuclear weapon test was unconfirmed. Via Slashdot, today, it seems that the USGS’ instruments suggest that there was (indeed) an earthquake report in Korea.

Le Boeuf sur le Toit

Posted by – October 8, 2006

Yesterday, I came across this performance of Milhaud’s ‘Le Boeuf sur le Toit’ at Google Video. I actually ended up at Google via Daniella Thompson’s excellent Brazilian music blog (permalink to video)1.

I ran into her blog a couple of years ago while dissecting Milhaud’s ballet for an Everything2 entry (and Milhaud’s bio). Thompson’s sidenotes are essential in understanding ‘Le Boeuf’: which musical pieces Milhaud borrowed and where they are exactly played in the piece. You may want to keep those two links handy while watching (and listening) that video mentioned above.

So, the main question is, was Milhaud a copycat or was he simply inspired by Brazilian music? To answer that question one should look into how copyrights laws (and particular the ones that cover music) have changed over the last century. Think of it this way: In modern times, Milhaud would have just been a mixer, using samples of other musical pieces with a recurring theme from his own hand.

1 02/01/09: The video has been taken down: you may have more luck if you look for the search terms ‘Milhaud Boeuf Bernstein’. That should give you a page with links of the same video but cut up in 3 or 4 pieces.

Nova Scotia: Open 7 days a week.

Posted by – October 7, 2006

The Now Open On Sundays!biggest news event this week (you heard this on CNN first! Wait, no, scrap that) now prominently featuring on today’s Tourism NS e-postcard, which you can send to your Europeans pals (who obviously don’t enjoy this particular human right of spending extra money on Sundays).

You asked: How to find count between two dates mssql

Posted by – October 7, 2006

Oh: that age old problem. It depends on what you’re looking for? Years, days? Milliseconds?

/* Days */
select DATEDIFF(D, getdate(), '10/11/06');
select DATEDIFF(Y, getdate(), '10/01/02');

You may need to be careful with using year calculations: obviously MS SQL does not take in account the actual number of months that elapsed during year calculations. So, if you do the datediff for the dates ’10/11/06′ and ‘/12/01/03′, the result is definitely not ’3′ .

Calculating dates in PostgreSQL is actually easier, where you can use constructs like ‘date ’2001-10-01′ – date ’2001-09-28”.

As an aside: you may have struggled with getting the MSQL Developer Edition to run on your high powered laptop. The DE comes with the free install of any of Microsoft Express editions of C#, C++ or Basic. In my case, a couple of months ago, I decided to turn off the automatic ‘start’ options for both SQLExpress and SQL Server Browser. To test the above code, I decided to run the above services, but found out that activating them did not get me connected to anything. Well: not MS SQL.

  • Open to the SQL Server Configuration Manager
  • Go to SQL Server 2005 Network configuration
  • Click Protocols for SQLEXPRESS
  • Enable TCP/IP
  • Restart both (earlier) mentioned services.
  • Go to ODBC Datasources manager.
  • Create a new datasource, select SQL NATIVE CLIENT (yes, you heard it here first). You should see the SQLEXPRESS (or whatever your computer’s name is) in that Server combobox.
  • Use your Windows Logon user/password combination to complete the rest of the setup.

Yeah. Really.

All Things Canadian

Posted by – October 2, 2006

ThisHurricane Isaac morning there was a weather warning out for Nova Scotia, but according to weather experts, the warning had nothing to do with hurricane Isaac (or rather tropical storm). Point is, later this day, meteorologists from the Weatheroffice significantly downgraded the warnings, something you wouldn’t say if you look at the photo. And so, Isaac will hobble forth, on to Europe most likely as part of a significant cold front.

Last Saturday, an overpass in Quebec collapsed, killing 5 and (critically) injuring 6 others. Apparantly, there were signals that the bridge was about to give up: police officers reported chunks of concrete being dropped earlier that day. I’m not sure what is needed to close a highway or bridge in Canada, but when concrete starts to give in, even in small amounts, it’s generally time to do something serious about it. As someone who has a background in Civil Engineering, the following quote struck me, since I brought it up a couple of times during informal discussions with others:

An increase in the volume and size of large trucks contributes to the wear and tear of infrastructure built decades ago, when design specifications were different, he said.

It’ll be interesting to see what the public inquiry finds out.