Some things I learned these past few days…

A day without learning is a wasted day.

Don’t know who said that, but I live by this rule, and so I try to learn something valuable* every day:

 

  • You *can* serve confirmation dinner in your living room for 26 people. The only challenge is for the servant whose supposed to present the large tray of steak to each guest, when the guests are sitting shoulder-to-shoulder. 🙂
  • When your ASP.NET button click isn’t doing anything, the first place to look ISN’T the SQL query that’s supposed to run. Check that the button is hooked up with the onClick-event containing the code. That will save you a lot of wasted debugging-cycles. n00b. 🙂
  • If you are working on a virtual lab and have 20 minutes remaining of your alotted time, but only 10 minutes before your wife has dinner ready, she will “make it so” that the virtual lab crashes. Don’t ask me how.
  • If you plan for a nice day out, bicycling with your family, you will only get so far before you have a flat tire.
  • Your winner’s luck is thoroughly spent once you land any prize – no matter what it’s worth. So if you win a stack of bananas, that will count as much as winning the lottery. You can’t have both.

So these are some things that I learned. Your comments confirming or denying these claims are welcome.

 

 

* Valuable TO ME, that is.. 🙂

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Project Euler

Project EulerI picked up a tip for a cool website from one of the podcasts I’m a regular listener of. Think it was DotNetRocks! but I’m not absolutely sure. [Edit: It was DNR #428 with Mike Nash talking about Windows 7 and IE8] The tip was brought in by some guy who was trying out F#. On learning the syntax of a new language, he would try and solve a set of math-problems in the new language to get a feel for how it works. He referred to a site known as Project Euler which hosts a collection of math-problems of varying difficulty.

One can register for an account at the site, and once you have solved a particular problem, you send in the answer. If it’s approved, you’re allowed access to a forum thread discussing this particular problem and showcasing the different approaches and programming languages people have used to solve that problem.

I was so intrigued by this that I jumped on it first chance I got! By bed-time last night, I had solved the first two problems, and used some of the suggestions in the forum thread to tweak my C#-code. It was very interesting to see how the problems were solved, both using higher maths (far beyond me! :)) and as I did, brute-forcing… There are some *very* obscure languages out there! 🙂

I was also able to use suggestions in the forum to time the execution of my code, and to my surprise, the ~1000 iterations in the first problem were computed in less than 1ms in my ASP.NET C# code! I was impressed! There was some guy in the forum that touted how his code solved the problem in “only” 274ms, so I was very impressed that my less-than-optimal C# snippet was that much faster! Granted, his solution was done waay back in 2005, so maybe computers really have gotten faster since then.. 🙂

All in all, Project Euler is a very interesting site I’ll be sure to visit every time I feel up to a challenge. It’s gonna be a *very* long time until I’ve solved all 240 problems, that’s for sure!!

The extended Easter..

Extending Easter by a week was an excellent idea, visiting the US was even better! Highlights have been (in no particular order) : driving a car on Manhattan at night in rain and fog, guided tour of a steel mill in Ohio, visiting Amish country, The Great Wolf Lodge in PA, the great warmth and hospitality of our american relatives and a fun Easter Egg Hunt! Now I’m back at the office, and I just feel a lot lighter than last time I was here. I’m probably not, though. 😉

I’ve joined up with the Linkedin .NET Users Group  (formally the “C# Professionals Group”) and they look set to make a real difference in the .net developers community. Being over 20,000 members strong already I think they really can.

Focus will be as before, on ASP.NET and learning all the facets of greatly scalable web-architecture. I’m kinda struggling to find the time outside office hours to get real deep into it, but somehow I’ll make it happen.

I’m getting into Microsofts Hyper-V working on a case for a client, and sorting out all the pros and cons vs the competition is proving a challenge, even if I have the local Microsoft experts only a call away.. 🙂 For instance – will Server Core support failover clustering with Hyper-V? Will the free Hyper-V Server support failover clustering? How do you convert existing physical servers to virtual ones, does it require System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM)? Somehow I’ll straighten it out, and if all goes well, we’ll bag this case as the first “win” over VMWare VI3.. Fingers crossed..

MSDN Live

I was persuaded to drive down to Trondheim for the MSDN Live conference, and while I wasn’t able to attend the GeekBeer part of the conference, I had a great time!

As a consultant I usually attend the IT Pro conferences, so now suddenly finding myself in a crowd of developers was a unusual feeling for me – it’s like I’ve totally reinvented myself!

News from the front on MSDN Live this time was of course Silverlight, but also development on Windows 7 and other fun topics.

All in all – a great conference, and I’m geared on really digging in on ASP.NET which will be my main focus in the learning process..