Packgrog's Playland
Random ramblings and experimentation...

Back From the Brink

Today was actually a productive day. It's nice to feel competant enough to actually accomplish something at work for a change. The last month or so, while not especially productive at work, has been quite hectic. More on that later...

posted by Packgrog at 2/19/2002 04:37:00 PM EST

The Half-Blind Leading the Blind

Visual Basic pisses me off. Being more accustomed to real programming languages like C++, Java, Perl, etc., everything about Visual Basic rubs me the wrong way. Sure, sometimes it's very fast and easy to throw together a simple little GUI application or a DLL, but there's things about the development experience that disgust me to no end.

First off, I find the syntax of the language absolutely repellant. I've always prefered the terse, tightly-structured style used for C/C++/Java. I like to have a definite end to each command string. I like for conditional sections to be clearly and simply identifiable (there's just no beating { and } for this!). I hate this "End If" bullsh*t. It's like writing in Modula-3 again. *shudder*. I like being able to assign initial values to variables on the same line that I define them. I like being forced to assign types and case sensitivity to my variables (it makes for cleaner and more maintainable code).

Most of all, I absolutely despise an Interactive Development Environment that tries so hard to do the thinking for you. Not having to build makefiles can be a nice feature of IDEs, but other things are extremely irritating. When the IDE complains about unfinished lines when you want to do a cut-and-paste from a different line to complete it: that's annoying. When there's no control in the interface to modify certain behaviors of your new GUI that you KNOW can be modified: that's annoying. And when you spend half your day trying to figure out something as maddeningly simple as adding a new method to a pre-existing class: that's postal time.

Visual Basic sucks, and so does Microsoft. Stop trying so hard to think FOR me, you bastards.

If anyone out there needs a consulting firm to do some Unix work for you, do me a favor: go to the Programming Concepts, Inc. website and hook up with us. I'm sick of this damn Windows work.

posted by Packgrog at 1/18/2002 03:21:00 PM EST


Habanero sauce is a beautiful thing. For the past couple of month I've been having it just about every day. My "addiction" to it started largely as an effort to cure myself of my latest sinus infection. Well, the sinus infection is long gone, and thanks to habanero sauce, my sinuses are blissfully pain free. Oh joy!

In case you didn't already guess, this is just an excuse to test a new convenience feature on WinBlogger. *chuckle* Back to work...

posted by Packgrog at 1/16/2002 01:01:00 PM EST

"You Need To Take A Bath!"

OK, so I've got a fairly sexy version of WinBlogger working using a modified version of the bloggerCOM component, which is what I've been using to post my past few messages. Unfortunately, it has become clear that Blogger's protocol implementation (XML-RPC) is not what I need to be focusing on for work. I'm supposed to be learning how to implement SOAP. So work on WinBlogger may either be slow going at home, or may cease altogether. Alternatively, I may just give my altered version of the code back to the fellow who originated it.

At any rate, I've effectively come full circle, since my discovery of Blogger originated from my need to find information more entertaining (and less dry) than the reading I'd already been doing on SOAP. And in my quest for a good example of a SOAP implementation after discovering the Blogger API was inadequate, I happened across... the site I'd been reading in the first place. Go figure. So now I'll be playing with the Local Weather app they have listed there.

Apologies to Darren Aronofsky for the paraphrased title. Go rent Pi to make it up to him (and to understand the Archimedes reference). I guess I had to take a bath to realize I needed to use SOAP. Go figure! ;)

posted by Packgrog at 1/16/2002 11:41:00 AM EST

A HAPPY Day For Progmetal

OK, so I spoke too soon. An industrious gentleman by the alias of Neil has put together a temporary version of Perpetual Motion. Actually, I kinda like it better than the old version (some much-needed features were added, like view-count and optional user registration). So I'm not getting as much of a break from Progmetal as I thought. Ah well. At least some of my favorite hellraisers are there (hi Teri, Ralf, and WeeboTech!). Oh yeah, and Neil did his version of the board with PHP and straight database access, much snazzier than the old Perl/CGI setup, IMHO. Hopefully we'll stick with Neil's software, even if the board gets moved back to it's old URL. That'd be nice.

Perpetual Motion is dead. Long Live Perpetual Motion!

posted by Packgrog at 1/16/2002 11:11:00 AM EST

A Sad Day For Progmetal

With only half a month's worth of usage at it's new home with Verio, the Perpetual Motion Conference is offline. My home away from home and source for all news in the Progmetal world is essentially dead. The sad truth of the matter is that, for me, it couldn't have happened at a better time.

Lately I've become rather disillusioned with "progressive" music in general. I think that a large part of it is burnout from over-exposure (the same reason I stopped liking Live for a while after Throwing Copper became insanely popular). Part of it, however, is almost certainly a change in taste, and a matter of personal growth. Far too much of the "progressive" music I've heard simply ISN'T, and most of it is horrifically shallow. It's as if the entire genre learned how to write lyrics from Jon Anderson, and I just can't stand that kinda tripe anymore. What's worst of all is that this disillusionment came about around the same time that I became a DJ on Seismic Radio (my first broadcast was when I streamed CNN on Sept. 11th for people without radio/tv).

But now, my "lifeline" back to the Progmetal community has been severed. I was prepared somewhat for life without Perpetual Motion during the brief outage that occured due to the server changeover right before the new year, so it isn't such a shock to the system. I might miss some of the interaction that occured so much there, but in the end I think the break will be beneficial to me. I can have a break from the overload, and in the meantime I can be more productive at work (always a good thing). Meanwhile, my posts here will just serve as a breather when work makes my head buzz too much. *chuckle*

Have a good rest, Perpetual Motion! Hope to see you again in February. Until then, it's Blogger madness... MUWAHAHAHAH! ;)

posted by Packgrog at 1/14/2002 03:47:00 PM EST

Testing 1 2 3

This is a test of my initial GUI using the bloggerCOM component, based off of the hack-job GUI provided. So far, the revamp is looking pretty slick, and the process is introducing me to more of the features (and quirks) of Visual Basic.

On a side note, the web spec for the Blogger API is already inaccurate. They added an "isAdmin" field to the response of blogger.getUsersBlogs. What's odd is that I discovered this because they made it the first field rather than adding it as the last field. Mostly I found this odd because it invalidates older software (like the bloggerCOM component). Perhaps this was an intentional alert to the new feature, but it still seems like bad form. We'll see if I run into any more hidden changes...

posted by Packgrog at 1/14/2002 02:31:00 PM EST