Michael Gillson on February 17th, 2013

Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays. Clutch it, and it darts away.
Dorothy Parker

sundaeMore than a year ago, I wondered what language I should learn next.  At the time I concluded PHP.  Not that it was the best language, just the most attainable.  Well, I have been busy with so many things, I never did anything with PHP.

Instead, I decided JavaScript was more universal.  When I found nodejs, I realized, learning just one language could work on both the client and the server.  The tools to create looked pretty good, but JavaScript is a loose language that allows a developer to do dumb things and shoot himself in the foot.  But JavaScript is also powerful with first class functions and closures.

The problem returns back to on going debate between static and dynamic languages.  Static languages allow the compiler to help avoid typo mistakes and greatly facilitate refactoring for cleaner, more reusable code.  Dynamic languages allow for quick prototyping and getting something out the door fast.  But dynamic languages suffer when scaling to large projects and separation of duties.

Finally, there is a good answer.  The new Dart language by Google bridges these concerns.  You can optionally add static typing and use it as little or as much as you want.  The output code is JavaScript.  Since Dart is abstracting the code, as pieces are added to the WC3, some of the Dart output can implement new HTML5 features instead of creating JavaScript.  Dart also comes with a virtual machine(VM) that runs Dart code natively on the server much like nodejs.  The Dart VM is also coming to the Chrome browser so Dart does not need to convert to JavaScript.

With Dart, I can create Dart VM scripts, Dart Web Servers and Dart Web Clients with one attractive (similar to C# or Java) language.  Finally, I can program in one language and cover every need on every platform.  It is still early in the Dart world, but by summer of 2013, some great things will be happening.  Go check it out at http://www.dartlang.org/

Tags: ,

Michael Gillson on March 12th, 2012

Don’t call me an icon. I’m just a mother trying to help.
Princess of Wales Diana

A few months ago, I was learning some new software.  The tutorial mentioned button icons.  It said that Ubuntu 10.04 no longer had them turned on.  Also, the method to turn them on was buried and not readily available as before.  The description of how to turn this on was weak.

I struggled but made it work.  I like what I see.  I decided to record my efforts in this blog.  Many months have gone by and I am only now recording this info.  As I tried to remember all the pieces I went through to get this to work, I found another blog that documents better than I would have.  So to remember how to configure button icons, I will share this link – http://joesteiger.com/2010/05/23/add-icons-to-menus-and-buttons-ubuntu-10-04/

Tags: , ,

Michael Gillson on November 5th, 2011

Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

He was so learned that he could name a horse in nine languages; so ignorant that he bought a cow to ride on.
Benjamin Franklin

What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: abcdef? Answer: feedback. Don’t forget that feedback is one of the essential elements of good communication.
Source Unknown

The day before Halloween, winter arrived in South Central Alaska.  Now is the time for many months of indoor computer learning.  In the summer, I stay outside in the midnight sun as long as possible.

My gaol this winter is to expand my computer programming skills.  At work I use C# and Visual Studio 2010 to develop rich desktop applications with access to Oracle and SQL server.

At home, I have grown weary of Microsoft.  I use VM Player to get to my old copy of windows XP.  My host computer is Ubuntu 10.04.  I have numerous Ubuntu desktops and servers that are virtualized and accessible via VM Player.

I want to write software in my new environment.  My question started out to be What Language?  I have realized this is not the right question.  Read the rest of this entry »

Michael Gillson on August 18th, 2011

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought, and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Writing crystallizes thought and thought produces action.
Paul J. Meyer

Good character is like a rubber ball — thrown down hard — it bounces right back. Good reputation is like a crystal ball — thrown for gain — shattered and cracked.
Linall Jr. A. L.

The problem occurred when I updated to Windows 7.  My Crystal Reports Viewer no longer worked.  The web site recognized that it was missing but the install did not work.  Nothing I tried seemed to work,  I found an answer on a Microsoft web site BUT the answer was flawed.  This blog shows how overcome the flawed answer and make it work.

When the server needs to install the Crystal Reports Viewer, the files are extracted from a CAB file stored on the server at location like http://yourwebsitewherecrystalisinstalled/crystalreportviewers11/ActiveXControls/ActiveXViewer.cab

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

Michael Gillson on April 16th, 2011

An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. Its being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t. Its knowing where to go to find out what you need to know; and its knowing how to use the information you get.

William Feather

Recently, I needed to configure an Oracle ODBC connection on a Windows 7, 64 bit,  workstation.  Oracle was loaded and functioning properly.  But no Oracle ODBC driver could be found.  In fact, all the ODBC drivers were missing except for Microsoft SQL Server.  Even the Excel ODBC driver was missing.

I rechecked my Oracle install, I confirmed that I was running as an administrator but the drivers just were not available.  Through a team effort, we found the solution.  It is not obvious and I have no clue what Microsoft’s thought process is.

I documented this solution because I am afraid I will forget it and it was hard to find this solution.  I hope other people find this of some help.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

Michael Gillson on April 1st, 2011

The actor becomes an emotional athlete. The process is painful — my personal life suffers.
Al Pacino

I work with C# during the day.  At night, I am learning Python.  I try to apply my C# knowledge to coding in Python.  In C#, I use properties frequently.  Properties almost always have a getter method.  To write to a property, there is a setter method.

I created a Python class with a property but the setter never ran.  Finally, I found out why:  Something about new-style class in Python.  I needed to derive my classes from object, not the default parent class.

Wrong : class MyClass():

Right : class MyClass(object):

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

Michael Gillson on March 15th, 2011

My vocation is more in composition really than anything else — building up harmonies using the guitar, orchestrating the guitar like an army, a guitar army.
Jimmy Page

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours.
Eric Idle

The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.
Horace Walpole

Men show their character in nothing more clearly than what they think laughable.
Johann von Goethe

You can find lots of good information at the Django Project.  I will be following one of the options in the installation guide.  First I will download the latest django, here and save into my newly create django folder in my home directory.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,