Tuesday, February 20, 2007

IMDB gets an update

Sometime between the 17th, and the 20th of February 2007, one of my favourite websites, IMDB.com got a fresh new look. The name and title pages (so far) are sporting the new styles, with the rest of the site to follow. I think it looks really good. It's about time IMDB got an update.

Monday, February 19, 2007

ECMA Podcast

Since Jeannine was trapped in an Ottawa airport, I put together an episode of Spine Radio that consists of several songs from artists either nominated for East Coast Music Awards, or playing around town during the ECMAs. Check it out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Air Miles finally pay off

I got my free Griddler! Good thing I was up though...the Sameday courier guy came to the door at 08:10. I had to answer the door in a towel.

I made a peanut butter and strawberry jam panini on an English muffin.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Scotch: Aye, it's good for wha' ails ye

For the past couple of months, I've been trying to break into the world of Scotch. Keep in mind that previous to this couple of months, the only whiskey I'd ever had was accompanied by at least two parts of ginger ale.

Getting into Scotch isn't as easy as getting into wine, mainly because a bottle of the former is several times more expensive than one of the latter. Scotch also has at least as many idiosyncratic adjectives as wine, trading 'plum' and 'cherry' for 'woody' and 'peaty'. It's an odd experience to learn these terms. It's kind of like when you were in pre-school (or earlier) when you were first learning colours -- You can't really understand what exactly 'red' is until somebody shows you a stop sign, so the only way to be able to talk to another Scotch drinker about what you're tasting and experiencing is to try a whole bunch of different Scotches. That in itself can be a bit exciting and more than a bit frustrating.

So far, I've tried GlenFiddich, Oban, Dalwhinnie, and Lagavulin, and I've discovered that I'm partial to the ones that are described as 'peaty', particularly Lagavulin and Oban. Anybody else a Scotch drinker? What are your favourites?

I couldn't leave it in the store.

Whilst shopping for wares in the grocery store, I came upon a bottle of lemonade that I had never seen before. I was taken by the friendly, lemon-shaped head on the bottle. I had to have it.

Pucker up lemonade, not only makes their URL remarkably hard to find on the bottle, but is remarkably good lemonade to boot. At $1.99 / 473 ml, it's not cheap, but people are paying just about that much for the same amount of water these days.

Best line from the bottle: "Made in Canada by a guy in an apron (inc.)".

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Process priority should apply to other resources

I have an application that doesn't take up many CPU cycles, but it does write a large amount of data to my hard drive; the same hard drive on which my virtual memory file is located. As you can probably imagine, my system slowed to the speed of an intoxicated sloth crawling on flypaper. It got me thinking that it would be nice if there were a way to not only give a priority to a process as far as the CPU is concerned, but to other system resources as well. How is it possible that this process that was using less than 10% of CPU cycles was able to bring my computer to a crawl? It really shouldn't be.

Quality of Service kind of does this for the network, process priority does it for CPU cycles. But CPU speeds haven't been the bottleneck in modern personal computers for a number of years -- now it's the hard drive. I can't understand why any OS I've used still doesn't support a way to limit access to the hard drive the same way they've done for CPU cycles for decades.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Form inheritance in Visual Studio 2005

I'm sure many people are familiar with the principles of object-oriented programming such as inheritance, polymorphism, etc. However, not everybody may have considered is the potential for creating a class hierarchy of forms and dialogs. It can be very beneficial to have the ability to extend an existing form class to create a more specific type of form. For example, I constructed a group of C# forms and controls that allow me to design a page as a control and place it in either a wizard or a property sheet. I can just extend my custom page from the base page type and drop on whatever controls I need for that particular page. That's something that I think should have been in the .NET framework, but that's another story.

In any given class hierarchy, it's probable that at least some of those classes will exist purely for the purpose of polymorphism, and they'll be abstract classes. This is no less true with a hierarchy of forms or controls. In my particular example, there's not much use in instantiating an instance of the base page class because it'll have no controls on it, so I marked it as abstract. As I soon found out, the designer in Visual Studio 2005 takes great exception to this.

For some reason, the VS2005 designer tries to actually create instances of these abstract base classes and I'm not quite sure why. If all the abstract methods and properties in the base classes are made virtual and given simple, default bodies, so that the classes can be instantiated, the designer will start working again. It's a real shame; I love using abstract methods in base classes because I find myself often forgetting to implement the derived-class versions of virtual methods like I'm supposed to, and it's nice to have the compiler remind you if you don't. It's just unfortunate that this can't happen if you want the designer to work with your abstract forms or controls.

Monday, February 5, 2007

iMate Jasjar for sale

I am selling my iMate Jasjar. It does a whole lot of stuff; probably more stuff than I need. Because it does so much stuff, it's a little large for a guy who just wants a cell phone most of the time. I ended up buying a Motorola SLVR a few months back, so the Jasjar has been sitting idle. It's still in great condition (a few superficial dings, but working flawlessly).

The auction is on Ebay now, so get bidding if you're interested :)

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Edison Force?

Walking through Blockbuster today, waiting for a table in Cora's, I saw this movie for sale in the 'previously viewed' section: Edison Force. It has an ensemble cast that I thought would have been less possible to get together than Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields: Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, L.L. Cool J, and Justin Timberlake. What in the hell?

Who in their right mind would bring all those people together for a movie? I can't even fathom Justin Timberlake and Morgan Freeman in back to back movies, let alone the same movie. That being said, now I must own it. It was only $7.99. I'll give my review after I actually watch it.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Shouldn't a supermarket know about grocery bags?

I went to the Real Atlantic Superstore today for the first time in a long while.  Typically, I shop at Sobeys, and now I remember one of the reasons why.  No, it's not just for the air miles.

The Superstore's bags must be easier to produce.  They must be, because I cannot conceive of another reason that they would be so retarded.  The handles of Superstore bags are on the ends of the bags instead of the sides.  If you're trying to carry a frozen pizza or something that is much longer than it is wide, the handles are the whole length of the pizza box away from each other.  Obviously, that is very awkward.

Sobeys got it right.  The handles on their bags are where handles ought to be on a sensible bag.  One hand can easily go right through both handles, pizza box and all.

Shouldn't a supermarket, of all places, understand what makes a good bag?  These places do research into customer behaviour and put the staple items in distributed locations so you have to traverse more of the store to get them all.  Just today, I went to get milk, and it was at the complete opposite end of the store from the entrance.  If I were handicapped, I'd probably never buy milk -- you'd have to walk too far.  The Superstore is just dumb, and they have dumb bags.  I do like the President's Choice brand though.

Speaking of Air Miles, while I was writing this blog, and gathering the links for those websites that I linked to, I explored the potential rewards I can get with the number of points that I have.  I haven't yet redeemed any points in the 7 or so years that I've been collecting.  I think I'm going to get myself a Griddler.