What’s Worse Than Zombies? Dead Pixels!!!

Last week I finally decided to take the leap to HD television. I know, I’m a little late to the party but better late than never. I headed over to Best Buy and decided to get the 42 inch LG70. A very nice TV: 4 HDMI inputs, 120Hz refresh rate, 42 inches of HD heaven. Since this is the season of the Super Bowl, they said they could deliver it a week from now (which was yesterday in real time). So yesterday the delivery people showed up, very courteous and very professional. Jason, the delivery guy, told me to let it warm up before turning it on. I thanked him and then I was left with a TV I couldn’t watch just yet. I decided I needed an HDMI cable for my Xbo360.

I went out and searched at KMart, Walmart, and Circuit City. No luck, all they had was overly expensive HDMI cables. Who would pay $40 for a cable? I didn’t really need it any way I already had a component on my Xbox360. At the point I got back to my home, It had been 3 hours since my TV was delivered. So I plugged it in and turned it on. What I saw next was horrifying. A 3/4 inch thick column of dead pixels right down the center. What the F@$K! Needless to say, Best Buy is replacing it, but not for another week. Now I am left with a less than HDTV sitting in my living room. As much as I try to look past the dead pixels I can’t. It ruins any experience, it’s right down the center. The bright side is that I can still play Left 4 Dead in Co-op just fine because the row of pixels is right on the split screen line. Despite the line down the center, all the Xbox360 games look amazing in HD.

Is there a point to this post, no not really, I just wanted to rant because I have a $1400 visual eyesore.

WCF – Hellish Configuration

I love WCF, I think it is the most useful thing that came with the .NET 3.0 framework. On the other hand, I do not love the nightmarish configuration process. Configuring a WCF service might be harder than solving that puzzle-box from the Hellraiser movies and probably just as painful.

The WCF configuration tool only makes it slightly easier to configure. It is a GUI representation of the XML that is the WCF configuration. Greeeeaat, a GUI tool for something I don’t understand… that will make it easier (sarcasm). There really isn’t as much guidance as I’d like in the tool itself.

The configuration process is a hard one and I can feel my head throbbing from all the information being absorbed about certificates, identities, and transport vs. message security. The configuration process of a WCF service seems to be the biggest complaint of other developers, I know it’s slowed down a couple of projects I was involved in. If you are in the same boat of trying to figure out the best way to secure your WCF service then I have a site for you.

Those Patterns and Practices guys have a very cool site on CodePlex. The guide was released in 08/01/08, but still good.

http://www.codeplex.com/WCFSecurity

It has amazing walkthroughs on how to setup authentication, authorization, and security for your WCF services. Videos are included on the site as well. So until WCF configuration becomes easier in .NET 4.0 you can muddle your way through with a little help from the P&P; guys.

Hope this helps, and be careful not to open up any gateways to hell while trying to configure your service. 😛

You’re Not Taking This Seriously Enough

When I worked for Lehman Brothers, I was involved in creating an application in association with Lending Tree. The timeline was impossible but the developers were confident in our skills. After all, we were professionals. Managment, on the other hand, were not, because they were in over their heads. They were essentially managing something they had very little knowledge about.

One day they pulled all the developers into a room, and told us “We don’t think you are taking this project seriously enough.” What an odd thing to say, right? The developers were driving the entire direction of the project and meeting deadlines, what would prompt such an accusation. Well, it was apparently because we were still happy with our team and would joke around. While they were lost and had no idea what was happening around them. They were basically impotent in their positions.

So does having a fun time means you don’t take things seriously? Absolutely not, I think it is essential for a developer to have a sense of humor. How else can you take someone vastly less qualified than you telling you how to code (yes I meant to use code) an application? Or How else can you sit in meetings for hours and listen to people describe how they want the buttons to look like? And How else can you take the insane pressure placed on you?

I always love seeing humor expressed in code, admittedly very geeky. This site is based in tongue and cheek and was a spawn of the project described above. I try and approach a lot of things with a sense of humor. When I saw a TDD example about SkyNet on Steven Harman’s blog and loved it. That’s the kind of thing that humanizes developers, we aren’t just expendable parts of a big machine. We have personalities and IT management fails to see that or, more cynically, doesn’t care.

Comments are a great place to leave easter eggs for other developers, jokes to make the fact of looking at old code more fun. I remember I placed an ASCII picture of Super Punch Out’s Mike Tyson in a comment block above a method. He was called “Mike Typeson.”

Having a sense of humor and being serious are not mutually exclusive, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I’d love to hear of other humor in code, I know Ayende Rahien has stuff and I’ve looked at that.

That’s my rant for the day. 🙂