IS Department

Did You Hear…

Posted in Programming by Brian Russell on November 19, 2007

…that Visual Studio 2008 was released today.  Of course you did, because it is on EVERY single blog I subscribe to where the author is a MS developer.

Let me help everyone out…shut up already!  I must have seen about 30+ posts about VS 2008 on only about 20+ blogs of MS developers.  Way too high of a ratio!

The people that read your blog already know, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be reading your .NET blog.

I needed to rant a bit…

As far as I am concerned, this is a way bigger story.


The Wayback Machine – Helped Me Do My Job

Posted in Programming,Uncategorized by Brian Russell on November 19, 2007

I just had an incident today that I thought I would share with you, and expose you to a new resource if you don’t already know about it.  The Wayback Machine.  I have used it in the past for mindless fun.  You know, to look how Google’s main page barely changes, and Yahoo’s exploded into a unreadable mess.  This time, I actually had a work reason to visit it.

Our website was written by a third party, and when we first deployed it we didn’t have the complete source in our source control repository.  We noticed something that needed tweaked at one point on our job listing page (the wording caused confusion for people), and we went to the web server and directly tweaked the html on our job page since we didn’t have the source to update and deploy from.  This prompted us to get the source code in our repository, better late than never!

Anyway, here is the text before the change:

in-process 1

and here is the text after the change:

in-process 2

I know it wasn’t a huge change, but the wording was previously approved and delivered by HR and I didn’t remember it.

Fast forward past that change and a few revisions, we noticed that this text was no longer on the site.  I needed to put the text back onto the site.  The problem was, I didn’t remember what the exact text was that needed to be there and the HR rep was out of the office.  I went through our source control to look at the different versions of the file to find the text, but the initial upload and future changes didn’t include the wording because we tweaked it directly on the server itself.

I could go hunt through some backups, but I would rather pull my teeth out.  That was when I remembered the Wayback Machine (internet archive).  I ran our site through it, and was presented with a bunch of different versions I could easily look through to find what I needed.  Once I found it, I copied the text, pasted it in the source controlled file, deployed a new version of our site, and everything is now good!

Develop Better Habits and Stay Motivated

Posted in Uncategorized by Brian Russell on November 17, 2007

I was doing my normal Digg run through today and I came across this article which I thought was something worth sharing with the rest of you called 7 Habits of Highly Innovative People.

I like the idea behind the points of the article. Persistence is what makes success come about, not just a great idea. Of course, you can persistently go in the wrong direction while trying to achieve success, so you need to make sure you look up every now and then and make sure you still are on the right path. If not, make a course correction and get persistent again!

From point number 3 ‘Take Risks, Make Mistakes’:

I believe that part of the reason why we create self-imposed inhibition is due to our fear of failure. Expect that some ideas will fail in the process of learning. Build prototypes often, test them out on people, gather feedback, and make incremental changes. Rather than treating the mistakes as failures, think of them as experiment.

Of course, these habits are great, but you also have to stay motivated.  The article about Staying Motivated talks some more about this.  Here is the intro paragraph:

Whether your chosen medium is pictures or language, food or formulas, everyone has the capacity to be creative in their work. But we can often lose our motivation to create, making it difficult to stay focused and excited on a project. So how does one keep their creative well from drying up?

Take the time to read both articles, you should find at least something in them that applies to you and what you can do to make yourself better.

SharePoint Styles and Modifications

Posted in Network,Programming by Brian Russell on November 1, 2007

We are about to roll out SharePoint in our organization and we wanted to apply some small tweaks to the design.  I went out looking for how to modify the CSS files ‘the correct’ way and I found this little gem in the Internet trash pile.  It takes a bunch of the styles and shows you where they are applied by using screen clippings.  THANK YOU!  You can also figure this out by using a developer toolbar in your favorite browser, but this is much easier to me.

I also found a SharePoint Cheat Sheet that looks promising.

We also needed to add a company logo to all sites within a site collection.

Here is a post explaining how to properly use alternative styles without messing around with the CORE.CSS file.

And just because I thought this was neat, maybe I will do this when I get time