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Showing posts from March, 2018

Amazon MTurks

So have you heard of this yet?  I didn't until yesterday when I came across an article on it, it's called Amazon Mechanical Turk AKA MTurk.

MTurk operates a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence. The MTurk web service enables companies to programmatically access this marketplace and a diverse, on-demand workforce. Developers can leverage this service to build human intelligence directly into their applications.

If you're looking to make a few extra dollars you can also sign up as a worker to complete the HITs (Human Intelligent Tasks).   Most of the HITs are pretty easy and don't take very long to do.  I just got accepted as a worker today and tried a few.  I thought I'd give it a shot to see what it's like.  If you want more info check out the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) page.

jQuery Color Picker

I wanted to give props to this jQuery Color Picker I found last week.  I'm working on a project at work and was trying to give users the flexibility to change colors for certain areas of their portal.  I found a very easy to user jQuery color picker, which I was able to modify somewhat to meet my needs and it works perfect!

If you try it out and need some help implementing it just let me know.  I had to play around with the script some before I could get it to work within my application.

How To Delete Facebook

Amid the data privacy scandals on Facebook, and the most recent with Cambridge Analytica, there's been a message throughout the world to delete your Facebook account.  Now, I'm not sure how many people will really do so, but I've never seen so much press about it until now.

I think FB users are so used to using the social site, maybe most don't really care if their privacy has been invaded?  And at what point do we say enough is enough?  I also just read that hackers could have up to 880,000 credit card numbers through the travel website Orbitz!

I'm not sure if our personal info, credit cards, etc will ever be 100% safe anymore.  Everyone is using websites, social media, and various apps that all require personal info!  Name, addresses, credit cards, birth dates, and the list goes on.

Anyhow, if are tired of the recent Facebook developments and would like to delete your account 100% take a look at this article called How To Delete Your Facebook Account by Kevin Par…

Ways To Avoid Developer's Burnout

Last night I read an article by Adris Azeez called Avoiding Burnout as as Software Developer and it got me thinking about the steps I take to avoid burnout, boredom, etc.

Several of the ideas Adris talks about are very similar to what I already do, but the main point is to change things up, take a break when needed, and if you're not in "coding" mode do something else that's productive.
As a developer for over 20 years I can honestly say there are days where the "ideas" and "code" just doesn't flow.  So here are a few things I do to still be productive at work when I'm developing:
1) Work on a "fun" project: sometimes when you work on the same project for several days/weeks, the brain needs a break.  I find that if I focus on something new it refreshes my mind and the creative juices start flowing again.  For example, I store several "fun" projects in my head to develop in the future.  Recently, I developed a new March …

Using W3 CSS

I was never big into using CSS (cascasing style sheets) but over the past few years I have buckled down to learn it and use it more.  And the more I use it the more I love it!

I'm starting to use it daily nowadays and it has been so much easier to develop clean, easy-to-use websites and online applications.  W3.CSS is a modern framework with built-in responsiveness.  Here's a link to a good W3 CSS tutorial as well.  It's great resource as a find myself using it daily to try new tricks with some of the applications I write.




OnMouseOver for the DIV tag

I've been working on a project that involves menu items (links to applications and reports) in our intranet portal.  These items are separated into categories/folders.

So I've been working on changing the functionality of our menu system that allows you to pin and unpin the menu items to a Favorites section.  The Favorites section is up top and you can have a max of 10 favorites. 

Yesterday I ran into an issue that didn't make sense.  Within a DIV tag I had 2 other DIVs, one DIV displayed the menu link, and the other for the image of the pin.  I used the OnMouseOver event for the main DIV to show the pin next to the menu link, but it would only show when the mouse was over the link (not over blank parts of the main DIV).

I put a border around the main DIV as a test to see what was going on.  This showed just a line, which was above the menu item.  So, I put a height style into the main DIV and it worked! 

I tried finding a solution for the issue on the web but nothing was …

March Madness 2018

For this post, I'm getting off the topic of technology and programming as the NCAA Tournament nears, AKA as March Madness!

I'm a huge Kentucky Wildcat fan, have been ever since I was a kid; when I was younger I played basketball almost every day and dreamed about playing for UK.  Of course, that never happened but it hasn't stopped me from loving the CATS!

This year they gave Kentucky a #5 seed, and if they win against Davidson in the first round will most likely play #4 seed Arizona!  Plus the first rounds games for UK are being played in Boise, Idaho!  I know it's hard to place 68 teams in the tournament but I don't see how you can place 2 teams that just won their conference tournaments, one game from playing each other.

Not to mention, they're also in the Region that holds the overall #1 seed in Virginia!  Personally, I think Virginia is going to win it all.  I have Kentucky making the Sweet 16 but I don't think they can get past the Cavaliers.

So here&…

My First App . . . iOS or Android

Read this article called Should You Develop Your App on iOS or Android First? by Matt Garrett.  It gave some good insight on which platform to use if you're developing your first app.  Even though more users use Android, the iOS is more popular in the developed countries like the United States and Canada. 

The iOS platform is a little harder to code in and isn't as open as the Android platform but you have to consider what's the purpose of your app and who your users are going to be.

My goal is to develop an app before the end of this year and I will use the iOS platform b/c use an iPhone myself, so testing would be easier.  And if I ever started charging for the app, the article talks about how iOS is better for apps that are being charged for.

I have a few ideas running in my head for my first app, and one of those ideas is golf related!  Should be a fun project to work on!

Audio Books And More

Yesterday I tried my first audio book through Audible.com as they have an offer to try the first book free!  I've been hearing and reading more and more about audible.com so I decided to give it a shot.  Since I've been reading some other books lately (currently reading The New Psycho-Cybernetics), I wanted to try somewhat of a different book. 
So, I decided to pick a language book.  I've always wanted to learn German b/c as a kid in 6th grade we had an exchange student that taught us some German.  From what I remember, I really liked it but we only were taught about 3 months of it. 
I started the book yesterday in the car, I figured this would be the best time to listen and learn during my 25 minute commute (each way).  What I didn't realize is that out of every 10 English words, about 5 have some Germanic correlation to them.  For example: mother = mutter, father = vater, sister = schwester, brother = bruder.
Anyhow, I don't think it hurts to ever learn a new lan…

Pick a Square!

Ok, so when the Superbowl is around and you're having a party, have you ever been asked to purchase a square?  It's a contest where you select squares, and each square you pick costs you a certain amount of money.  There are 100 squares total.
After all the squares are filled in, you select numbers 0-9 randomly for the top and side of your 10x10 matrix.  Then after each quarter (for football) you take the ending score of each team to decide who wins.  
Now there are variations of when someone wins like after a quarter or a half, etc.  But you can also do this for basketball.  And this is something I'm doing for March Madness!
I created an online system that allows you to pick your squares.  Once you pick a square it's locked and cannot be changed (unless manually by me in the database).  It was a fun little project to work on and really didn't take very long.
If you'd like to see it or more info about it just let me know.  I only had to create one database tabl…

Don't Forget to Backup!

As a developer one of the worst things possible is losing hours of work.  Not only are you losing the code itself, but you're also losing the "thought process" time it took to write that code. 

Even though we backup our network every evening, what you're working on today doesn't get backed up until that evening.  A practice I've started, especially on bigger projects is backing up my code every couple of hours.  This came in handy just last week as I was working on some handheld scanner updates that's written in C#. 

After making the first set of updates I backed up my work.  But then ran into some issues while working in Visual Studio.  As I was trying to troubleshoot it seemed to get worse and worse, finally I just restored my most recent copies and I was back to normal!

But not only should you back up your code at work right away, make sure you do so on your personal laptop, home pc, etc.  You just never know what's going to happen such as a bad ha…

Is It Time to Learn Blockchain?

Each week I see more and more articles on Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.  Blockchain has become a big buzzword in the technology world and I came across this article by Kate Kucherenko that had some very good information and insight on the subject.

What is Blockchain?  Well according to this article, Kate explains it as digital records that are combined into "blocks", which are then linked with each other cryptographically and chronologically into a "chain" using complex mathematical algorithms.  Each block is linked to the previous one and contains a set of records.  New blocks are always added strictly to the end of the chain.
Businesses and banks are starting to put a lot of money into blockchain projects.  They realize that blockchain will solve many problems, especially in the transactional economy.
If you want to learn more about blockchain the article has several links on more info about the technology as well.  Time to learn some blockchain!

Also found an…

Script to Find Medians

I've never had to find the Median of a range of numbers in a project until this past week.  I first looked to see if there were any functions that will perform this task more quickly (and none exist in VBscript), and I also checked if any exist in SQL Server.  Now if you're running SQL Server 2012 or later then there is a function called PERCENTILE_DISC but we currently run on 2008 R2.

So, I wrote a simple script that will get the job done (some of the ones I found online were more complex than needed to be).  Note, this is in VBScript but you can use the logic and change the syntax based on whatever language you're using.
'FIRST PUT YOUR VALUES IN A STRING (YOU MIGHT HAVE TO READ THIS IN FROM THE DATABASE Dim aryValues : aryValues = "107, 105, 104, 102, 102, 102, 101, 99, 99, 99, 98, 97, 97, 97, 95, 94, 93"
aryValues = split(aryValues,",") Dim aryCount : aryCount = ubound(aryValues) + 1 'NUMBER OF VALUES IN OUR STRING Dim MiddleCount : MiddleCo…