The miscellaneous ramblings and thoughts of Dan G. Switzer, II

Entire Tech TV Cast Fired...

I came across a post on Gizmodo about the firing of the entire staff of Tech TV. When the merger with G4, owned by Comcast, was announced, I tried to be optimistic about union. G4 really sucks—they just don't have any interesting programming and I just can't get in to any of their programming. I was hoping they combine the programming of the two stations and end up with a better product than just Tech TV only could produce—afterall, there's not much of a need for two computer-related stations. Anyway, it sounds like the majority of the Tech TV programming will go away after this announcement. I hope I'm wrong and that Comcast doesn't screw this up like they're apparently doing. If they can keep The Screen Savers, Tech Live and Fresh Gear groups together, I'd be happy. Unfortunately, I don't think it'll happen—especially if all the employees have to relocate to L.A.

TechTV told 285 San Francisco employees on Thursday that their jobs are being eliminated, a move that was widely feared by workers after Comcast announced in March that it would acquire the technology cable channel.

Comcast will merge TechTV, owned by Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures, with its own G4 video game network when the buyout is finalized next week. David Shone, a spokesman for G4 TV, said the company plans to hire 80 people from the San Francisco office to work at the game channel's Los Angeles headquarters. Employees were given two months notice and various severance packages, he said.

Apparently there are two online petitions you can sign:
Reverse G4 / Comcast Decision to Fire Entire Staff of TechTV
Save TechTV


Dynamic SQL Updates Using COALESCE()

I tend to forget just how many commands are built-in to T-SQL. So often the stuff I do in the database is so basic, that I forget that there are often many different ways to approach the same problem and I often just forget that certain functions even exist.

I was reading through my SQL Server 2000 Unleashed book the other night, and came across the COALESCE() function—one of those functions I had forgetten about. In a nutshell, you can provide the function an unlimited number of arguments and the first argument which isn't equal to null will be the value return from the function. The funny thing is, I had been trying to debate on the best method to re-write a particular stored procedure and the COALESCE() ended up being a very elegant solution.

The problem I was faced with, is I wanted to write a single stored procedure that I could use to update any single column or combination of columns based upon the primary key. In the past, I've always just written out a nasty looking string and then passed that to the execute command or the sp_executesql stored procedure that's included in SQL Server.


Microsoft Mimics Apple OS...

Apparently Microsoft's new operating system, codenamed "Longhorn", is taking a few pages from Apple's OSX.

Microsoft's demonstrations were interesting and somehow familiar. After looking at some images and icons that grew bigger or flipped when chosen, I couldn't help but think of the dock on Apple's OS X.

The good news for Apple is that Longhorn is still probably 2 years away from being released, so they have lots of time to implement something new. :)

XForms: Dubinko's Response To Hickson

Micah Dubinko has posted a response to the Ian Hickson's comments about the future of XForms. Micah says Ian "swings and misses", but I think that's more accurate of Micah's post than of Ians.

Dubinko has done a ton of great work and I admire what he's put together with XForms, but I just don't think his response does anything to discredit what Ian had to say. Until there's a large outcry from developers to support XForms, there's going to be no effort made to integrate within the browsers. I know there's a few diehard XForms fan, but we're a long ways away from the mass of developers being ready to use and understand XForms.

One point I really disagree with Micah on is the trusting of XForms to do server-side validation. There's no way using HTTP that I place any trust in an response received from the client. It's way to easy for someone to arbitrarily change the rules of the XForm when they submit the document back to the client. You really still need to do something on the server end of things to verify the "signature" of the XForms. After verifying the signature of the document, you'd still need to re-validate the data in the form. So, it's not as simple as he stated in his response.


ECMAScript Announces Native XML Scripting (E4X)

This piece of news seems to have gone largely unnoticed by the community—so thanks to Colin Moock for pointing it out. ECMA has announced, that a new extension for the 4th generation of ECMAScript has been agreed upon. The new standard, E4X (or ECMAScript for XML) will standardarized, vendor-neutral programming syntax for adding native XML support to the ECMAScript language.

I was pretty excited when I first read this news, but after reading the article by John Schneider, I'm not so sure I'm found of the idea. I think I like the idea of a generic DOM model much better. The new syntax looks clunky to me and doesn't feel like a natural extension to ECMAScript (which what JavaScript has become.) John claims the code is "simpler, more compact, and more familiar to the average programmer..." I don't know that I agree with that. It looks like a pretty strange, foreign syntax to me. However, that example may not be good example. I look forward to seeing more on this. Lord know I'd love the browsers to come up w/a standardized XML DOM API.

All NFL Pre-Season Games To Be Televised...

NEW YORK (AP) — All of the NFL's 65 exhibition games this season will be available on television for the first time.

The league's four network partners - ABC, CBS, ESPN and Fox - will show 11 games, and NFL Network will broadcast the other 54. Some NFL Network games will be shown on tape delay during the four weeks of exhibition play.

NFL Network, which is carried on various services, is shown seven days a week, around the clock.

Sgt. Peppers & The Lonely Movies Of The 80s...

I'm sitting here watching Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on DVD—it's one of those movies I love, even though it is completely campy. I remember seeing this as small child and loved it then too. Anyway, I figured I'd read some of the user reviews on the Amazon's web site—which is where I purchased the DVD. After reading through the reviews, I noticed a link the another flick from the past I loved, The Pirate Movie starring Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins. Realize, I was under the age of 10 when I saw all these movies for the first time. I think these movies both struck home with me as a kid because of my love of music—and the fact that I thought Kristy McNichol was hot.

Anyway, I was prompted to google the net for the phrase "'the pirate movie' dvd" and came across a really cool site The 80's Movie Rewind which is a site completely geared towards movies released in the 80s. There's lost of really indepth information on each site and it includes a search engine to try to find the films on DVD. Just figured I'd share the link. Here are some of my favorite more obscure flicks from the 80s:

  • 3 'O Clock High
  • Amazon Women On The Moon
  • Can't Buy Me Love
  • Eddie & The Cruisers
  • Fright Night
  • Happy Together
  • House
  • The Hitcher
  • The Last Starfighter
  • My Bodyguard
  • Night Of The Comet
  • Savannah Smiles
  • Spinal Tap
  • Summer School
  • They Call Me Bruce


Download Spock's Beard '97 ProgFest Performance...

SharingTheGroove.org is site dedicated to sharing bootleg music and video. I found this site after reading through the Spock's Beard Forums. Someone pointed out a 2 VCD set available of Spock's Beards performance at ProgFest '97. You need to register to get access to the forums.

Video Of Petrucci Showing Off Ernie Ball Strings...

Ernie Ball has a cool little section on their website dedicated for John Petrucci and Dream Theater. They've got a couple of audio clips and a cool video clip of Petrucci talking about Ernie Ball's new line of strings "Not Even Slinky."

Dream Theater: Live At The Budokan?!?

Budokan, Japan setlist (Filmed for DVD release)

Budokan, Japan 4/26/04 (Filmed for DVD release)

band history video (intro tape)
As I Am
This Dying Soul
Beyond This Life
Hollow Years
War Inside My Head/
The Test That Stumped Them All
Endless Sacrifice
Trial Of Tears
New Millennium
piano solo
Only A Matter Of Time
Goodnight Kiss/
Solitary Shell
Stream of Consciousness
Pull Me Under
In The Name Of God

Two Dream Theater Videos To Be Re-released In DVD...

"Live In Tokyo / 5 Years In A LIVEtime" DVD release!

Finally, after years of waiting, the first two Dream Theater Home Videos will be re-issued together on DVD. "Dream Theater - Images And Words: Live In Tokyo / 5 Years In A LIVEtime" will be released on June 22nd, 2004. More details coming soon.

Spock's Beard Scheduled For October?!?

Nick D'Virgilio gave an update over at the Spock's Beard website. They're optimistic that the new album will be ready for an October/November release! Also, it appears Dave Meros will not be playing French Horn on the new album—instead their bringing in a studio musician. Make sure to read his update on why they decided to hire a "real" French Hornist. :)

Why Metallica Will Never Be The Beatles...

Ugh! Beatallica makes me forever happy that Metallica has never tried to cover The Beatles. It's pretty funny to listen to though, the guy defintely has the "Hetfield" vocal sound down.

Gibson Announces Digital Guitar...

Gibson Guitar has announced The Gibson Digital Guitar—a guitar based upon a technology called MaGIC, which delievers the digital signal across standard ethernet. Ethernet can delivery at speeds 30 to 30,000 times faster than MIDI—the standard most digital-based guitars have been based upon the past.

Penn & Teller say "Bullshit!"

I've just recently started trying to catch Penn & Teller: Bullshit! which airs on Thursday nights at 10pm on Showtime. It's Penn & Teller's version of Dateline or 20/20. To quote the show's website, "Penn & Teller's mission is to expose the truth to an otherwise desperate and gullible public."

The episode that Showtime just aired was their episode on Recycling. They brought up some very interesting points. The thing I like best about the site is that they do provide experts from both sides of the story—of course their object is to reveal the "truth" behind the "myths."

Check this show out if you get a chance, or at least check out Topics Archive for video previews and clips of the shows.