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

Picture: The Sunset From Mars...

This isn't a new picture, but I just came across it. This was taken from the Mars Rover "Spirit" on May 19th, 2005. It's pretty amazing when you realize you're looking at a sunset from a planet other than Earth.

Sunset on Mars: A Moment Frozen in Time
Click here to view full image (85 kb)

I find the picture simply stunning.

Cloaking SVN Folders in Dreamweaver...

I just started using Dreamweaver for a site I'm working on. I'm keeping a repository of the files in Subversion, but found that trying to get Dreamweaver to ignore the SVN files when synchronizing is a bit of a pain.

Since I was in a quick solution, I ended up just setting Dreamweaver to show hidden files and then manually went to each .svn to cloak. Later on in the day, I did some searching to see if I could find an easier solution (because doing it manually really sucks.)

I found a blog entry by Josh Buhler in which he talks discusses cloaking/uncloaking SCM directories in Dreamweaver. He found a Dreamweaver extension called Cloak/Uncloak SCM Directories in Dreamweaver which appears to do the trick.


Using Eclipse v3.1 and Subclipse v1.0.3 with newer versions of TortoiseSVN

I recently upgraded a few of my installation of TortoiseSVN to the latest revision. Every since doing this, I've been unable to use Subclipse v1.0.3 (in Eclipse v3.1) to change repositories that have been touched with TortoiseSVN. This is because the newest version of TortoiseSVN using the v1.4 of the client libraries and Subclipse v1.0.3 is based on the old v1.3 client files.

Since one of my development boxes only has Eclipse w/Subclipse, it's been a pain to deal w/this compatibility issue. So, this morning I set out to find a solution to this issue.

Fortunately, I was able to find a post by Mark Phippard that addresses solving this issue (while for Subclipse v1.1.6 anyway.) I did run into an issue that apparently doesn't affect the newer version of Subclipse, but since I'm still using Eclipse v3.1 at the moment, I'm stuck using Subclipse v1.0.3.


Comparing Files in DreamWeaver using ExamDiff

I'm an Eclipse guy. When it comes to HTML/code, I've always been a "hands on" kind of guy—wanting complete control over the code. However, I've just recently needed to use DreamWeaver on a project. While I've toiled around w/DreamWeaver in the past, I've never used it extensively.

One of the things I needed to do was to was compare two versions of a file. I was trying to track down a display issue in the HTML. Eclipse has a nice compare built-in, but DreamWeaver doesn't come with any native compare function. It does however allow you to use an external tool for comparing files.

I found that PrestoSoft's ExamDiff (a free visual compare tool) works great w/DreamWeaver. You can buy the professional version for $35, but the free version has all the basics you probably need.


Mozilla Firefox v2.0 Released

In response to Microsoft releasing Internet Explorer 7, Mozilla has released Firefox v2.0. You can download the English version of FF2 for Windows at http://www.mozilla.com/products/download.html?product=firefox-2.0&os=win&lang=en-US.

I haven't installed this yet. I may actually do a completely clean/fresh install of FF2 (just because I haven't done a clean install in a long time of Firefox) and then just migrate my settings over.

My Impression of IE7

Ok, so everyone is blogging about IE7—and probably rightfully so. It's been 4 years since a major release of Internet Explorer. I was a huge fan of Internet Explorer from 1998-2003. While IE4 went against the W3 spec in a lot of ways, it was a far better environment for building interactive web applications than any release of Netscape version 4. The only thing I thought Netscape managed to do better back then was w/their JavaScript debugging tools—which were immensly more useful.

However, back in 2003 I started testing early betas of Firefox. While I had tested the Mozilla browser and even Netscape v6, I really wasn't in love w/the Gecko engine (which is what all those browsers are based on.) Despite all the promise I kept reading about, I still found it slower and less responsive than IE. Firefox changed that though. The one of the original goals of Firefox was to cut out all the bloat that Netscape had been building into their browser (e-mail clients, HTML editors, etc.) and you definitely noticed the difference. Switching to Firefox as my main browser came unexpectantly to me—happening almost over night. I've really been using it as my main browsers since the v0.7x releases. It still shocks me how quickly I switched to Firefox, since I was such a huge proponent of Internet Explorer.

So, I've really been looking forward to seeing Internet Explorer v7 in a final state—just to see if they can make it worth it to switch back. Unfortunately, I've been really unhappy w/the new release. I really find the new UI unintuitive. Maybe this will change over time, but I think people used to using IE6 will be lost. Novice computer users don't adjust well to change. They're used to doing things in a certain fashion and radical change is hard for them to adjust to. I'm really surprised Microsoft didn't include an IE6 skin that could at least be selected for people who want the old look.


Funny Telemarketer Prank

I thought this was a pretty funny prank to pull on a telemarketer. There are times when I wish I could think this fast on my feet.

Click to play

If the above player doesn't work, try this link:
Bob and Tom - Telemarketer Nightmare

Lesson Learned: Specifying MSSQL Join Hints...

You know, sometimes query analyzer in MSSQL 2000 just doesn't get things right. I had a query that was taking a very long time to execute in MSSQL. The query on average would take 30-60 seconds to complete execution. The query was running a LIKE search over a text data type. Not ideal by any means, but the execution was mind boggling slow.

Figuring my problem was in the fact that I'm doing a LIKE operation on a text data type over hundreds of thousands of records, I figured that was the main culprit. So one of the very first things I tried was setting up a Full Text Index on the data, so I could do a FTS over the data instead. Much to my chagrin, this really showed no noticeable performance increase (maybe like 2-3 seconds faster, but not nearly enough to warrant making radical changes to implement FTS.)

So where was my problem? I really started studying the execution plan. Everything I looked at seem to imply that the LIKE operator was the problem, and it was mandatory (especially since FTS provided no real performance increase.)