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

17-Year-Old High School Student Creates Nuclear Fusion...

I found this pretty remarkable. A 17-year high school student, Thiago Olson, from Michigan has created nuclear fusion in his parent's basement—using a machine he built with some help from his father. He apparently is the 18th amateur in the world to actual generate nuclear fusion.

Pretty damn impressive. I was too busy fiddling around with my Amiga 1000 at 17 to actually do anything truly remarkable. :)

Understanding "derived" tables in SQL...

I was talking to a buddy this morning and he'd never seen the syntax for a derived table in MSSQL before. He couldn't quite grasp why they might be useful and I was having difficulty explaining via instant messenger, so I thought I'd blog a real world example of how derived tables can be useful.

In very basic terms, a derived table is a virtual table that's calculated on the fly from a select statement. They can be tremendously useful in certain situations. For my example below, I'm going to use the Northwind database that included with MSSQL 2000.

Let's say you've been asked to generate a report that shows off the total number of orders each customer placed in 1996. "Not a problem." you think to yourself. "This is just an easy aggregated join query." So, you sit down and generate your query and come up with:


Dina Programming Font...

Reading blogs the other day, I came across the Dina Programming Font. I've been testing it out for the past couple of days in Eclipse and so far I really like it.

Over the years I've tried a number of different fonts for my IDE, but I always end up back with Courier New—mainly because it's familiar. However, I've been able to use the Dina font at 8pt and it retains it's readability very well at 1028x768. Lowering the point size while not adding strain for my eyes, allows me to see more code on the page w/less scrolling. Since I have carpal tunnel, anything that reduces mouse movement is a welcome change.

Battle of the Album Art

This is a pretty cool video using album art from the past. It's amazing how many of these albums I own.

Create easy tweening effects in JavaScript using Animator.js

I came across an interesting JSAPI today over at BernieCode.com that handles animation by essentially providing a tweening algorithm that will animate a layer based upon a starting and ending CSS declaration.

The Animator.js library currently requires prototype.js library. It's definitely an interesting approach and allows you to create some really dynamic animations w/very little work. I mean all you need to do is create some CSS that specifies the starting styles and ending styles.

Definitely make sure to check out the examples.

Humor: Have you seen this man?

I came across this picture and thought it was funny.