It sounds like it should be trivial: Create a WCF web library and host it in IIS. Surely lots of people need to do this, and it will be easy in a fairly modern version of Visual Studio like 2012? Well, I did not find it easy despite reading a Step-by-Step book (Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation by John Sharp, 2007), lots of blog posts and MSDN articles and so on. Of course, in fairness, the book was quite old compared to my development environment, but in several respects it still seemed quite current.
There’s an awesome registry key documented in this Scott Hanselman blog below to turn off the all-caps menu headings in Visual Studio 2012:
REG_DWORD value: 1
This is worth being aware of. People have a tendency to pay more attention to the things or ideas that confirm beliefs that they already hold (Confirmation Bias), so if you imagine your search results, or news feed, or similar being biased to show you stuff you already ‘know’, you may be happy with the results, but you may never be challenged to see other beliefs, or, in some circumstances… facts.
Have you ever changed something in your home and at work, expecting life or work to be much better afterwards, and then found yourself on a path of being forced to make several other changes – just to get the promised improvements to actually work, or to get back old functionality that mysteriously disappeared?
I have certainly experienced this myself on many occasions; but today I want to talk about one specific instance following an upgrade to new large monitors; I recently bought new monitors that support a higher resolution than I have ever used before: WQHD or 2560 x 1440. Continue reading
We normally expect and look for simplicity in the use of a product. If it is difficult to use, we might exhibit frustration, not buy it again, or similar. As a possible example, I was recently given a small pack of anti-histamines from Canada.
Initially I was baffled by the blister packs; they appeared to be strongly resistant to pressing the tablets through the foil backing. It took a moment to understand that there is an extra step necessary with these packs, which I had not previously seen with packs in the UK:
Today I wanted to report on my latest experiment; using a dishwasher to help me clean a Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000. There are many posts on the internet about this, and after some research, I decided to give it a try, as I had just inherited my keyboard from work.
First decision was; How much should I dismantle the keyboard? Some people have tried running the whole keyboard through the dishwasher, but this typically seems to be followed by letting it dry for days afterwards, and involves some risk because the electronics get wet. Some suggest stripping the electronics out of the keyboard, and washing all the rest. I decided to prise off the key-tops and dishwash those, but leave the main frame safe and dry. Continue reading
Although I generally consider email spammers – especially phishers – pretty evil, it is occasionally enjoyable to receive a spam email or comment which demonstrates how dumb they can be. In this case, I received a comment on this blog which demonstrates nicely how some messages are created.
More and more of late, I have noticed that the solutions people arrive at for problems are often very indirect. I have started to suspect that it may be a characteristic of human behaviour, but perhaps it is just a characteristic of my current management at work. Also, there may be room to consider this ‘procrastination’, and maybe in some way, people have got it into their heads that problems always need creative solutions – when often the opposite is true – there is a simple and obvious next step that once taken will improve the situation.
The rest of this post will outline a number of cases in my own recent experience where actions and projects have been undertaken that seem to have been quite ‘indirect’. Continue reading
I’ve written before about technical interview questions, especially of the tricky Brainteaser Interview Questions, and I wanted to take a moment to recount some recent experiences hiring a couple of DBAs.
We’ve had a technical phone interview for some time, written by a colleague, but I think mostly trawled from an internet search of database technical questions. This undoubtedly has some value, with questions on technical details on the difference, say, between a Primary Key and a Unique Key, or perhaps what ACID stands for. The problem I find is that day-to-day, a term like ‘ACID’ is almost never referred to, because it is simply (and in some fundamental way) is just expected to be possible and true of a database such as Sql Server – or we might even say prohibited by developers not using transactions. We needed more structure for the face-to-face bit, and I was fearful about hiring someone who could not even do the DBA equivalent of the FizzBuzz programming exercise.
So for the last year or more, we’ve standardised our face-to-face interview questions to focus on three areas:
- A practical Normalisation question;
- Simple SQL queries;
- Performance Investigation.
In each case, I have taken a practical example of real-world situation from our code-base as the inspiration… and it has been fascinating how helpful the approach has been to better understand the capabilities of the candidate. I hope it also introduces the interviewee to practical examples of what the role entails. Continue reading