jestin's blog

The Importantance of Good Revision Control

I spent five years as a developer at a company that used Visual SourceSafe. This was not back in the 90's, nor even the early 2000's. This was a span from 2006 to 2011. For those who don't know, Visual Source Safe is less revision control, and more like a shared network directory with a locking mechanism. Any branching and merging features it has are broken to the point of being unusable, and it thus makes working in large groups nearly impossible. How then, did I work for five years with such a system? Simple. I didn't know any better. I do now.

OpenSCAD Basics

I've been a big fan of the OpenSCAD solid modeler for over a year at least, and I've learned how to do quite a bit with it. While trying to get a video podcast started with the rest of the KC Fabricators (a sub group of CCCKC), I made a few videos about the basics of OpenSCAD. Since we haven't found a place for the podcast yet, I figured I just post my videos to youtube. Then I thought I might as well embed them into a blog post. Enjoy!

Ajax with jQuery and ASP.NET MVC

Usually when doing Ajax with ASP.NET, you use some of Microsoft's own Ajax libraries on the server side to set things up for you. This makes it nice for point and click programming within Visual Studio, but as always with Microsoft solutions, doesn't make it very portable or maintainable. With one of my current projects, I wanted to use jQuery as the basis of my Ajax code, but still reap the benefits of ASP.NET MVC. To my delight, I found that the two work together really well.

Development Alternatives

Computer programming is a game of trade offs. It seems to be an immutable fact that you cannot optimize for everything, so decisions must be made. If you want to use less memory, you may have to sacrifice speed. To get faster speeds, you may have to use more memory. To get both speed and efficient memory usage, you may have to use lower level languages and sacrifice development time. If you need to hit a certain deadline, you may have to accept less than efficient code. Trade offs are practically the underlying theme of any engineering discipline. You can't avoid them.

A Few of My Favorite Technical Books

I recently found the need to do some unit testing on one of my "for fun" projects. The project is an ASP.NET MVC project, so I decided to use NUnit as my testing framework. After searching for a tutorial on the framework, I remembered a great chapter on unit testing I read in a book years ago. After re-reading that chapter, I found that I was more than ready to take on the task ahead of me.

Calibre Tutorials

I recently created a short series of videos to show my wife's family how to get the most of the e-readers they all got for Christmas. The videos are about how to use Calibre, and ebook management program. I figured I should re-post the videos here:

Measuring Value

With the new Republican congress taking office, there has been talks in the halls of power about returning to "gold standard", or the backing of US currency in gold bullion. The reason behind this is to prevent the Federal Reserve from just printing money and increasing inflation. While I can't outright say this is a bad idea, I strongly disagree with the entire premise on many fronts.

Thoughts on Wikileaks

There's no way to avoid it in the news this week, and I've never been one to shy away from political issues, so I figured I'd say my piece.

I like Wikileaks.

Wasting Time In Old Town

I'm the type of guy who tends to go wherever life leads me. Did I say "life"? I meant "wife". This week my wife/life has led me to the Old Town section of San Diego, California. She has a neuroscience convention, and I had vacation days to use. Last year's convention took us to Chicago where I got to hang out with my brother and spend my days working at the Pumping Station One hackerspace. While I plan on visiting the newly formed hackerspace here in San Diego, I am not going to be working from there 8 hours a day as I did at PS1 last year.

Paper Cutters, Encryption, and the DMCA

A few guys down at the Cowtown Computer Congress hackerspace have done a wonderful job reverse engineering the Provo Craft Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter, and creating a C++ paper cutter library (libcutter) for controlling it. This means that anyone who can create a vector image on their computer, can use the Cricut to cut or plot their image with the device.

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