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User Journal

Journal Journal: movie avi consolidation

I have a huge library of movies at home, as many people do, and I was thinking, once I have watched them it may be rare I actually go and watch them again, unless someone comes over and wants to watch it.

I decided to translate my movie collection into .avi to them place on backup hard drive. Doing so will take a long time, for converting a dvd to avi has a few steps. There are some softwares that can be bought such as the Xilisoft DVD Ripper Platinum or the free AutoGK which both do the same thing.

By so doing this, I can place my large collcetion into a small enough size hard drive (500gb) and keep an extra as backup (2*500gb). This means should anything happen to my first hard drive, then I have the second, enough time to go out and buy a replacement.

This leads me into the quality of the hard drives. I have heard horror stories of people buying the 500gb then having the disk fail and loosing all that data. In todays day and age, where every company speaks about having back ups and raid etc... it is almost impossible not to know that you need a good back up system for you files. Mine is just doubling the data and 2 drives instead of one, and keeping the extra hidden in a safety deposit box.

This strategy allows me to focus more on having fun, then worrying about the info being stolen or lost or even damaged.

A 500gb right now from is about 110$ Canadian, which to me makes scense if I want to keep my data safe!

User Journal

Journal Journal: testing the waters with VIsual Studio 2005

So far so good, I have come across many applications from many different companies that have hired me for converting their older applications into .NET applications ( or c#) and I have to say, so far so good.

I am of course translating everything into vs2005 version. I feel that going straight to vs2005 from the deprecated Visual Basic 6.0 makes things easier, as you see the improvements right away on refactoring,
code placement etc. Rewriting the app sometimes involves a lot of time dissecting what is happening and nothing slows you down more then unreadable code.

This is due to the fact that many developers have their own style, even though there may be corporate policies in place, they tend to still keep a certain of their own "style". This coupled with the fact that each person has their own settings for any environment *tab indenting etc...)...well you get the point.

Next up is an issue that was rectified in this version of VS, which is the debug functionality of VB 6.0. This is a god send for those like me that rely a lot on run through testing. I prefer setting the text or code as I think it, then work out the bugs through intellisense etc..

As well, sometimes the logic is off by a single digit, which I may or may not remember at the time, if the Id in the database had been started at 1 or 0, depends on the implementation of that company at that time.

Rewriting a whole application from scratch is sometimes easier then trying to reuse all the code from a previous version, however if the conversion is simple enough that you keep 3/4 of the code written, this is better, as any developer coming back into the code will find themselves much easier to continue where they left off.

I thoroughly enjoy using the 2005 version as well, as the advanced refactoring, lets you find better placement for your blocks of code or "snippets" as they call it. These can be extracted and replaced everywhere using regular expressions from your IDE, to find and replace bits of code you have now decided to move or alter or even rename ( based on company policy).

The next thing on the table to be improved was the regions. These regions had been improved a la UltraEdit a tool I use profusely as a web developer. You can now enter regions inside methods, making things very neat and tidy. Again reading code to find an error or bug should not take you a day, with proper regions and comment systems in place
(TODO etc..) you can find ,replace ,search for where your bug is causing a crash.(ie- Time out error, please contact your admin....)

Of course this is a windows tool, a pretty encapsulated tool I find worth the money for development in any environment, more so then previous version. Any developer should have their versions upgraded if they can.

To finalize , there is an integrated web server for web development, even if you don't have IIS installed, which can really help you, but remember that just because you made it work on your machine, you may need more tweaking to make it work in an intranet environment with security settings set to high(windows2003).

As well, a free express version of SQL2005 comes with it, which again avoids having to install your own MSDE version as before when you wanted to debug any application at home etc..

Until they come out with 2008 version, I will keep using this version
and learning new tricks to help me with my development (book called Visual Studio 2005 Hacks- Tips & tricks from O'reilly)

Until next time ....

User Journal

Journal Journal: VMWare vs. Xen, who will win in the end

Wanting to be up to date with new technologies for our company, I have
come across a few virtualization solutions ( by far not the only ones, but the most popular right now). VMWare leads the pack, with Xen coming up quick right behind them. I signed up to both for info on purchasing, then went and did some research. I came across a few sites with pros and cons for both. The worst case for Xen, is its need to be on Intel VT chips only, and minimum required RAM. Someone wanting to run testing for this product will have to get themselves set up right away with their hardware, where as VMWare lets you use pretty much any box, although the more RAM and better chips, the better the response.

VMWare itself is pretty steep, being its only real flaw, as anyone wanting to start small, will have to spend the 15000$ plus for setting up small time components and the VMWare OS itself. Mind you, I am not refering to the free version (Server1.0) which is great for a small time developer/network admin to use for testing.... I am talking about the ESX version.

The important thing I noticed with VMWare being from a linux based environment, was the load balancing and other features you could usually find in a linux clustered environment ( no, not the fake clustered environment Windows talks about). That got me thinking, what if I set up a clustered environment on linux and used the Server1.0 version for linux, and see if I could maybe get a run down ESX version going...

As of yet, I have not been able to get my company to give me the time I would need to set this up, but it is a plan I am considering even for my home. Saving 15000$ sounds like a pretty good plan.

Has anyone ever thought of doing something similar and wanting to share with others their findings? Sounds to me like a possible alternative
for those too poor to get the real deal.

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