Category Archives: development

Software development.

“Bing” And Be Grossed-out

I was doing some research for work today.  Google hadn’t yielded any reasonable results for the for which I was searching.  I was looking for z4DpvGetCodeSTD.  z4DpvGetCodeSTD is a function in a USPS API.

Bing’s attempt to help me “decide” is appreciated.  But I’m not looking for an STD.  Sure, sexually transmitted diseases are an important issue.  Just don’t pull the “STD” letters out of context and assume that’s what I was looking for when the original term couldn’t be found.  Adding the “STD” suffix to function names is common when importing certain kinds of APIs into an application.

Bing Gross-out

See for yourself.  Click the link below.

SQL Server 2008 Express Installation

Why is it that Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express installation so freakishly difficult?  The process should be click “Start Installation” and be done with it if the default options are okay.  But, for some reason that I cannot fathom, the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express installation doesn’t just work.  I’ve tried it, now, more times than I can count; each time with different, but still failing, results.

I’ve yet to find any good guides on how to install this piece of software.  Trial and error should not be an installation methodology.  If I can figure out the magic formula, I will post it.  But breathing should not be suspended while waiting (aka “don’t hold your breath.”).

Old Programming Shirts

My boss sent me a picture of an old SQL Server shirt that he had hanging in his closet.  And by old I mean “SQL Server 7.0”.  That inspired me to go looking through my closet to see what I could find.

Borland Delphi 6 Shirt
Borland Delphi 6 Shirt

The Borland Delphi 6 shirt is from a half-day presentation that Borland gave locally sometime in late 1999 or early 2000.

Yes, I can still wear the shirt.

VS2008 SP1 – Update Dialog

I’m little late to installing the Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1.  Part of the problem is that the Microsoft Update process never told me that there was an update available.

But while the update was running I noticed that the progress dialog left a little bit to be desired.

Upgrade Progress
Upgrade Progress

So what’s wrong with the dialog?  The progress dialog was kind enough to tell me how much time was remaining with the download progress.  It wasn’t kind enough to tell me how much time was estimated to remain on the actual installation.  That’s a useful piece of information, particularly when you are in the middle of the workday.

Safari / CSS Issue

Recently I’ve been updating one of the web sites I work on in my spare time ( and testing the updates in a variety of common browsers. Apple Safari on Windows is one of those browsers; Safari on my iPhone another.

I’d been having one tiny issue: some of the typefaces would not display correctly on some pages. The problem was most noticeable in the title in the masthead. The title should be in Copperplate Gothic Bold at .9em, but is instead some sans-serif typeface and is significantly smaller than it should be. Other text items on the page are not set in the correct typeface either.

Safari CSS Problem

The problem wasn’t on every page. Some pages rendered completely correctly. The whole scenario really confused me as it worked correctly when testing locally in Safari and other browsers (like FireFox).

Safari CSS Correct Local
FireFox CSS Correct

The problem only showed when the pages were finished and viewed from the server.

The problem was one stray line in the <head> section of some pages.

<meta name=”copyright” content=”R. A. Long High School Alumni Association” />
<!– this css file doesn’t exist –>
<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”./styles/navbar.css” />
<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”./styles/main.css” />

The navbar.css file didn’t exist on my server or on my local system. The entry in the <head> section was leftover from earlier experimental versions of the website. And those versions were built before I had access to the Safari browser.

I “discovered” that navbar.css was the problem by accident. I figured that as long as I was trying to figure out why pages worked in Safari when served from the server and others did not, I would clean up the markup. As soon as I did that, it all worked … magically.