Back To Basics: On The Use And Abuse Of The Humble Boolean

"We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals" -- Stonecutter's creed Consider for a moment, if you will, the humble Boolean. Taking only two possible values, it is the most basic of all the data types we programmers use, and its existence is fundamental to all the code…
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Star Of The Week

As a lowly sellsword amongst the ensemble cast that make up the incestuous York/Leeds IT scene, I am not usually one to be influenced by the promise of titles and honours. Time was, long ago, in my first graduate job, that I yearned for a promotion from "Solution Developer…
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Friday Retrospective: My First Printer

My first printer was a Star LC-20 nine pin dot matrix that I received as a Christmas present when I was 15 years old. That's the kind of nerdy teenager I was, folks. All yuletide long our home rang out with the deafening noise made by those pins rapidly and…
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One Reason Why NCrunch Is Worth The Cost

I have been merrilly using NCrunch - an "automated concurrent testing tool for Visual Studio" - for almost three years now. I ponied up for a paid license when it made the transition from beta to RTM, and I recently shelled out again for an upgrade to version 2. Why…
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I'm Back, and Trying a Ghost in the Cloud

Blogging Again Right then, let's give this blogging lark another shot, shall we? I've had some form of blog online since the summer of 1997 (back when they were called online journals or simply 'homepages'). For most of that time my web presence was a single unfocussed site containing posts…
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Available Again For Contract Work

Are you plagued by bad code smells? Troubled by slow-running database queries and ETL routines? In need of some scalable and maintainable enterprise integration solutions? Look no further! As luck would have it, legendary Leeds-based freelance software developer Ian F. Nelson is now available again for contract opportunities. Fresh from…
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A Personal Stack Overflow Milestone

In the grand scheme of things, 'tis but a minor achievement, but I was quite chuffed with myself this evening when my Stack Overflow reputation finally reached the 10,000 mark: My girls made me a special "10K" cake to celebrate :-) Kudos to Jeff, Joel and the team for…
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American Express Statement Download Functionality

I've just been trying to download all my old credit card statements from the American Express website. That's the kind of exciting life I lead. I had hoped that this would be a fairly straightforward task, but every step of the process seemed designed to frustrate and annoy me, leading…
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Wacom Bamboo

Almost everyone who has wandered past the various desks that I've occupied over the last year has passed comment on my Wacom Bamboo Pen Graphics Tablet (UK / US): So, let me say a few words about my experiences with that. For the longest time, I had been perfectly content to…
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Schoolboy Error Of The Day

This dumb mistake just cost me an hour spelunking around in the debugger: var status = source.Substring(source.LastIndexOf("/" + 1)); (where source is e.g. "http://foo.com/status/all-is-good") Fortunately the ramifications were picked up in the acceptance tests, but the root cause wasn't at all obvious from such…
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