Foundations of Programming

Every so often I come across a site that spurs me on to become a better developer. Today I cam across Code Better, and in particular the Foundations of Programming post by Karl Seguin. I downloaded his e-book and then sat down and read the book from cover to cover (it’s only 79 pages and very readable).  And I know I’ll read it again soon.

Most of it will be familiar to experienced developers (unit testing, nHibernate, domain driven design, etc.)  but some of it is new.  But reading a book that puts it all together in one package and boldly says “this is the way I do it” without being arrogant … that’s what impresses me.

I genuinely enjoy writing code. It’s one of the great pleasures of my life. Sometimes I do it well. Other times I do less well. But I’m always looking to do it better.

So thanks, Karl.

Reading your book reminds me of why I love developing and inspires me to want to do it better!


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five star luxury hotels on the cheap

I’ve extended my hotel search to include five star hotels … Some of the deals look very good.

You can see on the Channel Islands page how I’m highlighting a few five star hotels in with the other hotels.

On another site I’ve taken it a bit further and you can view only 5 star + hotels by city e.g. Tashkent in  Uzbekistan or Five star luxury in Nantou, Taiwan.

I’m not sure how many people search by “star rating” and in some countries the boundaries seem to be very flexible. Many hotels seem to be ‘self-rating’ rather than by an ‘official’ accreditation process. As always the  international hotel chains should be more reliable, which can be good or bad depending on how adventurous you want to get.

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Currencies of the world unite (it would make my life easier)

I’ve started adding rates to my hotel comparison sites.  As the sites cover several countries, they also cover several currencies which has added a new twist: how to display the correct currency symbol. Not all browsers support unicode currency characters so should I use an image?  Possibly, so now I’ll have to look into that and find simple solution to check which currency it is then dispaly the correct symbol in the correct way.

Still, I’m pleased that the provider of the data ( ) has started adding minimum rates in. It will make my sites sdo much more valuable.

Now if they’d just add brief descriptions …

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Click Scheduler upgrade

I’ve recently started a new contract as a Systems Analyst working on an upgrade of a ClickSoftware scheduling system from version 7.1 (VB6) to 7.5  (.Net).

It looks like it’s going to be lots of fun. Lots of challenges getting my head around the problem domain (scheduling resources in utilities is not like scheduling trains) but the software seems well thought out and structured.

There are connectors to SAP and a Net-weaver front-end which is new to me so there’s some learning to do there but the base product is .Net so I’m at home with that part.  And most of my role will be analysis whch makes for a change form the heavy coding I’ve been doing recently. I’m starting with a Gap Analysis between the two versions and updating the existing documentation as I go.

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Best hotels in Kazakhstan

Ok, so it’s not going to be a huge money spinner but Wikipedia lists Kazakstan as being in Central Asia so I’ve added it to my site so that you can now find the best hotel deals in Kazakhstan.

One problem being that my site is in English only and I’m not sure how many of the locals speak English … but perhaps English-speaking foreign travellers will find it useful.

Or perhaps the links to Tajikistan Hotels or Uzbekistan Hotels will be of more help.

Which brings up the issue of the domainance of English – or the presumption by many of those of us that speak it – that everyone else does too. Certainly I’ve often (to my shame) relied on the friendly help of English speaking natives when travelling rather than trying to speak their language – or some other immediary language we both share.

Many larger hotel sites do supply transalations for other languages but I often wonder how complete and therefore how useful they are.



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Asian Hotels

The price of .asia domains has come down so I’ve registered and set up a site. 

I’ve added a few countries and need to work out the state/regions for my automated process to work but there a few pages for people to find great hotel deals in Asia.








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script v IBM

I had a real little battle today getting a batch file to ftp from WIn XP to a IBM mainframe. I’ll update this post with thte [suitably] modified code but the real tricks were:

1. just putting the file path and name to be sent to the mainframe in uppercase e.g. AAA.BBBB.FILENAME.TXT, and
2. adding single quotes around the IBM path e.g.
put c:\filename.txt  ‘AAA.BBBB.FILENAME.TXT’

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