ASP.NET, Part 1

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9:26a

We’re partway through the first module and I’m kinda bored. It’s the same “overview” module they have in every single other class I’ve been in and I can almost recite it along with the teacher.

It’s amazing, though, how few folks in here have really done any web development. In a class of six, only two of us really have done anything. Some folks don’t know HTML even, which could be an issue considering that’s a prereq.

This guy Albert is in my class, and he’s been in two other classes. It’s cool to see him again; he’s a nice guy and it’s good to see a familiar face when you come to these things. Sort of “small world”-ish. He’s on a certification track, too.

9:40a

We just finished the first module, and so far, so good.

Let me quickly go through the weekend. Actually, there’s not much to go over. Um… oh! I found the dinette set I want, but now I’ve got to find a couple of different places that carry it so I can get the best price. It’s called the Bordeaux Bistro Set by Hillsdale House, Ltd. Jenn digs it, too, so I think that’s what we’ll end up with. It’s free shipping right now, so maybe I’ll just go for it.

Went to a barbecue at my friends Dmitri and Holly’s house on Saturday. It was good to see them (and some other friends) there, and met a couple of new friends. They have a poker night at their house every couple of weeks. I suck at poker, but it might be fun to get together with them anyway and lose a couple of bucks.

Oh, and remember the meager drink selection we had in class last week? This week there’s no drinks. You get to pay $0.35 for a $0.25 can of Diet Pepsi if you so choose. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but it’s free, sooooo…

My friend Aaron has started a blog. That’s pretty cool; I’ll have to stop by regularly so I can keep up with him. I’ve found that I don’t keep in touch with people very well, so it’s hard to catch up with folks. I’m telling you people, this is the best way to go if you want to make sure folks know what you’ve been up to. Centralized, easy maintenance. Plus, from a time perspective, you can put a LOT more thought into your entries online than you can into 30 different “hey, what’s up?” email responses.

10:07a

We’re going through the “how to start Visual Stidio.NET” section. Yawn. I guess that’s good for some of these folks, but I’m surfing.

10:30a

I’m pricing computers at various online places and I’m finding that any computer with the stuff on it that I want will run around the $2000 range. Sigh. More than I really want to spend for a machine that won’t get too much use, but then, when I do use it, I want it to be good.

11:09a

Looks like I can get a decent machine from HP for about $1700. Better than $2000, but with a few less features than the Dell $2000 machine I was looking at.

11:53a

Lunchtime! I think I’ll head over to the local supermarket and get some lunch on the cheap.

12:30p

I went to the supermarket down the street which is supposedly some sort of gourmet place (you know the type - they cater to the well-to-do so they charge too much for everything and offer weird products you don’t want) and ordered a half-pound of their lasagna.

It’s Chef Boyardee if I’ve ever tasted it. Seriously. And that’s not complimentary.

Tomorrow I think I’ll try something different, or maybe just buy ingredients to make something myself.

So I thought of a few projects that I need to get on, and maybe will work a bit on one of them tonight.

First, we need a really cool home page at the MildPeril top level and I have a cool idea, so I’ll see if I can get something together for that.

Next, I use Greymatter right now for blogging, and while eventually I want to move to Movable Type, I need to do a little customization on Greymatter to hold me over. For example, when you add a link to a site while you’re editing your blog entry, you can type CTRL-SHIFT-A and it will automatically insert the link. I need the link to be inserted with a **attribute, though, so links will open a new window instead of taking you out of my site. Also, I add links to stuff I buy (a la Amazon) and I want to add a hotkey combination to automatically generate those links so I don’t have to. That’s probably like 10 minutes of work, but it’ll save me some time in the long run.

Also, I have a couple of t-shirt designs in mind that I want to do. One is the “I (Heart) Toxic Waste” shirt like the one you see Val Kilmer wear in Real Genius. Another is the Turd Ferguson shirt I’ve spoken of previously.

Finally, I have a really cool idea I’ve been toying with for a configuration file editor in .NET. I think that if I could get it to work, it’d be really, really handy, but I am lazy. I won’t lie to you. It will probably never see the light of day, but it’d be pretty cool.

I’ve been studying for my next test and while it felt very complicated at first, now that I’ve been through the questions on the practice tests a couple of times, it’s feeling much more familiar. I think I will schedule the next test for sometime next week so I can get it out of the way and move on with life.

12:49p

I just went looking at some different Flash animation products out there and…

You know, I used to be totally into Flash and front-end technology. I was pretty decent at it, and getting better all the time. That was, like, two years and two versions of Flash ago. Now I look at this stuff and all the things it can do and feel completely overrun. Which really feels bad because when I got into web development in the first place, it was specifically to do the front-end development. Now I spend so much time coding and doing the back-end stuff, I can’t remember how to do the fancy front-end stuff anymore.

Further and further away from where I wanted to be when this started out…

And now I don’t see that there’s really any way to go back. I’ve got too much experience programming and not enough practical design experience to get a job doing anything but programming. I’d do it at home for my own benefit, but I’m so wiped out when I’m done with the day at work (programming well and truly takes all of my energy) that I don’t even really turn on the computer at home.

I wonder how many people this sort of thing happens to - trying desperately to go down one career path but being dragged by your ankles down a totally separate path.

Huh.

I went to this La Femme Nikita web site and it looks like (as of July 27) they may or may not put out season two on DVD. I really hope they do; I love that show. Right up there with Alias in the “suck-me-in” factor. I can’t not watch.

1:05p

I found a shirt for Jenn.

And one for me.

1:21p

I just got some more web site stats from Marty and it seems my average visits count just keeps going up. Who are all you people?!

1:34p

Well, that 30 minute lab just took about eight minutes.

People might ask, “If you already know this stuff, why are you in the class?” I have an answer for that.

This beginning stuff - the first, say, five or six modules out of 17 - are definitely review. The rest, though, are going to be complementary to my existing knowledge: reinforcing the stuff I already know and filling in the gaps for the stuff I don’t.

Plus, it’s very validating to see that I’m so familiar with this stuff - it shows that I have, in fact, learned the stuff I’ve set out to learn. That’s a good feeling.

Besides, not being at work is almost the same as being on vacation. Isn’t it?

2:07p

We just started the next module, and I just finished with the lab for it. Maybe I’ll get out really early…?

3:50p

I just wrote a really cool VBScript that I can use in these classes to quickly set up a machine’s environment for use. It automatically adds the “Command Prompt Here” functionality (like the Windows Power Toy), updates the registry so the command prompt will automatically set up the environment for Visual Studio.NET when you run it (rather than having to use the “Visual Studio Command Prompt” all the time - what a pain!), adds a shortcut to Notepad to your SendTo folder (so you can right-click on things and send them to Notepad), and sets the path completion character to TAB. I’m stoked.

Looks like we’re way ahead today, so we’re outta here. Rock on, man.

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