Welcome to Steve Smith's blog!
You’ve got a web site, and you think it’s important. Or your boss does. Or your customers do. In any case, someone will notice when that thing goes down. So it’d be nice if that didn’t happen too often, especially during relatively mundane activities like deploying a simple update to the site. Let’s talk about the three places you should be deploying your site to in order to achieve this simple goal. Test Environment The first place you should deploy to is a test environment. The test environment, as the name implies, is where testing can take place. Your testers and QA staff can hammer on this site with impunity. You can do crazy things here, … more
I’ve been using my Intel Haswell Ultrabook for about a month now, so it’s time to follow up on my first impressions review. Overview Last month I was happy to receive an Intel Haswell Ultrabook Software Developer Preview device, for review purposes. This unit is actually the 3rd Ultrabook I’ve used, and certainly it is the best of the three. The first one, an Asus Zen I got in early 2012, continues to serve me well when I use it, but I was never a great fan of the keyboard or track pad. It also lacked a touch screen. Last year, Intel sent me a review unit based on their 3rd generation Ivy Bridge tech. That unit had a very nice touch screen as well as a host of … more
Imagine you want to display something on a page so that instead of raw dates, the user is shown something more relative to the current time. You’ve probably seen this in some of the applications you use. “Last Updated: A moment ago” or “about an hour ago”. There are a variety of ways you can implement this, and it’s been done in many different languages. In my case, which is an ASP.NET MVC C# application, I considered doing it on the server and simply passing the result as a string to the view for display. However, in searching for the best way to do this, I stumbled upon the Timeago plugin for jQuery. One of the key benefits of this plugin is that, unlike … more
I was on vacation last week, and spent most of Monday driving home. When I got there, I found that a nice present had arrived: a new Intel 4th generation Haswell Ultrabook for me to review. If you haven’t heard about the latest generation of Intel processors, The Verge covered them in June. All of this adds up to what could be the most significant update for laptop processors in years… With faster graphics and what Intel's characterizing as the most significant battery life increase in its history, Haswell could be well worth looking for. Last year, I reviewed a prototype Ultrabook that used Intel’s “Ivy Bridge” generation chipset. You can check out that series of reviews … more
With the new Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft has made it harder than ever to figure out how to actually shut down your computer. I think this is due to a major emphasis on the tablet form factor, which one will typically not shut down, or will shut down via a hardware button. In any event, many desktop and laptop users with Windows 8 installed must figure out how to actually shut down the system from time to time. Here are some tips that may help, courtesy of my Regional Director friends. The Windows 8 Way You can swipe in from the right, choose the settings gear icon, then the power icon, and then click restart (or shutdown). It’s a bit convoluted, but … more
Yesterday I presented at the first ever FalafelCon conference in Mountain View, California. My session Refactoring with SOLID Principles is now available on SlideShare. I was a little pressed for time, so I had to cover some of the material quickly. For more information, I encourage you to check out my SOLID Principles of Object Oriented Design course. There were a couple of questions from the audience about regions and XML comments, and I’ve written previously about my thoughts on these (Regional Differences, When to Comment Your Code). If you’re looking for the simple demo site I showed along with the presentation, you can find my Guest Book application … more
One of my sites is currently having issues where it’s currently hosted. They’re resolved by restarting the application, but that’s gotten tedious and I simply don’t have time to invest in troubleshooting this particular site. And, oh hey, those MSDN Windows Azure benefits keep looking shiny like I should play with them. So, I figure I’ll try moving the site to Azure and see if miraculously that fixes the problem. Step One: Activate Azure Benefit Sign into your account with your MSDN Subscription, and click the Activate Windows Azure link: Fill out the form, which will require a credit card and a mobile device (that can receive text messages) to complete. Step Two: Connect … more
Hey, California people, I’m coming your way. I’ll be speaking at FalafelCon 2013 next month about Refactoring with SOLID Principles. The event is taking place 10-11 June 2013 at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus. The speaker lineup looks pretty awesome, with keynotes from Scott Hanselman, Stephen Forte, Michele Bustamante, and Tim Huckaby, and tracks covering Web, Mobile, Sitefinity, and TestComplete. My session will briefly cover the SOLID principles of object-oriented design, which you can of course learn more about in my Pluralsight course on SOLID Principles of Object Oriented Design. In addition to discussing each principle, this presentation also demonstrates … more
Staying in shape as a programmer can be difficult, but recent studies have shown that even if you’re among those in our profession who do work out regularly, sitting for long periods of time at work is detrimental to your health. To be a bit more dramatic about it, sitting is killing you (see Phil Haack’s blog post on this from last year). So, how can we combat this risk while continuing to get our work done (and, if you’re like me, keep on doing the thing you love)? One option is to take frequent breaks, get up from your desk, go for a walk. This is good advice, and by all means, follow it. But it’s not always easy to do, and of course you still have work to … more
If you’ve ever wanted to speed up a YouTube video, like you can do with Pluralsight training videos, here’s a quick tip to show you how to do so. Today, I was watching the KendoUI 2013Q1 Release Keynote on YouTube, because I wasn’t able to catch it live. It’s a little over an hour long, and I’ve become rather spoiled lately by Pluralsight’s video player, which lets you adjust the speed to whatever level you’re comfortable with between 1x and 2x in .1 increments, like so: The iOS app for Pluralsight also supports this, and I usually set it around 1.5 or 1.6, personally. Back on YouTube, the default Flash player has no such controls: However, if you switch to the HTML5 player for … more
We’ve been doing a lot of interviewing as we grow our team in Hudson, Ohio for Telerik Services. We have a fairly small office in a suburban environment, where you can basically park right outside the building and walk right in – no elevators, reception area, parking decks, or other hassles you might find in a more urban location. As a result, we’ve learned that if we schedule an interview, we should be prepared for the candidate to arrive at least ten to fifteen minutes earlier than the allotted time. This is somewhat in contrast with what I learned was the “right” thing to do, which is to arrive 5 minutes early, so that you’re not interrupting whomever you’re meeting with … more
Update: Winner and Results
The winner of the experiment's prize is Martin Frey (@tinfrey). You can watch a video of the random drawing here (I'll keep the file up until at least 1 May 2013).
In terms of the results of the experiment, I would say they were somewhat inconclusive. I noted in the initial post below that my SOLID course averaged just 78 minutes per unique subscriber in February. Reviewing the figure, it's actually 77.31 minutes. In March, during the experiment, this jumped all the way up to 77.42 minutes (almost 7 seconds more!). Looking at another course, Kanban Fundamentals, the course's per-user viewing time average ranged from 41.9 minutes in … more