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At GROSSWEBER we practice what we preach. We offer trainings for modern software technologies like Behavior Driven Development, Clean Code and Git. Our staff is fluent in a variety of languages, including English.

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The IT Crowd

Posted in Fun Stuff | Geek Mode at Sunday, 26 November 2006 20:05 W. Europe Standard Time

I haven't written about it yet but since Rapha introduced me to The IT Crowd I'm a huge fan. How could I miss mentioning this masterpiece of British comedy? The credits alone are full of sideswipes at computers.

The IT Crowd, that is Roy and Moss, two IT guys at a random company. In the first episode, they are joined by Jen, their new boss. Unbeknownst to women, at first they're a bit afraid of her, deeply doubting she has any skills regarding computers. Actually they're not mistaken if you consider the following dialog with her boss when Jen is asked about her computer experience:

Jen: I've got lot's of experience of all computer … thing. You know e-mails. Sending e-mails, receiving emails, deleting e-mails. Erm. I could go on…

Boss: Do!

Jen: The Web. Using mouse, mices, using mice. Erm. Clicking… double-clicking, the computer screen, of course, the keyboard, the grrls on the floor down there.

Boss: The hard drive?

Hilarious! The guys' natural environment is a basement that looks like a mixture of a computer junkyard and souvenir shop of an open source/free software organization, and besides that they perfectly meet almost every other IT-related cliché. Currently there is one series with six episodes to be found on Google and YouTube which is also available on DVD. I would deeply appreciate the release of a second season.

Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Getting the Next Week's First Day in .NET

Posted in Geek Mode at Wednesday, 16 August 2006 20:30 W. Europe Daylight Time

Here's a code snippet I've written last year for a test. I don't remember of what use it was to me, I found it today while removing clutter from my local project repository.

This piece of code iterates through all days of the current month and then prints the first day of the next week in the invariant culture (where Sunday is the first day of the week) and the German culture (Monday is the first day of the week).

using System;
using System.Threading;
using System.Globalization;
 
class Program
{
    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        // The first day of the week is Sunday.
        Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = CultureInfo.InvariantCulture;
        RunTest();
 
        // The first day of the week is Monday.
        Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture = CultureInfo.GetCultureInfo("de-de");
        RunTest();
    }
 
    /// <summary>
    /// Iterates through all days of the current month and prints the 
    /// first day of the next week according to the current culture.
    /// </summary>
    private static void RunTest()
    {
        Console.WriteLine("First day of week is {0}",
            Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture.DateTimeFormat.FirstDayOfWeek);
 
        // Iterate through all dates of the current month.
        DateTime date = DateTime.Today.AddDays(-DateTime.Today.Day);
        for (int i = 0; i < DateTime.DaysInMonth(date.Year, date.Month); i++)
        {
            date = date.AddDays(1);
 
            DateTime nextWeekFirst = GetNextWeeksFirstDay(date);
            Console.WriteLine("{0} -> {1} ({2})",
                date.ToShortDateString(),
                nextWeekFirst.ToShortDateString(),
                nextWeekFirst.DayOfWeek);
        }
    }
 
    /// <summary>
    /// Returns the date of the next week's first day for a given <see cref="DateTime"/>.
    /// </summary>
    private static DateTime GetNextWeeksFirstDay(DateTime date)
    {
        int daysUntilNextWeeksFirstDay =
            Convert.ToInt32(Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentCulture.DateTimeFormat.FirstDayOfWeek) -
            Convert.ToInt32(date.DayOfWeek) + 7;
 
        if (daysUntilNextWeeksFirstDay == 8)
        {
            daysUntilNextWeeksFirstDay = 1;
        }
 
        return date.AddDays(daysUntilNextWeeksFirstDay);
    }
}

Output (shortened):

First day of week is Sunday
08/01/2006 -> 08/06/2006 (Sunday)
08/02/2006 -> 08/06/2006 (Sunday)
08/03/2006 -> 08/06/2006 (Sunday)
08/04/2006 -> 08/06/2006 (Sunday)
08/05/2006 -> 08/06/2006 (Sunday)
08/06/2006 -> 08/13/2006 (Sunday)
08/07/2006 -> 08/13/2006 (Sunday)
...
First day of week is Monday
01.08.2006 -> 07.08.2006 (Monday)
02.08.2006 -> 07.08.2006 (Monday)
03.08.2006 -> 07.08.2006 (Monday)
04.08.2006 -> 07.08.2006 (Monday)
05.08.2006 -> 07.08.2006 (Monday)
06.08.2006 -> 07.08.2006 (Monday)
07.08.2006 -> 14.08.2006 (Monday)
08.08.2006 -> 14.08.2006 (Monday)
...

Your Justification for a Multi-Monitor Setup

Posted in Geek Mode at Thursday, 13 July 2006 00:35 W. Europe Daylight Time

Productivity has always meant a great deal to Microsoft. Besides incorporating productivity improvements in their developer tools and the Office suite, they've also improved and extended the Windows operating system in sometimes subtle ways.

One example is the ClearType technology that's been released with Windows XP. ClearType improves the reading experience if you're using a LCD monitor by smoothing the edges of characters in clever ways. Instead of simply anti-aliasing the characters on a per-pixel basis in grayscale, a sub-pixel anti-aliasing is applied. This basically means that font smoothing can be done in greater granularity. Your can read more about the technology on Microsoft's typography site. There's also a video on Channel9 covering ClearType and lots of details regarding typography in general.

ClearType Enabled ClearType Enabled
Default rendering ClearType rendering

Besides the fact that I and many others consider ClearType a visual improvement, ClearType also speeds up all the reading involved tasks. Another paper concludes:

For most users ClearType-enhanced text produces a significant improvement in performance times on tasks involving extended eye-on-text interactions.

I see a lot of machines with LCDs that don't have ClearType enabled. I suspect this is because ClearType is defaulted to off and the setting is deeply buried inside the control panel. Learn how to enable ClearType by clicking on the first question in the ClearType FAQ.

Multiple Monitor Setup

However, the above is old news. The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Microsoft Researcher Mary Czerwinski who said that a setup of three monitors increases productivity by 9 percent. Six displays was considered the best setup. I think buying a second LCD would be the first step to take. One I'm looking forward to.

Now playing: Massive Attack - 100th Window - Small time shot away

Abbreviations

Posted in Geek Mode at Thursday, 06 July 2006 23:51 W. Europe Daylight Time

In online communications abbreviations are pretty common to express otherwise rather long parts of a sentence. I've been introduced to the realm of these shortcuts when I was 15. During these days T-Com provided free internet access in the Gera's broadcasting centre of the regional TV station on saturdays. I've been hanging out on IRC with friends who sat next to me the whole day.

Even though I'm using a small number of abbreviations fairly often there are people who ask me over and over again about their meaning. In the end I feel compelled to the type the abbreviation twice, the second time along with an explanation. For all our convenience, here's a list of the abbreviations I mostly use.

Abbreviation Long Version
AFAIK As far as I know
ASAP As soon as possible
BTW By the way
FYI For your information
IIRC If I remember correctly

BTW¹, Arwen has arrived and runs pretty fast.

¹ See above :-)

Now playing: Goo Goo Dolls - Gutterflower - What a scene

Tracking

Posted in Geek Mode at Monday, 03 July 2006 19:21 W. Europe Daylight Time

The new server is on its way... I'm eagerly waiting for its arrival and flooding the UPS site with tracking requests in the meantime.

UPS Tracking

Now playing: Oasis - Be Here Now - Magic pie

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