WordPress and Word

Microsoft Word has a feature to use Word to compose and publish a blog entry. I have used this periodically and have had mixed feelings about it. Now that I am hosting my own blog using WordPress I wanted to test this feature out again. How does it work with formatting different things and how well does the overall look and feel match the rest of the blog?

Here is some code…

static bool RenameFile(FileInfo fi, string newFullFilename)
{
   try
   {
        fi.MoveTo(newFullFilename);
        Console.WriteLine(“New={0}”, newFullFilename);
   }
   catch (Exception ex)
   {
       Console.WriteLine(“Error {0} renaming {1}”, ex.Message, newFullFilename);
        return false;
}
   return true;
}

 

Here is a picture…

I notice that it does not do multi column or other more advanced formatting normally available in Word. Maybe I will give this a shot since it does give you the robust spelling/grammar checking of Word.

PS.  I had to go into this post from the WordPress editor and clean up the code section.  The different way of single spacing something using <p> vs <br> is the issue.  Every line of code is a <p> when in fact I want it to end with <br>.  Oh well.  Not as good as I hoped.

I took the code above and plugged it into the code formatter I previously blogged about here.  It looks like the following, which in preview mode looks pretty good.

 static bool RenameFile(FileInfo fi, string newFullFilename)  
 {  
   try  
   {  
      fi.MoveTo(newFullFilename);  
      Console.WriteLine(“New={0}”, newFullFilename);  
   }  
   catch (Exception ex)  
   {  
     Console.WriteLine(“Error {0} renaming {1}”, ex.Message, newFullFilename);  
     return false;  
   }  
   return true;  
 }  

 

First WordPress Entry

I have been doing a little more blogging lately and have been growing more frustrated with Blogger each time.  Not that it’s that bad, but it’s not that great either.  I have had my own domain sitting dormant for some time now.  I used to use this as a place out on the Internet where I could test my code “in the real world”.

My wife told me about WordPress a while back and I asked her again about it today.  So I spent the day getting it loaded up, configured, copying over the content and making some customizations.

Overall I like the product.  Especially given the price.

Code Formatter for Blogger

I bowed down at the alter of the all knowing oracle (aka search engine) and asked what I could use to format the code in my previous post.

The answer was this.
Copy the code into first text box.  Press a button.  Out comes the HTML.  Nice.
I turned off the last option (Alternate Background) to get ride of the alternating highlights.  Yuck.

Social Media

Today I found myself pontificating on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and other more real time social media sites.  I think they differ from blogging which can be more informational or narrative.  Not that I am against any of them and find uses (even if just pure entertainment) for each.  On occasion.  As a content creator though, I suck.  I know that I have lots of content, just that I also have two big restrictions.

  1. Time
  2. Firewall

When it comes to time I am not saying that I don’t have enough; just that these things just don’t rate high enough for me to spend time doing them.  When I have a few minutes or when something is sticking with me such that I know that writing about it will help me move forward – well then I make time.  But I am not in content creation business.  Nor does my business directly benefit from any of these.  Which brings me to the second restriction – the firewall.

The firewall is not the physical firewall here at work.  In fact I am currently at work and have 10 mins before my next meeting and decided to spend it quickly writing this post.  No the firewall is the policy that we have here at work to not write anything about work.  I understand the policy and certainly abide by it.   But it is restrictive. 

I wonder what a world without this restriction would be like?  Certainly those who believe in the virtues of social networking think that it would be better.  Me I am not so sure.  I see both sides.  I certainly see how me writing about the cool stuff we are doing would help the image of the company and possibly help attract talent.  On the other hand it does not take but one bad apple (or post) to be taken out of context and watch the fireworks.  Bad image.  Litigation.  All thing that I believe scare the company and cause it have a blackout policy.

Not to mention that I work for an investment firm and there is the whole insider trading kinds of issues.

Restrictions aside, time is really the bigger reason I don’t do more.  Nuff said.  3 mins left before my meeting; think of the possibilities.

What a year!

Was just reviewing my last post (which began similarly) and it ended with reference to changes in leadership in my department. Those changes continued to snowball and culminated with me landing a new position on the leadership team. The last year has consisted of me figuring out what this new job is and how I can do it. I just finished my self appraisal so it can say that it has been a difficult year. The transition has not been easy for me or my extended team. We changed many things in the organization this year and it has had some significant impacts. Every day I get up and keep my eye on the big vision of what we are trying to do and figure out how to make course corrections to get us there. Unfortunately it feels like I am using a spoon to do it sometimes. Yes, I am the one picking up the spoon thinking it will help and realizing that it is just the wrong “tool”. Rookie mistakes abound. Last week I was reading an article from the Harvard Biz Review called “Why Should Anyone Be Led By You?” and it was pretty intimidating. Geez, I have a lot to learn.

For what it’s worth here are some new books “on the shelf”…
1. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
2. The Leadership Moment
3. Crucial Conversations
4. True North
5. The Zen of Listening
6. Nice Teams Finish Last
7. The World Is Flat

Dry Spell

I took a long break from blogging. Looking Back it has been 7 months! I felt like I was on a role at the beginning of the year. No resolution, just had the time to put down what I was thinking.

I also can’t help but notice it has been raining here in New England off and on for over a week. I believe I heard some weather man announce that the drought is officially over. So what better reason to end my blogging drought. They lasted almost the same length of time.

Then everything changed. On the personal side I proposed to a great woman and her two girls. Blink – instant family. Trying to sell a house. Get someone off to college. Plan a wedding. Buy a house. Oh yeah, then the other half of my life changed – work.

At work I suddenly found myself taking on the roles of at least three people. I had my old responsibilities as the Lead Application Architect. Then suddenly I owned every server in the organization. More on that later. Lastly we let the person go who as going to build out our SharePoint environment and move the organization to better collaboration (whatever that means). Yes you guessed it…I inherited that as well. At least SharePoint is not a far cry from the application space. But I not only owned the implementation but also the infrastructure. I don’t know if anyone has peeked under the covers at SharePoint 2007, but it’s huge.

As near as I can tell this product is made up of at least 3 other products that were glued together to make a single product. Which means they loosely fit together; they are unified but not really. Wow, what a pain to keep this thing running. I am sure that part of the complexity of our configuration is that they guy who put it together knew SharePoint really well and I don’t. So he build out something that will fully support the organization for many years and growth; but only if he was here to keep in running. This is not a job for someone who does this part time!

Today it was announced that the CTO/CIO of our organization “is leaving to pursue other interests”. This always sounds to me like it was clear that he was not longer welcome at the party. Whatever the reason, it won’t mean more blogging. Guess that means that the one or two of you that actually read this will have to continue to live with disappointment.

;-)

Twitter

I finally bit the bullet and signed up for Twitter. I have no expectations of finding any value in this, but I wanted to at least say I gave it a try. It’s also one of the few networking sites that is not currently blocked by our corporate firewall (LinkedIn is the other one). As a side note, eBay is not blocked either – sometimes I just don’t understand the corporate mentality. Like we are buying our office supplies on eBay. Now that would be funny.

Blogging from the Enterprise

I have not blogged in some time and was lamenting the fact all weekend. It’s not that I don’t want to it’s just that I don’t know what to say – and I have plenty to say.

When I created this blog (and it’s previous incarnation) it was my intention to use it as a public forum for professional things only – little to no personal stuff. At that time I owned my own company and .NET was still in beta; so there was plenty to write about. I did not want to just link to what other people said unless I thought I could add value in some way; whether by commenting or contributing value.

For the last 3 years I have worked for a Fortune 100 (probably lost a notch or two given our current valuation) company and it feels like there isn’t much I can write about. So much of what I do can be considered “sensitive” or a “competitive advantage”. We are in a highly competitive financal world that is currently under a great deal of pressure (I work for an Investment Mgmt company). Add to this the increase of patent applications and infringement cases and it creates a challenging situation.

I am going to try harder to find the line and just be sure to err on being conservative about what I say. Hopefully it still means something.

To Blog or Not To Blog…

We have been having some internal discussion at the company I work for about blogging both internally and externally.

Now I am not very prolific or anything so my blog is probably not a big deal. In fact it seems like it is more of a novelty than anything else. Every now and then someone will come up to me and tell me that they stumbled across my blog and found a couple of interesting (i.e. funny) things. The issue “the company” has with blogging is twofold; first that I not reveal anything that would compromise the competitive secrets or that I not tarnish the image. Both of which I understand I have honored. I don’t mention any specific vendors or names. I mean really – what programmer in the Enterprise has not had a problem with the infrastructure folks.

Internally, we want to start blogging as a way of documenting things in the same vein that MSFT seems to be going – that is that is more than just communicating what is going on at any given moment but also as a way of documenting things. I find it interesting how many blogs MSFT people have posted and the amount of information on them. In fact, many blogs seem to be a replacement for traditional documentation. Which as long as I have a strong search engine – works fine for me.

Which brings me to the one thing that is preventing me from rolling internal blogs out – how do I find anything. We plan on using MOSS and Office 2007 as our blogging platform, which actually works pretty well. The only concern is how strong the MOSS search engine is. I guess the only way to tell is to try, but I am just dragging my heals. I have so much other stuff on my plate that it’s hard to get any momentum behind this.

As I write this I feel the energy building, I just hate a whiner.

Back in the saddle again

After a long hiatus from blogging I have decided to get back online. I feel like there is plenty to comment on regardless of whether anyone is listening or not.

On a professional note; I just had to cancel a vacation in order to debug a performance problem at work. It is one of those particularly gnarley problems that does not occur regularly. It is always interesting to get back into the mindset of solving performance problems. They require an extreme amount of rigor and analysis. It’s a different mindset than pure development.

I find then when developing I will often change several things at once and then re-run my code testing each of my changes. Typically the changes I make are independent of one another; that is I don’t try and fix the same thing more than one way. It reminds me of a couple of core tenets of debugging these types of problems…

1. Jim McCarthy (formally of the VC++ team) has a principle from his book that states – get to known state and stay there. This is paramount to trying to solve these types of issues. You can’t introduce change into something that is not stable.

2. Change one variable at a time. Measure. Correlate. Confirm. Consider changing another variable. We had someone change two things in the environment and the problem disappeared. It’s bad enough it happens sporadically, but now we cannot attribute the disappearance to any one thing.

3. Get to a simple reproducible case as soon as possible. In our case it takes us three hours to recreate the problem – IF (big if) it’s going to happen again. That means we only get 2-3 attempts per working day. We are pretty close to getting that down to an 18 minute case; which means we spend much more time working (not waiting).

Time to get back to running tests rather than writing about them.