Thursday, September 29, 2005

News from the Skycar Team

  • Letter from the President, August – September 2005
  • Interesting point:

    ...having multiple-sizes available to deal with the specific demand will make sense. In this case the 84-passenger mile per gallon can be nearly maintained during all flights. Today the average automobile carries 1.2 persons, so that a Skycar® fueled consumption per passenger mile would exceed that possibly, even with the best hybrid car.
    See the article for a chart of common transportation options plotted on a speed vs passenger-miles per gallon.


cLocations - Annotated Google Maps

cLocations is a great resource for seeing the location of all sorts of landmarks on a Google Map.

Here, for example, are the locations of petroleum refinery-related operations (not all are actual refineries) that were in the path of hurricane Rita.

The only beef I have with cLocations is that its simple dropdown navigation doesn't work in Firefox...

Via Google Maps Mania

SQL: fnAddToList() and fnAddVarToList()

Two functions that come in handy when building string lists from table values. The equivalent can also be done inline in the query, of course, for a slight boost in performance:

UPDATED 09/29/05: The inputs should check for empty string values and convert those to null:
--Adds an element (nvarchar) to the end of a list (nvarchar), after first inserting a delimiter (nvarchar)
--Updated 06/21/02 by Oskar Austegard
--Updated 09/02/05 by Oskar Austegard to use single COALESCE function
--Updated 09/29/05 by Oskar Austegard - Added empty string check
ALTER FUNCTION dbo.fnAddToList (@List nvarchar(4000), @New nvarchar(4000), @Del nvarchar(10))
RETURNS nvarchar(4000)
 --Treat ''s as NULLs
 SELECT @List = NULLIF(@List, ''), @Del = NULLIF(@Del, ''), @New = NULLIF(@New, '')
 --First try the concatened string, if null then just the list, 
  --if it too is null, just the new element
 RETURN COALESCE(@List + @Del + @New, @List, @New)
--Adds a sql_variant element to the end of a sql_variant list, after first inserting a delimiter (nvarchar)
--If both element and list are nvarchars, using dbo.fnAddToList will be faster
--Created 07/13/05 by Oskar Austegard
--Updated 09/02/05 by Oskar Austegard - implemented COALESCE based approach to building list
--Updated 09/29/05 by Oskar Austegard - Added empty string check
ALTER FUNCTION dbo.fnAddVarToList (@VarList sql_variant, @VarNew sql_variant, @Del nvarchar(10))
RETURNS nvarchar(4000)
 DECLARE @List nvarchar(4000), @New nvarchar(4000)
 SELECT @List = NULLIF(CONVERT(nvarchar(4000), @VarList), ''),
   @New = NULLIF(CONVERT(nvarchar(4000), @VarNew), '')
 --First try the concatened string, if null then just the list, 
  --if it too is null, just the new element
 RETURN COALESCE(@List + @Del + @New, @List, @New)


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Welcome to New Orleans

Enter at your own risk: Information from the City of New Orleans to returning residents.

Things to Learn In Business School

For later

Ruling Allows Deduction on an M.B.A. Degree : Workplace

Ruling Allows Deduction on an M.B.A. Degree : Workplace:

Under Section 162 of the IRS code, taxpayers can deduct educational costs as a business expense if the coursework maintains or improves skills required in their current jobs or if the education is required to keep their present salary, status or job. If, however, the education qualifies the taxpayer to work in a new career or if the coursework is necessary as a minimum-education requirement for a job, then such expenses aren't deductible.

Sounds like anyone getting an Executive MBA should be able to deduct their tuition, while it leaves regular MBA degrees open to question...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ReSharper apparrent bug (but not really)

In build 207 of ReSharper, the JetBrains guys encrypted the password stored in the UserSettings.xml file. The result is that the first time you try to submit an error (sadly there are quite a few still), your stored password is wrong and you end up with an error message.

See bug discussion here: Resharper #10586: Can't submit error - ITN Tracker | Project Resharper

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Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy - Los Angeles Times

Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy - Los Angeles Times:

Rumors supplanted accurate information and media magnified the problem. Rapes, violence and estimates of the dead were wrong

Google Maps for ASP.NET

If you want to use Google maps in ASP.Net, but don’t feel like figuring out the API for yourself, and you're not using DotNetNuke, Bill Pierce comes to the rescue:

(Updated 10/04/05 12:46PM)

Friday, September 23, 2005

GoMap - Free DotNetNuke Google Map Wrapper

Go-Map provides the ability for you to integrate a Google Maps instance within your DotNetNuke site to any source query you see fit. Sign up for a Google Maps API key, install our Go-Map DotNetNuke module and join in the fun!

ReSharper Build 207

I had to uninstall build 206 of ReSharper, and go back to build 165 just for the sake of stability. Hopefully build 207 is more stable.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Million Dollar Homepage

Now, why didn't I have this idea? The Million Dollar Homepage - Own a piece of internet history!

My Rita Prediction: $4 per Gallon Gasoline

According to the statistics on this site, Petroleum Profile: Texas, 3.4 million barrels of gasoline per day, or 74% of Texas' refining capacity, will potentially be affected by Hurricane Rita:

  • Age Refining, Inc. (San Antonio @ 10,308 BCD)
  • Alon USA LP (Big Spring @ 61,000 BCD)
  • BP Products North America, Inc. (Texas City @ 437,000 BCD)
  • Citgo Refining & Chemical Inc. (Corpus Christi @ 156,000 BCD)
  • ConocoPhillips (Borger @ 146,000 BCD)
  • ConocoPhillips (Sweeny @ 229,000 BCD)
  • Crown Central Petroleum Corp. (Pasadena @ 100,000 BCD)
  • Deer Park Refining LTD Ptnrshp (Deer Park @ 333,700 BCD)
  • Dow Haltermann Products (Channelview @ -0- BCD*) *880 BCD Idle on 1/1/05
  • ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co. (Baytown @ 557,000 BCD)
  • ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co. (Beaumont @ 348,500 BCD)
  • Flint Hills Resources LP (Corpus Christi @ 288,126 BCD)
  • La Gloria Oil & Gas Co. (Tyler @ 55,000 BCD)
  • Lyondell Citgo Refining Co. LTD (Houston @ 270,200 BCD)
  • Marathon Ashland Petroeum LLC (Texas City @ 72,000 BCD)
  • Motiva Enterprises LLC (Port Arthur @ 285,000 BCD)
  • Premcor Refining Group Inc. (Port Arthur @ 255,000 BCD)
  • South Hampton Refining Co. (Silsbee @ -0- BCD*) *Asphalt plant
  • Total Petrochemicals Inc (Port Arthur @ 233,500 BCD)
  • Trigeant LTD (Corpus Christi @ -0- BCD*) *Downstream capacity only
  • Valero Energy Corp. (Sunray @ 158,327 BCD)
  • Valero Energy Corp. (Three Rivers @ 90,000 BCD)
  • Valero Refining Co. Texas (Corpus Christi @ 142,000 BCD)
  • Valero Refining Co. Texas (Houston @ 83,000 BCD)
  • Valero Refining Co. Texas (Texas City @ 209,950 BCD)
  • Western Refining Co. LP (El Paso @ 107,000 BCD)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

SQL: Updated IsSmallDate function

Due to a number of unexpected features of the ISNUMERIC function in SQL, I rewrote my IsSmallDate function to not use the function:

--Checks if a string is a valid smalldatetime
  @SmallDateString varchar(20) --The input string to check
  DECLARE @Result bit
  SET @SmallDateString = LTRIM(RTRIM(@SmallDateString))
  --Check for numbers only, with a specific pattern
  IF @SmallDateString LIKE '[12][90][0-9][0-9]'
    IF CAST(@SmallDateString AS int) BETWEEN 1900 AND 2079 
      SET @Result = 1
      SET @Result = 0
    SET @Result = ISDATE(@SmallDateString)
  RETURN @Result


Monday, September 19, 2005

Slashdot | Trigonometry Redefined without Sines And Cosines

From Slashdot:
Posted by CowboyNeal on Saturday September 17, @09:32AM
from the numbers-and-stuff dept.
Spy der Mann writes "Dr. Norman Wildberger, of the South Wales University, has redefined trigonometry without the use of sines, cosines, or tangents. In his book about Rational Trigonometry (sample PDF chapter), he explains that by replacing distance and angles with new concepts: quadrance, and spread, one can express trigonometric problems with simple algebra and fractional numbers. Is this the beginning of a new era for math?"

Thursday, September 15, 2005

More on LINQ

PDC05 Downloads

LINQ info from Wes and Eric (and MS)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Select Tag No Longer A PITA in IE7

IEBlog : Hello from LA!:

...we’ve also rebuilt the <select> element as a windowless control, so it can be visually layered under other elements

About time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Safely firing an event

This topic came up again at work today:
jaybaz [MS] WebLog : Safely firing an event:

The safe way is to use the copy-and-test pattern:

void FireSomeEvent()
  D temp = SomeEvent;
  if (temp != null)


Oy vey: Metallica's Enter Sandman There's a special message to Metallica at the end.

There's a whole lot more at :

Friday, September 09, 2005

10 Talking Points for Plug-In Hybrids

The California Cars Initiative provide 10 Talking Points for Plug-In Hybrids. The second point is key:

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) simply add a second cleaner, cheaper, and domestic energy source for your car: electricity.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Google Pizza Program

Too bad I'm not in college (and too bad I wasn't a CS major): The Google Pizza Program is rumored to ask each of its Pizza ambassadors to spend a minimum of $500 per month (year?) on Pizza:
“The Google Pizza Program rewards hard-working engineering students by allowing them to take a study break on Google. Google ambassadors identify opportunities to order pizza for their computer science peers, most often around project deadlines or exams.”

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

FEMA Bureaucracy Audio

From A woman tells her story of dealing with FEMA by phone.

FEMA: Check Is In Mail
Evacuee: I Have No House
FEMA: PO Will Hold For You
Evacuee: There Is No PO
FEMA: Give Us Your Fax #

Why Good Programmers Are Lazy and Dumb

Why Good Programmers Are Lazy and Dumb

It should have been called: "Why Good Programmers Avoid Monotony and Complexity and Aren't Afraid to Ask Simple Questions", but that wouldn't be quite as sexy, in an juxtapositional kind of way.

ReSharper Build 206

Hopefully build 206 is more stable - there are lots of nice new features: Changes -

Build 206
  • Bugfixes
  • Open API is exposed. To start, see <ReSharper-Installation-Folder>\PluginSamples\GettingStarted.html
  • Explicit 'this.' modifier control on code re-format
  • ASP support: web project references, support of master pages
  • Multiple entries clipboard. Shortcut Shift+Ctrl+V
  • File templates

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Getting A VC Job

To keep in mind in/after B-School: Getting A VC Job by A VC

Thursday, September 01, 2005

"What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not Missed New Orleans?"

Besides casualty figures now apparently in the thousands instead of the tens of thousands, this study from 2004 came sadly true: What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not Missed New Orleans? from the Natural Hazards Observer.
Via Slashdot