Junk Drawer – A quick and finally simple way to import misc data into SQL

Dale Newman’s post on Junk Drawer caught my eye and I put it on my To Read list (basically one of my browser tabs, mocking me until I got to it). I finally took time to read it and boy am I glad I did. This definitely goes into my Bat Utility Belt of dev/dba tools. 🙂 Frequently I need to throw some data into SQL to query against, join against production data, etc, for instance when someone from another department throws a spreadsheet of staff at me and asks if I can add their email addresses. A quick joinRead More

How to Create Great Rounded Corners on Images with an Alpha Mask and Paint.Net

For a recent website I was working on I wanted to have some nice looking rounded borders for the main body of the page and some of the images.  Since I’m an avid jQuery user it was a no-brainer to use the jquery.corner plugin.  It looks great and works across multiple browsers.  It defaults to using more modern CSS styles for newer browsers but falls back on some neat tricks for older browsers. Unfortunately the tricks don’t always come out perfect and some users with older browsers complained the image corners were “jaggy”. Rather than tell any users they needRead More

A Quick Script to Help Update Your Current Student Photos in Destiny from Aeries

At my district we use Aeries, our Student Information System from Eagle Software.  We also use Destiny, our district-wide library system from Follett Software.  Both are great products and, better yet, both are housed on our Microsoft SQL Servers.  This allows us another level of integration since we can get to the raw database for various needs. One way we take advantage of this is how we load our student photos into Destiny.  Destiny takes a zip file, which contains jpeg files of the students as well as a idlink.txt file, which is an index file that ties the jpegRead More

Visual Studio JavaScript & CSS Outlining

Sometimes it’s the little tools that really make your day.   I finally got fed up with my growing JavaScript files and thought it would be great if Visual Studio allowed me to collapse functions just like it does with c# and other source files.  So I did a Google search.   Well, Velio Ivanov created a great little Add on that does just this and for CSS too!  Thanks Velio!!!   Check it out: http://jsoutlining.codeplex.com/

KeyNote on the iPad–A pleasure to use and a touch interface done right

Recently I’ve started using an iPad 2 in my work environment and I’ve been doing a few presentations about it.  So I was on the hunt for a decent presentation software.  I just picked up KeyNote on the iPad and I have to say I love it.  So much that I had to blog about it, and that’s saying a lot. KeyNote is a touch app done right.  There is a discussion going on that touch devices should have a touch O/S and a point and click device should have a point and click UI, and very rarely should theyRead More

Adding a group of computers to an AD Group using PowerShell

PowerShell is a lot of fun but I don’t always get to play with it.  Anytime I have to do large tasks that move a lot of simple data or AD type tasks then I’ll sometimes pull it out. Recently we installed Windows 7 across our district.  During that process we renamed all the computers because our old naming convention wasn’t always followed and it created a lot of confusion and inconsistency. All our library staff computers have a special application that allows them to download barcodes that are read using a handheld barcode scanner for inventories.  This previously wasRead More

Microsoft Surface 2 with PixelSense

This is just amazing stuff.  When Microsoft Surface first came out you knew this was opening the door to the future.  All the flashy futuristic movies where video screens are interactive and everywhere, tables, walls, etc are now coming to reality. With Surface 2 they have really taken a huge leap forward.  Now they are using LCD screens with what they call PixelSense technology.  Along with R, G and B pixels there is now a fourth pixel that can detect in the infrared range.  The LCD screen actually can detect the objects on the table. What this does is changeRead More

The Real Debate About Gaming in the Cloud and the Future of Technology

Toms Hardware has a lot of great tech news every day.  This one caught my eye from a gaming cloud vendor talking about where gaming was going.  Here’s a hint, he thinks it’s going to the cloud. I’m really surprised at a lot of the comments about the article. In fact, I was hard pressed to find a single optimistic one. A good percentage of the arguments seem to be that "games" should be physical media that you can buy in a store and touch. That’s the same argument music providers and purchasers were pushing 10 years ago. Now ifRead More

Making F1 Do Something Useful in Visual Studio

Have you ever wished that hitting the F1 key in Visual Studio actually returned good search results in a quick manner?  Personally I think the F1 key returns decent results, but there certainly are a lot out there who don’t.  I mostly work in .Net so I’m in the camp of users that F1 works well for. The think I really don’t like though is the 30 seconds or so it takes to launch the help window.  Once you’re there navigation is pretty painful. For the last several years I’ve all but abandoned F1 and just search Google with “msdn”Read More