Posts By Month

posted on 10/04/07 at 09:22:55 pm by Joel Ross

I know. Blogging about blogging is lame, but I threw this together today, and thought it was interesting. I'm getting really close to 1,000 posts, and I started looking at my posting patterns since I started blogging at


What was interesting to me wasn't just how many posts I had - but what was going on in my life when the post count went up or down. For example, October of 2004 was probably my busiest month ever at NuSoft (Sagestone at the time), and I made a personal commitment to post at least daily to get in the habit of blogging. The posts were usually fairly short, but for three months, I had 60+ posts per month. In March of 2005, I jumped back up. That month, we launched a large web site I'd been working on for 9+ months, my wife was on bed rest (my second daughter was born April 1st), and March Madness was ramping up - a big deal for my side business, Tourney Logic.

I stayed fairly steady until the summer of 2006. Frankly, I got burned out and blogging took the hit. I stayed that way for just about a year, posting very sparingly. Only recently have I gotten back into blogging - partly because of a few events at NuSoft (like their new public blogs) and partly because I have a desire to write again. It's odd, but I think twitter had something to do with it as well. I'm also a little surprised by September '07, since I have a newborn son in the house. Since he was born in late August, I have more posts than I had in the past 4 months combined.

By the way, I'm 19 posts away from 1,000. I have 7 in the queue, plus another 3 flagged in FeedDemon, and football picks keep rolling through, so I should get there fairly quickly.

Categories: Blogging


Why Do You Encapsulate Fields?

posted on 10/03/07 at 10:28:33 pm by Joel Ross

I was having a conversation with a colleague today about some of the new features in Orcas, and he asked an interesting question. "Why is it a good practice to encapsulate fields?" I was a little taken off guard - I know I should do it, but I'm not sure why - yes, if you have to do something on the get or set of a property (like mark an entity as dirty), then you need it, but a lot of times, your property is just a wrapper around a private field.

From a consumer's perspective, what is the difference between this:

public string CustomerName;

and this:

private string _customerName;
public string CustomerName
get { return _customerName; }
set { _customerName = value; }

Realistically, if you're using a class with either of these approaches, you can't tell the difference. And I know what your first reaction is: "What if I need a real getter and setter later on?" That's a valid concern, but YAGNI comes to mind, as well as pointing out that changing from the first option to the second option is a simple, simple process - and can be even easier with a refactoring tool.

Now, in Orcas, it's much easier to use the second method over the first, because you can just do this:

public string CustomerName { get; set; }

But it's the same question. In the above case, it's even more obvious that the private field encapsulation isn't really necessary - you don't even know about it. I know one of the advantages of using Properties is that you hide internal data storage, and that's fine - except here, we're not doing anything special to store it, and it's not hard to convert to properties later on. Oh yeah - there's the web service proxy generation in .NET too, but that's not really a reason - if you accept that fields are OK, that's a bug in the proxy generator.

So, why do you encapsulate simple fields? What does it give you that you'd be missing by using the field? Of course, I'm asking this question not because I'm advocating not using properties, but because I didn't have a good answer when asked why I do it!

Categories: Development, C#


Why We Built The NuSoft Framework

posted on 10/03/07 at 09:28:54 pm by Joel Ross

Now that we've put the NuSoft Framework out there, I figured it would be a good time to talk a little bit about why we use it internally at NuSoft, and we felt it was valuable enough to release to everyone.

Before the NuSoft Framework, just about every custom development project at NuSoft Solutions started with the tech lead developing some sort of framework that other team members can leverage when building the user interface. Getting that framework in place usually takes a week or so, and not much else can be done until at least a good chunk of it is in place. Not only that, but the framework is usually fairly routine once you make a few key decisions. It's the same type of code over and over again, which makes writing it by hand error-prone. Also, making the decisions about how to handle certain aspects takes time and usually has consequences that aren't always obvious when the decision is made.

The end result is that projects usually take a week or two to get off the ground before other developers can really jump in and get going. It's this time that the NuSoft Framework is intended to help with. It also helps you by making a few of those key decisions. Why is that a good thing? Because the decisions are based on past project experience and frameworks that we've built in the past. It's a best of breed among a few different frameworks, extracted out to be quick and easy to start using.

It's definitely not the only solution out there. If you've looked at .NetTiers (another CodeSmith template-based code generator framework) or some of the software factories being generated by Microsoft, you'll notice they all do pretty much the same type of thing. While I think the NuSoft Framework is one of the best options, the point is to use something. In most cases, it's better than starting from scratch. I personally think both of the other solutions I listed are great and give you a lot of foundation - almost too much for smaller projects. And I think that the smaller niche is where the NuSoft Framework can fit in nicely.

So far, just about every project that has used it hasn't used it "as is". It's meant to be a set of templates that you can use to get a jumpstart on your project. If you don't like how something is implemented, you've got the full source so you can change it! And so far, that's exactly what's happened - to the benefit of the projects.

The NuSoft Framework is being actively used at NuSoft, so we fully expect it to progress - version 2.0 should be out in a week or so. We have a list of features we want to add beyond that, but we are definitely open to ideas from the community - an exciting prospect that's already giving us ideas.

Categories: Development, Software, C#, RCM Technologies


07-08 Week 5 NFL Picks

posted on 10/03/07 at 09:24:30 pm by Joel Ross

Ok. I guess I better do this again. My picks have been pretty bad thus far, so there's no faith they'll get better. At least my fantasy team is 3-1 and sitting atop my division!

This season has been really tough to pick. Teams are so hard to judge at this point. For example, in the past few seasons, it was a no brainer to pick St. Louis over Arizona. Suddenly this year, Arizona is a favorite on the road. New Orleans is 0-3, yet a favorite against Carolina! Houston is a 6 point favorite! New England is an easy choice, but by 17 points? That's a huge spread.

  • Detroit vs. Washington (-3) (46.5 O/U)
  • Cleveland* vs. New England (-17) (48 O/U)
  • Seattle vs. Pittsburgh (-5.5) (39.5 O/U)
  • Arizona (-3.5) vs. St. Louis (41 O/U)
  • Jacksonville (-1) vs. Kansas City (36 O/U)
  • Carolina vs. New Orleans (-3.5) (44.5 O/U)
  • New York Jets vs. New York Giants (-3) (41 O/U)
  • Miami vs. Houston (-6.5) (43.5 O/U)
  • Atlanta vs. Tennessee (-8.5) (40.5 O/U)
  • Tampa Bay vs. Indianapolis (-10) (46.5 O/U)
  • Baltimore (-3) vs. San Francisco (35.5 O/U)
  • San Diego vs. Denver (0) (42.5 O/U)
  • Chicago vs. Green Bay (-3.5) (41 O/U)
  • Dallas (-11) vs. Buffalo (45 O/U)

This week, I'm going with New York Giants (-190), Indianapolis (-550), Baltimore (-200), and Dallas (-600) as my "lock solid" picks. They're definitely safe picks this week - at least how I see it. New England was probably a safer pick, but the return is very small, so not really worth it.

Check back next week to see how I did.

Categories: Football


07-08 Week 4 NFL Pick Results

posted on 10/03/07 at 09:15:55 pm by Joel Ross

The football season this year has been bizarre thus far. Remember way back in week 1? San Diego played Chicago, and it was touted as a possible Super Bowl match up. Now both are 1-3, and have a long road in front of them to get to the playoffs. Sticking in the NFC, Who would guess that the Packers and the Lions would be at the top of the NFC North? I sure wouldn't have - which is obvious if you look at the sea of red in my picks this week.

Last week, I was 2-2 with my "lock solid" picks, with both Pittsburgh and Baltimore losing. Green Bay and Dallas were correct, but since they were favorites, they didn't bring in much. I ended up down $11.20 for those picks, bringing my overall total to down $11.66 on $160 in bets.

  • St. Louis* 7, Dallas 35 (-13) (46.5 O/U) [P: $1.11, S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($18.89)]
  • Houston 16 (-3), Atlanta 26 (39 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]
  • Baltimore 13, Cleveland 27 (-4) (40 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $0.00, T: ($20.00)]
  • Oakland 35, Miami 17 (-4) (42 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]
  • Chicago 27 (-3), Detroit 37 (45 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]
  • New York Jets 14 (-3.5), Buffalo 17 (37 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]
  • Green Bay 23 (-2), Minnesota 16 (38 O/U) [P: $7.69, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $26.78]
  • Pittsburgh 14 (-6), Arizona 21 (41.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: ($10.91)]
  • Seattle 23 (-2), San Francisco 3 (41 O/U) [P: $7.41, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $26.50]
  • Tampa Bay 20, Carolina 7 (-3) (39 O/U) [P: $14.00, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $33.09]
  • Denver* 20, Indianapolis 38 (-9.5) (46 O/U) [P: $2.00, S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($18.00)]
  • Kansas City* 30, San Diego 16 (-11.5) (38.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: $10.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $9.09]
  • Philadelphia 3 (-3), New York Giants 16 (47.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: ($10.91)]
  • New England 34 (-7.5), Cincinnati 13 (53 O/U) [P: $2.86, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $21.95]

Results Summary

  • Picks (this week): 6 - 8 (42.86%) - Winnings: ($44.93)
  • Picks (season): 35 - 27 (56.45%) - Winnings: ($96.26)
  • Spread (this week): 5 - 9 (35.71%) - Winnings: ($40.00)
  • Spread (season): 24 - 32 (42.86%) - Winnings: ($80.00)
  • Over/Under (this week): 7 - 5 (58.33%) - Winnings: $3.64
  • Over/Under (season): 26 - 33 (44.07%) - Winnings: ($93.64)
  • Total Weekly Winnings: ($81.30)
  • Total Overall Winnings: ($269.89)

This season is quickly turning into a disaster!

Categories: Football


It's Trash Night In Spring Lake!

posted on 10/02/07 at 11:52:19 pm by Joel Ross

Every fall, the Village of Spring Lake offers its residents the opportunity to throw away just about anything. Just haul it to the road, and they'll take it away for you. It's a nice little perk of living in the village and paying the extra village tax, so lots of people take advantage of it. I live in the village, so that's what my neighbors and I did tonight.

You've heard the saying "One man's junk is another man's treasure" before? That was my street - from about 6 to 9 tonight. Trucks driving up and down the street searching trash for some nugget of goodness that someone may have thrown out.

Watching the "activities" tonight, I realized something. My neighbor's trash is more desirable than mine. Is that good or bad?

Categories: Personal


07-08 Week 4 NFL Picks

posted on 09/28/07 at 04:49:17 pm by Joel Ross

I've had a dismal season so far, so take these with a large grain of salt!

  • St. Louis* vs. Dallas (-13) (46.5 O/U):
  • Houston (-3) vs. Atlanta (39 O/U):
  • Baltimore vs. Cleveland (-4) (40 O/U):
  • Oakland vs. Miami (-4) (42 O/U):
  • Chicago (-3) vs. Detroit (45 O/U):
  • New York Jets (-3.5) vs. Buffalo (37 O/U):
  • Green Bay (-2) vs. Minnesota (38 O/U):
  • Pittsburgh (-6) vs. Arizona (41.5 O/U):
  • Seattle (-2) vs. San Francisco (41 O/U):
  • Tampa Bay vs. Carolina (-3) (39 O/U):
  • Denver* vs. Indianapolis (-9.5) (46 O/U):
  • Kansas City* vs. San Diego (-11.5) (38.5 O/U):
  • Philadelphia (-3) vs. New York Giants (47.5 O/U):
  • New England (-7.5) vs. Cincinnati (53 O/U):

Here are my "lock solid" picks for the week: Dallas (-900), Baltimore (-215), Green Bay (-130), and Pittsburgh (-270). Picking Dallas is hardly worth it. I'd almost be better off picking St. Louis, since if they won, I'd end up in the black, even if the other three lost, but I'm not that brave!

Check back next week for the results.

Categories: Football


NHL Stanley Cup Odds

posted on 09/26/07 at 07:24:46 pm by Joel Ross

James Mirtle posted the odds for each team to win the Stanley Cup this year.

What I found most interesting about these odds is that if you were to bet an even amount on each team, if Florida, New York Islanders, Boston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Edmonton, Washington, Chicago, Columbus or Phoenix won, you'd still come out ahead. Yes, they're long shots, but that's over a 1/3 of the league!

Of course, I was happy to see that the Red Wings are #3 on that list. Remember all the years when they were supposed to "fall off" and rebuild? When is that supposed to happen again?


Categories: Hockey


Using .NET Custom Attributes for release documentation

posted on 09/26/07 at 07:24:01 pm by Joel Ross

One of the things that I've struggled with as a developer is keeping documentation in synch with the code I'm writing. To alleviate that, I'm always looking at ways I can represent documentation in my code. For example, at NuSoft, we have a basic set of coding guidelines we want to follow. We have a document, but I'm guessing that everyone looked at it when we first rolled it out - and probably not looked since. But that's OK - our framework follows our standards completely - the standards document was written with the framework in mind. So, whenever a developer starts on a project that uses the framework, they see our coding standards in practice. And I've seen developers' coding styles change as a result.

Anyway, along that same line, Waldek Mastykarz has a cool post about using attributes to generate release notes. Basically, he's built a few custom attributes to decorate classes, methods, properties, etc. to show why work was done. You can flag it as a Change, Bug or Feature, include a description, date, version and/or initials, depending on what the change type is. Then, you can generate your release notes from that information.

This is a little more customized, but it would be nice to also have versions in bug fixes and changes, so you could then create release documentation separated by new features, changes and bug fixes. Luckily, he's released the source, so I could do this myself.

It might be time to start looking into better documentation techniques - or at least ones that are easier to maintain!

Categories: Development, Software, C#


07-08 NFL Picks Week 3 Results

posted on 09/26/07 at 07:23:26 pm by Joel Ross

I don't think I did horribly this week. I ended up down, but not nearly as bad as I thought I was going to. And finally, this season seems to be the season that my O/U picks come back to earth. Last season, I was up $96 by the end of week three. This year? Down $97. I never understood how I finished up $380 total for the past two years, but it definitely doesn't look like that'll continue this year.

My 4 "lock solid" picks did good once again. I was 3-1 once again, bringing me to 9-3 on the season. This week, based on the lines, I was actually down again, this week by $.37, bringing me to a grand total of being down by $.46 for the year, on $120 of bets. I guess it shows that you need to stick your neck out a little bit to make money on lines alone - or learn the art of parlays, something I'm not that familiar with.

Anyway, here's my results. A lot of blue this week (which means it was a push).

  • Detroit 21, Philadelphia 56 (-7) (44 O/U) [P: $3.64, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $3.64]:
  • Arizona 23, Baltimore 26 (-9) (35.5 O/U) [P: $2.50, S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($17.50)]:
  • Indianapolis 30 (-6), Houston 24 (47.5 O/U) [P: $3.85, S: $0.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $12.94]:
  • San Diego 24 (-4.5), Green Bay 31 (43 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]:
  • Buffalo* 7, New England 38 (-16.5) (42 O/U) [P: $0.61, S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($19.39)]:
  • St. Louis 3, Tampa Bay 24 (-4) (38 O/U) [P: $4.76, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $23.85]:
  • Miami 28, New York Jets 31 (-2.5) (35 O/U) [P: $5.71, S: $10.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $24.81]:
  • San Francisco 16, Pittsburgh 37 (-9) (38 O/U) [P: $2.13, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $2.13]:
  • Minnesota 10, Kansas City 13 (-3) (33 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: $0.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: ($20.00)]:
  • Cleveland 24, Oakland 26 (-3.5) (40 O/U) [P: $5.88, S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($14.12)]:
  • Jacksonville 23, Denver 14 (-3.5) (35.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: $9.09, T: ($10.91)]:
  • Cincinnati 21, Seattle 24 (-3) (50.5 O/U) [P: $5.00, S: $0.00, O/U: $9.09, T: $14.09]:
  • Carolina 27 (-3.5), Atlanta 20 (36.5 O/U) [P: $4.76, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $4.76]:
  • New York Giants 24, Washington 17 (-4) (40.5 O/U) [P: $17.00, S: $10.00, O/U: ($10.00), T: $17.00]:
  • Dallas 34, Chicago 10 (-3.5) (41.5 O/U) [P: ($10.00), S: ($10.00), O/U: ($10.00), T: ($30.00)]:
  • Tennessee 31, New Orleans 14 (-4.5) (45 O/U) [P: $18.50, S: $10.00, O/U: $0.00, T: $28.50]:

Results Summary

  • Picks (this week): 12 - 4 (75.00%) - Winnings: $34.34
  • Picks (season): 29 - 19 (60.42%) - Winnings: ($51.33)
  • Spread (this week): 7 - 6 (53.85%) - Winnings: $10.00
  • Spread (season): 19 - 23 (45.24%) - Winnings: ($40.00)
  • Over/Under (this week): 5 - 10 (33.33%) - Winnings: ($54.55)
  • Over/Under (season): 19 - 27 (41.30%) - Winnings: ($97.27)
  • Total Weekly Winnings: ($10.21)
  • Total Overall Winnings: ($188.60)

Be back soon with this week's picks.

Categories: Football


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