Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Staying unfocussed

I read somewhere that blogs should stay focussed on their primary topic. Well, I'm not sure what my primary topic is and even if I did it's much more fun talking crap (that nobody reads) about various different subjects so I shall be remaining resolutely unfocussed.

string.Concat vs the + operator in C#

I was in an interview last week and I was asked what were the three ways of concatenating a string in .NET and which I would choose to use. I could only think of two, using the + operator and using a StringBuilder but guessed there must be string.Concat as well, which I've never used. I said I'd use a StringBuilder in code that got called a lot or a loop and I'd use the + operator any other time. The interviewer told me the + operator had some serious performance problems and I thought "does it???" So I thought I better investigate. I wrote a simple app to concatenate strings and checked in Reflector to see how using the + operator and string.Concat differed. The first thing to note is that the string class doesn't actually overload the + operator and looking at the IL for my app, the + operator version of the code, by some compiler magic I presume, actually got converted to calls to string.Concat. The IL in both cases was exactly the same. So I'll stick with "a" + "b"...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Arctic Monkeys are the best band in the world apparently

So if CD sales are anything to go by, Arctic Monkeys are a brilliant new band. I've listened to their album and it's not bad and I'm sure if I was ten years younger I'd probably think it was superb, because it's loud and in-yer-face. But the quality of the music isn't what really interests me. Here's a band that got started by letting people download their music from their website and are now have the fastest selling debut album of all time, on a tiny indie label. There are so many lessons for the big music labels here. Like, perhaps this new-fangled internet thing might actually be a useful marketing tool, rather than just full of evil-doers trying to rip off your music. And perhaps if you were actually doing your job of looking for new talent instead of suing your customers and infecting their computers with rootkits, you might have actually noticed this band and signed them. And considering internet pirating is "killing music", 360,000 copies of a CD sold in a week isn't bad going. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Stop stealing my memory

Why on earth do applications have to install a load of crud that runs all the time when I rarely use the actual applications? iTunes has got iPodService and iTunesHelper and I don't even have an iPod. Photoshop Elements has got two processes running and Google Desktop Search has three! In the case of Desktop Search I can understand it needing one process but why on earth does it need three? So please application writers, remember your app is not the most important application in the world and if you really really need to have something running all the time, how about making it one single process?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Best Software Writing

I've just finished one of my Christmas books, "The Best Software Writing 1" and I highly recommend it. OK, all the content is available on the net somewhere but books are still the best option for reading on the train. And even if I did read all this on the web, I'd never read it properly because I'd get interrupted half way through by e-mail or someone trying to talk to me or I might even get diverted by work... Anyway back to the book, Joel Spolsky has selected what he considers to be some of the best writing about software in the last year or so. And most of it is pretty darn good. He's avoided all the technical stuff ("ooh look how shiny and new .NET 2 is!") and focussed on the more philosophical aspects and in the process introduced me to several new websites I can visit whilst continuing to avoid real work.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


I've added some links on the left. I've been very selective about what I've put up. The rules are a) the site has to be really really good or b) it's something to do with me and I'm desperately trying to increase the hit count...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

What has Google Sitemaps been smoking?

According to Google Sitemaps, two of the top search queries for my home page are "maybe we need another miracle" and "agony of love" coconut tart, which have absolutely nothing to do with my site and don't bring up my site when Googling for them, so what gives?

Friday, January 06, 2006

High Stakes, No Prisoners

It all seems so long ago now, the days of insane valuations of internet companies. Well it did until the bubble started to inflate again recently. Although of course it's not a bubble this time, oh no... Anyway back to the subject of this post, the book I was reading over Christmas, "High Stakes, No Prisoners". It's the story of the creator of FrontPage who in the space of two years went from start-up to selling out to Microsoft for $133 million. Yes, that FrontPage, the crappy HTML editor loved by amateur website developers the world over. To be fair, from reading the book it sounds like at the time there wasn't much else around and it was fairly cutting edge. And the book is certainly a good read, if you want to learn about the ins and outs of getting a start-up financed.

Monday, January 02, 2006

MK Dons are rock bottom of the First Division, 7 points from safety. I'm following their (lack of) progress since AFC Wimbledon are located just round the corner from me and are now in the upper reaches of the Ryman Premier League. I'm guessing it won't be too long before they are in the same league as each other. What I can't understand is how the MK Dons can attract an average 5000 fans for their matches, when
  1. They have been consistently crap since they moved to Milton Keynes
  2. They are a repellant franchise of a club.
  3. There are plenty of real clubs in the area.

Anybody any ideas?