January 2013 - Posts

28 January 2013
Why Are Modern Browsers Such Memory Hogs? A Short Primer on Processes, DLL's, and Threads
I normally don't like to participate in the so called "browser wars" and that is not the intention of this post. But, I feel that the title poses a legitimate question: What is going on with modern browsers sucking down memory like tequila shots these days? As a web developer, I have a slew of browsers installed on my machines for testing: Internet Explorer (unfortunately): Necessary evil, plus it's the only browser that supports Windows Integrated Authentication, which is mandatory on the business LAN…but in all honesty, it has gotten much better over the years. Firefox: I'm a creature of habit, and have been using Firefox since the early betas, so over a decade. Plus, the plug-in support is phenomenal as are the built in web developer tools. Opera: I'll be honest, I abhor Opera. Great idea (and I feel quite the opposite about their mobile browser on iPhone, it's fantastic, mainly because Opera routes web pages through their servers and compress them down... Read More...
23 January 2013
On Microsoft and Backwards Compatibility: Windows 8 (and How to Make it More Usable)
Note; If you don't feel like reading this entire post, at least read this: Start8 from Stardock Corp (30 day free trial, 5 bucks after that, and well worth it IMO): Get your start button back, disable hotspots, and boot directly to the desktop with that utility. Otherwise, read on. This post is not going to be a diatribe either for or against Windows 8 (though I will give a brief opinion towards the the end of this post), but rather on Microsoft's stance on backwards compatibility vs. other operating system vendors. Love or hate Microsoft, they bend over backwards to preserve backwards compatibility between OS releases. If you wanted to, you can still run DOS games on Windows 7. Code written on their old 16 bit systems will happily run on newer 32bit/64bit rigs. When they do a major OS release, they reach out to every vendor they can, and in many cases will help them patch their software packages to run on the new OS (why you might ask? Microsoft is nothing without 3rd party software... Read More...
22 January 2013
New Web Languages and Frameworks (and a Brief History of Web Programming): Pt. 1
Software development has changed so much since I first got into the business over a decade ago, and lately, sometimes I feel like I’m becoming that 50 year old dinosaur who sits in the corner mumbling to himself about “the old days” of programming and how all the new technologies are ruining “proper'” software engineering. Ok not literally because unlike those guys (and we’ve ALL worked with folks like that) I love adapting and learning new technologies, but metaphorically…yup. I have my comfort zone which consists of Java and .Net, mainly on the Windows platform, with Windows centric middle-tier/backend plumbing: SQL Server MSMQ WCF Active Directory Sharepoint ad nauseam… If I had to classify myself and what I like to develop, it would definitely be backend/middle-tier stuff. I am by no means the best front-end designer ( WPF or Web stuff), but can get it built if a designer hands me the CSS and HTML framework/storyboards. A little... Read More...
18 January 2013
How To: Compile ISO C ‘99 Code in Visual Studio
This will be short how to on how to get ISO C ‘99 code to compile in Visual Studio 200x (in this case, Visual Studio 2012), since Microsoft only supports ANSI C ‘89 (and barely at that). Microsoft have made it very clear that they will not support C99 , and instead urges users to move to Visual C++ instead. Ok that’s great…unless you need to write straight up C. Background: I’m brushing up on my ISO C for an upcoming interview I have next week. I haven’t written a line of C since the early 00’s, but fortunately it’s coming back fairly quickly (it’s a fairly simple language despite its reputation). Normally I’d fire up my favorite Linux distribution (in this case Ubuntu) and start hammering away in VIM or Emacs, but this is lightweight one off stuff that I’m doing. I have never used Visual Studio to write C (but plenty of C++ of course), but figured it’d be a no brainer. Immediately I started running into strange errors... Read More...