Jim's Blog Ramblings about novels, comics, programming, and other geek topics


Comic Con 2008

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I've been wanting to go to Comic Con for a few years now since I've moved to San Diego. This year, I waited a bit late to get tickets, so the only day that was still available was Sunday. Sunday was the Comic Con kids day, but besides seeing a few little kids dressed up as Captain America or a Jedi Knight, it appeared to be just like any other day.


Phantom of the Opera (San Diego Civic Center)

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We went to see Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera at the San Diego Civic Center last night. This was my first musical and first visit to the civic center.


ASP.NET AJAX issue with SSL Proxy

My company uses a SSL Proxy for accessing internal web sites from external networks (such as the Internet). The SSL Proxy used is supplied by Juniper Networks and our networking guys have always made comments like "oh, another Juniper bug", etc.


More egoless programming discussion

"Egoless Programming" is an intriguing concept because it provides a way to understand yourself and fellow programmers. Knowing how someone thinks and why they think that way, can help you understand their decisions and personality. Also, realizing that you might fall into the same traps typical to programmers will help you avoid any possible mistakes and misunderstandings.


Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Movie Review)

I've mostly written about Marvel movies, but I think that I'll try to write a few more reviews about other movies that I've been watching.

I saw Hellboy 1, I a few years ago, but I can't remember if I saw it at the theater or on DVD. I thought Hellboy 1 was pretty good and Ron Perlman did an excellent job with the main character. I wasn't familiar with the comic book story or plot, but the movie was entertaining enough. Once again, Ron Perlman did a great job as Hellboy. I know I've seen him in several movies before, but I just can't name any off the top of my head.


Neat animated GIF creator for load animations

I was looking for some nice animated GIF images to use for some AJAX loading screenings and I stumbled across AjaxLoad.info web site.

The site allows you to pick an image from about 35 different image designs, background color, transparent or opaque, and foreground color. (Using Firefox allows you to preview each of the image designs in the drop down list.)

Once you complete the form, you can preview and download the animated GIF.

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How to render a ASP.NET User Control within a Web Service and return the generated HTML

My needs:

  • Use ASP.NET AJAX PopUpExtender control to provide a mouseover popup with additional content relevant to the GridView row.
  • Use DynamicContextKey to pass in GridView record's unique identifier.

My wants:

  • Use a User Control to render the HTML response, so I don't need to build the HTML code using a StringBuilder or HtmlTextWriter.
First attempt

My initial code was something similar to the below code:


How to perform an aggregate query using SubSonic 2.1’s SqlQuery

Just recently, I upgraded from SubSonic 2.0 to SubSonic 2.1 RC1. One of the new features is the addition of the SqlQuery class and it's ability to perform aggregate queries (along with many other features).

If you're not familiar with SubSonic, then it is a tool that builds your DAL (Data Abstraction Layer). Each of your database, tables, and rows become classes that you can insert, update, delete, and select from.

By using an ORM instead of embedding SQL statements in your applications, it makes your code easier to test and catch mistakes (such as typos in field or table names). There's pros and cons to ORM versus SQL statements, but this entry won't touch on those issues.

This is an example of how to perform a query to get a count of unique records while grouping by a column.