27th September
written by Chris

Like many Americans, I watched the Presidential Debate last night. I could spend pages on what was said and not said by both candidates but one line from Secretary Clinton really stood out to me as a technology professional in the field of Cyber Security.

“We need to make it very clear — whether it’s Russia, China, Iran or anybody else — the United States has much greater capacity. And we are not going to sit idly by and permit state actors to go after our information, our private-sector information or our public-sector information.” (more…)

22nd February
written by Chris

picard-facepalmThus is the danger of over-automating your life.  I long-ago configured Unroll.me to bundle up messages from my hosting provider as well as several of the services and plugins I use on this site.  I check Unroll.me messages…. occasionally, but not often.  As a result, I missed several notifications: that my account with a spam-comment filter service had lapsed, that my site was being moved into a suspended state by my hosting provider for excessive spam comments, and the replies to my inquiries to that some hosting provider about what happened to my site.

Mea Culpa.

So now we’re back up and running with a new and improved spam filter.

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27th October
written by Chris

After a lot of soul searching on my professional future and the path that I want that future to take I have left VirPack and, today, begin my new adventure at Foxguard.

Here I will have the opportunity to build and likely manage a development team, the freedom to build quality and maintainability into the software process from day-one, and an opportunity to really make a difference in an industry in flux.

On the down side, I no longer have a window in my office.

Deep breath; here we go!

24th January
written by Chris

Back in the 1940s a guy named Dvorak got it into his head that the way we type is wrong. Our fingers transit too far across the keyboard, he argued, and as a result our motions are inefficient and slow. Dvorak rearranged the standard QWERTY keyboard to make typing more efficient, eliminating the design constraints which had originally informed the layout we all learned to type on.

In theory, that should make for a faster typist though it does take some getting used to. For me, this marks the jumping off point and possibly a painful transition. This entire post was touch typed using the Dvorak layout and, despite quite a bit of practice on a very helpful typing tutor, I can’t remember typing this slowly since middleschool.

11th March
written by Chris

Most of the software development I do is user-facing in some sense.  In other words, the guy I expect to be clicking the buttons and pounding the keyboard when my applications are running isn’t a technology professional, he’s a mortgage broker from Topeka, or something like that.  I’m developing software for my parents generation or at least that’s the way I like to think about it.  So I try to make my interfaces clean, my options minimal, and my help-text easy to understand.

I’ve been doing that for a long time; so long in fact, that it’s easy to forget that not everyone writes code that way. (more…)

27th December
written by Chris

This domain is no longer registered with GoDaddy in protest of GoDaddy’s support for the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA.

13th December
written by Chris

Despite my somewhat lacksidasical updating of Nephandus, my tiny handful of posts has gathered some 1,288 comments, of which perhaps 5 – charitably – are actually worthwhile.

The others are spam. All of them. (more…)

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28th April
written by Chris

How do you user test this?

Most of the blogging I’ve done in the past has been political and thus I really haven’t had an opportunity to try to post much in the way of source code in a blog.  Once I got Nephandus up and running on WordPress, however, I thought I’d have a shot at it and thus posted a short article on my experiences with C#’s serialization quirks.

To illustrate a specific point I included a brief snippet of C# code which WordPress promptly turned into an illegible mess.  The web is a notoriously difficult place to display source code and thus I set off in search of a WordPress plug-in that would allow me to do so without too much thought.  Several days, a dozen plug-ins, and a string of curse words that would make a sailor blush with shame, I have a solution.

There is no shortage of syntax highlighting plug-ins available, but the support for their instantiation is practically non-existent.    Nephandus is running a number of plug-ins, none of which required much more than a few mouse-clicks to install and configure yet this particular task proved more difficult and involved than anything else I’ve done with WordPress.

The more I thought about this frustration the more I realized that this is an ongoing problem in the software development industry. (more…)

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26th April
written by Chris

My “learn C# project” at work has centered around creating a drag-and-drop portlet style system for the display of custom widgets.  I’ve been using JQuery UI for the javascript functionality but the backend has been all custom C# work.

People familiar with C# know that C# supports the inclusion of user defined controls called WebControls.  These are more or less very simple C# programs which can be man-handled by another bit of C# code.  They’re handy for making your code modular: you might design a web-control that takes and validates a credit card number, for example.

But WebControls are notoriously tricky beasts and over the course of the last few weeks I’ve come to understand that one of the reasons for this is that they don’t behave quite the way you might expect them to when they are serialized and deserialized. (more…)

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25th April
written by Chris

Image Credit: Guillermo (via flickr)

It is time for Nephandus to change… again.

I registered Nephandus.com when I was in college.  Since then it has been a flat HTML page, a Macromedia (now Adobe) Flash application, a custom PHP driven web-application, a PHP/Fusebox web application, and a Zend PHP web application.  In that time I’ve gone from being a student of History at the University of Virginia to a  software developer at VirPack in Blacksburg, VA with stops along the way at Radford University (it turns out no one will pay you to have just one degree in History), Fingertip Marketing, BearingPoint, Sitevision, and Coral Networks. (more…)

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