Friday, September 26, 2008


Notepad++ is a free (as in "free speech" and also as in "free beer") source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages.

I have been using Notepad++ for several months. It works well for editing XML as well as source code and plain text. Looks like it can go well beyond basic editing too. There are many features and plug-ins that I have not explored.

Note-to-self: Hold Alt+Shift to enable column selection mode.

PCRE - Perl Compatible Regular Expressions

PCRE - Perl Compatible Regular Expressions:
"The PCRE library is a set of functions that implement regular expression pattern matching using the same syntax and semantics as Perl 5. PCRE has its own native API, as well as a set of wrapper functions that correspond to the POSIX regular expression API. The PCRE library is free, even for building commercial software."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

RingCentral CAPTCHA Strikeout

I tried to sign up for a account today but either I am dyslexic and still can't see the mismatch or their challenge-response system is broken. I did call the number and spoke with a gentleman (from his accent I assume he is in a foreign call center - but I only assume that) who offered to sign me up but didn't seem concerned that there may be a problem with the web site. I didn't pursue it further and I didn't sign up. If their web sign up system is broken I'm not sure I can trust the web-based tools they provide to manage account features.

I had TimeSnapper running at the time so I went back and looked at my attempts. These are screen clips from three different attempts to submit the form:

This is the dialog I got each time:

This was disappointing because it looks like they have a decent service. I may try again later. Maybe I am wasting time clipping screen shots and writing about this but I think this is something businesses need to be careful of. A poor challenge-response system kills confidence. I think the worst part is that this happens at a point where the customer has already decided to buy. Do you really want your web site to change their mind?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stack Overflow

Jeff and Joel have Stack Overflow up and running. I haven't used the site yet, just looked at it briefly, but I plan to check it out as development questions come up.

Bad Finance 101

Bad Finance 101 - A Programmer's Guide - O'Reilly Broadcast:
"O'Reilly's focus has long been on programming issues (or programmer issues) and that focus remains very much in place. However, it is worth understanding how the grief playing out on Wall Street will have a very significant impact upon the IT industry within the next four to six months, even despite the fact that up until now the contagion seems largely to have remained contained in the financial sector."

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Current Status of XSV:
"XSV (XML Schema Validator) is an open source (GPLed) work-in-progress attempt at a conformant schema-aware processor, as defined by XML Schema Part 1: Structures, Second Edition of 28 October 2004. It has been developed at the Language Technology Group of the Human Communication Research Centre in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, with support for one of us (Thompson) from the World Wide Web Consortium."

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats

Download details: Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats: If you have Office 2003 but people are sending you files from Office 2007 (such as Word .DOCX files) then you might find this useful. Just installed it. Only used it to open one document so far but that one worked.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sound & MIDI Software For Linux

Sound & MIDI Software For Linux is a site maintained by Dave Phillips who sometimes writes for Linux Journal. Dave's most recent article in the October 2008 Linux Journal (which, I believe, won't be available online for a couple months) points out a number of resources for Linux audio and sound. I don't know if the old boxes I have running Linux will be up to the task but I'd like to check out these audio tools as time permits.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


jEdit - Programmer's Text Editor - overview:
"jEdit is a mature programmer's text editor with hundreds (counting the time developing plugins) of person-years of development behind it."


"Validator easily checks one file or a thousand. It efficiently assures all your XML is ready for your workflow."

XML Schemas: Best Practices

XML Schemas: Best Practices

Friday, September 05, 2008

Asteroid animations

Watch Mercury's master mapper's asteroid animations - blog:
"In Dan Pendick's blog, 'Mercury's master mapper,' he told you we were converting two high-resolution animations from Robert Gaskell, a participating scientist in the MESSENGER mission to Mercury, of the asteroids Eros and Itokawa. Well, we're done converting them to Flash, and you can now view them."


"A random utility made to simplify visual debugging of WPF applications at runtime. It's basically a collection of things that may have seemed useful at one time or another with the common goal of making it easier to track down bugs in WPF applications."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Query: VR8 WAV

I was curious if there is a program available that can convert the files (with a VR8 extension) used internally by the Roland VS-880 digital audio workstation to standard WAV files. I have a VS-880 (now quite "legacy") that I used to record the Shack Monks album. I don't really need a converter since I have already archived the audio (two tracks at a time through the S/PDIF port into CoolEdit with the help of MIDI sync).

The search for "VR8 WAV" revealed a forum thread on VS-Planet discussing a RDAC to WAV converter utility. There were also references to a plug-in for a PC digital audio workstation program named REAPER.

I've never heard of REAPER before so I explored that a bit. The company that makes it is Cockos Inc. which was founded by Justin Frankel who created WinAmp years ago. I may give REAPER a try later.

Also found a VStudio Utility Portal page but there's not much on it.