Must have applications for development

I recently had to re-install ALL of the applications that I use at work when they gave me a new Windows 7 based computer, so I thought I would list out the apps that I HAVE to have to operate.

These are listed in no particular order:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Express
  • Visual Studio 2012 – Didn’t really want to, but I had to for SSIS packages at work.
  • Visual Studio 2013
  • Microsoft SQL Data Tools
  • Visual Studio Power Tools – Lots of helpful tools.
  • Jetbrains Resharper Ultimate– A GREAT suite of tools for developers.  I am so thankful that my work provides this for us.
  • Scooter Software’s Beyond Compare (V3)
  • Linqpad Pro
  • WinSCP for terminal sessions into a UNIX box
    Oracle Client
  • LastPass – For password management!
    TreeSize Pro – For space management, not as necessary on this machine because I have more space, but … it might be a good idea for me to keep it clean.  🙂
  • Snagit – The best screen capture out there.  If you want a free app, I used Greenshot before I got Snagit and it was pretty great also.
  • Notepad++ – a great free editor, but I am now playing with Brackets from Adobe.
  • Dual Monitor Taskbar – This great free app lets me have a task bar on my 2nd monitor.  It has a few bugs in it, but for the most part it is very helpful to have the running apps in a task bar on that 2nd monitor.
  • Microsoft Attunity Drivers for Oracle 2.0 – for those pesky Oracle SSIS projects.
  • SAP Crystal Reports 2013 – I worked with Crystal Reports a LONG time ago and I used to like it very much, but there are so many better options for reports now.  I inherited a old project at work that uses this, so I had to have it, until we can re-write this application.
  • Logi Analytics – This is a charting and dash boarding tool that is pretty cool.  We are doing some pretty complicated things with it at my job.
  • Chrome – My go to browser.  It hosts some great plugins for me such as Feedly, Lastpass, and Advance Rest Client (for developing REST apps, but I see a LOT of people using Postman, so I will try that out next time.)  I also restored my shortcuts that I had backed up before I got my new machine.
    Internet Explorer Shortcuts and Favorites – Restored Short cuts that I had backed up.
  • UC4 – For  scheduling batch and nightly jobs here at work.
  • Ditto – a great free clipboard manager.  Somewhat better than ClipX that I have tried.

If you have seen something new, give them a try.

Hire Remotely

As I wrote in my post Working From Home, I loved working remotely and I wish more companies would hire remote workers.  I felt I was much more productive, I felt I was healthier and I just read an article from one of my favorite programmers called “Hire Remotely“.

If you have a company, please read these articles and hire a remote worker.  You can use technology like Skype or Google Hangouts, or HipChat to overcome communication barriers that might exist with remote workers.

Adding a solution to TFS without adding the NuGet packages.

I was adding a project that I just completed to TFS source control and noticed that it wanted to add the packages to source control also, but I didn’t want that because you are not supposed to add the NuGet packages.  They can be re-downloaded and installed during the build process for anyone that does not have them.

I found this nuget link extremely useful on how to configure the solution to 1) Enable the nuget download and 2) keep the packages from being added to source control.

The basic steps are:

            1. Enable the NuGet package restore.  This will add some NuGet stuff to the solution.
            2. Add your project to TFS, then of course commit the change.

Bible Chronological Reading Plan Differences

I am using the Bible App to try and read the Bible in a year, so I chose the Chronological reading plan from them.  It has been very helpful, but I didn’t feel like I was getting enough out of it, so an elder from my church has a web site with Chronological Study Guides, but sadly, his chronological order does not match the Bible app chronological order because the Bible App order is based on the Blue Letter Bible‘s chronological order and my elder’s guide is based on the NLT (New Living Translation) chronological Bible.

So the question is:  Which order is correct?

I guess it doesn’t really matter, but if you want to use Aaron’s awesome resources, then you probably should choose the NLT bible.

C# Parallel Tasks gives MAJOR Speed Increase

I just used parallel tasks to decrease the time a process took from over an hour to about 2 minutes.  I was wary of creating so many database contexts, but it paid off in a major way!

See the snippet of code below to see how I used the Parallel.ForEach.  .Net created almost 100 threads during the execution.

                Parallel.ForEach(qry, issue =>
                    using (var _db = new WCO())
                        dobType dob;
                        List<dobType> birthdays = new List<dobType>();

                        foreach (
                            var subIssue in
                                issue.DOBValue.Trim().Split(new string[] { " TO ", " to ", "-", " - " },
                            string valueToTest = subIssue;

                            // Try Month Year regex
                            if (tryDateFirstPart(valueToTest, out dob))
                                logger.Info(string.Format("Parsed {0} to Month: {1}, Day {2} Year: {3}", issue,
                          , dob.year));
                                saveParseDOB(dob, issue, _db);
                                logger.Error(string.Format("Could not parse {0}", issue.DOBValue));


If you need someone with my ability to decrease processing times on a full time basis, please contact me through LinkedIn 

Have a great day!

Ability to Sync is a great reason to use Lastpass to save your passwords

I am a user of Lastpass and I am working with a large multi national company on a contract.   They had a new employee start and they were trying to use KeePass, which I hear is a great password manager, but he couldn’t access his passwords because it is trying to use a port that is blocked by the corporate network.

So, Lastpass seems to only use https (Port 443), and all the data (passwords) is also encrypted locally before it is sent to the web site.

So, that means that i can get to my passwords from any corporate network I have ever used, and Lastpass has an app so I can get to all my passsword information from my phone, or iPad as well.   I don’t have an android phone, but I know they have apps for that as well.

If you want to sign up for Lastpass, please use this link and you will get a free month when you sign up for the premium services. 

Import transactions into YNAB FREQUENTLY!!!!

After watching this video from YNAB I have learned an important lesson.  I have not imported my transactions for two months and now I have to individually approve 235 transactions.  This is going to take a while.  I recommend that you import your transactions frequently.  I think it would be a good practice to do this at LEAST weekly.

If you don’t have YNAB, use this code to save some money.  Currently I think the discount is $6.00

Working from home

I used to  have a job where I was regularly able to work from home about 1/2 of the time.  I liked it because:

  • I felt I was more productive.
  • I got about an extra hour in my day because I didn’t have to commute to the office,
  • And, on my breaks, I got to help my wife who was injured on her job and is not able to do a lot of the things that she used to be able to do.
  • My work-life balance improved significantly.

So recently I had worked from home because I had to meet the air conditioning repair guys and I asked my new boss if it was OK.  He replied that it was OK this time, but that I cannot do it anymore because of company policy.

I know this was the deal when I was  hired, but it seems so last century, so I did a little research and found this recent article in Business Week that supports my feelings.

I like that the article says ““The whole point of teleworking, from the employee’s point of view, is the ability to fit one’s work into the rest of one’s life, not the other way around, as is the case in the ‘traditional’ office.”

I found another list of benefits on that include:

    • Saved $$ on commuting costs.  (car, gas, oil, etc)
    • Reduce the environmental pollutants

All that being said, it is not for everyone.  Here is are a few of the top reasons from US News ( that are valid reasons you might not be able to work from home:

    • Easily Distracted
    • Lack of motivation
    • You have to be there in person.
    • Lack of focus.

Here are some other articles to consider if you want to allow your employee’s to work from home.