ABB Day 1

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Today was my first day at ABB Grain Ltd. Carl (my manager) gave me a tour of the facilities where apparently 400 staff are based. I was impressed to learn that not only is tea and coffee provided, but there's even an on-site gym.

The location is very pleasant, overlooking the parklands. Veale Gardens is directly across the road, which is a nice place to walk around at lunch time. The office is reasonable quiet (yay, no loud conversations from people supporting video conferences! Some people will know who I'm talking about!)

I'm starting to learn a bit more about the application that I'll be working on. Timothy Walters has had a couple of weeks head start on me, but with the combination of C#, WPF, SQL 2005, NHibernate, ActiveRecord and CAB (and maybe the possibility of Castle Windsor), this is going to be really interesting.

Timothy also mentioned he's keen to do some pair programming on this project. Looks like we're going to get to do a bit of extreme programming.

Other good news is my computer did have dual monitors (though hopefully one will be replaced as I had trouble connecting with a funny DVI plug). They're also using IP telephony, which is cool. Unfortunately their SIP server is not public, so no free calls from home though :-(

Instead of TFS, they use OnTime for bug tracking and CVS for version control (though we might be moving to Subversion).

So all in all a pretty good first day, and I'm feeling excited about the project work (even if I did discover the database has no foreign keys at all - aargh!)

Looking at LCD Monitors (Home Theatre PC)

Monday, 9 June 2008

I've had a couple of comments that trying to use our ancient CRT TV with the HTPC is not a great plan. So I've been doing some additional research into buying a new TV. The criteria I've been using include:

The first big choice seems to come down to plasma or LCD. I'm leaning towards LCD at the moment, as I don't want a ridiculously large display (which the plasmas seem better suited to) and and would prefer something that doesn't suck heaps of power (and consequently $$$).

The next thing is that many manufacturers sell both LCD TVs and LCD Monitors. Now unless I'm missing something obvious, it doesn't look like there's that much difference between the two categories. Some of the "TV" models have in-built tuners, but as the HTPC will have that I'd rather buy one without and save a few dollars.

Contrast ratio is also important, and here bigger is generally better.

Response time is also apparently relevant, as that determines how well it can display fast moving images. Smaller (faster) is better.

So here's some of the models I've come across so far:

Model Size (inches) Contrast ratio (dynamic) Response Time (ms) Price (AUD)
ViewSonic VX2835wm 28 800 3 635
BenQ V2400W 24 1000 (4000) 5 629
Samsung 245B 24 1000 (3000) 5 712
LG L246WH-BN 24 2000 5 460
Samsung 2493HM 24 1000 (10,000) 5 599
Samsung 2693HM 26 1000 (3000) 5 699

I still haven't made a decision and it would be good to actually have a look at some of the candidates in person. I'm open to any other suggestions too.

SQL Replication talk

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Browsing the Australian SQL Server User Group site today I noticed there's a talk on SQL Server 2008 Replication in Sydney next week.

I then wondered what might happen if the replication got out of hand...

sql replication joke

Barleys!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

My contract with DECS finishes this Friday. I hadn’t heard if they were planning to renew, and in the meantime I was asked to interview for a contract position with ABB Grain. I’ve accepted a 6 month contract position with them beginning next week.

ABB (which in a previous life was the Australian Barley Board) are located in the Adelaide CBD,though down on South Tce so I’ll have to investigate some different public transport options.

Apparently I’ll be working on some WPF applications. This will be new to me, so I hope it will be a good “learning on the job” experience.

So it’s farewell to DECS and the nice people that I’ve had the privilege of working with, and looking forward to finding out what my next workplace will be like.

Candle (as my first agency) have been good, and I really appreciated the unexpected present and card from them on the birth of our new baby. The new position however is through Icon. One difference I’ve noticed already - they have online timesheets.

Every workplace has its own unique attributes - I wonder what ABB’s will be?

I guess I’ll find out next week :-)

Pex

Friday, 30 May 2008

From one of the original creators of MbUnit comes Pex - automated unit test generation.

"Pex generates Unit Tests from hand-written Parameterized Unit Tests through Automated Exploratory Testing based on Dynamic Symbolic Execution"

I've read bits and pieces about Pex before, but now there's something to download.

Jeff Brown shows how you can use Pex with the latest Alpha release of MbUnit's Gallio test runner.