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Pebble Steel: DIY (some assembly required)

By , 04/01/2014 8:38 AM

Pebble Steel: DIY

Pebble Steel is a new flagship smartwatch of a widely successful kickstarter Pebble. It’s the latest craze and everybody wants one. Unfortunately the demand far outweighs the supply – it’s a well known problem. Pebble can’t manufacture enough new Steels in time, there’re many backorders, missed deadlines, a lot of frustrated, complaining customers.

But Pebble is not called genius for nothing. They found a brilliant solution, one they borrowed directly from the Apple, when the company was at its very humble beginning and was struggling as well. If you recall – original Apple 1 computer was sold as an electronic kit, that users had to put together themselves. This approach solved many problems for Apple back then and it will be very helpful for Pebble today.

Enter “Pebble Steel: Do it yourself” kit. The new Steel will ship as a collection of parts with detailed instructions on how to put them together. Since Pebble Steel doesn’t have to come fully assembled – that will seriously cut down manufacturing time and the product will ship to users much sooner. Cost saved on assembly labor will also be passed directly to customers – expect to see cheaper Steels soon. And since majority of Pebble users are computer/electronics geeks anyway, crowd that loves tinkering with their gadgets – assembling your very own Pebble Steel will come as an interesting and a welcome challenge and will make a proud owner even more proud.

How to receive Stack Overflow notifications on your phone and smartwatch

By , 02/19/2014 10:44 PM

If this then that

As you may have gathered I am a frequent participant of Stack Overflow Q&A board for coders. On that site everytime somebody responds to your question or comments – a notification is displayed in the status bar. Ditto when your reputation points change.

I became curious whether I could receive these modifications on my phone. Stack Exchange released their own application on Google Play store that does send push notifications when a reply is received, but no notifications on reputation changes. Also it’s still a little rough around the edges and besides I realized I didn’t want a full blown Stack Overflow application (when I do use SO for questions/answers I prefer the full site on my laptop). There should be another way. Continue reading 'How to receive Stack Overflow notifications on your phone and smartwatch'»

TSQL: NOT IN doesn’t work

By , 01/15/2014 11:37 AM

If you encounter a weird scenario when query

SELECT Something FROM Table1 WHERE SomethingElse IN (SELECT Lookup FROM Table2)

work perfectly, but the opposite query

SELECT Something FROM Table1 WHERE SomethingElse NOT IN (SELECT Lookup FROM Table2)

doesn’t return any results – and you know for a fact that there’re results – check values returned by the subquery. Chances are there’re NULLs among those values. If that’s the case – NOT IN won’t return any results.

As a quick workaround you can add IS NOT NULL condition to the subquery:

SELECT Something FROM Table1
WHERE SomethingElse NOT IN (SELECT Lookup FROM Table2 WHERE Lookup IS NOT NULL)

and this should do the trick.

Credit: This Stack Overflow answer.

How to make “scrollIntoView” apply to IFRAME only

By , 01/06/2014 5:05 PM

Let’s say you have a really long HTML page with scrollbars, for the sake of argument something like this:

...more content...
<div id="xB">bbbb</div>
...much more content...

And somewhere, perhaps on pageload, you want to make sure that highlighted element is visible to the user, so to scroll it into view you execute


And it works fine and well – the needed element is automatically displayed on top of the page. But what if this page is in an IFRAME and the parent page has a large scrollable content of it’s own:
Continue reading 'How to make “scrollIntoView” apply to IFRAME only'»

Have you tried DotNet Fiddle?

By , 01/03/2014 1:46 PM

You might be familiar with JS fiddle – an awesome tool that allows you to interactively test and share your JavaScript code along with gazillion of libraries and CSS classes.

You may even know non less awesome SQL Fiddle using which you can build custom schemas, tables, views and run and share your SQL queries in various RDBMS.

But have you heard about .NET Fiddle? This is a great interactive compiler, using IDE familiar to other fiddlers users it allows you to run and share your .NET code in both C# and VB.NET.

From the developers of .NET Fiddle:

We are a group of .NET developers who are sick and tired of starting Visual Studio, creating a new project and running it, just to test simple code or try out samples from other developers.

Give it try!

Infragistics WebSplitter: Set SplitterBar’s CSS class in clinet-side JavaScript

By , 12/04/2013 12:36 PM

Hello there. Haven’t written in a while, been busy participating in Stack Overflow community, but this little bit I found interesting.

Infragistics has a cool versatile Web Splitter control in their ASP.NET suite, but recently I encountered a shortcoming – there’s no way to set a CSS class for splitter bar on client-side via JavaScript. On server-side you can do something like

xMySplitter.SplitterBar.CssClass = "hiddenElement";

On client-side – you can get the CSS class via

var sCss = $find('xMySplitter').get_splitterBarCss()

but there’s no counterpart set_splitterBarCss() method. Continue reading 'Infragistics WebSplitter: Set SplitterBar’s CSS class in clinet-side JavaScript'»

Solution for SqlDataReader.ReadColumnHeader NullReferenceException

By , 08/30/2013 10:38 AM

This post related to the previous one, but I decided to write a separate article because it seems to be a common problem.

Sometimes when you use SqlDataReader, you would get an exception:

NullReferenceException {“Object reference not set to an instance of an object.”}
at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlDataReader.ReadColumnHeader(Int32 i)
at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlDataReader.ReadColumn(Int32 i, Boolean setTimeout)
at System.Data.SqlClient.SqlDataReader.GetInt32(Int32 i)

And the maddening thing – it doesn’t happen often, just every once in a while. And it happens at different times too, sometimes reader would read 100 records, sometimes 200 etc.

One possible case – SqlDataReader is losing its connection. And one possible reason for that – connection goes out of scope.

Consider following scenario – you have a function that returns SqlDataReader:

Function GetTheReader() as SqlDataReader
   Dim oConn As New SqlConnection("Connection String") : oConn.Open()
   Dim oComm As New SqlCommand("Stored Procedure", oConn)

   Dim oReader As SqlDataReader = oComm.ExecuteReader(CommandBehavior.CloseConnection)

   Return oReader
End Function

And you use it like this:

Dim oReader as SqlDataReader = GetTheReader()
'Begin use reader - loop, read data etc.

The problem with this approach that connection used to create the reader is stored in a private variable inside of `GetTheReader` function and when the function exits – the variable goes out of scope. Eventually, sooner or later Garbage Collector will collect it and close and dispose of connection – and at this time your SqlDataReader will fail.

The solution? Either use SqlDataReader at the same scope level you created it, or, if you do need to use function – pass connection object into it as one of the parameters, so it would remain valid after function exits.

When SqlDataReader is missing rows

By , 08/27/2013 10:48 PM

I have a very basic scenario:

  1. Execute TSQL Stored procedure
  2. Return a DataReader
  3. Read data from the Reader

This is ADO.NET 101. There is one problem: DataReader loses rows. This problem has haunted me forever, extensive research and numerous suggestion didn’t help, even though the code is extremely basic:

Get the reader:

m_dbSel.CommandType = CommandType.StoredProcedure
m_dbSel.CommandText = "SP_Name"
oResult = m_dbSel.ExecuteReader()

Pass the reader to class constructor to fill Generic List (of Integer):

Public Sub New(i_oDataReader As Data.SqlClient.SqlDataReader)

    m_aFullIDList = New Generic.List(Of Integer)

    While i_oDataReader.Read
    End While

    m_iTotalNumberOfRecords = m_aFullIDList.Count

End Sub

This problem occurs when number of rows returned by the reader is relatively large (over 600,000 records). If this happens – number of rows added to the list from the reader is inconsistent, but always less than real one. Most often “magic” number of 524289 rows is returned.

Well, this is no longer a mystery, thanks to the great people from Stack Overflow @RBarryYoung, @granadaCoder and especially @MartinSmith who was the first to point me in the right direction – and here it is.

Even though the problem is with SqlDataReader – it is happening because it is used in conjunction with Generic List. List, as you may know has a flexible Capacity for number of elements it can store. When count of elements exceeds capacity – capacity increases and always to a power of 2. E.g.

When the count exceeds 4 elements – capacity is set to 8 (2^3)
When the count exceeds 8 elements – capacity is set to 16 (2^4)
When the count exceeds 16 elements – capacity is set to 32 (2^5)


This is what makes Generic List such a powerful tool, used by many large scale .NET projects, e.g. bingogodz.com. And ordinary this is not a problem. Unfortunately this is not the case when it is used together with SqlDataReader. When count of items in the List exceeds 524,288 (2^19) and its capacity is set to 1,048,576 (2^20) – SqlDataReader’s Read method suddenly returns False even though not all records have been read. No exception is thrown, it simple stops.

The only possible workaround I’ve found so far (I am still looking for better ones) is to pre-set List capacity in advance. Since, when using DataReader, you do not know number of rows, you’re left either with hardcoding the number or running another DB query to retrieve number of rows via something like COUNT(*). Like I said, I don’t like this workaround, please let me know if you find a better one.

UPDATE: Finally figured it out: http://stackoverflow.com/a/18520609/961695

WebHierarchicalDataGrid: get_scrollTop() returns incorrect value

By , 08/02/2013 12:52 PM

Infragistics WebHierarchicalDataGrid has a neat client-side built-in function get_scrollTop() – it is used if at any point you need to retrieve current vertical scroll position of the grid (e.g. to use it in your own calculations to display something at a specific position on the grid – tooltip, help, additional info etc.)

Unfortunately the function has a bug: its value only set if user actually manually scrolls the grid: using mouse and scrollbar on the right, keyboard etc. If no scrolling user-interaction is involved and scroll position changes due to other means (e.g. displayed data size changes) – the function retains original value, throwing all your calculation out of whack. Continue reading 'WebHierarchicalDataGrid: get_scrollTop() returns incorrect value'»

ADO.NET DataTable: Change Column DataType after table is populated with data

By , 08/02/2013 10:44 AM

Sometimes there is a need to change DataType of ADO.NET DataTable column. If your table is populated as a result of some database operation – you don’t know in advance what type the columns will be. And by design you cannot change the type of the column after the table is populated. Conudrum. Catch 22. Tough luck.

But wait, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. You cannot change the type of the existing column, but you can create a new one. Continue reading 'ADO.NET DataTable: Change Column DataType after table is populated with data'»

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