Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Guess and Learn

By Christophe Verdier (cc)
Some rights reserved
I was thinking the other day that I pay no attention to how old I am anymore. I could say that I have to think about it when I’m asked how old I am. Today adds another notch to my years. I’ll allow you to guess my age:

I began my career in computers as a graphic designer before I was old enough to drink– although my eye for art and design is very subpar now. My first experience with a PC was on MS-DOS 6.21 or 22 then Windows 3.1. When I had my first professional job as a Layout Designer for a local newspaper, I bought my first Hewlett Packard, with all of 8MB of RAM, 1GB hard drive, 14.4 mbps modem and Windows 95. I doubled the RAM instantly and set me back about $100 – for 8 more MB of memory mind you. At my day job, I would design graphics with Freelance, Aldus Photoshop and layouts on Aldus PageMaker. Aldus was later bought out by Adobe. At night, I became an enthusiast of the Internet and Telneting into the World Wide Web. I liked the black screen and green text and I heard of this thing called “Netscape” and something called “Geocities”. So I learned HTML like any good boy did, on Notepad, or was it WordPad then on Windows 95, I can’t remember. So I created my first site, “Extofer’s World”. I switched my day job from design soon after. I since dabbled in all sorts of computer work, from data entry and computer operator of AS-400s, to Assistant Engineer and Systems Analyst, then VBA and VB6 developer, Web Developer into the arena of ASP and SQL Server (2.0 and 7.0 respectively) and then there was .Net and SQL 2000. In its inception, I did what any hardcore programmer would do and dive into C#, but I digressed, went to my comfort zone of VB.Net. I took a hiatus from full time development and into management, however, I still took the time to work with open source software and experienced the LAMP stack, and grew fond of Linux, particularly Fedora and at times, Debian. The businesses I was managing were soon equipped with PHP sites with MySQL databases. I left the world of business and management and went back to work as a fulltime developer in the government contractor sector, this time, full on C#. I commenced my track to become certified, and I became a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist in SQL Server 2008 Development and a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer in ASP.Net 3.5.

Did you guess my age? Today I turn 37, and life has been good. I wound up in Colorado Springs a year and a half ago to work with a small ISV. I really enjoyed working for that company, and I still keep in touch with the people I worked with. Nonetheless, I took a turn to challenge myself, be adventurous and take a stab at consulting. I’m a contract developer for a public company specialized in virtual meetings and telecommunications and am open for other contracts. In my career as a developer, I’ve learned a lot of things, most importantly; I’ve learned that you never stop learning.

What am I saying here? Yes, I’m getting old, and it’s never too late to learn something new. I’ve set several goals for myself over the next year. One of which will benefit you – I hope. In attempt to learn something new each day, I intend to post each and every day now for the next 365 days. I diligently try to post something each week, and will continue to do so, but in the days that I don’t have a topic, I’d like to share what inspires me, a quote or video. I feel we can all learn something new each day, and by the time I’m 38, I will have learned 365 new things I didn’t know.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Great Scott!! Don't use Visual Basic - Meme Monday May 2012

If I could go back in time and meet myself on Day one of my IT career, I would advise myself not to use VB 5.0.

I can almost say I was an accidental developer – let me explain. I had a degree in Mass Communications and found myself interested in computers enough to land a job as a Layout Designer for a local newspaper. I began to dabble in HTML soon after as I was able to afford my first Packard Bell P1. When I left the world of Newspaper and Media, I took a job as a computer operator in the automotive industry and learned to use a product management application on MS Access. There were inconsistencies in the engineering department I worked in with our, *cough, cough* database and the data coming to us from an AS400 application networked from Detroit and Japan. So my curiosity took me to explore options and I discovered I could use VBA within Access, or Excel mind you, and create an ODBC connection to a datasource. All this was mind boggling and I resulted to learn programming and create our own application to connect to the Access data as well as the AS400 data. My first question was, “Where do I begin?” Seeing that I worked in the engineering department, I pursued advice from the engineers as they recommended C or Java (cerca 1997, 1.1 or 1.2). It was Visual Basic that caught my attention.


I wish I could have done that. It was pretty, it was easy, it was just the thing a newbie could have done. From that moment, I became a Visual Basic developer; luckily, there was .Net in the next three years. The problem was, old habits die hard. VB is not an OO language; it’s procedural and event driven. I spent most of my development going back to VB.Net during its inception or used C# as I did VB – event driven. Object oriented design and development was beyond foreign to me.

Programming languages don’t make the programmer, but learning the right language where other major languages are derived from and are the foundation to pattern design, would be a good start. I develop in C# now, and have dabbled in PHP as well as Java. But learning Object orientation design and development took a reboot in my career. I am happy where I am now, but it could have been a shorter trip given the opportunity to go back in time and meet myself on Day One of my IT career.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Colorado GiveCamp, Spring 2012

There are those that do, and those that don’t. Seldom do you get an opportunity to help those in need, now is your chance. For the third time in my life, I’m part of a GiveCamp, a weekend long event where Developers, DBA and other technologist gather to work for charities. Now is the time show where you fit, Walk the Walk, or Talk the Talk.

That intro might have been harsh, nonetheless when you have Colorado charities, asking for help because they don’t have the infrastructure, the funding or the personnel, I’m lost for words. In the past, we have given food banks a facelift online, we have introduced an original application in efforts to assist combating human trafficking, we have written applications for non-profit organizations for blind children, youth mentoring and service programs for boys and girls.

The next iteration of GiveCamp in Colorado will be held in Greeley Colorado, May 4th – 6th, 2012. We have received several requests from area charities, requesting for assistance. We can’t help them all – unless we have the skill set from volunteers. We are looking for an array of talents.  Obviously, we can use developers, developers from all walks of life, C#, PHP, Ruby. If you have experience with Content Management Systems, have some knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Flash or Silverlight. We can work with various databases, platforms and frameworks. However, it doesn’t have to stop there. If you are more involved in everyday business, we also need Project Managers, Technical Writers and Software Testers. You don’t have to be technical to volunteer; you can imagine the three day event can require lots of hands. You can register now, and volunteer for GiveCamp.

You can get all the details of Colorado GiveCamp on our site or you can register directly on our event page. Consider it, but don’t think about it too long, Colorado charities need our help

Friday, February 17, 2012

SSWUG Expo: Understanding Database Security Threats and Countermeasures

SQL Server Security and Intrusion Prevention

Today was my first experience being part of a Virtual Conference. I will definitely admit, it was an interesting experience. I'd like to thank those that watched the sessions and here some details for that talk.
Below you'll find the Slide deck and the link to the scripts used


l33t Password Generator
You can download the source code project and even contribute to the project by checking out the shource code from my GitHub.

Slide Deck

Speaker Rate
I haven't done many presentation, but I'd like to here how I'm doing. Please take a moment to rate my talk and I appreciate constructive criticism.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Extofer Bits - Episode 00110001

I wanted to try something new when it comes to posting, so I created a screencast, and decided I will do more of these, "quick tip" posts. Today, I shared a site I use regularly, most importantly, it’s a must visit site for new installs. I recently re-installed Windows 7 on my machine and I visited Ninite to install my everyday software.
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

UPDATE: 03/09/2012
Ninite is now also available for linux at