Thursday, June 26, 2008

You Need A Website

When a business or organization decides to pay for a website, they have a dizzying array of options to choose from.  There are companies offer templated websites for ver low prices and have higher end turn-key solutions with e-commerce.  You can get a free blog or even a free website from Google.  A lot of people enjoy using the huge range of services offered by www.GoDaddy.com .  Non-Profits and churches should consider webpro productions.

However, sometimes none of those turn-key solutions will cut it and you need a customer website developed.  You don't care about about technology, you just have your requirements and you want to get the best price.  At this point, you start shopping around and you discover big companies, smaller companies, and individuals, offering services.

How do I make sense out of all this confusion?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Lord wants His children to fight battles!

"Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had no experience of any war in Canaan; it was only that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, that he might teach war to such at least as had not known it before." (Judges 3:1-2)

Now there is an interesting verse from Scripture.  Part of God's work in the heart of his people is to teach the men how to fight battles, to be prepared for war.  Our God is a warrior!

Friday, April 25, 2008

My thoughts on the Papal Visit

Of course, I was very interested in watching the Pope come to the area and reading his words to us.  His core message  -- at least I think -- was that the core issue is the need to cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Some of the best insights that I have seen come from Angelo Matera on his websitewww.godspy.com, especially How the Media is Missing the Pope’s Radical Critique of American Religion.  He talks about the Pope's solution as proposing the method of the "creative minorities" to all the faithful, very interesting read.  Here is my angle.  As Catholics, we having tended to reject "Do you have a personal relationship with Jesu Christ?" as a protestant thang.  But, starting with John Paul II and continuing with Benedict XVI, this "personal relationship" language has been definitively incorporated into the magisterium of the Church with great precision and intentionality, rooted in the very essense of the Trinity as relation.  As a result, I think one great fruit of Benedict's visit could become a strengthening of the conversations and ecumenical activities between Catholics and Evenaglicals, on the common ground of proclaiming the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
One more thought, which is connected to the "personal relationship with Jesus" theme.  It's not just a theme, it's a reality.  We must experience Jesus, or our "religion" becomes empty, perhaps hypocritical and pharisaic.  Nevertheless, that's not my point.  Fr. Cantalamessa preached soem Lenten homilies in the Papal Household.  His Good Friday homily had a fascinating paragraph.  I quote:
"From this we see that today there are 2 possible ecumenisms: an ecumenism of faith and an ecumenism of incredulity; one that unites all those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that Christ died to save all humankind, and an ecumenism that unites all those who, in deference to the Nicene Creed, continue to proclaim these formulas but empty them of their content. It is an ecumenism in which, in its extreme form, everyone believes the same things because no one any longer believes anything, in the sense that “believing” has in the New Testament."
I think the Holy Father has taken this to heart.  He is seeking unity on the basis of those who beleive that Christ is the Son of God.  Fr. Cantalamessa goes on to say: "Sticking with this criterion, the fundamental distinction among Christians is not between Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, but between those who believe that Christ is the Son of God and those who do not believe this."  Yeah, he's talking about beleiving what the creed teaches, but not just that.  He's talking about belief as a living personal encounter/relationship with Jesus Christ.  The creed is just the symbol of the reality which is the relationship with Christ.
I need to get back to work.

March and April 2008 Activities

What have I been up to?
On a personal level, we celebrated Joanne's 40th birtdhay on April 22 with a low-key day.  I took the day off from work and helped out around the house.  Her mother cooked a wonderful manicotti dinner for her birthday.
We are taking as sabbatical from our local parish at Saint Joseph and have started attending the next town over at Immaculate Conception in Somerville.  I am participating in a 6:30 AM Men's Bible Study which is doing a ligh level overview of the Bible using Jeff Cavin's 24-week Bible Timeline.
On the business side, about a month ago, a revenue generating project dropped into my lap.  I don't know if the client would like it if I were to disclose datails or not, so I am not going to talk about it on this blog at this point.  So, the chamber of commerce business listing product took a back burner.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

ASP.NET AJAX in Action

All I can say is WOW!  Get this book!  ASP.NET AJAX in Action blows the covers off of Microsoft's AJAX library.  And you know what?  It has very little to do with AJAX!  After seeing http://labs.live.com/volta/, it's seems pretty likely to me that the Microsoft AJAX library is perhaps an early release of the Volta labs project?  At the core of Micorosft ASP.NET AJAX is a javascript library which enables .NET-like functionality at the Javascript level, such as creation of namespaces, classes, and events.  It is a browser agnostic abstration API which allows programmers to write javascript without having to worry about all the browser specific quirks.  Microsoft is re-creating the entire .NET platform on top of Javascript.  And, the first public release of this is, well, ASP.NET AJAX.  This is why so many of the AJAX Control Toolkit controls really have nothing to do with AJAX.  It's really not about AJAX.  It's about javascript!
Aside from all that, ASP.NET AJAX in Action gives a great indepth explanation of all the AJAX features of the ASP.NET AJAX library.  I am looking foward to incorporating some of the AJAX functionality into the controls that I am now writing for the Chamber of Commerce market.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

January and Februrary 2008 Activities

So, what have I been up to?
Well, I put a whole lot of time into our basement here at home.  It's all redone with a nice new carpet now.  And I have started full steam ahead on some products.  I am going back into www.BoundBrook.Com and re-engineering parts of it into products.  I'm planning on a Chamber of Commerce product which I'd like to market nationally to local chambers (perhaps offering an Google advertising version to smaller chambers who can't afford their own website).  At the center of this product will be the stardard business listing which I have always had on www.BoundBrook.Com.  I also have ideas for some image controls for developers to help with website image management.
And, in the process, I am getting my hands dirty with LINQ.  And, having finally just read most of Nikhill Kothari's ASP.NET Server Controls, I hope to write some of my own ASP.NET server controls for the first time.  I've always just built a simple User Control when I needed to re-use some UI functionality and was afraid of the relative complexity of server controls compared to user controls.  It's time overcome that fear.

My first Extension Method!

I'm so happy.  It wrote my first extension method, following Scott Guthrie's example at http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2007/03/13/new-orcas-language-feature-extension-methods.aspx.  In all fairness, the code came from http://www.geekzilla.co.uk/View8AD536EF-BC0D-427F-9F15-3A1BC663848E.htm.  I just merged it with the "extension method" thang.  So, what does this do?  It adds an IsGuid method to the string object.
 public static class MildExtensions
{
    public static bool IsGuid(this string expression)
    {
        if (expression != null)
        {
            Regex guidRegEx = new Regex(@"^(\{{0,1}([0-9a-fA-F]){8}-([0-9a-fA-F]){4}-([0-9a-fA-F]){4}-([0-9a-fA-F]){4}-([0-9a-fA-F]){12}\}{0,1})$");
            return guidRegEx.IsMatch(expression);
        }
        return false;
    }
}