Lottery Post Journal

Congratulations Rutgers!

For the first time in school history, Rutgers won a bowl game last night!

To put that in perspective, it's the first time in 137 years.

For a school that has wallowed at the bottom of the rankings for what seems like eternity, this has been one of the most amazing football seasons ever -- in college sports for that matter.  Nobody in the world would have predicted Rutgers would finish 11-2, let alone having a shot at finishing in the top 10.

Rutgers' season-ending game last night in the Texas Bowl put an exclamation point on their Cinderella story with a resounding 37-10 victory over Kansas State.

A big congratulations to Rutgers and its die-hard fans!

When did all software become "bits"?

I saw a blog entry I could really identify with today:

Did I miss a meeting of the "inappropriate computer terminology usage club" or something? Someone at work keeps referring to software as "bits" as in "the bits are on the server."

I thought it was strange, but now other people at work are also saying it. According to these folks, my archives, disk images, or Tarballs are no longer meaningful descriptors...

They are now BITS.

And the really funny thing about this is these people consider "bits" to be software, NOT data (which leads me to wonder what they believe those little 1's and 0's that make up our corporate data are called?)

Who started this? Was it some vendor sales rep or something? WHO, in the name of Dennis Ritchie, Alan Kay, Marc Blank came up with such a misuse of the term? I haven't seen such a mangling of computer terminology since the first day of my CS 101 class, many many years ago, where the instructor stated that data was a "raw collection of information".

Check out the full blog entry here

I too have noticed this stupid terminology.  The first time I saw it was when someone was posting an updated version of software, something like this:

Replace all of your May, 2006 bits with the latest bits.

How stupid is that?

I don't care if the person is talking about a snippet of code, or something small.  If it's a snippet, then call it a snippet.

I will never, ever call software "bits".  That terminology would work best in a gender-neutral kind of society, if you catch my drift.

New Jackpot Alerts

Those who are subscribed to Mega Millions and/or Powerball Jackpot Alerts at USA Mega surely have noticed the new graphical alert e-mails.  It was a fun mini-project for me to give the Jackpot Alerts a complete makeover — something I've been meaning to do for a while.

One of the nice delivery features is that I have created the e-mails such that the one e-mail will work perfectly for both plain text e-mail readers and those who can display the graphics.  Both versions of the e-mail are enclosed every time.

The other nice thing is that it will display the nice graphics even in those e-mail software applications that block external graphics.  (Such as Outlook Express.)

That was actually a learning experience for me, as I worked to create an e-mail that would display correctly in any e-mail program.  It is VERY difficult, because they are all so different from each other.

The way it accomplishes the task is that instead of including links back to a web server to show images, it encodes the graphics and stores them inside the e-mail itself, so once the e-mail is downloaded, it already includes a plain text version, a graphical version, and all the graphics necessary to display.

I even tested the e-mail in Microsoft's new Outlook 2007, which is not available to the general public yet.  From my experience with it now, that e-mail software (Outlook 2007) is going to be a real challenge for web sites that deliver graphical e-mails, as it completely changes the way they are rendered [displayed].  It took a while, but I eventually figured it out, and the Jackpot alerts now look good on that software as well.

If you are receiving the Jackpot Alerts and would prefer to see just the plain text version, most e-mail software programs have an option to just show the plain text version.  For example, in Outlook Express, you would open the Options window, then go to the Read tab, and then find the checkbox for switching to the plain text view.

If there is anyone who is having trouble viewing the Jackpot Alerts in their e-mail software (I obviously could not test every software package out there!) please send me a PM and let me know what the problem is, what e-mail software you're using, and what version of Windows or Mac OS you're using.

Article published today

I had my first article published this morning at DotNetSlackers, an excellent community site for Microsoft .NET developers.

As I go through the very long process of re-programming this entire site using Microsoft's ASP.NET 2.0 technology (and other .NET technologies), there are lots of unique challenges created, just by the nature of the enormous size of this web site.

After creating a number of really cool solutions for some of those challenges, I thought that it would be nice to tell the development community about them, rather than burying them in a mass of web code.

I'll contiunue creating new solutions, and hopefully continue writing new articles.  Many thanks to DotNetSlackers for providing the space to share my ideas.