Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Digs

Well, it happened. I accepted a new job offered to me yesterday. Looks like all that whining about switching to C# was unfounded. The new digs are strictly VB.Net over SQL Server. Now I have to get a car, sell the house, work my way out of this job, buy a house.... geez. let the whining begin.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tech support is a good thing

I've been tagging support for this one company trying to get help with connecting to an XML web service that they provide. A solid month hitting up the two contacts I got with no response, actively refusing phone calls and email responses. I eventually had to go back to my client (who chose this discount provider) and get them involved from the sales side.

It is so nice to actually get tech support from someone who know's what they are talking about. As technicians, I think we all have to strive to be that guy. The one guy who actually can provide some help even if the rest of the organization is comprised of dumbasses.

Yesterday my client went back to the salesperson, who tagged "that guy" and we had the problem fixed in 2 emails. They didn't have the numbers I was submitting in their system, the same thing I asked the other guys to check.

So go be "that guy" today. Take care of the small easy problems, and knock out as many as you can. Be helpful to our clients. They will appreciate it much more than an unreturned phone call.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I have to profess love for ActivePDF. I think there are a bunch of PDF form filler services out there. But their ActiveToolkit software is top shelf. Today I am using it for a second process.

It's a DLL consumable with .Net, so you have to set a reference to the toolkit. But then you can open and manipulate pdf's inside of the toolkit in a bunch of ways. The first time I had to consume it was to prepopulate and/or extract data from a PDF. I got the data in an XML string, and looped through the XML nodes to shove them into the PDF. Open the input file first (source), then create the output file (destination), populate the field values in memory and call CopyForm to write the memory values to the output hard file. Very slick. I can also specify specific field names to populate, like a submit date.

Today I'm going the other direction. I am using ActivePDF to open the input (source) file, loop through each field on the PDF and inserting the field names (with some other identifying data and logging) into the database. Should be interesting and fun.