Visual Guide to MyODBC in VS.NET 2005

In this visual guide I\’m going to show how you can use MyODBC in .NET 2005. It\’s rather sneaky because when you install MyODBC it is not readily available in the data source option after installation. You have to create a connection string first in order to make use of MyODBC. I have tested this in Visual Web Developer 2005 Express and should work in other Visual Studio 2005 versions.

You should download and install MyODBC before beginning. It is available at MySQL Connector/ODBC download section. I\’m going to use MyODBC 3.51.12 for this guide.

1. Go to menu bar -> Tools -> Connect to Database or click the Connect to Database icon

2. Choose Microsoft ODBC Data Source (or you may choose .NET Framework Data Provider for ODBC, either will be just fine) then click Continue.

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3. Choose the Use Connection String radio button and click Build…
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4. In Machine Data Source tab click New…
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MyODBC Works!

Note for my thesis groupmates –

After hours of testing I finally got MyODBC to work…

*Phew* I think I\’m just an idiot for not discovering this tool earlier. This article on how ODBC access MySQL in .NET made the concept clearer to me. I thought using MySQL in Visual Studio 2005 would require hand-coding the database connection. It\’s easier than I thought because there\’s a query builder in it, yet it\’s still peculiar to me. I have to check the MyODBC manual on how to use it effectively since stored procedures and views were added to MySQL 5 already. I guess this is a good sign as we can concentrate more on the the application logic and spend less time building complex database query.

Here\’s a small screenshot of my workspace doing the n00bish query in VS.NET 2005 from MySQL 5 database (a dummy wordpress database dump)

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Here\’s the output of my simple query…

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Looks simple, right?

So what\’s the big deal with MyODBC? Hint: it\’s all about $$$. If we can use MySQL 5 instead of MS SQL Server 2005 then we can save a lot of money not only in the development but also in the deployment of the web application. Initially we wanted to use the L.A.M.P. (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) to power our web application — all open-source. Cool. However it\’s very idealistic since we cannot possibly code the entire application with our current knowledge and skill level. Not Cool. The server that we are going to deploy is going to be a Windows Server 2003 (we have no choice!) so in line with Windows Server 2003, we might as well code in Visual Studio. In addition, if we are going to race with time then Visual Studio is the right tool for rapid development — not necessarily the best but it serves its purpose.

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The Importance of Credentials

Have you ever doubted your professor\’s credentials? Do you think that your professor does not have the capability of teaching your class properly? How about not respecting your professor because he or she is not certified to teach your IT subject? In any case it\’s a bad image for your professor and too bad if you\’re enrolled in his or her subject.

To happy-go-lucky students out there it may not be a big deal but if you\’re the type of student who really wants to get the most out of your tuition fee, you probably want a decent IT learning experience. Well, I care about my learning experience and if rumors are true, my professor in CCNA 4 is not a certified instructor. For anonymity and protection of the professor I won\’t reveal his/her name. Respect should still be there but I don\’t know how far our class can handle it. Some of my classmates are already circulating nasty jokes about that particular professor. I keep myself neutral. Nevertheless, I\’m beginning to doubt if he/she can really teach our class effectively. If first impression really lasts then his/her subject would be a boredom…

Whatever happens in my final CCNA course there goes the online reading materials. RTFM and use Google if in doubt.

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The Challenge

For my thesis I need to study and fully understand the following:

  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • ADOdb
  • AJAX
  • CSS 2.0
  • XHTML transitional

I also need to fully exploit Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 for scripting and Adobe Photoshop CS2 for graphics and GUI design. Our group barely have 2 months in order to complete a working solution for our thesis problem because we have been assigned in one of the most demanding project in our research group… whatever that is — it\’s still classified. All I want to do is to beat the challenge.

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Rescuing My Graphics Card Fan

My graphics card nearly passed away today. I just discovered that its fan stopped spinning when I was doing a lot of Photoshop editing this morning. My computer just crashed and when I rebooted my PC, nVidia Forceware won\’t load and my computer did not recognize my graphics card as it should be; It only showed as generic graphics card. Suspiciously, I opened my desktop case and inspected the GPU fan. Darn, it was stuffed with lots of dirt, virtually drying all the lubricant present in the small dynamo preventing it from spinning free.

Below are the techniques I used to rescue my graphics card fan. You may use similar methods if you encounter the same problem with your graphics card fan:

  1. Pull out the graphics card from the motherboard and clean it using a soft brush (paint brush is fine, but not hair brush!)
  2. Using an air compressor, get rid of all the remaining dirt around the heat sink of the GPU and the fan. If you don\’t have an air compressor at home you may use canned compressed air. Alternatively you may use a vacuum cleaner set in reversed mode (FYI, there are vacuum cleaners that suck up and blow air simultaneously). You need to blow all the dusk away from the dynamo as much as possible. Practically you want to clean it first to avoid mixing dirt with your lubricant.
  3. This is optional but recommended: Use WD-40 to spray on oxidized parts of the fan. It also protects it from rusting and dissolves all the dirt clogging the fan. You can buy this from Ace hardware. Take note: don\’t spray WD-40 on the graphics card! What you need to spray on is the bearing of the fan at the center and the gunk of the blades. I also noticed that WD-40 will dry up easily as the graphics card heat up. As soon as I put the card back in my motherboard the fan gets noisy without proper lubrication.
  4. Finally, oil the bearing of the fan with some light machine oil. It will hush the fan. Put it back in the motherboard, turn on your PC and watch the fan spin again.

This is a temporary solution only but as long as it extends the life of my graphics card fan I\’m happy with it. If you are serious on replacing your graphics card fan don\’t hesitate to buy a better one. Don\’t forget to pair it with a good heat sink specially when you overclock.

graphics card, fan, WD-40

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Photograph Retouches

\'LOL\'I used to work as a part-time photograph studio editor and I\’m always fascinated how people want to change their looks and make it look better in pictures. I did several retouches on old photographs and some graduation pictures, getting rid of students\’ pimples, blemishes, white hairs and other whatnots. It\’s fun editing pictures in my old workplace but it\’s not easy faking pictures. It\’s quite disturbing that almost all techniques used in studios are also used in magazines and celebrity pictures.

I have here two flash websites showcasing the power of photograph retouching using Photoshop (other photo editors are welcome, but Photoshop is standard in most graphic studios anyway). Next time you check a magazine such as FHM, take note that they are filled with hot women that had been retouched by Photoshop. There might be an exception though.

The first website is Forsman & Bodenfors\’ Retouch project that was made for Sweden Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. It goes through all the details on how a photo of a 14-year-old girl was transformed into a retouched magazine cover. The final site can be found at http://girlpower.se.

The second website is a portfolio of Glenn Feron that shows celebrities before and after photoshopped. Be warned that some \’before\’ pictures are freaky.

Links:
Retouch, part of Girlpower.se [ Digg news ]
Celebrities Before and After Photoshopped [ Digg news ]
Photoshop, Photoshopped, Photoshop retouches

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My CCNA Grades So Far

Although it wasn\’t my best performance this school term I managed to get a decent grade in CCNA. It\’s funny that my grades in CCNA are ascending. I think that I gave about the same effort in my previous Cisco courses. At least it shows that I have some progress. In CCNA 1, my grade was 82.6; CCNA 2, 87.3; and in CCNA 3, 90.6. I\’m still disappointed as I could have done much better, specially this term. I lost some points in the last module exam because I wasn\’t able to review it due to some circumstances. I also don\’t know my my custom score was quite low. I think I performed a little better than what is written on my custom grades. I couldn\’t care less now that I appreciate every point counts no matter how small it is. I feel bad because it seems that I was slacking too much. TOO MUCH.

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