Hartverdrahtet: A Fractal World in 4Kb

Amazingly this entire 3 minute video, sound and all, was generated by just 4Kb of compressed and minified code – that’s the same amount of space a text file containing 4,096 characters would occupy. By comparison an empty Word 2010 document is 12.2Kb.

It’s called Hartverdrahtet, which is German for “hard wired”, and was created by a seriously talented coder who calls himself Demoscene Passivist for the 4Kb Executable Graphics Competition at Revision 2012. Unsurprisingly Hartverdrahtet came in first place.

If you don’t believe me you can download the executables here but be warned, you will need a beefy GPU to render them smoothly, especially the HD versions.

#FridayShort – A new digital short every Friday at 11:00 GMT (except when it’s 12 hours late. Oops!)

How to Enable On the Fly Schema Modification in SQL Management Studio

One thing that really annoys me about SQL Management Studio is how it handles schema alterations.

There have been so many occasions where I have tried to change a table after its initial creation, for example to change something daft like an nvarchar(1024) to an nvarchar(MAX) only to be presented with a dialog informing me that…

Saving changes is not permitted. The changes you have made require the following tables to be dropped and re-created. You have either made changes to a table that can’t be re-created or enabled the option Prevent saving changes that require the table to be re-created.

If there is no data in the table that’s fine, still a little irritating, but fine. Just open up the script view, make any changes manually and hit execute. The story is a little different if there are already 10,000 rows of data in the table. I either risk corrupting the data by writing a SQL update or I can try to muddle through with the old type and tell my users that no, they can’t write a small novel in that text input field.

Today I discovered that there is actually a way to disable this behaviour, and in all fairness the save changes dialog does allude to this solution so I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t do this long ago. There is a setting in SQL Management Studio that, when disabled, will allow on-the-fly schema updates. You should be aware that it’s a little risky to disable this setting because it makes it very easy to make mistakes – such as changing a nvarchar(50) to a bit then hitting go is unlikely to end well for your data. Continue reading

Encourage Users to Review Your App With the Marketplace Review Task

The WP7 API provides the MarketplaceReviewTask class that you can use in many different ways to encourage users to review your app. It’s dead simple to use…

Stick that in the event handler of a button on your about page or prompt your users to review your app after it’s been launched so-many times then call the code above to push them directly to your review page on the marketplace.

As long as you haven’t written a crapplication it makes sense to reduce the distance between your users and the review page. If you make it easy for them to leave you a review (especially after they have used your app for while) they are far more likely to do so.

Found an inventive way to use the MarketplaceReviewTask? Let me know in the comments!