Category: Work

May 19, 2008 : Drop-down menu without javascript

Some time ago I was looking for a CSS-only (no javascript) cross-browser technique to make a drop-down expanding navigation menu. I found the GRC Menu that did this, but it had a lot of site-specific stuff in there. It was not something I could easily use as a starting point for my own sites.

So I hacked around with Steve's CSS and HTML and developed a minimal version. Here's the minimal version of GRC's script-free pure-css menu.

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Feb 06, 2008 : MS SQL matrix query

If you use Microsoft SQL and you want to do a query to turn some rows into columns, it can be tricky. I don't know what that type of query is called, I think some call it a matrix query or a cross-tab query or a pivot query. Here's how I've been able to write a pivot cross-tab matrix queries for Microsoft SQL Server including an extra variation for SQL Server 2005.

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Jun 21, 2007 : The Future of Java

Last night I gave a presentation at the Grand Rapids Java Users' Group titled "The Future of Java". If anyone is interested, you can view the slides in PDF or OpenDocument (with some notes) format. The topics I covered were:

  • Java 6
    • Swing
    • Scripting
  • JRuby
  • Scala
  • Consumer JRE
  • JavaFX
  • Java 7
    • Properties
    • Closures
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Mar 03, 2007 : God uses Greasemonkey (or, modelling Christianity with HTTP)

At work (the IS dept at a Christian university) a few weeks ago, our lunch discussion came to whether God could both love and hate someone at the same time. I said that if the person is saved by Christ, God sees Christ -- not the person -- when he looks at him. Drew said "it's like a hard link!"

On the web, it'd be like a permanent redirect. But only when God tries to resolve a Christian's URL does he get redirected to the URL representing Christ. "The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Sam 16:7). So how would that work? The difference in how the person's URL resolves depends on the viewer, so something has to be done at God's end. We came up with the idea that God must use Greasemonkey with script that applies URL redirections.

I couldn't find any Greasemonkey scripts that did URL redirection (just lame javascript redirects which is not good enough). So here's how I think Christianity could be modeled in HTTP:

Let's say represents me (technically, it is an RDF document about me, but I'll avoid getting into RDF). will be the URL representing Christ. When God requests he needs to get:
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently

This is assuming that a person once saved can never fall from salvation. If it's the contrary, then instead of a 301 Moved Permanently, there'd be a 307 Temporary Redirect

Probably be the best way for God to achieve this would be with a local proxy that rewrites some responses to be 301/307 instead of their original response value. Of course, only God would know how his proxy works; none of us know if other people are saved by Christ or not.

Some definitions, for the less technically inclined:

hard link
like a file shortcut, but better
Universal Resource Locator; aka web address. It can represent anything, not just provide a webpage
A firefox extension that lets users install scripts that change the functionality of certain webpages
HyperText Transfer Protocol. The underlying protocol that web browser & servers use to request & transfer webpages
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Feb 17, 2007 : Blogs & news feeds

Recently I unified my blog & news feeds from home and from work and check them all via I'm currently subscribed to 154 feeds, and yes, I do read/scan them all. You can see what I'm subscribed to here (OPML browser via

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