Concert Tickets and Scalpers

by fwhagen Wed, 21 November 2007

Someone help me, please.  I don't understand why scalpers are "evil profiteering bastards" and Ticketmaster and the venues are not.  What is wrong with buying any commodity and selling it to someone else at a higher price?  It works well on Wall Street, why not in entertainment.

"Face Value" is a myth.  The value of an object is the price you can assign that object and find a buyer for it.  If I buy a comic book for $1 and sell it to you for $50, then it has a value (to me and you) of $50.  If someone buys 10 tickets to Hannah Montana for $50 each and sells each one for $150 each, what is the value of those tickets?  "But the scalper is not a fan, he should not be able to buy tickets."  Why?  Give me one rational, valid reason.  The scalper is no different than any other commodity broker.  He takes a risk and typically reaps reward; but only if the market will bear it. 

If you don't like the tactics of the scalper, fine!  I don't either.  Don't buy from him.  But know that if you do, you validate his business model, and therefore condone his action.  On the other hand, I guarantee that when it is no longer profitable, rather it becomes unprofitable, the practice WILL cease.  Do not force legislation, do not cry about it.  Stop supporting them, and they will go away.

By the way, the people you should be angry at are the ones who paid $1000 for tickets to Hannah Montana.  Shame on them.


Filed Under: Rant

Book Review: Thunder Below - Eugene Fluckey (1992)

by fwhagen Mon, 05 November 2007 Fatal Terrain: Books: Dale BrownIn June of this year, Rear Adm. Eugene B. Fluckey died at the age of 93.  I cannot hope to give a proper summary of his career, but to say the summary of it upon his passing caused me to immediately purchase his book chronicling his command of the submarine USS Barb. 

Thunder Below! is slang used in WWII for depth charges and gives us the indication that this book is about submarine warfare.  What we cannot be prepared for is the great storytelling found here.  The USS Barb was the most successful submarine in the US Pacific Fleet during WWII under the command of one man.  This is the story of the Captain and his crew on some of the most daring raids of Japanese shipping, ports, factories and even an attack against a train.  The Barb even pioneered the use of rocketry from submarines.  The official war record reads like a novel and this first person account, accompanied by official American and Japanese documentation, is more exciting than many thrillers.

I started this book because the topic interested me.  I finished this book knowing it would be a permanent part of my library.  I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in first person accounts of WWII, naval engagements, or military history.  I thoroughly enjoyed it from cover to cover and anticipate that I will read it again one day.  Very impressive.  Adm. Fluckey should be recognized by everyone as a true and very real American Hero.


Filed Under: Books

In Memoriam - Paul Tibbets (1915-2007)

by fwhagen Thu, 01 November 2007

Paul Tibbets died today at the age of 92.  I would like to honor him for the outstanding way he stood up to critics for what was, to him, and truly was, just another mission. 

Thank you, General Tibbets.  You were, and will always be, an American Hero of the greatest sort.  You stood tall, did your duty, and honored our country with dignity.

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Filed Under: History | Military

Get Data From MS-SQL Using a PowerShell Script

by fwhagen Tue, 30 October 2007
Here's an extremely useful stub to get data from SQL-Server within a PowerShell script:
$TaskName = "20071029-AllRejectedDuring"
$SqlServer = "SQLDEV01";
$SqlCatalog = "MyData";

# Get the T-SQL Query from .SQL file
$SqlQuery = Get-Content (".\" + $TaskName + ".sql")

#Write-Host ($SqlQuery) -foregroundcolor "gray"

# Setup SQL Connection
$SqlConnection = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection
$SqlConnection.ConnectionString = "Server = $SqlServer; Database = $SqlCatalog; Integrated Security = True"

# Setup SQL Command
$SqlCmd = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand
$SqlCmd.CommandText = $SqlQuery
$SqlCmd.Connection = $SqlConnection

# Setup .NET SQLAdapter to execute and fill .NET Dataset
$SqlAdapter = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlDataAdapter
$SqlAdapter.SelectCommand = $SqlCmd
$DataSet = New-Object System.Data.DataSet

#Execute and Get Row Count
$nRecs = $SqlAdapter.Fill($DataSet)

Write-Host ($nRecs.ToString() + " Records retrieved.") -foregroundcolor "Cyan"

if ($nRecs -gt 0)
  # Do Stuff
  $DataSet.Tables[0].Rows[0][0]  #Print first data element

The connection is using Integrated Security for simplicity, it wouldn't be difficult to switch to UID/PWD instead.  Also, I put the SQL in a .sql file (flat text) to make life easier; you could also put the statement in the string declaration, if it is a simple query.  PowerShell's Get-Content mechanism makes reading a file very easy.  Also, clean up after yourself, I won't include that here.

UPDATE:  I have posted a full script to export to Excel or XML in a followup post.

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Filed Under: PowerShell | SQL

Running Local PowerShell Scripts

by fwhagen Mon, 29 October 2007

If you do any scripting at all in Windows, you should be using PowerShell to do it.  But the first time you do, assuming you've installed it properly is the following:

File C:\DEV\Report.ps1 cannot be loaded because the execution of scripts is
 disabled on this system. Please see "get-help about_signing" for more details.

You have two options:  sign your scripts (you should do this) or take the easy route and change the Execution Policy (do this at your own risk).  If you want to do it the right way, see Scott Hanselman's excellent post on the subject.  If you just want to run ps1 scripts, and are very careful about the source, namely yourself, execute the following command within the PowerShell shell:

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned


Filed Under: PowerShell

Daylight Stoopid Time - Fall 2007 Edition

by fwhagen Fri, 26 October 2007

Here's your reminder that DST is ending again this weekend and you will be losing your free hour everyday.  But Wait!!  Congress moved it this year:  It's actually next week!  Yay!  Another week of free hours.  It a good thing Congress is saving us Time and Money, and more than ever before!

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Filed Under: Life | Rant | Worse Than Failure


by fwhagen Wed, 24 October 2007

Tiny milestone:  1000 page views at this site!

The number of views to Using since moving to WordPress has exceeded 1000 today.  woot...


Filed Under: Blog

Book Review: The Brass Ring - Bill Mauldin (1972)

by fwhagen Mon, 22 October 2007

Bill Mauldin is probably the most famous cartoonist from World War II.  He was an infantry soldier in the Italian campaign who also worked for the Italian theaters version of Stars and Stripes, the soldier-run newspaper.  If you were to see one of his strips, you would immediately recognize his work.

The Brass Ring is Mauldin's autobiography of his early life through the end of WWII.  He tells of his very humble beginnings as the son of a poor farm family, life in the depression, and the start of his career as an illustrator.  He joined the National Guard at an early age at the encouragement of a close friend as it became evident that the Guard would be Federalized at the beginning of the war and before he could be drafted.  He was able to quickly establish himself as a journalist and cartoonist and so avoiding direct insertion into a combat unit.  This is the story of his experiences and the material he created from them.

The Brass Ring has a much more linear telling than Up Front and is easier to read because of it.  Again, I enjoyed the perspective of the infantryman in the trenches although Mauldin never really experienced combat as a reporter.  He seemed to be willing to put himself in the thick of it though, which is refreshing for a rear echelon type.  An enjoyable book, but not the collection of his work that I have been hoping for.  I will keep trying.


Filed Under: Books

"Flag" Fields

by fwhagen Tue, 16 October 2007

I shouldn't be surprised, but I am:  A customer complained to me that the Flag field they wanted to indicate a Yes or No value was failing.  The Yes value was working fine, but No was being returned when they hadn't set anything yet.

I didn't realize that booleans were meant to represent Yes, No, and Maybe.  Silly Programmer, no bits for you.


Filed Under: Worse Than Failure

WordPress and Code Samples

by fwhagen Tue, 09 October 2007

I am struggling with issues posting code samples in WordPress.  I am painfully aware that much of my code is cut off visually on the main page, and highlighting is spotty at best.  Suggestions for making it work in WordPress are appreciated.  I'd love to add an external stylesheet, but am loathe to pay for that add on.  An "extra" to handle it would be great, as long as it doesn't violate any EULAs.

Of course, WP layouts are pretty lacking too, without purchasing additional capabilities.  If I wanted to spend money doing this, I'd host this blog myself somewhere else and have Ultimate Freedom

I am working on it....

Update [10.08]:  I will be looking at Blogger and Blogsome to evaluate their engines for free coding blogs.  It is possible I may move again.  Also, I will renew my feedburner account so moves are more transparent; or completely so for RSS readers.


Filed Under: Blog