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Category: Interests

Summer Fitness Goals

Summer Fitness Goals

So, the clocks have finally “sprung” forward again which must mean summer is on the horizon. Time to start thinking about that beach body again! Truth be told, I never stop thinking about it, and I’m lucky that my year-round swimming regime keeps me in reasonable shape anyway. But, my diet isn’t exactly strict most of the time, and that’s what tends to make the difference. Dropping just a few percent body fat makes a big improvement in visible muscle…

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Introducing Greece Travel Guide

Introducing Greece Travel Guide

Everyone loves a bit of shameless self-promotion, so it’s about time I introduced my main hobby site: www.greecetravelguide.co.uk! Over the past year or so, I’ve gradually been adding content, as well as having a logo designed and buying a custom WordPress theme. For now, it’s mostly a diary of my (many) trips to Greece over the last 3 years, but the aim is to expand into more of a guide to exploring my favourite country. Please check the site out,…

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Thor: Ragnarok Review

Thor: Ragnarok Review

Having just treated myself to an Odeon Limitless subscription, my friend and I decided we’d go and see Thor: Ragnarok as it’s been out a while now. A friend who’d already seen it gave it a thumbs up so we figured it’s worth a shot. Quick disclaimer: although I’ve seen all the previous Thor movies, I am by no means a Marvel fanatic so I’m writing this review based purely on entertainment value! I’ll go in to a bit more…

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Diagnosing IIS 500 Internal Server Errors

Diagnosing IIS 500 Internal Server Errors

Recently I was tasked with deploying a new version of my company’s website onto a clean Windows Server 2012 host and encountered a rather frustrating issue with the dreaded “500 Internal Server Error” page. Despite there being many articles attempting to cover this error online, none of them addressed my specific case which turned out to be a Web.config issue due to a missing IIS feature. Unfortunately IIS isn’t very informative when it comes to configuration errors, and tends to…

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Debugging Visual Studio Extensions

Debugging Visual Studio Extensions

If you ever need to debug a Visual Studio extension to diagnose problems or just test that it’s behaving how you expected, it’s quite easy to do by taking the following steps: Firstly make sure your extension isn’t currently installed (if you’re working on a newer version or fixing bugs) – if so, uninstall it and restart VS before continuing. Right-click on the project, choose Properties and switch to the Debug tab. Click the radio button for “Start External Program”…

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Implementing simple caching in MVC applications

Implementing simple caching in MVC applications

Whenever I develop a new MVC-based website there is always a question of how best to implement caching so that it’s unobtrusive and fits neatly with the standard Repository pattern without adding too much extra coding requirement on top. I’m going to be using dependency injection (DI) for this example so if your solution doesn’t use a DI container such as Ninject, you might need to look elsewhere — or better still consider implementing dependency injection to make your code…

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Paranormal Activity 4 Reviewed

Paranormal Activity 4 Reviewed

Haven’t added a movie review in ages (who even reads these? Probably just me…) but what’s a blog without some posts? Now that me and the missus have BT Infinity — fibre-to-the-cabinet a.k.a “super-fast” broadband (depending on what the speeds are like where you’re reading this, of course) — let’s just say it’s 70Mbps and have done with it okay? Fast enough for Super HD streaming on Netflix, hellooo and thank you very much Mr British Telecom. Anyway, where was…

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Improving Entity Framework performance by tracking changes manually

Improving Entity Framework performance by tracking changes manually

Introduction While working on a recent personal project, I had the not-too-unfamiliar pleasure of fighting Entity Framework to try and get some half-decent performance out of a console application that I was using to bulk add and update records based on some external data feeds. It’s often said that EF isn’t really geared towards bulk database operations and other approaches should be considered (ADO.NET, Integration Services etc.) but there is naturally a trade-off here between time spent implementing the solution…

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Generating service contract from static WSDL and XSD files

Generating service contract from static WSDL and XSD files

Recently I needed to generate a service contract interface for a third-party client based on their specification. My client would be hosting the service so we would be providing our own WSDL and endpoint, but the service had to conform to the end client’s requirement including which objects would be exchanged. To make this work I needed to generate an interface and associated classes from the WSDL definition and XSDs supplied by the third-party, but at first I wasn’t sure…

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Cowboys & Aliens Reviewed

Cowboys & Aliens Reviewed

So my wife and I finally watched Cowboys & Aliens last night. This was one film we debated about seeing at the cinema but eventually ended up not going, and after watching it at home courtesy of Lovefilm I’m very glad we didn’t! Okay so it isn’t the worst film ever, not by a long shot, but with a cast including Daniel Craig (love him as Bond) and Harrison Ford (just a legend) I think it’s fair to expect a…

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