Anthony Greene

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Archive for July 2006

@@identity crisis

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I’ve just spent the past hour tracking down an interesting bug in my sql code.  It’s a little embarasing, seeing as how it is purely a product of some of my own bad habits as a developer.
For background, the current project I’m working on is being developped with Whitehill Technologies’ BPI (Business Process Integration) software.  A consequence of using this tool is having no ability to step into any of my code as it executes, a debugging feature I am earnestly missing right now.
To compensate, I’ve littered my database stored procedures and triggers with statements that write into a debug table.  This is helping me monitor and track various complex processes within BPI as it interacts with my database.  BPI is a tremendously sophisticated application, serving much the same role as MS Biztalk.  However, as an application development tool it is a little clunky, so I find myself doing far more procedural code at the database level than I normally would in a traditional application.
When rows are populated into a dbo.individual table, I need to write a corresponding record into a dbo.entity table.  I’ve also just implemented a full database auditing pattern, where all updates to tables are checked to see if the incoming data is different than the existing data, and if so, log the new data, timestamp, and editing userid to an audit table.
As I’m looking through my debug logs, I’m finding many calls to usp_entity_edit with unsually low individual_ids, like 4, 10, 18, 25, etc. when I know the current @@identity of dbo.individual is in the area of 14500, 14501, 14502, etc.
What’s happened?  I’ve added one of my inserts into my debug table (which is regularly truncated) in the audit trigger of dbo.individual.  When I fetch @@identity of individual to write into the corresponding dbo.entity table, I end up retrieving the identity of the debug statement I just inserted, in dbo.individual’s audit trigger, and not dbo.individual’s individual_id identity.
Sigh!  I’m getting too old to make silly mistakes like this.
The resolution is simple.  Instead of using @@identity, it’s a simple matter to use IDENT_CURRENT(‘table_name‘) instead.  I seem to remember learning this a long time ago, and have forgotten somewhere along the way.
The great honor of working in software development is you truly do have the opportunity to learn something new every day.  The unfortunate irony, however, is many of these things end up getting forgotten over time, and oftentimes need to be relearned.

Written by anthonygreene

July 27, 2006 at 10:08 am

More trouble with the new address

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Something definitely seems to be bogged up pretty badly on Microsoft’s new Windows Live servers.  I’ve been transitioning off address to address.  Not only does there appear to be no way to transfer this site over to my new address, but my is experiencing all kinds of strange issues.
1)  I can’t use Outlook Express with, but I can use it with  Isn’t that wonderful.  Supposedly, since my first account was created before an arbitrary date, it’s allowed to use OE.  But with my new email address, I need to pay $29.95 (USD) for the same privilege.  This was not immediately obvious.  It took a lot of digging around on newsgroups to figure this one out.
2)  MSN spaces show up on my contact list for, but not for  This is even stranger.  Oh, the joy just never ends around here.

Written by anthonygreene

July 24, 2006 at 11:54 am

Msn Spaces is really squirrely.

with one comment

See my other msn space (which I’d like to move over to here) for details.

Written by anthonygreene

July 24, 2006 at 11:37 am

Posted in my digital life

Argh. Seriously. Argh.

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It doesn’t take much to annoy me. This is not a fact that I
actually consider true about myself at all. I generally think of
myself as the very model of patience and tolerance for life’s little
hiccups and pitfalls.

Unfortunately, it seems that people around me, at least
those who have shared an office space with me, would wholeheartedly and
very quickly agree that it actually takes very little to set me off,
and once annoyed, I tend to be (very) vocal, and relish verbally exploring down to the very minutiae
of exactly what’s gotten under my skin. It appears that when it comes to
annoyance, I tend to be very detail-oriented. I must remember to
put that on my resume somewhere.

This may or may not be true. I don’t really want to get into the
merits of this argument, for or against. But while it may be true
that I will pretty quickly get into a rant about something that really
annoys me (I suppose that may be true… I do rant a lot) it takes a
very special and distinct level of annoyance to actually drive me to
this Space to write about it.

My rant today? Microsoft. Damn you. Microsoft.

I know. How very original of me.

Today I registered for a new hotmail address. See how I lost the battle with spam for why I want a new email address. So, just for kicks, I tried getting the very sexy, very professional,
and holy smokes, would you believe it, it was actually
available!!! Now that’s an email address I can actually feel good about
putting on my resume. I definitely plan on using as my primary email address, and slowly
leave behind poor old as its original, intended purpose, as a
spam-mail address.

I really like my msn space, even if I don’t write here very
often. And I would hate to lose it and start fresh again. It’s not that
any of my posts are particular gems.  It’s the comments that mean
so much to me.  Wow… my friends actually read this blog!!! 
What a tremendous opportunity for mind control….

I digress.

So I searched online to see if there is any way to change my MS Passport,
from to I only
came up with one useful link, a blog entry from a Microsoft employee on
the msn Messenger team.!616444EE7A34F417!416.entry?_c=BlogPart#permalink

The short version of this story? Your msn Space is associated
with your Passport. If you have a Passport associated
with an email address that is anything except,
you are free to change it. If your Passport is tied to a hotmail
address, guess what, boys and girls? You are SOL. Sad
truth. Microsoft, in its glorious wisdom, has decided to better
support people with third-party email addresses, than its own loyal
hotmail user-base.

Written by anthonygreene

July 19, 2006 at 4:34 pm

How I lost the battle with spam

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This is not a real a post. It’s more of a tangent from the post that I
really want to write, on how Microsoft has made a science out of
annyoing me
. But I found that post to be getting far too long,
mostly because of this tangent, so I figured I would break this
background story off into it’s own post so it can be safely skipped

I feel like I’ve lost the war against spam. This is hardly anyone’s
fault but my own. For a period of about 3 years I used my primarily as a dummy account that I would give to
unscrupulous online websites that require I register with a valid email
address before I enter into their site. I knew this address would serve
as nothing but a spam magnet, and I was not too worried about it.

Around 2000 or 2001 I transitioned away from ICQ as my IM of choice.
That’s a whole new set of annoyances that drove me away from a program
I used to love. I don’t want to get into that. I was also changing
jobs, and found that having a permanent, personal email address was
more reliable than basing my online-identity on a work-based email,
which can (it appears) change at the drop of a hat. So, got promoted from spam-magnet to primary email
address, as well as (as Microsoft would have it) the very kernel of my
digital soul. Thank you Passport. Thank you very much.

Over the years, I’ve actually been incredibly happy with the use,
flexibility, and options of having my hotmail address be my primary
personal email address. It’s quite a lot to ask of something that is
free. When MSN spaces arrived on the scene, I instantly took a liking
to it. I’ve tried using, and, both of which are
more popular sites on the net for blogging, but for various reasons I
really could never be bothered with using either of those. After
a week or two my interest very quickly died off.

The killer feature that MSN Spaces has, I believe, is their
intergration with MSN Messenger. I must truly be out of touch with the
computing habits of the world at large (kids, damn kids), because I
completely fail to understand why this feature has not spelled the doom
of other blogging sites, or personal sites like MySpace or Friendster.

I really can’t be bothered to
remember all of my friends’ various blogs, web spaces, portals,
etc. And even if I did, I wouldn’t bother to check each one up
every day on the offhand chance that they’ve updated their blog.
I suppose I could subscribe to their blog to receive email
updates…but… nah, even that is too much bother. (Terrible,
aren’t I).

But you can rest assured, guaranteed,
if you are on my contact list, and you update your MSN Space, the
moment I see that twinkly little star next to your name, I will, that
very instant, click on it and read through your blog update, and look
carefully at every single picture you’ve uploaded to your site. I
may not leave many comments behind (though I know I should) but I most
certainly am reading it.

Though this little feature has managed to completely capture me, it has
not seemed to work so well with the rest of the internet’s
user-base. MSN Spaces remains a tiny mouse next to the rabid,
mutant elephant that is Anyway, I’m not moving over to anytime soon. I like having updates on my contact list far
too much, even if it means not being one of the cool kids.

Anyway, back to losing my battle with spam and today’s annoyance with
Microsoft. I do get tons of spam with my account I know this is largely in part to me being on
dozens, nay hundreds of distribution lists thanks to my activity some
seven or eight years ago with this account. And don’t get me wrong.
Hotmail’s built in spam filters are doing a heroic job in stemming the
flow from the tsunami of spam mail that hits it every day. Sadly it
just is not enough.

There is also the fact that I just plain have never liked my address. It just seems… well very cheesy and
very 1998ish. I’ve never really been all that happy with this
email address, and have tried various other email services looking for
the right fit (and hopefully a better login name without arbitrary
numbers and characters). Inevitably, I keep coming back to this,
mostly because it is my msn messenger account, and now because of my
msn space. Congratulations, Microsoft, you really did find a way
to claim a chunk of my digital soul. It’s too bad that particular
chunk is stuck wearing a crappy name tag, and is presently drowning under a mountain of spam mail.

Click here
to go back to the real post that spawned this post.

Written by anthonygreene

July 19, 2006 at 4:32 pm