Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How I broke my leg

Everyone seems to be asking how I broke my leg.  So let me tell you.  The weekend of October 10th and 11th I was at a Christian men's conference called Men at The Cross.  Men at The Cross is unique.  It was developed by Bob Hudson who has masters degrees in biblical counseling and divinity.  First you hear biblical teaching, then you are asked deep questions like a biblical counselor would ask (how does this apply to me), then you work on applying it to your life using physical processes.  If you have problems trusting God, then you do a trust fall.  If you feel like sin is holding you back then they tie ropes to you and you have to break free.  It is the coolest men's conference ever, it is like Bible and team sports.  At the end of the day on Saturday, you have a victory dance.  We were dancing around like a bunch of college kids.  That is when I broke my leg.  There were about eight guys doing chest bumps like you see NFL players do on TV.  I was mid air doing a chest bump and I was clipped by someone else doing a chest bump.  I twisted my left leg and then fell down on it.  It was an accident.  It could have happened to any of us there. 

I can see the grace of God through my broken leg.  God works all things for good.
  • I broke my leg and Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, an ER doctor was on staff to treat me immediately
  • I had brothers surrounding me in prayer.
  • I had brothers to lay my head on their knee, hands to grip while my leg was being set, and hands to calm me down.
  • The paramedics arrived in two minutes, despite us being at a camp in the middle of nowhere.
  • I was able to share the gospel with Ben, Jessica, Ashley, Christine, and Curtis using the Evangelism Explosion and my testimony which I prepared through Your Story Counts.  The short testimony was perfect for the few minutes that I had with each medical practitioner.  Thank God our Sunday school class was going through that.
  • I was blessed to have Dennis Kinlaw work for me for free in the ER.
  • Brothers came to the hospital to pray.
  • The surgery was scheduled to occur only twelve hours after I arrived.
  • The hospital that I was brought to is ranked one of the top ten orthopedic hospitals in the nation.
  • The hospital room that I was put in was a brand new room.
  • I was ate, was discharged, and had my pain medication all within 45 minutes.  Dr. Kinlaw had me discharged in 15 minutes.  Normally it takes 24 hours.  Dr. Kinlaw took the script for my pain medication to the pharmacy.  
God is so good.  Here are some before and after pictures of my leg.  I have a lot of hardware in there.

Monday, December 16, 2013

How do I get Oracle to work with ASP.NET?

I can say that Oracle and .NET is a real pain to get working.  Here are some things that took me a while to learn:

The Oracle Drivers are un-managed

Although Oracle has an xCopy version of the drivers, there are still un-managed pieces of the driver.  What that means, is that you will need to do a full install of the drivers both on your development machine and the server. 

The Oracle Drivers are either 32bit or 64bit

Install the drivers that are appropriate for your web server, either 32 bit or 64 bit.  You will also need to have the app pool for the application set to either 32 bit or 64 bit.   If you don’t, you will receive this dreaded error:

Could not load file or assembly 'Oracle.DataAccess' or one of its dependencies. An attempt was made to load a program with an incorrect format.

Download the Oracle Drivers
Look for the Oracle Data Access Components (ODP.NET) on this link. 

Driver Reference
Add a reference to the Oracle.DataAccess
Check if the references if the Oracle.DataAccess is marked to Copy local.

Visual Studio 2010 and earlier have 32 bit Casini

When you run the web application inside Visual Studio, the default web server built into Visual Studio is called Casini.  It is 32 bit.  So although you may have a 64 bit machine and 64 bit drivers, Oracle will not run in Visual Studio unless you get the 64 bit Casini version.  Visual Studio 2012 and higher has a Casini that is 64 bit.  It is interesting to note that any MSTest or NUnit tests will be run in 64 bit mode so any integration tests will work. 


Monday, December 9, 2013

How to use Teradata with .NET

I recently worked on a fairly complex report which pulled data from three different systems.  One of the databases used Teradata.

How to use Teradata with .NET

1.  Download the .NET driver:

2.  Add a reference to both  Teradata.Client.Provider.dll and the Teradata.Net.Security.Tdgss.dll in your Visual Studio Project

3.  Create a connection string in the web or app.config.  Here is the format:


4.  Write some code to connect.

using Teradata.Client.Provider;

public class Repository
    public void TestConnection()
        TdConnection conn = new TdConnection
            ConnectionString = ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings["MyDatabase"].ToString()


Q:  In order to use Teradata with .NET, do I need to do a full install of the drivers on the web server or do I just need Teradata.Client.Provider.dll and the Teradata.Net.Security.Tdgss.dll?

A:  I found this out by trial.  The Teradata driver does not reference any unmanaged pieces so it can be xcopy deployed to the bin directory on your web server.

Q:  Why am I getting the error:  [Teradata Database] [8017] The UserId, Password or Account is invalid.
A:  Put this in your web.config: 


Q:  When am I getting this error:  The NTLM authentication token is not supported
A:  I don't know why.  I had to switch from integrated security to a normal user name and password.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sogeti, there is simply no comparison...

I always get a good chuckle when I receive the recruiter spam from linked in or calls from other companies asking me to come and work for them.  The grass isn't greener; no matter how many times a day Kaleb Dumont sends me an email.  Sogeti simply has better opportunities and better benefits.  I have many years before I reach retirement.  I figured it out this past weekend that I will be able to retire earlier because of the high 401K matching that Sogeti is doing.  Here is a theoretical example of how a salary would compare for a developer at another company vs. the same salary at Sogeti:

Item Other Company Sogeti Notes
Example Base Salary $50,000.00 $50,000.00
401K Match $1,500.00 $4,500.00 Sogeti matches $1.50 per $1.00 up to 6%. Typical companies match up to 3%.
Profit Sharing $- $2,500.00 5% profit sharing also goes into the 401K
Individual Bonus Program $- $2,500.00 $2,500 is the minimum if you are billable for a year
Laptop $- $1,500.00 Dell Lattitude
MSDN Universal Subscription $- $10,000.00 Architect Edition of Visual Studio
Effective Salary $51,500.00 $71,000.00

Also, the health insurance has no monthly payments.  It is an HSA with a high deductible.  If you are not sick that often, it is a great benefit.  Try plugging in your salary and see what you come up with.  I would bet you that Sogeti comes out on top.  Contact me if you are interested in joining Sogeti.

Sogeti Comparison

Samuel Kenneth Finzer Update 81

I haven't had an update for my son Samuel in a really long time.  I thought it would be good to share how he is doing.  Samuel has completely caught up with major motor skills and fine motor skills.  He had a lot of problems jumping at first but now he is jumping everywhere.  Samuel's current hurdle is speech.  This is due to having a feeding tube down his throat for the first year and also the fact that he was exhausted from breathing with the one normal lung and one lung 1/3 the size.  He puked and slept a lot that first year.  Samuel recently had a full neurological evaluation.  Praise the Lord he is now in the average range for speech.  Samuel continues to be in speech therapy, mainly for mom's comfort now.  Samuel attended preschool a couple times a week this past year so that he could continue to learn.  Soon, Samuel will be attending a pre-kindergarden class all week.

We are feeling now that we are finally on the last hurdle.  Last year Samuel had his tonsils out.  The big tonsils were hereditary and not related to Samuel's CDH (Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia).  Jasmine had her tonsils out as well.  The tonsils were so large that Samuel only had room to swallow food the size of a pea.  If we would not cut up food small enough, the food would get stuck and he would puke out his entire meal and then not eat anything.  It was typical last year that he would puke at least one meal.  Now that his tonsils are out we were hoping that it would be easier to get him to eat.  He is still prone to puking, although now it is more a mental thing rather than having enough space in the back of his throat issue.  It is heartbreaking to Leyla because she creates meals with such great care to try and get Samuel to eat.  If you could pray for Samuel, ask that God would give Samuel the ability to chew and swallow properly so that he can continue to grow.  Samuel is 83 percentile in height and 24 percentile in weight.  He is a stick.  Samuel introduces himself to other boys as "I'm the fastest runner"  Whatever food he does eat he burns off because like all boys, Samuel likes to run and climb.

Personally, I am hoping that we are at the end of the financial distress from all the medical bills.  Since Samuel has been born we have spent $6000 to $10,000 per year in medical bills (this is our portion after insurance).  In addition to all that Samuel went through, Leyla's body was wrecked by the pregnancy.  She had to go to a chiropractor and her thyroid needed to come out because it was over producing.  That was an expensive surgery.  The speech therapy is not covered by insurance and it was $500/month.  I fought with the insurance company for several months to try and get them to pay.  Basically, they do not pay because the speech is not affected by the mouth (split tongue, cleft pallet, cleft lip etc).  We have a cheaper option now for the speech therapy.  We still owe Nationwide Children's hospital around $3000.  God willing we are hoping to pay it off this year.     

I love all my kids, and I am thankful to God for all of them.  However, when I get a hug from my son, it puts me in remembrance of how thankful I am to have him.  Samuel could have be in heaven now instead of having him be a blessing to us.  He is full of personality, like most boys cracking jokes with potty humor.  He loves remote control cars and trucks.  He also likes airplanes and helicopters.  I bought him a blue tricycle this summer and that boy rides that thing everywhere.  I thank all of you for your prayers and your love.      

Friday, April 12, 2013

My favorite .NET Tools

I have a Java friend that just asked me.  What are your favorite .NET tools?  Here they are.

Resharper. This is a must.  It makes it so easy to navigate, refactor, and run tests. 

My favorite coverage tool:

My favorite profilers:

Incredible code translation from VB.NET to C# or C# to VB.NET

Beyond compare works great with subversion and TFS for code merging:

If you are using subversion, this tool is a must for Visual Studio:

This is a great tool for creating database documentation:

My favorite .NET regular expression editor:

My favorite Obfuscator:

My favorite .NET Help file creator:

My favorite Installer Creator:

This is my favorite decompiler right now. 

My favorite training site:

If you are just getting started with .NET, this may help:

Some of my favorite quick reference sheets for .NET:

Other favorites not .NET related.

My favorite notepad replacement:

My favorite paint replacement.

My favorite windows explorer replacement:

My favorite link checker:

My favorite directory size tool:

My favorite way to run applications on my USB Flash Drive:

My favorite corporate wiki:

My favorite personal wiki:

My favorite FTP and SFTP software:

My favorite Zip Software:

My favorite PDF printer:

My favorite ISO mounter:

My favorite cross database editors:

My favorite online backup:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Why you should work for Sogeti

During my nearly 20 years as a developer, I have worked many places.  I have been a permanent employee and also a consultant.  I have always liked consulting because it not only gives me the opportunity to stay on top of technology, but it also has the benefit of a change in scenery.  There is no perfect assignment from heaven; but with consulting you can be assured that whatever you don't like about an assignment, it will end and you will go on to something new. 

Right now, Sogeti is the best consulting company in Columbus, OH.  They have benefits that simply cannot be touched:
* Free health insurance.  It is a high deductible HSA.  If you are not sick that often, then you really make out.  The HSA is all pre-tax and it gains interest like a savings account.
* Free Vision and Dental
* 401K with 6% dollar for dollar match, plus a 5% profit sharing bonus.  Essentially if you put in 6% into your 401K you are getting 17% in.  That is just crazy awesome. 
* The 401K mutual funds to pick from are actually very good at Sogeti.  I have been at some places where the mutual fund performance is so poor, the employees put all their contributions into bonds.
* Three weeks of vacation to start plus seven paid holidays.
* Individual Bonus Program.  At other companies, I have done many technical interviews in the past, attended user groups, and trainings with not a dime coming from it.  Sogeti has a point system where activities are tracked.  Surprisingly I have only been at Sogeti since May and I am on track for getting a $2500 bonus. 
* Life Insurance equal to 2x salary
* Short Term Disability
* Long Term Disability
* Company Laptop.  It is a beefy laptop too with a Core I7 with 8GB of memory.
* $10,000 Tuition Reimbursement
* 4,000 e-courses and 20,000 e-books
* MSDN Universal Subscription (That is worth 10,000 with the Visual Studio architect that is included)

The first company that I worked for in Columbus went bankrupt around a year after I started.  There were 120 people laid off in one day.  Ever since then I am ultra sensitive about how my employer is doing financially.  In fact they call me the Canary; as in, when the Canary gets out of the coal mine, you had better get out right now.  I can't reveal any financials for Sogeti, but I can say Sogeti is growing during the recession.  They are impressively beating the financial goals they have set.  That coupled with the fact that Sogeti is all over the world gives it inherent diversification and stability.  

There are many other things that Sogeti has going for it that makes it very attractive:
* Positive culture.  Everyone has each others back from the President down to the consultant level.
* Solution projects are favored over Staff Augmentation.  Sogeti's bread and butter is Solutions work, not Staff Augmentation.  This equals more exciting opportunities and higher bill rates.  The higher bill rate translates into higher salaries compared to other consulting companies in Columbus.
* Recognition for hard work and overcoming challenges.  Frankly I have been pleasantly surprised at the positive feedback that our team has received.  I have been on great teams before at other companies and have received no feedback.

The Canary is happy.  In fact, when recruiters from other companies call me, I say "No thanks, I am going to stay with Sogeti for the next 20 years."

Contact me at greg.finzer at us.sogeti.com if you are interested in coming on board with Sogeti