Offline Blogging

I have been looking at a few offline blogging tools and I am trying out BlogJet based on Adam’s recommendation who has been using it for a while. It seems to be OK thus far, but I have not had a chance to play with it except for a few hours and it seems to be promising. The only issue I have is it does not seem to support Unicode characters – at least not in the title – I do not know of the posts themselves. See the image below where my blog’s title is a bit messed up.

Blogjet_lackofunicodesupport

However, other than this issue, it seems to be working fine – I’ll spin this around for a while and lets see how it goes.

Book Feedback – The Connection Machine

I wanted to find out if anyone out there has read The Connection Machine – which essentially is a PhD thesis of the author's (W. Danny Hillis) and seems to be something I would be interested in. The question I have is, has anyone read it and if so what do they think of it? And if you have it, can I borrow it to read it?

Upgraded to CS 2.1 Beta 2

Continuing the Living dangerous theme I upgraded this blog to CS 2.1 Beta 2. It's a painful process (including smoke testing). Anyways it all seems to be working. I also added a couple of new things which are not very evident upfront. One being the completely automatic public turing test to tell humans and computer apart control (or better known as captcha control) – to get a better handle on spam and the other is a Google Sitemap generator that you can check out here. Both of these are addons to CS that are available from their download section.

Now, I need to add the option to spell check, insert code in posts (another add-on) and get this working form Word 2007 (which I have tried a few time and does not work – if anyone else gotten this working then please let me know). Confused

IE 7 "Blocker"

As you might have already heard that Microsoft will be pushing out IE 7 to every Windows desktop out there later this year using Windows Update. This will be pushed as a high priority update, which means for most users who automatically download and install this, they will get IE 7 – irrespective if they want to upgrade to IE 7 or not. If you are using IE then it is recommended to upgrade to IE 7 – or even better (IHMO), you should switch to Firefox. In any case, Microsoft also (thankfully) has delivered a toolkit that will disable the auto download and installer of IE 7. If you are sitting on a slow internet link (or close to you usage), then this might be a good thing to install as well. That way you can download IE 7 once and then locally install it on your network.

You can download the toolkit to diable auto delivery of IE 7 from here.

Living on the Edge

It seems I cannot get enough of the adrenaline rush and like to live on the edge. I have further upgraded this blog to run on CS 2.1 (Beta 1)  and is now using .NET 2.0 instead of v1.1. and also on the backend is using SQL 2005 instead of SQL 2000. Now all I need to do is sit and pray that nothing breaks. Devil

What does Avanade mean?

I have been asked this everytime we get around to talking about Avanade (my current employer), now what does it mean. I did not know till now and had always wondered till now. But I came across this old archive (in another context) and now I know what it means:

n. 1. A proposed joint venture of Andersen Consulting and Microsoft. 2. An organization that will help its customers leverage the Internet and advanced technologies to achieve strategic advantage.
[avan-, advance, advantage, avenue + -ade, action, act]

Upgrade to Community Server 2.0

If you use a RSS feed then you might not have seen this, but if you browse to the blog you would see that I upgraded to Community Server 2.0. I was running a modified version of .Text 95 and the upgrade to CS was a bit painful, mostly due to the fact that I did not want to lose all this data and there was not upgrade path from .Text.

For me, the upgrade was not quite painful – just needed some patience. Luckily, all my changes to .Text was on the GUI and some underlying bits – and that too was a long time ago. Since I had not touched the schema, I was able to upgrade from .Text to Community Server (CS) 1.1 using the “.Text to CS utility” and then upgraded from CS. Once, it was upgraded to CS 1.1, upgrading to CS 2.0 was fairly easy and painless.

If you are in a similar boat to mine, I would recommend to check out Jayson Knight’s excellent post on how to upgrade. I would like to point out that the CS 1.1 bits he points to (which is back on CS’s site) is corrupt. So when you download and unzip you will get CRC errors and will not be able to extract the bits. You need to download the source code and then compile it. This of course is using Visual Studio 2003 running on .NET v1.1. I did not try it on VS 2005, but I suppose you could do that in conjunction with MSBee.

If you are running the blog on another subdomain or just have it changed, the tricky part is that the old url’s for the blog work. This was interesting at first, but not too difficult one. Among the usual .config files, there is another one called SiteUrls.config. In that there is a section called <locations>. If you want to change the url from http://somedomain.com/blog/yourblog to something like http://somedomain.com/yourblog then change the “weblogs” entry as shown below.
Original Entry: <location name=”weblogs” path=”/blogs/” />
Updated: <location name=”weblogs” path = “/” physicalPath = “/blogs/” />

Anyways, everything seems to be working so far, but if you find anything missing please do drop me a line. I will be playing with this more over the next few days and will see how it goes.

Last, but the most important if you do upgrade, and as it goes with all such things, make sure you back up both your database and existing code first. Smile

HDD Crash – backup software recommendation?

The HDD on my work laptop crashed over the weekend – started with CRC errors and then went kaboom (not literally). While our IT folks are trying to recover the data off it as I type this, I wanted to know if you can recommend a cheap or free tool for backing up? I of course did not have the latest backups of my files – I use to till about a year ago and got lazy. This of course is a lesson learned the hard way :(.

The couple of tools that come to mind are something like either SyncToy or robocopy, does anyone else have a recommendation?

Love thy Neighbor

Love thy neighbor
 

(Click on the image to see it in full size)

Vonage's Click2Call finally available

I have used Vonage’s Click2Call functionality while I was in the US and loved it; they have finally released the same thing for the UK (finally)! If you don’t know what this is then read up on it here; you can download it form here (3.0 mb).

Can I get this please?

Thanks to Dee to pass this on – but this is cool in my opinion 🙂 – as long as of course they continue to me made of foam! So, who is going to get me one of these?

Sudoku – Update

Since my previous post, I have made some improvements to this – mostly around the installer and also the fact that there might be machines out there in the world who do not have Microsoft Ink installed. (duh!). If you have a Tablet PC or one of the SDK’s installed which give you the Ink bits then continue using ClickOnce – I would recommend to upgrade to the newest bits.

On the other hand, if you do not have Ink installed, or more importantly have no clue what I am babbling about and just want to play the game, then download the setup from here (it is about 4.2 mb in size). Save the zip file somewhere on your machine (such as the Desktop), extract the zip file, double-click on Setup.exe and just follow the prompts and you should be good to go.

Let me know if there are any problems.

Sudoku

If you are a Sudoku fan, then check out my slightly modified version of the one published by Microsoft. I have it up using ClickOnce, so unfortunately you would need to use IE for the best experience. It might work with Firefox (I have not tried it yet). Also you will need .NET Framework 2.0 – if you don’t have it – the installer will point you in the right direction on how to get it. If you do need to get .NET 2.0 – make sure you are on a broadband connection as it might take time.

Click here to install it. Also, let me know if you want me to make any changes. 🙂

IE 7 Beta 3 Woes

When the new IE 7 bits were originally released – I forget if it was late last year or early this year – I had installed them to have a play, but that was such a shoddy release that I quickly uninstalled and happily continued to use Firefox. A while after that Beta 1 was released which I did not touch and although some of my brave colleagues installed it and used it – I kept at a arms length. When Beta 2 was released, again I was quite vary, but after hearing a number of positive reviews (mostly on the stability) I tried to give it a spin again and installed it. I was using it only for about a week or so without too many complains till Beta 3 was released. Based on my positive experience with Beta 2, I assumed Beta 3 can only be the same if not worse! Oh how wrong I was – as someone said “Assumption is the mother of all screw ups”. 🙂 Beta 3 in my experience is quite unstable and it does lock up the whole machine atlease once on a daily basis – required me to do a cool boot. In the process I of course loose any unsaved changes. Even when Microsoft eventually gets this right, at the end of the day, IE 7 is still just a catch up with Firefox and I have no plans to switch to that as my primary browser.