Posting Oddities

posted on 2005-08-18 at 00:20:45 by Joel Ross

If you've been reading this blog for a while (from last November, or so), then you may remember that I wrote my own blogging tool to post to my blogs. I post to multiple ones at the same time, and I wrote a tool that will do that for me.

At that time, I used to write my posts directly in the tool. But after a while, I realized the usefulness of writing posts in something other than a single threaded app. When I say single threaded, I don't mean in the programming sense - I mean in the application sense. I could only write one post at a time. I had to jot down notes about other thoughts I had.

So, I switched to using OneNote to jot posts down in. I created a "Blog" folder in OneNote, and an "In Process" tab, a "Published" tab, a "Ready To Publish" tab, and a "Cancelled" tab. I think they're pretty self explanatory. I write in the "In Process" tab. When it's ready, I put it into the "Ready To Publish" tab, and when I get around to it, I post from there, and move it to the "Published" tab. If I give up on a post, something I've done quite a bit, it gets moved to the "Cancelled" tab.

Anyway, there's been a side effect with b2evolution. One of the "features" of OneNote is that it autocorrects my typing. I like the feature, but it causes issues with my posting. Two things stick out. My mistakes happen when I type too fast - I don't end up capitalizing sentences, and I miss apostrophes. OneNote is kind enough to correct that issue for me, but for whatever reason, when I put it into my blogging tool and post it, you'll see an A with a hat on it. It doesn't do it when I post to .Text, but it does to b2evolution. I'm researching the issue, but I haven't had much luck, partly because I don't know PHP very well.

So, for anyone wondering what is causing that, now you know!

Categories: Blogging


My Start Menu

posted on 2005-08-18 at 00:13:25 by Joel Ross

Via Ed Bott, Dwight Silverman wants to know what's on your start menu.

No, not what programs you have installed. He wants to know what your top 6 programs are that you use - you know, in Windows XP, the left side of the start menu, where it has an MRU program list.

I'm game. Here's my two lists. The first one is on my base machine - where I don't do any development. Here's my list:

1. Excel - This is unfair. I recently had a small project working on an excel sheet. No need for a dedicated VPC just to modify an Excel spreadsheet!
2. I.E. - This list isn't accurate! It only counts programs started from the start menu. I use keyboard shortcuts to start everything I use on a regular basis. By the way, I use Maxthon most of the time.
3. SlickRun - Now, this I use all the time. It's actually where my keyboard shortcuts are stored. I think this is only on my list because it was having a crisis the other day and needed to be put out of it's misery for a little while.
4. VS.NET Command Prompt. No shortcut for this, so I do open this every now and then.
5. Trillian - my IM client of choice!
6. Remote Desktop Connection - I agree with this one.

Ok. Not as useful as I think Dwight had hoped. Here's my top 6 list of programs used, which would be reflected in my start menu if I actually used it on a regular basis.

1. Outlook - that's about all that I use my base machine for anymore. That, and?
2. Trillian - my IM client of choice!
3. OneNote - I spend a fair amount of time in OneNote.
4. Virtual PC - I'm a developer who does all of his development in VPCs. Of course this is on the list.
5. Edit Plus - My notepad replacement. It's used all the time.
6. iPodder - my new podcatcher of choice. It runs all the time.

That looks a little more accurate.

Now, on my development VPCs, here's the list:

1. Visual Studio - Of course. I'm a developer, remember?
2. SQL Enterprise Manager - hard to develop without a database. I'm certified in SQL Server database design. I suppose I should spend some time in there every now and then!
3. Edit Plus - sometimes Visual Studio is just a little bit overkill.
4. Explorer - Yeah, I spend a lot of time in the file system.
5. Remote Desktop Connection - Build servers need my attention!
6. CodeSmith Explorer - I haven't moved to 3.0 yet, but I still use it on at least a weekly basis.

So there you have mine. What's on your MRU list?

Oh yeah. Dwight. I'm subscribed, but I'll unsubscribe if you go back to partial feeds. I agree with Ed, by the way.

Categories: General


My Guest Map

posted on 2005-08-16 at 11:33:26 by Joel Ross

If you're a reader of this blog (and if you're reading this, then, by definition, you are!), please head on over to My guestmap and let me know where you're from.

This service is pretty cool. Not only can you see where your readers are from, but if others use this service (Scott Hanselman, Mike Pope, and Greg Hughes are using it too), you can then start to find people who are around you that are interested in the same blogs you are. Nice!

Categories: Blogging


Lists? We've Got Lists!

posted on 2005-08-15 at 23:57:06 by Joel Ross

Some of the biggest buzz going around the blogosphere these days has to do with lists. Specifically, the Technorati 100, and what's wrong with it.

Jason Calacanis even went as far as to offer a reward for the first person (or company) to create a Top 500 list that's accurate. That's fine for those who aren't blog readers, or just looking for something interesting to read, but for me, a top 500 list means nothing to me.

Jeremy Zawodny has a post that hints at the real solution titled "Finding needles in the growing Blog Haystack?" where he asks how does someone find what's interesting to them. He says the burden is on the reader and the publisher right now, which is true, but it doesn't have to be true.

All of the major players in the aggregation game have the chance to solve this, and I know how! Arrogant, huh? So what's the solution? Well, if you have my OPML (list of subscribed blogs), then why can't you compile information about who they're linking to, and if 50 of them are to the same place, and they aren't on my list, then that seems like a pretty good candidate for my list. So, what am I saying? Everyone's top 500 is different, and no one list will ever be correct. It has to be different for everyone. Now, most people won't have enough subscriptions to get a top 500, but you could either limit to what you have (above a certain threshold), or expand the top 500 to "friends of friends" - blogs linked by blogs linked by blogs you subscribe to.

Now, if you add some statistics about how much time you spend reading each blog, and then weight the results based on that, wouldn't that be attention?

Categories: Blogging


posted on 2005-08-15 at 23:27:13 by Joel Ross

Have you seen TagCloud? It's a visual way to see what's being talked about among your trusted network. You add feeds (or your OPML file) and it gives you a tag cloud of what's being talked about.

What's a tag cloud? Basically, it's a list of keywords that your feeds are talking about. The bigger the tag (keyword), the more it's being talked about.

One downside - my largest word is HTTP, something that's underlying every post created that links somewhere, but not usually the focus of the post. Oh well. It's still a pretty cool way to browse topics and see what your network is talking about.

By the way, here's my tag cloud for OPML as of this morning.

Categories: Blogging


Web Projects In VS 2005 - Update

posted on 2005-08-15 at 23:06:42 by Joel Ross

Apparently I'm not the only one who's hearing the buzz around the new web projects in Visual Studio 2005. Scott Guthrie is too. And he's on vacation in Mexico!

Anyway, he has a great post explaining a few things. Both of the issues I listed earlier (references and excluding files) are handled in post-beta builds, something I wasn't aware of. Here's another example of Microsoft listening to what the developers want.

Seriously though, with a guy like Scott running the ASP.NET team, you knew there had to be a solution in the works.

Categories: ASP.NET


CruiseControl.NET Turns 1.0, Almost

posted on 2005-08-15 at 23:03:06 by Joel Ross

I monitor the updates and additions to the CruiseControl.NET product documentation, and today there's been a plethora of action. The first was an interesting page addition that showed up in my aggregator - a nant task to run MsBuild scripts.

That definitely piqued my interest, and as the day went on, I eventually saw that CruiseControl.NET 1.0 RC1 was released today. There's a few new features, but the two that stand out to me are (obviously) the MsBuild tasks, and that CCTray has been rewritten to support multiple servers and multiple projects better. They've also completely moved to the web dashboard (something we already did with our move to CCNET .9x), and gotten rid of the files for the old web project.

I can't wait for an opportunity to try this out, although I'm guessing I probably won't get the chance until it's no longer a release candidate, and it could possibly be the beginning of the year before I find a project that needs my build server skills!

Categories: Software


RossCode Weekly #013

posted on 2005-08-15 at 01:57:28 by Joel Ross

Here we go again. After a weekend without the cable modem, I'm back, and I've got the week's hottest news - just for you. I'm seriously thinking about turning this into a podcast, as well as adding a few other things, but I need bandwidth and storage space. Anyone know of a sponsor who'd be willing to front for a libsyn account? :-) Anyway, on to the week's biggest news.

There's news from the big three in search this week. Let's start with Yahoo. First, the next iteration of Yahoo! Messenger was released this week, with voice support. Can they compete with Skype? I'm not sure, but it sounds like it could at least stem the masses from fleeing IM clients to Skype.

One more Yahoo item. They announced they now have indexed 20,000,000,000 (billion) documents. That's a lot of pages. For reference, Google is at 11,300,000,000.

But that doesn't mean Google hasn't been busy. They've added syndication feeds to their news page. I'm still not sold on Google News. It's a nice service, but it doesn't always relate to what I would be interested. Which is why it's cool that I can now set up a news search and subscribe to it.

More Google. Based on some negative feedback, they're holding off their Google Print service until November to give copyright holders more time to exclude their book from the index. I don't get this - they are indexing books in the library. These copyright holders don't have a choice about the books being in a library, where anyone can get it for free, but they should have some say with Google indexing it? And why is Google pandering to these guys?

Now for some sillyness, this time from Google. published some information about Google's CEO that they obtained from Google's search engine, and now Google isn't happy. The word is they won't be talking to for a year. Ouch. But for who? Now if get's a story about Google, who will they confirm the story? This could come back to bite them later.

Now it's time for the Rumor Mill. There were early reports that Google bought Meetro, an IM client. But Meetro denies it. I was going to say this makes it pretty obvious that Google is getting into the IM game, but since there's been no confirmation, who knows. If they did buy Meetro, well, then, I guess this means they're getting in the IM game. If not, well, it means nothing.

More Rumor Mill content. Technorati is close to being sold. Maybe. And no one knows who. A large search engine. Google? Yahoo? MSN? No one knows, and there hasn't been an official word yet.

Back to more stable news. MSN's turn to get in the news game. First, they have something called Filters. It's basically paid blogging, apparently an attempt to compete with Weblogs, inc, and those types of sites. It's either very new and still has some growing to do, or it's pretty lame. I'm subscribed to two of the Filters (Technology and Sports), but so far, I've found nothing of interest.

MSN did do some good this week, at least on the mobile front. First, you can now create and use your MSN Space on a mobile device. I'm not sure of the usefulness of this, but at least it's cool. Second, they launched mobile search - you can even get maps and directions on your mobile device. Now, that's both cool and useful.

Sticking with Microsoft for the moment, they've rebranded and renamed Internet Explorer - to Windows Internet Explorer. It's got a new logo too, which looks a lot like the old one. A rebranding to the same brand. Innovative!

One last Microsoft news story, and I'm only reporting it because I had to spend Saturday night ridding my wife's PC of Spyware. Despite no internet connection for me, she was connected (don't ask!) and basically, she infected the machine pretty badly somehow. She's usually pretty careful, but things just kept automatically loading for her. How nice. Anyway, I used both AdAware and Microsoft's Antispyware to get it all off, and the news is that Microsoft's Antispyware will remain free forever! If you want the total package (virus protection, spyware protection, etc.) you'll need One Care, but antispyware will continue to be free.

Lastly, in a move to bind the internet and TV together forever, TiVo has signed a deal with the Independent Film Channel to provide downloadable movies, and they'll be testing it out soon. A step closer to IPTV!

Ok. That's it. Show's over. Go to bed! Oh wait. Who knows when you'll read this. Maybe I'll just go to bed!

Categories: Blogging, RossCode Weekly


References in Web Projects in VS.NET 2005

posted on 2005-08-11 at 23:51:19 by Joel Ross

This is why I usually don't start posting until I'm caught up on my blog reading. I just posted tonight about one of the problems with the new project-less web projects in VS.NET 2005?- you can't easily manage updates to binary references (or, for that matter, references to other projects in the same solution).

Well, I just read a post from Paul Wilson stating that this has been fixed in post-beta 2. Now, when you add references, you'll get a "refresh" file, which will give VS.NET a list of references to refresh on compile. I guess that's something!

Categories: ASP.NET


Web UI Design Patterns

posted on 2005-08-11 at 23:42:14 by Joel Ross

I've been reading Design Patterns recently, so I'm in the pattern mode of thought. Which is why this post from Thomas Williams was so interesting. It's a link to a website that has a list of a bunch of design patterns - for web pages!

Given that I do mostly web development, this could be a good resource for me in the future!

UPDATE: If you head to the home page, there are links to design patterns for web, GUI's and Mobile platforms. Cool.

Categories: ASP.NET


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