Links for March 19, 2009


Web Browsers

Fixed Comments Bug

Woohoo!  Finally found out what the problem was with BlogEngine comments.  It turns out the problem was an element in the parent web.config called xhtmlConformance.  Here's an article about it in Scott Guthrie's blog:

Gotcha: Don't use <xhtmlConformance mode="Legacy"/> with ASP.NET AJAX

I had figured it wasn't really a problem with BlogEngine, and was probably some sort of configuration issue, for this simple reason: the site was identical (except for content differences) on my server, vs. my local machine.  In my case, the legacy switch had been turned on in the web.config of the parent web... which is why I had trouble tracking this down.  Not knowing about the legacy switch didn't help the situation.

Thank you Scott Guthrie!

My first BlogEngine widget: daily quotations

Prior to upgrading BlogEngine I had written (actually borrowed/rewritten) a fairly ugly user control to show a daily quotation.  Now that BE 1.4.5 is here, the new widget framework looks pretty nifty.  So I took the LinkList widget and massaged it into something I could use to store and display daily quotes.

My original quotes setup only shows one quote on any given day and uses a datestamp to keep track of this.  I've attached my first pass at a quotation widget below.  This widget picks a quote at random each time the page loads.  However when you edit you will see a date field... eventually I want to make a daily quote as with my original (or perhaps you can choose to display random quotes or to rotate at daily intervals, or even time intervals).  So the date field is there for future use.

The quote is displayed in a div styled with the selector "quotation".  The author/source is displayed in a 2nd div with the style selector "quotation_author".  So you can update your theme stylesheet to modify the appearance of these.


Quotations.rar (4.21 kb)


3/13/2009:  There is an update to the quotations widget.

Installed BlogEngine 1.4.5

Finally installed BlogEngine 1.4.5.  Something goofy happened with my web hosting provider permissions on the app_data folder... I kept getting exceptions, but with tech support finally got it straightened out.

Now I just need to fix my daily quotes control.  I want to turn this into a widget and contribute to the community.

Programmers should not design UI

After seeing my parents' new ATT Uverse setup, I've made the decistion that I'm going to give Cablevision the boot.  The only decent thing about Cablevision has been my experience with the technicians I've had to meet at my apartment.  The service is overpriced and corrupt IMO (they charged me a fee to cancel HBO); and the online guide/DVR is slow and poorly designed.  The big problem is that over the years I've registered with many websites using my email address.  So I am going through the tedious process of updating my accounts, since I won't be able to use that email address once I've discarded cablevision.

Which brings me to IEEE, a professional organization focused on computing which I joined while I was looking for work after the bubble burst.  It took me about ten minutes to figure out how to change my email address (and site opened two new windows and required me to log in twice during the process).  If you've never been to, it's clear that it wasn't designed by anyone possessing tremendous usability skills.  Having to log in a 2nd time isn't a huge ordeal, but it seems from the way finding the profile editor unfolded, the 2nd login wasn't intentionally designed as a security measure... it was more of an accidental security bonus.

The main problem is in making the profile editor so hard to find.  Once you've logged in, a link for "my profile" (or something along those lines) is absent from the page.  A website search revealed nothing.  Only after clicking 'membership FAQs' did I find a link to what turned out to be a different subdomain, which is where I had to log in again.

End of rant.

WCF looks cool

Last night at my .NET user group meeting the topic was WCF (Windows Communication Foundation); our speaker was a Microsoft evangelist from Hartford (his blog).  WCF is Microsoft’s next evolution beyond webservices; my take-aways from the presentation:

  • separation of concerns; focus on the business logic and not the plumbing
  • configuration magic (also seen as the rough edge of the current version of WCF; MS is working on improving that piece for admins)
  • unshackled from IIS
  • Retarget your end point to JSON, RSS, you name it, with just a few lines (one line?) of code

Of course there’s a lot more to it than that… I plan on looking into it more when I can find the time.  If you like webservices I think you're going to love WCF.  .NET 3.5 SP1 is coming out sometime this summer, they’re going to be adding further enhancements to WCF in that release.

A great day at Ellenville

Arrived at Ellenville launch yesterday about 2pm, found it blasting NW. Dave and Stan (?) were already on their XC adventure. It being too strong to launch, I decided to hike up to check out Bear Cliff and the new SW launch; in retrospect not a long walk but I wouldn't want to drag a glider up there without a lot more conditioning. Talked to some locals on the rock and had to sit down because of the strong surface wind. Saw a hawk hovering about 50 feet away.

Me at Bear Cliff

Got back to launch around 3:30, Tom Galvin and Chad were set up and getting ready to go. Chad launched about 4 and shot up like a rocket, Tom not long thereafter.

Stepped in some pilot's dog poop which I wasn't too happy about, but I kept my mouth shut and focused on setting up. (got home later with yellow socks, not sure what that's about)

I launched around 5 when it was still somewhat strong but had calmed down (direction was very consistent). Good launch; went up immediately, textured air but nothing too nasty. Hopped on a couple of express elevators to 4400 feet msl. Felt a bit of vertigo on the first turn in the core but shook it off and was fine (it's been a while since I've been in a nice strong thermal). The airport by the prison was probably doable. Whizzed by a bald eagle (I think) at my level, going the other way. Strong lift wasn't hard to find, and it wasn't crazy-crowded like it sometimes gets. Came in to land at sunset. Some bubbles around 600ft agl. Bled off altitude over the pumpkin patch, had a nice 2-step landing about 20 feet from the bullseye without doing anything stupid down low. Flight time: 2 hours 46 minutes; felt like 30 minutes. I think I've finally fixed my launch and approach problems, just need to repeat it a few times for consistency. Feeling pretty good this will be my first year for XC.