Yearly Archives: 2006

Talks with Telligent

I had some interesting talks with a couple guys from Telligent, recently.  Among things, we talked about Community Server and how I thought it could be a better product.  These were my top 3 points that I brought up:

Themes suck.  It pisses me off to the point of not upgrading, the fact that I have to redo my custom theme every time I upgrade.  Thankfully, they’re aware of this and are tackling it for version 3.0.  Their goal is to redesign the themes so that future upgrades of the CS core do not break old themes.

It would be really nice if there was a set of unit tests that a user could run on Community Server.  Take this site for instance… it started as a .Text install with nGallery.  Those programs where merged into Community Server and that framework has been updated a few times.  I know certain things are broken with the site (trackbacks, getting emails for new comments, picture stats, etc).  I would like to have a set of unit tests (like the tests) so that I can run through the site after an upgrade and verify that everything is working properly.

Image gallery needs some love… it amazes me that they still do not have support for multiple file uploads.  To support uploading a zip file containing multiple images would be trivial.  To write an active-x plugin would be a little more difficult.  Having support for both would be nice for the time being while they try to figure out the ultimate way.  Alas, I feel this is one area where the roots w/ Microsoft show.  People spend hours talking about the ultimate approach and actually doing nothing, when they could implement something, that just works, today and perfect it at a later point if needed.  Incremental updates are just as valuable as large releases.  But from our talks, it seems that the CS team has sort of given up on galleries anyway.  It sounded like they would rather add support for the major image hosting sites (ie. Flickr) than fix their implementation.  We’ll see where the future leads though…. I personally would be happy using flickr, as long as I could save and transfer all of my existing images.

I didn’t talk with them about these next points, but I feel that I should make them regardless…

Take a simple thing as saving a rough draft with the blog post editor.  Microsoft would do something like, forcing you to post the article and checking a checkbox to keep it private.  Google and others would do something like adding a “save draft” button (with optional ctrl-s keyboard shortcut).  Additionally, the non-MS companies would add a drafts folder so that you can quickly see which posts are still in draft form.  While both would technically do the same thing, the “save draft” (think gmail) is so much more user friendly.  I don’t have to think about it…

It would be cool if Community Server had a missing updates feature.  By that I mean an admin page that queries a feed at Telligent and determines which updates are needed to make the site current.  To just simply list the updates, each updates severity level, provide a link to a page describing what the update is, and provide a link to download the update.  To make it more powerful, if more than one update is required, roll them into one single update that applies each one in the correct order.  That way, only one download and install would be necessary.  Obviously making it somewhat smart would be preferred.  If CS 3.0 update came out, but you were missing some updates for CS 2.x, it would provide both as options.

Trim whitespace in javascript

Occasionally I need these functions, and I’m surprised that I haven’t posted it yet.  anyway, enjoy…

// Add left trim, right trim, and trim functions
if (!String.prototype.lTrim) {
    String.prototype.lTrim = function() { return this.replace(/^s*/, ”); }
if (!String.prototype.rTrim) {
    String.prototype.rTrim = function() { return this.replace(/s*$/, ”); }
if (!String.prototype.trim) {
    String.prototype.trim = function() { return this.lTrim().rTrim(); }

// This will remove all whitespace from a string
if (!String.prototype.removeAllWhitespace) {
    String.prototype.removeAllWhitespace = function() { return this.replace(/s+/g, ”); }

401.3 Access denied by ACL on resource in Firefox

I was working on a project and kept getting a 401.3 error: Access denied by ACL on resource.  I would only get this error in firefox, and IE performed as expected.  Touted as a “security feature” I’m sure… Anyway, after hunting around a little and tweaking the ACL for the specific directory, I finally got it resolved.  I needed to add the Users group with default permissions to the directory.  Just having the aspnet user account and admin user didn’t resolve it, which makes sense since IIS would need it’s own permissions to access the folder.  Anyway, hopefully this bit of info helps someone in the same situation.

A theory for how to get Firefox to beyond 50% market share…

I have a theory for how to get Firefox to 50% market share and beyond.  I would like to challenge anyone with the time and resources to do this…

Write a program that does two things:

  1. Checks for Firefox and if it’s not there, install the latest version of Firefox and optionally Adblock and Filterset.G extensions
  2. Replace all Internet Explorer icons with shortcuts to Firefox.  The catch is to use the internet explorer icon for the shortcut

I really don’t think that most people know what a browser is… they just know that if they click the little blue e icon, it’ll bring them “the internet.”  I have personally installed firefox on people’s computers and told them that it is better, more secure, and wont bring them near the number of viruses that IE will.  When I come back a month later, they’re using IE purely out of habit of clicking that specific icon.  They could care less if the program that is brought up is IE or Firefox.  They just want to surf the web in the most comfortable way possible.  Clicking the Firefox icon rather than the IE icon is something that needs to be learned, therefor it’s not immediately as comfortable as just defaulting back to using IE.

Buying a new tv sucks

This is a horrible time to buy a new tv, imo.  I don’t want to spend much money (less than $500) but I would like to get something of some quality.  The market for mid level tvs is shit.  it seems that you can easily pickup an old non-hd/ed crt for less than $500 or you have to spend more than $2k for a plasma.  I’m just looking for a 40″ or 42″ tv, so I don’t need anything major.  I would be willing to spend up to $1k if it was hd quality and I knew it was going to last.  I’m very curious why the major players don’t take advantage of the mid market for tvs… it’s wide open

My thoughts on linq

I was talking with an ex-coworker the other day about web technologies.  I like to think that we stay pretty close to or sometimes ahead of the curve, as far as being informed about new technologies.  We went through various discussions ranging from how the postback model is a horrible user experience, to how ajax is just really a stepping stone, to c# and some of the new features that are being planned for v3.  I’m sure the stepping stone portion would make for a better blog, but fuck it, I’m going with what I originally titled this post. 

Linq… what a useless addition, imo.  Sweet…you can use raw sql in the language now… I’m so excited I can barely type…  How about doing something useful for developers and integrating an ORM tool into the language.  Object Spaces anyone?  Since I’ve used ORM tools, I haven’t wanted to look back to raw sql.  Sure, I occasionally have to craft some sort of hql to get the data that I need, but 90% of cases are handled by the tool.  Using an ORM tool has freed me from designing around relational tables, and rather I design my apps like they should be, based off the objects within the app.

So I say thank you MS… when .net v3 is released in 2010, I’m sure a handful of people will be real happy with your linq addition…

Grilled chicken wrap w/ spicy mayo

It’s been a long time since I posted.  I assure you I’m not dead, I
just have been in sort of a rut for posting, lately… anyway, if you’re looking
for a tasty chicken wrap, try making this:

1 Chicken Breast
Some lettuce
A couple slices of pepper jack cheese
Some mushrooms (optional)
A couple tortillas
1 cup good quality mayonnaise
1/4 cup hot chili paste (recommended: Sriracha Hot Chili Paste)
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

  1. Mix the spicy mayo by combining the mayonnaise, chili paste, lime
    juice, and chopped cilantro. Stir well and refrigerate until ready to
  2. Grill the chicken breast
  3. Slice the grilled chicken breast into strips
  4. Spread some of the spicy mayo on the tortilla
  5. Add lettuce and mushrooms (optional)
  6. Place the pepper jack cheese on the lettuce
  7. Add a couple of the grilled chicken strips
  8. Roll up and slice in half

The recipe for the spicy mayo was taken from Tyler’s Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Spicy Mayo recipe

Advertising options

I’ve been advertising Property Center for about a month now, and I must
say that targeted ads are the way to go, for me.  I have a pretty
limited monthly advertising budget so every dollar counts.  At this
point, I have been using the major online ad networks (Google, Yahoo,
and msn) as well as a private ad network (FM Publishing).  I also contacted
specific websites with hopes of targeting their user base. 

The major ad networks and FM Publishing are awesome.  They allow a person in
my position to set a limit of how much to spend and where to place
those ads.  The search engines do it via keywords, while FM Publishing
allows you to pick specific sites in their network.  The search engines
go one step further by allowing you to pay only per click, rather than
impression, as FM Publishing does.  Both programs give you decent
information about how your ads are performing.  I’m personally amazed
at how many people actually legitimately click ads.

I haven’t had the same type of luck with the specific websites that I
contacted directly, however.  They seem to be stuck with older
advertising models and required a substantial advertising investment. 
Unfortunately, that is out of my capabilities at the moment, so I
continue to rely on blogs and newer advertising models.  I believe that
sites that are still using older models (give us $5-10k and we’ll
create a custom program for you) are really missing the boat on
advertising revenue.  I think they could make much more money by
allowing each advertiser to customize their specific ad program and
spend any amount that they want on it.

I personally think that just getting people talking about your product
is one of the best forms of advertising that you can do.  So it’s
definitely useful to keep up with newer techniques like using digg and  Also, I truly think that private ad networks like The
and FM Publishing will become more popular over time.  They show ads
specifically targeted to the visitors of the websites in their
network, rather than a couple pages that might contain keywords.  Also,
the private ad networks take the overhead out of managing individual
advertisers.  Rather than sites having to implement their own
advertising program framework, they can just join an ad network and
instantly serve relevant ads to their users.

Btw, if I could advertise w/ The Deck, I would.  I just don’t think that specific advertising network would reach my target audience, unfortunately.

Jury summons for $19 a day…

I’m loving it… I just got an official jury summons.  What can I say?  They’re hospitable – offering free soda!  They pay well – $19 a day!  whoo!  I’m sure I’ll be in a comfortable chair all day, listening to something exciting.  But alas, there is a downside 😐  I have to pay for parking… fuckers…

I am now experiencing the true beauty of the voting process…