Scott Hanselman

CoComment Support for DasBlog

February 14, '06 Comments [7] Posted in ASP.NET | DasBlog | Javascript
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CocommentI just checked in CoComment support for DasBlog. If you want it, feel free to get the source for DasBlog via anonymous CVS after it syncs on SourceForge. Otherwise, it'll be out soon in a DasBlog 1.9 release after we get BlogML support finished (started).

CoComment is the blog comment aggregation service that everyone is all agog about. It's interesting that so many blogging services are so willing to include a javascript bookmarklet hack into their blogging engines rather that include RSS Comments support.

CoComment is clever, sure, but it's a screenscraping web-based comment aggregator that is doing the work that FeedDemon and other aggregators SHOULD be doing. SharpReader does a lovely job supporting RSS Comments as does RSS Bandit. They also support the CommentAPI (which does have one BIG problem.) Again, doesn't all of this seem simpler than CoComment's method?

DasBlog supports RSS Comments out of the box, but I think we have a few problems around GUIDs internally...however, only Luke has ever complained to me.

RSS Comments is a great idea that would solve this problem that CoComment aims to solve. I didn't/don't need another Web 2.0 application when there's a perfectly good spec waiting to be implemented. End of rant.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Linksys Firmware DD-WRT BitTorrent optimizations

February 14, '06 Comments [0] Posted in Musings
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Dd-wrt-puttyAfter updating my Linksys Router to DD-WRT I turned on syslogd, the router's equivalent of a Windows Event Log. You turn on the syslogd service within the Web Management interface, then point it to the IP address of machine running a Syslog listener. For my main Windows machine I use Kiwi Syslog Daemon.

I noticed a lot of connections being dropped and a lot of complaints of bad ICMP (ping) packets. I also noticed that my aggregate BitTorrent throughput had dropped considerably. Seems that the default 512 connections that the firmware is configured with wasn't going to work out.

After poking around about a dozen sites and forums I added these settings to my rc_startup (the router's "autoexec.bat"). These settings are an aggregate of three different site's suggestions and have worked fine for me. Your mileage may vary.

Use PuTTY to SSH into your router. Log in as 'root' with your router's admin password. At this point you can screw up your router, so be warned. These routers have NVRAM (nonvolatile RAM) so we'll write to that an "rc_startup." You can also have an rc_shutdown if you like.

To check the value of your rc_startup do this:

nvram get rc_startup

If you don't have one, you can add startup script like this. These values ignore some irritating warnings, lower the TCP timeouts to values that are more reasonable if you seed torrents and raises the connections to the max 4096.

nvram set rc_startup="
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/icmp_echo_ignore_broadcasts
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/icmp_ignore_bogus_error_responses
echo '600 1800 120 60 120 120 10 60 30 120' > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_conntrack_tcp_timeouts
echo 4096 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_conntrack_max
"

nvram commit

reboot

These values have worked nicely for me the last few days. There's more details on startup scripts at the WRT Wiki. If you've got good values that have worked for you, add them in the comments of this post.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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WatirNUt - Portable Watir Tests integrated with NUnit

February 14, '06 Comments [0] Posted in ASP.NET | Ruby | Watir | NUnit | Nant
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More innovation around Watir and NUnit over here at Corillian today. Dustin Woodhouse, our build guru and former QA guy is releasing "WatirNUt," an NUnit/Watir integration with a slightly different view of the world than Travis Illig's Parathesia.Test.Ruby library up on CodeProject. Both use variations on Patrick's and my ExtractResource stuff.

Dustin's stuff includes both a GUI and Console wrapper around his main engine. He embeds everything in a generated NUnit assembly - one whose code you never see. 

From Dustin's site:

WatirNUt is a utility that creates a portable, testable NUnit binary wrapper around watir test scripts and supporting files. This binary can easily be executed in NAnt's <nunit2> task, with aggregated results displayed in your web dashboard.

WatirNUt gathers information about your test suites, including the files needed to support them, and uses this information to generate NUnit test fixtures to run your test scripts. Any number of scripts can be included, and any number of supporting files can be associated with each script. WatirNUt compiles the NUnit test fixtures under a single namespace provided by you, and embeds all the scripts and supporting files as resources.

When you use any NUnit runner on the generated assembly, the Watir tests run and their results are fed and formatted back into NUnit for use in CruiseControl build reports or whatever you like.

Also, take a look at Brent Strange's QAInsight.net, as Brent is looking at SW Explorer Automation, a possible .NET competitor to Watir. Brent is one of Corillian's Senior QA Engineers.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Accessing Fields with Regular Expressions and Watir

February 14, '06 Comments [1] Posted in ASP.NET | Ruby | Watir
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This is just a reminder to myself and anyone else using Watir for Web Application Testing. Nearly any method supports using Regular Expressions within. Brian Vallelunga reminded me of this.

For example:

ie.text_field(:id, /myTextBoxName$/).set("Hello World")

That finds any control that ends with "myTextBoxName" and sets its value

Here is an example using the link method to click a hyperlink using the url attribute:

ie.link(:url, /shtml/).click

This will click the link that matches shtml. RTM!

Now playing: Living On Earth - Living on Earth: February 10, 2006

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Upgrades and problems with Comcast's Motorola HD-PVR

February 14, '06 Comments [14] Posted in Bugs
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CIMG4539When we brought HD (High Definition) TV into the house, we wanted to keep it simple. Sure, there's DirectTV HD and there's over-the-air HD and the Windows Media Center, but the absolute simplest thing we could get was HD through our local Comcast cable.

Our requirements were simple. We want HD and we want a DVR/PVR (Digital Video Recorder.) We just can't live without "Tivo"-like functionality. We don't want too much TV now, and we hate the idea of "appointment TV." I don't know when Will and Grace is on, and I don't care. We watch TV when we want to, not when it's on.

That said, the Motorola single box solution offered by Comcast served all my purposes and we've been happy with it for the last few months. It's not as shiny as my 2 Replay TVs, or my Media Center PC, but it has dual tuners and it does HDTV. Sold.

So, anyway, it started stuttering last week and that wife wasn't having that. I called Comcast and they send a fellow over and he replaced it.

The model he brought LOOKED identical on the outside and the software UI is identical as well. However, the BACK of the device is totally different. TOTALLY.

  • There's no DVI connector anymore. The guy was flummoxed and I was a little frustrated. He said, oh, well no one uses DVI, forgetting for a moment that I, the fellow whose house he was in, did in fact, not only use DVI but wasn't interested in changing. :) This box supports only HDMI or Component. I have HDMI input in my Sharp LCD, but the Harmony 880 Remote and everything else is entirely set up expecting the HD feed to come form DVI and I wasn't interested in re-programming. He didn't have an HDMI cable anyway. So, off to Magnolia Hi-Fi to buy a $25 female DVI to male HDMI adapter. If you upgrade, be aware.
  • The software interface continues to look like crap in HD. I output at 720p and the interface is clearly rendered internally at some non-720p resolution and the resultant anti-aliasing and kerning leaves much to be desired. My wife can't see it, but it bugs me.
  • More and more - I'm not sure if this is a result of the upgrade - I see the MPEG artifacts in HD feeds. I'm particularly put off my NBC's Winter Olympics feed. It is just me or is this thing compressed all to heck?
  • The new box includes an SATA adapter which makes me wonder if it'd pick external storage. Since it only supports 17 hours of HD, I may try it. It also has 2 Firewire points, one USB and an Ethernet. I'm going to poke around and see if they are turned on.
  • It adds an RF out that the previous model didn't have. Not useful for me, but would be useful if one were to chain a VCR in and wanted to avoid a Coax Y-Adapter.
  • There's also a slot called TV Pass Card whose function is unclear to me. Anyone?

All in all, this box is a little faster, snappier, than the previous one. This might be due to a lack of disk fragmentation and it might get arthritis later. We'll see. I know Omar hates his. I'm not too worried about it, but I do wish Portland's Comcast had CBS.

One other thing, has anyone else noticed that TNT's HD feed is just stretched 4:3? It's not 16:9 at all, they're applying some kind of fish-eye stretchy filter. It's hard to watch.

UPDATE: Interesting, according to the Wikipedia on the Motorola 6412, I've received a "6412 Phase III," the latest one. It has 12.x firmware, not the 9.x firmware and has better analog picture quality. I haven't noticed, as I don't watch analog, but I'll take a look, using Jon Stewart as my litmus test. Rumor is there's a 12.22 update coming out that fixes a number of issues.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.