Scott Hanselman

Ajax Links - October 2006

October 11, '06 Comments [5] Posted in ASP.NET
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I'm doing more and more research on Ajax. Ajaxian is a great "all things Ajax" site for one to do research. It seems to be a very independent site and balanced. Here's a few gems I found on their site over the last few weeks.

  • Google Reader sucks less - Google Reader has long be considered the Lame Duck of the Google family. The interface just didn't feel right and everyone knew it. It's been relaunched with a new UI and I'll be giving it a try for a few days. I'm still a FeedDemon fan, but since the wife and I have been sharing calendars with Google Calendar, I've been reintroducing myself to the Google AJAX properties. It looks a lot like Gmail, so it's easy to see these two apps becoming one in the near future.
  • Room Visualizer - Check out this amazing AJAX Room Visualizer in Firefox. You can drag and drop paint and carpet samples on to various room layouts and see how it looks. Wish I had this before I remodeled the living room.
  • Frametastic - This Firefox-only quick CSS layout prototyper makes clever use of the Prototype Firefox libraries.
  • How to detect IE7+ in Javascript - Too bad we have having moved pass all this.
  • Payraise Calculator - This is an interesting little calculator...it's simple, but fairly elegant and gives on an idea of what Ajax-based Bill Payment could look like.
  • Dynamic Graphics - It should be a little easier, and lighter weight than it is in ASP.NET to make simple graphs. This is a nice example of how to do it in Rails.

Also, an interesting tip about Ajax performance from Max at hive7.com. Max had confirmed a while back that Firefox 1.5 was WAY faster in JavaScript performance against IE7. However, in his recent internal testing he was seeing 5-7 second-long scripts in Firefox 1.5 take under 1 second in Firefox 2 RC2. IE7 was taking as long as a minute in some instances. Great to see the Firefox team working so hard to make Firefox's Javascript implementation so speedy.

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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The Wisdom of IE7 and Suspicious Web Sites

October 10, '06 Comments [3] Posted in ASP.NET | Musings
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IE7 does a very good job of warning you in a more in-your-face way when something doesn't smell correct. Since IE7 is imminent (that means this month, folks) you need to be prepared as it will get delivered via a high priority automatic update and likely spread faster than IE6 did.

There's a good checklist at the IEBlog:

Download, install and test your products with IE7 RC 1 –This is the fastest and best way to test for compatibility issues.

Download the IE7 Readiness Toolkit - This toolkit pulls together a number of important resources to help you prepare for IE7.

Download and use the Application Compatibility Toolkit – Helps test browser-based applications to ensure they work with IE7.

Visit the Microsoft Internet Explorer Developer Center – You will find an array of important information for developers.

Use the Information Index for Internet Explorer7 – A table of contents linking you to documentation, blog posts, whitepapers and other information on IE7.

Read the IE Team Blog – Use the search feature on the right to find previous posts on almost any topic you can think of with regard to IE7.

These are good resources, but while there will likely be strange CSS and HTML bugs, they won't be as "in your face" as the SSL Certificate related errors that would really cramp your style.

Here's a few gotchas to watch for:

"There's something wrong with the certificate" - This means that the DNS name registered to the certificate is NOT the name in the Address Bar. In this example I visited a valid site using it's IP address rather than the DNS name. This is a common thing for folks to use in development when they access internal sites via IP. You can get around this by setting your HOSTS file to use the correct DNS entries while you're in development/staging.

Note that this warning isn't specifically the new IE7 Phishing Filter, but rather a much better calling out common problems with SSL certificates. Certificate revocations or problems confirming the legitimacy of a cert from it's issuing body will turn the address bar YELLOW.

Ie7sslnavigation

If you insist and click on "Continue to this website (not recommended)", your address bar will turn RED and you'll get a big scary "Certificate Error" light up. If you click it, you'll see a dialog like this:

Iesslcert

"Reported phishing website" - If you're an evil phisher, or you've visited an evil phisher's website, you'll see this even scarier dialog:

Ie7phishing

"Suspicious Website" - If the site is dodgey, but not confirmed evil, your address bar will turn YELLOW:

Suspect-sm

Be ready, make sure your certs are valid and you're addressing them correctly.

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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FIX: Unable to hibernate on machines with 2G of RAM - Insufficient System Resources Exist to Complete the API

October 9, '06 Comments [11] Posted in
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If you've been plagued by the Windows XP "Insufficient System Resources Exist to Complete the API" error when you try to hibernate, you probably begged, borrowed or stole the Fix (KB909095) when it was finally released last year - but only to PSS Customers or folks who braved support and insisted. More details in this updated post at Translocator.ws.

UPDATE: Looks like great minds think alike :) Andrew Hay blogged about the (now public and doing the rounds) fix this weekend.

It was released to everyone this August and you can download it now, provided you're genuine.

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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Adding FeedBurner FeedFlare to DasBlog

October 8, '06 Comments [9] Posted in DasBlog
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Feedflare

I've been loving FeedBurner for a while now. They serve my feed, keep awesome stats and provide piles of reports.

Aside: One of the nice things about DasBlog's built-in integration with FeedBurner is that everyone who is currently subscribed to your existing DasBlog RSS/Atom Feeds will be 301 Permanently Redirected to your new FeedBurner feed. HTTP 301s are Permanent while 302's are temporary. Aggregrators worth their salt know to update their local records when a feed issues a 301. DasBlog will automatically get everyone over to your new feed.
Opinion: It's REALLY poor form to visit a blog and see a post that says "This blog has moved" when there are protocols to express this fact. It's even worse to see posts written in prose with pleadings that folks "please update your aggregator to point to this other feed." Use 301s when they make sense.

FeedBurner has a feature called FeedFlare that lets you add interactivity to each post.

If you're on DasBlog 1.9 and you're using FeedBurner you can add this macro to your itemtemplate.blogtemplate file:

<script src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~s/YOURFEEDBURNERNAME?i=<%PermalinkUrlRaw%>" type="text/javascript"></script>

This will inject a little javascript into each post with little features that you can control from your FeedBurner configuration.

UPDATE: In the daily builds )(after today) of DasBlog, the <%FeedFlare()%> macro now corresponds correctly to the updated FeedBurner URLs. Thanks to Tomas!

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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Monetizing your Blog

October 8, '06 Comments [7] Posted in DasBlog
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Unless you're a top tier blogger (I'm not one, and I'm not sure what the demographic of one is, as I don't know any REALLY big bloggers.) you're not likely to make a lot of money blogging. I make enough to pay my hosting company (ORCSWeb) and pay for lunches along with the occasional gadget or shareware app.

However, paying for your hosting costs and getting a little spending money isn't a bad thing to aim for. Here's the programs I use on my blog to make extra money:

  • Google Adsense - I've got some Google Ads running just above the first post. I don't think it's too obtrusive and they'll do a direct deposit when the earnings get over a certain amount.
  • Amazon Associates - Any time you post about books you read like I did last year, you include your Amazon Associates ID
    If you have a Cuecat, I made it easier to create Amazon links just by scanning the books directly into Windows Live Writer and blogging from there. You can also use Roy Osherove's Amazoner tool to create these links. Amazon will pay you in Amazon Gift Certificates or real money.
  • Sell premium advertising space directly. If you know what your traffic is like and you know your demographic (I've got a good idea of both) then you can offer premium space directly. However, only support products that you personally recommend. Xceed has had a banner at the top of my blog for the last several months. Their libraries are gold, especially their ZIP stuff.
    • Some other companies have products that offer affiliate programs where you get a small percentage (~5%ish) if someone orders from your link. Often you'll be able to offer a coupon or deal to your readers. Again, only do this when a product kicks ass. I dig MaxiVista the virtual network Video Card software (kind of has to be seen to be believed and understood). SyncBackSE is another application that I recommend highly. I use it to synchronize trees between three local harddrives and an FTP server. Both these programs have affiliate programs that pay small dividends.
  • I almost forgot (thanks Phil!) the best for last - FeedBurner and their FAN (FeedBurner Ad Network). They are starting slow, so you have to apply to get into their advertising system, but I've found them to not only be a classy bunch of guys, but also meticulous about metrics. They measure freakin' everything and give you reports up the wazoo. I was very down on RSS Advertising, but these guys changed my mine. I have control over exactly what ads I will show and how often I show them. I can decide against any ads that I think might be wrong for my audience.
  • UPDATE: Another idea is jobs.codebetter.com and their referral program. They are a jobs posting site, except you can insert javascript in your own blog to spread the word about the jobs. You get a finders fee if a job is filled from an ad on your blog.

Again, none of this adds up to rent money, but if you're going to write blog posts occasionally, you should at least make US$6-10/hr doing it, right?

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.