Posts in category personal - page 3

Recent activities and inactivities

It has been a crazy couple of months between moving home, spending a week in Seattle and a couple of days in Holland for my real day job (the source of income!)

It was a little too close to my USA trip which has meant I’ve missed my niece trick-or-treating for the first time since I returned to Guernsey 3 years ago which leaves me a little sad. I guess I should be grateful for not being hit with jet-lag and the fact I’m surviving just fine on 5.5 hours of sleep a day which tonight is in a cubicle hotel…

As you can imagine the fun projects I get involved with in my own time have suffered somewhat although I’ve really tried to at least keep the blog posts flowing. Here’s a quick update on things:

SubSonic

I’ve committed the final piece of my refactoring to make the coding languages abstracted. To add additional programming language support you can now just implement the ICodeLanguage interface and add knowledge of it to the CodeLanguageFactory class. The command line and web interface tools will all just magically work with a recompilation.

Rob Conery is now under the employ of Microsoft and will be aligning SubSonic with their MVC efforts. I hope this support of open-source projects is a trend Microsoft are keen to continue.

AnkhSVN

This great add-in for Visual Studio provides Subversion integration continues to face competition from the commercial VisualSVN front and I had an interesting discussion with Aaron Jensen about performance with large projects and some relating to moving.

I have some UI work checked-in to trunk and we are likely to move to a better model for integrating with the Solution Explorer to address these issues that would require we drop Visual Studio 2003 support which is looking quite likely. Various things are moving forward on this project so keep an eye on it!

Envy Code R

I’ve not touched Envy Code R since the PR6.1 release but to be honest this tends to be the way I work with it. Nothing for weeks then 15 hours over a weekend gets it to the next release. Unlike code I find it difficult to jump in and out whilst being productive and consistent. Perhaps when I’ve worked on a bunch I’ll be able to but this is still my first scalable font.

The plan is to add all the essential box-drawing characters for code page 850, extend the # sign (should we slant this in the non-italic version?), increase the curves on { and } and adjust the comma to make it less like a slightly deformed dot. I’m open to suggestions as to whether the .,;: characters should in fact revert back to be square dots rather than round ones… again, leave comments if you have an opinion. I’m not sure whether I would extend this squaring back to the dots on ij! etc.

I’m hoping to get preview 7 out within the next couple of weeks and if that goes well then consider a more liberal license to allow bundling etc. as I’ve had a couple of enquiries.

Silk Companion icons #1

Preview of some icons in Silk Companion #1My pack of addition Silk style icons has suffered as I find it impossible to draw on the move requiring instead a comfortable desk and a proper mouse to draw. As I no longer have a desk at home this means staying late in the office or throwing my lunchtimes at them.

The temptation is to just release the 352 icons as they currently are and produce another set at a later date. The alternative would mean a release some times over the next 1-3 weeks when the number finally reaches the proposed 500 mark.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, leave a comment!

[)amien

Heading to Redmond

I’ve been invited out to Microsoft HQ for a couple of days (October 22-23) which should be very interesting – more details on the what, why and how at a later date.

I will also be spending an extra day and a half in Seattle, perhaps taking in some of the sights of and maybe meeting up with a couple of on-line contacts for the first time.

Flights & hotel booked, now where I did put my passport…

The event was a Software Design Review for Microsoft’s ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions including MVC. Twenty-four of us gave our thoughts, feelings and opinions to the teams on how we believe we would or could utilize various aspects.

[)amien

Notes on the move to WordPress

The change to WordPress from Subtext went without major hitch. This was great considering I was tweaking the design and articles right up to going on holiday (I wouldn’t do this in a professional environment but my blog is a sandpit for such dare-devil risk taking ;-)

Here are my notes on the experience.

Spam

Akismet is good but I prefer the invisible captcha that Subtext was using. I’ve gone from dealing with 1 rogue spam a month to 1-2 held for moderation a day.

View counts

The WordPress import format doesn’t deal with view counts. I wrote a query against Subtext to list them, a query in MySQL to identify article numbers then manually executed

UPDATE post_meta SET meta_value = meta_value + 123 WHERE meta_key = 'views' AND article_id = 456

For every article replacing 123 with Subtext’s view count and 456 with the WordPress article id. As my blog was previously on Blogger.com which doesn’t provide view counts they are a year or so lower than reality.

I chose a custom permalink format of /blog/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname% which gives //damieng.com/blog/2007/10/01/first-of-october for posts. This is similar to the old format of https://damieng.com/blog/2007/10/01/first-of-october.aspx but obviously has the file extension and www dropped. Apache’s .htaccess file made redirecting the old links a breeze which was important to me as my blog suffered big drops in Technorati and Google when I last moved from Blogger.com to Subtext. The required lines to achieve this, redirect /blog/ and keep the RSS going were:

RedirectMatch permanent ^/blog/archive/(.*).aspx$ //damieng.com/blog/$1
RedirectMatch permanent ^/blog/$ //damieng.com/
RedirectMatch permanent ^/blog$ //damieng.com/
RedirectMatch permanent ^/blog/rss.aspx //damieng.com/feed
RedirectMatch permanent ^/blog/Rss.aspx //damieng.com/feed

Editing

The default editor is fast and for the most part okay although it lacks the ability to change from the default paragraph tag to headings, pre-formatted blocks, block-quotes etc. It also very annoyingly tries to be helpful by turning carriage returns into new paragraphs which would be fine if it was clever enough to leave <pre> blocks well alone.

Steve suggested FCKeditor which is very slow at initializing on my machine and also tends to really mess up my HTML :(

Going forward

There are still a number of things I want to do including further deviating from the Redoable theme. Lightening up the look somewhat perhaps with some soft gradients and alternative typefaces will go a long-way. I’ll also want to do a proper logo at some point as soon as I can decide what it should look like.

Being that WordPress is a higher visibility target Phrixus suggested hiding the wp-admin directory as an extra level of protection against automated vulnerability/brute-force attacks which I shall also try.

I need to speak to GrinGod about the download counting mechanism he mentioned too.

The original Blogger.com content from a year or two ago will be phased out/removed as it would appear it dilutes my page rank having almost-identical content elsewhere not to mention messing up traffic stats etc.

[)amien

Moving home

I have been planning on moving my blog off my little Windows Shuttle PC at home onto a hosted service for some time and the latest flurry of activity followed by DSL line meltdown was enough to give me the nudge I needed to get the job done.

Rob Conery provided a useful .NET/Subsonic app to make the transition from Subtext about as painless as possible bar the obvious one of going with a PHP based solution when I know .NET is a better technology.

I simply felt the .NET blogging engines didn’t give me what I want right now and yes, I know I should be contributing to them to get them where I want them but I’m just so busy on various projects that if I was coding a blog in the evenings I wouldn’t be writing on it. Hopefully the great, and no doubt equally busy, guys behind those engines will forgive my little foray into WordPress for a while.

The non-blog parts of the web site (yes, there are some, with downloads, fonts, cursors, little tools and a mini-biography) will be integrated with the site shortly and the theme will probably gradually change to something more me. I also want to add a few extra things, the tag cloud and identicons for a start.

The title of this post also has a second meaning… yes, I’ve put an offer in on a house and will hopefully be taking possession in around 6 weeks providing nothing goes wrong.

Your invite to the house warming party will be in the post…

[)amien