Archive for the_time('F Y')

Google selling out?
21 December 2005 in General | Comments (0)

So Google managed to hook into AOL before Microsoft but it may have sold part of its soul to do so (link here for story).

Google has agreed to push AOL sponsored content more, including placing their content higher in results. I see this as a step backwards. Google built their reputation on having simple UI, clearly separating advertising and having non-intrusive advertising by using text instead of images. It seems that part of the deal with AOL has also pushed Google into agreeing to use images in their advertising too. I wonder how long before their search results are clogged with advertising.

It might seem minor at first, but it’s these small cracks that Microsoft can exploit.

Interestingly Microsoft found abuse of the Google AdSense system and have published information about this abuse. It’s never a good sign when a competitor can show obvious flaws in your systems. I guess Google don’t have the smartest systems in the world after all.

It will be interesting to see how Google goes next year. Perhaps 2005 will be the year they jumped the shark.

– JD

iPod Christmas
21 December 2005 in General | Comments (0)

In a few days we should all be heading off on holiday and taking some much deserved time away from our computers. Christmas is about the only time of year when I actively choose not to use a computer for a week or so.

While I enjoy the time away from my computer for a short while, I do miss my music collection and keeping track of what’s going on around the place. This year however I have my video iPod so I can take some stuff away with me. I’ve been trying to get some pod casts down and loaded on however I’m having a few problems/annoyances:

  • When I add a new RSS feed is there a way to make it get all the items automatically? I hate having to click “get” for each one.
  • If you can’t automatically get them all, is there a way to make iTunes handle more than 2 downloads at a time?
  • I’ve been told the setting to “Get All” from PodCasts only applies to when the RSS updates? Not initially adding it.
  • The whole PodCast handling capabilities of iTunes seems klunky at best – is there any better tools out there for managing this content?
  • I have iTunes at work set to not automatically manage my iPod. When dragging on videos it puts them in as music – and won’t play the video. This is despite the fact they are designed for the iPod and it actually displays the video icon next to the “song” (video). Any ideas on how to fix this glitch?

Some of these probably are me doing something really stupid – but if I don’t ask I’ll never find out :-) Overall everything is going well with my iPod, I have lots of content for the summer but these small annoyances are getting to me.

– JD

Google Zeitgeist
21 December 2005 in Google | Comments (0)

Google have posted their 2005 Zeitgeist.

For anybody who hasn’t looked at this annual update it gives you some interesting information about what people are searching for, how world events impacted search etc. If you’re a person who likes to see graphs and statistics this is a great 10 minute time waster for the Christmas season :-)

link: Google Zeitgeist 2005

- JD

nHibernate
15 December 2005 in .Net & Tools | Comments (3)

I was reading about nHibernate generation over on David’s blog and added a comment which I thought could be posted here as well.

Possible nHibernate Logo

In the last few months a friend and I have been playing around with nHibernate a bit in various ways. I personally found that initially there was a bit of a high learning curve, mostly because I wasn’t aware of how like nHibernate Hibernate was. This meant that I initially disregarded all the Hibernate related content (first mistake :-) ). There isn’t much out there in the way of documentation for nHibernate unfortunately.

So initially we wrote a basic generator to take care of the generation for us. This all went well except when it came to generating the collections (one-to-many, many-to-many etc). That was until I found this site: http://www.xylax.net/hibernate/. After finding that my only problem was not correctly referencing the assembly and fully qualifying the classes used in the collections.

I’m about halfway through reading Hibernate In Action. So far it’s been quite good, it’s pretty easy to disregard any content that is too Java specific. I would strongly recommend it to anybody who is serious about getting their nHibernate/Hibernate data-layer working well. The book focuses on version 2.2 of Hibernate which is great as nHibernate is only functionally equal to this version (mostly ;) ).

Now I’m just looking forward to the next version of nHibernate which will hopefully include some .Net 2.0 features (Generic collections, nullable types). There are currently third party add-ins to enable this functionality but I’m not a huge fan of relying on third party components – it just makes upgrades more difficult.

- JD

P.S. The logo isn’t the official nHibernate logo, but one potential one.

Linux UI Effects
14 December 2005 in General | Comments (2)

I thought I’d keep to my “jumping from one technology aspect to another” theme today and bring up something I was reading about months ago. I don’t actually do very much with Linux, I’ve played with it a wee bit and it’s alright but I don’t really find it a compelling alternative to Windows. As some people know, I’m very much a UI junkie, loving every time bit of eye candy that comes my way.

Some linux folks (related to the Gnome project I believe) have been working a project called Luminocity. It appears to add a whole bunch of UI goodies that are so unnecessary it’s great. They’ve basically implemented a physics model into the window manager to do some effects like Wobbly Windows (when you drag them they “sway” like they’re being dragged around). There is a lot more to it than this (OpenGL alpha blending, workspace switching etc).

If you’re keen on linux to any degree this is kinda interesting to see.

This blog is primarily about the Microsoft world but from time to time I’ll post something like this just because I think it’s cool.

– JD

Improving a blog
8 December 2005 in Blogging | Comments (4)

Lately I’ve been trying to blog a bit more – I want to see if I can actually create any value for people who do take the time to read my blog.

So I thought I’d share some stats so far about how my blog performs.

Generally my traffic is broken up as:

33% are hits to my RSS feed
33% are hits from people actually coming and reading the site
33% are hits from search engine spiders (GoogleBot etc)

Interestingly the main feature attraction of my site so far seems to be my entry about the Consolas font. That’s not such a great thing as it’s not something I can expand much more on really.

Making things better

In order to try and attract people more often I’ve tried to focus on more specific topics. By my very nature I tend to jump from one technology to another all the time, I rarely will post on a single technology more than once or twice. However lately I’ve been posting more entries relating to search technology – so far this hasn’t made too much of an impact in improving readership but that could be because there are so many blogs out there on the subject (by people who work for Google and the likes – people with more inside information).

I’ve also looked at becoming a little more social amongst others in the local blogging community. Generally if somebody takes the time to comment and I like their blog I’ll add a link to their site (as well as blogs that I just like of course :) ). Following on from this I’m trying to break out of just being a reader of the blogs I keep an eye on – these days I’ll try and actually post comments. RSS a great way of managing the massive amount of information that is produced on sites I like but it’s too easy to forget that going and seeing the site, making a comment etc creates a more positive response to the content creator than just incrementing the hits to their feed by one.

I’ve added a slightly more granular category category system (which I’ll probably overhaul in the coming weeks) so that people can focus on a single area if they want to, or ignore one. I’m posting less personal entries as often the bigger audience really doesn’t want to know about that type of content.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be looking to make some more changes to my blog and I’d love to hear feedback on those changes.

Interact

So – if you do read my blog, how have you found it? What could I do to make it better? What do I do well already? If you have a blog I’d love to see some posts about what people have done to improve their sites :)

– JD

Ferrit.co.nz
6 December 2005 in Business | Comments (4)

There has been plenty of chat about Ferrit.co.nz lately so I thought I’d add to it. I noticed a weird looking advert in the bottom of MSN and found upon clicking it that’s an advert for Ferrit.co.nz.

Truly a weird type of advert – it’s like they want to appear dodgy. Maybe it’s designed to make people not realise Ferret is backed by a 4 billion dollar company? People like under dogs :) I can’t say I feel anymore compelled to spend money there.

To visit: click here.

– JD

More Productive Tabs
5 December 2005 in .Net | Comments (2)

Visual Studio 2005 Tabs

Just a few small tips on dealing with tabs (the control structure, not text based tabs :-) ).In Visual Studio 2005 if you click on a tab with the scroll-wheel it closes that tab.

I discovered this a while back because that’s how I’ve become used to dealing with tabs thanks to FireFox. Scroll-wheel click on a link to open in a new tab, scroll wheel click the tab to close it. It really speeds up having to right click a link and select “open in new tab”.

– JD