eWorld.UI - Matt Hawley

Ramblings of Matt

MaxiVista and Dual Monitor Life

October 10, 2004 22:59 by matthaw

So about a month ago, my NVidia graphics card went out on me and I set out to purchase a new graphics card. Since I don't do much computer gaming (Sims 2 being the really only game), I figured I wanted a graphics card that had a TV tuner on it as well as dual-monitor support.

So, off to Circuit City I went, and picked up an ATI All-In-Wonder 9600 graphics card. Brought it back, and after 2.5 days of screwing with things as well as rebuilding my machine about 5 times, I finally got it working!

Well, last week, I was introduced to a product called MaxiVista. Basically it allows you to have dual monitor support via a network connection if you have a spare PC or laptop laying around. Totally awesome product and concept indeedy. I promptly got it running at work with my spare laptop and started enjoying the dual monitor life.

Yesterday, during the day, I decided, hey I've got 2 PCs and a 19" and a 15" monitor, I'll get it MaxiVista setup at home too. Ahh, so it was great, but after about 3 hours of using it (and after watching the Cardinals get shutout by the Dodgers (Lima pitched a great game, however I'm sure Cardinals will kill them tonight (and advance on, of course))) I remembered, Hey! I have dual monitor support on my home PC. DUH!

So, I promptly removed MaxiVista and hooked my 15" monitor up to my 2nd monitor output cable...works like a charm, just like MaxiVista! However, I was a bit dissapointed with my 15" monitor, only being able to get a max of 1024x768 (remember the days when that was just AWESOME!) and it couldn't compete with my 1600x1200 resolution on my 19". So, I figured, hey I'll just go and buy another monitor.

And so, on this Columbus Day weekend, I ventured out to Best Buy and purchased the Samsung SyncMaster 997DF monitor. Came home, ditched the 15" monitor, hooked up the new monitor as my primary and my older one as the secondary, and WHAMMO! Dual monitor support with 2 19" monitors. Yes, I'm officially a geek (like I wasn't before (even though my girlfriend (and myself (and my dad)) think so)) now, both with dual monitors at home and at the office.

Ohh life is great. Now, how to get my company to purchase MaxiVista for me....



Categories: General
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Xdrive.com - Terrible

October 9, 2004 16:50 by matthaw

<rant>

Well, I've been attempting to use Xdrive.com's service the past week for online backup of my databases, however their service just plain sucks. I'm sure it works great if you upload files manually, but they have a new "feature" that allows you to automatically backup your files to their server. Well, for the past week, IT HASN'T WORKED! I had a long conversation with support through email, what did they say - "try our latest software being released today, it should solve your problem." Well, hmm, actually it made it worse, in fact my scheduled backups NEVER ran at that point, at least before they were almost all getting uploaded...but not now!

So, after 3 emails just recently sending my log files and them saying "recreate your jobs", I've given up hope. Their support is terrible, and gave me no reason or solution to the problems I was having. I realize I was still in their trial period, but hell, they already charged me $9.95 for my first month (I sure as hell better be getting that back!) so I should get the same support as everyone else.

Err! I'm so pissed at them, and will be looking at alternative solutions that will work for my needs. Note, I didn't link to them, because I didn't even want to give them a popularity boost through Google.

So, if any of Xdrive.com's staff is reading this, you should fix your problems and have a hell of a lot better support staff. Get your support guys able to answer problems rather than just asking to see the logs then saying "I showed the logs to the engineers." Lastly, don't ANYONE use their service, I wasn't even happy when I used their desktop software on my main machine to upload some other stuff - it just plain sucks.

</rant>



Categories: General
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Updated Utility: Unleash It 2.2

October 8, 2004 22:56 by matthaw

Unleash It has been updated once again, this time being a huge update. Lots of things have been added, changed, or fixed since 2.1.1.1, all which are contained in the changelog being listed below. However, the most notable change is that now Xceed's FTP Library is now being used instead of a custom library. What does this mean? Well, you should no longer have issues with FTP like some have had before.

Below is the changelog...

  • Added: Ability to clear the log file when viewing it.
  • Added: Ability to cancel a FTP profile editing.
  • Added: Security checking for FTP testing.
  • Added: Additional file masks (*.asax, *.css, *.js, and *.png) to the default masks
  • Added: CLS Compliance
  • Added: Ability to add file and folder masks globally with the profile listing.
  • Fixed: Exception being thrown when accessing the logfile during a deployment.
  • Fixed: Directories with periods now successfully work.
  • Fixed: FTP Settings now get validated and saved if not saved manually when clicking OK.
  • Fixed: Error when submitting a bug and cannot contact bug server. Now have the option to save bug report to send manually.
  • Fixed: Duplicate button was still enabled after deleting a profile.
  • Fixed: When duplicating a profile, and click Cancel, the profile is not saved.
  • Fixed: Overflow exception when loading a VS.NET project file with invalid characters.
  • Changed: Now using Xceed's FTP library.
  • Changed: File / Folder mask lists are now sorted.
  • Changed: Adding File / Folder masks will be checked by default.
  • Changed: Double clicking a profile in the Profiles dialog will open up the edit dialog for that profile.
  • Changed: Files Copied and Exceptions dialogs are now re-sizable.
  • Changed: Notification of application running during install can now be cancelled.
  • Changed: The "Deploy" button in the context menu for the VS.NET plugin is now below "Build" and "Rebuild"

To update your version of Unleash It (or just plain download it and try it out), go to http://www.eworldui.net/UnleashIt and grab your copy now. Don't forget about the forums that have been setup either! Enjoy all!



Categories: Unleash It
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Reading those Pesky Visual Studio Project Files

October 7, 2004 19:40 by matthaw

Way back when I implemented VS.NET project files as a source for Unleash It, a few users submitted bugs that stated they were receiving error messages when loading their VS.NET project file in Unleash It. I looked into it, and noted that their problems related to non-encoded properly characters in the project file.

Sure, the project files look like XML - but don't get fooled, most of the time they will be valid, but those very few pesky project files will blow the top off of Mount St. Helens (again). It seems that Microsoft decided to roll their own XML parsing engine for reading / writing these project files.

So, onward I went with a temporary fix that allowed me to bypass the few exceptions...then today, another user stated they were having the same problem. What! No! Huh! Yeah, the problem still existed, but this time it wouldn't complain, just throw a nasty error message that Unleash It couldn't handle.

So I turned a new leaf, tried many new different things, then resorted talking to my buddy Jeff Key (who now I owe so many beers that he'll be drinking for free on several occasions). We both cracked down and figured it was something to do with the encoding...hmm, what if we encoded it to UTF-8? Ahh, yes, that works - but now, how can we do this on the fly without modifying the Users' project file? Store the UTF-8 version in memory of course. And so, 5 minutes later, Jeff had a working example of how to do this. I quickly plugged it into my code base...and WAHLA! It works!

So, below is the code to read in a Project file using XmlTextReader that will (hopefully) not cause any problems...

StreamReader sr = File.Open(projectFileLocation);
MemoryStream ms = new MemoryStream();
StreamWriter sw = new StreamWriter(ms, System.Text.Encoding.UTF8);
sw.Write(sr.ReadToEnd());
sw.Flush();

ms.Position = 0;
XmlTextReader reader = new XmlTextReader(ms);

while (reader.Read())
{
    ....
}

reader.Close();
ms.Close();
sw.Close();

Enjoy! Just make sure you make the changes to your code as well, because you're likely to come across this problem at some point or another as well.

Categories: .NET
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Jeff Prosise Coming to Central IL .NET User Group

October 6, 2004 19:04 by matthaw

I'm happy to announce that Jeff Prosise will be making a guest appearance at our monthly .NET User Group in Bloomington, IL this evening. More information about his presentation can be found at http://www.centralil.net

If you're in the central IL area, stop by Illinois State University campus and join us at Schroeder Hall Annex 130 at 7 PM for an enlightening presentation by Jeff Prosise. If you need a map, follow these directions:

1. Go to www.ilstu.edu/map
2. Search for "Schroeder Hall Annex"
3. It'll pinpoint where the building is, and I suggest parking in the Bone Student Center parking lot.

Again, we're starting around 7 PM, so I hope to see you all there!



Function for Creating Passwords

October 6, 2004 03:37 by matthaw

One of the things most of us have to do at one point or another, is generate a random password. I once thought this was a daunting task, however found some code at some point or another that gave me great headway into creating a good password generator.

 

private static string CreatePassword(int lengthOfPassword)
{
string[] characters = new string[32] {"a", "b", "c", "d", "e", "f", "g", "h", "i", "j", "k", "m", "n", "p", "q", "r", "s", "t", "u", "v", "w", "x", "y", "z", "2", "3", "4", "5", "6", "7", "8", "9"}; string password = "";
Random rnd = new Random();
while(password.Length < lengthofpassword)
{
// choose a random character from the array and add it to the password
password +="" characters[rnd.next(36)];
}

// return the generated password
return password;
}

Now, this won't create the best darn password out there, but its a great quick & dirty way of creating a dynamic password for your website.

Categories: .NET
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Adam Kinney's Shirt

October 4, 2004 22:22 by matthaw

So I'm talking with Adam Kinney about how he's making a guest appearance for our User Group coming in February of '05, and in my description I beefed him up by saying "THE XAML guy"...

Well, to follow up, I had a great idea for a shirt that Adam could wear, so everyone would notice him and realize who he is...

 

I'm sure Adam could make variations of this shirt to sell using Cafe Press, but if you ever see a guy running around with a shirt that looks like the one above, rest assured its probably Adam Kinney.



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JavaHMO 2.0 Beta 1 - Released!

October 4, 2004 17:49 by matthaw

I've been waiting for this day to come for quite awhile. The alternative to the TiVo desktop software, JavaHMO, has finally been upgraded in a major way launching with a 2.0 beta release. Some of the new features include:

  • RSS Support
  • Web Pages
  • NNTP Support
  • Email

Plus, they've also enhanced the image viewing and music playing capabilities, could this get any better? Yup, it sure can - its now a plugin architecture, which means its easy to add your own JavaHMO plugin to the mix! Nice, very nice.

Get more information here! BTW, don't expect any major additions betwen the beta and final release, as it'll serve only to bug fixes, still though, they listing is great!



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