Jeff Julian's Blog

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A year ago, if you told me I would listen to only News Radio from 5am to 5pm, I would tell you that you are smoking crack.  I couldn't comprehend how in the 00's, people would still listen to AM radio. 

Well then I started listening to the Dave Ramsey Show on XM because on a project with 5 people in one room, it is hard to compromise on music, so it worked.  Well early this year, John insisted we listen to Laura Ingraham, who I personally don't like but I started getting into the concepts of news radio.  A few months later, I am addicted.  I only listen to AM, XM, and Stream-based news radio.  Here is a list of the shows I listen to and where (all CST times):

Then at 6:00pm, I watch the Glenn Beck program on CNN Headline News.  After that point I go back to live and watch whatever sitcom that is on NBC, FOX, ABC, or CBS. 

Anyone else addicted to News Radio?


 

Well I guess it is time to finally try Internet Explorer 7 again.  With this release being a release candidate, I feel more comfortable installing it ON A VPC!  Beta 3 destroyed my machine!  During the installation of Beta 3, something messed up seriously.  I tried reinstalling but no go.  I tried uninstalling, but no go.  I tried installing 6.0 again, but no go.  So then I had to try rebuilding the machine, and that worked.

I will be evaluating the Geekswithblogs.net templates and administration utility to be sure it works in IE 6.x, IE 7.x, and FireFox.  Wish me luck! 

Also, don't forget VPC is free now, so don't risk your machine, build a virtual environment for testing.

[Update] RC1 doesn't seem to display the admin portion of GWB any different, can someone else confirm!


 

I created a new wiki topic today for publishing events your are hosting, speaking at, or attending.  This will let other members know who will be at these events from this site. 

If you haven't checked out the wiki yet, I would highly suggest it.

[Update] - This is post number 400 for me!


 

Today, I was having a thread lock issue with an application I am working on and to debug where the application was occurring, I had to wait 15 minutes until it produced itself.  Well since I knew it was a lock issue somewhere and the exception was being caused by an object being changed by a second thread before another call was made by the first thread, if I could raise the resource level on the machine, it would be likely to recreate it quicker.  So, what is the most resource intensive application I have, World of Warcraft!

So I ran WoW and had my character auto-run and jump against a wall and it dropped the time from 15 minutes to 3-4 minutes.  So if you can convience your boss to get you WoW for these development purposes, I would suggest it. :D


 

I noticed the other day that weblogs.asp.net is running ads now.  I am glad to see this because it is hard to run ads on these sites, because most bloggers don't like them.  The dilemma is you have to pay for the site and work on the site somehow.  After 3 years of this site being launched, we are quite large are have a very large following.  These hits cost money and to do the work on the site cost money.  I believe running ads is the best solution, because charging for blogs adds more cost to the blogger and to the company as well because you have a lot of processing charges and time to do the billing. 

I would like to hear some of your views on the ads on this site and weblogs.asp.net and see what other options you may have for those of you that disagree with them or those that try to disable ads using CSS.  BTW, if you disable the ad on your blog, I disable SecondaryCss on your blog.


 

Now that editing a post is possible with Third-Party blogging tools, I thought I would write my views on editing a post.  If you don't use and aggregator, then you probably aren't aware of what happens when you update a post.  The majority of aggregators will add that item as a new post and if you don't highlight the updated portion, it may irritate readers.  I know it irritates me. 

If you must edit, do it as quick as possible from the time you publish.  If you think you will update a post when writing, do you research before you publish or post as a draft and finish your updates.  This will allow you to make your thought as accurate as possible and you won't require readers to review the original post and the updated one in their aggregator to see what has changed.

If the post is older and you need to update, mark the post with and [Updated] section at the bottom of the post so readers can see what has changed.  This is typically in RED and the content added is as well.


 

Well I did get the updates made as promised.  These updates include post editing using third-party tools that use the MetaBlog API (such as Windows Live Writer) and a more responsive Main Feed for the site.  However, due to the link change in the feed, they will republish in your aggregator.  I wish I could do something about that, but there isn't any way around that.


 

We have two major problems with Geekswithblogs.net, well more but these are short time development problems I can fix quick.  Here are the problems I hope to have fixed tomorrow.

  • MainFeed flakes with Pheedo link
  • Casting error when editing using MetaBlog API (Live Writer)

These problems should be easy to fix and I should have them ready for tomorrow morning.  If you have other site issues, use the Site Problems wiki page to publish your issues.

 

[Update]

  • Edit with MetaBlog API (Live Writer) will work now.
  • The Geekswithblogs.net Main Feed has been fixed, republish of all item in feed will occur, no way around that.

 

John and I have decided it is time to get back into podcasting.  To do so, we needed more equipment.  Our major focus this time around will be live events and interviews with speakers and committee influncers.  We will be traveling to South Carolina in September for Code Camp and then in October we will be heading to the Heartland Developers Conference in Omaha.  Yesterday we visited Musician's Friend and Guitar Center to pick up the equipment we needed.  Here is a list of what we got:

  • Marantz PMD670 Solid State Recorder - This is for portable podcasting so we don't have to break out all the equipment to record a simple podcast.  We will be using this one during the travel time of the Code Camp event.  I still haven't quite configured this one correctly.
  • AKG Headphones and Amp Kit - Final we decided to have the same headphones and get a headphone amp to let everyone set the volume they are comfortable with instead of one for all.  Plus we have 4 mics so we need 4 headphones and this pack fits that scenerio perfectly.
  • dbx266XL Compessor/Gate/Limiter - To get rid of the background noise of events like announcements and chatter around the recording area, we need another on of these to fill the 2 other mics we are configuring.  This is a very simple device to get setup and rackmount then forget.   With the Mackie mixer it takes a little getting used to.
  • Odyssey 24 Space Saver Flite-Ready Pack - Yeahhhhhhh, this purchase sucked and I am taking it back today.  The photos on the site show this rack as having covers to protect the front and back of the unit, not so.  The second problem we had was the fact that they forgot to pack the screws to put it together, not good.  We picked this up at the Musician's Friend warehouse directly since it is located in KC and we will be taking it back there today as well.

Over the next few weeks, we will be revamping the site and setting up our first shows.   Tune in here for more information.


 

I am getting signitures for the guild tonight so if you are online, ping Darthnode and I will get to you somehow.  Please be in a level 25 safe place.


 

We are considering writing a plugin for Geekswithblogs.net using the Live Writer API and want to get your feedback on what you would like to see.  To view and add to the list of features requested, visit the Wiki Page for this topic.


 

After the event Tuesday at the .NET User Group of Kansas City, Tim and I convinced Dru Sellers to attend the drive to the South Carolina Code Camp.  He will be attending sessions and helping us with PodcastStudio.net and a soon to be added feature I hope you all will enjoy.  We are picking up some new equipment today to help us along with these features we are adding and are recommiting to the project now that Alexander & Julian Inc. is running full speed and we have Joseph to help with recording and editting.

 


 

Dru Sellers will be presenting "Patterns are for Software too, not just Quilts" at the Kansas City .NET User Group tonight.  Our meetings start at 6pm, but if you show up around 5:30pm, we typically have some good conversations before the meeting starts. 

If you are in the area and have never attended, or it has been awhile, here is the address for Centriq Foss, who lets us host the meeting in their facilities:

Centriq Foss Training (Map)
Leawood Facility
8700 State Line Road, Suite 200
Leawood, KS 66206
Phone: 913.322.7000

John will be absent again since he is training in Florida, but Joseph, the latest Alexander & Julian Inc. employee, will be in attendance if you want to meet him and tell him what you would like to see in GWB 2.0.


 

Since Live Writer (Beta) was published, I have noticed the main feed is more colorful and full of images.  I definitely love the new step-by-step approach many of us have started to take in our posts, so keep it up!


 

Last night I leveled up to 24 on the Duskwood server of World of Warcraft.  Shortly after I realized I haven't introduced Darthnode to everyone here.  Well here he is.  Add me to your social list if you are on Duskwood.

Darthnode


 

After driving to St. Louis for DevCares, the attendance of 4 people was a bit disappointing due to the travel (4 hours each way).  On Thursday, I was hoping Kansas City would come through and have a packed room for me to present to.  Well my prayers came true.  We had a completely packed room yesterday during Ron Hostetter and my presentations over Windows Workflow Foundation.  My presentation covered designed Custom Activities, including the designers and validators.  I was a bit worried showing the designer since no one in the room had used GDI+, but I think they still enjoyed the class.  John was unable to attend as he is in Philadelphia teaching Team System for a good of mostly virtual attendees. 


 

Once you write a blog post, it is good to have your editor ping a few of your favorite blog post repositories to help drive traffic to you blog.  Windows Live Writer (Beta) allows you to setup a list of sites you want to ping once you posted.  Here are the steps to make that possible:

  1. Open Windows Live Writer (Beta)
  2. Click Tools...Preferences
  3. Click on the Ping Servers link on the left side of the Preferences window

    Preferences

  4. Add the list of sites you would like to ping once your post is published.

Here is my list of pings:


 

Ok, so we all know that this site used .Text still.  We haven't converted to CS and we are now looking into the design of the next version (I know you have heard that before, but we have our developer now).  This may cause you guys some headaches when it comes to publishing photos using Microsoft Live Writer (Beta), but here is the solutionFlickr4Writer!  As I did yesterday, let's walk through the steps needed to setup and use this tool with Live Writer.  I would like to thank the authors of this project because it is an amazing tool and they were very fast to publish and update.

First off, we need to get the download from the CodePlex project site.  Once you get the download, start this process (Screen will probably change over time).  You will need a Flickr account and it is very easy to setup and get going.  Yahoo also provides some great uploading tools as well.

 

Getting Started with Install:

Run this file first after you accept the terms:

1-SaveFile

With XP SP2, you will see this message you are used to and click Run:

2-SecurityRun

Click the Next > button to start the install:

3-FirstScreen

Accept this License Agreement and move forward:

4-License

Click the Install button:

5-Install

This is the list of the known issues, click Next >:

6-Information

We are now finished with the install, so click Finish:

7-Finish

Now run the Live Writer application.  You will notice the Insert Flickr Image link on the right bar's Insert bubble.  Click this link:

8-Writer

The next screen is the Flickr4Writer plugin.  To use this, put the email address you have picked for your Flickr account in the Flickr user name field.  You can select the Set you want to use or search by tag.  Select the image you want to add after the search and decide of size and other layout options.  Click the Insert Image button when you are finished. 

9-FindPictures

Now you will see the image in you post and you can continue typing away.  Remember you will need a Flickr account to make this work, but it is the easiest way to post images to Geekswithblogs.net using Live Writer.


 

Monday I presented at the DevCares event at the Microsoft St. Louis office.  The presentation I did covered Windows Workflow - Designing Custom Activities.  I am presenting the same session tomorrow morning at the Kansas City DevCares event, so it should be fun to see how the attendees react to WF. 

On the way to St. Louis, after I stopped in our office, I set the destination of the hotel in my Garmin Nuvi 350 and it said arrival time would be 11:34pm.  Now most the time it recalculates the arrival time the closer you get, but since it was so late, I remembered that time.  Well I actually arrived at the hotel at 11:34pm exactly, amazing!  After several months with the GPS device, I still use it everyday and I don't know how to survive without it.  I can find clients, friends, and stores without problem, know when I will arrive, and see any traffic problems because I have the FM traffic system for it. 


 

Live Writer is another great tool for posting blogs offline.  I used to use w.bloggar, but the site is down and who knows what is going on with the writer.  Configuring Live Writer is very easy to do, here are the steps you need to take to configure it with Geekswithblogs.net.  (Sorry for the long post, but people are asking for this).

Start the Installation File:

InternetExplorer

Agree to the terms (or don't install and stop reading):

2License

Decide if you want the toolbar, you can see my decision here:

3Toolbar

Go to Start, Programs, and run the Windows Live Writer (Beta):

The first screen that will run is this welcome screen:

4StartApp

Choose the Another weblog service in the Choose Blog Type window:

5BlogType

Enter your weblog address (see below) in Weblog Homepage URL field and then the Username and Password for the site:

6WeblogHomepage

Select the Custom (Metaweblog API)LiveWriter in the dropdown and then insert the address for your weblog's MetaBlog API service.   This is http://www.geekswithblogs.net/<YOUR_BLOG_NAME>/services/metablogapi.aspx

7SelectProvider

Finish off with setting your blog name in the application.

8Complete

Now you are finished and can start writing offline posts and selecting categories for your posts as well.  Good luck setting this up!


 

Today is the first day of employment for Joseph Calhoon, who will be dedicated to working on Geekswithblogs.net. His first task with be designing some new skins for the site, since the ones we have a pretty old and bad. After that, he starts working with us on the new blog engine we will use for GWB 2.0. I am sure he will blog today so join me in welcoming him to the community.


 

Looks like we had some outages last night due to traffic, we are looking at the logs to determine if this is a one off or if we need to start throwing servers are the site.

 

Another big mile marker on Geekswithblogs.net with 18,000 posts! Thanks to everyone who helped make this community successful!


 

Running a consulting practice and maintaining this site is very difficult to do even with two people. We need new skins, some features, and a new blogging engine to be coded based on what I have designed for the next generation GWB, but I just don't have the time. So what are we going to do? Sell the site to another large publisher? I think not! Instead, we are adding employee #2 (I like to claim I am #0 like Jobs) to work on these tasks as well as some others. Today we will be sending our offer letter to the candidate we picked and if when we hire them, you will be the first to know.


 

We still have a bunch of stickers left so send your address to us if you want one (or two) (don't worry we don't sell it to spammers) and we will flip you a sticker as quick as possible. If you are not in America, don't worry, send your address as well. John and I ordered some 3 footers for our cars, seen here in horrible camera phone photo, but we only have 8in white ones left for your cars if you want one of those too.


 

I am not sure what is the cause of this, but Michelle's friend, who's lives a mile away from us, her daughter had the same high fever and seizures that Brandon had during the weekend. She is doing fine and rebounded just like Brandon, but I am really wondering what virus is causing this and if it is happening to others or just a coincidence. Brandon still remains in full recovery and I pray the same for Sophia.