I have two .5 kilo packages of dutch cocoa powder that were brought back from the U.S. about a year ago and I need to start using them. It makes wicked hot chocolate by the way. Anyway, I tried a recipe off of Food TV that combines a basic peanut butter cookie recipe with cocoa and then blackberry jam centers. Wowsa..... was good stuff.
Put up a tab for Projects and a quick page for my 2x12 guitar cabinet. I need to do some more work on formatting and figure out what I really am aiming for with this site, but its fun to get some pics up.
I've added some thumbnails linked to pics in the Workshop section, but still only thumbs in the Gallery. I can't seem to come up with a solution I like that will allow me to show captions, thumbnails and scale dynamically. And I want something that will not force me to use popups or new pages. I'd like to go with a Silverlight app but I am too lazy to learn it myself, I'd much rather use someone else's code
I have spent some time now working with this project and I am really very impressed. This is the first open-source project I've used that is this complex. The code base is really very complete. There is nothing stopping me from customizing the app in any way that I want. And there are literally thousands of hours in this project. If this was a project for a medium sized corporation I would SWAG it at $350k plus for the initial release, and then you have at least one major update.
Don't get me wrong it has some rough edges, but so far I have not had a functionality failure. My only beef is with the way it displays and does some things. But all of those I can tweak how I want, and honestly other people might not want those changes. Documentation is kinda weak, but not bad and better than many projects I have been on. The rather funny part is I have not went back to the docs one time so far, the comments in the code have been all I needed. How many projects can you say that about?
Its a one or two minute download and free. Amazing.
Tin Turtle is hosted by DiscountASP.NET along with Mindspear Technologies. I've been using them for a while and hosted at least 3 sites for clients with them. They have a great reputation as well as all the latest MS software. I can use Server 2003 along with SQL 2005 and duplicate my development server at home. That is a huge plus because I don't like surprises, and I would like to bring the hosting of those sites back to my server when I get a new firewall.
BlogEngine 2.0 was released on 1/1/2011 and I was still using the 1.6 codebase. I had to pull down the latest release, bring it into VS and then push it up to SourceAnywhere. No big deal, except I am in China. My upload speed is about 16 kbs. When I can maintain the connection. China Telecom DSL... gotta luv it. So I get that out of the way, get the app running locally and decide to ftp up to the host. I know - but I figure I get it up once and then I just have to push up the individual files when I do an update.
It takes about 6 hours.
But it works. And I connect to SQL server instead of writing to those XML files (which always seemed kinda clunky to me). I smile in amazement. I pat myself on the back. Then I decide to setup a simple splash page to redirect to until I can get the real site at least halfway usable. A small tweak to the code behind and I upload my html page and the dll.
This is where I learn about Microsoft and their Web Site versus Web App project. Yes, I know it has been a long time for me. And no - I didn't miss it - at all. In fact I am reminded quite rudely of why I wanted to build furniture. Or guitars, Or amps. Or anything but software. But anyway, the end result is my discovery that BlogEngine 2.0 is a Web Site project, and that means every update will be a full publish of the files. So I click Publish and go to bed.
8 hours later I wake up and its hung. So I start it again. 5 hours later the publish is complete. And then I find out I spelled "splash.html" as "splaxd.html" in the redirect. This is where my Chinese neighbors learn how to say F!@K in a wonderful and eloquent way. Because I repeat the lesson several times. It is important that one use the emphasis correctly.
I knew I had to convert this thing to a web app or give up. That was not going to be fun. Especially as rusty as I am with C#, not to mention VS 2010. But I got really lucky, and what happened made me really appreciate the effort the BlogEngine community puts into supporting this thing. The guys at BE had created a fork with the BE code converted to a web app, and using .NET 4.0.
I pulled it down, rebuilt my projects, updated source and got it to run. Actually fairly quickly, it only took about a day and a half to get everything organized and working. But the best part was my publish times went from 6 hours to about 5 minutes max. Its an incredible improvement. Unfortunately I had to bite the bullet and go to Server 2008 along with .NET 4.0 hosting. So I can no longer go back to using the server at home for either development or hosting. At least not until I can scam/steal/beg/borrow a copy of 2008 from somewhere.
I know, they sound.... cheap. Which they were, but that was the last criteria on my list. I have been using Network Solutions since when there was only Network Solutions. Grumpy old farts like me don't change easily, but it was really more of a stability issue. When ICAAN first opened up domain registration to allow competition there were issues with fly-by-night companies, dispute resolution etc. and it was just safer to stick with Network Solutions. But they have gotten greedy, and some of the marketing tactics with renewals are borderline fraud. I wanted a new registrar for Tin Turtle, and I wanted to roll all my domains over so I could admin from a single place.
Namecheap sounded absolutely horrible, but they have a pretty good reputation. The first year of WhoIsGuard is free, so that was a plus. Everything was finished up today and the rolloevers went without a hitch. No email outage, no site outage... all is good.
Flew into Beijing on United. Direct and business class.... I tried to enjoy it as much as possible as those days are probably gone. It is back to economy plus. I hate flying more and more - and this from a guy who loves airplanes. Flying is ok, its the people that suck.
There is no way I could survive in China without VPN access. I need access to unfiltered/blocked/censored Internet content, plus I am definetly not comfortable viewing financial info or even getting my email in the clear through a Chinese ISP. Up until this last year I used the Cisco PIX 501 with the Cisco client to create the tunnel between Beijing and Chicago. The 501 was ultra cool back in the day and I paid what now seems like a ridiculous amount of money for it. It is still my firewall in Chicago but its time is coming to an end. You can't access the admin interface if you are running a version of java newer then the Stone Age. So for the last couple of years I would have to uninstall my Interactive Brokers TWS and java, then install a old version of java, make changes to the firewall, and then reinstall everything (plus my settings) to get back to square one. It was ridiculous. And its mostly CLI and I am definetly not a Cisco guy, so it was always a combination of brute force and swearing that even allowed me to use the thing effectively. I think it was the phallic symbolism of having a PIX in my house that made me use it anyway. Though it is damn cool.
So I had to switch to StrongVPN which is a service from Reliable Hosting. I use it both on the laptop and the iPhone and its ok. Not great, it has some performance issues, but it works. I really want a hardware solution on both ends but I just can't justify the expense. It sucks because with the PIX I had full access to both servers in the US home. All my files, source control, test instances - everything. But there is neither the budget nor the time before I leave to change.
I downloaded the standalone version of SourceAnywhere. Its one user free (always per their site) so I put it on the Enterprise 2003 box and it was a quick install. The client went on the workstation fairly smooth and connected without a problem. I went ahead and pulled the unit from the rack and checked the fans, blew out the filters etc so it would be good to go while I am in China. I had probably a day total into getting everything setup. But then the nightmare of bringing in 7+ years of source code from VSS began. First of all, the problem is not with SourceAnywhere. There is only so much they can do when it comes to maintaining the project structure when you bring it over. And to be fair my understanding of VSS 7 years ago was not the same as it was towards the end of the life cycle, so my organization was dubious on the old stuff. But remembering where things were branched, and why, and then trying to make sure I haven't lost something important during the import - it was a pain. I blew away the repository more times then I can count over a period of 3 days. Finally I think I have everything, and I burned it to DVD just in case. I hate it, I've been at it a week and I'm not out in the shop where I want to be. Theres only a few weeks before I have to leave. Christmas went by and I wasn't able to get back to see my family either, so I'm less then happy.
I have all of my old source files in VSS 6.0 and stored on a mirrored drive. Of course the drive isn't the dicey part, its VSS. I have (knock on wood) never had a corruption issue either on my own stuff or at work. But VSS is ancient and desupported so it has to go and I need to be able to import/export all of that code. I narrowed it down to 3 choices:
Team Foundation Server
I also looked at subscription versus buying a package. DiscountASP.NET is offering $20 a month for TFS and SourceAnywhere is $16 a month. Subversion is open source and I either set it up in Chicago and VPN in, or do my source control locally in China which defeats the purpose somewhat. I'm going with the trial for SourceAnywhere for now and see how it handles the import/export problem with my existing code.
The Subversion choice just bothers me... maybe its the Apache/old school look of the site. I was never a Linux guy. I know, I know, its secure, its cheap.... blah blah blah. I was assimilated by the Borg early on. Microsoft can be absolute prick bastards at times, but its organized, clean and makes sense.