Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Film: The Golden Compass

OK. I haven't read the book upon which this film is based, however, I knew it was a popular-book-to-movie job, so set my expectations accordingly.

I was not disappointed. Err. That is to say - my expectations were appropriate - it was a load of total crap.

Having not read the book, it was bloody hard to follow (pardon my french), and frankly just awful. The Polar bear looked good - and thats about the most positive thing I can say.

Max Payne was almost a better movie. Well. Maybe not quite that bad - but you get the picture!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Windows Vista: NotePad - GoTo greyed out

This irritated me until I figured it out. Bit of a blond moment. Oh well.

If you are running Vista, and use notepad (e.g. view source of a web page to hunt down a glitch), you may discover that CTRL+G doesn't work - and the GoTo menu option (view menu) is greyed out.

If this is the case, turn off word-wrapping (format menu), and it'll be re-enabled. Doh.

So, that was Christmas..

.. and now back to work! Oh well - at least one more day off this week!

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas..!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

The mince pies are made - only the mammoth task of the 3 course family Xmas dinner remains.. wish me luck!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Do you pay VAT in Jersey?

I just noticed that one of our eCommerce websites seems to attract a little bit of traffic for queries such as "do jersey pay vat", and having had a quick look at the information which comes up for said search, thought I would write a quick post.

If you are selling TO Jersey from the mainland, the answer is NO. Jersey is outside of the VAT area (as are all the Channel Islands), so ideally you should take the VAT off (nigh impossible for people to claim back afterwards). I personally avoid buying from any retailers (online or otherwise) who do not do so.

If you are buying FROM Jersey, then there should be NO VAT charged on orders upto £17.99 in value (Small Value Exemption). Orders above this ARE liable to VAT, although very technically speaking it could be construed that it is the duty of the recipient to pay said tax - typically merchants will collect it from you at checkout and pay it (e.g. when goods are dispatched from Amazon's merchant in Jersey). If you are buying from an eCommerce site in Jersey, do check how they handle VAT on high value goods, though - you don't want to get a bill from HMRC!

There you go, thats the situation nicely cleared up!

Now you know, go to visit Jersey Craft Shop - they don't charge VAT on anything 17.99 or under!

Google, over the last week!

Ha, just when you thought I'd stopped boring you with tales of my google traffic. Some of the highlights of the last week have been:

wildfire grill jersey uk and wild fire grill jersey uk - slightly random keywords (use the UK radio button folks!), but my blog seems to rank top for them. Oops. Oh well, at least I wasn't too nasty! In fairness, I have heard some better things since, and we may go back for another go.

jerseysoup and jersey soup both showed up - again just variations on a theme. Can only assume that this is people look for information about the Jersey Soup Kitchen - either that or some odd local recipe?

All the others were the usual ncs2prov, site-to-site-vpn, proset and ncover (plus validation summary and updatepanel) queries!

TestDriven.NET, Visual Studio 2005 - No Xmas Cheer!

Ha. So, this morning (early, I hasten to add), I settled down to start work, only to find that Visual Studio 2005 had very thoughtfully eaten TestDriven.Net. I had a lovely greyed out "test with" option against my test project.

Oh well. A quick re-install of TestDriven, and we were up and running (after a mis-click on UAC permissions panel due to tea deprivation killed the first install).

Lets hope that is today's major frustration out of the way - although I still have food shopping to do, and urgently need to find some duck pancakes..

Friday, 19 December 2008

The eCommerce Trust Barrier - eCommerce - Articles & Case St

The customer 'trust barrier' is one of many under-rated problems facing new eCommerce Retaillers - without an established brand name, you must ensure customers feel safe enough to buy.

read more | digg story

What is SEO? - eCommerce - Articles & Case Studies - Mattche

A short introductory article on the nature of search engine optimization (SEO) in the arena of eCommerce.

read more | digg story

SQL Server 4: Resolving Issues - Technology - Articles & Cas

Part 4 of the Mattched IT series on Sql Server Performance Tuning.

read more | digg story

SQL Server 3: Diagnosing Issues - Technology - Articles & Ca

Part 3 of the Mattched IT series on Sql Server Performance Tuning.

read more | digg story

SQL Server 2: Common Pitfalls - Technology - Articles & Case

Part 2 of the Mattched IT series on Sql Server Performance Tuning.

read more | digg story

SQL Server 1: Best Practices - Technology - Articles & Case

Part 1 of the Mattched IT series on Sql Server Performance Tuning.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Another Google Update / Roundup

Well, here we go again. The searches which have led people to my blog over the 6 days since my last post about google (in descending order of popularity) are ..

madrid grumpy - I really, really want to know what on earth people are hoping find by typing "madrid grumpy" into google - please, please, if you end up on my blog after searching for this, leave me a comment to tell me. I get a hit every other day on this, and I'm just unsufferably curious!

dg834g site to site - A post I made quite a long time ago announcing that we had successfully set up a site to site vpn using a pair of Netgear DG834G routers (a v2 and a v3, if memory serves). Good routers, actually - highly recommended. We have since upgraded to a pair of DGFV338 Netgear routers - because the DG834G's latest firmware anihilates NETBIOS support, and frankly UNC paths over VPN are quite handy.

.net runtime version 2.0.50727.42 - failed to cocreate profiler - Ah, the pure joy of 64bit computing. If you are getting this in NCover, via TestDriven.NET or Visual Studio, then set your test project to build as x86 only. If you get it running NCover in a different context, you may need to find CorFlags.exe (in the platform SDK) and set all the executables (NCover, NUnit) to run as 32bit only. Or BUY the new version of NCover - but I couldn't bring myself to do that just yet.

intel proset (various permutations of this one) - My original intel proset ii post is here, describing my issue (missing advanced properties pages) and the solution which I found - enabling the advanced properties for intel proset ii is here.

iris passport control -interesting one. I never actually got around to registering for iris, and probably won't for quite some time now that we've moved to Jersey - but nonetheless, it's still a good scheme in theory.

I believe all the others were covered in my last post, so I shall stop there. More next week!

Nokia - the "Comes with Music" campaign

Hmm. Saw the Nokia advert last night - you know - the one which tells you to search for 'Comes with Music' online. Now there is a marketeer with ultimate confidence in their SEO team.

Or a lack of understanding.

Out of interest, I thought I would write a quick blog post about 'Comes with Music' - and see where it ends up in the google rankings (and if it gets any traffic). Having poked about a couple of bits and pieces, it seems there isn't too much competition here - and all the relevant articles are news posts about the official Nokia service.

Quite a curious bit of marketing though - instead of giving people a URL - just tell them to go and search for something. But what do you think - is it risky, or just clever?

Oh. And sorry if you were looking for something about the ACTUAL 'music' (or phone) part of the Comes with Music ad. It isn't here.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

eCommerce in Jersey

There was an interesting article in last nights JEP about eCommerce and how it may be becoming more and more important for the economy here in Jersey.

Ironically, we posted a huge tranch of updates to our website yesterday, including a lot of extra eCommerce content - which is all relevant to our customers (and potential Jersey eCommerce customers) - good timing, eh?

I will write a short article about eCommerce and the state of the economy at some point, when proper work permits!

ASP.NET Ajax: UpdatePanel and ValidationSummary / ValildationGroup (redux)

I made a post titled "ASP.NET Ajax: UpdatePanel and ValidationSummary / ValildationGroup" earlier this week, and have since done some more investigation.

I built a simple test site containing an ajax-ified textbox with a validation summary, and validationgroup set on it - and it worked perfectly, so it's back to the original scenario to try and figure out precisely what causes this issue.

Will post again if I discover anything interesting - however it seems to be far more complex than first thought. *sigh*

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Midweek Google Update

Ok. So the top google searches which have found my blog over the last few days are..

madrid grumpy - I still have no idea what people are really looking for here. If you come here searching for madrid grumpy - please drop me a line and let me know what you were expecting. I'm guessing it involved football or Real Madrid?

does testdriven include ncover - a new entry, and reasonably longtail, methinks. Well, the answer is 'yes it does'. Hope that helps the next visitor!

install intel proset on windows 2003
and ncs2prov are still present. Think these will
be hot search terms for a while!

Another new entry is mpabs - posted my definition of mpabs the other day because it amused me, so glad to see I'm not the only one who has heard of this acronym.

And finally, take a deep breath for the super long tail entry.. updatepanel button causesvalidation=true validator .net no postback - this is related to an issue I posted about yesterday, and which I am still looking into - I will update this blog (and probably post an article about my investigation on our corporate web design blog), as soon as I have a chance to do a bit more. Interestingly this is very similar to a search I tried when investigating the issue, and before posting about it!

Well thats all for now - lets hope the next half of the week brings in some other interesting traffic!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

MPABS: Definition of MPABS (today's giggle)

Someone just threw a new acronym at me: MPABS.

Most People Are Basically Stupid.

Oh dear - thats definitely one to add to the "use with caution" list!

ASP.NET Ajax: UpdatePanel and ValidationSummary / ValildationGroup


Think there may be an issue with Microsoft ASP.NET Ajax when using Validator controls and ValidationSummary inside an UpdatePanel, with ValidationGroup set on the controls/validators/ValidationSummary.

It appears that in some particular circumstances, the clientside validation doesn't fire, essentially preventing any link or button with CausesValidation = true from triggering a postback.

Going to investigate further now that I have fixed the immediate issue, and produce a test page to prove/disprove this - if anything useful emerges from this I will post again here, as well as on our corporate web development blog.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Eating out in Jersey: Park House Cafe

Last nights dinner at the Park House Cafe deserves a quick mention.

This is a little Thai cafe near Howard Davis Park - and it is awesome.

Booking pretty much essential (unless you go very early, or on a Sunday - we did the latter).

Try the Massaman curries - if you like peanuts - distinctly home-made taste, not too sweet, or hot, or anything. We'd seen it as a very busy little place so thought it would be good - still surprised by just how good.

Eating out in Jersey: Diamond Chinese Restaurant

OK. Got a few more posts to pop up about food. Always a favourite subject of mine!

On wednesday, we met my mum and her other half for a drink, after work (our work - this is their day off). Typically what happens on these occasions is that we all get wasted and have something to eat - then the other half and I suffer greatly when we get up early on Thursday morning.

This week, by about 7:30-ish, we were hungry, and decided we wanted chinese. Being in the heart of St Helier, options on this front are distinctly limited - so we opend for The Diamond Chinese Restaurant (having been there before).

It wasn't bad, actually. Not the best chinese meal I've ever had, but pretty good. Verdict by dish, because thats maybe more useful with chinese!

Mixed Starters (prawn toast, spring rolls, etc) - OK
Quarter Crispy Duck - ALWAYS good anywhere, but good nonetheless
Egg Fried Rice - Rice. Fried. With Egg.
Mushroom noodles - Surprisingly excellent
Pang Pang Chicken - Surprising good too!
Sweet and Sour battered chicken - Um. Iffy. A bit dry, and frankly the sauce was a disturbing colour (even for sweet and sour).

Well, there you go! Not bad. Definitely fine if tipsy!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Third Sector Forums

I thought I would write a brief post to let anyone who stumbles accross my blog know about Third Sector Forums.

Although the forums are new (gathering speed, though), it looks as if this could become a top place to discuss (and research) the various issues surrounding working with and in the third sector - social enterprise, charitable organisations, volunteer work and so forth.

For my part, I am more interested in the issues surrounding working in conjunction with third sector entities (or in relationships where they are the customer) - in my other life as a Director at my web design company, we have already done some work for two local charities: The After Breast Cancer Support Group and The West Show Association.

Whichever way you look at it, third sector ventures are fraught with a variety of issues which are not always present in normal commercial undertakings, and it's great to have a knowledgeable community to discuss them with!

Christmas Chaos? Where?

Well, it was busy in town, but not too bad.

Total purchases: One black dress. Ingredients for pork stroganoff.

Oh well. More tomorrow!

PS. Yes, I'm aware there has been a lack of grumpiness lately. I'm not quite sure why. I think I'm working too much to have time to spend getting angry at things..?

It's time to brave the hordes..

Thats right. We're going into town to do some Christmas shopping.

I shall report back on the undoubted mayhem that will be St Helier very shortly..

Some more google searches

Had another look at my recent traffic, this morning, and noticed a few more searches which are bringing people here. I find this interesting - because typically I've made a single blog post on these topics, so, the new entries are:

"CoCreate Profiler" - This relates to an error I encountered (and found a workaround for) running NCover on Windows XP64. There are 64bit versions of NCover available for purchase now, but the old, free edition is only available in 32bit and is distinctly unfriendly in a 64bit environment. We also had some issues on Vista with our CruiseControl.NET servers, but I don't actually have the error message for that one noted down. It was to do with needing to run corflags.exe on NCover to force it into 32bit compatibility, though. I pop up on pg2 of google for this search - if quotes are included.

Curiously, there was also a hit for the keywords ncover which went to the same post - this time on page 1. Wonder if it was the same person, and if the post was helpful? Seems more likely this poster was looking for the original

NCS2Prov - The name of the DCOM configuration entry for Intel ProSET drives. Goes back to the post(s) I made which bring in lots of traffic for keywords such as 12.2 intel proset and intel proset +12.2, both of which are still bringing in some hits. Again, page 2 for this search - didn't check the intel proset ones.

Finally, and perhaps most interesting (or most peculiar) was a search for madrid grumpy - this one, which ranked 2nd on the first page of google results, refers to when we went to Madrid, last October, and using Easy Jet turned out to be far from easy!

Monitoring these searches is turning out to be quite fun to do - and also quite informative - gives you a good idea of the power which blogs currently hold in search engines (or at least, Google), as well!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Fete de Noue - Launch party at The Harbour Gallery

Since Jersey's Fete de Noue is just about to start, there is a launch party going on at The Harbour Gallery, hosted by Jersey Soap / Beads N Crafts. You can get a bit more information from their entry on Facebook.

Harbour Gallery (Jersey) - Fete de Noue

The fun starts at 6:30pm on Thursday 4th December.

Double Clicking Visual Studio 2005 Solution (.sln) files in Vista x64

If, like me, you have recently updated your development environment to Vista (x64 in my case), you may have noticed that double-clicking a .sln (solution) file with the intention of having it open in Visual Studio 2005 doesn't work, out of the box.

Well, not if you have User Account Control (UAC) enabled.

I just got around to googling this, finally, and found a solution which I shall repeat - in order to make it easier to find!

It works when you set both Launcher (C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSEnv\VSLauncher.exe) and IDE (C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe) to run as administrator. (Right click .exe and select Properties -> Compatibility, and choose Run as Administrator)

It should be noted that if you are running 64 bit Vista, you will need to look in C:\Program Files (x86), instead.


Tuesday, 2 December 2008

.. Or perhaps the Jersey "Lack of Soup Kitchen"!

Oh well. Got to the Jersey Soup Kitchen event in the Royal Square at about 1pm. Sadly there was no soup left, so we went to Henley's and had a sandwich instead (very nice, by the way).

Must go for soup earlier next year!

Jersey Soup Kitchen (Royal Square)

Today is the 10th (I think) annual Jersey Soup Kitchen in Royal Square. 35 varieties of soup available (with a bit of bread) in exchange for a minimum donation of £2 per portion. Proceeds go to the Jersey Shelter Trust.

We will be going to get some lunch, and support them - combined with a bit of Christmas Shopping on my part (since the other half has to go back to work afterwards).

Apart from the fact that it has just started hailing outside, it should be good!

My blog and Google

So. I stuck Google Analytics on my blog, out of curiousity. I wanted to see if people find it, and if so, how they do.

In the past 3-4 days, I've had a few hits, but 3 which came from google searches caught my interest.

The first two were interesting, because I seem to appear on page one for these specific sets of terms:

windows 2003 proset ii - a set of posts I made about problems with the drivers on Intel PROSET cards - whereby the advanced properties tabs disappear. Dunno if this problem is still current, but if so, hope it helped!

app_code httphandlers - this was a single post I made about creating an HttpHandler in the App_Code folder of a Visual Studio 2005 WebSite/Web Application project. Again, hopefully this was of value to someone - I wasted quite a few minutes figuring this out initially!

Finally, and oddly (because the blog post I have doesn't seem to rank very highly, so I assume the searcher must have been pretty desperate - I got bored trying to find it on around page 8 of the results)..

rdp over vpn win2003 - I presume this is linked to the right post - that the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service needs to be started on Win2003 before you can connect via Remote Desktop (RDP).

Just goes to show, it's worth posting this little tidbits - now that I know someone has seen these, at least, I shall continue to do so whenever I get over such obstacles!