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blog-o-sphere

try-catch-finally.net

Back from vacation, I had to think about how to go on with things. Things are going to change. Winter is coming. While running this blog for years, I finally decided to move the blog to another domain. I am looking for a “better” brand. aheil was my alias at Microsoft as well as in many other systems. It is my alias in many other systems, my XBOX Live ID and so on.

While this migration will cause a major disruption in the force, many search engines will have issues as well. But still, there are some good reasons for me to do so:

  • It’s a DE top-level domain. Would you guess English content here? Yes, me neither.
  • If you are not a German native speaker you probably can’s say this without causing some major dislocations of your tongue. No, I am serious. How do you pronounce it [éháyl], [áhájl] or [áhíɪ́l]? I think you get the idea.
  • I am looking for a better separation of my interests. The blog is a pure personal kind of diary about tech, development, coding and geek stuff. At the same time, I am using the alias aheil for my consulting work for years as a trademark. I want a better separation in the future.
  • The current domain name has nothing to do with coding, tech or even geek stuff. How could it at all, if you can’t even say it!?

I used to own the domain try-catch-finally.net for years, I canceled it some years ago, it was parked and offered for quite an amount of money bit released recently. So I picked it up again. That’s the name the blog is going to be branded as try-catch-finally.net in the future. And just to make it clear, you call it [traɪ kæʧ ˈfaɪnəli dɑt nɛt].

The domain is up, forwarding is active and if you read this, migration is in progress or already done. If eventually add some forwarding rules for blog articles, so sold links still work. But for now, I will go and think about a nice logo using my limited to non-existing graphical skills.

Categories
blog-o-sphere

Reading Time

Being inspired by the dev.to articles ( do cross-post some of my dev related articles here), I really liked the estimated reading time on top of each dev.to article. To me, it is very valuable, as most articles < 3 minutes I do read instantly, while larger posts I put on my reading list.

Eventually, I added this information also on every post on this blog to the convenvice of my readers. I hope this i as helpful to others as it is to me.

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blog-o-sphere

Write WordPress Posts in Markdown

I recently started to write quite a lot of stuff on my laptop down in plain Markdown. It comes handy when I need to put the information on a Web page or in other documents. Also using a revisioning system like Git is much more convenient when using Markdown. Therefore, I was looking for a possibility to write my blog articles also in Markdown.

Jetpack Approach

With Jetpack there is a possibility to enable Markdown syntax in your WordPress editor. To do so, navigate to Jetpackand then select Writing.

Scroll down and toggle Write posts or pages in plain-text Mardown syntax.

Markdown in Comments

In addition, you might want to enable Markdown for comments in the Diskussion section by toggling Enable Mardown use for comments.

If you now head to the WordPress editor, you will realize that Markdown is still not supported. To use Markdown you actually have to add a Markdown block. And here comes the drawback.

The Drawback

While you can now wite Markdown in the block, you will end up with a mix of different types of blocks in your editor. That way Markdown did not help me a lot to simplify my writing of blog articles.

Conclusion

While you can add Markdown support to WordPress with ease, it is rather unsatisfying. I have different goals in mind where I have to dig a bit deeper, as I want

  • to write blog articles offline in Markdown syntax
  • push them to git repository – including images –
  • and post them in WordPress.

There are probably some solutions out there, I haven’t found yet.

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blog-o-sphere

Re Technorati

Technorati never worked for me for various reasons. Hereby, I start a new claim to see if it might work out in some way… New claim, new luck as one could say. Eventually, here is the token 7G5ES2N7RAGJ Technorati is looking for…

Technorati Claim

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blog-o-sphere

Feddburner Burnout

It is officially, the Google Feedburner APIs have been deprecated and will be officially shut down in the near future after being bought for about $100 million in 2007.

“Important: The Google Feedburner APIs have been officially deprecated as of May 26, 2011 will be shut down on October 20, 2012.”

For all readers of this blog subscribed to the google Feedburner feed, it has not been available using the URI http://www.feedburner.com/aheil probably providing a 404 error code for the last few days. The Feed Stats dashboard already shows that the feed has subscribers anymore.

. Feedburner Stats

Therefore, everybody looking for a RSS feed of this blog should switch over to https://www.hack-the-planet.net/feed?rss2.

I used Feedburner even before acquired from Google. It was a great way to aggregate various sources of information on the web. Even with a deprecation time of three years, it is quite a loss as Feedburner provided a great way of mashing up data sources. Probably this service did not generate sufficient revenue for Google…

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blog-o-sphere

Engineering Windows 7

Jon DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky, both senior managers for the upcoming Windows 7, are hosting a blog called Engineering Windows 7, inviting everybody to comment about the future development of the new Windows platform. Actually, they only request to follow a few guidelines that however should be self-evident following a certain netiquette.

“We’re excited about this blog. As active bloggers on Microsoft’s intranet we are both looking forward to turning our attention and blogging energies towards the community outside Microsoft. We know the ins and outs of blogging and expect to have fun, provide great information, and also make a few mistakes. We know we’ll misspeak or what we say will be heard differently than we intended. We’re not worried. All we ask is that we have a dialog based on mutual respect and the shared goal of making a great release of Windows 7.”

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blog-o-sphere

Ticklish Techs

It was quite a busy week with little time to write. However, I met Benjamin Schröter who does quite interesting stuff with the Microsoft DSL Tools. Added to blogroll.

Categories
blog-o-sphere

Last.fm ASP.NET Widget

The widgets offered by Last.fm are not really customizable. The latest Flash-based quilts are literally flashy and the image-based charts are quite unconvincingly to design. So I sat down wrote a small ASP.NET control to be used as Last.fm Widget with the goal to use it within my dasBlog installation. For that reason I made usage of the data feeds provided by Last.fm.

Last.fm ASP.NET Widget

Prerequisites

  1. You need a Last.fm account which you can create here.

  2. You might want to download any media player plug-ins from here to scrobble your music.

How to install on a ASP.NET Web Application

  1. Download the .zip file and unpack it’s content into your web application’s directory.

  2. Add the following line below your page tag to register the control with your ASP.NET web page:
    <%@ Register Src="LastFmControl.ascx" TagName="lastfm" TagPrefix="uc" %>
  3. At the place where you want to add the control similar to
    <uc:lastfm 
      id="Lastfm1"
      runat="server"
      Url="http://ws.audioscrobbler.com/1.0/user/aheil/recenttracks.xml" 
      User="http://www.last.fm/user/aheil/">
    </uc:lastfm>
  4. Change the username from aheil to your username unless you want to display my recently played music on your site.

How to install on a dasBlog installation

  1. Download the .zip file an unpack it’s content into your dasBlog installation directory.

  2. Open the hometemplate.blogtemplate file of your dasBlog theme and use the ASPNETControl makro to add the control on the page.
    <%newtelligence.ASPNETControl("LastFmControl.ascx")%>
  3. Open the LastFmcontrol.ascx.cs file and change the username at
     private string _url = "http://ws.audioscrobbler.com/1.0/user/aheil/recenttracks.xml";
      and
private string _user  = "http://www.last.fm/user/aheil/";

unless you want to display my recently played music on your blog.

How to Customize

The control makes heavy usage of several CSS div classes to be maximum customizable. The classes used are

.lastFmMain {}
.lastFmHeader{}
.lastFmItem {}
.lastFmItemTitle {}
.lastFmItemArtist {}
.lastFmFooter {}

Simply modify and add these div classes in your CSS file to make the control look seamless integrating into your web page.

The classes are used as following where the lastFmItem is repeating.

Last.fm Control CSS Usage

Download

Some Comments

I did not spent that much effort into this control. Writing this entry took longer that writing the control, not only since the pre-release Windows Live Writer version I am using crashed twice. There are several improvements, which could be done to this control, including reducing the parameters to only the user name, adding the Last.fm icon etc. If you are looking for a more sophisticated dasBlog makro, you might have a look at Alexander Groß’ Last.fm makro.

Categories
blog-o-sphere

Engineer Speak

Charles Miller came up with a great explanation about the words impossible, trivial, feasible, hard and very-hard when used by engineers. Worth reading it.

Categories
blog-o-sphere

Monday Morning Mug #1

Monday Morning Cup #1I just decided to sit down on Monday mornings and summarize a couple of things. Hence this morning I had a look at the blog-o-sphere.

Iman, a friend from UK just stated his own blog. I am looking forward to read what he has to say. Damir once again became MVP. I am wondering why I never become a MVP… Otherwise, the blog-o-sphere was quite silent this week. I guess Clemens is busy with his daughter right now and BtK is not blogging for ages… Martin Calsyn, our architect also has a blog. Since I have still some issues with the encoding in categories within the dasBlog engine, Alexander started to help me in finding out why… Guess what? He has a blog, too.