changing the digital world one bit at a time...

Blants (noun) the rants of a blogger

  1. Welcome to 2012

    October 22, 2012 by The Man

    … and Windows Updates isn’t even on by default…. WHY !!!

  2. Adobe Air

    March 18, 2010 by The Man

    I have spent the last few days testing out and playing with Air, I had a specific project in mind but I didn’t want to use Flash as this was for some companies and they often block Flash or remove it.

    It all started off quite well, create a web site using HTML and I used some of the stuff from Ext JS as their stuff is quite kool. There are quite a few headaches when you are learning a new language and method of developing but once I got all the right libraries we were good to go.

    Things looked good and on my Macbook Pro the files were all condensed into a single app file. Great I thought and spent a few more days playing about. Now time to test on Windows.

    Flip me if it just pumps all the files into a directory. Unlike the Mac it doesn’t pack all the files in to a neat container. Now I know it would not take much to extract and view the files on the Mac but I do like to hide things away from the user.

    Will this kill the project, we will find out next week.

  3. Windows 2008 and network backups

    March 9, 2010 by The Man

    I am never amazed at how bad developers can get. Sloppy implementations in products that should be growing and making life easier are making life harder. Today’s culprit is the backup system of Windows 2008.

    Now for years we have been happy with NTBackup that could

    1. Backup Exchange
    2. Backup to a network drive
    3. Backup selected files

    Now we get the crap that is included in Windows 2008. Not only does it not backup Exchange but it does only full and incremental backups. But worst of all is that while you can manually back up to a network drive you cannot do so from the backup wizards scheduled tasks. Why ?

    Anyway to get round this you can create a vbscript (I use one that starts the backup then on completion returns the result and sends me an email with the details in) and use this in the start command.

    wbadmin start backup –backupTarget:\UbuntuAnswer
    –include:c:,d:,e: -vssFull –quiet

    USB backup while a nice idea can easily turn into a nightmare should people pull the drive out without disconnecting it, when the drive goes you are stuffed. At least with a network backup the server or NAS device is usually there.

  4. Create a vCal in

    March 2, 2010 by The Man

    I am in the process of updating a project we started 6 years ago. One of the functions was to add a diary event to Outlook. At the time there was a simple method of automation to add events directly to Outlook but in this day and age there are two problems with this approach

    1. Automation of other applications is becoming more and more complex, having to jump through security hoops and then explain that to end users is just to much hard work.

    2. Outlook may be king now but providing solutions that work with multiple suppliers software is the way forward.

    This snippet now allows us to create a calendar event and open so the user can check and confirm, not the neatest solution but it works.

    Dim myICal As New StreamWriter("event.vcs")
    Dim sDate As Date = Convert.ToDateTime(edtOn.Text + " " + edtAT.Text)
    Dim eDate As Date = DateAdd(DateInterval.Hour, 1, Convert.ToDateTime(edtOn.Text + " " + edtAT.Text))
    Dim myLocation As String = lblView.Text
    Dim mySubject As String = lblFor.Text
    Dim myDescription As String = "Event details: Check server is started"
    'Create the vCal
    myICal.WriteLine("PRODID:-//Digital Wired Limited.//Agency Manager Professional//EN")
    myICal.WriteLine("DTSTART:" & sDate.ToUniversalTime.ToString("yyyyMMddTHHmmssZ"))
    myICal.WriteLine("DTEND:" & eDate.ToUniversalTime.ToString("yyyyMMddTHHmmssZ"))
    myICal.WriteLine("LOCATION:" & myLocation)
    myICal.WriteLine("DESCRIPTION;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:" & myDescription)
    myICal.WriteLine("SUMMARY:" & mySubject)

    That’s it, not pretty but functional.

  5. Is Wake On Lan dead ?

    by The Man

    The short answer is no, and a little bit yes.

    I haven’t done any work on depicus for a while, ok 4 years, and the site has been bumbling along quite well. Indeed it get between 1000 and 1500 hits a day and mainly geek traffic (Firefox users account for 43% of all traffic). Now I think it’s time I updated it and open sourced the code. This isn’t going to happen overnight but hopefully over the next few months i can give it a facelift and refresh as well. 4.5 million page views and you must be getting a bit tired of the site by now 🙂

    One thing that will not be updated however is the Windows Mobile app. I’m with Skype on this one, it’s just too much work and the experience isn’t what I want it to be.

    The original idea of depicus was to give back for all the great stuff I have had for free from the interweb. I think I am getting close to that goal.