Contents tagged with Personal

  • Moved to the Cayman Islands.

    Tags: Cayman, SharePoint, Personal

    Those of you that know me in the physical world will know that I got a job in the Cayman Islands and have been whittering on about it for that last couple months!

    Although very excited and looking forward to, what my (Spanish) fiancé would call a “real summer”, I can’t argue, the UK has painfully unpredictable weather!  I’m gutted that I’m not going to be in the UK for the Olympics – totally gutted – I almost said no to the job based purely on that!

    I’ll be working as a SharePoint Dev for a company called DMS Organization (note the z not s!!) – its going to take some getting used too, spelling everything incorrectly!!

    Hopefully its going to be interesting challenge.

    I was planning to widen the scope of this blog, to not only .net, SharePoint etc geeky code stuff, but some stuff about the Cayman Islands and the surrounded countries.  Travelling is certainly high on our agenda and we plan on seeing as much as possible, using our weekends to the max!

    I have never been to the Cayman Islands before and I have never lived outside of the UK before, its all new and at times its difficult to focus the mind and remember that I have to start a new job, be smart and perform for what looks like a pretty dynamic organisation.  I’ve had several “first days” and don’t generally get nervous anymore – I know what I can and cant do.  I’m most intrigued to see how its done in another country and the Cayman seems interesting…a UK overseas territory, having our bank holidays and some cultural aspects etc, but with what seems heavy influence from the US.

    That of course is what I have inferred from speaking to a few different people who live there or have lived there – I must say, I’ve spoken to immigration a couple of times and not overly impressed, “blood from a stone springs” to mind!  I’ve also been warned about “Caribbean Time” !!

    Immigration is a problem, I have been granted a visa, but my fiancé cannot be a dependant on my visa, only when married can she be a dependant.  This is not resolved yet and while of course Luki is going to come out, exactly on what terms has yet to be decided!  Personally I think this is very old fashioned and they need to step it up – marriage is not as big-a-part of the world as it once was, we have been living together for several years – if this can be proved, like in many countries, she should be allowed.

    Cayman is (apparently) famous for a its scuba diving, boasting such a place as “Stingray City”, I’ve never done scuba diving before, only snorkelling a few times, I certainly plan on doing a PADI course and seeing some of the underwater world.  Again those that know me will know I love my bike (bicycle) and will be purchasing one on the island to get involved in what looks like an excellent little community.  And I can’t wait to go running along the beach with a quick swim to cool me down every km!

    That’s something I’ll have to get used too…Cayman uses the imperial system, crazy.  Ohh…and you don’t pay income tax…a nice bonus!

    Well, that’s enough about the “plans”, time for a dodgy airline meal, a quick siesta and get on with doing some of them!

    A couple pics from my journey!


    Train to London – progress.




    My view!


  • Minify JS and CSS in Visual Studio Build Events

    Tags: .NET 4.0, .NET,, VS 2010, SharePoint, Personal

    It’s pretty widely accepted (and common sense) that if you’re putting a site out into the wild – such a simple task as minifying CSS and JavaScript files can save a bunch of load time, especially on mobile devices.

    I’ve been playing about with this today and was quite happily using jsmin as described here until I noticed that in IE 7 and IE 8 the minified CSS didn’t work.

    The problem seems to be when using a background style, it takes out the space between the image url close bracket and the next style.

    background:url(image.png) no-repeat;

    Not a problem in IE 9 or chrome (haven’t tested others).

    So I set about researching the problem and found nothing…struggled a bit getting the search term right and clearly never mastered it as I found zip.

    Not to be put off, I was looking at the YUI compression tool from Yahoo, said to be better…but needs the java runtime and seems to complex to simply use, certainly for my simple taste!

    Then I found a YUI .net implementation on codeplex.  Excellent, its was even in NuGet.

    However…I wanted it as a build task to run in VS, I don’t really want to think about this stuff more than once.

    So I wrote a little command line wrapper for it.  Excellent.  Even got ILMerge involved to merge the YUI dll’s into my exe.  I know there are ways to use Reflection to load dll’s as embedded resources…but I didn’t fancy doing that!

    I did look at using CommandLine (also on codeplex) as I have done before, but ILMerge does not like that.  Don’t take my word for it, but it seems to be something to do with ILMerge is .net 2 and CommandLine uses some .net4 features.  It wasn’t happy…anyway, I just wrote a few lines of code to parse the command line args myself.


    It’s not complex or very flexible, but is very suitable to my needs.

    You can pass in an array of files to minify and a target path.  That’s it.  It’ll merge the files if you pass more than one…you have no choice!

    > SCmin.exe –s C:\big.css C:\big1.css –t C:\small.css

    // This will take big.css and big1.css and put it into small.css


    Download the exe or full source.



  • Blog comment spammers … help!

    Tags: Personal

    Hey, I need some advice/help, now I’ve been writing on this blog for a few years, I don’t blog a great deal in comparison to many of my peers and my blog doesn’t get a massive number of hits, BUT I seem to get a fair share of comment spammers!!

    I have image verification on the comments and I have put an Akismet API key into the Geekswithblogs settings, but I still get a bunch of spam comments.

    They could almost be real, until you see the link going off to some dating site or casino crap.

    What does everyone do?? Delete them every time?? Moderate comments??

    I would rather not moderate comments if possible, but is that the only way to stop the crap??


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  • SkyDrive, Google Docs access through Explorer

    Tags: Personal

    I am both a Google docs and Windows SkyDrive user, one thing however that I am always thought would help, especially with SkyDrive, as its essentially a backup tool for me is being able to access through Windows explorer (or FTP would suffice!).

    Well I have found a little app that does just that!!

    It’s from Gladinet and the catch line is “Delivering cloud services to your desktop and operating system”, it does connect to other things like Azure blob store and Amazon.

    You can download a free version and the only restriction seems to be a limit of 1000 files per job.

    I would recommend you give it a go, its not the quickest thing in the world to navigate around, but for me the main purpose is for backup.  It does have a built in backup tool, which I am yet to explore, as I’m a SyncBack user I’m going to setup a SyncBack job and see how it gets on!

    You can just use explorer and drag and drop files in, it uploads in the background in groups of 5 files.  That’s ok for the odd file I guess, but automation is the way forward for me!


    Another job sorted!

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  • Me, myself and my iPhone

    Tags: Personal

    iphone Its my birthday in a couple of weeks and as a present my girlfriend bought me an iPhone...its an early present, but she's been going to the o2 shop for the last couple of weeks and this is the first time they have been in stock.

    Anyway, she is a gem, because she used her contract so I could get it! I had too long remaining on mine! (Which means for the first time in about 5 years my mobile number has changed, which is probably a good thing, anyway, if you haven't got my new number and want it, contact me!)

    Here are my thoughts on what is probably one of the most hyped gadgets I have ever known...

    With IFAF ratings, IFAF you say? I fone acceptance factor i.e. what am I willing to accept just to keep using my iPhone!! Its funny what's forgiven when presented with one of the best user experiences ever...

    1. Battery life: I have always looked at battery life as fairly important when shopping for a mobile phone, but here I am re-charging with less that a full days use. IFAF: Tolerate - Not enough to send it back. Mind you, why couldn't Apple just allow spare batteries to be used? Compromise design perhaps...such apple bollocks!
    2. SMS functionality: what do I mean? Well, I cant save text drafts, I cant forward messages, no MMS - what's that about? Ahh...I should email everything/one...well, not everyone has as easy and consistent access to email as me(us)!! IFAF: Pushing it - I don't send a great deal of text messages, but I do often prepare ahead of time and send pictures of humorous things to my misses! (my sea monkeys being the latest thing!)
    3. Tariffs: I cant speak for all carriers, but here in the UK o2 have the exclusive contract for iPhones and aren't shy about exploiting it. Currently (still with o2) I pay £25 per month for more minutes and texts than the £35 iPhone contract, and about 500% more than the £30 contract that is surely just a token deal which is so shite that no-one will take it and go for the £35. take a look here IFAF: its only money right! I want an iPhone!!
    4. iPod: Of course the iPhone has an iPod built in with the same interface as the iTouch, which is so silky it slippery to the touch! However, in iTunes (which I like by the way!!), you cannot simply drag and drop albums like my iPod, I can only sync playlists, reading around the accepted method seems to be create a single playlist, drop all music into that and sync that one! IFAF: Takes the shine off - this is crap really, a big part of this gadget for me is that my beloved iPod will be built in...with the major addition of touch!! The fact that others have raised this means I'm not alone...its another big WHY? For the apple bods. It just takes the shine of an otherwise perfect feature.
    5. Camera: The camera i think is only 2MP...which is well below par. IFAF: Tolerate - i dont use it a great deal and accept that a phone wont take great photos.
    6. Radio: I do miss not having a radio, but then again the battery would be flat before I got to work! IFAF: Tolerate - I can happily live with out, I have never used a "phone radio" that was much good anyway!

    These few gripes however no way make up for a how silky and smooth to use it is. The keyboard is awesome, the email interface (even with the IzyMail nonsense because I use live mail, not gmail - Izymail is sweet, the fact that Live mail doesn't do POP3 is nonsense) is one of the best I have ever used on mobile device - Blackberry is not even close. The GPS, although not a full blown Sat Nav is pretty mustard.

    I also love the fact that custom apps get in on the action!!

    I am yet to unlock (or JailBreak!) my iPhone, I haven't looked into it much and as yet have no reason to do so...anyone got reason why? What does it do for me?

    I'm sure there are a few more gripes and I will come across as I get into day 3 of usage, but how much of a dent it will put into the weird power of the iPhone!