Archives / 2008 / March
  • That's a Blog Century!

    Tags: Personal

    I just noticed that my last post was my 100th since starting this blog!  I started back in August 2006 so its been a pretty steady climb to the century.  I don't plan on ramping up the post count any time soon!

    I still enjoy the writing the blog and more recently having fun on twitter, met some cool people from Kansas along the way! They have some funny expressions, but It's all good!!

    I'm waiting for the GWB sponsored "booze up in Bristol"...hehe!

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  • Sorry you're Leaving | Time for a change and a new lappy!

    Tags: Personal

    LeavingCardLast Wednesday was my last day at the university, where I have been working.  I am starting a new job for a law firm, taking a little twist in technology as I move from mainly doing back-end development to a far more user centric environment on a large MOSS 2007 project, which is my preferred space.  I have enjoyed my time at the uni, but among other things I will NOT miss the nightmare commute everyday.

    This is the leaving card I was presented with ;-) And a couple bottles of wine, one being my favourite Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

    What's extra cool; being a bit of a work-a-holic I have only taken 4 days leave since last August, meaning I had loads of days to take as part of my notice period...I have over 2 weeks off!!! Starting at the law firm on 7th April!! What does one geek do with so much free time!?!  Play some more with MOSS, Silverlight 2.0 and build a media centre PC, that's what!!

    Well, having to give my laptop back and with the upcoming train commute I most certainly wanted to replace it! 

    dell-xps-m1330I decided to go for a slightly smaller one, the Dell XPS M1330 which has plenty of rave reviews.  It's no slouch with a Core 2 Duo 2.2Ghz and 3GB RAM, but at only 13.3" it's small and light enough to be truly mobile!! Unfortunately I could not justify the huge extra cost (£790, that's about $1500) for a solid state drive.

    It's a Nice looking piece of kit as well!

    Debating whether to get a crumpler bag to house the beauty!!

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  • TinyUrl or Shrinkster

    Tags: Personal

    I know, its on everyone's lips!!

    If you don't know what or are, they take long URL's and shrink them down into a more memorable/manageable length.  It's perfect for things like Twitter where character count is important.

    Something you may not know, Carl Franklin of .NetRocks stardom runs Shrinkster.  It did go down and he decided to take it on...

    To choose between the two is a matter of choice, but I personally like Shrinkster and here's why:

    1. Tinyurl's, tiny url's are infact not that tiny anymore... is shrank down to which isn't so easy to remember.  Shrinkster takes it down to - only a matter of time I guess before Shrinkster has so many links, 3 characters are not enough, but for now...make hay!

    2. TinyUrl's site is full of crap and ad's all over the place, far too cluttered. Shrinkster is nice and clean, a text box and a "Shrink It!" button!


    3. Shrinkster has a some nice Track functionality, as you would imagine you can track how many times your Shrinkster link has been hit....


    4. Shrinkster has the verb, Shrinksterise !! - "Shrinkterise it" !! where as "Tinyurlerise it"!! I think NOT!  If more get behind it, then a new word to follow "Google it" could be on the way to the Oxford Dictionary!

    That comprehensive list of both functional and logical reasons are without a doubt enough to make the URL shrinking service of choice!!! ;-) Perhaps I have too much free time this morning and should find something more productive to think about!

    Something for both to think about, as mentioned somewhere before by, I think Scott Hanselman, how long before the Internet is full on link rot!!??


  • Run fat boy run....

    Tags: Personal

    For about 8 months I have been running, mainly at the gym on the treadmill.  I've been clocking up about 9 miles a week, not normally running more than 3 miles in one go.  I'm not running for anything other than for a bit of fitness - I certainly enjoy it and have some cool gadgets like a heart rate monitor and that nike plus thing that goes on my foot and in my iPod to give some nice feedback and track how much I do, gives me inspiration.

    Anyway, this Sunday I am running outside for Sport Relief.  6 miles so nothing amazing, but's for charity.  Check out the site, it's a good cause. donate some money! Think of me Sunday lunch time, running in the cold!!

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  • Go Sharepoint : From the beginning

    Tags: SharePoint, AJAX, .NET 3.5

    Right, the virtual server is up and running...time to soak up some SharePoint...get some dnrTv episodes down my throat.

    Sahil Malik recorded a series of SharePoint episodes, 4 in fact. He starts with what happens when SharePoint is installed and finishes with some massive XML files for a Business Data Catalogue application. Tip: They are an hour long, so watch it in fast mode, the talking speed is still good and it only takes 30 mins to watch.

    Session 1

    Session 2

    Session 3

    Session 4

    Note: You can get the XML from his website for the BDC apps. You will need Northwind if you want to use them "as is".

    Edit Master Pages

    Using SharePoint designer you can edit the master page of your site - although I didn't do any editing, I did open the master page in designer, just to have a look at it!


    SharePoint is obviously made up of webparts; being able to write your own and add them to SharePoint, I think, is a huge advantage. There are a couple of steps to get them into SharePoint that without some help, you'll never figure out! AJAX in SharePoint (if you are using the AJAX framework in .net 3.5 you will need to amend the XML accordingly)

    Although I have been able to get the XML done, added a scriptmanager to the master page, I am having problems getting the update panel to wrap the contents. I haven't spent a great deal of time looking at it – perhaps someone is aware of a Gotcha??

    Host WCF service in SharePoint

    Use WCF service from outside Sharepoint

    Calling a WCF service from within a custom web part is really, really easy. Basically follow exactly the same steps you would in any other project, just remember to put add the ServiceModel section to the web.config on your SharePoint site. I didn't try this originally as my web part and WCF service are .NET 3.5 and Sharepoint site is .NET 2.0, I thought it wouldn't work, however as .NET 3.5 is an extension to .NET 2.0 it does! :) Happy days! I did consider writing the endpoint code in C#, but when you use a reference to a hosted service, the endpoint is read only.

    Hosting Silverlight

    Join up at - if you haven't seen it, you can upload your Silverlight apps and movies to MS servers – it's a pretty cool service and if Silverlight is your bag, you NEED to use it!!

    Once you have uploaded your app you, you can either reference the JavaScript files in the page or use an iframe to host the app in your page. Either way, they give you the code to paste in! Which is always nice! To show the control in SharePoint all I did was create my own webpart, override the render contents event and write the code out on the HtmlTextWriter. Same as any other control :)


    I created a couple, a blog site and some others, it's pretty self explanatory really, especially if you watch the dnrTv videos.


    1. I want to figure out how to call WCF services from BDC applications - direct to SQL is not for me!
    2. More AJAX in Sharepoint, perhaps the toolkit.
    3. Sharepoint API, what can I do?
    4. I didn't touch on Security at all; everything is using the "admin" user. Yuk!
    5. Site content types, Sahil covered these in the second webcast, but I am still not 100% sure how I could make use of these, or if I would even want too!
    6. The other 4 million things that Sharepoint has! It's really big you know! J - Take some guidance on direction from "The Book" when it arrives!!

    Technorati Tags: Sharepoint, MOSS 2007, ajax, WCF