Chris Garrett

Just Another Web Geek
Just like riding a bike

After over a year of not touching any Microsoft development platform code this week I helped a friend with a GDI+ issue and hacked some .asp together. It's amazing, the classic ASP just flowed. Comfortable as an old shoe. .NET? It was all strangely familiar and unfamiliar at once. I co-authored two books on GDI+ with C# but could I write more than a line of code without swearing? Could I bugger.

On the LAMP side things are going pretty swimmingly, in fact the waters so warm I am over in the deep end with my goggles on. Loving it. Not bad for someone who said he was going to give up programming. Never say never :) I am now truly platform agnostic though, I have my Windows, LAMP and now even a Mac. Pretty sweet and they all play nice together too.

I might have a go at using Mono on my Mac ...



Posted: Dec 20 2006, 04:14 PM by Chris Garrett | with no comments
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MVP no more

Guess it had to happen some time. I am no longer an MVP - official.

While this news makes me surprisingly sad I had expected it for a long time. In fact I expected it last year.

My ASP/ASP.NET activity this year has been near zero. Just look at this blog, one post this year? I attended DDD and that is just about it, other than installing some beta software and hanging around the MSWebDev and aspinsiders lists. Code-wise I have been 100% LAMP since last Christmas.

So depressing but expected. The thing is MVP is awarded to people who contribute positively to the Microsoft community and while I host and moderate MsWebDev with Plip I do very little actual "turning up" any more. I haven't got any free time and little to say when I have.

I guess this means I can remove visual studio from all my machines now and not just my laptop. 

Congratulations to all those who did achieve it this year :)

DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper Report

DDD Photoset at Flickr

Plip has pipped me to blogging and posting his photographs but I thought I would let you know about DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper3 anyway!

IMG_2557It was a great day, and in my opinion a massive success. Apparently the event was fully subscribed only 10 days after first announcement, and there was a waiting list, with only word of mouth advertising.

IMG_2526Of course within minutes of turning up I had been told off. Plip had given me a burgundy t-shirt to wear, not one of the posh polo-type (I wasn't one of the organisers or a speaker) even so I was pleased to be part of the purple-shirt-gang. I thought I would wear it under the shirt I was already wearing. That is when I got told to either wear it properly or not at all - naughty me!

THE Phil and Dave show It wasn't just about hanging out with geeks and consuming massive amounts of coffee, cookies, pastries and other assorted goodies, there was hard-core code and info too. Most entertaining was when I witnessed Phil and Dave "improv" a talk on tiered ASP.NET applications that was very well received. I have to thank the two other informative sessions I sat in on, one on NHybernate and another on the cool AJAX toys ("Atlas"), for re-invigorating my interest in all things .NET.

Was well worth the trip and no doubt I will be amongst the first to sign up for the next one! Great stuff guys, you should be proud.  

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Going mobile for DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper
Of all the preparations for my trip to DDD the strangest and most difficult has been sorting out my internet access. Curiously all the hotels with free and fast wifi were taken, funny that, heh, so I have had to fall back on the old 3G. Easy enough, my XDA serves me well for email , MSN IM and limited browsing and surely it can't be difficult to hook it up to the laptop as a modem? Can it?

I think you know the rest of that story.

Luckily I didn't have to make the usual round of call center back and forth, routed transatlantic calls, on-hold nightmares and mis-communications. Because I got the PDA through my business my call was picked up by a tech support dude on the first ring and had my problem fixed in a couple of hours (turns out it was a flash software update I needed, not me being a dumbass surprisingly).

Obviously I still need to get there, find the hotel, find the campus and then be in close proximity to The Plip so my woes aren't entirely over, but at least that is one task ticked off.

I'm pretty excited about this event though, will be good to meet some of the guys and the sessions look pretty interesting. Maybe when I get back I will be able to put it to good use and do some .NET developing again. Have always wanted to see MS campus too, geeky I know.

For anyone else going, see you there!

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CommunityServer and Performancing for Firefox
Yay, looks like I can use Performancing for Firefox with!

(Use custom->metaweblog as the type and as the URL)


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Community Server and blog APIs
It seems like Community Server can work with blog APIs, at least that is how I read this forum post. Was this installed with upgrade?

I would really like to be able to use our Performancing Firefox extension rather than log into this here control panel, I am far more likely to post often if I can fit my blog into my normal posting schedule.

If you are not aware of Performancing for Firefox, check out the link below

Performancing for Firefox is a full featured blog editor built right into your browser 
Where have I been?
Wow, a lot has happened since I last posted to this blog. For quite a while I haven't been able to log in even if I had the motivation or content to post. I guess I should do something now the RobH and the guys have upgraded to CS2.

The most recent posts in my archive talked about us wanting to emigrate to Canada. At that time it looked like Winnipeg. Well, that fell through. The house prices are ridiculously cheap but I couldn't find any employment (excluding a low-level programming position or farm labourer). We also tried Calgary, after Vancouver worked out waaaaay to expensive, but Calgary has also been experiencing a property bubble through Alberta getting rich off the oil industry. So for now we are stuck in England. I still have my eye on Canada, possibly new brunswick, although the job market doesn't seem much better than Manitoba.

Work wise I left the marketing agency where I was working and set up my own company. I was offered a contract to work with a couple of great blokes who were forming a startup called Performancing. I am kind of the technical bod, if they had job titles I would be something like a CTO but without the suit, corner office, etc. Our main services right now are a firefox extension for bloggers and a free blog stats service called Performancing Metrics.

Right now I am getting my hands dirty in the dark side; PHP, Apache, MySQL, Drupal, CVS ... It's been very interesting, never underestimate the power of the dark side. I am also pretty excited about trying to persuade anyone who will listen to allow me to build a .NETv2 project. No joy so far.

While I still keep one ear in the Microsoft universe, especially my UK friends on the list I haven't had much hands-on involvement with ASP.NET because my focus has been getting Performancing off the ground which is open source based but I hope to remedy that, starting with DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper. Look me up if you are going, it should be a blast.

It's not all work, I have also got massively into photography since purchasing my DSLR, check out my digital photography blog.
Support freedom to blog
The popular SEO expert and all-round good bloke, Aaron Wall ( has decided to fight his bizarre traffic power lawsuit. Please take a look at what is going on and either link him from your blog or donate. If you want to know who traffic power are, rather than me risk a lawsuit just let Google do the talking. It's not pretty.
Yes still interested! New media in winnipeg?

I just got asked by two different people if I was still in the UK. Unfortunately, yes :O( I know, I know, tell me about it. I wanted Amy (my daughter) to start school in Canada for the new term in september but looks extremely unrealistic now doesn't it?

So I still want to move to Winnipeg but more and more I am starting to think that there isn't a very healthy web industry there (my blog is still on the first page of google for winnipeg web agency., Yahoo Jobs, MediaJobSearchCanada .. nothing for internet and ecommerce in winnipeg. The only jobs that seem available are sales, clerks or hard-core application developer roles (my experience is in web site development and internet marketing, be a bit of a stretch for me to go into financial services application development or SAP or something).

I met Joel Semeniuk  for a chat when he was over in the UK earlier in the year. Really nice guy and well connected, even he didn't know of anyone who wanted web developers in Manitoba. Seems like new media is still a bit of a cottage industry over there. If I started my own web agency or did freelance would there be any work or would I end up coming back to the UK and have to start over? I am hanging out on techvibes but the majority of the people who do similar to me seem to be in Toronto and Vancouver.

I am in Winnipeg in August if anyone wants to interview me, contact me for my resume ;O)


Emailing Unicode Emails to Hotmail - solved!

In my last blog I asked how I could send unicode emails to hotmail, well Dave Wanta and (no affiliate code, heh) to the rescue!

The AspNetEmail message takes a CharSet property, so far so good

As well as setting the CharSet to the relevant country setting, I found I also needed to HTML encode my message. I worked up a simple function knowing there was probably a better way ..

'HtmlBody = Server.HtmlEncode(HtmlBody)

'HtmlBody = Replace(HtmlBody, "&lt;", "<", 1, -1, CompareMethod.Text)

'HtmlBody = Replace(HtmlBody, "&gt;", ">", 1, -1, CompareMethod.Text)

'HtmlBody = Replace(HtmlBody, "&quot;", """", 1, -1, CompareMethod.Text)

'HtmlBody = Replace(HtmlBody, "&apos;", "'", 1, -1, CompareMethod.Text)

'HtmlBody = Replace(HtmlBody, "&amp;", "&", 1, -1, CompareMethod.Text)


.. and there was, already in AspNetEmail component - schweet!

Dim Util As New aspNetEmail.HtmlUtility

Util.LoadString(HtmlBody, "")

Util.HtmlEncodeOption = HtmlEncodeOption.NumberedCodes


HtmlBody = Util.RenderedHtmlContent

msg.HtmlBodyPart = HtmlBody





Posted: Jun 07 2005, 05:27 PM by Chris Garrett | with no comments
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