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April 2004 - Posts

New show idea for MTV & Microsoft: "Pimp My Site"

Anyone that knows me knows that I love 2 things with great passion: (1) television and (2) the Web.  I've got the world's best job being able to work and play on and with both simultaneously.  Its truly is a non-stop thrill to be able to merge the two platforms and do some really cool cross-media things. 

One of the shows that I really love watching these days is MTV's “Pimp My Ride”, which if you've never seen it is basically an Extreme Makeover for average people with junked-out cars featuring unbelievable revamps by West Coast Customs on all sorts of vehicles.

I was thinking that MTV and Microsoft should do something similar with junked-out web sites and apps.  Have an ISV or web shop go in, take a horrendous site, and give it the aesthetic and functional treatment to make it something really killer.  Can you imagine the ratings from the geek crowd?  Think about it...

SITE OWNER: “Man!  I can't believe how you guys pimped my site!  It's awesome!!!“

DEVELOPER: “OK, your site was totally screwed up and had no customers.  So, we gave you the deluxe web pimp package.  We fixed your broken links, indexed you with Google, had our graphics guy apply a custom color scheme and CSS theme to your site for feel, upscaled your DB from Access to the new SQL Server to manage your users and inventory, and re-worked your URLs to be based on XML.  Yeah!“

Man, I need some sleep.  :)

Posted: Apr 30 2004, 10:05 PM by guam-aspdev | with 8 comment(s)
Filed under:
Book review: "Understanding Web Services Specifications and the WSE"

I just finished reading an excellent book on WSE 2.0 by Jeannine Hall Gailey from MSPress: http://weblogs.asp.net/jasonsalas/articles/123539.aspx


Posted: Apr 30 2004, 01:38 PM by guam-aspdev | with no comments
Filed under:
My latest web pet peeve: if you're gonna make use of Flash, make sure you make use of Flash

I've noticed something that's been bugging me lately...the (mis)use of Flash on web pages and apps.  It's a great technology, and capable of doing a lot, and I've used it for years, which is to say that I've created various incarnations of the same animation to fit my company's needs.  I first started employing Flash in my own web projects to facilitate long-form animation that animated GIFs just couldn't pull off.

However, I so often see now people haphazardly creating Flash movies for simple things like 150-x-150 banners or little callouts.  It certainly works and arguably won't kill the page, but it's a terrible waste for such purposes, in my opinion.  Why spend that much time putting a movie together just to have text fade in over a static image?

I'm a big advocate for using Flash for things like long, integrated, complex presentations.  There's quite simply nothing better on the market for getting a message across automatically or interactively.  Still, don't break out a Ferrari just to drive 500 feet down a dirt road to go to the market.

In a similar vein, I've also seen ill-advised people use Flash for things like what-should-be-broadcast-quality TV ads, and mini-movies.  Yecch.


Creating a provider-specific [HOME] link in ASP.NET mobile apps

I’m working on a very fun project, only because it’s confusing the hell out of me.  Essentially, I want to create a mobile Link whose NavigateUrl property would be dynamically assigned, based on the ISP or other service provider they use.  So, I’d need to figure out a way to get the IP (or a range) of the calling client.  This results in the user clicking on the link and being returned to their ISP’s homepage. 

I’m also trying to do something that can pull the value of MSIE’s “Home” value, so that they can return to the user-defined homepage as specified in the browser settings.

Essentially, here’s what I’m doing in web.config:

<add key=”” value=”http://foo.com”/>
<add key=”” value=”http://bar.com”/>
<add key=”” value=”http://foobar-corp.com”/>

…then within my ASP.NET pages:

Link l = new Link();
l.Text = “Return home”;
l.NavigateUrl =  // somehow get the IP of the ISP they use and insert the destination URL from web.config

This helpr method seems to work, although it's hacky:

string ispIPAddress;

// if the client is accessing the resource through a proxy server, the proxy IP will be in "HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR"
// "HTTP_CLIENT_IP" is rarely used
if(Request.ServerVariables["HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR"] != null || Request.ServerVariables["HTTP_CLIENT_IP"] != null)
           ispIPAddress = Request.ServerVariables["HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR"];
           ispIPAddress = Request.ServerVariables["REMOTE_ADDR"];

Anyone have any ideas as to getting the IP or provider name?

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