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October 2004 - Posts

It's hard to conduct an uptime test in the real world
Last night my host, ServerMatrix, put my server on a new power connection that allows me to remotely power cycle the box. I appreciate the new feature, but it's sort of a bummer that I had to lose 120 days of uptime.

That's pretty cool though. I mean, I never made it that long when I use Win2k Server. In this case, I never even cycled a service on and off. It just worked, never choked. It's great to see that kind of reliability in a Microsoft product.
Posted: Oct 27 2004, 10:45 AM by Jeff | with no comments
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iTunes stops working, Windows Update annoyance
For some reason, iTunes just stopped working on my HTPC. It appears in the process list, but the UI never appears. Annoying.

Windows Update has an AMD processor update from 2002. It can't install it, and it gives one of those great meaningless errors as a sequence of numbers. Also annoying.

Related? Only God really knows. I hate it when stuff doesn't just work. Reminds me of the Windows 95 days where you had to reinstall the OS once every six months.
Posted: Oct 26 2004, 04:38 PM by Jeff | with 17 comment(s)
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Revenge of the greedy RegEx
Naturally, when I get my text parsing right for the forums and release it, I realize that my test coverage wasn't as good as I had hoped. I've got a spot of code that looks for pseudo-code quote tags for conversion to an HTML blockquote. The expression looks like this:

(\[quote\])(.*)(\[/quote\])

Works like a champ... sort of. The middle group in the Match object (match.Groups[2]) then gets parsed to look for nested quotes. This works well to.

The problem is that it counts this as one entire match:

[quote]quote 1[/quote][quote]quote 2[/quote]

Where I'm troubled is that I'm not sure which group I should be altering. The middle "meat" of the quote I need to access via the Groups collection so I can parse for nested quotes, and every attempt I've made to alter this breaks the proper nesting.

I hate it that this one area causes me so much grief. I'm not brilliant, but I would think I'd be smart enough to keep this from eluding me! Help is appreciated.
Posted: Oct 25 2004, 09:43 PM by Jeff | with 7 comment(s)
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POP Forums v7.5.0 final posted
I won't post the changes (again) here, but last night, or rather this morning, I posted the final distribution of POP Forums v7.5.0.

http://www.popforums.com/

This is only an incremental upgrade, not something amazing and new. The real highlight of it is that the text parsing engine is finally producing something XHTML compliant (if my test coverage is any good). It's not the cleanest code ever, but it works, and it doesn't bring the server to its knees to do it. Two pluses for any software. ;) It was always kind of a source of embarassment to have mangled HTML creep up into a page every once in awhile, so after like five years of messing with it, I'm glad it works now.

There's a site I very much would like to build and deploy before the end of the week, then I can turn my attention back to v8. My motivation for working on that had slipped a bit since it's not like I can use it in production until beta 2 of Whidbey. It has been hanging out in the corner of my mind though, and that has allowed me to think some things out regarding its overall architecture. I think it'll be better than I originally conceived it.
Posted: Oct 25 2004, 11:20 AM by Jeff | with no comments
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Are there remnants of a SQL worm out there?
I noticed that some IP was banging on my server today, specifically on the SQL port. No big deal I guess, because I just outright blocked it for safety's sake, but are there little remnants of that SQL worm still hanging out?
Posted: Oct 21 2004, 10:27 PM by Jeff | with 2 comment(s)
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POP Forums 7.5.0 beta 2 posted
POP Forums 7.5.0 beta 2 has been posted to http://www.popforums.com/downloads.htm

This beta fixes minor bugs from the first, and the text parser in particular generates very nearly correct XHTML every time (or at least it passes the unit tests!). I expect this will be a short beta cycle before final release. Thanks to the cats that posted to my blog for at the very least inspiring me in the right direction on certain issues.

This release is a point release intended to fix some of the problems associated with v7.0.x of the core engine and v7.1.0 of the "feature" UI package. A more comprehensive update to v8.0 is slated for release when v2.0 of Microsoft's ASP.NET may be licensed for use in production environments (this is expected to be some time in the first quarter of 2005).

The following outlines the changes in this version:

Engine changes from v7.0.x to v7.5.0

  • New text parsing engine
  • Removed PopForums.Global class
  • Added PopForums.Module HttpModule class to replace global.asax functionality
  • Added PopForums.OnlineUsers class 
  • Five methods from PopForums.Stats marked obsolete, replaced in OnlineUsers
  • New online user engine
  • Added OnlineUsers table
  • Added "PopForumsSessionLength" to config settings, indicating number of minutes in a user session as tracked by OnlineUsers
  • Added new PopForums.Forum.GetTopics() overload to get paged results 
  • RichText control displays in Windows 2000
  • Old PopForums.TextParser methods marked obsolete, new ones added
UI changes v7.1.0 to v7.5.0
  •   Fixed member post paging
  • Online user stats now draw from PopForums.OnlineUsers 
  • Added RequiredFieldValidator to SendPrivateMessage.ascx to check for a subject
  • PM reply doesn't add endless string of "re:"
  • Removed global.asax entirely
  • Fixed PagerLinks.cs to correctly display tool tips
  • Added PagedPagerLinks.cs to display paged results from new PopForums.Forum.GetTopics() overload
  • Made the member mailer text box in the admin bigger
Posted: Oct 21 2004, 11:12 AM by Jeff | with no comments
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Help a guy out with RegEx
OK, I get how to replace a group in Regex.Replace something like this:

Regex.Replace(@"(blah)(blah2)(blah3)", "new$2new", RegexOptions.IgnoreCase)

...where the result is "newblah2new"

But how would use replace "blah2" with something dynamically generated, namely another string based on "blah2"? I'm tripping all over the examples in the docs and need a little help.
Posted: Oct 20 2004, 11:15 AM by Jeff | with 4 comment(s)
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Stupid programmers of the day: Symantec's Norton Anti-Virus
Last month I complained about the stupidity regarding The Sims 2 save folders. Well the kids at Symantec have made an even more ridiculous programming desicion.

If you move the product's Start Menu folder to somewhere other than the root Programs folder, it chokes and gives you the message, "Norton AntiVirus 2005 doesn't support the Repair feature. Please uninstall and reinstall." Even worse, the message pops up every time you open an Office document.

You've gotta be kidding me! Symantec wants to dictate the way I structure my start menu? I don't know about you, but I like to categorize stuff and organize it does I don't have a list of 50 different program groups.

Unbelievable. I think I'm going to write them and tell them I want my money back. I'll buy someone else's product. Who allows this kind of thing to make it to retail?
Posted: Oct 18 2004, 09:18 AM by Jeff | with 4 comment(s)
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Using Mozilla/FireFox as a rich text editor?
I've seen a lot of stuff on the Net about using IE for a rich text editor (wrote a control for the forum even). Has anyone seen similar information for doing the same in Mozilla/FireFox? I've searched and searched and I'm not seeing it.
Posted: Oct 16 2004, 05:41 PM by Jeff | with 8 comment(s)
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Pretty media center PC's
Story on News.com today shows conceptual media center PC's. Existing units don't sell well. Wow, what a shocker. Maybe it's because they look like PC's? Who wants to put one of those nasty looking boxes in their living room? You know, if Apple was designing the things they would fly off the shelf.

I spent a ridiculous $200 on a case to make my HTPC look like it belonged in the living room. Talk about purchase regret, but what else could I do? Have you seen those hideous PC's made by HP and Dell? No thanks. Alienware got it right, but even I couldn't justify the cost of one of their boxes.
Posted: Oct 15 2004, 12:15 PM by Jeff | with no comments
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