May 2004 - Posts

TiVo Reader - RSS Aggregator for TiVo
17 May 04 10:30 AM | mhawley | 4 comment(s)

Okay, so my boss has gotten my brain churning on a new project, something that isn't work related (wahoo!). As you can see from the title of this post, I'm going to attempt to make a TiVo Reader, aka - a RSS Aggregator for TiVo.

Here are my problems, though - I have about 20 days left on my free HMO trial (I think) and I cannot directly interact with the TiVo without hacking.

My plans are to create a Windows service/UI front end that will (on a timely manner) read RSS feeds and create images (probably using GDI+) to store them to the file system so the TiVo desktop server can pick them up and you can read them on your TiVo.

My boss already has a working implementation of this, however he's using Linux, some random scripts, and its just not that easy. I wanted an easy way of doing this that anyone already running the TiVo desktop software can work with.

What do you guys think? Can it be done in 20 days (so I can actually use it)? Would people want this?

PS - I've also had thoughts on using POP3 to connect to NewsGator's POP edition to download my posts, maybe a future item?

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Updated Article: Drag and Drop List View
17 May 04 10:08 AM | mhawley | with no comments

I took some more time late last week and this weekend to fix a few more known issues to my Drag and Drop List View control article on Code Project. Here's a listing of updated items:

  • Fixed inability to have lines shown for Large or Small Icon listings.
  • Fixed ability to fully move ListViewItems without loosing data.
  • Removed hack to find the corresponding DragAndDropListView control.

Enjoy!

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I want Coder to Developer, please Amazon?
17 May 04 08:44 AM | mhawley | 10 comment(s)

Well, Test Driven Development in .NET will show up today, however I'm dissapointed that the main book I had ordered at the same time is back ordered and won't be shipping until June sometime. Yup, wish I had Coder to Developer by Mike Gunderloy to read today, but I guess it'll just be some TDD in .NET for me.

I also find it very odd that no where on Amazon does it say that this book is back ordered, and the real kicker is that it has "Want it delivered tomorrow?" Hah! I don't think so buddy, I get mine first. Maybe I should check out Barnes & Noble to see if I can get the book sooner than mid June. Sorry Amazon, you may have lost my business on that book.

Update: Just ordered it on Barnes & Noble - sure I spent $5 more, but at least their expected shipping date is today, not a range of 1 month. Now - off to cancel the one from Amazon.

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Free Home Media Edition Trial for TiVo
16 May 04 10:36 PM | mhawley | 3 comment(s)
After church today I was pokin' around the main menu of my TiVo only to realize that I somehow had the Home Media Edition working for me. This was truly a suprise since I hadn't bought it, but after a bit of searching on the community forums, I found out that they're doing a 30-day free HMO edition trial for all Series 2 DVRs. Very sweet indeedy since I've been plugging my MP3's to my TiVo all night while setting up the new entertainment center. Still gonna be a hard purchase for $99, though.
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New Entertainment Center
16 May 04 10:30 PM | mhawley | 1 comment(s)

So me and my girlfriend spent the better half of the last few days searching for and putting together a new entertainment center for the living room. After about 6-7 hours of driving around to different stores in the Bloomington-Normal, IL area, we had finally found one that we liked from Walmart. However, much to our dismay, when I went to go purchase it late last night, Walmart had only the floor model left and the model had seemed to be discontinued.

Disheartening as it was, we found another item not on the floor that seemed to be better (however a bit more expensive - $30 more). After drowning my sorrows in various liquors, and waking up and (I guess) repenting at church this morning, we decided to go with the model that we had seen the night before.

The center is extremely heavy - weighs about 200 pounds I'd say - but is extremely super cool with a "hidden" cabinet that opens up on the left side to expose 4 shelves that would hold about 15 DVDs (maybe more or less, haven't put any in). The other side is glass encased for storing my entertainment items (DVD, VCR, TiVo, XBox, and Receiver).

So, after borrowing the girlfriends' Aunt and Uncle's Durango, we hauled the thing home and spent roughly 4 hours putting the massive beast together. Only one time did I almost give in and start punching it, and that was trying to get the bottom feet & wood aligned. I'm glad I didn't though, because the finished (un-furnished with geeky items) product is superb.

So, now I get to spend tomorrow night re-wiring my entire system and making it so much nicer and easier to determine what is what. I ended up buying some wire wraps from Radio Shack so I could do this. So, I'm off to bed to dream about the full blown geekness that awaits me for tomorrow night. A solid 2 hours of rewiring, man it sure is a love/hate relationship. Hate to wire anything up, but love to use it when its done.

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Updated Article: Drag and Drop List View
14 May 04 09:42 AM | mhawley | with no comments

I took some time this morning to fix a few known issues to my Drag and Drop List View control article on Code Project. Here's a listing of updated items:

  • Fixed ListView not scrolling.
  • Added AllowReorder to allow turning row reordering and row transfer off.
  • Added LineColor to allow you to set the color of the line drawn.

Enjoy!

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Article Released: Drag and Drop ListView
13 May 04 06:43 PM | mhawley | with no comments

The past few days I've been working on a Drag and Drop ListView that allows you to reorder list items within itself as well as transfer list items to other ListViews. I took some time tonight to write up an article and post it on Code Project. Luckily my manager allowed me to share this control with the world, and so I'm doing so.

So, what are you waiting for. Check out my Drag and Drop ListView article on Code Project.

Enjoy!

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Office Moving
12 May 04 11:36 AM | mhawley | 1 comment(s)

I just love it when I have to pick up my office space only to move, again. This is move number 5 in 3.5 years (I think?) for me at work. I guess they like to keep us on the ball, and again, this time its the same reason we've moved each time before.

Just a brief description - our company owns a 1 story building, in which there are 7-8 suites in it. Currently there's only 2 companies utilizing all the space, and our company seems to always get moved whenever the other company has a growth spurt.

This time is like no other except for the fact that the other company just split, and so their taking over suites 1 & 2, while our company will be taking suites 3-5, and the remaining goes to the orginal company from the split.

I seriously hate moving offices, its almost as bad as moving apartments or homes, which we all know are great pains in the you know what's. My only request thus far is to keep my desk that I currently have. I think it will happen, since our office furniture once fit where we're moving to - oh, did I forget my division is moving back to its original home from 1 move ago?

Err, well it's going to be fun, I think they're going to actually hire a company to move our office furniture for us this time. Last time we all came in on a Saturday and moved it ourselves, talk about fun, right? Okay, enough of my ranting.

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Outlook Remembers My Selection
11 May 04 12:54 PM | mhawley | with no comments
I just found a major plus about Outlook 2003 that I just love! I'm constantly setting flags and then digging into my "for follow up" search folder so I can easily access emails I need frequently. One email that I've been using a ton lately, is an email with several different login's and passwords for an application I'm working on. It turns out that jumping between folders within Outlook is extremely smart. Whenever you return to a folder, it re-selects which email/post you had selected last. Very handy when I don't have to dig through 30 emails to find the one I'm looking for.
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Large File Uploading in ASP.NET
11 May 04 10:40 AM | mhawley | 8 comment(s)

I posted this to the ASP.NET forums back in November of 2002, and, too much of my dismay, still is an issue and people are still having problems figuring this out. I don't really know how many times I've helped people with this problem, and just recently I had to do the same. So, for my own personal reference (mainly), and to share the information, I decided to re-post it in my blog...

First the good...

To upload large files, and not receive the DNS Error or the page stopping while uploading, we found several settings between the machine.config and the web.config files that you need to modify. There are specifically 3 places, 2 of which can be overwritten in your web.config file.

In your web.config, add a line under your system.web <httpRuntime executionTimeout="54000" maxRequestLength="512000" /> where execution timeout is in seconds, and maxRequestLength is in KB. executionTimeout, is basically the amount of time a thread will continue to run, and accept data by IIS/.NET. maxRequestLength, is the total amount of data that can be sent through HTTP Post to the server. The default is 4MB (4096)...and is generally set low so that your server will not be overwhelmed by possible DoS attacks.

In your machine.config, modify responseDeadlockInterval to equal the same amount of time for executionTimeout. responseDeadlockInterval, is basically the amount of time that the Client's browser and Server will continue to communicate. Every several minutes or so, the server polls the client, asking if they have any more information to send, if they do not receive anything back after several times, then the server stops the current thread and all communication is stopped. This is the cause of the DNS Error you may see sometimes.

These 3 changes will allow you to successfully upload large files.

Now...the bad...

Memory deallocation is a major issue, that has no current solution. Whenever you upload files via HTTP Post, the file is stored in the memory of the aspnet_wp.exe process, and never deallocates completely (if your lucky a few MB gets released). One of the config settings for .NET processes, allows them to utilize 60% of physical memory on the server, at which point the process is recycled and all execution is stopped. Whenever a new upload is started, though, some memory is de-allocated, but not enough compared to memory that was used in prior uploads.

Microsoft is aware of this problem, and has assured us that it will be fixed with some upcoming releases of the .NET framework. Some solutions that they suggested to us, was to use Classic ASP, Third Party Components, or Custom Built ISAPI filters. Because of our solution we were using this in, we could do none of the three, so we topped the server out at 2GB of RAM. This has provided us with some breathing room if several people start uploading huge files, and gives us enough time to restart IIS if we start nearing 1.3GB of RAM being used by aspnet_wp.exe.

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