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No image exist trick

January 3, 2010 20:54 by ckincincy

One of the neat little things I’ve learned on the big project I am on is how to show a default image if the one you need isn’t found.

To give a bit of a background, my last two jobs have been on catalog like websites.  Where you have thousands (on the bigger site… hundreds of thousands) of items in the catalog.  Each with several size variations of the image.  At my prior employer I had a pretty complex algorithm to determine if an image was available.  At the most basis level, querying the the hard drive to see if the file exist.   What I am using now is handled on the client side, and I tend to like the performance a bit more.

In a standard image tag, you have the following:

<img alt=”” src=”someimage.jpg” />

Adding a simple onerror tag to it, gives you a default image if the one you expect to be there doesn’t exist:

<img alt=”” src=”someimage.jpg” onerror=”this.onerror=null;this.src=’default.jpg’;” />

Pretty nice little trick, surprised I had never heard of it.


January 2, 2010 22:53 by ckincincy

image As covered in my prior post, I recently went on an in depth search for a web host.  I ended up at JODOHost.com.

Their price was unbelievable.  For unlimited sites, 4.5 GB of space, 65GB of transfer, and much more it is only $17.50 a month.  The great thing about this is that you can have Window servers and Linux servers. 

They actually support multiple domains in a true way, all the other host had their domains as sub directories of a root domain.  That isn’t the case with JodoHost, a domain is a unique folder.

They are based out of India, and there is an honest and fair criticism from Indian tech support about it being poor.  However, overall, I have found Jodo’s support to be more than acceptable.  There has been the occasional person who was below par, but I get that with American based support companies as well.

The only thing I don’t like is that you can’t make a folder writable on your own.  You have to open a support ticket so they can change that for you.

Overall, if you are looking for an ASP.NET host, JodoHost was by far the best one I tried. 

The search for a web host

December 16, 2009 06:00 by ckincincy

I’ve been on the search for a web host.  I’ve used Jetsoftdev/Devserve hosting for many years.  It was a bit of a trade off, I’d help manage their server and get some free hosting as well.  That worked great, but I honestly just got tired of having to manage the server so much.  I went on the look out for a new webhost that was reasonably priced but loaded with features. 

Specifically I needed multiple domain support.  I want the ability to host several sites for the base price.  Then, it had to be Windows based.

The journey was an interesting one, to give the short answer.  JodoHost.com won.  Godaddy, 1and1.com, and aplus.net lost.  I’ll go over the reasons why below.

For all providers, lets assume the fact that we have three domains and one of those has to be your ‘primary’ domain.

Root: example.com
2nd Domain: example2.com
3rd Domain: example3.com


I started with APlus.net.

This exposed me to the first problem that many host share when it comes to hosting multiple .NET domains.  I can’t speak for non-.NET sites as I don’t currently maintain any of those.  But .NET is configured to operate within “Applications” and the problem shows up when the host is using some fancy URL Rewriting to make ‘multiple domains’ possible.  When a .NET site has to search for its root directory, it will show it as it is setup in IIS. 

The problem here is when your file structure looks like this:




So the following URL’s would (or should) be valid:


The problem arises though, in that http://example2.com will show up as: http://example2.com/example2.com/ 

In trying to get this issue resolved along with some email issues, I found Aplus.net’s support to really be lacking.   Slow, to no reply.


Next I tried 1and1.com. 

I found the exact problem as aplus.net with the multiple domains. 

So I moved on pretty quickly as I had learned my lesson

They were, however, a bit slow to refund the initial fee that I paid to setup the service.


Next on the list was GoDaddy.com.

During my initial tryouts of GoDaddy.com I thought I had finally found my solution.  Unfortunately, however, they turned out to have the same .NET problem with multiple sites. 

I was a bit bummed. 

Their support was two fold.  It was always available, but at times kind of slow to react.  Many times they told me to wait 24 hours for changes to take affect (server changes, not DNS changes).  Then those changes would never take affect and they would have to reschedule the batch function to run and fix the issue, which could take another 24 hours.   This is why it took me so long to realize they had the same .NET issue.

image Finally I did some more searching, and found JodoHost.com

I took a look at some of their plans, and found that their Reseller Hosting plan was perfect for me.  It was unlimited domains, 65 GB of traffic, etc.. Makes no sense to use their basic web hosting plans when their reseller hosting plans give you so much more.  If you are looking for just a basic web host, then there are cheaper options out there.  This, for me, was the best option I could find.

I’ll write a specific follow up post for JodoHost.com soon.  I want to make sure the good and the bad is not lost in such a long post.

Uninstalling Oracle 10g

November 28, 2009 04:35 by ckincincy

I’ve spent my professional career on several types of databases, from the basic Access database to Microsoft SQL.  My current job is my first interaction with Oracle, and I can say that it is a learning experience!

My first issue with Oracle had to do with installed references for .NET.  I had version 11g, and 10.1g installed… however I required 10.2 to be installed.    Now I will readily admit some full ignorance with some of this, but the bottom line is that I needed to uninstall 11g and 10.1.  After much stumbling around I finally got them uninstalled, but there were remnants left on the box that messed up any reinstallation.

After some searching I found a great web page that ran down the changes I needed to make on my system to start fresh.

[Referenced article in PDF form]

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Finding Talent is Hard

October 4, 2009 21:31 by ckincincy

At my current employer, I am the round One interview.  I don’t negotiate or care about salary.  I just talk about .NET.  I have 20 standard questions I ask each and every person, then I throw in a few question specific to their resume. 

Now keep in mind these aren’t hard questions to answer.

What is the difference between session state and viewstate? 

What is the life cycle of an ASP.NET page? 

I don’t go into these interviews looking for a person to know every one of the answers, but there are a few that I consider critical.  I just want to measure their depth and breadth of knowledge of the .NET framework.  What I’ve come to realize is finding talent is hard.  So when I browsed to FoxNews.com and saw this article, I know exactly what they are talking about.  You’d think with unemployment hovering around 10% that talented people would be available.

Then when you do find somebody worth hiring, its not a done deal.  Due to the extremely tight market when you find a developer you want, you are battling with other companies.  Even meeting salary expectations isn’t enough, because of the market the employee can pick and choose which company they want to work for, with little risk of letting a good opportunity pass them by. 

Now just so this post isn’t one big rant I want to throw my thoughts out on a few aspects of this topic.

What does this mean for companies?

1. It means you need to be willing to pay top dollar.  This isn’t a market where you can negotiate down a persons salary.  If they say it is going to take 80K to get them on board, then you need to be prepared to pay 80K.

2. It means you better pay the employees you have.  I’m new to my job, and while money was far from the primary or only factor, it was a factor.  Companies need to pay the employees they don’t want to lose top dollar.  This, surprisingly, isn’t a market where a 5% raise guarantees an employee sticking around.

3. The cost of development has gone up.  The out-sourcing movement has had its affect on the market and there is no India to turn to to drive cost down.  Talented workers are expensive workers.

What can be done about it?

1. Training must be encouraged.  As the previous article stated in another way, you aren’t going to take the factory worker and plug them into these jobs.  People like me have been constantly learning for years to get to where we are.  They need to understand that just because they were a lead worker on their factory line, they will have to be the follower in their new line of work.

2. Government incentives.  I think this is a place where a focused tax benefit could come in handy.  Give companies a significant tax break for hiring entry level workers for these positions.  It cost money to train them and their newbie mistakes cost money.  Give companies a reason to hire relatively new people.

3. College for all.  Yep, the small government Republican just said that.  We need to find a way to get more people into college.  We can’t compete if we don’t have the skills to compete.

What does this mean for the worker?

1. Don’t be afraid to look around.  One of the big causes of the tight job market is that people are afraid to switch jobs.  I’ve never been one to play into this fear much.  I know that with some risk comes reward. 

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for more money.  Lets be real here when I say, they don’t have much of a choice in the matter.

3. Stay up to date on your skills.  This is why there is an allusion of age discrimination in the IT field.  People get comfortable in what they are doing and when technology moves on, they can’t find a job when they need one. 

With all of that being said, my employer is still looking to hire several .NET developers.  If you are interested contact me and let me know.  Going through me, does offer some incentive as I do get a referral bonus.  Not that I’d take it any easier on you in the phone interview, but it sure does make me like you more :-).

[Referenced article in PDF form]

How I Help

September 24, 2009 16:52 by ckincincy

I forget where I found this:


Visual Studio Tips and Tricks

January 29, 2009 03:00 by ckincincy

Ran across this post a while a go, figured I’d share.  It is 11 Tips for Visual Studio.  Take a moment and go over to Stephen Walther’s site for an explanation of them.  I really like number 1 and 4.  I already knew 6, 7, and 11.

Tip #1 – You don’t need to select a line to copy or delete it

Tip #2 – You can add a namespace automatically by pressing CTRL-.

Tip #3 – Never create properties by hand

Tip #4 – You can remove and sort unnecessary using statements

Tip #5 – Use CTRL-k+c to comment out code

Tip #6 – You can close all documents except the current one

Tip #7 – You can open a database by double-clicking the database file in App_Data

Tip #8 – You can copy a file or folder into a project by dragging and dropping

Tip #9 – Use CTRL-SPACE to perform statement completion

Tip #10 – Add new items by pressing CTRL-N or CTRL-SHIFT+A

Tip #11 – You don’t need to type file extensions when adding a file

Tweaking Windows

January 17, 2009 03:00 by ckincincy

For a while now there has been a program to tweak Windows XP.  It allows you to change a few hidden settings in the operating system. 

Now that I am on Vista, I went on to find the same program for Vista and found it.

So if you are on Windows, download the appropriate version and give it a once over.  It is lightweight and very powerful.

Ultimate Windows Tweaker for Vista

Tweak UI for XP (its along the right column)

Abusive Spiders - GateKeeper

January 11, 2009 15:39 by ckincincy


Chris Blankenship has been on a crusade lately about abusive spiders.  I was interested in some of the fixes he was applying to it, but a few weeks ago I got an email from him about a solution he was developing, ‘GateKeeper’.  I reviewed the code and it all looked good, but he wasn’t ready yet to fully release it into the wild.

It finally got to that point and I installed it on my two DotNetBlogEngine.net blogs. So far I have been really impressed with it.  I’m really interested to see how it affects my overall traffic.  Right now I have four blocked user agents:

baiduspider, larbin, sogou, sosospider.  All of those came from Chris’s recommendation.  Then I immediately got a Slurp violation, though I am going to give them one more failure before I block them.  Chris also has MSN blocked.  A lot of my traffic comes from Live Search, so I’m a little scared to do that.

I did fall on one issue with the solution though.  When I installed it, I had it set to automatically block violators.  Unknown to Chris and I is that Google caches the robots.txt file!  So since they didn’t get my new robots.txt file, they were blocked!  So it is recommended to not turn on the automatic blocking for at least a few days.

Related post from Chris’s site:
The Continued Struggle With Spiders
To catch a spider…
Abusive Web Crawlers
Blocking Bad UserAgents and IP Addresses
The elusive Robots.txt file

Cleaning Up the Task Bar

January 9, 2009 00:00 by ckincincy

image So I have this domain name for a reason.  I'm a bit OCD in nature, and one of those quirks is that I want my task bar to not be cluttered.  Just the things I want to see right now.

So I went searching for an application that would minimize things to the system tray (you know that thing by the clock).

I found an application called TrayIt!  It works just as you would expect, you hold the shift key and hit the minimize and it goes to the system tray. 

Not much more to it than that.  I tried several minimizer programs, and this one is by far the best.