Link: Booko

This site has been around for awhile now, but I was recently reminded of it when a colleague was asking for the best place to buy books online for Australia; Booko is a very simple and easy to use price comparison for purchasing books in Australia. The search engine will retrieve results from over 30 common online booksellers — including Amazon, Fishpond, The Nile, Booktopia, Borders, QBD, The Co-op, and many more — and order the results based on the price of the book and the estimated delivery cost.

Check out Booko at http://www.booko.com.au/

See Code, See CodeRun

Merbla wrote a short post today about a site he came across, CodeRun. The site is an online code repository, with the added advantage of an online IDE include on the site which allows you to see the code and run/debug it as it is. After signing up for a free account you can create your own projects (AJAX, ASP.NET, PHP and WPF — AJAX and ASP.NET also have support for Facebook applications) which you can develop, store and run all from their website.

The concept is brilliant — everything from start to go can be done online via your standard web browser (currently only supports Internet Explorer and FireFox) and publishing of your source code is as simple as a right-click and a left-click. Once the source has been published other people can freely go and search for source code in the repository and open it directly in the browser, make modifications and run them all from within the browser.

However; The actual implementation of it so far (while still very impressive) is significantly lacking from a development perspective. Although it is possible to do the majority of thing you can do in Visual Studio, it is a little cumbersome and slow at times and does have a few limitations. For example, there is no toolbar — and therefore no drag and dropping of controls (which Microsoft presentations always seem to contain a lot of ;-).

Although the site seems to be focused on web applications some features are also available in the online IDE. You do not have the ability to create folders with underscores in them, and there does not seem to be any way of creating the special ASP.NET folders such as App_Data or App_Themes… not such a big deal. Designer files are not automatically created and if you try to create one an exception is thrown saying the file already exists.

The biggest problem, however, is the speed. Perhaps it is just my machine or my internet connection, but the online IDE is very slow to use and navigate. Menus and prompts tend to hang the browser for a couple of seconds before they load and the IntelliSense (ctrl+space) does not allow function correctly. Code highlighting, although not important or required, is lacking from the Visual Studio equivalent and take a significant amount of time to process and display.

Copying and pasting from Visual Studio into the online IDE also seems to be out of the question, as it seems to paste the text multiple times; Copy and paste from within the online IDE works fine.

All that being said the online IDE quite features rich and imitates Visual Studio very well. You are able to apply breakpoints and step through code, attach to processes (only online applications — not system processes), watch variables, etc. There is also an option to open a project from a zip file — which works great, providing you zip the project from the root of the project folder (it must not be in a sub folder).

In the end (as Merbla suggested in his post) something like this teamed up with StackOverflow, for the purpose of displaying simple solutions to problems with working example would be brilliant! However, as far as online development goes I think there is a long way to go.

See running example: Hello World!

Fix Outlook Calendar View

Have you ever lost the default Microsoft Outlook Calendar view, instead only to be presented with the filtered list view? In order to get the default view back simply run outlook with the /CleanViews flag set. E.g.

“C:/Program Files/Microsoft Office/OFFICE11/OUTLOOK.EXE”  /CleanViews

Evolution of Code

Wriju Ghosh has written an interesting entry which shows the progression of .NET. The article takes a generic list and shows the old and new ways of being able to extract and display the even numbers of a generic list. Starting with a more commonly used for-each statement, Ghosh goes on to show how to achieve the same result using delegates, anonymous methods, Lambda Expressions, and finally LINQ.

FireFox Add-ons To Make Your Life Easy

One thing that I love about FireFox is its vast library of add-ons. Not only does Mozilla provide an easy to search an online repository of add-ons, but installing add-ons with FireFox is easy as three clicks. Although there are many useful add-ons, there are also quite a few of not so useful add-ons – So I thought that I would share some of the add-ons that I commonly use.

  • Clipmarks – Allows you to save sections of a page, without having to book mark the entire page. Useful for saving sections of a blog or news article. *Requires registration
  • CSSViewer –  A Simple CSS Property viewer. Provides a great, web 2.0 looking, floating window that displays CSS Information about the item your cursor is currently over.
  • Dog Ears – Mark important parts of a webpage to easily relocate them. Lets you dog-ear long pages, with persistent marks, so that you can skip straight to those marks the next time you return to that page.
  • FasterFox – Performance and Network tweaks for FireFox. I would recommend that you lower the performance increase back from “Turbo Charged” to at least “Optimised”, to help prevent overloading web servers.
  • FlashGot – Download helper for FireFox. Absolute must have, especially if you have a download manager.
  • GoogCal – A very simple add-on which lets you add a Google Calendar button to your toolbar.
  • GreaseMonkey – Allows you to customise the way a webpage displays, using JavaScript. Scripts can be downloaded from userscripts.org.
  • Locationbar – Changes the look of your location bar by putting emphasis on the domain.
  • PDF Download – Allows you to choose if you want to view a PDF inside the browser, as a PDF or as HTML, or in your default PDF application. Another must have.
  • Resizeable Form Fields – Lets you click and drag form fields to increase, or decrease, their size.
  • Tab Scope – Shows a thumbnail preview of your tabs, when you hover over a tab.
  • View Formatted Source – Displays formatted and color-coded source and CSS information for elements. Great for reading messy or long HTML source.
  • Web Developer – A useful toolbar which gives you various web developer tools. Can also be useful for non-web developer as it lets you disable JavaScript and CSS.
  • Zotero – Helps you collect and manage citation information. Great if you’re doing research or you frequently require saving citation information.

One of your favourite add-ons not in the list? Post a comment with the add-ons you use.

The Chasers War On Everything: Uncut Downloads

So you enjoy the comical satire of The Chasers, but you don’t get to watch it on Wednesday nights because of other priorities… Such as house and/or Prison Break? The ABC have you covered.

The ABC have vodcasts available for download. While it is good that the ABC is providing free episode downloads (within Australia) they are only 320×180, which is good if you only want to download a small file. However, John Beohm at idents.tv is providing a resource of uncut H264 episodes, with a more acceptable resolution of 640×360.

Downloads:
http://www.abc.net.au/tv/chaser/war/vodcast/
http://idents.tv/blog/2007/04/22/the-chasers-war-on-h264-uncut-episodes/

F.E.A.R COMBAT

Awesome news for gamers, F.E.A.R has released the multiplayer section of the game as a FREE multiplayer component called F.E.A.R COMBAT. The free multiplayer download includes 19 maps, 12 weapons, 10 game modes and supports PunkBuster. To download the game simply use one of the following download links and then head over to the official site to register and get your free CD-Key. Now the download is quite large, about 1.8GB, so you may want to use either a BitTorrent program or a download manager.

Download Locations: