XSL, Debugging and Memory Leak

October 25, 2011

While working on the Rainy Day Games site, we came across an unusual server behavior.  Memory allocated to the website pool kept growing and growing.  The site should be hanging around 65k was growing to over 1 Gig of memory!!!  So yeah, we had a classic leak.  Took a little bit of work but we traced it to the XSL object.  The parameter was set to true.  When it is true, it will create debugging information for the debugger to gather and report back to the developers.  As soon as we turned it off, the memory held.  Furthermore, once we cached the XSL object, we saw the average CPU utilization rate dropped by half.

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Citations!

August 4, 2011

I have to be honest here, the number one issue I have with clients is getting them to write their content or at least supervise their content.  Here is the issue:  They are the expert in the subject domain.  My team is not.  My team knows how to program, rank, image manipulation, and design.  They do not know the ins and outs of selling media sign on the sides of trucks that roam downtown Saturday night.  Nor do they know the fine art of selling used books and VHS tapes.   We do have writers available to actually do the writing, but they too know little of my client’s domain and need direction.   Too often we hear “just write something, and I will approve it”.  They don’t and some even get cross at how wrong we were.  [sigh].  Garbage in, garbage out.

Anyway, I was very surprised with our new clients at Allergy Free Info wrote their own beautiful content, but they also provided their own links and citations!   Citations!  It brought a tear to my eye, because that is what the initial dream of the web was.  Centers of knowledge universities building upon each other!

 Good work guys!


Mind Mapping

June 9, 2011

I have been reevaluating the different mind mapping software applications for both the desk top and the iPad for when I am on the go.

I have narrowed it down to two:

  1. iThoughts
  2. iMindMap

I like the idea that iMindMap has both the iPad version and the desktop, however, it is expensive.  The iThoughts does the iPad version very well, and has many different export options.  So I think I will go with the iThoughts for the iPad, and the basic version of the iMindMap for the desktop. 

Another benefit from this selection is that I can swap out the basic version for another free product like FreeMind if things change with iMindMap.


Images that are set Free

May 31, 2011

If you need some stock photos, one of the best places is Fotolia.com.  They have a great selection of  royalty-free stock images that you can use for websites.

One of my clients got images of paddle boats for their site.


Hire a Fiverr and Save Some Time

May 24, 2011

Ok, sometimes you have to know when your beat.  I have tried and tried and then had one of my guys try and failed to install the world famous one click install for WordPress on a Windows 2003 box.  We have done this before many times, but this particular box is giving us trouble.  I don’t know what I said to it to tick it off, but it won’t play ball. 

As I mention my woes to another geek at happy hour, he mentioned this site: Fiverr.  It is a site that list jobs people are willing to do for $5.  There is a “programming”, “technology”, and “programming” section which had a few people that could solve my issue.  I “ordered” a service, he fixed my issue and he received $5 (actually I gave him $20 since I spent over 8 hours of my time on this issue).

Sometimes you just need to bring in the experts and at $5, it’s not like you are hiring a plumber.


Fancy an Icon?

May 10, 2011

The icon is just a file named “favicon.ico” that sits in the root of your website. It is standarized now so that all browsers will look there as the source.

A screen shot showing US-EH.com's favicon in action.

US-EH.com's favicon.ico

 
However, you can also put the icon anywhere in your site, but you have to make sure you put the path in the link tag under your header tag.

<html>
<head>

<link rel=”SHORTCUT ICONhref=”http://www.us-eh.com/favicon.ico” />

</head>

To create the ico file, I use the free online tool by favicon.cc. I just upload a logo and then edit the 16×16 grid to get it looking clean.  Download it and put it in the root and don’t forget to add the above tag to your header.


Wiebe’s Moving Update

May 6, 2011
We continue with our goal to modernize our customer’s sites with a Winnipeg Moving company, Wiebe’s.  Once again, the new site has been converted to ASP.MVC and C#.  This site was already in .Net, so it was a quick upgrade.  We also took the time to change a few bits of the copy.  We changed the more generic term “Local” and made it more concrete with “Winnipeg”.  The same for “Rural” and “Manitoba”. Finally, we redirected the old URLs to the new ones uses IIS redirects.  I will review the logs the next month to see if those old URL are still being used and if not, then remove them.
 
The next step for Wiebe’s Storage is to relook at their SEO efforts.  They have 2 to 4 competitors that are firmly planted in the market, however, they are not that far out of range.  Time to do some analysis.