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Steve Patterson
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Embedding FLV Files into HTML

by srpatterson on Friday, November 20, 2009 12:16 PM

Embedding FLV Files into HTML

There was a need this week to embed a FLV file into an HTML page and we had no experience in directly embedding this kind of content. I’ve embedded YouTube videos before into posts using Windows Live Writer or the embed code that YouTube provides. But actually hosting the file and finding the right embed for this kind of file and the server that is hosting the site was a challenge.

I found this great download that is super small and wraps the Adobe Media Player on the page using javascript. It is from longtailvideo.com and it’s called the JW FLV Media Player. After downloading the code, installing is just as simple as playing the contents of a folder on the server. The embed code is provided on the site:

SponsoredTweets - The New Paid Post

by srpatterson on Thursday, November 12, 2009 1:26 PM
SponsoredTweets hire me badge

SponsoredTweets - The New Paid Post

Remember the good old days when you could setup a blog, get a decent page rank from Google, and sell paid posts daily to earn a monthly income. Google started penalizing paid posts by reducing the page rank for blogs that routinely posted them thus causing the practice to almost completely end.

One of the main companies to provide paid posts now has a service where you can get paid to tweet on Twitter.com about a contest or a product and be paid by the advertiser. The service is available at SponsoredTweets.com. Reports by some of the more popular celebrities on Twitter are very good and the limited use I have had as been worthwhile. Some may not feel Twitter is an appropriate place to run paid ads and therefore decline the membership offer.

If you have a Twitter account that is older than 120 days and have more that 200 followers, then you can begin earning money right away. When an offer arrives you can decline the offer if you so choose. And you can specify during sign-up if you want to write all tweets or if you will allow the advertiser to write a tweet. All paid tweets have a disclosure that it is paid, to not run a foul of the FTC. I am an affiliate of the service myself and encourage you to give it a try.

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Getting the Current URL in Asp.Net

by srpatterson on Thursday, November 5, 2009 1:18 PM

Getting the Current URL in Asp.Net

We had the need within a custom asp.Net control this week to obtain the current URL, compare it to a value, and take action if the values matched. I found online some quick and easy code to determine the URL of the page the control is loading on and the function to take action was developed rather quickly thereafter.

Here is the basic code to get the URL:

Request.Url.ToString()

And using a combination of the Mid function and the Instr function, we are able to match values regardless of the environment the code is running in:

If Mid(strLinkURL, InStr(strLinkURL, "Pages")) = Mid(Request.Url.ToString(), 
InStr(Request.Url.ToString(), "Pages")) Then
       strReturn = "" & strLinkText & ""
Else
       strReturn = "" 
& strLinkText & ""
End If

OptinPop is a Great Wordpress Plugin

by srpatterson on Monday, October 26, 2009 2:35 PM

OptinPop is a Great Wordpress Plugin

Have you seen those pop-ups on sites asking if you would like to subscribe to the site’s newsletter? Often called an Optin popup, these pop-ups are now very easy with this free plugin from the Wordpress.org extend directory called the OptinPop. You can find the plug-in here.Or you can install it right from your Wordpress admin area.

Examples

Examples of the plugin in action can be found of the developer’s website at http://www.bigsellingoptins.com/blog/download-optinpop-wordpress-plug-in/ or a different use can be seen while exiting the website http://freeacaiberry.org/. The plugin is used to show an advertisement on the second site mentioned. You will need to create a stand along html document to show in the popup window. The on exit or on enter options are very useful in addition to the light box effect used on the Free Acai Berry site. The popup will also not be blocked by popup blockers as a new window is not created.

One Fix After Installation

If you install the plugin automatically from the Wordpress.org website the plugin will not work after installation and activation. After reading through the developer’s instructions I found that the plugin needed to be installed into a directory called ‘optinpop’. This doesn’t happen with the automatic installation. After renaming the directory or the installation, the plugin will need to be reactivated and will work fine thereafter.

HelloTxt Offers One Stop Microblogging

by srpatterson on Friday, October 16, 2009 1:34 PM

Hellotxt

HelloTxt Offers One Stop Microblogging

HelloTxt (www.hellotxt.com) is a nice site I found while updating an RSS feed on TwitterFeed.com. HelloTxt is now an option to feed RSS data to from TwitterFeed. So you can have TwitterFeed submit all your site posts to HelloTxt automatically. And what HelloTxt does is then submit your status updates or TwitterFeeds to a vast number of social sites and microblogging websites.

HelloTxt has 59 different microblogging and social sites that you can automatically post to from their one interface. Some of the social sites are the most popular today including Facebook, Flickr, Hi5, etc. And there are a good number of international microblogging sites that you have not heard of before.

I currently have three sites posting to HelloTxt through TwitterFeed and have not seen a big increase in inbound links or traffic to the sites but it is fairly easy to setup and establishing your presence on these newer Web 2.0 sites is a good ideal. It is still quite early for many of the sites so attractive usernames and vanity urls are available. http://ohiostate.shoutem.com/ is an example of a vanity url that was not taken at Shoutem.com.

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Exporting SQL Server Records To Excel

by srpatterson on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 2:09 PM

Exporting SQL Server Records To Excel

We have a large amount of data that we want to provide to our users through Excel files downloaded from our website. We found that by using the Openrowset command in a stored procedure afforded us the most versatility and the easiest redundant execution than the other options. For a nice explanation of the process and a full listing of the variables available take a look at MSSQLTips.

The final code looks like this:

INSERT INTO OPENROWSET('Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0',
'Excel 8.0;Database=C:\testing.xls;',
'SELECT Name, Date FROM [Sheet1$]')
SELECT * From dbo.MyTable Where Date = GetDate()
GO

There was a slight error with this implementation at one point in the day where we received this error:

OLE DB provider "Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0" for linked server "(null)"
returned message "Cannot open database ''.

A number of sites point you to the temp folder of the Administration login on the SQL Server. This is a good place to check read/write privileges for the account you are logged in as. But we found that restarting the SQL Server Agent correct the issue.

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Best Social Bookmarking Sites Available Today

by srpatterson on Wednesday, October 7, 2009 11:27 AM

Onlywire

Best Bookmarking Tool Available Online

Internet users are always looking for tools to reduce the amount of time it takes to accomplish tasks. Onlywire.com provides a great tool that allows users to bookmark a page to over 30 different social bookmarking sites automatically. They promote their service as auto-syndicating your content to millions of readers. Now I thought that was what the rss feed was for? But if you want to bookmark a page automatically, this is the best solution.

With their Wordpress plug-in or their java-script based widget, any website on the net can install a button to allow their users to bookmark your pages. And the Wordpress plug-in posts to the owners account automatically when a new post is published. Account information must be setup ahead of time and 5 services require a manual step to complete, but the service is great.

The price for an account with Onlywire.com is completely free if you install the bookmarking widget on your site. Otherwise there is a month fee $2.99 or a yearly fee of $24.99. Just to be FCC compliant, I want to disclose that this is not a paid post as I use the service and am not being paid to recommend this service.

Exporting a DataSet to a CSV File in ASP.Net

by srpatterson on Friday, October 2, 2009 1:50 PM

Exporting a DataSet to a CSV File in ASP.Net

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If you have the need to export data from a SQL Server Dataset to a CSV file through your website application, you can write to the response object in the Page_Init function of your page to produce the file. The user will not see the page at all but will be prompted to open or save the file on their desktop.

Here is the Page_Init function with the Response Write that you will need:

    Protected Sub Page_Init(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Me.Init

        Dim objData As System.Data.DataSet = New System.Data.DataSet

        Dim objCSV As String = BuildCSV(objData)
        Dim objFilename As String = "Excel" & Today.ToString("yyyy-mm-dd") & ".csv"

        With Response
            .AddHeader("Content-disposition", "attachment;filename=" & objFilename)
            .ContentType = "text/plain"
            .Write(objCSV)
            .End()
        End With
        
    End Sub

And here is the supporting function to return the DataSet as a String:

Public Shared Function BuildCSV(ByRef objData As System.Data.DataSet) As String

        Dim objList As System.Data.DataSet = objData
        Dim objCSVOverall As New System.Text.StringBuilder
        Dim objCSVRow As New System.Text.StringBuilder

        '*** Build the header row
        For intCount As Integer = 0 To objList.Tables(0).Columns.Count - 1
            Dim CurrentColumn As System.Data.DataColumn = objList.Tables(0).Columns(intCount)
            objCSVRow.Append(Chr(34) & CurrentColumn.ColumnName & Chr(34) & ",")
        Next

        objCSVOverall.AppendLine(objCSVRow.ToString.Substring(0, objCSVRow.ToString.Length - 1))

        '*** iterate through the rows
        For Each CurrentRow As System.Data.DataRow In objList.Tables(0).Rows
            objCSVRow = New System.Text.StringBuilder

            For intCount As Integer = 0 To objList.Tables(0).Columns.Count - 1
                Dim objValue As String = CurrentRow.Item(intCount).ToString
                Dim CurrentColumn As System.Data.DataColumn = objList.Tables(0).Columns(intCount)

                objCSVRow.Append(Chr(34) & objValue.Replace(Chr(34), "'") & Chr(34) & ",")
            Next

            objCSVOverall.AppendLine(objCSVRow.ToString.Substring(0, objCSVRow.ToString.Length - 1))
        Next

        Return objCSVOverall.ToString
    End Function

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Google and Search Engine Ranking History

by srpatterson on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 7:36 PM

Google and Search Engine Ranking History

I went on a search this past weekend for an online service that would search all the major search engines including Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc for the ranking of my websites based on keywords. And I wanted the keywords that it searches for to be the most searched keywords for my sites even if I was unaware of them. Then I wanted this information to be saved into history tables which I could compare from one week to the next. I was hoping something like this was available that I just hadn’t found before.

SEOBook.com

Well, my searching led me back to a tool that I had already used but didn’t realize that it was keeping history. SEOBook’s Rank Checker from www.SeoBook.com has all these features except for one. The only thing it can not do is provide keywords that you should be tracking. But it can save as many websites with as many keywords, for as long of a period as you want to run the checker. And it has a built in scheduler so checking can be done automatically. I would suggest adding this add-on to Firefox and begin tracking your keyword rankings as soon as possible.

Alexa.com

I also found another tool that could provide the one missing feature that SEO Book does not have. www.Alexa.com has a keyword feature that provides the search terms driving the most traffic to your site and search terms with the most traffic that is driving some traffic to your site. These two lists combined with the terms you want to rank well for complete all the keywords you will plug into the SEO Book Rank Checker.

Adding Indexes to SQL Server 2005 Tables

by srpatterson on Thursday, September 24, 2009 2:23 PM

Adding Indexes to SQL Server 2005 Tables

I had the opportunity this week to tune a SQL Server 2005 database to improve the performance of a web application. I first created indexes on the temporary tables within a stored procedure that was causing much of the delay and later discovered through the execution plan, there was specific bottle-neck that could be cleared. Here is an illustration of the temp table indexing:

IF OBJECT_ID('#TempTable') IS NOT NULL
CREATE NONCLUSTERED INDEX [#idxTemp_TempTable_Field1_Field2] ON #TempTable
(
[Field1] ASC,
[Field2] ASC,
)WITH (PAD_INDEX  = OFF, STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE  = OFF, SORT_IN_TEMPDB = ON, 
IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF, DROP_EXISTING = OFF, ONLINE = OFF, ALLOW_ROW_LOCKS  = OFF, 
ALLOW_PAGE_LOCKS  = OFF) ON [PRIMARY]

But by executing the same stored procedure in a query window and selecting ‘Include Actual Execution Plan’ from the toolbar, I was able to see it individual query’s cost within the stored procedure. Then it is possible to look at the most expense queries, their most expensive operations, and add indexes to the permanent tables that reduce execution time.

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