Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sometimes I Wonder...

You know, I sometimes wonder about the intellectual capabilities of some of my peers. Specifically, my peers in the programming/software industry. Or at least their Marketing Masters.

The reason I wonder is that on occasion, you'll get things just named stupidly. Utterly, and hopelessly stupidly.

A while back, one of my friends passed a contact to me that needed some help fixing his website. He had gotten it built, and then the development company he had used more or less disappeared on him. So, I got his issues straightened out, and his site was back in business, and he was happy.

Fast forward just under two years to this evening. I got a call from him, and it appears that his site was experiencing some major issues. For whatever reason, ASP.NET was not loading the DLLs it needed to run, and that was throwing configuration errors, and stopping processing on that yellow-screen of annoyance that anyone who has developed in ASP.NET has seen at least once.

The first thing I did was FTP into the server to ensure that the DLLs still existed, which they did. Then I checked on ensuring that the web.config file was well formed (though if it wasn't it wouldn't have worked ~20 months ago when I was working on it).

Finally, deciding that maybe the DLLs in question had just gotten corrupted or expired or something, I found the first one, named FreeTextBox.dll and went hunting. It didn't take long for Google to turn up the results, at which time, I found myself kind of staring at the screen in abject... flabergastion.

The reason why is captured there in that image perfectly.

This is a product named FreeTextBox with the tagline "The no. 1 free ASP.NET HTML Editor."

And then you have two different licenses that you can purchase to legally use this control, one costing roughly $50 and the other $200.

Now sure, the thing is a free download, and it's only "extra" features that you're getting when you get a license, but you've got to really read the website to discover that particular salient factoid.

Just the sheer... gumption one has to charge for a product who uses FREE in its very name is just... astounding.

Ah well, I'm off to see if I can track down the cause of those missing DLLs...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Finally Released the new version of eComic

I’ve pushed out the latest release of eComic, and it is available for download here:

This is a fairly drastic overhaul of the entire system, as I made some changes on how I want things to work.

ecomicscreen001The primary change is that I’ve decided against allowing people to open multiple comic archives within a single instance of the application (though multiple instances can run at one time). This is coupled with a much more efficient memory management system for the images which only loads them as they’re needed for the thumbnail display.

Those that download the source code will notice that there’s a new project in the system, one which will produce a second application whose sole purpose will be the creation of the various archives.

The final bit of interest in this release is that I’ve finally got the Graphic Novel Archive (gn*) format up and working. What this is, is an archive of the CBR archives. The files can be either read sequentially based upon their names, or a manifest file can be included (XML) which lists the order in which they should be read.

I even generated an XSD for it:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<xs:schema xmlns:xs="">
<xs:element name="chapter">
<xs:attribute name="sequence" type="xs:NMTOKEN" use="required" />
<xs:attribute name="fileName" type="xs:NMTOKEN" use="required" />

<xs:element name="graphicNovel">
<xs:element ref="chapter" maxOccurs="unbounded" />

I’m excited about the GNR format as these reading lists concepts are the primary reason that I decided to create eComic. As an aside, the editor portion of the software will also generate the GNR files.

Thos looking for content for eComic can find free (and sometimes in the public domain) copies of comics. Here’s two sites:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My New PC!

Well it finally arrived on Tuesday evening. I've gotten my new pc, and all I have to say is:

I know, I know, I'm an utter geek. But hey, this thing is awesome. It has 8GB of RAM (DDR3 SDRAM @ 1066MHz), and an i7-920 Intel processor (8MB L2 Cache, 2.66GHz) featuring 8 cores of sweet, sweet bit-crunching goodness. Couple this with an ATI Radeon HD 4670 video card with 512MB of onboard memory dedicated just to the GPU, and you can imagine the utter...snappiness with which this thing rocks at.

Just look at that Process tab. Good times.

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