Think before you act

I just tried Firefox 1.5 and was very disappointed to find that all but two of my installed extensions were compatible. Since I heavily use those extensions, this was not an acceptable situation.

So I uninstalled Firefox 1.5. It didn’t rollback to 1.0.7, it just completely removed all of firefox, there weren’t even any icons in the Start MRU. I knew the risks of my gung-ho approach, but still I felt a cold chill down my spine. What if I have recklessly removed all of my bookmarks, settings and saved passwords? It would be worse than losing a

Continue reading Think before you act

How to display subtitles for DivX movies on MCE

I am currently setting up a new Windows Media Center 2005 HTPC and just tried to watch a French movie, which I have ripped to DivX. I do not speak French, and so I would like to have English subtitles so that I may understand the plot. When I ripped the movie, I also created a subtitle file (.srt) with SubRip. The .srt file has the same filename as the .avi file, obviously with a different file extension (.srt vs .avi). I expected that when I played the movie in MCE that the subtitles would just appear. They do not. Something must be done to enable this first.

I am writing to you, dear reader, to tell you that I have found what needs to be done, and here it is: you need to install VobSub, in particular the "VobSub for Directshow" plugin. That is all, you don’t even need to restart. I actually paused the move, installed VobSub and when I went back to the movie it had subtitles. You can find VobSub here. Right now the current version is 2.23, which was released in 2002, so don’t think that you can’t find the latest.

pinkjoint, mce, media center, vobsub, subtitles, divx, htpc

Using HREFExchanger and Google SiteMap components for DotNetNuke on a multi-portal site

DotNetNuke (DNN) is an open-source portal system for ASP.NET. It is pretty good, but out-of-the-box it is not the most search engine optimised (SEO) software that there is. Two components that can help are HREFExchanger ($29.95) and
Google SiteMap
($37.00).

HREFExchanger rewrites the URLs of a site as friendly URLs, such that:

   http://dnn.domain.com/Default.aspx?tabid=109

becomes

   http://dnn.domain.com/contact+us.domain

This is much nicer for the search engines, and will help your new visitors find you.

The Google SiteMap component generates an XML file called a … you guessed it … Google Sitemap. This file tells Google where all of your pages are and helps ensure that your site is fully crawled. I have noticed a big difference since adding sitemaps to my sites. The L-Space Sitemap component is the most expensive for DNN, and also the best. It is the only one that works properly with HREFExchanger, and the support is fantastic. It is worth the extra money.

I have happily combined these two components on a few DotNetNuke sites, but today I ran across two snags. I was adding HREFExchanger and Google SiteMap to an existing site with multiple portals and it was not working. The SiteMaps came out with only two pages listed and with non-friendly URLs. Using the site as such, the URLs were correct, but not in the SiteMap.

The first problem was due to a false assumption I had made. I assumed that Portal4’s SiteMap would be at http://portal4/GoogleMap.aspx and that Portal5’s would be at http://portal5/GoogleMap.aspx. This turns out not to be the case. The true URL for the sitemap is http://portal4/GoogleMap.aspx?portalID=4. Using this URL solved the first problem, now all of the pages on the portal were listed in the SiteMap. But they did not have friendly URLs.

According to the HREFExchanger site, in a multi-portal site with Google SiteMap, you need to make the following (example) additions to your web.config file:

<hrefExchanger extension=".aspx" w3c-output="transitional">
    <portal portalid="1" extension=".page" w3c-output="none">
        <url path="GoogleMap.aspx" action="filter" />
        <urlpath="images/SomeImage.aspx?getimage=1" action="ignore" />
    </portal>
    <portal portalid="2" extension=".dnn" w3c-output="strict" />
</hrefExchanger>

this is not correct. In a multi-portal site, the line <url path="GoogleMap.aspx" action="filter" /> should actually read <url path="GoogleMap.aspx?portalID=1" action="filter" />. Once I discovered this and made the changes, it all worked perfectly.

Hopefully the developers of these components will render this post obsolete in future versions of their products, but for now you need to make these changes.

pinkjoint,shifty,dotnetnuke,dnn,seo,HREFExchanger

ik versta een beetje nederlands, maar ik wil MSN in het engels zijn*

MSN is smart. At some point they detected that I was living in the Netherlands, probably by my IP, and since I lived in NL I obviously perfectly understand Dutch. For the first few weeks it was cool, I really felt like I was on a foreign adventure. Then it just got in the way. Have you ever tried to put a comment on someone’s blog, and not known which button was ‘submit’, and which ‘cancel’? I have, and I didn’t like it. I still don’t like it.

Luckily, I know enough Dutch to know that taal is the word for ‘language’. So I clicked on the ‘taal’ link in MSN. Ah. My taal was set to Nederlands, when I really wanted it in Engels. I set it to Engels. Oh, what sweet relief, the next page was in English, and the one after that. It was that easy. So if you get stuck in Dutch, go to the ‘taal’ page and set your language to Engels and all future MSN pages will be in English.

Until your next session.

I knew that MSN was big, but I did not realise how frequently I visit MSN sites. After frustration multiplication it would easily be 20% of my internet use. Do you know that ‘gekke kikker’ is Dutch for Crazy Frog? I do. At least, when I leave the country it will detect by my IP that I am in an English country, and I will be assumed to be an English speaker.

No.

I have been back in Australia for 3 weeks now and MSN is still in Dutch. I have changed it back to English four times now, and four times it has reverted to Dutch. People tell me that MSN Search is getting pretty good these days, but I can’t tell.

    darryn is searching for:

english

MSN Search finds:

http://www.uva.nl/english/index.html

English – De officiële KNVB website

http://www.knvb.nl/english

Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) – Engli

http://www.english.uva.nl/

More Results …

Aaarrrrggghhh…

*translation: I understand a little bit of Dutch, but I want MSN to be in English.

IMSAI Server / MCE case

IMSAI Series 2 plus MinidriveI can’t decide if I want this case for my next Media Center or to use for a server. Either way, I want the new IMSAI Series 2 USB case. It is a reproduction of the computer used by Matthew Broderick in the movie WarGames and the front panel is fully controllable, in fact it seems to actually be one of those old computers.

Awesome.