MCE 2005 Away Mode

One of the new features for OEMs only that was released at the same time as MCE 2005 Update Rollup 2 is support for a new mode, called Away Mode.

How to describe it… It’s more ON than Suspend/Standby/S3, but less ON than ON. Not really a power saving mode as such. Needs a BIOS that supports it.

One of the Media Center PMs blogs about Away mode here.

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

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


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 portalid="2" extension=".dnn" w3c-output="strict" />

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.


Disabling The Backspace Key in IE

A half-hour’s lost typing in a web form was the impetus for me to spend two hours trying to prevent the same thing from ever happening again, by disabling the Backspace key in IE. It’s a terrible shortcut.

First stop: grabbing Turnabout for IE. Turnabout is basically Greasemonkey for IE – it lets you run your own scripts on a web page, as if they were a part of the page. So if something about a page annoys you (with time, effort and sufficient development patience) you can actually fight back and do something about it using GreaseMonkey/Turnabout scripts, without having to go through a pleading flamewar with the damn web developer. Or in this case, the browser developer.

Next up: Writing and debugging the script… (flash forward two hours)… Wow. For such a short script, I sure had a bastard of a time getting it to work at all. As far as I’m aware, the script is IE-Only, feel free to hack it to pieces. It’s clunky, but seems to work for my purposes. There’s some rudimentary logic involved to prevent backspace working in non-text elements – in short: if the element you’re in is an input box or a text element, backspace is allowed. If it’s not, it’s silently dropped.

What It Does: This turnabout script disables the Backspace key in non-input boxes. This should make it really hard to navigate accidentally while filling out a form.

But I Use The Backspace Key: Tough. Don’t use this script. Instead, consider Alt+Left Arrow.

Download: NoBackspace (zip file, uncompress to your Turnabout scripts folder). Note: You’ll need the Advanced version of Turnabout in order to load custom scripts.

Known Issues: 0.1 didn’t like the edit control at MSN Spaces. Fixed in 0.2.

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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.


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:


MSN Search finds:

English – De officiële KNVB website

Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) – Engli

More Results …


*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.