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Monday, June 26, 2006

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Blog Archive


<June 2006>

Blog Archive

Various Links


Blogs I Read

[Feed] Google Blog
Official Google Webmaster Central Blog
[Feed] Matt Cutts
Gadgets, Google, and SEO
[Feed] Ol' Deano's Blog
My mate Dean's blog on my space, equally as random as mine but not off on as much of a tangent!
[Feed] Sam's Blog
Sam is one of my younger brothers studying Product Design and Manufacture at Loughborough, this is his blog :) Enjoy!

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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    # Monday, June 26, 2006

    What's the RX-8 Look Like?

    Monday, June 26, 2006 9:19:24 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    It's been brought to my attention that some people out there STILL don't know what the RX-8 looks like so I thought I'd post a little photo of it here for you:

    Visit Mazda's RX-8 Showcase Site

    I'll try and post a few more later of the interior etc.


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    What's the RX-8 Look Like?
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    CategoriesTags: RX-8
    # Sunday, June 25, 2006

    Growing Old Gracefully

    Sunday, June 25, 2006 10:55:39 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    This morning we had the TV on while getting ready to go out and a new L'Oreal advert came on. If you haven't seen it, it has features Jane Fonda telling us how the product helps firm the skin etc, that she's 68 and look how great her skin is -the usual junk. Although the advert doesn't actually say the product is why she "looks so good" it leads you to believe that it is (great marketing btw) anyway, where am I going with this (other than stating the obvious)? Well, when the advert finishedI was left thinking "ok, so this cream makes your skin feeling younger" and "L'Oreal is the answer to all your old age prayers" but surely they're contradicting themselves a touch? Firstly they've got this attractive 68year old promoting this product as well as a 20-something saying "Use this and you won't look old when you're older". Well if Jane's 68 and looks like that (yeah yeah with all that plastic surgery etc) then why invest thousands in the anti-aging creams? -You can just use that one when you're 68. Oh and if she's 68 -don't people think "Hang on, she looks good, she's been around well before L'Oreal started pimping these promises so why should I buy it?" -just a thought! As I keep saying to Stacey, it's been long known that it's all in the genes -any guy that wants to know what his lovely lady is going to look like at 40 all he needs to do is look at her mum...

    Here's a shot of Jane for those of you who don't know who she is/was (I didn't know it was her until I checked out the L'Oreal site ;-))

    L'Oreal Website (For the product of the advert)

    On that note, another advert was listing the signs a woman had noted of getting older -a grey/white hair here-or-there, a wrinkle or two and loosing her eyesight/hearing which again got me thinking, I don't think I'll even notice getting old. During the summer my hair goes white in the sun, I can't see, my hearing's not great at the best of times and as Stacey keeps reminding me I've already got wrinkles on my forehead so...


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    Growing Old Gracefully
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    CategoriesTags: Random
    # Friday, June 23, 2006

    Error Reporting and the Trace in ASP.Net 2.0 -Code Update

    Friday, June 23, 2006 5:34:31 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    I've just had it pointed out to me (and quite rightly so) by Craig that my code for enabling the trace with Phil Winstanley's WebException was a touch wrong. I was assuming that the user was (correctly imho) running the application with the trace already disabled. However correct that may be, it may not be the case so as pedantic as this is, the code snippet should really be:

    TraceContext t = HttpContext.Current.Trace;
    bool bCurrentState = t.IsEnabled;
    t.IsEnabled = true;
    WebException WE = new WebException();
    WE.CurrentException = Server.GetLastError();
    t.IsEnabled = bCurrentState;

    Although I've adapted the code to accomodate this, I really wouldn't run production sites with the trace enabled as this is not only a performace hit but quite a security issue!


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    Crazy Job Advert

    Friday, June 23, 2006 5:16:32 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    Sometimes you really do have to wonder what recruiters are thinking but something tells me, this guy isn’t going to get too many applicants!

    Crazy Job Advert

    The Advert can be seen here


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    Crazy Job Advert
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    CategoriesTags: General
    # Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Road Trip

    Thursday, June 22, 2006 9:04:38 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    Ok, so my RX-8's on it's way over to Rotterdam and should be here in the UK around the 4th, so I thought it was time to start planning a road trip. I've been thinking about a raod trip for a while now and previously I was thinking of going to Italy via Germany but seeing as a friend has just moved to Copenhagen I thought it made sense to pop over there too.

    For those of you interested, this is my initial plan:

    Distance: 3,449.85 miles
    Time: 60hrs 46mins
    Toll costs: 143.18 GBP
    Road tax cost: 5.14 GBP

    Based on 25mpg and an average of £0.90per litre (I'm hoping its cheaper in Europe than here):

    Petrol costs: 496.78 GBP
    Giving total costs:  645.10 GBP + food/accommodation

    Stopping off at:

    • Rotterdam
    • Hamburg
    • Copenhagen
    • Berlin
    • Nurnberg
    • Verona
    • San Marino (it’s only a small detour)
    • Rome
    • Napoli
    • Amalfi
    • Genova
    • Dijon
    • Chalons-on-Champagne
    • Calais
    • Dover
    • London…

    The Route


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    Road Trip
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    CategoriesTags: RX-8


    Thursday, June 22, 2006 6:29:32 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    Welcome to my new blog, it's something that I've been meaning to do for a while but due to "other" commitments haven't had the chance. As and when I get new things to write about I'll be adding them here.

    I'm not intending this blog to be targetted at anything in specific but I hope to air ideas and concepts that pass by me.


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    CategoriesTags: General
    # Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    It's been made

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006 8:11:33 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    After a sleepless night I decided to give the dealer a call to find out what the score was with my RX-8, apparently it's been built and its on the way over from Japan to Rotterdam where it will go through a few final customisations for the UK before being sent to the dealer for the final trimmings.

    It's all most exciting!

    I also found out an interesting fact, I was wondering how they manage to keep the delivery miles so low, it turns out when its being shipped its put into Transit Mode (or something like that) where the speedo is deactivated, then when it arrives at the dealership, they take a week to make it roadworthy etc.

    The long and short of it is that it has an ETA in the UK of 4th August allowing 7days for it to be sorted, I should have it when I return from Denmark on the 14th :-D


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    It's been made
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    CategoriesTags: RX-8
    # Monday, June 19, 2006

    Phil Winstanley's Error Reporting and the Trace in ASP.Net 2.0

    Monday, June 19, 2006 10:43:44 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    We've been using Phil Winstanley's ASP.Net WebException handler for a while now it's great (see http://weblogs.asp.net/plip/archive/2004/04/17/114984.aspx) the problem with it was that we couldn't get access to the Trace in ASP.Net 1.1. Doug and I spoke with Phil about it but at the time there wasn't a solution however he did say he thought there may be with the emergance of ASP.Net 2.0 (this was a few months before it was due to be released).

    Now we're working in 2.0 on a regular basis I thought I'd give it a go and think I have a solution (though quite how reliable it is I'm not 100% sure). The fix is to tap into the current HttpContext and "switch" the trace's output on and then off before and after handling the exception and voila!

    Here's my solution:

    TraceContext t = HttpContext.Current.Trace;
    t.IsEnabled = true;
    WebException WE = new WebException();
    WE.CurrentException = Server.GetLastError();
    t.IsEnabled = false;


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    # Sunday, June 18, 2006

    Exeter Circuit - The Exe Estury

    Sunday, June 18, 2006 10:57:40 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    So as ever, people want to know how our race went today, well it's not all good news today I'm affraid, after a couple of weeks of insomnia and Sam not having a good night of rest because of returning home we didn't do so well. Luckily we did make it all the way around the 8miles but lack of sleep and practice together meant we were all over the place on the open water (about half the race) and ran out of steam around the 4mile mark.

    We still did manage a time of 1hr 22mins which, although not our best is still respectable as there was a fair head wind most of the way. I'm not going to dwell on it too much though as we couldn't expect much more without the training we really do need to be doing. The next race is at Bradford-on-Avon after our holiday so hopefully we'll be pretty refreshed and ready to kick some ass!

    John, hope you're ready for us to beat you, it was close last race, not as close this race (about 1min behind) but next time... ;-)

    As for everyone else, they did ok, Pat aparently fell out but the PMC team did well on the whole so well done guys -and well done Sam, a little more practice in the Cream Regina and we'll be fine.


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    Exeter Circuit - The Exe Estury
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    CategoriesTags: Canoe Racing
    # Friday, June 16, 2006

    Custom 404 Error Pages

    Friday, June 16, 2006 9:48:54 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

    I made an interesting discovery this morning. A few weeks ago I was doing a little SEO on The Wargame Company (Devon) and thought I would look into utilising Google SiteMaps. After creating the XML file with the correct format it's just a matter of having Google approve it. They do this by accessing a random page i.e. www.domain.com/GooglesWonderfulPageddmmyyyyhhmmssmmm (which clearly should return a 404) and check the response code -I guess to ensure that you're not trying to spoof the pages in some way.

    "What's the problem? I've got custom 404 pages" I hear you cry! Well, if like us you've written some fancy page to handle the error and email you/log it to a database, it turns out that you're not returning a 404 error at all!

    What I discovered was that if you configure IIS to handle 404 error pages with a URL you're actually returning a response code of 200. After a little thinking, the only conclusion we could come to was that when setting it as a URL in IIS you're actually redirecting the request which is either a 301 or perhaps a 307 (see http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec6.html for more information on response codes) and then the final page the user hit's returns a 200 (Response Status "OK") rather than the desired 404 -clearly not what we want!

    After a little more investigation we also found that the same thing happened when using ASP.Net's built in handlers and the same thing happens, the only time it doesn't is when you handle the 404 with a File in IIS rather than a URL.

    "What can I do about it?" Well that's simple, if you're going to use a URL to handle your 404 errors, make sure you change the Response Status Codes to the correct code, i.e. 404, this is pretty simple to do:

    ASP.Net 2.0: Page.Response.StatusCode = 404;

    ASP.Net 1.1 (I think): Response.StatusCode = 404;

    ASP: Response.Status = "404 You are Unauthorized"

    I hope that helps someone out there!


    Update: I've just run fiddler on The Wargame Company (Devon) and and can confirm you get a Response Status Code of 301 before the 200.


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    Custom 404 Error Pages
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    CategoriesTags: ASP | ASP.Net | IIS | SEO