Archive for May, 2008

Another Gift Card Down the Drain

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A couple of years ago I wrote about a situation in which I was planning on redeeming a gift card given to me for my birthday only to find out the balance of the card had been whittled down to close to nothing and basically useless by monthly card management “fees”. Apparently I did not learn from that experience as I seem to have run into another situation where I am getting swindled out of yet another gift card balance, this time at Borders. I recently (within the last year, I think) received a Borders gift card from someone (I do not remember who). I was not really in a rush to redeem it as they apparently have a “never expires” policy on their gift cards. Well tonight whilst attempting to redeem my Borders gift card online, I found out it was yet again, without balance.

Now wait a minute. I am pretty sure I had not spent it as it had been sitting on my desk for the past however long waiting for me to actually do something with it.

I decided to give the Borders “gift card” customer support a call. So I called and found out the scoop. According the them, and unbeknownst to me and most likely my unsuspecting gift giver, the card had never actually been “activated” or “loaded” with any balance. Which meant, yep, good ol’ Skowronek gets shafted again out of a gift card birthday present.

Moral of the story (I believe in Tennessee or Texas), fool me once … shame on you … the fool me … can’t get fooled again. Perhaps I should not accept any more gift cards as gifts, they appear to be bad karma.

By the way, if any of you reading this did happen to give me a Borders gift card recently, please let me know so I can track down whether or not you also, are getting the shaft (having been charged and not actually having received anything in return.)

Ektron and Localization Tags

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I ran across an interesting API library deep in the Ektron API framework that allows you to pull the actual localization tag (e.g. en-US, en-GB, etc.) for the current language type id of the site (e.g. 1033, 2058, etc.). Previous to this, we had to create our own associative, key/value pair XML file that stored the relationships. Since I could only find a single reference to this library on the Ektron site, I hoping this information proves useful to others. Enjoy.

// get and instance of the current site API object
Ektron.Cms.SiteAPI sAPI = new Ektron.Cms.SiteAPI();
// retrieve the language date for the current site API instance
Ektron.Cms.LanguageData ld = sAPI.GetLanguageById(ContentBlock.LanguageID);
// assign the localization tag
string langTag = Ld.XmlLang;

Another Transformers Meets Big Brand Auto Manufacturer

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Yes, yet another commercial/ad with a well inserted transforming automobile to sell product. Boy, that was original.

How to Delete a Windows Service

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I have used the service controller command line tool for years. I have finally decided to write something up on it briefly since I have been working with various frameworks/systems that are not completely removing their services after uninstalling them.

  1. Open services applet/application: Start | Programs | Administrative Tools | Services
  2. Locate offending Service
  3. Double-click OR Right-click | Properties
  4. Copy the ‘Display Name’ property
  5. Stop the service
  6. Exit service information screen and services applet
  7. Start | Run | cmd | OK
  8. Type: cs delete “%PASTE OR TYPE THE SERVICE NAME HERE%”
  9. Hit enter key
  10. Service has been deleted

You may or may not be able to delete the service depending on it’s dependencies. You will need to follow the chain down to any child services if that is the case and delete them first. You may also be required to reboot.

Feedback welcome.

Custom QuickLinks in Ektron

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While prototyping a custom DMS asset handler today I managed to locate actual instructions on configuring your own QuickLink handlers for specific assets. However confusing it may be that these instructions were found in the “Users Manual”, I am just glad I was able to locate it fairly quickly.

Updating Default Template for Multiple Quicklinks

WARNING! This procedure is only necessary if Link Management is set to false in your web.config file. If if Link Management is set to true, Ektron CMS400.NET automatically updates the template within the quicklink when content is moved. See your system administrator for help with the web.config file.

NOTE This action can only be performed on quicklinks. When content is moved in Ektron CMS400.NET, its quicklink does not get changed. After it is moved, you need to update the default template called in the content’s quicklink. To update the default template for one or more quicklinks, follow these steps.

  1. In the library, access the quicklinks folder containing quicklinks you want to update.
  2. Click the Update Quicklinks button.
  3. The Update URL Link Template Quicklinks screen is displayed.
  4. Check the quicklinks you want to update. NOTE Check the box in the table header to select or deselect all.
  5. In the To: text field, enter the name of the template you want to apply to the selected quicklinks. Last User to Edit Last user that made changes to the quicklink or form. Last Edit Date The date the quicklink or form was last edited. Date Created The date and time the quicklink or form was originally added to the Ektron CMS400.NET library. Field Description Library Folder Ektron CMS400.NET User Manual, Version 7.5 155
  6. Click the Update Quicklinks button to update the changes. A confirmation message is displayed.
  7. Click OK to continue. The selected quicklinks are updated to use the specified template.

These instructions can also be found in the Ektron User’s Manual

Miss Spectacular 2008

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After roughly a month-and-a-half of planning, coordination, and a few stressful days and nights, the Miss Spectacular 2008 competition went off without a hitch. Created to celebrate the thirtieth birthday of my beloved wife, Nicole, it serves as a reminder that nothing, and I mean NOTHING is to risque, taboo, or off-color for our rather crazy group of friends.

The pageant contestants were from all across the globe. A rather trashy filly from Costa Rica. A sweet and innocent beauty from Australia. A reserved and unrecognizable something from Afghanistan. A rather tempting “sister” from Texas. And last but not least, the blond German tank.