Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Minor fixes to DIY iGoogle Start Page

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I’ve upgraded the DIY “iGoogle” start page.


You can see the latest version here: http://nbe.me/demo

The previous version is here: http://nbe.me/olddemov3

The previous previous version is here: http://nbe.me/olddemov2

You can download the source for the page here: http://nbe.me/demo/d.zip


There was a bug in the Google Ajax Slideshow code which meant that when you clicked on an image, instead of redirecting your browser to the source of the image, the slideshow would redirect your browser to the URL of the current page.


I’ve fixed that bug, thanks to some excellent advice from jgeerdes at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/google-ajax-search-api/Ljom17bulZc/UYg2154Nwp0J


Enjoy!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Enhancements to DIY iGoogle start page

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I’ve upgraded the DIY “iGoogle” start page.


You can see the latest version here: http://nbe.me/demo

The previous version is here: http://nbe.me/olddemov2

The previous previous version is here: http://nbe.me/olddemo

You can download the source for the page here: http://nbe.me/demo/d.zip


The major enhancement is that you can now embed html into the page – which makes it easy to add Youtube videos, or iFrame widgets.


Setup Screen


To add embed code, click on Setup and add a new widget with a type of “html”. In the “data uri” field, paste your embed code. For example, to add a youtube video, you’d paste this code into the “data uri” field:



Make sure you keep the width of any iframes to 320 pixels or less, otherwise the layout of the screen won’t look too good.


Also – if you’re trying out the demo page, you might want to press Ctrl-F5 to clear your browser cache, so the new version gets loaded.


Monday, February 24, 2014

ObSrv: No Longer For Sale

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Thank you for the emails of support and kind donations.


After a few minor changes and exchanges with Google I have managed to rectify the problem relating to inappropriate images on the detail pages.


Because of your kind support, and the resolution of issues with Google, I’ve changed my mind and decided not to sell ObSrv.


I plan to keep it running indefinitely.


If you have any issues, or need support, please leave a message or contact me at:

mail at neilennis dot com


If you’d like to donate to help keep the site running, I’ve added a couple of paypal buttons on the site.


ObSrv: No Longer For Sale

Read More

Thank you for the emails of support and kind donations.


After a few minor changes and exchanges with Google I have managed to rectify the problem relating to inappropriate images on the detail pages.


Because of your kind support, and the resolution of issues with Google, I’ve changed my mind and decided not to sell ObSrv.


I plan to keep it running indefinitely.


If you have any issues, or need support, please leave a message or contact me at:

mail at neilennis dot com


If you’d like to donate to help keep the site running, I’ve added a couple of paypal buttons on the site.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ObSrv.com is for sale

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ObSrv.com is a web service which provides image feeds for any subject you like.


The content is updated hourly, allowing you to provide high-quality, relevant graphics for any website, or feed reader.


I’ve been able to maintain this site and host it because of the modest income stream I derive from Google ads that appear on the info pages that are displayed when a website visitor clicks on an image.  This has been great because:



  1. Web publishers didn’t need to pay anything.

  2. The ads didn’t intrude on your site – they only displayed when an interested user clicked on an image.

  3. Clicking on the image redirected to an intermediate site which displayed the ad, and allowed the user to proceed to the original site.


I didn’t have any say on what sort of images web publishers displayed – my only request was that web publishers did not use ObSrv to display adult-related images.


That’s not because I am a prude – it’s because Google prohibits ads on these sorts of sites.


Unfortunately, some people ignored this request, Google cancelled ad serving for the ObSrv site, and now it’s not paying me anything.  I can’t afford to keep it running for free.


So I have decided to sell it.


If you’re interested, please make an offer.  No serious offer will be ignored.


I’m sorry for any inconvenience.  I’m willing to be flexibile to help you out:


If you need access to ObSrv prior to it being sold, please email mail@obsrv.com.  If you’re one of the incredibly generous people who has made a donation to me in the past, or if you would like to make a modest donation, I will send you a temporary URL which will keep images being served to your site until ObSrv.com is sold.


If enough people continue to make regular modest donations I won’t sell it.


What’s a reasonable donation?  I’m flexible, but probably $20-$30 per site per year.  If half a dozen people paid this, I’d keep ObSrv online.


If you want to buy it, here’s what you get:


1. The domain ObSrv.com.  A cool five letter dot com domain – imagine what you could do with it!


2. The ASP.NET and MS-SQL Server Source Code.


3. The data.


4. 12 months hosting for the site until you find somewhere else to host it.


5. 12 months tech support for the source code.  I’m not going to over-promise here.  The source code is well documented.  I’ll answer any questions you have.  I’ll even do minor mods for you – but it has to cut both ways, and the level of support depends on the price at which you buy from me.


About me: Do a Google Search on me: “Neil Ennis”.  You’ll soon see I’ve been around a long time, I keep my promises, and I value long-term business relationships.  I won’t let you down.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

DNS323 Formatting “stuck” at 94%

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DNS-323_sideThe DLINK DNS323 is a network storage device that takes two SATA disk drives,  plugs into your local network, and acts as a file server for media and documents.


We’ve had one for the last 5 years, and it has served us very well.  It’s quick, reliable and easy to use.


We had two 1TB Western Digital “Caviar” drives installed.


Unfortunately, one of those drives failed last night.  I replaced it with a Seagate “Baracuda” 2TB drive.  We’re not running the DNS323 in a “RAID” configuration, so a different type of drive isn’t a problem.


When I booted up the unit with the new drive, the web interface told me it found the new drive, and was it ok to format it?  It assured me my other drive would be ok.


I answered “Yes” and it started formatting the new drive, but it stopped when it got to 94%.


There are a whole lot of articles online about this problem, and people have come up with many and various issues to get around it like using a different browser, clearing out cookes, even formatting the drive on a separate machine.


There was a mcuh simpler solution, however.


A 2TB drive is pretty big.  It takes a long time to format.  It just so happens that on this device, most of the formatting happens when it gets to the 94% mark.


So the easiest solution to this problem is to WAIT. 


Do nothing for an hour.  Eventually it will finish formatting, and everything will be ok.


If you don’t like doing this, feel free to try a different browser, or bury your computer in peat for a couple of hours, or chant incantations for a while.  I assure you whatever you do, if it takes longer than an hour, it will fix the problem.


Well…. it will appear to fix the problem.


Or – just wait.  Let the thing finish formatting.  Then everything will be ok.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

DIY iGoogle Upgrade

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I’ve upgraded the DIY “iGoogle” start page.


You can see the latest version here: http://nbe.me/demo

The previous version is here: http://nbe.me/olddemov2

The previous previous version is here: http://nbe.me/olddemo


Major items:

1. Each widget has its own “Settings” page which allows you to edit settings. Just click on the “settings” button at the top right of any widget:

Widget Settings Button


2. You can add / edit stocks & shares. If you click on the settings button for the stock widget you get a screen which lets you change the existing stock codes, quantities and buy prices.:

Stock Edit Screen

To delete a stock item, click on the red “X” button.

To move a stock item up a line, click on the blue up-arrow (↑)

To move a stock item down a line, click on the blue down-arrow (↓)

To add a stock item, fill in the blanks and click the green “+” button.

To save changes, click on the “SAVE” button.

To cancel changes or close the edit dialog, click on the [x] button at the top right of the window.


3. You can edit the links in the top-bar by clicking on the “*” to the right of the links in the top bar.


4. You can add / edit / remove widgets by clicking on the “Setup” link in the top bar.

setup

To delete a widget, click on the red “X” button.

To move a widget up a line, click on the blue up-arrow (↑)

To move a widget down a line, click on the blue down-arrow (↓)

To add a widget, fill in the blanks and click the green “+” button.

To save changes, click on the “SAVE” button.

To cancel changes or close the edit dialog, click on the [x] button at the top right of the window.

Click “Factory Reset” to clear all your settings and revert back to the original settings that you downloaded from the website.


5. All settings are stored locally on your hard drive using the HTML5 “localStorage” facility. This is like a cookie, only bigger. The page settings were over 4,000 bytes in size, so would not fit in a cookie which officially can’t be larger than about 4,000 bytes. Local storage can be as large as your hard drive, so there are no storage limits, and the security / privacy settings are the same as for cookies.


You can download the source code here:

http://nbe.me/demo/d.zip


If you plan to use the weather widget, please change the “Weather API Key” in the “Setup” screen. Since lots of people are using this start page, the current API key will run out of API calls each day and won’t work. There are instructions on getting your own keys here:

http://tech.neilennis.com/index.php/diy-replacement-for-igoogle/


As with all previous versions, you don’t need to load this start page on a web server. It will run fine from a folder on your computer. Just unzip the zip file, and click on index.html.


If you plan to put it on a public web server, you might want to password protect it with a htaccess file to protect your privacy.


Please try it out and let me know how you go.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

DIY Replacement for iGoogle.

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iGoogle will be gone at the end of this month.


I love iGoogle. It was free, convenient, and worked well. But because it was provided free by Google, it’s their right to pull the pin on it if they want to.


This event made me realize that any free service online may be cancelled. So if you don’t want the inconvenience of losing a free service that you love, you’re best off doing it yourself.


Here’s my modest attempt at writing my own iGoogle replacement page.


You can download the source for the page here: http://nbe.me/demo/d.zip


When you’ve downloaded the zip, you can unzip it to your own hard drive, or put it on a web server somewhere.


Before you start using it, you need two things: A Google API Key, and a Wunderground API Key.


Google API Key


1. Go to https://code.google.com/apis/console

2. If prompted, click on the “Create Project” button

3. Click on the “Services” button and change the status of “Custom Search API” to “ON”. Accept the terms.

4. Click on the “API Access” Link

5. In the “Simple API Access” section, click on “Create new Server key…”

Leave the “IP Address” box blank, and click “Create”

6. Copy the “API key”. This is your “Google Key” that you need to put in your index.html

7. Edit “index.html” and scroll to line 21 or there abouts. It will say something like:


var GoogleKey = “XXaaAaAAaAaAA9A9a9aaaaaAAA99a9aaaaA9AAA“; // Get your Google key here: https://code.google.com/apis/console


8. Replace the red key with your Google API key.

9. Save the index.html file


 Wunderground Key


1. Go to http://www.wunderground.com/weather/api/

2. Click on “Sign Up for FREE”

3. Create your free account

4. Activate your membership

5. Login to Wunderground

6. Click on “Explore My Options”.

7. Select “Developer” option ($0) then click “Purchase Key”

8. Complete the questionaire honestly.

9. Click on the “Key Stettings” tab.

10. Copy the “Key ID”. This is your “Weather Key” that you need to put in your index.html

11. Edit “index.html” and scroll to line 23 or there abouts. It will say something like:


var WeatherKey     = “99999999999aaaaa“; // Get your API key here: http://www.wunderground.com/weather/api/


12. Replace the red key with your Weather key.

13. Save the index.html file


You might want to change “WeatherCountry” and “WeatherCity” to reflect your home country and city.