I Thought He Came With You is Robert Ellison’s blog about software, marketing, politics, photography and time lapse.

Fix search on enter problem in BlogEngine.NET

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Search on enter has been broken for a while in BlogEngine.NET (I'm running the latest 2.8.0.1 version). Finally got a chance to look at this today and there is a simple patch to the JavaScript to fix it. See the issue I just filed on CodePlex for details.

How to get SEO credit for Facebook Comments (the missing manual)

Updated on Sunday, September 30, 2018

How to get SEO credit for Facebook Comments (the missing manual)

I've been using the Facebook Comments Box on this blog since I parted ways with Disqus. One issue with the Facebook system is that you won't get SEO credit for comments displayed in an iframe. They have an API to retrieve comments but the documentation is pretty light and so here are three critical tips to get it working.

The first thing to know is that comments can be nested. Once you've got a list of comments to enumerate through you need to check each comment to see if it has it's own list of comments and so on. This is pretty easy to handle.

The second thing is that the first page of JSON returned from the API is totally different from the other pages. This is crazy and can bite you if you don't test it thoroughly. For https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/comments/ the first page is https://graph.facebook.com/comments/?ids=https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/comments/. The second page is embedded at the bottom of the first page and is currently https://graph.facebook.com/10150360250580608/comments?limit=25&offset=25&__after_id=10150360250580608_28167854 (if that link is broken check the first page for a new one). The path to the comment list is "https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/comments/" -> "comments" -> "data" on the first page and just "data" on the second. So you need to handle both formats as well as the URL being included as the root object on the first page. Don't know why this would be the case, just need to handle it.

Last but not least you want to include the comments in a way that can be indexed by search engines but not visible to regular site visitors. I've found that including the SEO list in the tag does the trick, i.e.

I've included the source code for an ASP.NET user control below - this is the code I'm using on the blog. You can see an example of the output on any page with Facebook comments. The code uses Json.net.

FacebookComments.ascx:

FacebookComments.ascx.cs

The curious case of the missing slugs (in BlogEngine.net 2.8)

Updated on Sunday, September 30, 2018

2013-06-16 Update: There is now a patch for the issue discussed below.

I just upgraded to BlogEngine.net 2.8 as it contains a fix for broken links from Facebook. There were a couple of hitches that I'll share in case they help anyone else.

I messed up the first upgrade attempt because the updater utility updates the source folder (containing the newly downloaded 2.8 code) instead of the destination folder (containing the current version of your blog). This is a little odd and the result is I uploaded an unchanged instance and then embarrassingly complained the the Facebook bug hadn't been fixed. It had, just not in the folder I was expecting. I probably didn't pay enough attention to the instruction video.

Having got that out of the way I discovered that new posts were appearing with a bad link (to /.aspx instead of /blog-title.aspx). I rarely post using the editor as I have a home-grown post by email service running. After a bit of digging it turns out that prior to 2.8 you could leave the slug empty when creating a post but now this results in the bad link. Luckily there isn't much effort require to fix this, you just need to set the slug before saving the new post:

In the middle of playing with this my live site died and started returning a 500 error. No amount of uploading the working local copy would fix this. Happily Server Intellect have outstanding support and restored a working backup for me in the middle of the night. Thanks chaps!

Catfood: Earth for Android 1.10

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Catfood Earth for Android 1.10

I’ve just released Catfood Earth for Android 1.10. You can control the center of the screen manually (the most requested new feature) and also tweak the transparency of each layer and the width of the terminator between day and night. It also starts a lot faster and has fewer update glitches. Grab it from Google Play if this looks like your sort of live wallpaper.

Catfood: Earth for Android

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

EarthForAndroid

I’ve just released Catfood Earth for Android. It’s my second app created with Xamarin’s excellent toolkit. Being able to develop in C# allowed me to reuse a lot of code from the Windows version of Catfood Earth. The Android version doesn’t include all the same layers (yet) but it’s got the main ones – daytime (twelve different satellite images included, based on NASA’s Blue Marble Next Generation but with some special processing to make them look better), nighttime (city lights, shaded to show nighttime and the terminator between day and night) and a clouds layer that is downloaded every three hours.

My main worry had been that this would suck the phone battery dry, but after a fair amount of optimization it doesn’t even register on the battery consumption list. Grab it now from Google Play ($3.99, Android 2.2 or better).

Reviews and Links for August 2012

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

5/5

Stonking police procedural set in the months leading up to a global catastrophe.

 

Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

5/5

Excellent techno-thriller. A little more serious and focused than Daemon and Freedom (TM). It's about a worst case drone scenario, ants, extra-special forces and some smart birds. Very good.

 

Links

Windows 8, Users 0? http://t.co/966Cuwjz

Bill Nye declares Todd Akin "fucking idiot"; issues debate challenge http://t.co/AZ3k55Y4 #fb

ITHCWY: Fight Facebook with Email: I was a little saddened to read today that Diaspora is transitioning over to… http://t.co/2G0pDdu0

Diaspora Founders To Move On, Handing Over Decentralized Social Network ‘To The Community’ http://t.co/KQGb2kpv -- sad, but not the future

RT @MargaretAtwood: Just used http://t.co/Nhna2CGO for gruesome printer problem: excellent, done in 10 mins! Tks to S H E F I N. Website ...

Check out Catfood Earth Live Wallpaper on Google Play! https://t.co/NTJQ1sYL

ITHCWY: Twenty-Four Hours with Twilio: I've wanted to play with Twilio's voice and SMS service for a while and… http://t.co/KOK0PG2M

Tuesdays http://t.co/BLNiCP3H

Twitter Cuts Off Tumblr's Ability to Find Friends http://t.co/1g3ZcClf

5 of 5 stars to The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters http://t.co/9NF2nviH

XML: http://t.co/VadVt321 #rofl

Windows 8 Is Now Available For Developers (And For Everybody Else, There’s A 90-Day Free Trial, Too) http://t.co/iu1li6BV

Gotye's YouTube orchestra remix of "Somebody That I Used to Know" http://t.co/OUEXXltQ

ITHCWY: City by the Bay: View from Bernal Hill this afternoon. http://t.co/11cI3ctk

Nice panorama! Curiosity rover: Martian solar day 2 #360pano http://t.co/w1H2ocUm via @360cities

ITHCWY: Share a picture in MonoDroid: Here’s how to share a picture to Facebook, Twitter and so forth from… http://t.co/pByzvjmx

5 of 5 stars to Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez http://t.co/TKgUMNW0

BBC News - Mars rover makes first colour panorama http://t.co/fZ7u8smZ

How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking http://t.co/BDmRAbm3

Via KQED Guides: Guide to Bay Area Tidepools: Where to Explore Amazing Marine Life | http://t.co/TDBRDnTD #todo @myEN

ITHCWY: Catfood: WebCams for Android: I’ve just released a WebCam app for Android. It’s based on WebCamSaver but… http://t.co/azZUwkkz

Pay for a new social network with no ads? https://t.co/2tox3c2y Anyone I know going to be on there? #fb

Curiosity http://t.co/D2cyWE66

BBC News - Photo shows Mars rover descent http://t.co/KfOv1qOF

Catfood WebCams for Android - Catfood Software http://t.co/VzeySq90 via @CatfoodSoftware

Check out Catfood WebCams on Google Play! https://t.co/VTU8YiBd

ITHCWY: Not a Private Key: When jarsigner says "Key Associated with [alias] not a private key" it almost certainly… http://t.co/3sk89ENV

ITHCWY: Sending email via GMail in C#/.NET using SmtpClient: I’ve stubbed my toe on this a couple of times, so here… http://t.co/QJ7YjcjI

Help end patent litigation insanity and tell your congress person to back SHIELD. http://t.co/27anadBt

ITHCWY: Support SHIELD–a small measure of patent sanity: A friend pointed me at the SHIELD (PDF) act today. This… http://t.co/ArXHgZ0e

ITHCWY: Thank you for choosing HSA Bank!: No, thank you HSA Bank for not giving me a choice and then cheekily… http://t.co/9torSXCq

Bill would force patent trolls to pay defendants’ legal bills | Ars Technica http://t.co/poB3zzlX +1, via @sr00t

What a happy coincidence. As well as #IPAday it's also goof off at work day: http://t.co/7AItItWq

Apparently it's #IPADay - luckily there's some @21stAmendment in the fridge. http://t.co/jyYPSePC

Share a picture in MonoDroid

Updated on Sunday, September 30, 2018

Here’s how to share a picture to Facebook, Twitter and so forth from MonoDroid:

A fun mix of Java and C#. The directory got me to start with so check to see if the ExternalCacheDir is available and if not fall back to the internal CacheDir. Frustratingly Facebook doesn’t pick up on the text associated with an image regardless of the intent ExtraWhatever specified.

Catfood: WebCams for Android

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

Catfood WebCams for Android

I’ve just released a WebCam app for Android. It’s based on WebCamSaver but allows you to control the webcam – you tap the edges of the screen to pan, pinch to zoom in and out. A fun little time waster.

This is the first app I’ve released using Xamarin’s MonoDroid framework. This integrates nicely into Visual Studio and allows you to program an Android app in C#. This is fantastic for productivity and code reuse and I enjoyed the process a lot more than previous work I’ve done in Java / Eclipse. The main drawback is that the framework adds around 5MB (significant for mobile) and the documentation isn’t always the best, especially when you search for something and find out you’ve been dumped into iOS reference material. Digging around the sample code and cross-referencing the official Android documentation helps a lot. I’m going to take a stab at something a little more ambitious next…

Sending email via GMail in C#/.NET using SmtpClient

Updated on Friday, September 13, 2019

Gmail Logo

Here’s a quick code snippet that configures SmtpClient to send email using Gmail’s SMTP server:

This can be frustratingly difficult to get right so I’ll run through each setting quickly.

DeliveryMethod: Set to SmtpDeliveryMethod.Network, the alternatives are copying the email to a directory for pickup by a different application. We want to connect directly to Gmail.

UseDefaultCredentials: False, as we’ll be providing our own credentials later. Setting properties in the right order is apparently important for SmtpClient, although the Microsoft documentation doesn’t mention this. Make sure you set UseDefaultCredentials to false before setting the Credentials property.

EnableSsl: True. SSL or TLS is required.

Host: smtp.gmail.com for this example. Note that this server restricts you to sending 2,000 emails per day. There is a less restrictive option for G Suite customers (smtp-relay.gmail.com) and a more restrictive server that can only send messages to Gmail or G Suite addresses (aspmx.l.google.com).

Port: Google says to use 465 for SSL and 587 for TLS. I’ve found that 587 with EnableSSL set to true works fine.

Credentials: Your Gmail address and password in a NetworkCredential. If your account has 2 step (multi factor) authentication then this won’t work. You can generate an app password easily and use this instead of your regular password. It’s also possible to use OAuth.

In the comments below Shika Helmy suggests also setting the Timeout property to 20000.

You can now use smtp.Send() to send the email.

Because it’s likely to be your personal account and there is a 2,000 message cap on sending I’d only recommend using this for small scale projects. You don’t want to get your Gmail account blocked. For higher volume I’d look at using SendGrid or similar.

One last note - while I’ve used SmtpClient for all sorts of trivial email needs over the years the latest Microsoft documentation marks it obsolete and warns:

SmtpClient and its network of types are poorly designed, we strongly recommend you use https://github.com/jstedfast/MailKit and https://github.com/jstedfast/MimeKit instead

Hope this expanded article helps. I still come back here periodically to cut and paste rather than mess up the property order again...

Catfood: PdfScan 1.40

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Catfood: PdfScan 1.40

Catfood PdfScan 1.40 is a small bug fix release. PdfScan converts documents to PDFs with the help of a flatbed or automatic document feeder (ADF) scanner.