Dan Mackey On ColdFusion Development

ColdFusion, Java, .NET, AJAX, DHTML development and general programming. Daniel is owner and Administrator of CFTagStore.com and works for an Application Development Company in Ireland called Digital Crew. His interests cover all areas of programming in multiple languages with a particular interest in Internet Technologies.

All Articles Posted In September 2006
2006-09-27 12:02:00.0

Pandoras Box V1.3.0 Released

I was going to hold off on this release to add a few extra features but after so many emails for the features I had complete I said I would delpoy it while I finish the other items.

This version contains:

  • Popup notifications on song/artist change
  • Setting to enable/disable notifications
  • Copy-To-Clipboard functionality
  • New menu system for right-click
  • Fixes flicker issue on dual-monitor setups
  • Option to show/hide in taskbar.
  • If shown in taskbar, it now shows in the ALT+TAB list

If you are upgrading to a the latest version, I would recommend un-installing the last version completely before installing this version. If your lazy and you dont un-install you probably wont have any issues :-)

I'll be working on the new features shortly. Your going to like them!!

Thanks to all who donated to the PayPal beer fund. Very much appreciated! I you havent done so yet and you appreciate the application there is no time like the present ;-)

DOWNLOAD LATEST VERSION - V1.2.9

You can find out all about Pandoras Box and read about the initial version here :

Pandoras Box - System Tray Wrapper Application For Pandora

Thank you to everyone who contributed comments, suggestions and encouragement. As always donated beer money goes along way to encourage development so if you like and use Pandoras Box, please consider clicking the donate button :-)

Add to your del.icio.us    DIGG This!    Technorati Cosmos Link    Post to Reddit    Add to your Furl    Add to Blinklist
Comments [15] - Leave a comment
2006-09-22 13:03:00.0

Apple G4 Arrived Today...

After 15 years I have finally given in and purchased an Apple G4. I really need to get the thumb out and make my apps truely cross-platform so this morning handed the cash over and took delivery of my first Apple computer.

I am actually looking forward to re-writing CF_FileManager and getting it truely cross-platform and especially running in Safari. Same goes for all my Custom Tags and Applications on CFTagStore.com

Add to your del.icio.us    DIGG This!    Technorati Cosmos Link    Post to Reddit    Add to your Furl    Add to Blinklist
Comments [2] - Leave a comment
2006-09-18 23:15:00.0

Pandoras Box - Updates

Just a quick note on the latest additions to Pandoras Box

  • Now posts to Windows Messenger to show the currently playing song
  • Control Pandora from the menu by right-clicking on the taskTray icon
  • New lyrics window to pull lyrics for the currently playing song
  • Support for global keyboard media keys - Pause/Play, Vote Dislike, Vote Like, Next Song
  • Single Click SHOW/HIDE
  • Does not show in taskbar
  • Check to see if you have the latest version
  • Additional access to menu items via right-click on tray icon
  • Ability to change Stations from the right-click menu on the tray icon. See the comments of this post for more info...

(Read More on development)

DOWNLOAD LATEST VERSION - V1.2.9

You can find out all about Pandoras Box and read about the initial version here :

Pandoras Box - System Tray Wrapper Application For Pandora

Thank you to everyone who contributed comments, suggestions and encouragement. As always donated beer money goes along way to encourage development so if you like and use Pandoras Box, please consider clicking the donate button :-)

Add to your del.icio.us    DIGG This!    Technorati Cosmos Link    Post to Reddit    Add to your Furl    Add to Blinklist
Comments [36] - Leave a comment
2006-09-11 23:12:00.0

Scriptable Browser Tag To Send Free O2.ie SMS Texts

Since we set up CFTagStore.com 4 years ago, I have tried many different things to get free SMS text alerts on our sales. With on average 4 sales a day multiplied by 365 at 13 cent per text, we were literally spending too much (189.80 Euro) on something as trivial but necessary as text alerts on sales.

If all 3 people who are involved in the running of CFTagStore.com were to pay for the SMS alerts, we would be 569.40 Euro out of pocket. (Over 4 years - 2277.60 Euro)

The SMS alerts are important to us as sometimes an extra human intervention is needed to successfully deliver the soft products we sell so we used to be shelling that much cash out by sending an email to our O2.ie accounts and using their (rather unreliable and expensive) email-to-text alert service which at the time cost 13 cent per message.

One day, the O2 email-to-text service went down and didnt return for 2 weeks. I wrote numerous emails to O2 explaining that we were paying alot for the service and it was important and got nothing but canned-responses back from a moron who didnt really understand the problem. The answer back? It is working. My answer back? Its not. Return canned-response? We will be upgrading our site in the future and will take your feedback into account.

It was then I said I would write my own app to use the free 500 texts (as it was at the time) to send the alerts to our phones for free. I had done a bit of work on an application that would log into eBay and scrape some information from a users logged in account. The way I went about is was a quick-n-dirty Windows application that used the Microsoft Browser Control coupled with the MS Scripting Control that was called using ColdFusion CFEXECUTE (as a custom tag) and capturing the STDOUT to return to CF. Another nice thing is that even though the core app is a Windows executable, there is no form as such so on the server, you actually never see anything running.

The application was flexible and you loaded it using a host of scripts (either VBScript or Javascript syntax was supported) which let me script a user travelling and clicking through a website. To the host website, it appeared that a user was genuinely using the site so none of the sites could block it in any way. This worked perfectly for years until O2 upgraded (and broke) their site. The security cert they implemented threw a modal security dialog on Internet Explorer (the basis of the Web Browser control I was using) which froze my app. There was no way of using sendKeys or anything to click OK.

Today I managed to tweak the registry on my machine to force the suppression of the dialog and so resumed my free texts through O2. Unfortunately, I lost my source code to the original app so wrote a quick-and-dirty version this evening specifically targeted at O2 and free texts so it doesnt have the generic scripting of the previous version but it does the job!

If anybody wants the code or have a situation in which they may benefit from a scriptable browsing scenario, just email me. I have often thought of adapting the core of the app to help in unit testing etc. Seeing as I lost my original code, on the side at night or in the evenings I am thinking of starting from scratch again and making the solution generic with possibly a wizard for creating the scripts.

Add to your del.icio.us    DIGG This!    Technorati Cosmos Link    Post to Reddit    Add to your Furl    Add to Blinklist
Comments [3] - Leave a comment
2006-09-11 16:05:00.0

RSS Feed Counter

For a while now, I was interested in knowing how many actual subscribers I had to my blog. While my Blog stats showed me general stats, it did not show me a count of the RSS subscribers. Luckily, Peter had the same idea and wrote some handy code which I used as a basis for my tracking.

I added in a few extra fields so capture the user_agent and remote_host fields aswell as the last date the feed was consumed.

I reckoned Peters way was fairly clever and was simple to implement.

The basis is to use CFHEADER to send a message of Moved Permanently so the users agent would update their feed which infact tacked on a UID to identify them.

By checking to see if the UID was present on subsequent calls, I could update the other fields.

Below is a shot of the code and it is short and should make alot of sense.

I also have a field in the database which marks whether the subscriber is an aggregator or an RSS Reader. I am going to use this to place badges on my blog showing the number of individual subscribers like FeedBurner

If nothing else, this little excerise has thought me to look into the ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE directive in SQL and the ability to chain a number of updates together.

Add to your del.icio.us    DIGG This!    Technorati Cosmos Link    Post to Reddit    Add to your Furl    Add to Blinklist
Comments [1] - Leave a comment