Useful Wacom tablet

A couple of years I got a Wacom tablet. It was a gift – not really the type of thing I think I would’ve bought, but it was definitely nice to get. Since then, I’ve found it incredibly useful, and it’s become almost a permanent fixture in my bag. For a start, it’s a great way of being able to ink up documents in ways that I can’t do with my regular laptop (I don’t own a Tablet PC, but inking is still useful from time to time). But I also find that it’s really useful when I’m teaching or … Continue reading Useful Wacom tablet

Sidebar monitoring of SQL databases

A while back I discussed using the Windows Vista Sidebar to display useful information about applications. This led to other conversations, including one with fellow SQL MVP (and Leeds United fan – sorry to hear about the 15 points, mate) Jamie Thomson about monitoring important SQL database statistics using sidebar gadgets. I didn’t give it much thought, because I still had my PowerGadgets solution in place, monitoring all kinds of things based on my own queries. (Personally, I like using ‘union all’ queries. This lets me get a nice collection of numbers for showing in a graph. But I also find that … Continue reading Sidebar monitoring of SQL databases

Cricket PowerGadget

I was thinking about PowerShell and how you can get it to do fantastic things. And I wondered how easily it could be used for scraping cricket scores. So I threw together four lines of code to grab the cricket scoreboard from cricinfo and rip out the title. $ret = (new-object Net.WebClient).DownloadString(“http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ausveng/engine/current/match/249226.html?view=live;wrappertype=mainframe”)$titlestart = [Regex]::Matches($ret,”<title>”,”IgnoreCase”)[0].Index$titleend = [Regex]::Matches($ret,”</title>”,”IgnoreCase”)[0].Index$ret.Substring($titlestart+7,$titleend-$titlestart-7) Edited: This can be done easily in one line – Lars pointed out the use of Regex to grab the section between the title tags, which then means we don’t need to store $ret at all. It can now be: [Regex]::Match((new-object Net.WebClient).DownloadString(“http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ausveng/engine/current/match/249226.html?view=live;wrappertype=mainframe”),”<title>(.*)</title>”,”IgnoreCase”).Groups[1].Value It’s not … Continue reading Cricket PowerGadget

Cricket gadget

Being English, I’m finding this Ashes series quite depressing. I updated the Wikipedia site to say that Australia had won the series 3-0, but took no joy in doing so. It’s not often you get to update Wikipedia with information about a live event – but this time I did. I’ve been following the cricket by either listening to the radio, watching a TV-stream, or keeping half an eye on the cricinfo site which updates the score in the title of a browser window. Doesn’t work so well now that tabbed browsing is all the rage, but it’s still useful. … Continue reading Cricket gadget

Application monitoring in 20 seconds with PowerGadgets

Performance Monitoring is great, but unless you’ve made a bunch of custom monitors, it doesn’t really tell you the health of your application. Well, not completely. For example, take wHooiz – Cameron and Clarke’s profile tool. I’m sure they have various things running to to persuade them that their system is ticking along nicely. But that doesn’t tell them whether their marketing is working. It doesn’t tell them if their application is actually happy and successful. There may be no 404s in site, but if no-one is using the thing, then they’re failing. Luckily for them, they seem to be … Continue reading Application monitoring in 20 seconds with PowerGadgets

Whooiz my Friendz?

Observant people will have noticed a friend-list appear on the side of my blog. Changing my blog around is way overdue for me. I need to take a few hours out some time and work on the CSS. I still don’t have all the useful stuff that I had at my old blog site. One of those is a friend-list. I’ve never actually been a fan of friend-lists. I hate the idea of missing people out. And I think that’s where Whooiz can come in. Whooiz is a start-up by Clarke (I want to call him Monkey, but I won’t) … Continue reading Whooiz my Friendz?