Webmaster Tools – Robots.txt User-agent: * Syntax not understood

While going through Google’s Webmaster Tools early today for one of my sites, I noticed under Crawl > Blocked URLs, that the number of URLs that Google had blocked was 0, even though the site has a robots.txt with a few rules, and Google has crawled and indexed 10s of thousands of pages so far.

Upon further inspection, I noticed a peculiar thing:

Line 1: User-agent: *     Syntax not understood

robots-analysis-before

Interesting? How can User-agent not be recognized?
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WordPress Error: Call to undefined function: wp_remote_post()

First off, let me apologize for the site’s horrid layout. Do to upgrading, I had to pick one of the out-of-the-box WordPress themes. Hopefully I’ll have something a bit better up in the next day or so.

As mentioned, I just did upgrade WordPress, from 2.5.x to 3.7.1. Since you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you also were doing something similar. If this is the case, and you haven’t already done so, I would suggest reading Upgrading WordPress – Extended Instructions over at Codex.

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How To: Expand a Virtual PC Disk with VhdResizer and DiskPart

Question: What does “Dynamically expanding virtual hard disk” mean to you?

For some reason, while setting up a development machine in Virtual PC, I had this thought that “dynamically expanding” meant that the disk would start out at a specified size, and expand as needed. However, it’s the opposite. A “dynamically expanding” disk starts off small, and expands to the specified size. So needless to say, 10Gbs wasn’t enough to install Visual Studio 2008 (90 day trial), SQL Express 2005 and 2008, plus the service packs and Windows’ Updates.

After doing a bit of sleuthing (“Googling“), I discovered how wrong I was, but also discovered a tool called VHD Resizer.

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What’s the difference between CONST and READONLY in .Net?

Ever sit around talking to your co-workers about random things, when all of a sudden you ask “What’s the difference between const and readonly in .Net?“. If so, you are not alone. If not, well, you’re just weird.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a developer that I work with, when I asked the exact same question. I remembered though, that when I was working on Poynt while at my last job, we kept getting warnings saying that we should either change our const to readonly, or vice versa. I can’t remember exactly which one, or the reason that was given. I do also vaguley remember that it had something to do with compile time.

Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to sleep without knowing the answer to this riddle, I decided to use Google to see what I could find (If you’ve never used Google, I suggest giving it a try It’s a neat little web site that gives you links to web pages, that are relevant to what you are searching for. I have a feeling that it will become big one day). Continue reading

How Do You Name Your PCs?

Last weekend I went out and picked myself up a refurbished HP DX5150 Small Form Factor PC, which I’m planning on turning into a little Media Center. The current PC that’s connected to my TV will now become a network storage server (most likely using Windows Home server). And my main computer will stay as my main computer.

At some of the places that I’ve worked, they’ve usually named their servers with letters to describe the location/city and functionality (production, development, mail, …) of the computer, as well as give it a number to give it a uniqueness. One place that I worked at, they decided to give their servers names, such as “Sunny”, “Shade”, “Dark”, “Mirage”. Another place that I worked at, they used “Dev”, “Prod”, and so on.

So, instead of using the default computer names that Windows likes to generate (COMP-23k4h5g221nlm34), I decided to have a little fun at my PCs’ expense, and give each computer their own name, a name that will attempt to somewhat describe each one, and a name that isn’t so blah.

Here is what I’ve came up with so far:

Maggie: This is my laptop, the smallest of the computers, but not the dumbest (Intel Core2 Duo @ 2.2Ghz with 2GB of PC2 5300 RAM).

Homer: This is by far the biggest (2TB of storage) of all the computers, but is also the dumest (AMD 2400+, 1GB PC3200 RAM).

Krusty: This is an “entertaining” PC, and is my Media PC which is connected to the TV. It’s big. but not the biggest (1TB of storage), and isn’t quite the dumbest either (AMD 3200+, 1.5GB of PC3200 RAM).

Lisa: This is by far the smartest of computers (AMD 64 Dual Core 4200+, 3GB of RAM). This is also no where near being the biggest, but isn’t the smallest either (200GB of storage).

Do you like to have a little fun, and give your PCs a unique friendly name? If so, what are they?

Multiplied Media’s Poynt is a BlackBerry Developer Challenge Grand Prize Winner

Multiplied Media's Poynt On October 21st, it was announced that Multiplied Media‘s (TSX:MMC) local search application “Poynt” (I previously reviewed the beta release) was one of three Best in Show Grand Prize winners in the Blackberry Partners Fund‘s Developer Challenge.

For being a winner, each of the three companies will receive a $150,000 investment and will be entered into the “Jump Start” program.

Along with Poynt, the other two winners are:
- Strands Social Player: A music player that lets you discover new music, connect with people, and share your tastes with friends. It automatically shows cover art, provides artist and song recommendations from over 6 million songs featuring free previews, and fully integrates with a social network of music enthusiasts.
- Nobex Radio Companion: Shows you what song is playing on any of 2700 radio stations and when you hear a song you like click “Get It!” and it will send you an email with a link to buy the song, so you can keep your music collection fresh. Over a hundred stations are now playable on your BlackBerry Smartphone.

I’m pretty sure that the guys over at MM wish that the winners were announced a few months ago, but hopefully, as the saying goes, “It’s never too late”.

(Disclosure: I’m a former employee of illumicell/Multiplied Media)

Microsoft is giving you a Second Shot

A buddy of mine pointed out to me today that the good folks over at Microsoft are again offering their Second Shot for free.

If you register and take a Microsoft exam between October 15, 2008 and December 31, and fail, you can rewrite it for free anytime up until June 30, 2009. If you pass the exam on your first try, you will get a 25% discount on your next exam which has to be taken before February 28, 2009.

For more information and to register for the Second Shot, go to http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/offers/2ndchance/default.mspx.

Personally, I’m hoping that I can take advantage of this offer, and write my Distributed Applications exam and then my Windows Application of Pro Web Developer exam.

This Day in History: September 2, 2008

Do you know what today is? Yes, it’s the day that Google finally released there much rumoured GBrowser browser, “Chrome”. Today also marks the First Anniversary of CarlJ.ca.

It only seems like yesterday that I was sitting at the office of my former employer on a Sunday afternoon when I wrote my first post, “Linux Surpasses Windows in PC Market Share”, congradulating the whole collective of distros for finally surpassing Windows 98 in market share. Well actually, according to the stats, they were both tied at 1.34% (As of today, Windows 98 has slipped to 0.66% while Linux has a whopping 2%, and will soon overtake Windows 2000).

A few days after that post, I received my first link back, and I knew right then that I was destined to be a blogger, and managed to write and publish a staggering 31 posts, with dozens of more drafts.

All kidding aside for a minute, I’m quite shocked at the number of people, the page views and comments that the site has received since then. When I first started, I remember telling a few fellow employees that I would be happy if I could get 100 visits a month. Over the span of the year, I’m averaging 221 per day.

In case you’re curious, here’s a few more stats according to Google for the year.

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Fixing Firefox’s ‘NS_ERROR_NOT_AVAILABLE’ Error When Using PageMethods.

So here I am, doing some Virtual Earth stuff with PageMethods (which will be in an upcoming post), something I’ve done many times over the last year and some, and I’m running into some issues.

First off, IE7 does nothing, it just sits there. I add some break points in the static method that the PageMethod is calling, and again, nothing. So I load up Firefox, poynt to the URL of the page, and unlike IE7, Firefox does something.

However, it wasn’t something that I was expecting. In the Error Console it had the following message:

Error: [Exception... "Component returned failure code: 0x80040111 (NS_ERROR_NOT_AVAILABLE) [nsIXMLHttpRequest.status]” nsresult: “0×80040111 (NS_ERROR_NOT_AVAILABLE)” location: “JS frame :: http://localhost:50007/NS_ERROR_NOT_AVAILABLE/ScriptResource.axd?d=ZgyDU9i45kjT :: Sys$Net$XMLHttpExecutor$get_statusCode :: line 4166″ data: no]
Source File: http://localhost:50007/NS_ERROR_NOT_AVAILABLE/ScriptResource.axd?d=ZgyDU9i45kjT-145205
Line: 4166

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Multiplied Media launches beta of Poynt for the BlackBerry

Poynt Logo On June 11 2008, Multiplied Media (Symbol: TSX-V:MMC) announced the release of the beta version of Poynt for the Blackberry handheld devices.

For those that are unfamiliar with Poynt, it’s a local search service currently for North America (agreements have been signed with t-info of Germany and Infobel which covers over 30 European countries) and is available on MSN (poynt@live.com) and on AIM (Poynt).

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