Indecision results in Netflix

June 18, 2008

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been torn about what to work on.

I got bored with the clan site. Once I worked through all of the MVC.NET stuff, I lost interest.

Last week, I went to a SOA / ESB conference. For several days, I thought about writing a .NET pubsub system.

I’ve also been thinking about writing a validation component. Every one I’ve seen (not many) requires tight coupling between the validator and the object being validated.

I’ve also been thinking about JTS, which is a pretty big piece of software that I wrote. (Muvico uses it). I started rewriting part of it in .net 3.5 with the intention of, perhaps, renting it out to other theater chains. I still might do that.

Then, I came back to DvdFriend. When all else fails, work on DvdFriend.

I added NETFLIX to the list of vendors. Unfortunately, it didn’t play nicely with the existing vendor framework. Netflix requires you to be logged in in order to see the full product page. I had to put in a piece of custom code to handle that.

– changed the scraper to use httpwebrequest instead of webclient

– added a netflix hack to handle the netflix specific stuff. (The next time this happens, I’ll have to refactor to an OOP friendly solution. This is just one, though, so no pattern yet. My goal was to implement netflix, not write tons of new code.

– Added a RentalOnly bit field to the vendor table.

– Changed the user control to show RENT when its a rental product.

– Much code is ignoring prices where the price <= 0. Rather than deal with that, set netflix to set the price to 999.00 (which never shows up anyway). Added a FIXED method to the parser to support this.

– Changed the save price stored procedure, for admin convenience. Normally, you would select a product type of RENTAL, then search for the product. Since DVD and BluRay is already there, the new check will make it a rental regardless of the selected product type.

I don’t plan on backfilling all of the products, though I did go through most of products in the left and center columns. I’ll probably do the right as well. Going forward, I’ll keep up with it, and maybe do a few others here and there, but it won’t be a big effort.

Now that the netflix product id is collected, the next logical step is “ADD TO QUEUE”, and related.

After that… who knows. Amazon Unboxed? (Unlike netflix, I think Amazon Unboxed probably has a commission.

As always, if you would like to support the site, please consider using it for your product purchases.



June 10, 2008

It takes a while for me to get to the point. Hang in there.

Chris mentioned that “Hitman is the best video game movie to date” on the DVDFriend website. I countered by suggesting that Doom, Mortal Kombat, and all 3 Resident Evil movies, and possibly the first Tomb Raider movie were all better. He agreed with a lot of that, but disagreed on doom. (It seems that he was zoning in on a particular director rather than cover the full spectrum of video game movies).

I liked the first Doom movie. It’s in the “crappy but good” category. I love how they didn’t bother with a PG13… they just went for the R, and did anything they want.

Anyway, that got me thinking about the Doom games. I never beat Doom 3. I suppose I should play it again, but I didn’t have fun with it. Doom 1 and 2 were in big open areas with lots of monsters. You could kill a lot of the monsters with a single shot.

I didn’t get very far in Doom 3. It seemed that you had to shoot everything 50 times, and you were always in these tightly enclosed areas. I think I read that there could only be 3 baddies on the screen at a time. And, the infamous flashlight…. apparently your first-person self can’t hold a flashlight and a gun at the same time. (There was change for that after… don’t know if it was a 3rd party mod or a IDSoftware change). Half Life 2 came out about the same time. Its a FAR superior game. I later update to Doom 3 ripped off the Half Life 2 gravity gun.

Great… right. But what does this have to do with a tech’ish blog? I’m getting there.

After pondering the failure of Doom 3 for a bit, I jumped on google to find Doom 4. I learned that, at the beginning of May, IDSoftware announced that production on Doom 4 has begun.

“Swell”, I thought (in first person). “it’d be great if I could post a link to that on the website”.

The development project name for DVDFriend is “DVDBlog”. So is the database. I approached the new design (which really isn’t new anymore) in a completely different way. Everything is “blog” entries, which is to day, just a bunch of text. There’s no real hierarch of data. There are other tables to bring the data together in meaningful ways, with more to come eventually.)

The DVDFriend site is broken up into zones. I can specify different things go into different zones, though I have never actually done that. Its functionality that I have to revisit, because the database and API both support my wish to show a list of NEWS links in the right margin. However, the admin site does not. Rather than jump in and manually insert the data, I’d rather write about not doing it, as I am now.

Actually, though, it would require a new zone. The right zone is currently occupied by the DVD list. I’ll have to put it outside the margin. It’ll give it a certain symmetry.

When will I actually get to this? I feel that simply acknowledging it is sufficient. I don’t know when I’ll actually end up doing it. The way this usually works is that, as I type this, I’m really not in the mood. But, it will fester, then I’ll finally commit to it while watching tv one night. Will the patter repeat? We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m thinking about other things. In particular, I’m thinking about SOA, ESB, and the possibility of writing a .NET pubsub. Stay tuned.

Wrong URL

June 8, 2008


I’ve made the decision to move over to WordPress, but I haven’t actually done it yet. The blog you’re looking at is a test import from a few weeks ago.

To see my actual stuff, please refer to:


Thank you!

Cardspace, Rounds 1 and 2

June 8, 2008

One day last week, I figured it was time to learn some stuff about CardSpace. I read some articles and found some good startup guides. I learned about EV certificates.

I installed a test EV certificate on my local development machine, and created a secondary login page for DVDFriend. I put the cardspace object tag on the new page.

Everything went pretty smooth until that point. Then, I hit the button, and dissapointment ensued. The applet popped up and asked me for a card. Then there was flash, and it and the IE instance both froze. I went into process manager and killed ICARDAGT.exe and INFOCARD.EXE that freed it up. That happened a bunch of times.

The event log revealed that it was a WS TRUST failure. I didn’t look into it anymore at the time, but it was dissapointing that it kept crashing rather than handle it gracefully. It was a bad first impression, but oh well, things go wrong. I put it off for another day.


I didn’t change anything. I just came back to it a few days later, and everything worked as advertised. I wonder if that WS error was due to a remote service being down somewhere. Its probably still in the event log, so maybe I’ll revisit.

I’m going to be in a conference for the next 3 days, so I should have plenty of down time at night. Time permitting, I’ll implement CardSpace as an alternative login to DvdFriend. Once in place, I can check CardSpace off my “things to do” list.

Enterprise 4.0 is out

June 3, 2008