Thursday, July 28, 2011

Google+: Why... So... Serious??

I just tried to use Google's +1 feature, but inexplicably saw red, an exclamation point icon appeared instead of the usual cheerful blue +1. Upon clicking this, I was greeted with the following:
Your profile is currently suspended
Until your profile is unsuspended, you will be unable to create +1's.


Initially this smacked of the kind of shit I've experienced on Yahoo Answers, where a profile you might invest a lot of time and effort in gets suspended because you post a controversial answer that a bunch of people dislike and report to indulge their passive aggressive tendencies. A closer look at my profile revealed this additional clarification.
Your profile is suspended

After reviewing your profile, we determined that the name you provided violates our Community Standards.

If you believe that your profile has been suspended in error, please provide us with additional information via this form, and we will review your profile again.

Google's rules provided this additional tidbit:
Display Name
To help fight spam and prevent fake profiles, use the name your friends, family, or co-workers usually call you. For example, if your full legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, either of these would be acceptable.

Google+ is still being tested so to me this is no biggie, but it is an annoyance. Some people might not want to use their real name, some might want to create a profile with a fake name for their cat, dog, business, narwhal, whatever.

They have provided the option to provide optional verification in the form of a photo ID...

Additional Verification Information (Optional Section)

Attach a copy of your ID with your name and photo clearly visible. You can block out other personal information. Your ID will only be used to verify your name and will be deleted after review.

I chose not to pursue this option, since I know who I am and I feel Google needn't know more than whom I've presented through my online persona. Facebook, certainly, doesn't mind...

Hopefully Google will unclench their social networking buttcheeks and let people have some latitude in terms of naming their profiles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Explorer.EXE Crashes and Restarts Constantly

After a reboot, Windows Explorer began to crash and restart constantly with an Event ID 1000 error. Windows Help was useless, so I opened Event Viewer and saw the following:

It's curious that a file which is part of the third-party Windows 7 Codec pack seems to be responsible:
Faulting module path: C:\Program Files\Win7codecs\filters\DivXMFSource.DLL

Fortunately, I got around this issue by simply uninstalling the codec pack as described here, by executing the file Win7codecs.msi in a subfolder contained immediately under C:\ProgramData\Win7codecs\, and then choosing Remove (the only option available via Control Panel \ Programs \ Programs and Features is to perform a "Repair", which didn't help in my case).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Create Shortcut to Executable using C#

I needed a C# method to create a shortcut to an executable and place it on the user's desktop in Windows.

I found a method to actually create the shortcut which utilizes the Windows Scripting Host object model. Most examples I found used a separate icon file for the shortcut, whereas I wanted to have the shortcut icon by default be the same one used by the executable itself.

First you must create a reference in Visual Studio to the Windows Script Host Object Model COM object as shown here:

Below is the modified method, where sLinkPathName is the path to the executable.

using IWshRuntimeLibrary


private void appShortcutToDesktop(string sLinkPathName)
          WshShellClass wsh = new WshShellClass();
          IWshRuntimeLibrary.IWshShortcut scShortcut;

          // Choose the path for the shortcut
          scShortcut = wsh.CreateShortcut(Environment.GetFolderPath(Environment.SpecialFolder.Desktop) + "\\shorcut.lnk") as IWshRuntimeLibrary.IWshShortcut;

          // Where the shortcut should point to
          scShortcut.TargetPath = txtFile.Text;

          // Description for the shortcut
          scShortcut.Description = "This is a shortcut.";

          // Location for the shortcut's icon
          scShortcut.IconLocation = sLinkPathName + ", 0";

          // Create the shortcut at the given path
     catch (Exception ex)

Line 22 sets the shortcut's IconLocation property such that it grabs the default icon for the executable, the same one that you'd expect to see if you created the shortcut manually.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Google +1 Button: Instant SEO

Google's new +1 button is the information innovator's response to the fairly ubiquitous Facebook, StumbleUpon, and other icons that let you promote content you find useful. I noticed that Google incorporated this feature into my search results as well, so I decided to experiment.

A popular blog post of mine describing a DIY screen protector for the Viewsonic G Tablet appears at spot #9 among my Google search results as shown below:

Note the greyed out +1 button just to the right of the link title, which animates tantalizingly as you hover over the search result. I went ahead and clicked it, essentially voting my link up in the rankings. Here's the result:

From the #9 to the #5 spot with one click?? I'll take it! You also receive a notification just below and to the left indicating that you've +1'd a given link.

I don't know whether "+1'd" has as catchy a ring to it as "Liked", but if it brings more traffic to my site, then I'm all for it!