Your New Year Resolution 2013 – JOIN ME!

I’m bored. Let’s do something. You and me. Let’s make something fun and educational. Something you’re proud of and enjoyed being a part of.

What on Earth am I talking about?!

For example:



I really liked the Code52 idea, but that succumbed to everyone involved being human and not able to actually commit to a new coding project every single week for a whole year. Very very ambitious.

What amazing things came out of code52?

  • some really wonderful pieces of open source software (Markpad, one of the first, got me into Markdown which resulted in my sublimemarkpress sublimetext plugin)
  • explained concepts such as OSS and git (or github) in a very easy to understand and welcoming way; if this didn’t get you to fork a repo and learn git, nothing will
  • got people enthusiastic about collaborating on interesting and small projects; big projects are hard to commit time to and hard to join later on

I applaud their efforts and the fact that they couldn’t commit to literally 52 projects in one year in no way detracts from their achievements. Bravo, code52, bravo.


What about the 7 Day FPS challenge? Create a first person shooter in 7 days!

7DFPS - Sub Rosa

Sub Rosa is a fantastic (if extremely blocky) multiplayer game, with a pretty complex city to wander around and an actual 3 team “plot” (get item – from team 1 – into briefcase – held by team 2. Team 3 must stop them. Or something)

The Plan

Why don’t we start something like that? Something a bit educational and for future reference; the sort of thing you can point your new junior developer to when they have a few spare minutes to help build their skillz up, but nothing too taxing for the contributors

Potential projects

Year of GoF

How about a project for example/reference implementations of the Gang of Four Design Pattern in various languages; one a month for all of 2013 (and almost all of 2014, if you like).

For example, January could be Strategy Month, February is Observer Month. Contributers submit example implementations in a language of their choice, and the we try to document the best in each language. The examples should all be hosted on github/codeplex

Kinect 2013

Got a Kinect for Windows? What stuff can we make with it, one a month?


RaspberryPi’s – what are they good for? Let’s find out. 12 projects over 2013.

Anyone fancy it? Any suggestions?

Batch file to create an IIS7 website

Really simple stuff which is helping me out when hosting multiple sites for development on one machine; you either pass in as parameters or specify as responses

  1. the directory name of your site – e.g. “D:\Dev\MySite1” would be “MySite1”
  2. the port number you want it on
  3. the site ID

and it’ll set up the site, migrate your config settings to II7 if necessary, start the new site and let you know the URL to access it.

@echo off
setlocal EnableDelayedExpansion

REM Get parameters from user if they're not specified
if [%1]==[] set /P directory="Enter name of directory/site: "
if [%2]==[] set /P port="Enter port number: "
if [%3]==[] set /P sitenum="Enter site number: "

REM Create site in IIS
%systemroot%\system32\inetsrv\appcmd add site /name:"%directory%" /id:%sitenum% /physicalPath:"D:\Dev\%directory%" /bindings:http/*:%port%:%computername%

REM Attempt to migrate config to IIS7 stylee
%SystemRoot%\system32\inetsrv\appcmd migrate config "%directory%/"

REM Start new site
%SystemRoot%\system32\inetsrv\appcmd start site "%directory%"

echo site "%directory%" now running at http://%computername%:%port%

REM interactive mode
if [%1]==[] (if [%2]==[] (if [%3]==[] (

I will change this to pull the next available site ID and port number unless someone else can tell me how to do that.

And yes, this would be very easy in Powershell but I’ve not done that version either..!

Also, if you’d like to know how I managed to get Syntaxhighlighter to work nicely with batch/cmd/dos, leave a comment. There are *no* nice, simple, tutorials out there with common mistakes, so I could paste my steps in here if necessary.

Project: Hands-free (or as close as possible) DVD Backup #2

So after huge amounts of frustration, it has come down to lots of Diagnostics.Process calls with StandardError and StandardOutput redirected to files which then get ReEx-ed to work out the contents of a dvd, rip specific streams (demux), then recombine specific streams (mux).

This, however, is proving incredibly difficult so I thought I’d share my annoyances:

1. DvdDecrypter – has proven fantastic for me in the past, so tried to use it here to demux the dvd into streams on my HD.
Tip: make sure you change the settings to not write anything to registry else it will fail to close cleanly.
Pro: Great command line functionality
Con: is out of date and does not handle current dvd encryption.

2. DvdFab – apparently the best thing since Decrypter went out of date.
Pro: Command line is almost as easy as Decrypter’s
Con: doesn’t work. It just dies on my pc, so this is a non-starter

3. SmartRipper
Pro: Decent command line support
Con: Throws up a “could not unlock dvd” upon opening which means it won’t rip. you have to be playing the dvd at the time that you open SmartRipper for it to get access to the contents of the dvd. This is fiddly, but doesn’t totally remove it from the running (could use “mplayer dvd:// -endpos 00:00:10” just as I kick off SmartRipper if necessary)

4. mencoder – After masses of trial and error with the various options, I’m now using this to mux the streams back into one file. Can I use this to also rip the dvd in the first place? It seems like I can, but once again – not recent dvds.

This is SO annoying! I just want to backup my dvd collection with some nice command line tomfoolery! ARGH!