Friday, September 28, 2007

Translation engines

Microsoft has recently released an update to its search engine. Aside from the advertised improvements I was pleased to discover the addition of a translator tool as an alternative to Google Translate; it also has a URL that for me seems easier to remeber.

I've played a bit with French-English translation and to me the Live Translator seems better than Google's version.
For other languages, Google wins (e.g. try translating with both engines from Chinese "用部落格分享照片、影音、趣味小工具和最愛清單,盡情秀出你自己" describing Windows Live Spaces :-))

The translation of a webpage is really interesting. I like the side-by-side comparison, with phrase hightlighting. See for instance the translation of CNN's home page.

For me it's not going to be an immediate bye-bye Google, but from now on I'll check both engines when I'll need a translation...

Try it out for yourself at

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Implementing custom source control glyphs for VSIP scc providers

It's the second time in the last month when someone asked me how to implement correctly the IVsSccGlyphs.GetCustomGlyphList function in their source control provider so they can expose custom source control glyphs.

So, this time I though I should implement the function myself and see what's going on...

Of course, on first try I've hit the same problems reported by the customers :-). It turned out quickly that the problems come either from not setting up correctly the image size in the imagelist, from not setting correctly the transparency color, or not declaring the interface on the correct service.

If you're interested, I've put the sample for download on my website: Visual Studio Source Control Provider with Custom Glyphs.

The sample is based on the SccProvider sample in VisualStudio SDK, so you can Windiff the 2 solutions and easily see the code additions.

Here is how to test the new code:
1. Build the solution in VS2005 and run it.
2. In Tools/Options set the Sample Source Control Provider as the active provider (at this point the shell should call you on IVsSccGlyphs.GetCustomGlyphList to get the custom glyphs suported by your scc provider).
3. Create a new solution, e.g. a ConsoleApplication C# project.
4. Add the solution to source control
5. Add a new file to the project or to the solution
6. The new file should appear in SolutionExplorer with the new "pending add" icon exposed by the package, like in the picture below.

Custom glyph exposed by the sample scc provider

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The day Google became irrelevant

I keep reading posts and articles claiming that "Google is the best search engine".

The way I see it, it may still be the most popular search engine, but it's no longer "the best".
It has been beaten a while ago at usability by for image search; it has been beaten in maps quality and features by, and recently it's not even longer "the best" for relevance of simple web searches...

You want the proof?

Here's a comparative search for a product mentioned in my previous blog post.

There's been more than 10 days since the post was created and google hasn't indexed it yet. To me this is even more unexplicable when I remember that is also a Google-owned site. You'd think they'd index first the information on their own servers...

You may argue that Google's indexes have grown too big when compared with other search engines, that it has to make less frequent passes over the already indexed sites. Let's go with this theory and see what "less frequent" means.
Here's a comparative search for my wife's name.

There are now 2 month since my wife has changed jobs and Google still hasn't realized it. Flavia's contact info has been my site for at least 2 years now, yet it doesn't show up on Google in the top 50 results...

I'm sorry for those Microsoft haters out there who repeat ad nauseam "Google is the best", but at least to me, Google has lost its search relevance. I guess it's time for other search engines to step up and take the leadership.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Cross Flow fan replacement for Infrant ReadyNAS 600

For safe(r) storage of my data I use an Infrant ReadyNAS 600 in RAID mode 1.

The model A of the device uses for cooling a cross-flow fan, which is silent, speed adjustable, and seemed cool looking at the time. While I kept good care of it (blowing it of dust every couple of weeks), after 2 years of use it showed fatigue signs (noise), and in one week it stopped working completely. The device can't work without the fan - the hard drives get easily to 60 degrees Celsius and the device powers itself down for protection.

Unfortunately, it isn't very easy to get a replacement for this fan. Newer ReadyNAS models use regular fans which are cheaper (and easier to buy, I'd add).

Infrant calls the cross flow fan for ReadyNAS 600 model RN06-FAN1 and a replacement should have been easily bought from their site However, Infrant is now Netgear, and while the stock transitions the fan is no longer available for buying.

So I tried to buy the fan from other sources.

Looking on the fan in my device, it shows on its label:
Cross Flow Fan
Jin Yin Shyang Ent.Co., Ltd.,Taiwan

A net search shows the JDH03009A12 fan is only available on which is a Chinese-only site. I tried buying the fan from the site with the help of 2 Chinese-speaking coworkers, but the site has such a bad design I didn't succeed placing an oder (also the site is not secure - doesn't use SSL, and buying from here is a bit shady). The site is owned by Li Yahuiy (yahuiyli AT and yahuiyli AT which has other auctions for the JDH-03009A12/RN06-FAN1 fan on yahoo site. However, the guy doesn't seem to speeak English, and at least for me, using Google beta translations for every mail is not an option.

Fortunately, I obtained a temporary fan replacement from Infrant (more on this later). The new fan has this info on its label:
Sleeve Bearing
Chiefly Choice Co., Ltd

See here both fans (old and temporary replacement):

A search for the new model/company finds it on another Taiwanese site, but they don't seem to sell it either.

Anyway, this gave me more confidence I'll be able to find similar fans in the future. It looks like I'll just have to find another cross flow fan, 12V, with dimension 130X45X40.6mm (overall) and 108X32mm(mounting holes). Preferably, this should use 0.12-1.13A.

I did a quick search and it looks like there are other models that fit the description:
CRHD-030 Series on (still Taiwan)
DF30098V12 models on (Finally a site in U.S.)

While the connector is not the same, the voltage/amperage and dimentions match, so I guess that after changing the connector these fans can be used as replacement without problem.

Hopefully the fan will also be available again from Netgear site, after the stock transfer...