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Last updated: December 5, 2006

More Advertising!Who wouldn’t like advertising. Here are some old and new, some clever and funny, sites and blogs and lists and tools related to advertising… and something more. The list is updating.

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How to use Unicode, JDBC and Solid Database

It is not always so straightforward to use Unicode throughout your application layers. Let’s say that your Java application’s default character encoding for file I/O operations, JDBC requests and so on is Unicode. In other words you start you Java application on command line for example with: java -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 If your Solid Database’s string types are not defined as Unicode, there is a little problem.

In the Java JDBC API tutorial it says:

JDBC driver implementations are expected to automatically convert the Java programming language unicode encoding of strings and characters to and from the character encoding of the database being accessed.

So, basically JDBC driver should do the conversion between application’s and database’s character encoding. But in the Solid Programmers Guide it says:

To convert Java applications to support Unicode, the string columns in the database engine need to be redefined with Unicode data types.

Actually Solid’s JDBC driver won’t even return strings in the same character encoding as they are defined in the database, but it mixes all “special characters” wrong. There aren’t any proprietary parameters you could use on the JDBC connection string to choose the character encoding. So, only working solution is to somehow convert strings in a Solid database in the SQL queries before the JDBC driver returns them. Luckily Solid’s SQL implements CAST function. You can for example cast VARCHAR to WVARCHAR which is Unicode variable-length character string. Here is an example: SELECT CAST(name AS WVARCHAR) name FROM... And it works like a charm.

Web Application as Desktop Application with Bubbles

BubblesUse your web applications, like Gmail and Google Calendar, just like desktop applications.

Bubbles is simply but clever way to use web applications or sites just like desktop applications. You just add your favorite web sites in Bubbles settings and after that you can use them in their own windows and they sit in the system tray. Bubbles has some web applications pre-configured and they have some extra functionality. There are Google Calendar, Gmail, 30 Boxes, Yahoo Mail and Flickr. You can for example upload photos by dragging them into Flickr.

Some applications just work so naturally as desktop applications in Bubbles. My favorites is to use SlimTimer with Bubbles.

Minimize the Software Installation Burden by Automating

InstallPadAutomate you software installation by making software list and let the InstallPad do the work for you.

InstallPad is an easy and smart program. It is a little like apt for Windows. You just make a list of your favorite programs with InstallPad or straight in xml format and InstallPad will download and install silently the ones you choose. Yoy’ll get time for more important things.

InstallPad can resume cancelled downloads and can try to find the latest version of the programs. It is still in an early stage, but it is very promising and there are coming features.

Minimal How to Order Windows Taskbar Buttons

Windows Taskbar ButtonKeeping Windows taskbar buttons always in a same order helps to minimize the effort needed to find the right button.

Lifehacker mentioned Windows program Taskbar Shuffle. I Downloaded and installed it and it’s great. It is easy to use and it it feels a natural way to order buttons just by dragging them.

I have been using TaskArrange for ages and it is also working quit well. Nice thing about it is that you can even order the buttons inside groups. You have to open the program in order to arrange buttons so if you place the program shortcut in the Windows quick launch area it is near the taskbar buttons and rather handy to use. On the other hand, there is no need for running background process. Taskbar Shuffle process seems to have about 6 MB memory usage.

I think Taskbar button ordering should be an option in Windows, but these programs fill the gap. Well, nice feature would be an option to save the preferred order. Are there any?

There is also a japanese Taskbar++.

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