All posts in Utils I Like

It’s always a drag having to create country lists for your web sites.

Thanks to though I found out that Saša Stamenković, a web developer, is working on sharing a list of all countries in many languages and data formats.

The data formats include HTML, JSON, PHP, SQL, CSV, YAML, text and there are SQL dumps for major databases.

Also, with the help of the world-flags-sprite, there is a HTML version of the list with the country flags.

Great work.

Before HTML5 when it came to creating rich interactive maps where one could hover or click any region and see details about them, Flash was the right tool for the job.

Right now, though, it is much easier to create maps with JavaScript and, thanks to JS frameworks, it even gets much simpler and jVectorMap is such a JS framework.


jVectorMap is a jQuery plugin for creating interactive maps very quickly.

It uses SVG as the map format and there are various ready-to-use map files provided. Also, using a vector graphics editor (like Expression Design), we can draw anything (like the map of a shopping mall), export it to SVG and add interactivity to it.

There are options provided for customization (colors, opacity, etc.) and callbacks exist on every level.

If you ever created a professional website/application you’ll probably know the value (you’ve probably learned it the hard way as I did Smile) of stress testing your web applications.

There are plenty of tools you can use in order to stress test your web site, ranging from Microsoft Visual Studio to CMD Line tools. Yesterday I found another one StresStimulus.

StresStimulus is an extension for Fiddler (an awesome and free web debugging proxy) which enables us to create instant load tests with virtual users.


You can record a browser activity (like creating a user), replay it under concurrent load and get the results for the performance of web pages and the entire test.

If you prefer a simple but powerful tool this one is for you.

1_thumb The data connection builder dialog is a database tool component that’s included in Visual Studio and helps you build a connection string to a database.

Last week though the standalone source code was published at, so that anyone can use it to build a data con2_2nections independently of Visual Studio. According to the license, you can integrate and redistribute the source code with your application.

With the data connection dialog, you can perform following tasks:

  • Build/Modify connection strings.
  • Customize the data connection dialog.
  • Write your own custom data providers.


If you’ve started playing around Microsoft Azure then you are probably going to appreciate this post ;-). I know I did. Kudos to Ryan Dunn

On Tuesday an azure table Browser service was launched for developers at The service was build using ASP.NET MVC on a rich AJAX interface.  and its goals are to provide developers an easy way to create, query, and manage their Windows Azure tables. with it you’ll be able to:

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List, Create, Edit and Delete Tables (Azure Table Entities) Create, Edit, Clone and Delete your Entities’ instances
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Query Entities Display Data

Back on February 2007 I blogged about a prototype project of Human Productivity Lab, code named Bumptop and was claiming that we’re really not that far from seeing something like that becoming available for end-users.

Well today I found out that I wasn’t wrong. Bumptop is officially released and available in two versions a free one as well as a Pro one for a small fee. Check it out in the following video.

Now imagine that desktop running on Windows 7 at a multitouch screen 😉

Unfortunately I’m using the default windows 7 beta graphics card drivers so I wasn’t able to run it 🙁 but I’m going to try it tomorrow on a vista machine. Can’t wait….

2013-05-17 23:13:56 Read more

Today I received an email from yahoo that notified me that its new Vista IM software, Yahoo Messenger for Windows Vista, is ready for testing. Of course I immediately downloaded and installed it (as I usually do for anything new ;-)) as I remembered that it was pretty cool when I first saw it at last year’s MIX.

yahooMessenger Once loaded though, I got a bit discouraged, since I found out that I could not login using my live credentials :-(. When I registered, I was able to sign in and start adding contacts, thankfully Live messenger contacts could also be added (I would have uninstalled it on the spot if it didn’t). I wonder if there’s also going to be Google IM contact support in the future… The fact that messenger contacts could be added got me thinking though, if yahoo messenger can talk to Live Messenger API to exchange messages why can’t this be used to validate my credentials as well? And then it came to me, if that was allowed what would stop someone from using it as an IM client for just Windows Live and have nothing to do with yahoo and obviously that’s not what people at yahoo would have wanted right?…

yahooMessengerSidebar Aside the account stuff, the program looks great adopting Windows Vista design styles and makes good use of WPF programming API. Most of the features you could expect from an IM program are there but some of them can’t be used if you’re talking to a contact that has signed in at another service and not Yahoo. You’ll also get a vista sidebar gadget that will show your favorite contact on the sidebar. Although that’s really nice, I’d love to have more than one contact there. A nice idea would be to resize the contact image to fit more contacts.

All that is great but do you see a reason for me to turning to yahoo messenger instead of using Windows Live one, especially when most of my contacts use Live Messenger and some Google’s Talk?

A lot of people have been complaining on not being able to login to MyFacebook gadget and I really didn’t know what was going on as I followed Facebook API’s authentication instructions to the letter.

MyFacebook So I’ve decided to change it’s authentication method. It now uses the same authentication method Popfly uses in its Facebook Data source block. To login you’ll have to click on the first page link in order to get an authentication token, then you’ll have to add that token to the gadget settings page.

Note that if this is the first time that you’re using the gadget you’ll also have to authorize it to access your Facebook account. This is an one time only extra step that once completed will redirect you to the token retrieval page but without specifying the required parameter “API_KEY”. This is a Facebook bug and has nothing to do with the gadget so please don’t shoot the messenger. To verify that this is not my fault you can try the Popfly Facebook block which behaves the exact same way. In this case just click the retrieve authentication token again and you’ll be redirected to the right page.

If you later decide that you need to remove (I don’t know why you could decide such a thing ;-)) this application from your Facebook account all you’ll have to do is go to your privacy settings page then click the applications link, then the authorized applications one on the top and finally click the remove MySidebarBook link.

In this release you’ll also find a number of bug fixes and corrections as well. And as the number of people that have downloaded this gadget has increased dramatically I’ve also decided to implement a new update notification service that will notify users of newer versions as those become available in order to keep everyone synced.

Besides that, I’d love to hear your ideas and comments on how to make this gadget better, so if you’ve got the time drop me a line here so that we can talk about it.

It’s only been a couple of weeks since Linq’s final release with Visual Studio 2008 beta 2 and great tools have already started coming to life.

A great one I discovered from SoCalDevGal is the LinqPad – a Linq query expression tool which allows you to run queries against databases using Linq.

If you’re exploring Linq this is a great tool.