> the protogenLabs notebook

Our team at protogenLabs here is about more than just web developing. We are a couple of guys who appreciate a good dose of techie news, and that's what this notebook is all about. We will also post any news relating to our services, as well as any other relevant updates. Read on and find all sorts of interesting bits of info that we come across while browsing the web:


Move old IIS logs or any files using this handy script!

» posted 4676 days ago @ 03:11 PM by George Merlocco in technology

Over the many years that I have been administering Windows Servers, one of the most forgotten and cumbersome tasks is to properly manage the log files that servers generate. Hosting websites and other services often generate many .log files which can grow to immense sizes. Recently this had happened to me, and I was looking for a method/script to run through a directory I point it to, and move all log files older than a certain date to my other partition.

After a bit of hunting around on the net, I eventually came across this GREAT script that uses the Windows Script Host to do exactly what I wanted. The script was developed by pforret, and is available for download at the end of this post. The current version of WaRmZip.wsf is v1.7. Below is a listing of a few functions that it is capable of:

waRmZip.wsf v1.7 (Nov 2005)

Utility to clean up/free up space in a folder (and its subfolders):

  • compressing files after a certain number of days (with external program)
  • rotating files after a certain number of days/above a certain size
  • deleting files and/or empty folders after a certain period of time
  • moving files to other folders/disks

VistaMobile PocketPC theme finally completed!

» posted 4700 days ago @ 12:50 AM by George Merlocco in design

I've been hell bent on customizing my PocketPC phone to the nth degree, and while doing so I have created a new theme for my VGA device (HTC Universal) ALL Pocket PCs, both QVGA and VGA. It has been designed for ease of use while in the car or for using your fingers rather than the stylus. It's comprised of 3 main screens for the desktop, and top/bottom menubar skins. This theme is for VGA or QVGA PocketPCs running either WM2003 / WM5 / WM6 versions of the mobile OS. It requires Lakeridge Software's Wisbar Advance 2 (and up). Wisbar Advance Desktop (plugin) is also required to get the most out of this theme. If you do not have the desktop plugin, then you will still be able to skin your device, but you'll be missing the sweet interface that I created for the homescreens.

Lots of time and development have been put into creating this, and I couldn't have done it without the majority of graphics from Corleno. Thanks to him for allowing me to 'remix' his PocketPC / Wisbar theme, "Vista Pocket". Most of the topbar and softkey skins are from that theme, but the desktop is a fresh design from me. I have also used the wallpaper/backgrounds from mx-steel's "Dream Series". They have been modified to support some built-in background/layout graphics for some components used in my desktop theme. Read on after the pics for detailed installation instructions:

VistaMobile Preview VistaMobile Preview VistaMobile Preview


Jonathan Coulton's "Still Alive" from Portal (Video)

» posted 4733 days ago @ 08:27 PM by George Merlocco in general

Jonathan Coulton is a great musician with a technical background. He is very humourous and intelligent about the lyrics he writes. Valve Software recently approached him to contribute music for their Portal project. Jonathan best describes what the song is all about at his website:

"The character is this hilarious passive aggressive personality, which is obviously a perfect subject for me. I write about that sort of thing all the time. I got an advance copy of the game when it was nearly finished, played through it, talked with the writers, and tried to get inside this character’s head as best I could. I bought my first ukulele specifically to record this song, it just seemed right for it. (Or maybe I wrote the song that way so I could buy a ukulele, hard to say.)"

A video of the final credits from Portal is below, and while it's hard to read the lyrics that appear, I encoded the audio at 128kbps so it's higher than standard for web video. The original video came from the game itself + Fraps (if Valve/Jonathan have any issues with me having this up, I will take it down). Enjoy!


Multi-Browser testing, this is the way!

» posted 4806 days ago @ 01:36 PM by George Merlocco in web

Developing professional websites can be a daunting task, especially when your client wants all the bells and whistles. After adding more and more of these fancy effects and complex layouts, the chances that your website might not display 100% correctly in other browsers rises. I have been plagued with this sort of thing since IE5 and Firefox v1/Netscape, and it's come to the point that I needed a better solution. Microsoft now believes in web-standards (finally!!) and this could definitely make our lives as web devs/designers easier. Their new product line, Expression, aims to compete with Adobe Flash in the rich media internet experience, and they are claiming that Expression will build standards-based websites out of the box. I can only hope...

There will never be an escape from tweaking small things to look perfect in every browser, but there are some tips that can help you develop a better, more browser-friendly website. What I've done recently is obtain a copy of VMWare Server which is completely free. After that, I installed an old copy of Windows XP on the VM, and loaded it with all of the different browsers I could find. Thanks to the help of a few dedicated people, it is now possible to install multiple versions of Internet Explorer, and have them run synchronous in standalone mode. Here's what I currently have on my VM (IE7 is tested through my Windows Vista, more notes below):

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer v3/v4/v5.01/v5.5/v6
  • Mozilla Firefox v1.5/v2.0.0.6
  • Opera v9.22
  • Safari v3.0 beta

Microsoft's next-generation of web development tools

» posted 4815 days ago @ 03:11 PM by George Merlocco in technology

Microsoft has definitely been at it lately, preparing a new suite of technologies to hopefully coax more designers and developers to use their tools while creating websites. Basically, everything is built on the ASP.net 3.0 Framework, and even v3.5 is out in beta (v3.0 just came out!). Although I am more of a web designer and I don't use VS.net/etc., my co-founder Justin, is definitely right on top of the developer world, and plans to dev with all of this new stuff. I'll have to get him to post more info about it, but basically Microsoft has released updated versions to a whole slew of it's products, including Visual Studio 2008, Expression Studio, .net 3.0, Silverlight, and LinQ, just to name a few ;)

Designers will most likely be interested in the Expression Studio, as it couples with Silverlight to allow you to create rich, multimedia presentations on the web that can talk to back-end services for retrieving/manipulating data. XAML is used as the bridge for passing data between the back-end/database and the front-end. Developers will be focused more on Visual Studio 2008, LinQ, and ASP.net 3.0/3.5, as well as AJAX.net v1.0. Each of these two distinctive categories of website development are broken down by Microsoft into two formats, WCF and WPF.


And the times, they are-a busy!

» posted 4872 days ago @ 03:09 PM by George Merlocco in general

Alot is going on at the Labs these days, we've been really busy with some existing website projects, and hope to have them cleared up rather soon. Of course I'll be updating our portfolio to add these new sites, which I would also say demonstrate our ever-increasing level of skill when it comes to developing websites.

What also adds to all of this stress is that we're 1 day away from our year-end, so a lot of accounting work must be done. Since we're only a 2-man show here, most of that work falls on me. I'm not complaining, but it'd sure be nice to have an accountant on staff here with us. I do have an accountant for important work, for whom I have to prepare my records so they're more organized, allowing for a more 'efficient' transaction.

Needless to say, I've got lots of work to get to, but if I do not update this blog with posts, I fear it will die. I've put SO much work into this site and launched it only recently, so I'm going to do my best to keep it updated and active, even when the work is piling up. That being said, time to get back to this tonne and get 'er done!


Backup your Office 2007 Custom Dictionary

» posted 4879 days ago @ 12:59 AM by George Merlocco in general

I find it good practice to keep a backup of those small configuration-type files that programs will usually build as you use them. Microsoft Office 2007 (and most of it’s previous variants for that matter) support dictionary (.dic) files which contain the custom words you’ve added when you right-click and select Add to Dictionary. If you have done this regularly while using Office, you will have invariably built up a large collection of custom words/names/etc.

This quick tutorial will explain how to best setup your custom dictionary within Office 2007.

  1. Click the large Office “sphere” in the top-left corner of any Office app (in Outlook you’ll have to open up a new message window).
  2. Click the Editor Options button in the lower-right hand corner of that popup menu.
  3. Select Proofing from the list on the left.
  4. Click the Custom Dictionaries button about halfway down on the right pane…