Free Wufoo vs Free JotForm - Quick Compare

I've been using Wufoo since mid 2009 about when it started. So long that I still have the original Ad Hoc price of $9.95 per month instead of the current price of $14.95.

It's still a great and reliable service if you need to handle forms. However recently I found out about JotForm after someone on twitter posted about their new user feedback service it's pretty neat. So I took a look at their core product JotForm.

In short offer's more features and better pricing than Wufoo. Isn't competition awesome! :-) Free Plan
    - 3 Forms
    - 10 Fields per Form
    - 3 Reports
    - No Storage Space (unless you upgrade to $14.95mo plan)
    - No SSL (unless you upgrade to $29.95mo plan)
    - 100 entries / month
    - No Payments Accepted (unless you upgrade to $29.95mo plan) Free Plan
    + Unlimited Forms
    + Unlimited Fields per Form
    + Unlimited Reports
    + 100mb Storage Space (for uploads from forms)
    + 10 SSL Secure Submission per month

    = 100 non-secure submissions per month
    + 10 Payments per month

= same
- offers less than competitor
+ offers more than competitor's $9.95 plan offers even more and is between WuFoo's $14.95mo and $29.95mo plan.

Allow your customers to make their own Data Grid with the new DevExpress Filter Control

I was exploring the DevExpress tools and found something that will really help reduce the time I spend making simple but needed data grids. With the DevExpress Filter Control and Grid Control you can allow end users to create custom data grids without the bother or fear of validating input controls.

There are two versions of the filter control. One that is built into the ASPxGridView and one that is standalone that acts like a datasource control with a frontend editor. You can take a look at the control here and watch demos of the built in filter control or the standalone.

Live Demo and Video
ASPxGridView with builtin Filter Control Live Demo Video Demo
ASPxGridView paired to the standalone Filter Control Live Demo Video Demo

The DevExpress Filter Control is available in their DXperience 2008 vol 3 control suite.

Dual Internet Connection Load Balancing on a Budget

Recently my internet connection from Comcast has been down. To their credit and my utter disbelief they bent over backwards to come out and fix things. I've had three technicians since I scheduled the first call. The first tech replaced a few connectors and scheduled two additional techs. One to replace an old thinner cable and another one to fix something on the utility pole across the street. My connection now is fantastic and the problems I experienced with HD and my internet have disappeared. Thanks Comcast! (seriously thanks)

So before all of that was fixed I had about 10 days of intermittent internet connectivity which REALLY sucks if you rely on having access to your remote servers, a vpn, stackoverflow ;-), and the internet in general. It was getting very frustrating. Luckily it worked for most of the day and only went down at night, the cause was never fully diagnosed.

So now I have TWO internet connections; one from Comcast (Cable) and one from Bellsouth (DSL). I did a speed test and the cable connection is absolutely faster than dsl. Download speeds for cable were from 4-12mb with uploads up to 2.5mb. DSL was 2-6mb download and maxed out at 400kb for uploads. You can test your own internet connection by visiting

I originally planned to just switch from Cable to DSL. However after the Comcast guys came out and fixed things. I decided to try and keep them both. Lucky for me there is a low cost and EXCELLENT solution for home or small businesses who need to have two internet connections. The Syswan SW24 VPN I purchased mine from

Setting up the SW24 VPN was very easy and I had no issues with it on either the cable or dsl connections. Currently it is setup to just load balance between the two connections but it can be setup to use one or the other as a backup. It also has a ton of administrative functions to help control who goes where and in general to manage all of your LAN connections. All in all it's been the best $189 I've spent on network hardware. I've also had very quick and helpful emails from Sysway support.

Importance of handling Domain Typo's

A few years ago I discovered I had a bad habit when typing in a website address. I usually type the www. I know it is usually optional but not always. If you are like me sometimes you forget one of the w's and just type, go ahead give that link a try. As of today's post neither nor default to the main site.

If you maintain your own DNS just go in and add a few A or CNAME entries for w, ww, and I even go one more wwww and default them all to - .NET User Group

I recently started a .Net user group,, and we are coming up on our third meeting next month. With the 3rd official meeting we will achieve iNeta approval and access to iNeta speakers. Which is really exciting. Our group is small but thanks to Bill at our last meeting we've already seen a growth of 34% going from 3 to 4! :-)

Also big thanks to my business partners Phillip Flint who created a logo for us and Mike Heston who created the website design.

Here is the logo:

And even better I have STICKERS!!! if you would like one send a SASE to:
NFDotNet User Group
Po Box 3546
Lake City, Fl 32056

Also feel free to join our user group at the sign up procedure is on the main page of

ORM Hell! Take Two!

I will update this post in a few weeks. But this past weekend I purchased a Developer license and so far I'm very happy with it. There was a bit of a learning curve using the MyGeneration templating engine but wasn't too bad on this my second trial. I especially like that I can finally use VistaDB for small websites instead of using Access. SQLExpress is OK but when hosting on some ISP like GoDaddy they make it especially hard to use SQLExpress by requiring that you script up or manually create the database instead of just dropping it into the App_Data folder. VistaDB along with EntitySpaces is a great solution for me.

ASP.NET Pivot Table made easy with DevExpress PivotGrid

Have you ever taken results directly from the database admin and dropped it into an Excel spreadsheet just to do a pivot table? I have many times and it's a painful process to keep it updated for every meeting.

Recently I found a great solution to this problem using an ASP.NET PivotTable from DevExpress.

Before you run off and completely ignore the rest of my post let me give you a few suggestion.
My first use of the DevExpress PivotGrid control was to convert an existing Excel spreadsheet I updated frequently for one of my clients. It simply shows the number of registered users for their website by State and grouped by month/year since 2006.

I'm going to reduce the data to just a few years and only a few months for this example. As you will see showing the full dataset is as easy as updating the SQL statement, the PivotGrid will remain the same.

Database Schema for example

SQL Statement in my case it's MySQL but the PivotGrid doesn't care.

Here is the PivotGrid markup (zoom code view):

And this is what the actual PivotGrid looks like (view full size image):

The column and row fields in the PivotGrid are draggable and will change the visualization of your data immediately, no change to SQL statement required. The component actually does all the work once it has the dataset. Take a look at this example.

As you can see it is very easy to visualize your data using this PivotGrid component and this is a very simple example. If you want to learn more and see all the possibilities go to website and take a look at the PivotGrid feature and Live Demo pages.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post a comment to this post. I will have a more advanced post on the PivotGrid next month after I have a little more experience with it.

Finally here is a standard GridView of the same dataset.

kick it on

Use jQuery to Show and Hide part of a Table

Recently I found the need to be able to hide and show part of an HTML table. After a few minutes with jQuery and getting stuck. I posted a Question on And in just under 10 minutes I had several answers. One from Parand which I tested and then refactored to create this working example.

What I like most about this example is that it will degrade nicely if Javascript is disabled by showing the full table.

kick it on

Apple's New MacBook's - Beautiful but missing that one more thing... a price cut

Adam Frucci at Gizmodo pretty much echo's my feeling exactly regarding the price difference between an entry level Dell laptop and the New $1,299 Apple MacBook.
And it's not like Apple is offering anything great for my $550. You have a fancy new manufacturing process, awesome. Your trackpads are glass. OK. I'd rather have $550 and a plastic trackpad, thanks. I'm not sold on no physical buttons anyways.

The new Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro's are stunning and basically works of Art. But the price and the missing mouse buttons are just disappointing. I've been waiting for this event for months and I'm ready for a new laptop from Apple.

My hope for today was an announcement of a 15" MacBook at around $999. I will probably still get the 13" at $1,299 because I'm a nut, just like Steve Job's and his mission to remove all buttons.

Apple's New MacBook

Stackoverflow - The answer to your Programming Question

Do you use Experts-Exchange to get your programming questions answered?

Well I do and it works sometimes but more and more lately the are no answers at all to my programming questions. I think this is because you are now able to just purchase unlimited "points" and never have to give back and try to help others by answering their questions.

Welcome a creation of Jeff Atwood, Joel Spolsky, and their team of developers. You can read their SO (stackoverflow) blog at and download the podcast here. is a Programming Question and Answer site with a social twist that seems to be working well. I was lucky and snagged an invite for the very brief private beta test. The private beta only lasted about 8 weeks or so and just went public around 9.17.2008. and is now open to anyone.

Part of the charm, advantage, and possibly biggest problem is that there is no login required to post questions or answers. However if you use your OpenID to login and setup your profile you can earn reputation points. As you gain rep you earn more privileges within the system like editing someone else's question or even closing it altogether like a forum moderator. You earn points by posting a question or answer and having it voted up. You can also vote down a Q or A but it will cost you as well as the person you target with your down voting wrath. ;-) To encourage favored behavior on stackoverflow you can also earn bronze, silver, and gold badges for your profile.

I've had problems with down voting from my first day. I really don't think questions should be voted down below zero. But the reality, is that people like me vote up marginally off topic questions and it seems to be enough to offset the off topic police. In this case ON topic is asking only Programming related questions. Not questions a programmer has, which for me sometimes lean towards IT. But specifically Programming questions.

You can get away with marginal IT questions especially if you can phrase the question in a programming context. For instance instead of asking "How can I find my IP address?" you should ask "How can I find my IP address Programmatically?". The first will get your question immediately down voted to virtual extinction, the second will probably be left alone and answered fairly swiftly.

You are probably wondering about the bottom line "Will my question be answered, and how quickly?". The answer is "almost absolutely" and "almost immediately" depending on how specifically difficult your question happens to be.

The best part of all is that it is completely free to ask, answer, and view anything thanks to minimally invasive ad support.

I've actually cross posted a few programming questions on the paid experts-exchange website as well as and stackoverflow won each time in both speed and answer value.

jQuery and Microsoft - Better than a fresh Banana Moonpie!

I've been playing around with jQuery and it is simply awesome.

I just noticed on Scott Guthrie's blog that Microsoft is going to support jQuery.

I'm excited today to announce that Microsoft will be shipping jQuery with Visual Studio going forward. We will distribute the jQuery JavaScript library as-is, and will not be forking or changing the source from the main jQuery branch. The files will continue to use and ship under the existing jQuery MIT license.

We will also distribute intellisense-annotated versions that provide great Visual Studio intellisense and help-integration at design-time.

I think this is a great decision and I can't wait to see how it will affect the Microsoft AJAX Framework. And in particular how component partners like Telerik and DevExpress will change their code to use jQuery instead of the standard Microsoft AJAX framework.

Pretty exciting for a late Sunday afternoon ;-)

RC Hack

$5 Wired Toy RC + WRT54G Router + Wireless Camera + Brain = True Hacker!

Google Chrome - Awesome!

Download Google Chrome

There are a lot of cool things about Google's browser. The first for me is the ability to drag a tag out of the browser to create a new window. It has "incognito" mode for private browsing and according to the feature page each tab is it's own thread so crashes are isolated.

Google's browser reminds me of everything I liked about FireFox 1.0. Simple, clean, and with a single purpose. Google even takes this single purpose to another level by removing the typical FILE toolbar, there isn't one. The top is the tab and you can optionally turn on the bookmark toolbar in the options panel.

So far all of the websites I worry about look as expected. And it is fast, much faster than IE7 or FF2/3 from what I can tell.

Free Tools from and Telerik

Just came across this link on DotNetKicks for 60 free components tools from

One of the comments on DotNetKicks asked "what's the catch?". I don't think there is a catch. DevExpress has a TON of other tools in their full Windows and ASP.NET Suite. Not to mention CodeRush/Refactor Pro, which I own and keep updated.

I should also mention Telerik Tools. I've been a subscriber for the past 3 years of their Telerik Tools Suite, which now includes WinForms, ASP.NET, and Reporting tools. I wouldn't build a website without my Telerik tools now. You can play around with their components from their demo page

They offer a free version of their CMS called SiteFinity which uses a few of their components like the RAD Editor and RAD Tree.

We just launched our first SiteFinity site for one of our clients at Eyespike Design
and it really made a difference in helping us deliver a very robust website within a constrained budget.

So hook your self up with some time saving and awesome free components.

Shopper is my most Useful iPhone App So Far

Shopper is my new favorite iPhone app. It is $4.99 but worth it. I was using the built in ToDo list to make my shopping list but that is a pain. I tried the ZenBe To Do, which is cool and better than the built in one but not made for shopping list either. ZenBe To Do is free.

I entered my entire shopping list in about 3 minutes and only a few keystrokes per entry as it auto completes from a built in list. As a bonus you can press the "Group" button and it will group all of your shopping cart items to make finding them a little easier. And if you are like me you add things as you need to and not as you will find them in the store.

For items it does not already have a listing for like Hot Dogs you can add it quickly then change the category, which defaults to Uncategorized to Meats or Milk to the Dairy category. Yes I do find it odd they don't have Hot Dogs and Milk already in their database.

Their website has a few video's demonstrating the app as well.

Why is codeplex so slow?

Is it just me or is VERY VERY slow and frustrating?