Tagged: The Plan Collection

Some Cool House Plans

Just playing with Theplancollection.com this morning and noticed a couple of new plans that I thought looked pretty cool so I am sharing:

This one looks like something you'd see in New England. It is kind of a craftsman house plan and kind of a cape code house plan:

Stonegate house plan

I thought this one was kind of cool as well: Shenandoah cape code style house plan

Here are more house plans from the same designer, Atlanta Plan Source.

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PicLens on ThePlanCollection.com

David Wiley pointed me to PicLens a few days ago. It is fun way to view online images. Immediately I saw the potential use for viewing house plans. We already have data feeds in RSS and Atom setup all over the site so I figured it wouldn't be hard to integrate the service into ThePlanCollection.com. It wasn't, but there are still a few bugs. They are probably my fault, but I think there is a great opportunity to integrate this software into ecommerce sites like mine to provide customers a really cool method for quickly browsing product. It works especially well with house plans. (Follow the link. If you have PicLens installed you can press the little blue play button in the upper right of your browser. If not click on the 'View as Slideshow' link).

Here are a couple of things I would love to see them add/change. I noticed that in the flash slide show the player pulls in the 'description' field from the RSS but the Firefox Extension does not. We added a bunch of ...

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I Love Our Facebook Application

While our house plans application on Facebook is not anywhere near as popular as Superpoke nor will it ever be it is a great application for me because the Facebook users find house plans that I have never noticed before. With the family being the size it is we need a larger home, but if I think this is a very cool small house plan. Social media has some very interesting and beneficial side effects. For me it is serendipitous discovery.

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Framework Problems Will Ruin Your Day

I created a code generator that writes all the of the code that connects ThePlanCollection.com website with its database. It is kind of like ActiveRecord that makes Rails so useful but not nearly as elegant. Someday I will release it as open source, but I am probably to late given all the other code generators that are now available. Why I continue to build an maintain my own generator I don't know. I makes me a cry a lot.

Like today. I noticed that the My House Plans feature on ThePlanCollection.com wasn't working so I started digging into the problem. It turns out that there is a bug in the generator and I am sure there are many more. The problem is that C# won't let you set DateTime values or Guids to null. That is very lame. So in my code I have to create a member variable that indicates the value is supposed to be null so that it can be passed to the database as null. One of those checks was happening when it didn't need to so in spite of passing in a value the che...

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A Gazillion House Plans on ThePlanCollection.com

I updated ThePlanCollection.com last night. I must admit that updating when you are tired is not always the best idea, but I figure everyone else is probably asleep so there isn't really a better time. We don't really have a gazillion house plans, but sometime it feels like it and being able to manage all the house plans and the related images is not a trivial task.

Last night I updated the main styles pages so they are looking a bit better in my humble opinion. Granted, I am not a designer so I'll let you be the judge. I updated our Country House Plans, Arts and Crafts House Plans, Victorian House Plans and Luxury House Plans pages. Take a look and let me know what you think.

One of the most interesting parts of building out these new part of the system is the updates I have made to the image processing code. All the images are generated on the fly from a set of core images. There are a couple of things that I find amazing and very convenient about this. The amazing part i...

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A Gazillion House Plans on ThePlanCollection.com

I updated ThePlanCollection.com last night. I must admit that updating when you are tired is not always the best idea, but I figure everyone else is probably asleep so there isn't really a better time. We don't really have a gazillion house plans, but sometime it feels like it and being able to manage all the house plans and the related images is not a trivial task.

Last night I updated the main styles pages so they are looking a bit better in my humble opinion. Granted, I am not a designer so I'll let you be the judge. I updated our Country House Plans, Arts and Crafts House Plans, Victorian House Plans and Luxury House Plans pages. Take a look and let me know what you think.

One of the most interesting parts of building out these new part of the system is the updates I have made to the image processing code. All the images are generated on the fly from a set of core images. There are a couple of things that I find amazing and very convenient about this. The amazing part i...

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A Favorite House Plan

I am one of the owner's of ThePlanCollection.com an online home plan publisher. When you write all the code that powers a site like that you become very familiar with the product. This is one of my favorite house plans of all time. It's not huge, but it isn't small either. I think the style is classic. Maybe it is the picture that I love, but I really wish more homes were built with this sort of timeless style.

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Google Base and Windows Pain

So I have been trying to figure out Google Base for the last week so that I can send all the house plans from The Plan Collection into the Google product feed.

Getting your products into their feed isn't that hard, but being a programmer and a masochist (they are the same thing you know) I couldn't just generate a feed that had to be submitted by hand. No one will remember to keep submitting it anyway and since your entries in the products section of Google Base can expire it is important that you continually resubmit your products.

So I wrote a class to handle the Google Base stuff and then I put it into a Windows Service. I figured as long as I was at it I would also write a service that can write out our site maps at the same time.

The site maps service starts fine. The Google Base service starts then dies and drops this in the logs:


EventType clr20r3, P1 r3b0434webwhcosy0o40t3c1xyqmvmpy, P2 1.0.0.0, P3 47803796, P4
theplancollectionbackgroundservices, P5 1.0.0.0, P6 478...

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First Facebook Application is Running

I finally worked out most of the bugs for my first Facebook Application - My House Plans which uses data from my House Plan site. What is cool is that without putting in a lot of effort people are finding and adding the application. I worked on the app yesterday and then last night took the kids trick or treating. When I got back people had started adding the application.

I was a bit freaked out by that fact given that I was still working out bugs. I guess it is a good thing that I fixed a lot of major problems while I had the chance. Facebook is very cool. If you put up a new site you will wait for months usually to get indexed by the search engines and even then you are lucky if anyone visits you. On Facebook the traffic is built in.

Time will tell if the application will drive traffic to our main site or serve to generate any revenue. For now it is fun to watch people use the application and play around with house plans.

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ThePlancollection.com is all new

For a year now I have been working on a new version ThePlanCollection.com. Last night at 2 am it finally went live. The new site is faster and easier to maintain. There are a few bugs still - I'll have those fixed shortly. Look for new features and better ways to find house plans in the upcoming months.

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Tired… again

Last week I rode around Bear Lake - 52 miles. The next day it was up BlackSmith Fork canyon - 27 miles. Stupid wasp hit me in the lip on the way back and stung me. My mouth swoll to the size of a small apricot in a matter of minutes. Stupid wasps. This time marked the second time. The first time I had one go down my jersey and sting me five or six times. I don't ride with my jersey unzipped anymore. Saturday I did the metric centry - 64 miles. I was to big of a pansy to ride the 100. Maybe I'll try that next year. I almost rode to work today except I made it two miles and heard an explosion. My rear tire literaly blew up. I guess they weren't rated for the pressure I was putting in (120psi). This does however mean I get new tires. It is midnight now and I am writing code. I wouldn't be doing this if I was riding tomorrow. I have to chose these days. However, I am hoping to have a new site up for ThePlanCollection.com within a few weeks. The beta site for our house plans...

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Interesting DRAC 4 problem

I keep track of a couple of servers that we use for The Plan Collection. We have three Dell servers and each one of them has a DRAC 4 card which is usually a very helpful piece of hardware that let's me manage the machine remotely. All of a sudden one of the cards quit responding to commands. I could see what was going on, but I couldn't control the machine - which defeats the purpose of having the card. After spending forever on the phone with Dell's tech support on three different occasions they finally agreed to replace it. (Dell's server support is usually pretty good, but this time it took way to long for them to just replace the stupid card.) Anyway, something interesting I found out after flashing the firmware on the old card is a problem I found described here. You must clear out your browser's cache of Java applets when you flash the card or else you run the risk of using an applet that is out of sync with the card. I couldn't even get the applet to loa...

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