Adding a PayPal Donate Button with HTML in ASP.Net

How do I add a PayPal donate button to my ASP.Net website with what PayPal generates for me?  After looking through Google I came up with my own easy solution.  It only involves HTML too!  Here it is and then I’ll explain it.

<a id="paypalDonate" href="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=4381882"><img border="0" id="payPalImage" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_donateCC_LG.gif" alt="Donate to ASINLookUp.com" /></a>

First of all, create a anchor tag.  In the herf property of the anchor tag past the code from the “E-MAIL” tab where you generated the button from PayPal.  Next inside the anchor tag place a image tag.  Set its border to 0.  This gets ride of the outline around it.  Then in the source property add the GIF used to display the button from the “WEBSITE” tab where you generated the button from PayPal.

Last, set the style of “Text-Decoration: none” on your anchor link.  I did mine in a CSS but you can do yours in the tag if you want.  This gets rid of the underline you see with a link.

I hope this helped as there were may confusing ways to do it out there and some rather complicated, I thought.  See my PayPal Donate button in action by going to: AsinLookUp.com

WordPress, Windows Live Writer, and Amazon Quick Linker

A friend of mine turned me on to Windows Live Writer for doing my blogs.  It works great with WordPress and I don’t have the trouble of waiting for post-backs or time-outs like I did when I work with WordPress.  I love it!  I can also save my drafts locally on my hard drive or to my blog and then pick them up later.  Its loaded with lots of great features.  One of my favorite is that it shows you just what your post will look like on your blog before you publish it.

I only had one problem installing it.  When I set up Amazon Quick Linker I pasted the code they gave me into the header.php file of my WordPress theme.  For some reason this stymied Windows Live Writer when it tried to return my theme.  After I removed the Quick Linker code and updated the theme in Windows Live Writer it installed correctly.  I then put the Amazon Quick Linker code back in and presto! I am off and blogging again.

Body Bugg to the Rescue

I’m late getting this out I know.  I said I would let my millions of readers know how Body Bugg helped me over the 2008 holidays.  The good news is I lost 2 pounds and I had a good time eating.  I think the key was I was more active over the holidays and I was able to keep a true eye on my activity and calorie in take.  I’ve go to the point now where I don’t need my Body Bugg.  I have a pretty good idea how much I consume and burn now in my daily routine.

iRobot 560 Roomba Vacuuming Robot scores high marks with the Wife

I was trying to think of something the wife would love for Christmas.  Its hard to pick a useful or exciting gift for her.  It is even harder to keep it from her and surprise her with something she wouldn’t think of.  I scored a grand slam with the iRobot 560 Roomba Vacuuming Robot.  (Click on the name to see it at Amazon.com)

It doesn’t do the deep cleaning that a regular vacuum does but it does quick cleanings without my wife having to do any thing.  That is the best!  She programs it to go off while she is gone or kicks it off while she is doing other house work.  If you have kids like we do you are always in need of the floor being vacuumed.

We use it at least twice a day.  It does need some maintenance.  I have to clean the brushes and get the hair out of places.  They have made it so it is easy to do and even provide a great tool for quickly cleaning the brush.

My wife now uses the regular vacuum every Saturday for a deep cleaning and the rest of the week, “Moe” as we call our vacuuming robot, does the work the rest of the week.  This frees my wife up for more important things.

I might note the strange looking whiskers that stick out rotate and flick things out of corners into the path of the iRobot 560 Roomba.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Beginners Books

I’m a beginner to Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I started Nov. 2008.  I was swamped with the many names of moves, techniques, holds, bars, chokes, sweeps, and the like.  I got a list of what was required for belt advancement or testing.  I then began to map them to pages in common books put out by Renzo Gracie and Royler Gracie.  The most common one that I use is:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)

As I am taught a new hold, arm bar, or technique I look it up on the belt testing list I have and then I find it in my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique book.  I add the page number to the list.  Its making it easier to remember what I’ve done and what the name is that goes with it.  I try to walk through the list now and again to help refresh myself.  I feel it is helping me advance faster.

Sprawl Rash Guard vs Under Armour HeatGear Shirts

Sprawl wins hands down and here is why.  I bought both the Sprawl Rash Guard long sleeve shirt and the Under Armour HeatGear compression long sleeve shirt for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I found that the Under Armor shirt was thin and tended to ride up.  Because it is a compression top it just stayed up.  I also felt like a sausage.  Whats worse is when I was in a crunch or being smothered having any constriction around my chest didn’t help.  I didn’t notice that much change when it came to “moisture transport” as I wear a heavy cotton gi.  Also the “bolstering of muscle support” didn’t seem to matter.  It did provide good abrasion-resistant.  That was its one redeeming quality.  Sprawl Rash Guard was thicker and I feel would last longer especially with its double stitching.  It has a loose fit and falls down if it gets pushed or rolled up.  It has a very pleasant silky feeling and doesn’t compress your already struggling lungs in a good match.  It provide the same level of abrasion-resistant as the Under Armour did.  I knew I’d be staying with the Sprawl Rash Guard when I realized it hadn’t been washed from my last practice and I would have to wear the Under Armour HeatGear shirt.  Sprawl’s Rash Guard taps out Under Armour which really was never made for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

A Rash Guard, I wouldn’t do Jiu-Jitsu without it

What’s a rash guard? It is a shirt or leggings that are made of a spandex type of slick material.  They are used to reduce skin abrasion and bruises in grappling.  I started like most beginners in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (a.k.a. BJJ) with just a t-shirt and sweats.  I came home each time bruised like a Dalmatian.  I soon got my Gi, the traditional uniform in most martial arts.  As anyone who works with their hands knows a good pair of work gloves keeps you from getting blisters.  When it come to BJJ, a Gi is the equivalent of work gloves.  But I found I was still getting  some bruises.  I noticed that some of the others had shinny shirts.  That is how I found out about Rash Guards.  When you wear a rash guard it gives you added protection by decreasing the friction between you and what ever comes in contact with you.  With my new rash guard I stopped being bruised.  Yes, some of the bruising was due to inexperience in grappling but after I got the Gi and rash guard my bruises all but went away.  It also helps protect you again the dreaded ring worm that come from grappling the “unclean”.  A rash guard in my opinion is a must.

What brand of rash guard is best?  I stared with Under Armour.  Their Heat Gear line is what is sold all over the web in MMA, Mixed Martial Art, sites.  I use a compression long sleeve top.  I understand that a loser fitting shirt can be better as the compression tops tend to roll up in grappling.  I am waiting on a lose fitting long sleeve top from Sprawl to see if it works any better.  I also have ordered a pair of their shorts to see if their claims at being the best are true.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Grappling and Submission

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu the street fighters best weapon.  You can see all kinds of fights on Cable, YouTube.com, and other media.  It seems like no matter the skill level of the opponents they always end up on the ground grappling.  I decided to take up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for just that reason.  I have a few years under my belt of Kempo, Ki-Shi-Kan, Wa-Daru, and other various forms of Japanes martial arts.  But none of them compare to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ.  Every time I got in a fight my training failed me because I didn’t have Mixed Martial Art skills or MMA.  But with BJJ things are changing.  I’m going to try and blog my rise to black belt.  Let me start with the books that have really helped me get started.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)
Championship Techniques (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)
Jiu-Jitsu University

“Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique” teach you the very basics and requirements for belts in the Gracie Academy.  This also applies to those affiliated with Gracie Academ like Pedro Sauer .  “Championship Techniques” teaches you more skills and includes drills you can do by yourself.  “Jiu-Jitsu University” teaches you how to survive as a white belt and then how to progress until black.  I’ve found them all very helpful and my study of them has helped excelerate my training.  Its given me a edge in classes.  In my next post I’ll discuss what every what belt should know about gear and conditioning so you won’t start off on a bad foot like I did.

Configuring Database Mail in Sql Server 2005

I want to send a e-mail using msdb.dbo.sp_send_dbmail but I don’t know how to configure Sql Server 2005 so that it will work.  That was my delimma.  Oh, I googled it.  But everything I read said “Click on Management and then click on Database Mail and follow the wizard.”  For those of us coming from a Oracle background that was a little vague.  The trouble was the answer was right in front of my face.  Microsoft Sql Server Management Studio has a view called Object Explorer.  It is the tree window on the right by default when Management Studio opens.  Towards the bottom there is a node labeled “Management”.  Well, what do you know.  I opened it and found Database Mail.  I walked through the wizard and set up my SMTP server.  I did the test offered by right clicking on Database Mail but no test e-mail came to my configured account.  I realized I had the wrong password and tried again.  No, luck.  It then occured to me that the wizard wasn’t updating the profile.  I deleted the profile put it in correctly and it worked.  Oh, and I have forgot to mention I had to use the Surface Area Configuration application to enable Database Mail.  Once that was all done.  I could look at the log of what was happening by right clicking on Database Mail and I could write queries on msdb like these to check how things were going include what was sent:

SELECT * FROM msdb.dbo.sysmail_allitems order by mailitem_id desc;

SELECT * FROM msdb.dbo.sysmail_event_log WHERE mailitem_id = 4 ;

It was frustating not finding the information I needed and being blind to the obvious.  I hope this helps other avoid my mistakes.  I’d be glad to answer any question if you will comment on the post.

I’m Bugged – My experience with the Bodybugg by Apex

I decided it was time to lose some weight. My wife was doing great. She was just about back to her weight when we were first married. I on the other hand was far from it. I decided I wanted to slim down too. The trouble was I don’t like doing aerobics and I don’t get out much. Its true I’m a computer geek. Hey! Its my job! A fellow co-work had recently got the Bodybugg and had lost 4 pounds a week for 2 weeks straight.  His life style was far more active then mine but what he told me about the Bodybugg was enough to interest me.  After searching high and low for coupon I could find none.  The watch and the armband were $350 on Apex.com.  I found them for $50 cheaper at 24hourfitness.com.  I decided it would be a good idea to get the watch because the web site you use with the armband is subscription based.  Yes!  You get 3 months free and then they want you to pay something like $45 a month after that to use it.  Without the watch the armband is useless if you don’t want to pay the subscription fee.  I bit the bullet and paid the $300.  I figured if it will help me to live healthy now the $300 investment will save me thousands in the future on medical bills.  My Bodybugg arrived and my life changed.  It wasn’t to hard to set up and there was a free coaching session to help me get started logging my calories and understanding the website.  I have had it for 1 month now and lost 9 poundsI always throught I didn’t have the will power to diet.  The truth was I didn’t have the feedback I needed to diet.  Once I could truly see how many calories I was consuming and burning I really could take control.  I’m not saying it was a breeze.  I haven’t changed my activity and I have changed my eating habits.  I don’t eat as much now.  I have never gone hungry for more then a day in my life.  The first two weeks were the hardest.  I felt hungry day and night.  Because I choose not to increase my activity the only other way to lose weight was to cut back on what I was eating.  I did.  It was eye opening.  Over all I love my Bodybugg.  I’ll continue to use it with the watch longer after the subscription expires.  My goal is to reach the weight I’ve set for myself by the new year.  Tune it to see if I make it through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.