Posted Wednesday December 17, 2008 —
There are many great places to grab a bite for lunch in the Queen and Spadina area, but here are a few of my weekly (relatively cheap) staples.
Burrito Bandidos – 120 Peter St.
Best burritos in Toronto. Try their steak or chicken burritos which are modestly priced at $5.65. While other establishments will nickle and dime you for adding extra fillings, you get it all here…yummy avocado, sour cream, beans and rice.
Ghandi’s Cuisine – 554 Queen St. W.
Tried the Chicken Jalfrizi and Chicken Tikka Masala rotis, but my favourite so far is their famous Butter Chicken roti. It’s pricey at $13, but it’s enough food for two people or a left over meal for tomorrow’s lunch! They have many veggie options and speaking of which, I have been meaning to try their Malai Kofta roti which alot of people rave about as well.
Craft Burger – 134 King St. W.
While not the healthiest lunch in the world, it’s definitely up there as one of the tastiest. Opt for getting a $6 burger sans fries and you can cut down on the guilt factor. Their burgers are top notch and quite filling just on their own.
New York Subway – 520 Queen St. W.
Usually spend $4 and get a yummy, but non traditional Chicken Burrito. I’ve also tried their hot grilled subs which are not only huge, but pretty tasty with exotic toppings like spiced potatoes.
Double Dragon – 147 Spadina Ave
Have tried a few of their Chinese-Canadian dishes, but they’ve been lackluster to say the least. That said, I love their Lemongrass Chicken ($7) which is served with noodles, and veggies (why is the broccoli so good?!)
Nora Shawarma – 41 Spadina Ave
Stay away from their combos, they are pretty bland in my opinion, but get their $6 Chicken Shawarma sandwich (hold the pickles) instead. It’s fresh, filling, and healthy. Their Chicken Shawarma plate served with a side salad is also tasty too, although it’s on the pricey side at $10.
Other notables include Fusaro’s Kitchen (147 Spadina Ave #108) and Jules (147 Spadina Ave #109) which is next door. They’ve got some great meals although they’re closer to $15-20 for each which is out of my work lunch budget unless you go for the smaller items like sandwiches.
Posted Wednesday November 26, 2008 —
(or is it MyEmma?) is a neat little web based email marketing and communication service that competes with the larger, more well known email marketing services like ConstantContact.
In addition to their regular services, Emma also offers a Remote Signup
feature which allows you to build a sign up form on your own website instead of relying on Emma's built-in solutions. This is a really useful feature if you're already collecting customer information and would like to simultaneously add them to your Emma mailing lists.
Emma provides sample PHP code using Pear and cURL, but no ASP solution. Here's an "undocumented" way to get their Remote Signup API working with Classic ASP. Just replace USERNAME, PASSWORD, SIGNUP_POST, ACCOUNT_ID and GROUP_NUMBER with actual values that are provided by EMMA.
ASP Source Code
stringPost = "username=USERNAME&password=PASSWORD" &_
set xmlhttp = server.Createobject("MSXML2.ServerXMLHTTP")
xmlhttp.setRequestHeader "Content-Type", "application/x-www-form-urlencoded"
stringResult = xmlhttp.responseText
Set xmlhttp = nothing
To print/access the response code, use
Interesting factoid: Emma at one point did provide a sample ASP implementation, but it 1) had a bug; and 2) did not work. I played around with it, got it working, and submitted it back to Emma . I got the following reply from their technical support:
"Thanks for sending that along. I passed it to our developers, and they liked this solution. If it's okay with you, we are going to use this as part of our documentation in the future for new Remote Signup users."
Sadly, they still haven't included it in their documentation.
Posted Monday November 3, 2008 —
After a little hiatus from freelance web development, I’m happy to announce that my latest work is now live. Working for the talented illustrator Mark Cabuena, I created a custom CMS back end for his own front end design. The menus, and gallery are completely modular and can be managed solely by dragging and dropping images using an FTP client. It was a nice break to be given a design and asked to “make things happen.”
Check it out: www.markcabuena.com
Posted Thursday July 31, 2008 —
If you’re a pedestrian in Toronto, you’re in luck as there are three new things to look forward to.
First up is the recently launched MyTTC website which was made by a couple of TransitCamp affiliated developers. Surprisingly (or not considering the current state of the TTC), the website has no connection with the actual TTC who are instead still working on building their new website (the beta is viewable at http://beta.ttc.ca).
The best feature so far is the Trip planning which works very well. I tested it with a few routes I take and they were dead on, instructing where to walk to, what service to use (subway or bus/streetcar) and the estimated time of travel. The witty user feedback is amusing and did not go unnoticed. Hats off to the developers for this great web app. The TTC will be hard pressed to beat it in terms of usability and functionality.
Google Maps – Walking
Next up, is a useful addition to Google Maps especially for pedestrians. A new walking mode enables map routing and instructions to be displayed for pedestrians which ignores one way streets and other road obstacles which would otherwise not apply to pedestrians.
The service is still in beta and, case in point, on my first use I noticed a minor bug(?) where one of the directions indicated to “make a u turn.” I have no doubt that that issue and any others will be ironed out soon though. The benefit of this new mode isn’t going to be realized just yet as it isn’t much different from the car mode, but instead I believe the real usefulness will be it’s underlying API. Developers will be able to create some cool new mashups such as walking tours (yes, I don’t have any good ideas) that take full advantage of the walking mode.
Yonge/Dundas Intersection Scramble
Within a few weeks the intersections of Yonge/Dundas and Bay/Bloor will be transformed into scramble intersections where traffic in each direction will be stopped allowing pedestrians to walk freely anywhere within the intersection. No longer will poor pedestrians have to cross twice to get to the opposite corner as they can just cross diagonally!
On the one hand I am excited about the launch and can’t wait to see it in action, but on the other I wonder if it will last or be as useful as planned in speeding up traffic of both cars and people alike.
Posted Tuesday July 15, 2008 —
If you're providing users a PDF that requires them to type in or hand write information that you already have (ie. in a database), why not provide a PDF that has been dynamically pre-populated with this information instead?
Here's how to accomplish this using Adobe's FDF Toolkit and C# as I wasn't able to find a good source on how to build a similar app in C# when I was once in need. This guide assumes you have some familiarity working with .NET, C#, Acrobat, FDF (Form Data Form), and PDF.
Create your PDF using Adobe Acrobat
Setup FDF Toolkit
- Open an existing PDF or create a new file
- Create a text field
- Name it: fooField
- Save your PDF as myfile.pdf
C# Source Code
- Download FDF Toolkit from Adobe Developer Center
- Copy the files fdfacx.dll and fdftk.dll to a folder on your web server, either a global folder or even your application's /bin folder.
- From the Windows Command Prompt, type: regsvr32 c:\path\to\file\fdfacx.dll where path\to\file is the actual path to the file.
- Use the Type Library Importer included with Visual Studio to create a CLR assembly. At the Command Prompt, type: tlbimp FdfAcX.dll /out:fdfacx_clr.dll (modify paths as necessary).
- Place the newly created CLR assembly fdfacx_clr.dll in your .NET application's /bin folder.
using fdfacx_clr; // include generated CLR assembly
private string foo;
foo = "bar";
FdfAppClass FdfAcX_App = new FdfAppClass();
FdfDoc outputFDF = (FdfDoc)FdfAcX_App.FDFCreate();
outputFDF.FDFSetFile("http://path/to/pdf/myfile.pdf"); // absolute web path to your pdf file
outputFDF.FDFSetValue("fooField", foo, false);
outputFDF.FDFSetStatus(foo + " will now be inserted into fooField");
Response.ContentType = "application/vnd.fdf";
That's it. Fire up your C# ASP.Net web application and navigate to your start page and it should create a FDF on the fly that will point to your PDF.
Forgive me if I've left anything out or made any errors as it's been awhile since I actually worked on the project. Leave a comment if you run into any problems!