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The Carrot

Posted in Sql and Xml | Reporting Services | BizTalk | ASP.Net/Web Services at Wednesday, April 27, 2005 4:49 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Are you ready to learn about SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, and BizTalk 2004/2006, but you lack the motivation required to take on this monstrous task?

I present to you: the carrot.

[L]ast years developer competition was so much fun we are doing it again but bigger. This time in conjunction with SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio.NET there is a joint connected systems developer competition.  The top prize is only $50,000.  Check out the details here.

Nice. Now you just need to come up with an entry. That shouldn't be too hard as there are fifteen categories:

    1. Best Extension of a SQL Server 2005 database using the SQLCLR
    2. Best integrated application using XML in SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005
    3. Best Application using the Business Intelligence features of SQL Server 2005
    4. Best extension of a video gaming experience using Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005
    5. Best I-Worker solution using Microsoft Office System and Visual Studio Tools Office
    6. Best integrated/SOA application utilizing SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk
    7. Best SmartPhone application using Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server Mobile Edition
    8. Best Tool to provide additional functionality to SQL Server 2005
    9. Best Occasionally Connected Smart Client Application using SQL Server 2005 Data
    10. Best use of Managed DirectX, Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server Express
    11. Best Visual Studio 2005 PowerToy utilizing SQL Server Express
    12. Best extension of Visual Web Developer and the Personal Web Site Starter Kit
    13. Best sample demonstrating key functionality not already included in the BizTalk Server SDK
    14. Best BizTalk adapter not already supplied by Microsoft or other adapter vendors
    15. Best implementation of a generic pattern on the BizTalk Server platform

I think those categories cover just about every possible app you could build and they probably will help you think up some connected app to create as an entry. Good luck and have fun!

i-mate SP3i

Posted in Gadgets | Windows Mobile at Tuesday, April 26, 2005 6:43 AM Pacific Daylight Time

A month ago I decided to take the plunge and buy a SmartPhone. With my new job I have a gadget budget so that helped me make the decision. After doing some research I decided to get the i-mate SP3i.

The pros:

  • Nice and small phone
  • Internet access - Syncs with Exchange (thanks to Chris De Herrera who helped me get the settings correct for T-Mobile at the last SoCal .Net Insiders meeting).
  • Syncs with my Outlook on my laptop
  • Best of all - Compact .Net Framework - so I can play around with custom SmartPhone apps
  • Bluetooth

The cons:

Overall it is a pretty cool phone, but the joystick issue is a deal breaker if I can't get it fixed. Especially since the phone isn't cheap. At this point I'm not sure what i-mate's response is going to be (and I suppose I should also contact the vendor I bought it from).

Update: Expansys sent me out a new unit this morning to replace my defective one! They even gave me free second day air shipping. I'm impressed with their customer service! Hopefully the new phone doesn't end up with the same issue.

Service Broker Admin Tool

Posted in Sql and Xml at Tuesday, April 26, 2005 3:19 AM Pacific Daylight Time

One of the features of SQL Server 2005 that I'm hoping to dig into is the Service Broker. Since I've been following Yukon for quite some time I've seen a lot of presentations on Service Broker: what is it, how it works, etc. But everything relating to it has always been done by writing SQL scripts. That's about to change since Niels Berglund wrote a GUI for managing Service Broker [via Rushi Desai].

SSB Admin is a GUI application for managing and creating SQL Server 2005 Service Broker (SSB) Objects on networked SQL Server 2005 Servers. Some of the features of the product are:

  • Viewing networked SQL Server 2005 instances and their SSB objects.
  • Creating new SSB objects through a GUI.
  • Deploying SSB Objects to other instances/databases than where they originally were created.
  • Sending messages between services and on conversations.
  • View messages.

If anyone is interested in testing it, you can download it from here.

Looks very promising...

The Wayward WebLog is back!

Posted in General at Monday, April 25, 2005 6:02 AM Pacific Daylight Time
I thought Matt had retired... :)

SQL Server Reporting Services SP2 Released

Posted in Reporting Services | SharePoint at Monday, April 25, 2005 5:57 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Via Andrew Watt:

Service Pack 2 for Reporting Services 2000 is available for download.

Visit SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Service Pack 2.

Bug fixes in SP2 are listed at Microsoft Knowledge Base article 889640.

I'll be interested to hear what people think of the new web parts versus the RsWebParts. The fact that they are included out-of-the-box makes a big difference in what people use.

OpenXML now with MSXML 3.0

Posted in Sql and Xml at Monday, April 25, 2005 5:45 AM Pacific Daylight Time

From Dr. Rys:

As part of our improvements on OpenXML, we have changed the MSXML component from 2.6 to 3.0 (running in 2.6 backwards-compatibility mode) and moved to a private DLL (called MSXMLSQL.DLL) in order to avoid the reboot requirement when installing SQL Server 2005. This change has been released the first time in the April CTP and will also be included in SQL Server 2000 SP4 (yeah!).

I'm hoping that once I solve my server issue that I'll be able to explore SQL Server 2005 in earnest. But I'm excited to see that some of the improvements made in 2005 will also be showing up in 2000. I think this is a smart move and it shows that MS is committed to both products

Remotely Disable Windows Firewall?

Posted in General at Monday, April 25, 2005 4:25 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Ok, so I can remotely enable remote desktop. But what about remotely disabling windows firewall? Over the weekend I setup a new server box and managed to fit it in my server closet.

But I didn't just install Windows Server 2003, I installed Windows Server 2003 SP1. So even though I remembered to enable remote desktop, I forgot about opening up a hole for it in Windows Firewall. If this can't be done then I'll probably drag a keyboard and monitor over to my closet and do this, but I'm hoping there is some way this can be done remotely (although I'm guessing there isn't since that might be a hole in Windows Firewall).

Update: I figured out last night that Windows Firewall wasn't the problem. During the Windows 2003 setup I *thought* I had assigned a static IP to the main NIC, but it turns out that I had actually assigned the static IP to the 1394 Net Adapter instead. DOH! So when I remoted in using the machine name instead of the IP everything worked. Silly me...

Remotely Enable Remote Desktop

Posted in General at Wednesday, April 20, 2005 3:35 AM Pacific Daylight Time

From Jeff Key:

I don't know how many times I've installed Windows, unhooked the monitor and keyboard, then tried to Remote Desktop in...and nothing, because I hadn't turned on Remote Desktop. I did it again today and quickly found a great answer: a single registry value! Check it out:

Windows Server Hacks: Remotely Enable Remote Desktop

Nice! I've run into to this quite often myself. Glad to see there is a way to get around it...

Installing Visual Studio 2005 on a Virtual PC

Posted in ASP.Net/Web Services at Tuesday, April 19, 2005 9:19 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Just a quick tip...

If you're trying to install Visual Studio 2005 on a Virtual PC, you will find the ISO image cannot be captured because it is too big. However, there is a very clever workaround here. Basically, you use this Microsoft utility called the Microsoft Virtual CD Control Panel which allows you to mount ISO images as physical drives (which is very cool). You can then use that virtual CD with your virtual PC.

WiFi Finder Plus

Posted in Gadgets at Monday, April 18, 2005 6:47 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Recently my dad was telling me about how when he travels, he finds himself driving around in neighborhoods with his laptop on the passenger seat to help him locate open WiFi networks. So when I was at Staples the other night I bought him a Kensington WiFi Finder Plus:

It seemed to work pretty well detecting WiFi networks, but it wasn't able to detect my bluetooth phone. Since he is using it only for WiFi this won't be a problem. The gadgeteer has a full review on it here and runs into the same issue.


Happy Birthday To Me!

Posted in Sql and Xml | General | ASP.Net/Web Services at Monday, April 18, 2005 5:10 AM Pacific Daylight Time

What a great birthday present!

REDMOND, Wash. -- April 18, 2005 -- Microsoft Corp. today announced availability of Visual Studio® 2005 Beta 2, Microsoft® .NET Framework 2.0 Beta 2 and the SQL Server (TM) 2005 April Community Technology Preview (CTP), the latest milestone in delivering these products to customers. Together, the products provide a deeply integrated development and data management platform, enabling customers to utilize existing skills and familiar tools to harness data in powerful new ways that increase productivity and efficiency. Several early adopters such as ABS-CBN Interactive, ORF and Townsend Analytics Ltd. have deployed these products in their production environments to reap the benefits of close tool and database integration. Because of broad customer demand to work with these prerelease products today, Microsoft also announced the Microsoft Go-Live license program for customers interested in deploying Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Express Edition immediately. Microsoft and multiple partners today also announced plans to provide customers with educational resources that will help them prepare for the launch of these two products.


I'm downloading both right now. Looks like it's time to get serious about starting to work with these two...

EasySearch for ASP.Net

Posted in General | ASP.Net/Web Services at Friday, April 8, 2005 12:06 PM Pacific Daylight Time

EasySearch asked me to check out thier new EasySearch for ASP.Net, so I did. I ran the live demo and searched for RsWebParts on my blog. It found one result which was actually an RSS link, not a web page, but that is understandable. You will also need to prefix Your Web Site Address in the text box with http:// or https:// even though the examples do not have prefixes. Searching for something a little easier, this time the word “mouse” turned up three results including my recent review. The instructions on setting it up do look pretty simple since there is no coding required.

Overall it looks very fast and seems to work great. Hopefully I'll get a chance to use it to replace my current (broken) search feature on this site.


Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse

Posted in Gadgets at Wednesday, April 6, 2005 7:47 AM Pacific Daylight Time

At my previous job I worked at a desk with a desktop computer, so there wasn't a real good excuse to buy lots of cool gadgets. But now that I'm a road warrior with a gadget budget, I'm having fun buying lots of geeky stuff. So here is my first gadget review: the Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse.

There is already a full review of this mouse at ActiveWin.com. The mouse works great for me. I like the way the USB receiver snaps into the bottom of the mouse which turns it off. So you don't burn through you batteries while your mouse in in your backpack (and you don't have to remove the batteries to turn it off). The batteries are supposed to last three months but since I've only had it for a month I can't verify that. ActiveWin gave the mouse high scores on everything except price, but if you have a Costco membership you can pick up the mouse for about $25 at most Costco locations (it isn't featured online).

I like everything about the mouse: size, shape, scrolling, etc. My only complaint is the receiver itself is a little big and since my laptop's USB ports are on the right side I need a little extra desktop space. However, this is only a slight inconvience which I'm willing to pay since I prefer the mouse over the touchpad.

Over Fried

Posted in General at Tuesday, April 5, 2005 3:35 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Yesterday I stopped by Fry's Electronics after work hoping to pick up a MiniSD card for my new phone (more about that later). I had done some price checking online earlier in the day and was leaning toward buying the SanDisk 512MB card from Buy.com. I was even hoping to find not only the 512MB card, but maybe even the new 1GB MiniSD card (which actually isn't out yet). Sadly, the biggest MiniSD card they had was 256MB and their price was higher than Buy.com's price on the 512MB card.

I have been visiting Fry's less and less, but I think yesterday's visit was my own Fried Out experience. After seeing the higher price (and having to wait in line for 15 minutes to just ask about what they had in stock) suddenly Fry's lost its grip on me. I used to love going to Fry's to check out the latest and greatest, but now it just looks like a bunch of poorly organized, out-of-date, over-priced stuff that may or may not have already been bought by someone else and returned.

So I ended up going back to the hotel and buying from Buy.com. Sure, I'll have to wait a couple of days to get my card, but since my phone hasn't been activated yet that's ok.