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My First WPF/E App

Posted in ASP.Net/Web Services | Avanade | WPF | WPF/E at Thursday, December 14, 2006 7:27 AM Pacific Standard Time

I've always thought that Flash was cool. When I was in college I purchased a copy of Macromedia studio at the academic price and tried to create some Flash animations for a website. However, I'm not a designer and the learning curve was too much for me at the time, so Flash didn't stick with me.

A couple of projects back I spent a lot of time with WPF since the client portion of the application was going to be built with WPF. Armed with a basic knowledge of WPF, I thought I would give WPF/E a try. One of the big advantages of WPF/E is that if you like what someone else has done you can just take a look at their XAML. So to get started on my WPF/E project I took a look at the WPF/E Egg Timer (via Tim) and the WPF Blog's Header. You can download the XAML and the JavaScript for both to see how they work. I also read through this article on getting started with WPF/E which includes IIS configuration information.

One of the projects that I've been working on in my spare time is a social website for the Avanade solution developers in Southern California. So far I don't have much to show except a cool url and now a very simple WPF/E animation. You can check it out at http://wsup.la.

It is just a place holder for now, but it was still fun to create. In addition to the links above, I also used:

Since WPF/E is so easy to create (and edit) I'm guessing we will be seeing a lot of it in the near future.

HTC SmartPhone Stackup

Posted in Gadgets | Windows Mobile at Wednesday, December 13, 2006 7:52 AM Pacific Standard Time

So lokeuei is also excited about the new HTC Vox:

Finally a smartphone with both a NUMERIC KEYPAD and a QWERTY KEYBOARD. Now I can be a responsible driver and not crash into anything or god forbid, anyone, on the road struggling to type a message on my Excalibur's keyboard with both fat thumbs.

Lokeuei also posts a comparison of HTC phones using Sizeeasy. I went to sizeeasy and did my own comparison of the previous HTC SmartPhones that I've owned.

As you can see, the Vox is shorter than the other three, as wide as the MTeoR, and the same thickness as the SP5. This is pretty amazing if these are the actual specs. I'm definately going to be ordering this phone. Let's hope they boost up the processor speed, add some more memory, and stick crossbow on it. :)

Early Shot of the Vox

Posted in Gadgets | Windows Mobile at Wednesday, December 13, 2006 6:19 AM Pacific Standard Time

Via Boy Genius:

The HTC Vox concept photo has been floating around the net for a little while so I thought it was my turn to step things up a bit. I present the first live picture of the HTC Vox (S710) smartphone with complete spec sheet. Quad-Band EDGE, Spring-assisted keyboard like the P4350, WiFi and more.

This is what I've been waiting for! A SmartPhone with a slide out keyboard. The specs he posted are OK, but not that great (200Mhz processor?). Let's hope that HTC upgrades the specs before it produces the phone.

Screen Saver Doesn't Activate in Vista

Posted in Gadgets | Vista at Wednesday, December 13, 2006 6:06 AM Pacific Standard Time

I had an issue on two of my computers where the screen saver would never start. I could preview the screen saver, but no matter how long I waited it would never come on. I tried a number of things, changing various settings, but nothing seemed to work. Last night I did another search on the topic and finally found an answer:

Anyway, the big problem I've been having with Vista is my screensaver not working since build 5381, it just would not kick in, I Checked everything, made sure there was nothing preventing the system from idling etc..  I was playing around the other day and it hit me.  Right after 5381 was released, I bought a Microsoft Laser Desktop 6000 KB/Mouse combo.  No, it can't be that I thought.  Well just for kicks I plugged the PS/2 portion of the wireless reciever in for the keyboard and left the USB as was (essentially making the keyboard PS/2 and the mouse USB).  Still no screensaver, so I figured, OK let's yank the USB plug.  2 minutes after yanking the cable the screensaver kicked in.  It was the mouse the whole time. 

Sure enough, both machines have a Microsoft mouse.

Chris not only figured out the problem, but found a temporary solution:

And for anyone wondering, I did some research into the problem, apparently this issue affects any machine running Media Center with this keyboard/Mouse combo.  If you kill ehtray.exe, the screensaver will kick in, but then your MCE Remote won't work.

Sure enough, if I kill ehtray.exe on these machines the screen saver kicks in right when it should. I was pretty happy with just finding that out and then today when looking for the post so that I could write this entry I found that Chris had figured even more out about the issue:

It turns out that with this KB/Mouse setup and a few others released around the same time they introduced a new "Microsoft Wireless Desktop Receiver 3.0A".  Previous wireless sets had the 2.0A receiver, and I just happened to have one of these old receivers lying around.  Plugged it in, aquired signal with my devices and walked out of the room.  When I came back 5 minutes later, the screensaver was working as I would expect it to.  So it's the receiver, not the keyboard or the mouse.  When I called Microsoft support about the issue, they said it is known but have no plans to fix the issue and outright refused to send me a working receiver. 

Seems pretty lame that MS knows this is an issue but isn't going to fix it. I wonder how many of these receivers are out there? The bummer thing is that on one of the machines the mouse is part of a keyboard/mouse combo which I paid a lot of money for. Now I have to either get a new one or kill the ehtray.exe process everytime I reboot.

How about a fix for us Microsoft?

Update: A fix has been posted to Windows Update that is called "HID Non-User Input Data Filter" as posted below by RYAN and Fred. Thanks to my readers for keeping an eye on this. I installed the update and it does fix the issue. Thanks Microsoft!

Beta Exam Extravaganza

Posted in Sql and Xml | SharePoint | Certifications | Vista at Tuesday, December 12, 2006 10:28 AM Pacific Standard Time

From LLiu on the SharePoint Team Blog

You are invited to take the following exams in their beta versions. If you pass either or both of the beta exams, the exam credit will be added to your transcript and you will not need to take the exam in its released form.

·         Exam 70-542: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – Application Development

o    Counts as credit towards Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007: Application Development

·         Exam 70-541: Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 - Application Development

o    Counts as credit towards Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0: Application Development

Plus I noticed that both the exams for the MCITP: BI certification are available and a few Windows Vista exams too.

  • 071-445 - TS: Microsoft® SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence - Implementation and Maintenance
  • 071-446 - PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure by Using Microsoft® SQL Server 2005
  • 071-621 - UPG: Upgrading your MCDST Certification to MCITP Enterprise Support
  • 071-622 - PRO: Installing, Maintaining, Supporting, and Troubleshooting Applications on the Microsoft® Windows Vista Client - Enterprise
  • 071-624 - TS: Deploying and Maintaining Vista Client and Office 12 System Desktops using the BDD

The promo code for all these exams seems to be BTA + last three digits of the exam number (071-445 would be BTA445). If you've been working with these technologies then the beta exams are a great deal since they are free and even if you don't pass at least you know what you need to study.

Windows Live Search on the HTC MTeoR

Posted in Gadgets | Vista | Windows Mobile at Monday, December 11, 2006 4:19 AM Pacific Standard Time

The Windows Live Search for Mobile got great reviews by Gizmodo. But if you tried to install it on your MTeoR you will find it doesn't install because the MTeoR is locked. Today I found this post which explains how easy it is to unlock the MTeoR. I ran through the steps and then installed the program and I'm very impressed. It is really easy to use even on a SmartPhone like the MTeoR.

Also, if you're running Vista and you're not getting the Mobile Device Center from Windows Update (even though you've connected to your Windows Mobile Device), check out Jason's troubleshooting guide. The trick of turning the connection back to a serial connection worked for me. Now I have the live search client and the mobile device center running.

IntelliType and IntelliPoint for Vista Released

Posted in Gadgets | Vista at Monday, December 11, 2006 3:59 AM Pacific Standard Time

via Tomas:

A new release of the IntelliPoint software for Microsoft Mice as well as the new Vista-compatible software for the MS Fingerprint reader is available now from the MS Hardware site. These were two of the updated set of drivers I was expecting since repaving my laptop with Vista.

You can download them now (which means this mouse now works great in Vista). The IntelliType software is also there. So if you emailed me asking me for the beta drivers, you can now get them.

Cross-Posted Test

Posted in General at Friday, December 8, 2006 2:17 AM Pacific Standard Time

This post should get cross-posted automatically to my Avanade blog. Does it work?

Update: It works! If you want to set this up go here for some great instructions. Now I don't have to manually cross-post to both blogs.

Update2: Seems the initial post works, but I'm not seeing updating getting cross-posted. Hmm..

Continuous Integration 2.0

Posted in Test-Driven Dev | .NET at Friday, December 8, 2006 1:35 AM Pacific Standard Time

Just finished reading Bil's excellent post on his frustrations with Continuous Integration (CI) in the VS 2005 world. My feelings about CI with VS 2003 and the nAnt, nUnit, Subversion, CC.Net combo are the same as his:

Visual Studio 2003 and Cruise Control.NET. Simple and elegant. A basic NAnt script to build the solution and you're good to go. Run NUnit, output goes to a format CC can understand and Bob's yer uncle. Let me quantify this. Our cruise server has a subversion client (command line) and the .NET 1.1 SDK. Visual Studio isn't installed because, duh, it's a server and cruise just needs something to build the system with.

CI in VS 2003 with CC.Net and friends was great. Everything ran smoothly for the most part. When you went to setup a project the choices of what to use for unit testing, build automation, and CI were pretty clear. Now we have more choices on how to run our projects and it isn't always clear which choice is the best. I've done projects using both sets of tools: VSTS for testing, source control, and CI as well as the old school nUnit, nAnt, subversion, CC.Net combo. The old school method seemed much simpler and easy to use/understand. But I figured maybe it was just because it was what I was used to. However:

Continuous Integration does not need to be this hard. CruiseControl.NET is an excellent tool and very flexible with new tools and integrating output from those tools. However when those tools require a million registry settings and even more DLLs (put in very specific places, trust me, you can't just toss them in the GAC and call it a day) and dump gobs of XML that no mere mortal (well maybe DonXml could) would be able to translate, it's just wrong. And as for the built-in Team Build that you could us, that's equally as useless as a) you can't schedule builds to trigger off of code checkins and b) again it requires a full Team Suite client to be installed on the server.

I feel Bil's pain. However, you can schedule builds to trigger off code checkins, but configuring these things isn't as straightforward as it could be. I didn't setup our last build environment (Jesse did), which had check-in triggered builds with email notifications, but I seem to remember it was pretty complicated and you didn't get the nice CC.Net type emails which showed you exactly what was going on with the build. You had to go look at the build on the server to see what happened.

So for now, if it is a small project, I tend toward the Subversion, nAnt, nUnit, CC.Net path, using MSBuild to build projects as needed (MSBuild is a must for things like building/deploying VSTS Database Pro projects). The big question for me will be what to use when my next big project fires up. I really want to use the MS tools and to become proficient with them, but I also don't want to be constantly fighting with my CI toolset.