Miss South Carolina's Answer to Question – Miss Teen America

To laugh or to cry … that is the question.

CS 2007 SP3 (Beta)

Seems like many others are following the MS route in releasing Betas – which might not be the best thing in the world. Telligent has now released the CS 2007 Service Pack 3 (Pre-Release) with a long list of fixes and "new features".

Finding out TFS Version

If for some reason you wanted to know what version (and possibly license) of TFS were you running (as a fellow Avanut did in the communities), then check out this tool by Jeff.

Speaking of TFS, Brian has published the "final" feature list of what to expect in TFS 2008 including compatibility with VSTS 2005.

Google Mapplets

Google Mapplets are "mini applications" you write which can be embedded within Google Maps. Google has a special "preview" version of the maps where you can test this out. To help you write mapplets (e.g. a random weather map) google also has the Mashup Editor (reviewed by Lachlan) which is similar to Yahoo Pipes.

WHS Backup Blues

I have not been very happy with WHS lately – and the backups have been failing as you can see in the two screen shots below. Huh?

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Looking at the event log there have been many errors. I have not had the time to research these and see what is wrong. Here is a sampling on what is going on:

Event Type:    Error
Event Source:    Application Error
Event Category:    (100)
Event ID:    1000
Date:        25/08/2007
Time:        02:57:39
User:        N/A
Computer:    TRINITY
Description:
Faulting application whsbackup.exe, version 6.0.1424.2, faulting module whsbackup.exe, version 6.0.1424.2, fault address 0x00056e8e.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
Data:
0000: 41 70 70 6c 69 63 61 74   Applicat
0008: 69 6f 6e 20 46 61 69 6c   ion Fail
0010: 75 72 65 20 20 77 68 73   ure  whs
0018: 62 61 63 6b 75 70 2e 65   backup.e
0020: 78 65 20 36 2e 30 2e 31   xe 6.0.1
0028: 34 32 34 2e 32 20 69 6e   424.2 in
0030: 20 77 68 73 62 61 63 6b    whsback
0038: 75 70 2e 65 78 65 20 36   up.exe 6
0040: 2e 30 2e 31 34 32 34 2e   .0.1424.
0048: 32 20 61 74 20 6f 66 66   2 at off
0050: 73 65 74 20 30 30 30 35   set 0005
0058: 36 65 38 65               6e8e   

 

Event Type:    Error
Event Source:    HomeServer
Event Category:    Backup
Event ID:    272
Date:        25/08/2007
Time:        02:56:47
User:        N/A
Computer:    TRINITY
Description:
Unexpected error 0x45d from WriteFile on D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4}\Data.4096.16.dat: The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

 

Event Type:    Error
Event Source:    HomeServer
Event Category:    Backup
Event ID:    267
Date:        25/08/2007
Time:        02:56:47
User:        N/A
Computer:    TRINITY
Description:
Client Backup server failed at d:\qhsv1_rc\qhs\src\backup\util\diskfile.cpp(421)

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

Adding a Drive in WHS

I have been experimenting with Windows Home Server at home and running the RC1. I was low on disk space (having only one internal 80 gb HDD which was also running the OS). It started with one of the annoying Network Health alerts telling me I am low on disk space. Since there was no room in the old machine I am running this one to add another internal HDD I decided to plug in an external USB HDD.

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Thankfully installing a new drive and configuring this in WHS is a "no brainer" by design given the target audience of your average user. Once the OS has installed the drive it shows up in WHS (as you can see below). However, at this time this disk is not part of the storage available to WHS.

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To make the disk part "available" to WHS you need explicitly add this disk. To do so right click and choose add and then follow the prompts. Of course you will loose all data on that drive so make sure there is nothing on it you might keep.

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The rest is just a matter of following the Wizard.

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Of course adding an internal disk would entail more work as you would need to shutdown, open the case and add the drive. Also I did not need any drivers, etc but if the OS needs any drivers to recognize the disk all that is something you need to manage and cannot handled by WHS.

Lastly, WHS does not use RAID, but some other mechanism to achieve the same results. As a result you don't see any options for this when adding a new drive. If you want redundancy you need to select the "Enable Folder Duplication" option on your data.

Interesting Find #6

  1. Find editing host files a pain? Then check out HostsMan (v 3.0.45 is just released) which allows you to automatically update, enable/disable, backup, exclusion, etc. host files.
  2. Some old fun programs that we all enjoyed in our time.
  3. Fujitsu announces 1 TB 2.5" HDD's (i.e. for notebooks) – though it might be a little while before they hit the stores and a little longer after that before they are affordable I would guess.
  4. Best in Emerging Technology – very cool! Cool
  5. Did you know there was a hard drive shredder out there, wanna buy one?
  6. Collaboration between people in teams is a "hot" topic these days and to try and solve it there are many solutions out there – one of those being huddle (which I have not used).
  7. But the one that I have used and is quite good is Zoho, and does seem quite promising. I have specifically used the Notebook and Planner. The planner is interesting as well as you can email your page and it will store those emails as content.
  8. Tafiti (which means "to research" in Swahili) is a very cool search experience and essentially showcases Silverlight with Live search behind it – now if only we could switch the search provider to google it would be even sweeter. Smile
  9. fsutil – this is new to me although around for a while. It is a command line utility which can perform many FAT and NTFS related tasks such as managing reparse points, managing sparse files, dismounting a volume, or extending a volume, etc.

Vista Performance, Reliability and Stability Hot Fixes

Microsoft has released a couple of hotfixes based on the feedback it has got from various people using the "Error Reporting Service" and sending in dumps. As far as I am aware, as of now these are not pushed via Windows update.

The first one is supposed to improve compatibility and reliability of Vista; here are the things it resolves:

  • The screen may go blank when you try to upgrade the video driver.
  • The computer stops responding, and you receive a "Display driver stopped responding and has recovered" error message. You can restart the computer only by pressing the computer's power button.
  • The computer stops responding or restarts unexpectedly when you play video games or perform desktop operations.
  • The Diagnostic Policy Service (DPS) stops responding when the computer is under heavy load or when very little memory is available. This problem prevents diagnostics from working.
  • The screen goes blank after an external display device that is connected to the computer is turned off. For example, this problem may occur when a projector is turned off during a presentation.
  • There are stability issues with some graphics processing units (GPUs). These issues could cause GPUs to stop responding (hang).
  • Visual appearance issues occur when you play graphics-intensive games.
  • You experience poor playback quality when you play HD DVD disks or Blu-ray disks on a large monitor.
  • Applications that load the Netcfgx.dll component exit unexpectedly.
  • Windows Calendar exits unexpectedly after you create a new appointment, create a new task, and then restart the computer.
  • Internet Connection Sharing stops responding after you upgrade a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP to Windows Vista and then restart the computer.
  • The Printer Spooler service stops unexpectedly.
  • You receive a "Stop 0x0000009F" error when you put the computer to sleep while a Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) connection is active.

The second one improves performance and reliability and resolved the following:

  • You experience a long delay when you try to exit the Photos screen saver.
  • A memory leak occurs when you use the Windows Energy screen saver.
  • If User Account Control is disabled on the computer, you cannot install a network printer successfully. This problem occurs if the network printer is hosted by a Windows XP-based or a Windows Server 2003-based computer.
  • When you write data to an AVI file by using the AVIStreamWrite function, the file header of the AVI file is corrupted.
  • When you copy or move a large file, the "estimated time remaining" takes a long time to be calculated and displayed.
  • After you resume the computer from hibernation, it takes a long time to display the logon screen.
  • When you synchronize an offline file to a server, the offline file is corrupted.
  • If you edit an image file that uses the RAW image format, data loss occurs in the image file. This problem occurs if the RAW image is from any of the following digital SLR camera models:
    • Canon EOS 1D
    • Canon EOS 1DS
  • After you resume the computer from hibernation, the computer loses its default gateway address.
  • Poor memory management performance occurs.

I have applied both these patches on one my laptops (running Vista x32) and other than the hibernation fixes I have not seen any noticeable difference; nevertheless I would still recommend you install it.

Happy Birthday

Today India celebrates its 60th independence from the British Raj – Happy Birthday! So 5 more years to retirement? Big Smile. Over the last 6 decades has had quite a ride. There has been a lot of talk about it lately here in the local media in UK along with many celebrations in London (mostly to woo Indian business, Bollywood, etc).

The BBC showed a very interesting documentary called "Partition: The Day India Burned" on the partition of India from the British colonial days in two states – India and Pakistan. I knew the partition was very painful with both my grandparents (maternal and paternal) having to move from Lahore (now in Pakistan) to India and the loss they had to entail – both financial and emotional. Over the years they had talked to me about it – but never in detail and watching this documentary brought tears to my eyes. Never has there been such a mass movement of refugees in the history of mankind – ever! One example which sticks to mind is the solid 50 mile long line of people – walking. If you can watch it I highly recommend the documentary.

The Guardian has been running some interesting stories about the two countries after 60 years and had their complete G2 pullout section dedicated to India. And with headlines such as "India is seen as a success story, while Pakistan is written off as a failed state and the hiding place of Osama bin Laden. What went wrong?" and "India: This is the best place in the world to be born right now?" make it an interesting read. The also cover what the neighbors think of India – both Pakistan and Bangladesh. They also have a story on the best and worst times from families across the social divide. And incase you were curious, no, they have not forgotten the cult of the sex goddess.

Guardian has more stories here.

SoftGrid available on MSDN

This is probably old news, but is new to me. I logged into MSDN to check something else out and saw that SoftGrid is now available on MSDN. I have had the bits internally for some time, but now anyone with MSDN login can get it. Smile

If you have never heard or seen SoftGrid you would be quite amazed how powerful it is. Unlike most virtualization software which virtualizes OS's (VMware, Virtual PC, etc.) SoftGrid virtualizes applications – so you have have multiple versions of the same application installed and running at the same time without conflicting with each other! Now I have not had a chance to play with this to see how it handles various dev related software like the debugger, various windows services, IIS, SQL Server, etc. but it sure works like a charm for "client app's". If you want to see more then check out Getting Started with SoftGrid and the Lazy Admin's What is SoftGrid.

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Google Papers

Got time to kill (maybe you have a 4 hour commute like I recently started) and want to tickle that brain of yours? Still reading, then check out Google Papers. Of course some of the papers have been quite publicized such as the failure trends for HDDs. But there are many more interesting ones such as the High-efficiency power supplies for home computers and servers or MapReduce, an abstraction for large-scale computation which essentially is a programming model for generating and processing large data sets with many terabytes of data and thousands of machines. Happy Reading!

Are you a "IT Rockstar"?

… apparently I am after being featured in Avanade Advisor's [somewhat] cheesy video. Geeked

Call for WLW plugins

Despite my skepticism about not much happening on the WLW front, I do like it and use it for blogging and want to find out which plugins would you recommend. For example, which one to use for code? There is Insert Code for WLW, Paste from VS, Insert Formatted Clipboard, etc.

Microsoft vs IBM

Both Microsoft and IBM are dueling it out in the cyberspace over SOA – reminds me of the hay days just before the .com boom started back in the bay area. Big Smile

Interesting Find #5

  1. SOA in the Real World – Microsoft's eBook for free; alternatively go and buy my book. Wink
  2. Pownce is a way to send messages, files, links, and events to your friends.
  3. Microsoft SkyDrive now open to public beta, giving 500 mb of space; but not sure why you would use that when Mozy gives you unlimited online backup for $5/month (which is about £2.50 / month – cheaper than a cup of Flat White coffee).
  4. F1 Calendar and Track mashup.
  5. Wikimapia – hopefully the name says it all; here is Delhi for example.
  6. Speaking of Delhi, you might also want to do some sightseeing with google maps; for example here is one amazing place called Deolali where I have spend a few years.
  7. External Bit Torrent hard drive – though I won't know why you would need one?
  8. Jotle lets you zoom into various parts of the world and see map points for Wikimapia and Placeopedia.
  9. Not only do we we get to see the final TFS 2008 features list, but P&P guys also release TFS Guide and the first public bits for Rosario are available.
  10. If you ever wanted to run Linux apps in Windows then you need Xming which is a free unlimited X Window server and can run on XP,2003 and Vista.

More WHS Errors

Here is a flavor or some more WHS errors that I have been getting in the eventlog and not really had the time to do the research to figure out what they are. Looking at these (and there are man more), does not inspire too much confidence Sad and I am varied to start using this in "production" mode. Hopefully they have been fixed in the RTM version but as I am running RC1, not sure.

One:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: MRxSmb
Event Category: None
Event ID: 8003
Date:  05/08/2007
Time:  13:05:04
User:  N/A
Computer: TRINITY
Description:
The master browser has received a server announcement from the computer IO that believes that it is the master browser for the domain on transport NetBT_Tcpip_{C301E839-1BC7-4B75-B3CC. The master browser is stopping or an election is being forced.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
Data:
0000: 00 00 00 00 03 00 52 00   ……R.
0008: 00 00 00 00 43 1f 00 c0   ….C..À
0010: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00   ……..
0018: 11 00 00 00 00 00 00 00   ……..
0020: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00   ……..

Two:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: HomeServer
Event Category: Backup
Event ID: 267
Date:  04/08/2007
Time:  04:20:16
User:  N/A
Computer: TRINITY
Description:
Client Backup server failed at d:\qhsv1_rc\qhs\src\backup\util\diskfile.cpp(421)

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

Three:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: HomeServer
Event Category: Backup
Event ID: 272
Date:  04/08/2007
Time:  04:20:16
User:  N/A
Computer: TRINITY
Description:
Unexpected error 0x45d from WriteFile on D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4}\Data.4096.14.new: The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

VS.NET 2008 with "Avalanche"

I have been meaning to post this for a few days but not had the change. In the meantime it seems this has was picked up by /. (among others) and since then it has become fairly well publicized. MSR (Microsoft Research) has a research project about "file swarming with network coding" or in simple terms peer-to-peer called Avalanche. This is different from the "normal" P2P networks that you might have used in the past. Those networks distribute blocks of files via swarming to all the nodes on the mesh network and as the the number of nodes increases, the harder it becomes to schedule these chunks of file in an optimal manner. So, how is Avalanche different you ask? Well here is what they have to say about it:

"Instead of distributing the blocks of the file, peers produce linear combinations of the blocks they already hold. Such combinations are distributed together with a tag that describes the parameters in the combination. Any peer can generate new unique combinations from the combinations it already has. When a peer has enough independent combinations, it can decode and build the original file."

Sounds, all well and good but what does it have to do with Visual Studio 2008? Well MSR has released a tool called MSDC (Microsoft Secure Content Distribution) based on Avalanche – of course which is different from MSDN. Tongue Tied This allows you to leech download VS.NET 2008 Beta 2 which was recently was made available publicly. But there is a catch – this is available only until August 22nd – so if you want to use this better get your act together.

I had downloaded VSTS 2008 using this almost a week ago and below are some screen-shots showing what my experience from my ISP at home. This might have speeded up a little since as I suppose there are more people downloading using this now. As you can see (click on the images to see a zoomed version) over time the speed increased quite dramatically and I have to say it was much faster compared to MSDN.

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