The blogs of Black Marble staff

VSTS 2010 at the PDC

Though not really mentioned in the keynote there are a lot of sessions on VSTS 2010 at the PDC; it is going to be a major really major release.

Chatting in between the sessions with other delegates there seems to loads of interest in the new testing features, but we know this is pain point from meetings. It will be interesting to see how these new tools deliver, I am sure the manual testing tools will be useful, but I am a bit more doubtful over the UI testing tools. We have all seen the demo promise of these products before and hit problems when we try to use them for real.

I think the improved integration for Office is also going to be important. At the moment we use the eScrum template for VSTS and the main reasons for this are the easy project visibility it gives to non-developer users via it’s web site and the way it manages the relationship between the product backlog and sprint tasks (given the lack of hieratical work items in the current VSTS). With 2010 I am not sure we are going to need the eScrum web site. The ease of reporting (and live work item updating) in Excel and hieratical work items will make this it superfluous, so the basic Agile template in 2010 may will be able to do the job.  

PDC 2008 thoughts day 1

So it seems we are going to have themed days at the 2008 PDC and day one is all about  the Azure services platform. Though judging by the expo stands the key announcements for tomorrow - Oslo and Dublin are out there too. As conferences go it seems a bit confused to me, I guess Microsoft are aiming for three big bangs at three keynotes; but we seem to have had a big bang today and splutter of future items.

However, I might be wrong, there could be stuff we have not even suspected, lets wait and see what we get tomorrow. Don Box and Chris Anderson are usually good value whenever they present so I await their keynote session with anticipation!

So as to Azure, a new move for Microsoft? Well not really it seems the logical next step especially given the offerings of Amazon and Google. It will be interesting how this develops, but on a first quick look Azure seems a very strong offering, I guess it will all be down to price in the end. Oh and if you trust Microsoft to host your business data.

(Black Marble) Founders Day

Every now and again the founders of Black Marble meet up to discuss the future directions of the computing industry to help plan the road ahead for Black Marble. This year we chose Newport Beach south of Los Angeles.

foundersAlthough I can’t imagine why people would like to live near here. Andy has suggested that our next catch up should be in Hawaii, while I think that might happen, it is more likely to be at the Hawaii lounge in Cleckheaton, south of the M62


it was nice to catch up with Andy and Em. But how they cope with the people near here when this think this is normal.

odd and this one.

no comment

due to lack of camera in hand I did miss a photo of a dog with a bread roll costume which had a mustard and ketchup seam up the back !!!!!


The PDC is nearly here

A bunch the pride at the black marble are here ready and waiting for the PDC, we are all registered ( with the less than amazing shopping bag issued, better things to come ;) ), Robert , James and Richard


look in awe at the future

awe of thinking outside of the box

here’s looking to tomorrow.


Mix Remixed

I don’t visit the Mix community site often – historically, the content has been of little interest and infrequently updated. Imagine my surprise, then, to find a relaunched Mix Online with a new Microformats project – Oomph.

In short, it’s cool – a microformats extension for IE plus other goodies to help implement them, including a live writer plugin for creating hcards. Go check it out, and I’ll try to post more later…

TF53010 & TF213000 unable to load

I got this error when installing TFS 2008. In the error log I could see the problem was when the TfsGssInit.exe  was run, it said

Detailed Message: TF213000: A required user account could not be added during installation or repair of Team Foundation Server.  The installation or repair failed with the following exception message: System.TypeInitializationException…..

I found the answer in the TFS forum. The thread (and others) did suggest there were DNS lookup issues, but the thing that got it for me was removing VS2008 Team Client (and it’s SP1) from the server. I had installed these whilst I had been waiting for the IT department do some work in the SQL Data Tier. I thought I was saving times, I was wrong!.

I think the issue was the VS2008 SP1, but I removed both and the install of TFS worked OK.

TF220050 error in TFS install

Whilst doing a new TFS 2008 dual tier install I was getting a failure with a TF220050 error when I entered the data tier DB instance name. The setup wizard just said ‘failed to connect to data tier’, but you can find the actual error number in the install logs to be found under C:\Documents and Settings\[setup user]\Local Settings\Temp

This error seems to be just a generic low level ‘cannot connect to the DB’; in my case it was caused by one of two issues:

  • The SQL server I was pointing at was a SQL 2000 not SQL 2005 (I had been given the wrong server name) – the moral is always check the version yourself.
  • Also analysis services was not running on the SQL  2000 box.

So I am not sure which is the actual cause of the error message here, version or missing OLAP service In my case the fix was to just connection to the correct SQL 2005 instance.

DDD7 is now full

well it is a testament to the strength of the developer community that only hours after being open for registration DDD7 is now full. there is a waiting list and if you are at all keen on development I would urge you to add yourself to the wait list as this will greatly increase your chance of seeing me present on Oslo :)