But it works on my PC!

The random thoughts of Richard Fennell on technology and software development

More sessions in Ireland next week

Just found out that Robert and myself are both now doing two sessions at the Irish Microsoft Technologies Conference next week.

Thursday
13:45 - BI in SQL 08 (Richard Fennell)
16:45 - Microsoft Volta: Next Gen .NET Client-Server Apps (Robert Hogg)

Friday
10:00 - Overview of Business Process Automation and implementing an Enterprise Service Bus using Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2 (Robert Hogg)
16:45 - What is Scrum? (Richard Fennell)

New style web applications

With the advent of Silverlight we are going to see more and more web delivered applications. A good example of what we can expect is the Microsoft HEROES happen {here} virtual launch site. If you did not make it to the event it is well worth a look with all the slides and videos of the sessions.

This site does makes heavy use of multimedia and it is maybe just me but I find it hard to find things, it look great but I don't like having to guess where the menu might be. In general I want information fast not see a intro video; but this could just be because I am a developer and not a designer. I think this is especially true of sites you go back to again and again. It strikes me that for sites like this search become the key if you are ever to find relevant material.

A heard about a site that bridges the old and new worlds of web delivery on the radio today, it is mydeco.com which is from lastminute.com co founder Brent Hoberman. It is Flash based as opposed to Silverlight, but that is not the point. It allows you to visualize rooms in your own house with a vast range of home furnishings. This site seems easy to use and navigation is simple - maybe this is a better indicator of the next step in web delivered applications. Well worth a look.

New release of VSTS Scrum Process Template

I see there has been a release of the VSTS Scrum Process Template for VS2008 on CodePlex, so adding a way to run Scrum projects with the current release of TFS without the fiddling required for eScrum.

It looks good, but is missing for me the best part of eScrum, the web site that allows quick updating of the Scrum project without the need for Visual Studio. If you are going to be doing Scrum you don't want to having to spend loads of time on the electronic scrum board administration.

Installing SQL 2008 Feb CTP on a VPC

I have been trying to install the Feb CTP of SQL 2008 on an Virtual PC, but kept getting the following error

SQL Server Browser Install for feature 'SQL_Browser_Redist_SqlBrowser_Cpu32' failed with exception System.InvalidOperationException: This access control list is not in canonical form and therefore cannot be modified.

Turns out the problem was that I had run SysInterals NewSID on the VPC as it was based on a diff disk off our standard W2K3 test install and I wanted it not to clash with other test installs. NewSID leaves the registry in a state that causes the SQL installer problems. To get round it you need to run

secedit /configure /db setupsecurity.sdb /cfg "c:\windows\security\templates\setup security.inf" /verbose

as detailed in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/942517.

Once this is done the installer can be run without any problems

CruiseControl & MSTest from Visual Studio 2008

Ages ago I posted on using MSTest and CruiseControl .NET with VS2005. As I am presenting tomorrow to the Yorkshire Extreme Programming Club on CC.Net I thought it a good idea to revisit this subject with VS2008.

Well basically nothing has changed, the old ccnet.config I detailed still works. However, I discovered that you no longer really need the block to delete the TestProject.TRX file as it seem the 2008 MSTest.EXE can overwrite an existing test results file.

However, we don't get away without any changes. The one area that has changed is the format of the MSTEST results file. The MSTestSummary.XSL and MSTestReport.XSL files shipped with ccNet 1.3 which are used to build the Web Dashboard just give blank pages. I also checked the 1.4 Beta of CCnet and this also has the same version of XSL files.

Now a few people have posted on this problem, but up to now there appears to have been no public XSL files for the current V9.x version of MSTest results files. To address this problem Robert Hancock at Black Marble edited the MSTESTSummary.xsl file and using his work I managed to sort the MSTESTReport.xsl file. Both of these files I have posted on this server in a single zip. Once these files are copied into the CruiseControl.Net\webdashboard\xsl directory the MSTest reports should leap into life. Obviously only after you have setup all the other publishing bits I dealt with in my previous post.

TFS 'Invalid File Handle' when getting files

I was recently working at a client's site where they were using TFS 2008 in a dual server setup. When getting large numbers of files (e.g. a Get Latest for the whole solution of 20+ projects) they were intermittently see 'Invalid file handle' errors. However, if they selected a smaller set of files, or just retried it would often work. We could spot no major pattern other than volume of files.

Interestingly remote users, via a relatively slow ADSL based VPN, did not see the problem at all.

Due to the VPN users working we thought the problem might be due to the Application Tier (AT) being overloaded by the high-speed local LAB; so we tried throttling the IIS IO, but this had no effect.

Now the one different thing about this site was that the AT was running in a virtual environment. At Black Marble we run our AT on Virtual Server with no problem, but at this site they were using Parallels' Virtuozzo, which is a somewhat different style of product to VMWare or VirtualPC.

The AT was showing no errors (other than the logged File Handle error) to suggest a loading problem. However when Virtuozzo was told to given more resource by default to the AT the errors were greatly reduced. I don't think this is a complete solution yet but certainly a step in the right direction.

After months on backorder my HTC Cruise arrives, was it worth the wait?

What seems many months ago I ordered an HTC Cruise from Expansys. My old QTEK S100 was literally falling apart. The new phone was supposedly on 4 day delivery, well it took best part of 4 months to arrive (don't you just hate online stock levels and delivery dates that are just wrong) but was the wait worth it?

Well I have been using it for a couple of weeks and in general I would say yes it was worth the wait. As with any of these phone/PDA devices some features can be a compromised, they are never the best phones in the world, if you want a great phone with a long battery life get something like an old Nokia 6310 from eBay. That said, on first impressions the HTC Mobile 6 package with their Touch interface does seem a good all rounder.

For me this phone does all I currently need: WiFi, GPS and most importantly 3G. Unlike previous Windows Mobile versions it does seem easy to manage which communication features are on and off using the new Comms Manager. Also you can now make the phone a 3G USB/BlueTooth modem and with a single button press.

I also like the fact my old Jabra BlueTooth headset can now do voice dialling again, a feature that was not present on the S100's Second Edition operating system. Microsoft in their wisdom removed voice dialling as this was a PDA and not a phone!

I do have a niggle. This is one I have seen with all Microsoft PDAs I have had, if you put the phone on vibrate then back to normal ring it seems to reset the volume to low/off so you don't hear it ring. My tip, always check the volume when you come out of vibrate only mode.

Overall option - the HTC Cruise is well worth a look for general use PDA especially now all the mobile providers are offer competitive data packages