But it works on my PC!

The random thoughts of Richard Fennell on technology and software development

Why doesn't my ActionsPane appear when I create a new document form a VSTO enabled template?

When you are using a VSTO enabled Word Template inside a SharePoint custom content type you have to be careful which actual .DOTX file you use within the SharePoint custom content type.

  • DO NOT - use the .DOTX from your VSTO Visual Studio project directory
  • DO USE - the .DOTX from the the project's ClickOnce publish location.

The key point here is that until you have published the VSTO project via ClickOnce the .DOTX template does not know where to find the deployment of the associated assemblies. The copy in the project directory never actually knows this location as it is just a source file not a deliverable.

Argh... more media rights issues

I posted about NBC  Olympic coverage - today I discovered I cannot stream BBC provided media content from the Olympics on my Windows PDA using Opera via the Vodafone 3G service. Seems the BBC does not think I am in the UK. I know Yorkshire assumes it should be independent, but I don't think it has happened yet.

I suppose this is all to be expected, technology that allows reasonable media delivery over a mobile network at a vaguely sane price is new; especially when roaming between countries/networks. I doubt we will see this problem disappear soon unless the media rights are more commonly picked up by the telco providers such as Vodfone as opposed to the broadcast media companies like NBC and the BBC.

Makes you think how long can terrestrial broadcasters last in it current form as boundaries blur between delivery mechanisms?

That said the BBC has 7 media streams up at the moment across digital terrestrial, satellite, cable and the Internet, but I still find myself watching the primary BBC1 terrestrial coverage. After watching events on the other streams that are showing coverage of just one sport, I realise that in general I want the editorial service the BBC provides on it primary coverage, unless I have a real dedicated interest in one sport.

No Silverlight NBC Olympics for us

After the announcement at Mix of the NBC Silverlight Olympic streaming service I was looking forward to have a look at what had been created. Turns out you have to be in the USA to watch it, I assume due to media rights issues, a bit of a shame. I hope something can be worked out with a small fraction of the 2200 hours of content so we can all see what Silverlight can do for such a major event.

Back to the BBC Flash streams then............

ps. I suppose it is to be expected, you get the same problem with the TMS cricket coverage and other BBC Internet streams

Moving the document store in TFS

I have at last got round to moving the location of the WSS sites used by our TFS server from the WSS instance running on our TFS Application Tier (AT) to our main 64bit MOSS 2007 server farm. A job I have been putting off for ages.

I decided that there was nothing on the TFS WSS sites of importance, other than documents (which I could easily copy) so decided to create new WSS sites as opposed to trying a backup and restore model.

Add templates

The first step is to make sure the templates for the WSS sites I needed were present on the MOSS farm. These are installed on the TFS AT WSS as part of the main install, you also get the option to run the MSI on a separate MOSS farm. Historically this has been a problem for us as the TFS installer did not support 64Bit WSS, however a power toy has been released for just the job. The only problem was when I ran this I got an error

'No templates for Windows SharePoint Services Extensions were uploaded....'

This pointed to a WSS config issue, but the MOSS farm seemed to be working fine. Instead of fiddling with this I just decided to install the templates manually.

Now we use eScrum, but I thought I would be good and install the two MSF standard ones as well. These are stored as .STP files. I copied these files to the MOSS web server (you can find them on the AT using search) and ran the stsadm command as below:

Stsadm.exe" -o addtemplate -filename MSFAgile3.0.stp -title VSTS_MSFAgile30
Stsadm.exe" -o addtemplate -filename MSFFormal3.0.stp -title VSTS_MSF_CMMI30
Stsadm.exe" -o addtemplate -filename escrum.stp -title eScrum
iisreset

Update: Note that the -title in the commands above is case sensitive, it must be eScrum not escrum.

Site location

Next I decided that I did not want the TFS sites to be created on the default /sites managed path. So we created a new managed path of /tfsprojects. (Central admin, application management, define managed paths)

Test MOSS

Once the templates were installed and the managed path created I made sure all was OK  by creating a new site collection (using the Central admin, application management, create site collection).

It is worth doing this to make sure you used the correct STP files - there is a potential issue here if you upgraded from TFS 2005 in the past you may have stray WSS 2.0 format STP files hanging around you need version 3.0 ones.

Reconfigure TFS

The TFS AT needs to be reconfigured to point at the new farm. This is done from the AT using the TfsAdminUtil command. tfsadminutil configureconnections will list the current settings.

You need to edit the SharepointUri,  SharepointSitesUri, SharepointAdminUri and SharepointUnc  to point at the MOSS farm as opposed to the WSS on the TFS AT. The general form to change these is:

tfsadminutil configureconnections /SharepointUri:http://server1.domain.com

Once all the changes are made Visual Studio can be loaded to get at Team Explorer. Now in theory the new setting should be picked up, but you might need to delete the local cache (c:\documents and settings\[username]\local settings\application data\microsoft\team foundation).

Creating New Team Project

At this point I think it is good idea to try to create a new team project and make sure the Sharepoint site is created with the correct template and rights.

Fixing up old Team projects

If all is working you can now fix up the older projects. Basically all that is required is that a site exists with the correct uri e.g,

http://server1.domain.com/tfsproject/project1

You create this site collection using the MOSS Central admin, just like the test site created previously after the templates were installed.

Once this created you should be able to right click on the team project in team explorer and open the portal site. Now you might hit rights problems here depending who you are logged in as. It is a good idea to check that the newly created site has the correct permissions set i.e make user the TFS project contributors have equivalent rights set on the newly created WSS site.

The final step is to copy any documents over from the old site (on the AT) to the new site on the MOSS farm.

Once this is all done you system should be using the MOSS server farm without any problems.

A Digital Road Trip

Over the past few days I have been travelling around the country by car, something I have not done for a while, preferring the train. It was a good chance to try out a couple of gadgets.  One I have had a for a while, my HTC Touch Cruise phone, but the other was new a Pure Highway DAB car radio.

So what did I learn?

The phone

I have recently set my phone to use push email (so constantly sync'ing with Exchange during office hours). This seems to have had a serious adverse effect on battery life. I had not noticed this before as I usually connect my phone to my PC via USB when in the office thus keeping it charged and up to date. Whilst away, without really thinking about it,  I had expect my usual (pre push email) 3 day battery life, but the constant sync and using the phone as a camera knocked this down to about 8 hours! The simple solution seems to be to set the sync to every hour, thus reducing the data calls.

More seriously the MicroSD card in the phone failed. If it were a 'real' hard disk I would guess at MBR corruption (don't know enough about SD technology to say if it is the case here). When I popped it into my PC I saw it was 75% full but could read no data (just like on the phone), I formatted it and it all worked fine again. My guess is that power loss on the phone occurred during a disk write and hence caused the corruption - not what I would expect, I expect kit to fail safe. This failure was a shame as I lost photos of the Triathlon National Relays and also my TomTom maps.

The loss of TomTom raised an interesting point, I had got too use to it's ease of navigation so I had not bothered to write down anything other than the postcodes of my hotels. Luckily I still had a road atlas in the car and had my confirmation emails in the phone (not stored on the SD card) so could dig out phone numbers so I could call for directions.

The radio

The BBC has not stopped going on about 'digital radio now available in cars' for a while. I love radio and so decided to get one. The Pure model picks up the DAB signal and re-broadcasts it as FM to the standard built in car radio. The key bit here is the special windscreen mount aerial (I had tried by handheld DAB radio in the car in the past too no effect).

Around Leeds it has been working OK, once you find a free FM frequency for rebroadcast. The real test was how well it picked up DAB around the country, the coverage map showed it was good, but can you trust it?

The answer for me is to paraphase the poem 'when it was good it was very very good, but when it was bad it was horrid'. It was great to actually hear the TMS cricket on a DAB station like Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, and equally good to clearly hear an AM talk station without the usual hiss. The problem was they just dropped out with no warning, sometime due to obvious local geography such as a deep cuttings, but usually for no obvious reason whist driving down a straight flat motorway. This seemed particular bad in South Yorkshire and the East Midlands, especially when leaving the motorway network but still on major A roads such as the A38.

So what did I learn?

A simple summary - as with all IT take a backup - whether it be an FM radio or a road atlas. Technology is good until it fails.