Machine Learning

I have just attended a very interesting talk by Christopher Bishop (MSR Cambridge ) about Machine Learning. He covered “Super-resolution enhancement of pictures” which is adding information to an image using an offset image or human determined perspective. Intelligent Edit and Removal of information from pictures and face tracking. I highly recommend attending a presentation by him. The features discussed will be present in a soon to be released Microsoft product.


Black Marble at Microsoft Research Academic Days in Dublin

We are currently in sunny ( it’s raining ) Dublin for Microsoft Research Academic days. I have met up with Peter Cowling, Paul Rhodes from the University of Bradford and our Talk for Friday on AI for Games has been finished so we can relax and enjoy the conference.



Microsoft Research Conference, Dublin

Black Marble was invited to present alongside the University of Bradford at a Microsoft Research Conference in Dublin. Robert Hogg of Black Marble presented with Peter Cowling of the University of Bradford, on the Use of Viruses and Bugs to Teach Artificial Intelligence (AI) Programming using C# .NET.


Further to broadband and authentication post…..

Further to my broadband and authentication post I have found a problem using Crystal Enterprise via HTTPS.

If I connect a Microsoft CRM website via HTTP and then use the links in the product to a Crystal report all is fine. However if I use HTTPS then I get the rarther common ‘Microsoft CRM Crystal Reports Logon Error. Please Verify That You Have Enough Crystal Licenses’ error. Just check out the newsgroups to see how many people are getting the same problem.

I think this issue is in the WCS confiiguration for Crystal, I tried playing with setting but to no effect this far. Now for me knowing this is an issue is enough, I can work round it and have a bit more of a look later and keep the world informed


A broadband and IIS authentication got-ya

I came accross a good got-ya when using HTTP over broadband to a Microsoft IIS with active directory authentication, you keep being forced to re-authenticate. However, if you use a dial-up connection or LAN all is fine. We noticed it using Outlook Web Access and Microsoft CRM but it would be the same with any products that require more than anonymous access.

Now it seems that broadband uses a different form of caching to dial-up ISP services, DSL providers use transparent caching servers . The effect of this to convince the IIS server that each client to server request is from a different client, hence all the login dialogs.

The answer is to switch over to a HTTPS connection, the SSL connection allows the IIS server to group the client requests correctly. Just use a self signed certificate microsoft Knowledgebase Article Q228991


My trials with Microsoft Fax Server on Win2K3

What a nightmare, I tried to change the settings on our 2K3 servers fax server and chaos reigned, all I wanted to do was add a modem!.

The key problem was that the Fax Server Manager would not connect to the fax service, so you cannot edit anything.

I quick look on newgroups showed I was not alone with this problem, but the answers are sketchy. Basically they boiled down to don’t put your fax on a AD Domain Controller. As we only have one ‘live’ server this is not the most helpful solution.

Anyway this is how I got it fixed (after much trial and error):

  1. Load the Default Domain Controller Secuirty Policy (on Admin tools), make sure you select the controller and not the general Domain Security Policy.
  2. Drill down to Windows Settings/Security Settings/Local Policies/User Rights Assignment
  3. Edit Generate Security Audits and add Administrators, NETWORK SERVICE, LOCAL SERVICE
  4. Force this change to be propogated out on whatever refresh timer is setup (or use secedit /refreshpolicy machine_policy /enforce). I did the former and got a coffee!
  5. Now this last step appeared to be the key stage for me, and it was the one that was not in any newsgroups I found, load the fax manager with the service stopped, it automatically starts the service and all seems good in the world.

So the moral of the story, don’t fiddle with the fax server if it running



We are pleased to announce that we have successfully produced a Terrarium Academic version for the AI for Games course at the University of Bradford.  The Academic version of Terrarium has a simpler API for developing, as well as Terrain for navigation and Terrain Design Tools, and a bulk game server to allow terrains and bugs to be loaded and run, and a scoring system to turn it into a competitive environment.