Correct cleaning method for Corsair Flash Voyager USB Stick

I can confirm that putting a Corsair Flash Voyager USB Stick in 40C Mixed Cotton wash is not the best way to clean it of old data. A traditional format remains the best solution for dirty data.

However, it does show these rubberized USB sticks are tough, two hours in a washing mean seems to have done no harm. Also the new orange colored moels are fast enough for Vista TurboFlash usage.

Great session on TDD

Went to a great session last night at the Yorkshire Extreme Programming Club, a intro to Test Driven Development using just Excel. The presentation was given by Clarke Ching, you can find out more about him and this presentation on his blog

I just had not occurred to me that Excel is a great way to show TDD principles to people who are not developers, such as project managers and business analysts. It is interesting how using TDD, refactoring and pair programming (well the whole room actually) anyone can see how to get a complex business requirement to elegant code in nice easy steps.

I think the key new fact for me was not to write too many test too soon, I know in the past I have tended to write many tests then tried to code. I can now see that doing a few tests, a bit of code, then repeat is a far better model, you don’t get daunted by the number of failing test, and you don’t write test for codes you realise you will never need.


Just got my reminder for NxtGen’s FEST07 conference which is at Microsoft TVP on the 23rd of May.

Unfortunately, due to a busy diary, I cannot make it to the event, but the speaker line up does look good. If you have never seen  Rafal Lukawiecki speak, who has topped the polls at TechEd for the last 7 years, this is your chance.

To quote Dave McMahon, one of the NxtGen organizers:

“If you are a member of NxtGenUG its a free event. If you’re not a member its a measly £59.99 for a day of information, fun, food and of course ‘swag’.  It’s not a Microsoft funded event, and the guys have to cover some costs of speakers and incidentals.  To register just go the NxtGenUG site

As with all NxtGen events, well worth it if you have the time.

Accessing Virtual Server via VMRC through a ISA firewall with Vista

The problem

We have had an insteresting problem, we have a Virtual Server 2007 R2 (Beta), this is accessed both internally on our company network and externally via a ISA 2006 on the Internet. This has been working fine with our XP PCs, but we saw problems when we tried to use Vista.

When on our LAN, the Vista PC was fine, you could connect to the Virtual Server console web page and VMRC to any VPC. We had set our domain * as the local intranet in IE security so we were not prompted for for repeated logins.

If the Vista PC was a member of our domain then VMRC login failed outside the firewall, you were still prompted for the ISA login and got to the Virtual Server console but the VMRC failed with an authentication failure, the same happened if I used the VMRC.EXE. However, if the Vista PC was not a member of our domain it worked (and also remember XP worked whether a member of the domain for not).

The Solutions

I contacted Ben Armstrong ( to see if there were any known issues long this line, and there were not, but he made some interesting suggestions that in the end got us to the solution. 

If we temporarily removed * from the Vista PCs IE local intranet group and it started to work both inside and outside the firewall, but we had to authenticate a good few times.

We then put the entry for * from the Vista PCs IE local intranet group back, and as expected it started to fail again.

We then had a look on the Virtual Server Console, server properties, VMRC server properties. The authentication was set to automatic (the default), we changed this to NTLM. Once this was done the Vista PC could VMRC from inside and outside the firewall without issues.

So I think being a member of the domain was a red herring, it was the fact the PCs in our domain had the IE local intranet set was the key issue.

I am not sure of the route cause, especially as it seem to be Vista specific, it could be:

  1. A kerberos issue on our LAN
  2. Bug in Vista/IE authentication
  3. Bug in Virtual Server 2007R2 (we did try both the beta and RC)
  4. Bug in VMRC.EXE

Anyway at least we have a solution.

Installing SQL2005 SP2 on Vista

We have been having fun installing SQL2005 Developer Edition on Vista PCs with Reporting Services, you need the SP2 for Vista, but installation of  this kept stalling with authentication problems.

Turns out this is the process to follow:

  1. Do a default Install SQL 2005 Dev. Edition
  2. Run the Reporting Service Configuration Tools, make sure that the Reporting Services Process is started.
  3. Make sure the new SQL service has also be started (via control panel)
  4. Run the SP2 package, we were having problems on the login verification page, it said we could not authenticate the Reporting Services login until we had done steps 2 and 3.

Analysis tools not to be without

Maybe it is just my background in network analysis, but I do feel any developer working with remote servers needs a protocol analyzer; in just the same way as you need the SQL profiler when working with a Microsoft SQL server, especially with auto generated code. Without tools like these how can you work out what is actually being sent on the wire? And if the data on the wire is wrong what hope is there for higher levels in the application|

So two new versions of old favorites both now supporting Vista