Rockford Lhotka

 Tuesday, July 3, 2012

While the punditry and others are fixated on whether users can adapt to (or even enjoy) the new Windows Start screen and other new UX features, they are missing the real point of Windows 8 and WinRT.

A couple days ago my reasonably computer-savvy son wanted to do some art work, so he downloaded Paint .NET. Or so he thought.

These days most software for Windows is downloaded via the web. And any reasonably popular software has malicious clones with domain names, web sites, and even installers, that look similar to the real thing. This is absolutely the case with Paint .NET.

So my son downloaded what appeared to be a valid installer, from a domain name that seemed reasonable. And just like that his computer was infected with a bunch of Yahoo crap, along with a bunch of real spyware and malware. He’s still trying to get it all cleaned up.

I’ve done the same thing, and I’m extremely computer savvy. Sometimes even the most savvy user gets suckered by a very clever bad guy.

WinRT apps only come from a store. The Microsoft Store, or a corporate “store”.

To get into the Microsoft Store, developers must be registered, apps are screened by Microsoft, and if anything malicious does slip through, the app can be removed/revoked from the store.

To get into a corporate “store”, your employer must choose to put the app into that store. It seems unlikely that your IT department will put apps in their own store that they didn’t create or acquire from a known vendor.

As a result, you can imagine a “Paint WinRT” app that is like Paint .NET, but that my son would have found in the Microsoft Store, and installed from the Store. Effectively zero chance of all the spyware, malware, and Yahoo crap that comes with so much of today’s software.

Now think of all the PC users around the world who will be able to actually find and install software without the fear we all feel in today’s world.

Sure, Win8 and WinRT mean accepting some change. But personally I am entirely ready to embrace that change to get the benefits offered!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 8:30:53 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Monday, June 18, 2012

This is why I’m putting so much work into making sure CSLA .NET works great on WinRT!

http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/us/default.aspxgallery_1_large

Monday, June 18, 2012 8:19:29 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Monday, June 11, 2012

A co-worker of mine at Magenic is not only also a tabletop RPG gamer like me, but he’s working on a Google+ Hangout project to more easily play RPGs and other tabletop games with people from around the world.

To this end, he’s doing a Kickstarter

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joshuha/tabletop-forge-the-virtual-tabletop-for-google-han?ref=home_location

So if you are interested in this sort of thing, check it out and consider lending your support.

(As an aside for those who are interested, I’ve been playing tabletop RPGs since around 1979 or 80. Over the past 25+ years my group and I have developed our own gaming system, and have played in an internally consistent fantasy world. In game time we’ve spanned hundreds of years, and have told some wonderful stories. We’ve also played short bits in quite a few commercial gaming systems and settings, but we always return to our own system and world.)

Monday, June 11, 2012 1:03:17 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Thursday, June 7, 2012

I have put an early version of CSLA 4 version 4.5 (version 4.5.1) online. This is a stable alpha release that supports:

  • Microsoft .NET 4.5
  • WinRT Metro style apps on Windows 8
  • Silverlight 5

You can get it from the CSLA download page.

This version doesn’t currently support Windows Phone, mono, or Android because all work is being done using Visual Studio 2012. We’ll reintroduce support for those platforms as everything gets supported on VS12.

  • This 4.5 release has the same functionality as version 4.3.12, plus some functionality we’ve added only to 4.5. Most notably:
  • The .NET and WinRT data portal now supports the new async/await keywords through methods like CreateAsync and SaveAsync
        var obj = Csla.DataPortal.FetchAsync<CustomerEdit>(id);
  • The ViewModelBase class for WPF and WinRT now has an InitAsync method so you can await initialization of the viewmodel object
        var vm = await new MyViewModel().InitAsync();
  • Enhancements to business rule processing

See the 4.5 change log for more detail.

Because this is an alpha release, you should expect more changes as we improve support for .NET 4.5 (most notably ASP.NET Web Forms, MVC, and Web API), and for WinRT/Metro.

At the same time, this should be a reasonably stable release, especially on .NET where the platform is also stable. It is also reasonably stable on WinRT/Metro, though there are more changes involved there so there could be more bugs.

Please direct feedback to the CSLA forums.

Thursday, June 7, 2012 10:19:34 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer

The final release of a CSLA 4 update is now available (version 4.3.12) .

You can get it from the CSLA download page or via nuget.

One cool thing with nuget, is that (thanks to work by Johann Hough) the debug symbols are now available on a symbol server. This means you can step through the CSLA code while debugging if desired (and if you deployed CSLA to your project via nuget).

This release is an update to the previous version 4.3 that includes several bug fixes and a few new features. Most notably:

  • Fixed a concurrency bug with the data portal
  • Fixed a XAML data binding bug with the PropertyInfo control
  • Substantial bug fixes and enhancements to the Windows Forms CslaActionExtender control
  • Better exception messages when methods/properties can’t be found

There are others as well – see the change log for details.

Thursday, June 7, 2012 4:09:41 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Friday, June 1, 2012

Like a lot of people, I eagerly downloaded and installed the Windows 8 Release Preview (RC).

Like a few people, I was already running the Consumer Preview on my machines (tablet and laptop), so I just reimaged both machines with the RC. And I reused the same computer names for each machine – which seems pretty reasonable to me (but isn’t as it turns out).

Much to my surprise, I was unable to download any apps from the Microsoft Store. The failure message wasn’t helpful – it just said there was “a problem”.

After some tweeting and emailing with colleagues, I spent a couple hours trying random things to resolve the issue. Eventually I did figure it out.

The problem is that the store or live.com gets confused when you connect using a fresh install of Windows where the computer has the same name as before the install.

In other words, I already had a ‘RockyTablet’ machine connected to the store and/or live.com, and now I had a “new” computer with the same name connecting. This confused Microsoft’s servers, so they wouldn’t let me download anything.

There are two solutions.

  1. Give your computer a new and unique name
  2. Go to http://skydrive.live.com and remove your existing computer from the list of computers. To do this, click on the computer in the list on the left, and then click the subtle “Disconnect computer from SkyDrive” link near the top of the page. This apparently deregisters your computer with live.com and/or the store and allows the store to start working

If your computer isn’t listed or registered with SkyDrive, I’m not sure what else you can do other than option 1. If there’s another way to find and remove a computer from live.com I haven’t found it…

Friday, June 1, 2012 3:50:44 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A beta release of a CSLA 4 version 4.3 update is now available (version 4.3.11) .

You can get it from the CSLA download page.

This is an update to the existing version 4.3 code that includes several bug fixes and a few new features. Most notably:

  • Fixed a concurrency bug with the data portal
  • Fixed a XAML data binding bug with the PropertyInfo control
  • Substantial bug fixes and enhancements to the Windows Forms CslaActionExtender control
  • Better exception messages when methods/properties can’t be found

There are others as well – see the change log for details.

I expect the beta period to last about two weeks, followed by a final release of this 4.3 update.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 9:59:40 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer
 Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Windows Azure team is putting together an event on June 7 where they’ll be providing some great info about Azure.

AzureBanner_300x250

The event is live in San Francisco, but for most of us it is streaming live over the Internet.

Over the past year or so Microsoft has rolled out new features and pricing models for Azure that make the platform more and more compelling. I think they are nearing the point where the question will change from “why should I use Azure?” to “why shouldn’t I use Azure?”.

Thursday, May 24, 2012 8:36:24 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer