Saturday, March 20, 2010

As I’ve said before, I love Windows Home Server. While it has many useful features, the core feature is automatic nightly image backups of my computers.

Of course a backup is only useful if you can do a restore, which I’ve done 2-3 times, and which has easily paid for WHS each time.

I recently got my PDC laptop (Acer Aspire 1420P) into a bad spot with some pre-release software. This happens, and I wasn’t worried because I have WHS backups. Just 60-90 minutes and I can have the machine back exactly the way it was at a previous point in time.

Except I ran into a snag. It turns out that the WHS restore CD from 2007 bluescreens when it tries to boot on the 1420P. OK, no problem, I downloaded the newer restore image from Microsoft, created a new bootable CD and got the restore app running.

But then the restore app didn’t find the LAN driver. Without a network driver you can’t restore – the network is how the restore app communicates with WHS. On the advice of friends I got the drivers off the latest WHS backup of my laptop as described here. Unfortunately they are 64 bit drivers, and the WHS restore app is a 32 bit app, so the drivers are useless.


Some frantic web searching ensued, and finally I stumbled across an article that suggested the 1420P has much the same hardware as the 1410. I had nothing to lose, so I grabbed the Lan_Atheros_1.0.0.19_Vistax64Vistax86_A driver from the Acer support website – this is the LAN driver for the Aspire 1410 – and put it on a USB thumb drive where the WHS restore app could find it.

And that did the trick!! The WHS restore app found the driver, loaded it, and 48 minutes later my tablet was restored to a previous image and it is now working perfectly.

Saturday, March 20, 2010 11:15:40 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Thursday, March 18, 2010

I have an app that uses the SL4 RichTextBox control. It is a nice control, and I’ve been enjoying using it. I even went so far as to convert thousands of rows of HTML to Xaml in my database for use with the RTB.

But the control has a couple changes in the new release candidate that I’m having to work around – and if they are not bugs then I’ll have to write a little app to clean the data in my database.

Prior to the RC the minimum value you could set to the Xaml property was “<Section />”. This was (and is) a pain, because it won’t accept null or string.Empty – so if your actual value is null you need to detect that and change it before trying to set the Xaml property.

But in the RC the minimum value is now “<Section xmlns=\"\"/>”. Not a huge change, but it broke my app of course.

The bigger issue is that prior to the RC the RTB allowed the TextDecorations attribute on the <Section> element. And in fact it generated this attribute when it created Xaml.

In the RC the TextDecorations attribute is no longer valid. It isn’t generated, but more importantly it isn’t allowed, so all my Xaml data is invalid.

This is a bit of code that fixes both issues:

string xaml;
if (e.NewValue == null)
  xaml = string.Empty;
  xaml = e.NewValue.ToString();
// RTB won't accept an empty string, so if the value is empty/null
// replace it with the minumum necessary Xaml
if (string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(xaml))
  xaml = "<Section xmlns=\"\"/>";
// RTB used to support TextDecorations, but now doesn't, so that value
// must be removed to avoid a crash
var pos = xaml.IndexOf(" TextDecorations=");
if (pos >= 0)
  var closeQuote = xaml.IndexOf("\"", pos);
  closeQuote = xaml.IndexOf("\"", closeQuote + 1);
  xaml = xaml.Remove(pos, closeQuote - pos + 1);
return xaml;

In this case e.NewValue is the Xaml text I’m hoping to put into the control, and the xaml field ends up holding the corrected result.

I’m sure other people moving from the beta to the RC will encounter this same issue. I’m rather hopeful that the TextDecorations thing is a bug so I don’t have to fix all my data, but I suspect it is an intentional breaking change…

Thursday, March 18, 2010 7:25:40 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [2]  | 
 Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hopefully this can save someone some time. I spent a couple hours setting up a virtual machine and installing the Windows Phone 7 dev tools, only to find that the phone emulator won’t run in a virtual machine. It turns out that this is because the emulator is a virtual machine and you can’t run a virtual machine in a virtual machine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 10:45:59 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [6]  | 
 Tuesday, March 09, 2010

From Scott Wiltamuth, Product Unit Manager for Visual Studio Languages:

VB and C# Coevolution

Tuesday, March 09, 2010 10:47:11 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
 Thursday, March 04, 2010

MCsla is a prototype that takes SQL Server Modeling (aka “Oslo” and “M”) and CSLA .NET, using them to create an end-to-end story. This story goes like this:

  1. Developer creates a business database for business data
  2. Developer writes concise DSL code
  3. Developer “compiles” DSL code into the SQL Server Modeling repository
  4. End user executes a runtime application, which dynamically creates a UI, business layer and data layer that uses the business database – all this based on the compiled DSL metadata stored in the repository

This saves the developer from a lot of work. In fact the developer writes perhaps 5% of the code they would have written to create the UI, business layer and data layer by hand.

See my discussion of the concepts and prototype in a three part video series:

Exploring SQL Server Modeling through MCsla

You can see the MCsla code in the CSLA .NET repository (web view) or grab it using any svn client from svn://

Thursday, March 04, 2010 11:06:23 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [7]  | 
 Monday, March 01, 2010
Monday, March 01, 2010 3:04:57 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

Joost van Schaik spent some time figuring out how to get CSLA .NET 3.8.2 to work with Silverlight 4 – which takes a little effort because SL4 changes the way WCF proxies are referenced in the client config file. It is such an odd change that I rather suspect it might be a bug in SL4, but I guess we’ll see what happens as it gets closer to release.

He also wrote a nice blog post summarizing the steps required, which will probably be useful to a number of people:

.NET by Example: Running CSLALight 3.8.2 under .NET 4 and Silverlight 4

Thank you Joost!

Monday, March 01, 2010 3:01:48 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |