# Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Having trouble getting through to a local SQL Server using the SQLOLEDB provider? I sure did. I’m trying to get a base VPC setup with some Microsoft server products which need access to a local SQL Server. The obvious answer is to use (local) or . to get at the local SQL Server and not have to worry about changes in the machine name. This, however, turns out not to work with the default settings of SQL Server 2005.

You basically have to enable TCP/IP using SQL Server Configuration Manager for it to work. I little gotcha for ya

posted on Tuesday, 26 September 2006 12:58:50 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Thursday, 21 September 2006

Scott Hanselman blogs about his rules of thumb for managing exceptions. While I’ve never personally sat down and formulated my own rules, his does come very close to what I generally took for best practices. Great read for sure.

Good Exception Management Rules of Thumb

posted on Thursday, 21 September 2006 10:00:10 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 17 September 2006

I recently got myself a monster of a computer for work (read: games and stuff). All the latest bells and whistles, dual-everything basically. Of course I was a bit annoyed when I realized that I could get just about 10 minutes of game time in before the sucker crashed. Same thing each and every time I loaded the game the machine would freeze. Here I’ve got a monster of a machine sitting on my desk and I’m only able to do Word reliably. Great stuff!

Turns out that when you update NVIDIA drivers you should be extremely careful with the uninstallation of previous versions of the drivers. Basically version 91.xx leaves stuff behind which will confuse the updated driver and cause it to now identify your graphics adapter correctly leaving you with a system that crashes on a regular basis when you play games.

The fix is pretty easy. When you need to install a new Forceware driver you just follow these steps:

Install DriverCleaner

Uninstall existing driver using Add/Remove Programs

Reboot into safe mode

Run Driver Cleaner using the NVIDIA profile

Reboot into Windows

Reboot again (this is important)

Install the updated drivers (91.47 at the time of writing)

Reboot

Apparently this is an issue with P965 and 975X chipsets from Intel and the current drivers from NVIDIA (91.47) according to the Anandtech forums.

We figured out the issue and why one board works perfectly and the next one will not. It is due to a weird combination of previous NV driver sets and two different bios versions from NV on the 7950GX2 cards. We have found that unless you completely uninstall the driver set (using DriverCleaner) the board will sometimes miss installing the pci-e bridge required for XP to recognize the second GPU. I will explain this further in our 965 roundup but even switching 7950GX2 cards with a different bios will cause the same issue. We have been able to recreate this on boards from Abit, Asus, and Gigabyte in the P965 series and the 975X boards from Abit, Asus, and DFI. We are working with NV at this time along with the board suppliers as even a simple bios update on the board can create the same issue. The solution at this point is to uninstall the drivers completely, reboot into safe mode, use DriverCleaner, reboot, enter XP, reboot again, and then install the 91.47 drivers. Should work consistently but I am now testing each official bios release to see what happens on bios updates.

posted on Sunday, 17 September 2006 20:34:11 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

The following story goes to show that you shouldn’t trust your data to anyone but yourself. I recently helped my parents out with some computer related issues as I’ve done many times before. The difference this time was that I needed to contact one of my buddies using Messenger, all well and good but I accidentally saved my credentials. A couple of weeks later my contacts start disappearing leaving me baffled. My first clue was an e-mail from my mother who couldn’t understand why contacts she never even added had shown up in her list; naturally she decided to delete them. Bye bye to my contacts, personal, business, everything.

How to get them back? I know that Messenger caches the contacts list and updates at startup so naturally every machine I use Messenger on would have a backup of my list. Unfortunately there is no way to export the list without being online, being online retrieves the now much shortened list from the main server leaving me with nothing to export, you get the picture. Chicken, egg?

Firewalls to the rescue. Fortunately Symantec Client Security includes a handy dandy firewall which lets you control each an every connection a program initiates. Having installed the software on a machine which hadn’t run Messenger a while I was able to allow only those connections which logged me onto the service and deny the ones trying to do a contact list update. Voila! Online without getting my contact list updated. From there it was a simple matter of exporting the list and re-importing it on my main machine.

Am I glad I know just a wee bit of how to work a computer. My mother may even get a Christmas present this year after all

posted on Sunday, 17 September 2006 20:19:03 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Thursday, 07 September 2006

This is pretty interesting: A data access layer which requires minimum configuration and no custom code other than what you write actually access your data objects. Basically it sits on top of the SQL data store and generates classes which represent to underlying data structures complete with type for each and every column. Very nice.

Take a look at the project site on CodePlex and be sure to also check out the 20 minute demo which certainly wet my appetite.

posted on Thursday, 07 September 2006 15:37:11 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 02 September 2006
225px-Windows_VistaWindows Vista RC1 is available. The build is 5600. Grab it while the grabbing is good. This version should be available for everyone to test like the beta 2 though I don’t when it will actually be available for download. MSDN Subscribers will have access to it next week.
posted on Saturday, 02 September 2006 18:12:17 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Having trouble viewing profile definitions in Commerce Server Manager on Windows Server 2003? I did and after some poking around I found the answer: Enhanced IE Security. Turns out that the hardenend IE disallows access to the profile editor resulting in a “Editor Loading…” message which just sits there… forever

To get the profile definition editor to load you need to do the following:

Open Add/Remove Programs.

Click Add/Remove Windows Components.

On Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration click Details.

Uncheck the “For administrator group” and “For all other user groups” checkboxes. Alternatively you can uncheck only the “For administrator group” if you are running as admin.

Click OK and you are good to go.

DisableEnhancedSecurityInIE00

DisableEnhancedSecurityInIE

posted on Wednesday, 30 August 2006 15:00:33 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 27 August 2006

Box-feeddemon-productI’ve been singing the praises of Omea from Jetbrains for a long time. It’s been a product with great promise but sadly Jetbrains just isn’t able to deliver a stable product which works in a predictable manner. Case in point: Some of the latest versions of Omea started to confuse feeds and mingling them in different folders. Now keeping track of feeds and putting them in the appropriate feed folder is what I consider a core feature which should work predictably from version 0.1. This combined with a couple of other unfortunate bugs made me consider other alternatives.

And boy am I glad I did. I didn’t have to look very far: Newsgator delivers in the form of FeedDemon. What a great piece of software. It’s simple and does its job very well and adds a synchronization feature which I’m growing increasingly fond of. Having my feeds synchronized between computers makes me want to read my feeds because I basically don’t have to worry about filtering read posts manually anymore. My OPML AND read status for individual posts are synchronized across computers for a very smooth user experience. Even if you just need a very polished RSS reader, I think FeedDemon is the way to go.

Now I just need to find a nice newsgroup reader which Omea provided me with.

posted on Sunday, 27 August 2006 13:43:56 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [4] Trackback
# Saturday, 26 August 2006

Hands on webcasts containing actual implementation examples of the various subsystems:

Commerce Server 2007 BizTalk Adapters In Action
Presenters: Brian Blum and Alan Faulkner, Microsoft
In this session, Brian and Alan walk you through all aspects of working with the Commerce Server BizTalk adapters. The session covers creation of send ports and receive ports, property schemas, configuration validation, schema deployment, and troubleshooting. Along the way, you'll learn invaluable tips and techniques for successfully developing integration applications with Commerce Server 2007 and BizTalk Server 2006.

Developing with the Commerce Server 2007 Marketing System
Presenters: Madhur Joshi and David Lott, Microsoft
The Commerce Server 2007 Marketing System provides rich user-centric targeting functionality including discounting and promotions capabilities, targeted advertising, and personalized direct e-mail campaigns. In this session, Madhur and David show you first-hand how to harness the power and flexibility of the Marketing System runtime. Topics covered include: house ads, paid ads, targeting expressions, direct e-mail template creation, web.config settings used by the Marketing System, code for running the basket pipeline for discounting, and troubleshooting techniques.

Commerce Server 2007 Product Catalog Deep-dive
Presenter: Austin Skyles, Microsoft
The Commerce Server 2007 Product Catalog System is a highly scalable and high-performance system for modeling electronic catalogs. It includes a flexible schema model, powerful XML import and export capabilities, rich search features, a Web service interface for building distributed applications, and out-of-the-box applications for catalog management. In this session, Austin explains these aspects of the system, covers a high-level view of the architecture, and shows how to get started with coding against the system.

Commerce Server 2007 Overview
Presenter: Mark Townsend is the Group Program Manager for the Commerce Server team.
Commerce Server 2007 is Microsoft’s answer to extend ASP.NET 2.0 to support e-business scenarios. This talk provides overview of the e-commerce functionality in Commerce Server 2007 plus the supporting Business User and IT Professional tools included to provide an end-to-end e-commerce solution.

Multi-Channel, Connected Commerce (BTS/CS integration)
Presenter: Caesar Samsi is a program manager on the Commerce Server team.
Enabling multi-channel retail scenarios beyond point-of-sale or online-only sales, integrating with line-of-business systems, and synchronizing data with B2B trading partners represent three of the largest challenges in e-business today. This talk provides an overview of how Commerce Server 2007, in partnership with BizTalk Server 2006, provides a compelling answer to this complex technology challenge.

Commerce Server 2007 Webcasts

posted on Saturday, 26 August 2006 15:59:42 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback

Pipelines are a very basic concept of Commerce Server so you should be sure to read up on them using the following post by Max Akbar:

Commerce Server pipeline is a framework that links one or more components and executes them in sequence. The Pipeline framework provides stages to abstract one or more categories of work. The Pipeline Stage also determine the sequence in which each category of work is performed. Each Pipeline Component is COM object that is put inserted into a stage and is executed in sequence by the Pipeline Object. Pipelines are linked and it’s configuration stored in files Pipeline configuration files (.pcf).

Everything you ever wanted to know about pipelines but were afraid to ask (Part I)

posted on Saturday, 26 August 2006 12:18:53 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
If you are interested in Commerce Server at all you need to add Max Akbar to your subscription list. He produces some very solid posts that I wouldn’t want to miss out on.
posted on Saturday, 26 August 2006 12:10:37 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

As promised the Commerce Server team has released the Starter Site CTP which works with the RTM version of Commerce Server 2007. Be sure to read Ryan Donovan’s post as it does contain important information you need to know before messing around with the CTP.

Also worth of note the final version of the Starter Site should be available in October.

CS2007 Starter Site CTP Now Available

posted on Saturday, 26 August 2006 12:01:00 (Romance Daylight Time, UTC+02:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback