# Sunday, February 18, 2007

I still need to run classic ASP pages at home from time to time. Me having migrated every single machine at home to Windows Vista presents a slight problem as getting classic ASP pages running under IIS 7.0 is far from obvious.

Right off the bat you'll need to enable error messages on IIS. IIS 7.0 introduces a concept which reminds me of friendly HTTP errors in Internet Explorer. basically you need to turn this off to see the actual error message. I was lucky enough to find a person called Mike Plate who encountered the same issue and wrote a post about it.

Also if you need to use the OLEDB provider to do database access to Access (heh) you need to check out this knowledge base article: Error message when you request an ASP page that connects to an Access database in IIS 7.0: "Microsoft JET Database Engine error '80004005'".

Mr. Legacy strikes again!

posted on Sunday, February 18, 2007 8:10:03 PM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ah time flies when you're having fun. My former colleague Simon sent me a link to the web archive of Bolia from back in 2001. This version actually predates me by about a year as I didn't join the development team of the site until mid 2002. It still looked pretty much like the 2001 version at that time.

We did a major overhaul of the overall site design in 2003 and later in 2004 we went ahead and redid the checkout pages with the help of usability experts. The result of the usability work is something I'm still proud of today because it truly does make a difference. Finally 2005 introduced revamped catalog browsing with more elaborate presentation of the categories. Three new category presentations were introduced in various levels to allow for better presentation of their stuff. Top level with completely free HTML presentation or banner control from Commerce Server depending on what they choose to go with. Second level with a nice image and text presentation of the categories beneath. And finally third level with more text and an image along with the various materials for the products found in the category.

That's how it stands today. Most active development at this point happens in the backend with a strong focus on moving to the new platform.

Check out Bolia.com 2001. For reference this is our current design. I wonder when we'll move to Web 2.0 black :)

posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 9:09:33 AM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A couple of months ago our network setup changed here at the shop and I now have to check the "Use Default Gateway" on my VPN connection to get to any of our remote servers. This is really annoying as I can't get to anything on our other remote network which hosts stuff like source control while I'm connected adding to the overall time I spend on deploying stuff because I have to use my local machine as temporary waystation before getting to the actual live server.

I'm delighted to report that Steven Harman has what you need in his post VPN Connections and Default Gateways. The basic idea is to set up static routes to the remote network which negates the requirement of having to check the Use Default Gateway box. Great stuff.

posted on Tuesday, February 06, 2007 12:55:00 PM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, February 03, 2007

It's both funny and a little bit disturbing how far Apple is willing to go in order to bring down Microsoft's Vista launch. To my mind Apple is [mis]using their MP3 player monopoly to slow down adoption of Windows Vista by releasing support articles stating stuff like,

"iTunes 7.0.2 may work with Windows Vista on many typical PCs. Apple recommends, however, that customers wait to upgrade Windows until after the next release of iTunes which will be available in the next few weeks."

Apparently there are incompatibility issues between Windows Vista and iTunes thus you should avoid upgrading to Windows Vista until Apple has released a newer version of the iTunes software. They're absolutely right I personally have witnessed one such incompatibility but it's important to note that it was about 6 months ago and the versions involved were Windows Vista pre beta 1 and iTunes 6 (not even sure Vista was called Vista back then). Also worth of note is that the incompatibility was purely cosmetic as the problem was that the Aero UI would shut off when iTunes was running. Everything else working without a hitch. The Java Runtime Environment version 5 caused a similar thing to happen. No big deal.

Also going as far as releasing software to address the "problem" seems a bit extreme. If such incompatibilities really existed why haven't anyone heard about them yet? Yes Windows Vista hasn't been out for more than a couple of days but that's only counting the general public. Developers and business have had access to Windows Vista for two months and I dare say that we would have heard something by now if a real problem existed.

Why is this funny? Well the Apple community are all up in arms about Microsoft are their evil ways but when it comes to Apple they're a closed minded bunch of drones all going, "Apple is so cool, Apple does no wrong". I have a law suit against Apple that says otherwise, I have a conviction of Apple that says otherwise, and now this.

FUD, pure FUD from wonderful Apple.

If an incompatibility really does exist should you wait with the upgrade to Windows Vista simply because you're iPod might not work? That's a big thing to postpone simply because of an "if" and an MP3 player. It all seems a bit snobby to me.

Let the hate-mail flow :)

posted on Saturday, February 03, 2007 12:54:48 PM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [12] Trackback
# Thursday, February 01, 2007

I was just checking out a Windows Vista story on LifeHacker and wanted to leave a comment on User Account Protection which seems to everybody's favorite dead horse to beat these days. It turns out I can't. You need to log in to get commenting but you can't unless you're invited to site. WTF?! How snobby is that? I get that Google can get away with something like that but LifeHacker? No way. How is this at all useful?

"Anyone who has been invited, either by us or by a friend. The invite system works like Gmail's invite system. We've invited a bunch of our favorite productivity freaks, bloggers, and frequent tipsters to comment, then given them invitations to share with their friends and colleagues. That way, the burden of inclusion, and exclusion, is shared."

All sillyness aside Gina states in the article that she wished she knew how to turn off User Account Protection to which I would have responded, if I could: How Not to Sell User Account Protection

posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 12:54:44 PM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback

Give User Account Control a chance. I know how annoying it is when you're getting everything up and running but when the system is all installed it's really not all that annoying. I was about to turn it off when I decided to live with it for a while longer to see what the experience in the long run would be and I'm pretty happy I did.

Don't let the initial bad impression of UAC make you disable it. Stick with it. You'll see it does actually get better.

Usability experts talk about giving the user a good experience right off the bat and UAC is certainly not an example of doing so. Quite the opposite in fact. It will continually get in your face and annoy the heck out of you before it's able to do its intended job: Everyday protection from malware. Most users won't ever get the benefits of UAC simply because Microsoft goes about selling the feature to user the wrong way. Now what would the right way look like? I have no idea. Maybe you could leave UAC off for a couple of days following the initial Windows installation because usually that's when the most heavy install process is going.

posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 12:51:50 PM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Visual Studio 2005 SP1 is getting pushed out via Microsoft Update and the one question which keeps popping up here at the office is why the installation fails. Typically this is caused because some version of Web Application Project is installed. WAP is included in SP1 which is why the install fails.

 You will need to remove it before you can successfully install SP1. It would appear that the SP1 installation isn't very clear on this.

Just a little heads up. Scott Guthrie posted about this a while back.

posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 9:39:29 AM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Today marks the day where Bolia.com adds an interior design feature (sorry the pages only exist in Scandinavian and German languages) to their site allowing you to decorate your own home with Bolia furniture. We've been working on the feature over the summer and it's great to finally see it in production. Having an interior design feature is something we've been talking about for years and years, in fact it's something I remember mentioned when I first started working on the project almost five years ago :) We did the backend web service integration for the feature and Voxtrup Innovation did the Flash frontend.

I think it turned out really well. I especially like the way the app scales automagically to the window size without messing up the design. Nice.

What's interesting technically about the backend architecture is that we needed a way to create a clean unified interface to the Bolia 1.0 application which is written partly in VBScript and VB6. We decided to go with .NET Framework 2.0 ASMX web services which in turn makes HTTP requests directly to the legacy VBScript code which then returns XML messages formatted according to the specified contract. Using this technique we're able to keep our interfaces to the Flash application even though the underlying implementation changes which is frequently the case and we employ new technology which is better suited for the future.

posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 8:48:12 AM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Erik sent me a link today to Mei Ying's blog which has a post called Integrating Microsoft Commerce Server 2007 and MOSS. It's an older post from last year but it completely passed below my radar.

The post is pertinent to a project we are about to undertake as we're looking at integrating MCS and MOSS very tightly in order to leverage both products to create a highly flexible e-commerce solution. The problem consists of two pieces: product setup and integration of a MCS- and MOSS site and the meat of the problem which is all about the presentation of MCS content using MOSS as the driver for the site.

Basically Mei Ying's post takes care of the first issue of actually setting up the two products and getting their individual configuration files merged. Now on to the next problem. Of course there are lots more to it than just getting the two servers set up and create the middleware tier but it's a good place to start as we're seeing lots of interest in CS coupled with some kind of CMS.

posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 2:27:00 PM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"From the Incompetent's perspective, it seemed like any other contract. Some company needed a few weeks of work done on some C#-based web service. However, on his first day, the company did something a little unexpected."
[The Contractor's Note]

posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 10:11:17 PM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Nvidia has finally released a final version (100.54) of their Windows Vista driver for GeForce 8800. Grab it from their site. I'm getting ready to install it myself and have heard rumors that the SLI capabilities are somewhat lacking in this version. Expect frequent releases from Nvidia from this point on.

posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 6:12:07 PM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 28, 2007

Does Firefox stick out like a sore thumb in your fresh Windows Vista installation? It sure did in mine so I was very glad to find that someone went ahead and did something about it and that that someone wasn't yours truly :)

*solidfilter from DeviantArt has the goods. Want to make Firefox go from this:

 

To this:

 

Then take a look at the Windows Vista theme for Firefox. The download link is for a .jar file and if you're like me you won't have any idea of what to do with it so to save you the bit of trouble I went through: You just need to open Tools => Add-ons => Themes window and drag the .jar file onto it. Presto. Easy if you know how.

One thing I noticed is that there seems to be a small incompatability between the Tabmix Plus extension and the theme as a small graphical error appears next to the close button in inactive tabs. You can remove the close button the Tabmix Plus extension but I'm sure a fix will come along.

posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 2:01:47 PM (Romance Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [5] Trackback