Impressive service from Hetzner

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Sat, 02/10/2007 - 12:33

About a week ago I posted about how the logic at my hosting provider Hetzner was flawed in regards to their upgrade policy and how it seems like a punishment to want to pay more. Well I emailed them, and got recommended to send an email to the customer services manager, so I did that one morning. Later that day I got a phone call from a very happy sounding woman (sorry I can't remember her name) saying she is the customer services manager and she is investigating and asking if it is ok to respond the following day.
The next day, no call but I did get an email from Hans Wencke who is the managing director.

I honestly was shocked, his email was great. He explained why the system is the way it is (makes complete logical sense now) and also outlined a plan for a review of the policy since changes have been made to their systems since the policy was originally made. Finally he offered my upgrade for free :)

This is one of the best service expierences I have ever had!

Set classes in BCL

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Fri, 02/09/2007 - 15:46

Mark Seemann has started a vote for the introduction of sets into the BCL. Funny enough I have not thought about them since the Delphi days and got on using generics in .Net and some extra items tacked on the top, but now that Mark has brought it up I can think of dozens of places in code this would have been useful. For more details on this view Mark's post or if somehow I have convinced you you can go and vote directly.

system32:huy32.sys - the bsod strikes back

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Fri, 02/09/2007 - 13:38

So the huy32.sys was not removed by Nod32 (what was removed then?! More reason to kill this XP installation and install Vista), so I started searching again and found a great post which refers to a nice application which runs very quickly, does two reboots and provides a report. The report clearly stated it found the huy32.sys and removed it :) We shall see if this is the end of saga...

system:huy32.sys

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 02/08/2007 - 20:39

So my work machine just magically started rebooting recently, great fun. Big project + tight deadlines + all source code on my machine + random blue screens = me losing my mind in panic

Today I actually read the blue screen of death out of deperation, had an odd line in it: system:huy32.sys

After a few searches I found out this precious little file (which is well hidden thanks to the ":") is part of a trojen. YEAH!! Like I don't have enough to think about.
The current supplied anti-virus at work is "Office Scan" which I would have thought would pick it up. I think I know why it is not (virus definations aren't 100% fresh right now, or maybe it's just crap). So after a call to Nic-Nap (the trusty office admin) to get the admin password for the Office Scan anti-virus, an uninstall of Office Scan and an install of the 30 day trial of Nod32 and a reboot. Nod32 picked it up, deleted it and the blue screen hasn't returned.....yet ;)

UPDATE: See the followup for more information on the return of the BSOD

Worst product name (really this is even worse than powershell)

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 02/08/2007 - 20:15

Ok, I thought PowerShell was bad, I take it all back. It's not that bad, atleast what it is called is what it promises (a powerful shell). So in powershell today I ran this: Get-WmiObject -query "SELECT NetConnectionStatus FROM Win32_NetworkAdapter"

The assumption is that PowerShell would connect to WMI (which it did) and return network connection status. It is all lies, LIES!!!!
I have no idea what it did return but it was not the connection status this layman wanted, it is just lots of:
__GENUS : 2
__CLASS : Win32_NetworkAdapter
__SUPERCLASS :
__DYNASTY :
__RELPATH :
__PROPERTY_COUNT : 1
__DERIVATION : {}
__SERVER :
__NAMESPACE :
__PATH :
NetConnectionStatus :

Follow this up with Get-WmiObject 'Win32_NetworkAdapter' which I assume will give me useful network adapter info, which it does give, but it leaves out a little bit of useful info... THE IP ADDRESS! (and the speed but thats a nice to have)

ServiceName : iBcT0201
MACAddress : 02:C0:EE:XX:XX:XX
AdapterType : Ethernet 802.3
DeviceID : 12
Name : iBurst Modem Type02-01
NetworkAddresses :
Speed :

I don't blame powershell for this crazyness, I blame WMI. It promises so much in it's arguments and gives you something completely else.

CCF with floating windows

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 02/08/2007 - 17:41
CCF comes in pretty much any design you like, thanks to having the source code for the agent desktop available. One of the properties of the applications you add is a "Display Group" property which allows you to set where you want the application to go. If you leave it blank, then it defaults to the first CCF panel it finds. If you fill it in and it matches the name of an existing panel it will go on that panel (have a look at the out of box examples for Workflow, Current Session and Session Explorer). What is not documented anywhereUpdated: It is in the developer guide is you can also put in either "floating" or "floatingtool" which will cause the window not to be in the CCF SDI interface (i.e. on the tabs or on some other area) but in it's own pop-up window. The "floatingtool" option changes the type of pop-up form to a tool form (i.e. thin header). it is possible to push the boundry on this one further by putting in your own terms, and then modifing the "AddApplication" method of UIConfiguration.cs to handle those special terms. An idea I had here is that you could do something like have the window be stay on top, align to the right of the window and have it load a reporting services report with graphs on it. Nice mini-dashboard!

www.InformationWorker.co.za

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Thu, 02/08/2007 - 16:14

I have been offered the great opportunity of having a blog on www.informationworker.co.za. IW, is a community site driven by Microsoft and a core group of Partners focused on Information Workers (thus the name of the site, in case you did not pick that up). As that is going to be more (completely) CRM focused, I won't publish much CRM stuff here, but I will continue to go on about all the other crazy stuff.

My blog their can be found at: http://www.informationworker.co.za/Blogs/robertm/default.aspx

(ooh btw IW runs on SharePoint 2007, which makes blogs and wiki's easy)

Worst product name (for developers)

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Wed, 02/07/2007 - 14:53

Microsoft PowerShell may be the worst product name for developers. If you write scripts I'm not classing you as a developer, I am classing people who understand Assemblies, Namespaces and Generics as developers for this post.

Anyway if you are a developer it should be called .Net Object to Text Render (and if Motorola made it NOTR), since that is what it actually does, it converts .Net objects to text. Once you understand that concept it gets a lot more powerful than the whole "DIR", "COPY" on a blue background than it appears the first time.

So it understands strings so this is possible:
PS C:\Documents and Settings\rmaclean> 'sadev'+'.co.za'
sadev.co.za

It also understands ints so this is also possible:
PS C:\Documents and Settings\rmaclean> 67 * 34 + 9 - 22
2064

And since .Net understands how to translate int's to strings, this becomes possible:
PS C:\Documents and Settings\rmaclean> 'sadev'+'.co.za' + (67 * 34 + 9 - 223) + 999
sadev.co.za2064999

And since objects can have properties you can start with Get-ChildItem which is like DIR for the old school in the audience, then add | where-object { $_.CreationTime -gt "1/29/2007" } to get all items created since Jan 29th 2007. Example
Get-ChildItem | where-object { $_.CreationTime -gt "1/29/2007" }

Then add on | epcsv to export the results to a CSV file.

Pure madness I say, pure developer insanity :D

94.7 Highveld Stereo Audio Streaming

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Wed, 02/07/2007 - 14:16

If you are annoyned with having to go to www.highveld.co.za then click listern now then get stuck with the floating window while you listern to the radio this may help. Open media player (I'm using version 11 but it should work with all versions from 7) and hit Ctrl+U and put in the following URL:
http://www.antfarm.co.za/clients/highveld/piggspeak/asxGenPop.asp

And enjoy the ability to minimize media player to the task bar, or select it using recent items without having to browse to it etc...

CCF Wikipedia Entry

Submitted by Robert MacLean on Mon, 02/05/2007 - 10:07

There is an entry in Wikipedia for CCF :) It is unfortunately very light in content.

What does spur me to post about it is not the article itself, but the comments in the history:
"(cur) (last) 21:07, 25 September 2006 Jmcnamera (Talk | contribs) (This reads like an ad plus I can not find anything notable on the web about this except some vague marketing material at MS web site. I'm an MS booster but this doesn't look real.)"

The whole "it doesn't look real" is bad, and it is not the first time this has been brought up. Because so few people know of CCF and the website is tiny (compared to others like MSCRM or Dynamics GP, let alone someone like Office) it really does appear to be a vaporware or beta or some other product which does not exist yet.

Definately the CCF community needs to put more content up in public places, but Microsoft also needs to help drive this, even if it is just with a better website (which links to the forums would also help show real activity with the product).