Chinh Do

Finds of the Week – Nov 28, 2007

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30th November 2007

Finds of the Week – Nov 28, 2007

I took a break from blogging last week for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Here are the Finds for this week.

.NET

  • Just in case you have not heard, Visual Studio 2008 has been released (ScottGu). I installed the released version earlier this week and everything looks good so far. The first thing I noticed was the very quick load time compared to 2005.
  • Silverlight 1.1 is now 2.0. By Tim Sneath.
  • Dan Fernandez listed the top 15 things to love about Visual Studio 2008 Express.
  • Service Pack 1 for .NET Framework 2.0 is available. By Guy Barrette.
  • Aaronontheweb shared 5 Hot ASP.NET Tips and Tricks for the week of 11/20/2007. By Aaronontheweb.
  • bloggingdeveloper wrote a nice article on how to compress ViewState.

Software and Tools

  • Odiogo can make your blog talk. By Mads Kristensen.
  • I have been a long-time user of MSN Money Porfolio and stock charts but lately I really liked the stuff Yahoo! has been adding to their Finance section. Their new Flash-based stock chart is the best in its class. My favorite feature is the ability to drag left/right to go back/forward in time. Also their quotes are now streaming (AJAX)… meaning anywhere you see a price quote, it will be automatically refreshed. Real time quotes are available for as an optional service as well.

    Yahoo! Finance Stock Chart

  • To track disk space usage, my tool of choice is Windirstats. Windirstats is Open Source.

    Windirstats

Tech, Windows Mobile, Gadgets

  • Google has just released the beta version of My Location, a service that allows GPS like functionality with Google Maps on your mobile device without a GPS. It doesn’t work for me on my Samsung i760 though. I always get this error message: “Your current location is temporarily unavailable”.

    Google Maps My Location

    Looks like many others are getting the same error as well.

And Now, Something Different

Be careful where you put your cellphone.

posted in Dotnet/.NET - C#, Links, Programming, Silverlight | 1 Comment

16th November 2007

Finds of the Week – Nov 16, 2007

.NET

Software and Tools

Tech and Gadgets

  • Dish Network enables ethernet ports on ViP622 HD DVRs. The main feature that the broadband connection brings is video on demand. The ethernet connection also allows the box to call home via the Internet instead of using the phone line.

Miscellaneous

  • View popular “sightings” on Google Maps, Windows Live Maps, and Yahoo Maps at Virtual Globetrotting

And Now, Something Different

I cut a kiwi fruit in halves the other day and this was what I saw:

Kiki Fruit Heart

posted in Dotnet/.NET - C#, Gadgets, Technology, Windows Mobile / Pocket PC | 3 Comments

14th November 2007

EPoX EP-9NPA+Ultra 939 Motherboard and 4GB of RAM

If you have an EPoX EP-9NPA+Ultra 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard, and you installed 4GB of RAM, the BIOS may only see 3407872K Total Memory:

Epox EP-9NPA+Ultra 4GB Vista

To enable the BIOS to see the full 4GB of RAM, do the following:

  • Enter the BIOS Setup Utility (reboot and press Del key).
  • Choose Advanced Chipset Feature, then DRAM Configuration
  • Change “S/W memory hole Remapping” to Enabled
  • Change “H/W memory hole Remapping” to Enabled

Epox EP-9NPA+Ultra 4GB Vista

If you have Windows XP or Windows Vista 32-bit, the operation system will not see the full 4 GB anyway. The “fix” is to upgrade to Vista 64-bit or just live with whatever amount of RAM the OS can use. My Vista 32-bit installation reports 3327 MB of total memory.

Epox EP-9NPA+Ultra 4GB Vista

posted in Technology | 17 Comments

8th November 2007

Finds of the Week – Nov 2, 2007

Here are the finds for this week.

.NET

  • Mike Duncan wrote a nice article on 3 hot uses for HttpContext.Current.Items “They” won’t tell you about. Wish I had thought about this 6 months ago when I was trying to implement a "static" variable that only lasts for the duration of the page request.
  • Too busy with real work to read up on the soon to be released Visual Studio 2008 (by end of November)? Daniel Moth has put together a summary the top 10 things to know about VS 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 here.
  • For Oracle developers, check out Gojko Adzic’s article on the new function result caching feature in Oracle 11.
  • Java and .NET to drive double-digit wage growth. Yes double-digit wage growth! That should happen more often. By  Gavin Clarke via regdeveloper.co.uk.
  • Doug Stewart wrote another comprehensive article on new features of Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5.
  • There’s something slow, in your program flow. Who you’re gonna call? Profilers of course :-). M has put together a detailed article of how to use the ANTS profiler. Also check out Improving .NET Application Performance and Scalability by J.D. Meier, Srinath Vasireddy, Ashish Babbar, and Alex Mackman.
  • Marquee de Sells has several interesting points on the consequences of working for Microsoft remotely.

Software and Tools

Vector Magic is the probably best bitmap tracing tool currently available. Check out the amazing samples. Free!

Resharper is a great productivity and code analysis add-in for Visual Studio. It’s the only add-in I currently use. My top 5 favorite Resharper features are:

  • On the fly error/warning checking (squiggly lines). See problems with your code as you type them.

    Resharper On-the-fly Error Checking

  • Refactor (Rename, Extract Method, Introduce Field, etc. )
  • Goto Type/File/File Member. Fastest way to navigate. Every class, file, or method is only a few keystrokes away.

    Resharper Navigation

  • Find Usages. Find what is using a class/method/property. Great for finding code dependencies. Indispensable for learning a new application you are not familiar with.

    Resharper Find Usages

  • Reformat Code.
  • Enhanced Intellisense.

Windows Live Writer is a windows editor for blog posts. Your drafts are saved locally. Works with WordPress. I like it. This post was written using Windows Live Writer.

Gadgets

Miscellaneous

  • At my work it was announced that we will be switching to "Outlook" from Lotus Notes. We are currently on Notes 6 and it’s the most atrocious of a program I have had the pleasure of using on a daily basis. Some of the most basic features like Search does not even work. Argg! I had to create my own Notes index by periodically exporting all messages to text files so that Windows Search will index them. I can’t wait to get back to Outlook/Exchange.
  • Have you wondered why Windows Explorer doesn’t show the size of a folder? Here are the reasons (Raymond Chen via blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing).

And Now, Something Different

I’ve always been skeptical whenever I hear people say or write that we only use 10% of our brain. Well, it looks like there is no scientific evidence to suggest that. Read more here.

posted in Dotnet/.NET - C#, HDTV, Links, Programming, Reviews, Software/tools, Technology | 12 Comments

6th November 2007

Software Review – Mozy Online Backup (Version 1.8.4.7)

I have been telling myself that I need to set up some sort of automated backup solution for my data for years now. In the past, I have actually used various tape backup solutions but I eventually gave up due to the cost of buying new tape drives that could keep up with the increasing large amount of data.

I decided to give Mozy a try. If you have not heard, Mozy is an online backup solution. Their main selling point is that they will back up your home computer for $4.95 per month. Your data is transfered over your Internet connection and is backed up to Mozy’s servers. I figure $60 a year for a fully automated backup solution and peace of mind is worth it.

Installation and Configuration

The installation and initial setup process is pretty straight forward. By default, the software will automatically select files to be backed up, but I am sure most people will need to make changes to the backup selection. Each Mozy account will only support one computer. Yes, I tried to include a network location in my backup sets, but it wouldn’t allow it. External drives connected via USB2 are fine.

Mozy backup sets

There are several configuration options to tweak. In the Schedule tab, you can tell Mozy to backup when your PC is idle, or at specific times:

Mozy backup schedule options

And under the Options tab, you can control many additional settings:

Mozy backup options

For my backup, I leave most settings at the default values, except I checked “Don’t show restore menu in Windows Explorer”. I generally do not let any application install context menu handlers for Windows Explorer. Don’t know if it’s true or not, but I suspect that misbehaving explorer context menu handlers are the source of most mysterious hangs and slow-downs in Windows.

Backing Up Data

The backup process works fairly well. The initial backup will take some time to complete. How much time depends on the size of your backup sets and the upload speed of your Internet connection. My initial backup took about 3 weeks to backup 75 GB of data over a Verizon Online FIOS connection with 2000 kbits of upload bandwidth. Since then I have added another 10GB of data and it has been keeping up just fine.

While the backup is in progress, you can check Mozy’s progress with this informative progress window:

Mozy - backup in progress

Restoring Data

There are currently four different ways to restore files with Mozy:

  • Right-click Restore – Navigate in Windows Explorer to the folder you want and right click, then choose “Restore files in folder”.
  • DVD Restore – Mozy will burn your data to a DVD and send it to you via snail mail. Good for large restores.
  • Web Restore – Use Mozy’s web site to select folders/files to restore and download the files via the web site.
  • Virtual Drive Restore – Navigate to Mozy’s virtual drive and select files to restore from there.

I had some problems initially with Virtual Drive Restore. Every time I tried, I would get an error saying that it could not connect to the server. The error went away after I reset my account password. This is probably the simplest and quickest way to restore a small number of files.

Mozy Backup Virtual Drive Restore

Web Restore is also pretty straight forward. You log into the Mozy web site, choose Restore Files and follow on-screen instructions. One minor issue is that the files are not available immediately. Instead, you will get an email once the restore is complete. Then you can go to the web site to download the files. An additional benefit of Web Restore is that you can restore files from any Internet connected PC. In this way, you can think of Mozy as an Internet mirror of your files.

If you want to restore everything, then DVD Restore is probably the way to go. I have not tried this option.

The last Restore method is Right Click Restore in Explorer. I did not test this method either because I chose not to enable explorer shell integration.

Support

I had to use Mozy’s tech support to resolve an error that I could not resolve myself. Email did not work well as I didn’t receive a reply at all after several days. However, when I tried the “Chat Live” option on the web site, and was immediately connected to a live tech support person. She was able to help me resolve the problem fairly quickly.

Summary

I feel a lot better now that my important files are finally backed up at an off-site location. I am probably better protected now than many small businesses. I can get to the files easily and wherever I need. Mozy works very well once you understand and work with its main limitation: the upload speed of your Internet connection. I have not heard of anyone running into a problem for backing up too much data. Finally, for $4.95 a month… you can’t beat that.

Highly recommended.

posted in Reviews, Software/tools, Technology | 6 Comments

1st November 2007

Finds of the Week – Oct 31, 2007

Here are my finds for this week:

.NET

Tools

  • I hope my hard drive doesn't crash in the next few days… because my initial Mozy backup is still running… about 3 weeks after I started it. At this rate it should be done in a few more days.

    Mozy Backup

  • Oracle SQL Developer is a very nice and full-featured Oracle query and browsing tool. Best of all: it's free.

    Oracle SQL Developer

Windows Mobile / Pocket PC

  • I wrote before about how Verizon Wireless may cut you off if you use up too much bandwidth per month. Good news: Verizon Wireless has just settled a N.Y. probe (news.com) into that practice.
  • I've been checking my Gmail account everyday every since the IMAP announcement on Oct 24. Today, it finally showed up!

    Gmail IMAP

  • Capture Screen Utility from Fann Software is a free screen capture program for Pocket PC and Windows Mobile devices. It's free, and it works.

    Fann Software Screen Capture Utility for Windows Mobile/Pocket PC

Miscellaneous

  • If you are anoyed about that pesky Windows Language Bar that keeps coming back after you tell it to go away, you are not alone. Here's how to get rid of it for good (How-To Geek Blogs).

posted in Dotnet/.NET - C#, Links, Software/tools, Windows Mobile / Pocket PC | 0 Comments

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