Chinh Do

Finds of the Week – January 6, 2008

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6th January 2008

Finds of the Week – January 6, 2008

It’s 2008. Happy New Year!

Tips and Tricks

  • I can’t believe I didn’t know about this Visual Studio command before: File.OpenContainingFolder. Asmita A Wankhede mentioned it, but he left a few important details out. By default, this command does not have a shortcut, so you would have to assign one to it (try CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+O). Also, the "item" that this command works on is the currently opened item in the editor, not the selected item in the Solution Explorer. See my Visual Studio tips article for instructions on how to create new shortcuts (section 3 – Make New Shortcuts).
    File.OpenContainingFolder shortcut 
  • Aaron Lerch shared a tip on how to use Powershell to perform search-and-replace on an entire folder hierarchy.

.NET, C#, Programming

Software And Tools

  • Did you know that something called Robocopy (short for Robust File Copy, not Robot Copy), is the new XCOPY? It’s a standard tool in Windows Vista and is also available as part of the Windows Resource Kit. Via Don Box’s Spoutlet on Pluralsight.

    robocopy

  • I recently tried and liked GhostDoc very much. It’s a free Visual Studio add-in to help write XML documentation comments. Roland Weigelt wrote a nice intro article on GhostDoc on DotnetSlackers here.
  • SyncBackSE is a great folder synchronization utility. It has tons of features… maybe even a little bit on the bloated side. It costs $30 for a single license. If you just want something simple, Microsoft’s free SyncToy may do the trick for you.

    SyncBackSE 

Gadgets

  • From CES, it looks like Blu-ray will be the winner of the HD format war. No, the war is not completely over, but this was the landing at Normandy… so to speak. The loss is just too great for the HD-DVD camp to recover.

And Now, Something Different

posted in Dotnet/.NET - C#, PowerShell, Programming, Software/tools, Tips | 4 Comments

23rd December 2007

Finds of the Week – December 23, 2008

.NET, C#, Programming

Software and Tools

  • DAEMON Tools is one of the best CD/DVD emulator. Use it to mount those CD/DVD images you download from MSDN. Cost: $0.

And Now, Something Different

Researchers found that young chimpanzees have an extraordinary ability to remember numerals that is superior to that of human adults. Skeptical? Just take a look at the video.

posted in Dotnet/.NET - C#, Programming, Software/tools | 0 Comments

18th December 2007

Type Ahead in Microsoft Outlook

Did you know Microsoft Outlook has supported type-ahead since Outlook 2003?

I didn’t. I upgrade my home PC to Outlook 2007 a few days ago and was pleasantly surprised to find type-ahead working. I fired up the old copy of Outlook 2003 and type-ahead worked in that version too. I am pretty sure it didn’t work in versions prior to 2003.

Type-ahead is great for using with the Move to Folder or Copy to Folder features. If you use Outlook to get your Gmail via IMAP, you’ll appreciate the type-ahead feature since you need to move messages a lot.

To see type-ahead working, in the Move Items dialog box (with a message selected, press CTRL+SHIFT+V), type the first few letters of any folder name. The current folder selection will move to the folder that matches what you type.

outlook-type-ahead-move-items

posted in Software/tools, Technology, Tips | 1 Comment

16th December 2007

5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Gmail IMAP

Technorati Tags: ,

Gmail IMAP has been available for more than a month now. It’s been working great for me. I have read that some users are having trouble reading HTML messages on their Windows Mobile devices, but for some odd reason, I can see HTML messages (in HTML, not rendered) just fine on my i730 Windows Mobile phone.

Here are some tips to help you make the most out of Gmail IMAP. If you have not used Gmail IMAP, you can set it up by following the instructions from Google here. I personally use Gmail IMAP on my Windows Mobile 2003 phone, Outlook 2007, and Windows Mail in Windows Vista. However, these tips should work on any standard IMAP client.

1 – Be Familiar with Gmail IMAP Folders

Gmail IMAP has the following special folders:

  • Inbox
  • [Gmail]/All Mail – This folder contains all of your Gmail messages.
  • [Gmail]/Drafts – Your drafts.
  • [Gmail]/Sent Mail – Messages you sent to other people.
  • [Gmail]/Spam – Messages marked as spam.
  • [Gmail]/Starred – Starred messages.
  • [Gmail]/Trash – Messages deleted from Gmail.

Each of your custom labels also becomes an IMAP folder. Messages that have more than one labels will be in multiple IMAP folders.

Your email client may create its own special folders such as "Drafts", "Sent Items", "Deleted Items". These folders only have special meaning to your email client and not Gmail. These special folders can be seen in the web Gmail client as "[Imap]/Drafts", "[Imap]/Deleted Items". To Gmail, these are just additional labels with no special meaning.

If you use Outlook 2007, you can configure it to use Gmail’s Sent Mail folder instead of its own "Sent Items" folder:

outlook-imap-sent-items-folder 

Note that you can create more than 1 level of folders. You can have folders within folders:

Gmail IMAP hierarchical folders 

2- To Archive, Move the Message Out of the Inbox Folder

To archive a message, you can do one of the following:

  • Move the message to the [Gmail]/All Mail folder.
  • Move the message to one of your label folders.
  • Use your email client’s Delete Message feature. This won’t actually delete your message, but move it to a folder named [Imap]/Deleted Items. You just have to know messages in that folder are not really meant to be deleted.

    Since I sometimes use the Delete button for its intended purpose (see section 3 below), I do not use it to archive.

    Archive Gmail IMAP message in Outlook

Applying Multiple Labels (Updated Jan 23, 2008)

To apply more than one label to a message, copy the message to the respective folders. "Copy" does not actually create a new copy of the message. There’s still one message stored in Gmail. It just gets a new label.

To remove the message from a folder, move it to the special folder [Gmail]/All Mail. Don’t move the message to [Gmail]/Trash, as that will actually delete the message from all folders (it will be gone forever when you empty the trash), unless deleting is really what you want to do.

(I originally wrote incorrectly that copying will create multiple physical copies. Thanks to Hans Ref for correcting me on this).

3 – To Delete, Move to [Gmail]/Trash Folder

To delete a message, move it to the [Gmail]/Trash folder. If the message is in more than one folder, Gmail will delete those copies as well.

Deleting Gmail IMAP message with Outlook

Using the email client’s Delete feature will likely not really delete the message, but instead move it to the [Imap]/Deleted Items folder.

Sometimes I use the email client’s Delete command anyway, because it’s faster to press the Delete key. Once in a while, I then go into the Deleted Items folder and move messages from there to [Gmail]/Trash. Same result in the end.

4 – To Report a Message as Spam, Move to [Gmail]/Spam Folder

See a pattern now? Most of what you need to do with Gmail IMAP involves moving messages around.

To report a message as spam, what else… move it to the [Gmail]/Spam folder. This is just like clicking ‘Report Spam’ in the Gmail web interface. Don’t believe me, it comes straight from Google.

Likewise, to mark that was marked as spam by Google incorrectly, move it out of the [Imap]/Spam folder.

5 – Import Old Mail

If you are like me, you have archived a ton of old email messages from years past. With Gmail IMAP, it’s easy to import them into Gmail so you can have all of your email messages from all time in one place, all searchable.

Just use the copy feature of your email client to copy those old messages into one of the Gmail IMAP folders. Google advices that you should copy the messages in small group because "uploading an excessive number of messages to your Gmail account via IMAP may lead to being temporarily locked out of your account." Anyone knows what the limit is?

-

There you have it, my 5 tips to get the most out of Gmail IMAP. For more information on how to use Gmail IMAP, see Google Help Center for IMAP.

Updated 2008-01-17

posted in Gmail IMAP, Software/tools | 22 Comments

15th December 2007

Finds of the Week – December 15, 2007

Here are this week’s finds:

.NET, C#, Programming

Software and Tools

And Now, Something Different

Here’s a Christmas tree made out of Heineken beer bottles. I took this picture last December at the Imperial Hotel in Hue, Vietnam, while vacationing there. Click on the picture for a larger version.

hue-imperial-heineken-christmas-tree

posted in Dotnet/.NET - C#, PowerShell, Programming, Software/tools | 0 Comments

8th December 2007

Finds of the Week – December 8, 2007

It’s been a busy week. Here are my finds for this week:

.NET, Programming

  • PackageThis is a new CodePlex tool from the MSDN team that allows you to package your own MSDN Library content. Useful to get the latest MSDN content to use locally (fast).
  • Joe Shirey, a board member of the Microsoft Certified Architects program, has written a nice series about the Microsoft Certified Architects program.
  • Alik Levin advised that we should avoid populating passwords in memory, because it’s relatively easy to reveal. A walkthrough of how to use WinDbg to obtain passwords in memory is provided.
  • The Programmer Dress Code by Justin Etheredge is a fun read on what about programming that makes programmers generally dress like a slob. Pictures of famous programmers included.
  • GavinBenda (gavinbenda.com.au) posted a comprehensive guide to web charts and graphs.
  • Unit testing; how far do you push the envelope? (odecee blogs) is a interesting read on the issue of how much unit test code is enough.
  • SQL Server 2008 will have IntelliSense, by Ciz. I have not worked with SQL Server in a while but when I get back to it, this should help make it more fun.
  • Dan Wahlin wrote about the new C# 3.0 feature Automatic Properties. Dan also wrote a nice article on Visual Studio magazine on how to create rich web apps with AJAX.
  • Jeff Putz gave his impressions on Visual Studio 2008 after a couple of weeks of use.
  • One of the most annoying application behavior is stealing current focus. Jeff Atwood (Coding Horror) wrote on why stealing focus is never acceptable.
  • What’s Ailing ASP.NET Web Forms, by Rick Strahl, is a good article about some of the major problems/issues with ASP.NET web forms. Good read.

Software and Tools

  • XPathMania, by Don Demsak is a nice Visual Studio add-in to check XPath statements against the current XML document. Matches are listed in the XPathMania tool window as well as highlighted in the actual XML document. Double click on a match to move to it.

    xpathmania1

  • Picasa (from Google) is my current photo album/manager tool. It’s fast and fun to use. With Picasa Web Albums, it’s a very nice combination.

    google-picasa-1

And Now, Something Different

  • For Richmonders, if you feel like driving around one night in December to look at all the nice Christmas lighting sites in town, check out InRich.com’s Richmond’s Tacky Christmas Lights map. I have done a company sponsored Richmond Christmas lights bus tour in the past and I found it to be entertaining. With the InRich.com map, you can do your own personal tour.

    richmond-tacky-christmas-lights

  • Here’s my apprentice programmer Dat Do at 14 months old. I try to teach him C# but his code doesn’t quite compile yet. Maybe I should start him on QBASIC instead?

    dat-do-14-months

posted in Dotnet/.NET - C#, Programming, Software/tools | 3 Comments

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 | 2 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