Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

Geek Notes 2004-09-30

My Denver house actually closed this morning, so I am officially no longer a Colorado resident.

And, we’re hoping to close on our house here tomorrow, but that may have to push out to Monday. We’ll see. New carpet after that and move in late next week. Boy am I ready to get out of this limbo phase of my life.

  • TestDriven.NET RC1 - Jamie Cansdale has renamed NUnit-Addin to TestDriven.NET and is almost ready to call it version 1.0. We’ve been helping him nail a few bugs and are really excited to see the final version.
  • FlexWiki Released to OpenSource - This is the third official MS “product” released to open source. Thanks to David Ornstein, Craig Andera, Ward Cunningham and many others for making this move a success.
  • MP3 Goggles - That is goggles (as in glasses) not google. They are a bit expensive but look pretty cool.
  • The Uncloggable Toilet - Guaranteed! And they have a Flash demo if you’re interested… [via Darrell Norton]
  • The Conflict of Change Management - My former boss and all-around good guy Jim Vaughn is now blogging. He and always had cool discussions about balancing agilie processes (where change management kinda just happens) and more formal process (where change management is a core issue).
  • Running Non-Admin - Larry Osterman has made the jump. This is a good sign for us at MS… if we can only get everyone else to do it too.

Geek Notes 2004-09-28

What a couple of weeks it has been. Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but the dial-up situation at home sucks but I don’t really have much time to post anyway.

We close on our Denver house on Thursday and then on our new house in Sammamish on Friday. New carpet goes in on Tuesday and we’ll have the&nbsp_place_holder;moving van drop off our stuff on Thursday. Whew.

Geek Notes 2004-09-20

It looks like we’ve found a house here in Washington. It is in Sammamish, so I’m hoping the drive won’t be too bad (although apparently the only way to be sure is to drive before 7:30am).

  • Che/Star Wars Stormtrooper Shirt - Every geek needs one. [via Boing Boing]
  • Doom 3 Demo Available - I’m pretty sure my crappy old laptop won’t run it, even if I could get it down over dialup, but the screenshots sure are pretty.
  • The .NET Developer’s Guide to Windows Security - Keith Brown’s book has finally shipped.
  • Reverse - This is kind of a game, kind of a puzzle. How well can you do if your mouse movements are all reversed? Don’t cheat and turn your mouse backwards until you’ve tried it the regular way. It is sort of like flying an RC helecopter nose-in… you’ve gotta flip a switch in your brain and turn it all around. [via ericgu]
  • Graffiti RSS Feed - This is a fun feed to subscribe to… new, crazy graffiti each and every day. [via Boing Boing]

Geek Notes 2004-09-17

While I’m still getting my feet wet here at PAG and trying to learn the tools and processes, I have actually started working on code, which is nice.

On the personal side, it looks like we may have sold our Denver house, finally allowing us to go shopping for a house out here. We’ve got a house-hunting trip planned with our agent on Sunday. I can’t wait.

Command Prompt Problem

I’ve got an interesting problem with my Command Prompt in Windows XP.

I was playing around with the colors and now some color setting is messed up and I can’t seem to figure out where to fix it…

There are some console apps that I run which produce output that is now displayed as yellow on a white background, where it used to display yellow on black.

I’m running my console green on black, and as you can imagine, yellow on white is almost illegible.

Does anyone know where the color information for the console is stored? I’m not talking about a shortcut here, I’m run it with Start Run cmd.exe.


Geek Notes 2004-09-13

I spent most of the weekend working on my slides for Win-Dev in Boston next month. I’m giving two talks, “Effective Unit Testing in C#” and “Refactoring Support in the Whidbey IDE”. Should be fun. Hope some of you can make it.

  • VPC Tip - Keith Brown reminds us that when running multiple VPC sessions, use an appropriate amount of RAM for each one, not too much, not too little.
  • Microsoft Virtual Server Debuts - Mary Jo Foley on Virtual Server 2005. I’ve been running it since early last week on my big dev box and I love it. I can term serv right into my development VPC images.
  • Gray Area Social Situation - This happens to me so often I can’t even describe it…
  • Full Length Feeds - They’ve pulled the full length feeds from weblogs.asp.net. I’m not a fan.

  • .NET on Lego Mindstorm - This is cool, although I though the Mindstorm product line had been pulled… [via Slashdot]

Geek Notes 2004-09-12

Now that I have solved the BlogJet problem, I can easily post Geek Notes again. Yay!

  • Bookmark Collection User Stories - Jim has started posting the test list for his new TDD demo… a Bookmark Collection.
  • Usability Tricks - This is an excellent list of things developers can do to improve the usability of their user interfaces. Best quote: “Using five colors haphazardly makes you screen look like salad.”
  • Longhorn Transformation Pack 7 - Makes Windows XP (or Server 2003) look like various Longhorn builds. I don’t know if I would put this on my day-to-day computer, but I may install it into a VPC just to take a look. [via The Daily Grind 457]
  • MS Fingerprint Keyboard - I have a cool little USB Fingerprint scanner that is nice (especially when you are where they have a nasty password policy), but having it built into the keyboard would be even nicer! [via TSS]
  • It Costs More To Get Less - I can’t believe this is Dell Mark Hurst is talking about. I’ve never had an experience like that, but I think that if I did, like him, I would buy something else… but for me it wouldn’t be an Apple.
  • Command Line to Clipboard - Why oh why didn’t someone think of this sooner? The fact that it takes just one line of C# code to do it is even more annoying. [via Scott Hanselman]

Emily's Surprise

So today I executed a suprise present for my wife Emily. It worked like a charm.

Three weeks ago we moved to Seattle with a 6 week old and a 2-1/2 year old. I would be lying if I said that this had been easy. It hasn’t been to bad for me personally, but I get to go to work and hang out with cool people doing what I love. Emily, on the other hand, gets to stay home, in a strange town, with a demanding toddler and a demanding infant.

My dad and his wife came out to help us get settled for the first two weeks, and that helped a lot. It allowed us to get out an explore a bit, see an occasional movie, have a quiet dinner together, etc. But when they left, that all ended. And it didn’t take long for Emily to really start feeling homesick.

So I came up with a plan. I emailed her best friend in Denver and proposed a surprise visit. She accepted and this afternoon she arrived.

I’d already made an excuse to get out by myself for a while: “Why don’t you take a nap while the kids do and I’m gonna take a break and go down to Fry’s to take a look around.” And then I headed to the airport.

The pickup went flawlessly, and as I’d hoped, when we got back to the apartment, Emily was asleep. She heard me come in the bedroom and said groggily, “Shhh… the baby just fell asleep, so I haven’t had much of a nap.”

“OK,” I said, “do you want your present now?”


I said, “Should I bring it in here or do you want to come out and see it?”

“What is it?” she asked.

“Not telling. You want it in here or out there?” I demanded.

“In here,” she decided.

So I went back out, pulling the door closed behind me. I told her friend to go down and just walk in and then I followed behind.

Emily sat up in bed and said, “What..? Uh.. Are you really here? ARE YOU REALLY HERE?”

I think she wasn’t really awake yet because that continued for 5 minutes or so before she finally accepted what her eyes were telling her. And then, when she had cried a bit and hugged her friend, she said to me, “Thanks honey. This is one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.”

That is worth any amount of money in the world. As they say in the Visa commercials… PRICELESS!

BlogJet Is Working!

A couple of people posted comments to my last post suggesting that I use Fiddler to see what’s happening in the HTTP request. Fiddler was exactly the tool whose name I couldn’t remember. Fiddler essentially sets up a local HTTP proxy server and reconfigures&nbsp_place_holder;your Internet Explorer proxy settings.

When I launched Fiddler, BlogJet worked. When I closed Fiddler, BlogJet didn’t work.

“What the hell is going on here?” I thought.

Here is what I think happened…

Fiddler replaced my proxy settings, but didn’t itself pass requests on to our internal proxy server. So when I had Fiddler running, I wasn’t going through the MS Corpnet proxy servers. And BlogJet worked. When I closed Fiddler, it put my proxy settings back the way they were and BlogJet stopped working.

So I went into BlogJet and told it to use a “Custom Proxy Configuration” and then left the actual config entries blank.

And it worked. Strange, but it worked.

More BlogJet Woes on Campus

I still can’t get BlogJet to connect to my weblog from campus. It is very strange…&nbsp_place_holder;Brian Button&nbsp_place_holder;(who is a contractor using his own computer) can use it from his machine, but I can’t.

As an experiment today I installed Sysinternals’ TDImon to see what was going on and as far as I can tell, BlogJet is completely unable to establish a connection to my blog.

But, as I said in a previous post, I can type the URL for the Metaweblog API endpoint into a browser and see the ASP.NET generated web service test form. So I know I can get there, I just can’t get there with BlogJet.

I also tried connecting from one of my Windows Server 2003 VPC sessions, just in case it is related to Windows XP SP2, which I have installed on my work machine. No joy.

I also reinstalled the ISA Firewall Client, just in case. Still nothing.

I’ve tried contacting BlogJet for support and received no real help, which is also very disappointing given that I have actually paid for this software.

Can anyone recommend any other tools for troubleshooting this kind of thing?