Using Beyond Compare for Compares in TFS and SVN

I love Beyond Compare. Why? First off, their parent company Scooter Software is based in Madison, WI โ€“ so that is cool. Second, it is the best damn compare tool I have ever used. I use it for comparing every type of file, folders, folders to FTP, whatever. I love it. Best 30 dollars spent on software. I wish it did more, I could make a wish list.. anyways, to use it to do your source control compares for TFS and SVN? pretty easy.

TFS 2010/Visual Studio 2010

Open VS2010, Tools->Options->Source Control->Visual Studio Team Foundation Serverโ€ฆ Click the โ€œConfigure User Toolsโ€ button

SNAGHTML1e2b85f

Click Add, and the settings for Compare.. I do .*, and then choose your Beyond Compare locations, and then the args like below

%1 %2 /title1=%6 /title2=%7

SNAGHTML1e42506

TortoiseSVN:

Right click anywhere in Windows Explorer, TortoiseSVN->Settings->External Programs->Diff Viewer

Choose External and then

"C:Program Files (x86)Beyond Compare 3BComp.exe" %base %mine /title1=%bname /title2=%yname /leftreadonly

 

(remove the x86 if you are on 32 bit, add it for 64 bit)

 

And.. there you go!

Vacationing with the iPhone and iPad

Was just on vacation since Sept 3rd through today.. Drove up to Nisswa to drop the little one off, then down to the Twin Cities for 4 nights, then back up to get the little one in Pierz, then back down to Eau Claire for 2 nights, then back home for 2 nights.. fun time. I didn’t really connect to work (only to extend my holiday by 2 days!) but I was still *connected* to everything I wanted to be.

First, I shut off email/exchange sync to my iPhone/iPad, easy enough in the settings. Turned off the calendars too so I didn’t get any new meeting alerts. Good to go.

How else did I use my devices?

Well beyond the basics (on the iPhone – Phone, SMS, Email (personal), Taking pictures and videos, weather, calculator, maps, maps, maps, maps..)

1. Gowalla/Foursquare – I recently just killed both my accounts and started fresh. I tried to see the usefulness and benefit of these. I like Gowalla better – just prettier. Foursquare tells me what is trending better. I use them both to find things around where I am, and check in to keep track of where I went ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Twitter/Facebook – just killed my Facebook account again as well, I think I have 15 close friends on there now, so it is pretty quiet, but nice. Twitter I use to just keep up on the real time stuff going on, track favorites, as usual.

3. Soundhound/Shazam – used these to lookup songs I heard at bars or wherever, it is a given pretty much anywhere.

4. Flixster – used this to find movie theater near by and showtimes. Couldn’t buy tickets at the theater I went to, but I could have with fandango, just not worth the hassle I guess.

5. Yelp/OpenTable/Urban Spoon – more targeted in finding foodie places. OpenTable to reserve.

6. SportTacular – to keep up on the Twins and Vikes ๐Ÿ™‚

7. WF (mobile site) – to view my accts and transfer and what not

8. Nice Ride and Train Brain – these are where it gets good. Downtown Minneapolis has these cool bike stations you can rent out a bike (for free for under 30 minutes!) or for a small fee (http://www.niceridemn.org/_ (FYI Trek has a similar offering, called B-cycle). Ride it all over and drop off at another station. We rented two and drove them from Uptown to Downtown. Was pretty awesome. The app shows you the stations and has a timer, it could do much more though ๐Ÿ™‚ Train Brain shows you the light rail schedule in town, we took the train from Govt Plaza to Mall of America, and back. Was pretty cool.


9. Scanner – QR codes are all over in Uptown on shops, etc. I used this to scan their codes and open links.

10. Reeder – on the iPhone and iPad – used this to keep up on my Google Reader ๐Ÿ™‚

11. iPad – in general used it for mostly news apps, and surfing the web, used it as a “computer” – did you know on maps.google.com on an iDevice, if you click on the icon of a “place” it does much more than the native Maps app on the device? I thought that was cool.

I also used CityPages app on the iPad to look up some things going on.

Saw a Twins game vs the Royals (they won!) and Wicked as well. Got a little sick Wednesday morning through Friday so that was a bummer but overall it was a good vacation


BuddyFuse integrates Google Talk and Twitter into Windows Live Messenger

Ran across this today. Setting up a laptop, and one team we use Windows Live Messenger, the other Google Talk. I know there is Trillian, Digsby, etc, but I just wanted to use Windows Live Messenger, but still IM Google Talk contacts

BuddyFuse integrates Google Talk and Twitter into Windows Live Messenger

BuddyFuse to the rescue! Seems to be working well. Why just Windows Live Messenger? I like the presence it brings with Outlook 2010 and TFS, etc. More tightly coupled with the OS. Like using iChat on a Mac.

PC vs Mac

Microsoft has published a site, PC vs Mac

There is only one thing you have to know, everything else is fluff.

You will never get a blue screen of death on a Mac. Oh, I got one last night on a Windows machine. With an xlsx half way open and not done yet. Lovely.

done. game over. Mac wins.

And I love Windows, for Development and Business Intelligence. It is the hardware and software that have problems working together. Should Microsoft try to build a PC? Hardware? (ala Xbox?) Would it perform better? Maybe. Would they have more control? Of course, the hardware and software could integrate nicely. I would buy a mythical Microsoft computer before buying a regular PC. Just like I would buy a Mac rather than a Hackintosh ๐Ÿ™‚

Flipboard for iPad, Personal Techmeme

Last week Flipboard informed me that their iPad app was ready for me to use (I have had it since day one, but their servers were overwhelmed).

The premise is that it takes your Twitter and Facebook feeds and creates personal “magazines”. It has other aggregated/curated content from around the web as well. I don’t know what the exact algorithm for figuring out what to show me is, but it seems to do ok. Right now I see it as another quick way to scan through things.

What I think would be an awesome edition, if it could handle it, is syncing my Google Reader. I want a personal “cloud” or personal “techmeme” – filter and find and combine like items. I thought maybe “The Early Edition” for iPad would do that, but it croaked on my 300 some feeds.

Some day there will be an app that does it ๐Ÿ™‚


Tool of the Day: Sysinternals ProcMon

Funny how you might not EVER use a given tool, and some days you might end up using it twice. Sysinternals Procmon was that tool today.

It is the successor from old utils from Sysinternals – Filemon and Regmon.

What does it do? It monitors all processes and services and watches what they are doing on your system. File, Registry, etc, etc. Open/Close, Read/Write, what user, status, etc. You can filter and pause and find out pretty much anything going on in windows.

So early in the day, running into a website issue, not loading in IIS. No idea what is going on. Fire up Procmon and filter to the website directory on disk. Lo and behold, the site is trying to impersonate a user, and that user doesn’t have permissions. The site still didn’t work, and if I would have dug a bit more with Procmon, would have found that the user impersonating on the site also needed rights to the ASP.NET Temporary files, but after seeing the impersonation and the site still not working, I guessed it didn’t have rights to the temp folder.

Things like the scenario above I have seen people waste a support call with Microsoft with.

Second thing today. Trying to install a extension to SSRS. The installer isn’t even seeing that SSRS is installed, yet it clearly is and functioning correctly on the box. Some how the installer must be reading something or looking somewhere and not finding something. Procmon to the rescue. Fire it up, watch msiexec.exe. Seeing registry reads, it finds the SSRS instance names, then looks to a registry area with that instance name and tries to find more details. Was failing on finding the details because there was no reg keys in the second location (for whatever reason). But there was info in the first location, the same info it was looking for. I exported it out, changed the reg path of the keys, and imported. Re-ran setup and it found the instance this time and I could install the extension.

Without Procmon would have been flying blind or just guessing randomly on what to do. Could have been hours on tech support with a company, or again, a support call with Microsoft.

Procmon saved the day. Check it out and try to use where applicable in your day to day troubleshooting.

Living Virtually: Running your Dev Process on Virtual Machines

Virtual Machines have been around for years. VMWare and Microsoft have been the main competitors for a while, both offering somewhat similar products. Parallels for Mac is another, and Virtual Box for pretty much everything. I have used them all. When it comes right down to it, VMWare, to me, is ahead of the rest, so I am going to focus on that. Heck, I did a P2V (Physical to Virtual) on my girlfriends wacked out laptop and that is working great, 2 months later ๐Ÿ™‚

What is a typical scenario for most people? They go buy a machine, set it up, use it. It works great. It crashes or gets hosed. They lose most if not everything, spend a week redoing the machine and start the process over. This goes on for a few years, then they get a new machine, and start the cycle over

But…

What if you thought “virtually”? So, you go buy (or build) your beefy development machine. But then didn’t install anything but Windows Updates (of course), and VMWare Workstation. Now granted your want your physical box to have 8, 12, or 16 GB of RAM, and loads of fast disk space, but yeah, just need to have a beefy machine.

Now, you set up your actual dev machine as a virtual machine, you give it 8 GB of RAM. You install the OS, and take a snapshot (In VMWare). You install VS2010, take a snapshot. You install SQL Server 2008 R2 Dev, snapshot. You install each browser you need to test with, snapshot, snapshot, snapshot. You get the idea.

Now, if something is totally wacked, you can revert to a snapshot. You can even have multiple paths of snapshots, this type of thing is very VERY cool if you get it going correctly.

You can also just grab the entire VM hard disk and settings and copy off to your trusty 2 TB USB drive or whatever and you can do this once a week and you have a complete backup of your dev machine.

You can then set up another VM, say, “Web Server” or whatever you desire, give it 2 GB or whatever it needs to run, do the same thing. You can have both running, and do your testing. You can create a separate SQL Machine for testing. Try to set up your environment as you would for your development. If you need an Active Directory? Set that up, set up 3 VM’s or whatever, you don’t need to have them all running all the time. You need Exchange? Or SharePoint? Same thing. You have a Technet or MSDN Subscription, right? No? Go get one NOW.

What is even better then best, is that 3 years later, when you get an even better machine, you know what? You just install VMWorkstation, and copy or locate your VM’s and you are set. No resetting things up, etc, etc. It just works.

You want to create a smaller dev VM for holiday travel? Take it on USB, use Mom’s PC with VMWare Player and give your VM 1 GB of RAM. You just need enough to get by on. No laptop needed, just bring up your USB. You get the idea.. you can do pretty much anything you’d like.

If a salesperson came up to you and said “I have a way for you to configure multiple environments, multiple computers, setups, and have ways to revert back to things you did while configuring, and take backups of everything easily, etc, etc” How much would you pay? $1k? $5k? More?

How about roughly $200, for VMWare Workstation (if you already have Technet/MSDN – which you would have already). I’m sold.

If you really want to get complicated, you can set up VM Farms, and run VMWare Servers, and have multiple VM’s going and easily accessible. But using VMWorkstation to start is good enough, and good enough is fine ๐Ÿ™‚