Categories
Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

Thoughts on Windows 8 Details

Yesterday at All Things D, Microsoft announced Windows 8 (codename of course) details, and a first glimpse on video
 

Windows 8 Video #1

My initial reactions to this, as a consumer and as a development manager of an app that at this time is completely windows desktop .NET based:

HTML5/JS Apps

First reaction? Why not just use a browser? and How are they going to interact with the OS? What level’s of rights will they have to read/write file system, etc, etc. Also, what happens to Silverlight? C++/Winforms apps? Yeah they show old apps running “behind” the new UI, but what is MIcrosoft’s stance on development of these other technologies? WPF? They have told devs to build using these tech’s for desktop for years, now, lets go HTML5/JS? WTF? Will apps run in browser too? On a mac? iOS?

Tiles

First reaction? Looks like an exploded Windows Phone UI, WP7. Which at first blush looks cool but I have found usability to be painful. Seems to be more of a shell UI on top of Windows 7 (or whatever). They should call it Windows Blinds Smile

In General

I think that this will be a good refresh for the OS, but it might take a few iterations for this new UI to be used heavily. My take? Users will get the OS installed and (hopefully there will be an option to) turn off the new UI and go back to what they have used for years. Slowly but surely the new UI will take hold with some cool apps and more and more people will use that and get used to it, abstracted away from the core OS explorer, etc.

Looking forward to trying it out in beta, and when it goes live. I will give MSFT this, they keep things changing so devs have to keep learning! Oh yeah, and PDC is no longer, it is now BUILD – http://www.buildwindows.com/

Categories
Business Intelligence SQLServerPedia Syndication

SSRS Report – No Page Breaks For You!

One thing I usually run into when creating SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) Reports is this: You have a smallish size dataset back, maybe somewhere between 50 and 150 rows, but if it hits that row limit on the page break, you get 3 records on the next page. Annoying. What I usually do for reports like this is just make them all one big page. How? Pretty simple actually. Set the “Interactive Height” to 0 on the report.

Open up Report Builder (or BIDS) and get to your “Report” Properties, and then under “Interactive Size” set the height property to zero. Thats it.

Once you make this minor change, you report will just list your row with no page breaks. Pretty useful for that report with 3 more rows than a page!

Categories
SharePoint

MS Project 2010 Sync with SharePoint 2010

If you get Microsoft Project 2010 and use it to manage your projects (I don’t personally, I use Agile) – then you can sync with with SharePoint 2010.

There is an article, which shows you how to setup the sync, which is pretty cool, but it doesn’t give you tons of detail about the url you need to put in.

The url you would want to put in is the url to your site. Not a page or list.

Ex:

if your site is

http://mysite/sites/Projects/MyProject 

you would use that. Some might think you would put in a link to your task list or something else, but you just need the root site. Now you know!

Categories
Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

Windows Phone – Samsung Focus

Picked up a Samsung Focus yesterday, device only, no contract. Testing it out. Going to do some development and what not. More to come on this front, but after using it for the first few hours..

1. Can’t connect to hidden wifi networks.

If you have your wireless network hidden, you are out of luck, you need to have the SSID broadcast

2. Facebook Sync doesn’t work (or work well) when you have Facebook account settings set to HTTPS

I can see this happening right now as Facebook just turned that on recently and the phone doesn’t know how to handle, but it should.

3. It’s light.

Can hardly feel it in my pocket

4. I like the UI but seems very “jumpy”

seems like you bounce around a lot.

Other than that, still getting to know it. I haven’t moved my SIM card over yet (btw, the iPhone 4 is a mini SIM, so you need an adapter), but I might, we will see.


Categories
Business Intelligence Geeky/Programming SQLServerPedia Syndication

SQL 2008 R2 IntelliSense May Stop Working After Updating to VS2010 SP1

Ran into this tonight. The other day I updated to Visual Studio 2010 SP1, and my IntelliSense in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 2008 R2 stopped working.

I updated by SQL 2008 R2 install to CU6 and the IntelliSense started working again.

Categories
Geeky/Programming

Why don’t I see Windows 7 SP1 in Windows Update? Could be Video Drivers!

This weekend was Daylight Savings Time.. Spring Ahead. You are supposed to set all your clocks ahead 1 hour if your area observes DST. With that, you are also supposed to change your batteries in your smoke alarms, or that is at least what “they” tell you to do. Probably another good thing to do is run patches on all your systems!

I updated around 4-5 Windows 7 Machines at home, couple desktops, few VM’s, and it was fine. My work laptop (a Del Latitude E6410) I couldn’t see the update in Windows Update. I figured maybe it would get pushed later from WSUS or whatever, but also had a hunch something else was up, and I was right.

If you look here (Microsoft KB) there is a nugget about

 

Check whether you have Intel integrated graphics driver Igdkmd32.sys or Igdkmd64.sys and whether you upgraded the driver

Windows 7 SP1 will not appear in Windows Update if update 2454826 is not installed. Windows Update will not offer you update KB2454826 if you are using one of the following Intel integrated graphics drivers:

  • Igdkmd32.sys (32-bit), versions 8.15.10.2104 through 8.15.10.2141
  • Igdkmd64.sys (64-bit), versions 8.15.10.2104 through 8.15.10.2141

These drivers are known to cause problems with certain applications that use D2D (Direct2D). For example, if you use these drivers together with Windows Live Mail under certain circumstances, Windows Live Mail could crash. 
To check for the Intel integrated graphics driver and driver version, follow these steps:

  1. Start DirectX Diagnostic Tool. To do this, click Start

    Start button

    , type dxdiag in the Search programs and files box, and then press Enter. 

  2. Click the Display tab.
  3. Note the driver and driver version.
  4. If you have the Intel integrated graphics driver and driver version 8.15.10.2104 through 8.15.10.214, visit the computer manufacturer’s website to see whether a newer driver is available.

 

Well, that is what I saw on my laptop. So I updated the drivers, and rebooted, re-ran Windows Update, and boom! Windows 7 SP1 showed up. Nice.

Note: not sure this is the right link, but here is what I installed: Dell drivers and downloads

Categories
Geeky/Programming

Follow up to "Operating a Computer is like Operating a Car"

After getting said laptop from Dad and fixing, couple of things to note.

1. “System Tool” infection is wicked, but fixable: best fix here

2. Try try try to remove access to IE. But you can’t completely. But you can do this. Create an htm file somewhere on the C drive, and edit to say something in size 20 font like “Dad, don’t use IE, use Google Chrome” and link to Google Chrome path on the machine. Set it as the homepage (file://c:blah.htm)

Categories
Geeky/Programming

Thoughts on the Future of Microsoft Development #pdc2010

The PDC was last week. I have never been (was scheduled once but didn’t end up going), but I try to keep up with everything that they have online, and now even more the blogs and tweets. Here are my thoughts after digesting everything I could.

Strategy

I’m not sure this much of one.. but Microsoft is still trying to figure out and find their development strategy. From back in the 90’s when it was Win32 then MFC and ASP Classic with VBScript + Office/VBA, to then Managed code (.NET C#/VB.NET, and ASP.NET Stacks).. and then WPF/Silverlight, they still and always will keep changing so that developers have to keep learning new things and looking at the next shiny object. There hasn’t been much of a convergence or steady path though. It seems once a developer or team picks up a technology it is already outdated, and I am guessing this will never change.

Anyways, after watching the videos and seeing discussion, this is what I think..

1. HTML5

The web! Ahh, the web. The one place there are no restrictions. Apple is saying, develop under our restrictions, or go out to the web with HTML5, and Microsoft is going to follow suit. If it was ASP Classic, or ASP.NET WebForms, and then MVC, and now HTML5, the web will be around for a while and Microsoft doesn’t want to get left behind. For a while they were touting Silverlight as the “new web” or whatever, but that seems to have changed.

Web applications are good for some things – well, a ton, but not everything. You can’t do some of the richer things you can do on a client on the web, deeper integrations. You can’t really run a web app offline either, no matter what people say, it just won’t be the same as a fat client. Anything I hear from MSFT that says, it does “X” if you use IE9 and I just cringe. Forget IE, let’s make it work for all browsers.

2. Silverlight

If you are developing for the WP7 Phone (who has one? yeah – I thought so), you use Silverlight, other than that, not 100% sure where they are going with this. Use it for video streaming? Games? Flash killer? Basic RIA application that needs a little more integration with the desktop than a standard web app, but less than a fat client. The problem is, what you can and cannot do in Silverlight changes every release – In my opinion they should open it up more, let you do more things with the desktop. Let devs focus on just one set of rules. I have a feeling that Silverlight might just be used as a “glue” technology instead of a “main” technology. The glue between Web and Windows?

3. WPF

Unknown here. Not much at PDC, but some talks. Winforms (like Webforms) is a forgotten technology at MSFT, so to all the people who jumped on those trains, sorry, you need to hurry up and get on the new trains. I have read some places that WPF is the future for desktop/fat client apps at MSFT, and other places where there is no Product Manager, there is barely a team, no support, they are letting it die (ala Winforms), but who knows for sure. What should a developer do? Enterprise and Line of Business applications that need desktop integrations can’t be created in Web or Silverlight, and .NET developers really don’t want to fall back to C++ (although Evernote did – and saw a huge performance gain). Microsoft needs to instill some confidence in developers that a technology they would choose isn’t neglected – to me that is just piss poor business practices. On one hand let’s market the hell out of it (which with WPF really hasn’t been the case, but marketed way more than Win32 or Winforms) and get everyone on the bandwagon, and then let it die, and 2 years later say “X” is the brand new toy you need to focus on. They finally are doing some things at MSFT in WPF, but to what extent? Black magic embedding WPF controls in Winforms or Win32 apps? To me, seeing the pretty awesome data binding stuff with WPF makes it a no brainer. Why not extend the enhanced data binding to Winforms? Why make devs switch?

 

Like I said, more convergence of tools. Use expression blend for front ends? Yes! – but it should be for everything, Windows/Web/RIA, not just Windows/RIA. Language constructs getting to the same level no matter where you code? Yes – sounds like a good thing to me, so why is it so tough?

The new Async framework looks sweet, what else for Windows devs on the .NET side? Can we get some more detailed strategy from Microsoft on where things are going? What to focus on? Companies and developers are stuck making a leap of faith when choosing which technology to use – to make sure they aren’t left in the dust. On the Apple side, it is pretty clear – use Objective C and you can code for Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc. use HTML5 for the web. Should we all be using Java? or C++? Why have .NET devs struggle to figure out what technology to use? So bottom line..

 

1. Web – HTML5/ASP.NET MVC, WCF services, etc

2. Mobile – Silverlight (aside: what ever happened to the .NET CF?)

3. Windows – WPF, WPF, WPF (but don’t forget about console apps and windows services!)

It would be interesting to go to Microsoft dev shops around the globe and do surveys..

“Hey there – what are most of your websites and web services written in?”

    Answer: “Webforms and ASMX services -  we are looking at MVC”

“Hello, what are you doing for mobile development?”

    Answer: “Well, since WP7 phone just came out and who knows if it will take off, we do everything in Objective C for iOS devices or just have a mobile website in ASP.NET webforms, or we have some Java based Android app, and some crappy Blackberry apps or something..”

“Hola, what are you doing for your LOB desktop apps, etc?”

    Answer: “Well we have a few legacy VB6 apps, some Win32 apps, and we have poured tons of time into Winforms over the last 7-8 years, but we want to start looking at WPF”

I bet a majority of the answers would be similar to the ones above. Who the hell is doing anything in Silverlight? Niche apps/markets? What about WPF? A few, and some proof of concepts, but yeah, even the MVC stuff is probably on a slower adoption rate then MSFT would like. Not sure how they solve this problem. One way would be to STOP CHANGING THINGS EVERY TWO YEARS so that dev shops can focus and incrementally move to the new technologies, but I don’t see that happening.

Where do we go from here? Well, I am pretty excited to see what .NET 5 brings. 🙂

Categories
SQLServerPedia Syndication

SQL DBA: Starting Fresh, What do you do?

If you start at a new place, as a SQL Server Database Administrator (DBA), what is one of the first things you should do? In my opinion, after figuring out the key servers and instances running you need to support… is setting up alerts.

By setting up alerts you can start to get an idea of what is not working and start focusing on things that are failing, etc first. All the while you can still check on backups and getting everything else set up and working, but if you don’t have alerts, well, you are blind.

Alerts should tell you..

1) When a physical server is down (network)
2) When backups fail
3) When jobs fail
4) When logins fail
5) I/O issues
6) the “critical” 14, 15, 16, 17
7) crazy cpu and memory issues
8) services going up and down
9) if your SAN is up/down
10) Hard drive getting close to 100%

and that is just the beginning. What other alerts should DBA’s set up *right away* to make sure they are on top of things?


Categories
Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

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 🙂