December 2007 Blog Posts

Video Card Woes

I sent this message to VisionTek: I purchased 2 Radeon X1300 cards for use on a new Dell OptiPlex 740 with Vista 64-bit.  The machine is running an AMD 64 X2 Dual Core 4200+ 2.20GHz processor and I have 4GB RAM.  I have 3 Dell 198FP 19" flat panels. I have been having a hard time getting drivers running with a quality display.  Screen painting is slow and as I move things around, there is a lot of "pixel poop" left behind. If I remove one of the cards, everything works great on 2 monitors (one hooked to the DVI with...

posted @ Friday, December 21, 2007 2:10 PM | Feedback (0)

Tweaking Registry for Taskbar in Vista

This post is proving useful.  It didn't solve my root annoyance, but it did help.  Here's what I wanted to beat... I like using Toolbars as quick menus on the task bar.  You can set them up like this:   But when you turn on "Lock the Taskbar" things get repositioned and it looks like this: From what I understand, the configuration of the taskbar toolbars is stored in binary in the registry.  I haven't yet found a way to manipulate it to get rid of the little gaps...

posted @ Wednesday, December 19, 2007 11:27 AM | Feedback (5)

Vista Explorer Niceties

I've started using a couple of nice features in the Vista Explorer.  First is the 'Favorite Links' area.  This is similar to the 'Favorite Folders' area in Outlook 2007.  Second is 'Use checkboxes to select items' from the View options. Here is a shot with both items in action: To turn on the checkboxes, hit Organize->Folder and Search Options.  Then on the View tab, there's an option for "Use checkboxes to select items."  I have only been using this for 10 minutes, but I already love it. Technorati Tags: Vista

posted @ Wednesday, December 19, 2007 1:32 AM | Feedback (0)

Clicking Apply then OK

Something I've noticed that a lot of people do in Windows is click Apply and then OK.  While trying to find a solution to my Kensington mouse problem, I saw some posted instructions that explicitly said to click Apply and then OK. What surprises me most is how many developers I've seen do this.  When there are 3 buttons, OK, Cancel and Apply, everyone knows that clicking OK will also Apply the changes, right?  Save yourself 2 seconds and just click OK.

posted @ Wednesday, December 19, 2007 1:22 AM | Feedback (0)

Kensington Expert Mouse on Vista (or Windows 7)

Not long ago, I wrote about how I love my trackball.  Unfortunately, Kensington isn't providing software for configuring the Expert Mouse in Vista (or in 64-bit XP from what I can tell).  However, I did find a solution, for the most part. Install IntelliPoint for Vista. Select "Microsoft Trackball Optical" as your device Install X-Mouse Button Control Double-click the icon that is added to your system tray. "Left Button" = Lower-left button "Right Button = Lower-right button "Middle...

posted @ Tuesday, December 18, 2007 11:46 PM | Feedback (62)

Thank You Tire Discounters

It seems like there's always a company out there that is ticking me off.  This is especially true when dealing with cars and car repairs.  Over the past couple of weeks, Tire Discounters has broken that trend. We presently have a 2005 Ford Freestyle; it's on lease*.  Our lease was up back in July, but we ordered a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid and we have had to wait for it to come in; we've had to extend the lease on the Freestyle until the Escape comes in. A few weeks ago, we had a tire go flat on...

posted @ Tuesday, December 18, 2007 7:57 PM | Feedback (1)

Visual Studio 2003 on Vista

I'm just now getting around to installing Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect on my new Vista workstation at the office.  I haven't been worried about this too much, because I have this setup working at home without problem. But of course, I ran into a snag here.  When I ran the setup, it highlighted the Pre-requisites task as the only available step.  Then when that opened up, I got this lovely message: I tried a few things to get past this, including installing the FrontPage 2002 Server Extensions for IIS 7 (RC1).  But I...

posted @ Tuesday, December 18, 2007 6:47 PM | Feedback (0)

Barracuda IM Client on Vista

I have to use Barracuda IM for one of my clients*.  I typically only sign in when we're shipping a new release though.  Today is one of those days, and I tried to install the client on my Vista machine, but I'm not having any luck. Needless to say, this machine has never seen Barracuda before, so the installer must be making some sort of a mistake.  My client is going to check to see if there's a 64-bit install. * This is by NO means an endorsement of Barracuda IM.  I'm not a fan myself,...

posted @ Tuesday, December 18, 2007 3:51 PM | Feedback (0)

Vista 64-bit Installation (part 5)

I rebooted and got another blue screen -- same error.  I took the memory back out, and booted clean again.  Then I downloaded and installed the windows update standalone package available for KB929777.  I rebooted to make sure I got a clean reboot with 2GB ram, which I did.  Then I added the RAM back in and I've rebooted a few times just fine. I think I may finally be in the clear.  What a pain though!

posted @ Friday, December 14, 2007 1:36 PM | Feedback (0)

Vista 64-bit Installation (part 4)

I joined the domain, which needed a reboot, and upon boot, I got the same blue screen error.  I took 2GB RAM back out, booted clean, ran Windows Update again, turned it off, added the memory back in, and booted just fine. I think I'll try just rebooting a handful of times before I run any more installations.

posted @ Friday, December 14, 2007 12:48 PM | Feedback (0)

Vista 64-bit Installation (part 3)

I took 2GB RAM out of the machine (to take it to 2GB), then finished the installation, ran Windows Update, and added the RAM back in.  All seems well.  That was a LOT easier than slipstreaming my own Vista installation! Here are the details for my Vista score: Processor = 4.9 Memory = 5.9 Graphics = 3.4 (haven't installed my aftermarket cards yet) Gaming graphics = 3.0 (same as above, but I don't really care about this one) Primary...

posted @ Friday, December 14, 2007 12:04 PM | Feedback (0)

Vista 64-bit Installation (part 2)

I got the blue screen again.  This time I had enough time to see the error message: IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. I found the following knowledge base article: Error message when you try to install Windows Vista on a computer that uses more than 3 GB of RAM. This article states: To apply this update, you must use the files that are included in this update package to update the Windows installation source files. For information about how to do this, see the OEM preinstall kit (OPK) documentation or the Automated Installation Kit (AIK) documentation. ...

posted @ Friday, December 14, 2007 10:50 AM | Feedback (0)

New Workstation - Vista Business 64-bit Installation

I got a new workstation at the office yesterday.  Shiny new Dell Optiplex 740 with an AMD x64 processor.  I decided to make the leap and install Windows Vista Business 64-bit. So I assembled the computer this morning and fired off the installation.  I'm not off to a great start though... when Vista got to the "Completing installation" step, I got a blue screen of death and the installation cannot continue.  Starting over. Technorati Tags: Vista,64-bit

posted @ Friday, December 14, 2007 10:26 AM | Feedback (1)

Cannot Debug Unit Tests in VS 2008

I downloaded and installed VS 2008 Professional.  The first thing I wanted to play with was the Extension Methods stuff.  Like a good little boy, I stubbed out a method and then created a unit test. The unit test failed, as expected.  Then I put the actual code into the extension method, and ran the test again.  The test still failed.  I looked through the code and everything seemed right to me, so I put a breakpoint into the unit test and tried to debug it.  But my breakpoint did not get hit; I get the message, "No symbols...

posted @ Wednesday, December 12, 2007 10:37 PM | Feedback (8)

I love my Trackball

Earlier this year, I started experiencing some hand and finger problems including pain and numbness.  I was noticing it most near the end of a long day, and while using my mouse. For a long time, I had been using (and loving) the Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse 5000. I can't stand wired mice, and Optical is a must, so this mouse was a good fit for me.  But, having 3 screens requires a lot of mouse movement, even with very high mouse speed. When I mentioned my hand pain to Chris Spiess (coworker), he suggested switching to a...

posted @ Thursday, December 6, 2007 12:15 PM | Feedback (0)

TDD - Proof of Incorrectness (via Haacked)

When I read part 1 of Joel's talk at Yale, I thought maybe he was referring to Phil Haack's recent post about TDD.  But, like Phil, I also got the impression later on that it was just a coincidence. I do like something Phil said in his post about this coincidence though... It’s no proof of correctness, but can be a proof of incorrectness when a test fails. That is an excellent statement! I am not a TDD advocate, but I see its benefits.  Sadly, I've heard from a lot of people...

posted @ Tuesday, December 4, 2007 6:46 PM | Feedback (0)

My Job Description

I met with my project manager today and we discussed my formal responsibilities on DASL.  I've recently been working on stabilizing my work pace, and in order to do so, it's important to know what the heck I'm supposed to be doing. About a month ago, I met with my boss, one of the owners of BIG, and we discussed this kind of stuff too.  But now that we have some time behind us after I delegated some things away, it was great to review what I've been doing and actually document it--very refreshing actually. (Updated 12/6/2007 to...

posted @ Monday, December 3, 2007 10:24 PM | Feedback (0)

Task Tracking

Back in March of this year, Jess Tedder turned me on to David Seah's Emergent Task Timer form.  While recording tasks and hours on paper goes against my standard belief in making everything electronic, I trusted Jess.  He said that he was hooked and that he had been very disciplined in tracking his time using these forms.  I decided to give it a try myself.  I have been filling in little bubbles ever since! I did have a few problems with David Seah's forms though: No task totals for the end of the day ...

posted @ Monday, December 3, 2007 10:09 PM | Feedback (6)