February 2004 - Posts
I've recently been having problems with my home desktop pc (the one I use for Longhorn development), sometimes getting a “windows can't read from the boot disk; perhaps you need a new one?” type message whenever I try to get into longhorn or xp pro (after I make the selection on the boot menu).
Day 1/Guess 1: Loose Ribbon Cable:
My first guess was the ribbon cable from the HD to the motherboard. In the past, after long amounts of use (vibrations from drives A: through L:) can actually cause a ribbon cable to loosen itself from the socket, and disk errors will result. Unplug and replug, and the machine's good for a couple more months (this has actually happened with more than one pc in the past; I must just have bad luck).
Day 2/Guess 2: DVD:
When the next day the problem occurred again, I realized that perhaps it's the DVD in the drive I was trying to encode to my pocket pc. So, I removed the disc from the drive, and it booted fine. I have had certain CDs, and DVDs (usually writable/ burned cds, although this one was a movie I had bought) cause the PC to lockup during boot, so this was not really that strange (albeit annoying).
Day 3/Guess 3: Card Reader:
By now, I'm getting really frustrated. I have checked the ribbon cables, and a disc in the drive, both worked for 1 day, I can leave the machine on for 12 hours or so with no adverse effects, but if I leave the house and come back, ::poof:: can't read from startup disk. [A light goes on] Whenever I am removing the disc from a drive, or moving the pc to work inside it, I'm removing any USB stuff I have plugged into the front panel, including one Kingston memory card reader (which houses drives M: and N:). Surely, it's not thinking this is a boot drive, is it? After a trip into the BIOS, I discovered to my astonishment “Generic Disk” inbetween my IDE chain and my RAID array. So, unless this is another false lead, I believe the hardware problem is solved.
Sometimes those fatal windows error messages are not what they seem from the initial cursory glance. Those black screen error messages are much worse than the blue screens!
I figured I'd watch some movies / tv shows I had on upcoming plane rides, or just while I'm waiting (rehearsals Tuesday nights, and I'm the type of person who's perpetually early). So, I decided to learn how to encode movies onto my PPC. (This is used to play on the PocketTV free player:
This can be accomplished through the use of three free programs:
1. CladDVD.NET : Clad DVD rips movies to your hard disk (make sure you have 5 gigs free), and best of all, it's now in managed code.
2. DVD2AVI : simple program to convert the VOB files (ripped dvd's) to WAV audio and AVI video files (leave a few gigs free for this step). I used v1.77.3
3. TMPGEnc: does the working part where it converts the avi/wav to an mpg file. I tend to use about a meg/minute. Click here for my ppc profile.
(and of course, the mpeg compressor: Microsoft MPEG-4 VKI Codec )
And here's the guide that got me started. Click here
A 1 gig compact flash card, and I can store about 5 dvd's on it...
The MSDE Web Resource Kit is now available, with a sample ASP.NET data driven app.
Information on how to install MSDE can be found on this page.
After changing some system settings in Longhorn in Virtual PC, and deciding just to “turn off” the window, the next time I started up, Longhorn was running very slowly. After a while, a piece of toast popped up explaining Longhorn was in “Verification Mode” due to the crash. It then allowed me to disable it, by brining up an “Is system allowed to run in verification mode?” dialog. Very interesting... perhaps this is the next evolution of Safe Mode?
One of the first things I noticed when trying to iterate through the controls of a Longhorn form looking for a control was the absence of the Controls class. In its place is the UIElementCollection, a member of the MSAvalon.Windows.Controls namespace for the PDC build. This is an array which you can use to gain access to the child controls of an element from the codebehind. For example, if you had this scenario in the XAML document:
<Canvas ID=”FunControls” Width=”100%” Height=”100%”>
<Button ID=“B0“>I am button 1</Button>
<Button ID=“B1“>I am button 2</Button>
You may get to the child elements of that Canvas with the following in the codebehind:
UIElementCollection ec = FunControls.Children;
//now I would like to find all of the buttons
for (int i=0; i < ec.Count; i++)
//note this namespace will change in future builds...
if (ec[i].GetType.ToString() == “MSAvalon.Windows.Controls.Button” )
MSAvalon.Windows.Controls.Button b = (MSAvalon.Windows.Controls.Button)ec[i];
//do something with the button here :)
Very easy, but the syntax is slightly different from past WinForms programming
I was surprised to hear “What is a weblog or blog?” as one of the questions for Jeopardy today. The answer? Presidential candidate Howard Dean made these popular for candidates during the 2003 democratic primary campaign (I'm working from memory here, so it's not a quote.) The Category? 21st Century Trends
Followed by “WORLD WIDE WEB” as an answer during Wheel of Fortune.... very interesting.
For any loyal readers of my site, I've made available a Download Page available on the left menu of my blog. This will have links to software and samples I've written. Also an articles (published) page will be added soon.
Now as an added bonus, some useless trivia... how many of you knowledgable Americans know about President David Rice Atchinson? Yes, he had the dubious honor of being POTUS for a day. Here's an article explaining the details.
After Chris Sells asked a few questions on my last post on property aliasing, and transforming bound data with the IDataTransformer interface, I realized the post may have been a bit shallow. Here's my article on how to bind & transform data, complete with working sample:
In Depth Longhorn/XAML Property aliasing
I've used controls from eXcentrics world
on a few projects I have been involved in, and am impressed with their reliability and ease-of-use. The controls are donate-ware, and $75 for source code access. The collapsable panel and bread crumb trail are my favorites.
I thought this was very cool -- NOAA (the national oceanic and atmospheric administration)Is providing rss feeds for the weather, organized by state. Formats are HTML, RSS, and XML/CAP. Since feedback is “accepted through January 31, 2003”, this has been fairly stable.
The service is available at: http://weather.gov/alerts/
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