Archives / 2004 / June
  • NJ Dev Meet-Up Two: aka Geek Dinner

    Sounds like a plan ... we got a pretty good response last time, and had a lot of fun...
    Leave a comment on Scott's site if you're planning to attend...

    I just got done chatting with Don. It's been quite a while since the last NJ Geek Dinner, so we would like to set another one up.

    Date: July 7, 2004
    Time: 6:30 PM
    City:  New Brunswick
    Location: Harvest Moon Brewery 

    See you all there (and please leave a comment or drop me a line if you plan on attending)

    Update: It looks like the Harvest Moon recently added wireless access from the bar.

    [Via ScottWater]


  • MS Sql Server 2005 Express

    Microsoft announces SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. It'll be great to have a low-cost lightweight SQL server, WITH it's own (slated for 8/04) "database manager and query analysis tool." I wonder just how the "click-once" technology in visual studio will be connected with this product (that feature's scheduled for Beta 3. It's great to see the next evolution of MSDE.


  • RE: Remembering passwords...

    Sorin Dolha suggests in the comments to this post that rather than coming up with a unique password for each site, or having several remembered passwords, or resorting to the "whoops... I forgot my password" form on most websites that a methodology should be implemented instead. For example, if my methodology is the number of letters of the domain name, followed by the $ sign, followed by my first name, and some random year I like...say the year I first went online, then my password for amazon might be: "6$Jason$1990"; (or you could be more complex). Fun, easy, and annoying to hack. Great reasoning Sorin! This is another of those "Now why didn't I think of that first?" ideas...

    It looks like the number of passwords that I have to remember grows linearly over time. Since I don't have the best mnemotechnic abilities I decided today that it is OK to just forget them. Then, I just tell the whatever-site-I-must-log-on that I've forgot my password and ask it to send it by email (or reset it) each time my cookie expires. Then I simply cut & paste the password from the received email and voila, everything seems to work fine. This also allows me to implement real cryptic passwords without any fear that I might forget them later.

    P.S. Yes, I know that SMTP is not really a secure protocol... :-)

    [Via Adi Oltean]


  • RE: Master-Page-Limitation in ASP.NET 2.0

    How great is this? It would seem that dynamic master pages are in fact possible. I just wonder what this will do to page performance....

    The concept of Masterpages introduced in ASP.NET “Whidbey” is really fascinating. But it seems to have one major limitation, which appears to make it quite unusable in bigger Web-Applications: There seems to be no functionality, which allows a developer to programmatically change the used Master-Page at runtime.

    If you think so, you should read this article:

    After reading this, you'll be able to change the MasterPage at runtime using the new PreInit-Event:

    protected override void OnPreInit(EventArgs e)
      this.MasterPageFile = "OtherTemplate.master";

    Protected Overrides Sub OnPreInit(ByVal e As EventArgs)
       Me.MasterPageFile = "OtherTemplate.master"
    End Sub

    And after all, the concepts of MasterPages should work. :-)

    Thanks to Scott Galloway ( for his hint on this topic.

    [Via K Samaschke & Scott Galloway]


  • RE: Credit Card Fraud

    My wife was hit by credit card fraud last week - somehow, someone managed to get her credit card number and used it to make charges to

    • AOL - setting up an email account in my wife's name that even used our actual address, phone number etc.


  • Application Center Test, VS, and robots.txt

    VS and ACT

    While attempting to write some stress testing using Application Center Test (that name just seems backwards to me), and stress testing a site with Robots.txt denying access to our authenticated folders for those search engine bots, I came across some interesting issues:

    1) Lack of recorded SSL support (hence the (C)2001 on the about page -- this product is clearly dated).
    2) If it sees robots.txt, even if that file allows the "Stress-Agent" user agent it claims to look for, it won't run the test
    3) Visual studio integration doesn't allow you to change the option to ignore robots.txt
    4) Lack of recorded SSL support (this really does annoy me! -- especially MS' workaround which I may post on separately)

    1/4 I may tackle in a separate post; as for 2/3, by editing the non-included "properties.xml" in your Application Center Test project in visual studio, you can turn off cookies with the following section of xml at the top of the file:

    <DefaultValues >
    <Project >
    <ProxyEnable type="bool" value="false"/>
    <ProxyName type="string" value=""/>
    <ProxyPort type="long" value="80"/>
    <KeepOneRecycledFile type="bool" value="false"/>
    <RecycleSize type="long" value="20"/>
    <LogPath type="string" value="(automatic)"/>
    <LogEnable type="bool" value="true"/>
    <CheckRobots type="bool" value="false"/>
    <UseAbortiveTcpClose type="bool" value="true"/>
    <SocketTimeout type="long" value="120"/>
    (the file continues on)...
    Save and you're good to go...just right click your test, and the output window in visual studio should tell you the test is running.


  • Longhorn Hang Reporting

    When windows crash under WinHEC Longhorn -- and believe me, they will -- you may try to end the task under task manager to get control of your machine again.  A new window pops up, similar to the Error Reporting from XP, this one's called "Windows Hang Reporting", aka dwhang.exe. 

    Any information I can give to prevent my windows from choking in the future is well worth the effort -- be sure to submit issues as you come across them!


  • .NET Free TV Listings

    Gotta Love it... I had purchased Pocket TV Listings, by ThumbsUpSoft, and really couldn't be happier with it.  The app is easy to use, the listings are good, and the interesting thing is that it looks like it's free now (must've been my emails every few months that I forgot my product key -- sorry!).

    Now the .NET part... the listings now come from a web service client from Zap2It Labs -- some wierd part of Tribune Media (see newspapers, some television & radio, based out of NY; I got to rip apart one of their radio station studios, but that's another story for another day!)

    Upon investigation on their site, there's a .NET class ready made to read the TV listings.... very cool stuff.  Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to do with this bit o' code :)

    Update: you have to login w/ a free account to view the forum, but trust me, it's worth it!


  • XPSP2 Bluetooth

    As Graeme has posted, Bluetooth has been much improved with Windows XP SP2.  This makes it much easier to activesync over bluetooth, and worked perfectly out of the box with my Belkin adapter (except for the fact that I had to say yes to install the unsigned drivers). It took a few tries to realize the reason I couldn't sync even though I could connect was due to the fact ActiveSync wanted to connect over COM3, which was not a port that the XP service had installed by default. However, adding a new COM port under the Client Applications tab in the configuration did the trick.  Since the software was already installed, the WidComm stack is used, and works great... now if I could just figure out how to stop the Bluetooth signal from wreaking havoc on my cordless phone...


    What does Bluetooth do?

    Bluetooth? is a wireless networking technology available in a wide variety of devices. Support for Bluetooth wireless technology is included in Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. This support was not previously available directly from Microsoft. It is included now because customers requested that this technology be added to the core Windows operating system.

    Some of the features that are included in this release are support for PAN (personal area networking using Internet Protocol over Bluetooth), Hard Copy Replacement Profile (HCRP) for printing, dial-up networking, Host Interface Device (HID), object push, and virtual COM ports. Support for selective suspend and boot-mode keyboards (based on specifically configured hardware) is also included.

    If no Bluetooth transceiver is present on the system, there is no change to the system's behavior. When a Bluetooth device that is approved by the Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) is present, Bluetooth support is enabled. When Bluetooth support is enabled, you can find changes in the Network Connections section in Control Panel. A new Control Panel item called Bluetooth Devices has also been added. In addition, you can find the new Bluetooth File Transfer Wizard by clicking Start, pointing to Accessories, and pointing to Communications.

    If an existing non-Microsoft Bluetooth network driver is installed, upgrading to Service Pack 2 for Windows XP does not cause the existing driver to be replaced. It can be replaced later, either manually or programmatically.

    For complete documentation on Bluetooth in Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, see online Help.


  • X-Smiles

    DonXML, a fellow Longhorn enthusiast, as well as a vocal XML proponent (as the name would suggest), pointed me in the direction of X-Smiles.  This takes the levels of XHTML and SMIL compatability seen in browsers such as Opera, and Firefox to a whole new domain. Built in JAVA, and intended “for exotic devices,” the project looks very interesting.  Very cool stuff... I will be writing more as I get a chance to play around with it. 

    I can't remember a time in the past when I've had so much cool stuff waiting for me to play around with.  Between the current builds of Longhorn and Whidbey, to MSH and X-Smiles, there's enough to keep me busy for quite a while :) 

    Now to install the latest build of xpsp2 on this machine... I put it on my laptop but never got around to installing it on my main pc.


  • Suspect Memory

    While many people I know have always suspected my lack of ability to remember peoples' faces, but remember numbers and useless trivial knowledge, I'm talking about RAM.  My laptop has been performing strangely ever since I upgraded to a gig of ram from the onboard 512mb.  It'll do things like blue-screen XP after an hour of idling (forget about actually doing work).  So to that end, I'm doing some serious testing of the RAM to make sure I didn't get any bad chips (I'm almost positive I did).

    Enter Chris Brady's Memtest86, a free program loading from a bootable disk, that simulates normal RAM operations on a systematic scale, writing to and reading from each location in ram, and then checking for errors. This program is easy to use and free, under the GPL. There's also ISOs available if the machine in question does not have a floppy drive.