October 2005 - Posts
Based upon the number of comments It seems that my last post on this topic struck a nerve with some of the weblogs.asp.net bloggers as well as Telligent. I read the many comments and other posts on this topic, and even had a little more to say in my post's comments. I don't want to give ScottW and Telligent too much grief over this, they have worked hard on the implementation over the years and I applaud them for it. However, when discussing this site, you really have to break the discussion into 2 parts; the Engine/Codebase, and the Blog Site.
From the coder's perspective I think ScottW et al have done an excellent job and I look forward to seeing CS 2.0 implemented here so I can gaze in wonder at how much progress they have made and all the new features available.
However, it is from a Blog Site perspective that things fall short. As a product, the weblogs.asp.net site experience is average to below average at best, and the featureset lags well behind most modern blogging tools & sites.. As a service, it lacks leadership, direction, and needs more transparency to it's users. Don't make your users hunt for this information, share it directly and openly so we can help fuel future interest in CS and this site.
Will CS 2.0 solve these problems? Maybe the featureset will improve, but will attention to the users?
Who's site is this anyway? Microsoft's or Telligent's?
When the Microsoft bloggers were added and later segmented into blogs.msdn.com it "just happened". Most of us were excited about it, because it ushered-in a new era of openness by Microsoft. However, as an impact to this blogging site, I feel that it sort of dilluted the work of many of the independent bloggers who helped bring traffic and credibility to this site prior to the arrival of Microsoft-financed bloggers. Later, when Telligent took over the www.asp.net site and these blogs, it just happened. As far as everyone was concerned, this was still part of the Microsoft family of websites. However, no explanations were made other than a basic announcement. Now this site looks more like a step-child with neither parent (Microsoft or Telligent) truly acknowledging their adopted child. More has already been said about the need for clarifying who is responsible for this site and what their plans are, so I won't rehas this territory.
Are we (weblogs.asp.net bloggers) just a expense and drain on resources, or do we contribute some value?
Now you can easily argue that since this service is Free that we "get what we paid for". However, think about what Microsoft gets in return for this investment. Lots of bloggers talking almost exclusively about their latest technology within a respected forum. There are companies who pay good money to build such a powerful grass-roots marketing machine. One man's source of excessive bandwidth costs, is another man's thriving business. If improving this site requires the addition of advertising, lets talk about it. If it requires an annual fee, lets discuss that too. But don't neglect the site and say it isnt a high priority - either provide a blog service or don't. Don't blame the contributors for being a drain. Rejoice at the fact you have this problem in the first place, then deal with it head-on. If its a problem solve it. Ask us how, I bet there are plenty with suggestions and ideas.
In the end, I will make my individual decision on my blogging future. So will the hundreds of other bloggers here. If we didnt care about this site, we wouldnt ask these questions, we would just leave. My hope is that Microsoft and Telligent will clarify their blogging story and engage the masses on this site to create a roadmap for the future that benefits everyone. The ball is in your court.
Shortly after the end of PDC, Microsoft briefly posted a huge list of all the Hands-On Labs that were available during PDC. Unfortunately, while I was downloading them they removed the files and links from the CommNet site, and later I had a HD crash and even lost those.
Today, one of my Google Alerts hit paydirt with this search phrase:
Download Details "Hands-On Labs" site:microsoft.com
It looks like MS has published some of these Hands-on Labs now, such as on Windows Workflow Foundation, and C# 3.0. Hopfully this will lead me to the rest, or at least help me find them once they are published too.
From my experience in the lab area during PDC, the workbooks and code samples in these Hands-on Labs are a great resource that can seriously reduce the time to learn the basics of all these new technologies.
Back in the days when this blog site was "dotnetweblogs.com" it was exciting and fun because it was new and ever-changing. Like watching your niece or nephew growing up, it was fun to see the improvements and changes that Scott introduced to the site each month (sometimes each week or day). Not that blogs were new, but I was new to blogs, this was a new blog engine, and it was written in .NET and dedicated to .NET which made it uber-cool.
Since then, the blog site moved to http://weblogs.asp.net, Telligent took over operations of http://www.asp.net, and finally they hired Scott and absorbed/wrangled the .TEXT codebase into their new CommunityServer project. (this is my recollection anyways)
Since then, things have definitely changed for us non-MSDN bloggers hosted on the ASP.NET site. The .TEXT site and blogs have been static since the .TEXT .95 beta. The MSDN bloggers have seen upgrades to the new CommunityServer codebase, new skins, and other changes. That is great for the Microsoft employees, but for me the old blog has definitely lost its luster. Attempts to spackel the holes and put on a fresh coat of paint via CSS have mostly been a trial in frustration. I think I'm ready for an upgrade to my blogging experience.
Maybe its time for me to self-host so I can use Community Server, or simply move to another blog site such as dotnetjunkies.com ...
I guess my question for Scott and Telligent is; "where is our blogging relationship going?"
I keep finding myself forwarding links from Rico Mariani's blog whenever I am involved in troubleshooting .NET bugs or assessing performance in managed code.
If I blogged every useful post I have referenced, I would have to just point my blog at his. So, for now here is one simple post that I find helpful to anyone who is trying to understand the basics of the .NET performance counters.
I recently was referred to this tool by a MS rep while troubleshooting some IIS Hangs and Crashes. It is still in Beta, but you can grab it via the Guest ID "DebugDiag" at http://beta.microsoft.com :
The IIS Debug Diagnostic Tool is designed to help identify common problems that occur in applications, such as Internet Information Services
If you have ever tried to wrangle Adplus or other debugging tools to take minidumps, full dumps, or catch crashes, you know how much of a pain it can be. This tool simplifies things and hooks-up Debug Host directly to your selected processes. Also, it uses rules which can be simply setup via predefined templates for crashes, hangs, memory leaks, etc.
When running into this problem, I have had some success working-around it by increasing the value on the fileMappingSize attribute on the performanceCounters element within the config file.
In most cases, you will need to modify this either in the machine.config or the root web.config (c:\inetpub\wwwroot\web.config), otherwise it may not apply properly.
See the MSDN docs for details and use at your own risk:
I had previously seen some announcement saying MS was going to make the XBox360 controllers compatible with Windows XP via USB.
You can now download the XInput driver Microsoft created to enable this feature.
The Microsoft Common Controller Driver is a new game input standard that is used for both the Xbox360 console and for Windows XP SP1 and above. The Xbox360 controller or any controllers that utilize this standard will enable the device to be used on Windows also. This Redistributable Package includes the driver for hardware vendors to redistribute with their hardware. For the most current APIs of the Microsoft Common Controller, please download the latest DX SDK. These APIs are called Xinput APIs.
Today, during the discovery phase of a troubleshooting incident, the MS rep had me download and use the MDAC Component Checker utility to verify the MDAC install.
This is a great tool to use to identify your MDAC version, and subsequently determine if the registry entries and files associated with that version match what is expected for that version.
Occasionally when searching on some topic, I find myself bumping into the same blog over and over again and getting great results every time.
David Wang's blog has been like that for me lately. While researching some rather heinous IIS crashes, I have found the perfect IIS troubleshooting sherpa, in the form of David Wang. I especially appreciate his preaching on the neccessity for debugging a crash dump rather than simply "pattern matching" with existing KB Articles and newsgroup posts.