Plip's Weblog

Phil Winstanley - British .NET chap based in Lancashire. Enjoys tea and tech. Working for Microsoft.

July 2007 - Posts


Well, the time has come, we've opened registration for MIX UK



Posted: Jul 25 2007, 03:11 PM by Plip | with no comments
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MSDN - What a waste

I've been an MVP for 7? years now, and in that time I've come to love having access to an MSDN Subscription, I'd never want to loose it, it's too useful.

Every year the MSDN program send me a completely new set of DVD's.

According to the UK MVP web site there are over 150 MVP's in the UK alone, each one of them having access to MSDN or TechNet, so let's take an educated guess and say that 50% of the MVP's in the UK subscribe to MSDN, that's 75 MSDN subscriptions.

Because the UK is grouped into the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) bucket, we only have one choice of MSDN which is "World Wide".

That results in us receiving all the DVDs for the English versions of software as well as every other language in the Western World.

You can now get an "online only" version of MSDN, but I really want the English DVD's they're very handy when you're offline. Granted, I could download an burn my own copy of each but hell, it's a subscription service, why should subscribers have to do the hard work.

Here is a count of a fresh MSDN subscription with the addition of the Visual Studio Team Suite discs which come seperatly. (Don't believe me? Check out the offical list here:


I want only 25 of those DVDs and the others will go into the bin. Now let's multiply that number by my estimated number of MVP's in the UK subscribing to MSDN (I'll assume no one has changed to Online only subscriptions).

85 Foreign Language DVDs * 75 UK MVP's = 6375 wasted DVDs being sent out for each MSDN renewal to UK MVP's

That number of course doesn't include the 10 or so discs a quarter MSDN send out to update the subscription of which most are Foreign language discs.

Now I've just talked about MVP's here, let's think about the number of UK based people subscribing to MSDN off their own back, obviously I don't have the numbers so let's take a guess at 10,000 UK MSDN subscriptions.

85 Foreign Language DVDs * 10,000 UK MSDN Subscribers =  850,000 wasted DVDs being sent out for each MSDN renewal in the UK.

Now, remember that each country in Europe suffers the same problem, France, Sweeden, Turkey, Greece, Israel, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, UK and the Arabic countries.

So let's say 13 countries and say each one has 1000 MSDN Subscribers, that's 13,000 MSDN Subscriptions, that's a hell of a lot of wasted DVDs.

Why am I writing this post? Well I want Microsoft to take notice and change the way they ship MSDN subscriptions, I want you the community to tell Microsoft that they're wasting natural resources, money and our time in sorting out all these bloomin DVDs. I'd emplore you to contact Microsoft and make them aware of your concerns about their way of distributing MSDN.

UK MSDN Contact: 0800 123 536 or


UPDATE: Response from MSDN (Next day)

"I have looked into your query for you. As you have the Visual Studio team Suite 2005 with MSDN Premium. we can only ship the media with all languages. there is no English only dvd pack for this level. The other option you have is to change to a online only subscription."

Sorry for the rant....


Chris Hoy's world record attempt (Kilo & flying 500)

The BBC have put a program online that show's Chris' world record attempt at La Paz: -

Well worth a watch.

Groovy (Usergroup for Groove users)

Jim Moffat of has setup a usergroup for people who use Groove.

You can find more details here: -

There's also a UK Groove community here: -



WebDD Videos (Very late)

Sorry for these being so late, just never got round to it.

Here are 4 videos' of Scott's presentations given at the beggining of February, they're all 100mb+ each, so you may want to "Right Click ... Save Target As" instead of streaming them (the server is capped at 2mb throughput): -



Posted: Jul 08 2007, 12:28 AM by Plip | with no comments
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MSBuild CC.NET and Web Application Projects

I was having issues with CI and Web Application Projects, then I came across this entry: -

Might be of use to others.

DNS Simplified

Gareth Heyes just posted this to the list here in the UK, I thought I'd share.


Ok I've had lots of people ask me about domains, email etc and everyone over here seems confused and recently we've handled someone's domain transfer and it all went wrong (I wasn't involved).

So I thought why not do a simple introduction/explanation for everyone on GeekUp and my company as well. Please feel free to add any additional information to this post if you know anything about dns. I'll keep it as simple as possible.

A domain name needs sets of Nameservers to be assigned to it in order to let everyone know on the internet where your site is. Once the internet knows who is responsible for that domain name, that Nameserver then can pass on more instructions on how to handle email and the web site. Easy so far yeah?

Right so now we have CNAME records (usually to create subdomains like or, "A" records which point to an IP address like "" and a "A" record enables you to point to which server you would like to host the web site on.

"MX" records handle all email traffic for that domain name, so it is like a pointer which points the email to the correct email server (Exchange or whatever).

Domains also have a TAG for UK domains which is basically a nominet registration tag, when you register with nominet you get one to identify your company and assign domain names so you can control the nameservers and registration details.

So lets say you have a client xyz and they just want to point their email from the domain name to their exchange server. What do you do?

Well first job is to check where the tag is hosted. Visit and enter in the whois box (NO WWW REMEMBER because that is a cname record). In fact if you put in in the whois box, the nominet system will warn you that you have entered a invalid domain. Now we have entered the correct domain it should show the registrant details amd the TAG, a ISP can control the TAG and the nameservers OR just the TAG and someone else hosts the nameservers.

We find that is hosted by us and is pointing to our nameservers. The next job then is to change the MX records to point to the exchange server, and MX record can also have a priority which allows you to assign multiple servers to handle email in case one of them goes down. Smaller numbers have higher priority, we assign the MX record to with a priority of 10 and with a priority of 20. If for some reason our mail server goes down we have a backup server in place.

Most modern ISP's let you control DNS through the control panel.

A useful utility to use is "nslookup", this tool allows you to inspect a domains dns records, it is available on Windows, Mac, Linux and comes pre-installed on all. To use it go to the terminal in OX or the command prompt in Windows. Then type nslookup, this should give you a new prompt. enter the following:-

1. set type=mx


The type flag lets you choose which DNS record to look at. Change it to the desired record (MX, A etc).

I hope this is helpful for someone




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