Archives / 2003 / April
  • Earthquake Rocks the SouthEast

    OK, so maybe we didn't exactly rock, but we did shake for a minute at 5:00 am EST here in the Atlanta area.  This is big news in the South since we seldom get noticeable earthquakes -- its actually the only one I've ever felt in my life.  This was a 4.9 on the Richter scale, centered along the Alabama / Georgia line near Fort Payne in Alabama.  Fort Payne is the location of the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi, and the fault line there runs along the Appalachian Mountains.  I estimate my house is about 75 miles from the epicenter -- I've seen several hurricanes and now an earthquake!


  • Atlanta DotNetWeblogs Lunch

    I had lunch today with some local Atlanta .NET gurus -- how's this for a group: Kirk Evans, Don Browning, Matthew Nolton, Wally McClure, James Shaw, John Croft, and myself.  That's 5 guys with Blogs here at, along with 2 other really top-notch guys in the industry also.  Of course, Wally's really from Knoxville, but that will be a suburb of Atlanta in a few more years, so that's close enough to count.  We really need to get some girls next time though -- hey Dana, do you have lots of blonde friends that can join us next time.  :)  So who else is in or near the Atlanta area?


  • Windows 2003 Blue Screen of Death

    I've had my computer at home running Windows Server 2003 RTM for a few weeks now and I finally got my first Blue Screen of Death last night!  I haven't even seen one on a Windows 2000 system in years, so it really surprised me when it did occur, but it was a lot nicer and informative.  It had larger print and less information, although what was there was more helpful, and I could easily spot IRQ and Alcatel on the screen.  So to me it seemed obvious that this was due to my DSL modem somehow, which really means this was more of a hardware driver problem than a Windows 2003 problem.  After the automatic reboot after 60 seconds, I was prompted to submit a report to Microsoft, which was quickly analyzed with an online response.  The web response very clear stated the problem was my Alcatel modem, in plain English of all things, and gave me a link to download the latest driver to fix it.  I was very impressed, although I still think that the whole process would not have been so nice to experience for my wife or kids.  Also, the auto reboot would have left me wondering what they were talking about, although I still think that this is the appropriate behavior for a server.  I don't really know if anything can be done to improve this any better, but a couple of my colleagues are debating this today -- so what do you think: are Blue Screens acceptable or is there an alternative?


  • Renewing Domain Names

    I have been using for my domains for a few years now.  They added a new feature this last year called auto-renew, so I eagerly setup my domains to auto-renew.  Apparently, this also has the side-effect that no emails are sent at your normal renewal time, since it is supposed to happen automatically.  All the sudden this morning my domain stops resolving while I'm making some minor changes with my web-host's help, and it ends up having nothing to do with my web-host afterall -- BulkRegister just did NOT auto-renew my domain.

    Its manually renewed now, thank goodness for grace periods, but it will likely take a few days to start resolving again, and I will end up losing both business and lots of email.  I will probably also look really bad, since people will likely assume it is due to my web-host,, which I am always recommending to folks as the best.  Well, WebHost4Life is still great if anyone cares, and my mirror domain,, is still up and running just fine with the changes we made -- please use Wilson as your referal if you sign up with them.

    BulkRegister's email response to me was to not worry since I have auto-renew setup for my domain -- which seems to be very much ignoring the problem.  Their phone support told me I should have received emails so why didn't I respond, so I had to point out their own policy of not sending such emails with auto-renew.  The tech then proceeded to tell me I should call billing during normal business hours since he couldn't help with the rest of my questions.  I guess the moral is don't trust any automated features -- and always keep up with your domains.


  • Workaround for Bug in ASP.NET Version 1.1

    Changes in ASP.NET version 1.1 can generate a postback script with a bug in it.  It is particularly a problem for anyone using many of the page template solutions.  I posted both C# and VB workarounds on the ASP.NET forums, and here's the C# code:

    using System.IO;
    using System.Text;

    protected override void Render(HtmlTextWriter writer) {
      StringBuilder stringBuilder = new StringBuilder();
      StringWriter stringWriter = new StringWriter(stringBuilder);
      HtmlTextWriter htmlWriter = new HtmlTextWriter(stringWriter);
      string html = stringBuilder.ToString();

      int start = html.IndexOf("<form name=\"") + 12;
      int end = html.IndexOf("\"", start);
      string formID = html.Substring(start, end - start);
      string replace = formID.Replace(":", "_");
      html = html.Replace("document." + formID, "document." + replace);

    Note:  This is a bug in the official release of 1.1, and it was tested with it too.  I'm not referring to a beta.

    Update:  Quickfix now available as of 4/29/2003.


  • re: AppSettings can Reference an External Config File

    In reference to my last entry on "AppSettings can Reference an External Config File", John Mandia asks:

    I have a quick question, can you use this method to define multiple additional config files?
    Say you have e.g security.config, httphandler.config, errorhandler.config to easily seperate it all.
    Would this be possible and how?

    Sorry, but I haven't found a way to have multiple external config files defined.  It would be a great idea though.

     Followup: I have tried linking an external file from the new external file and it does not work either.  Sorry Wes.



  • AppSettings can Reference an External Config File

    I recently discovered that the app/web.config file can reference an external config file to get some or all of its appsettings.  You don't have to name it with the extension config, but that's best since its protected from anyone browsing to it, and since it has the support of the VS.NET editor.  You can have keys that are only defined in the external file, or you can override keys that were already defined in the app/web.config file.  One great use of this would be to store your database connection string, or other settings that may vary from development to testing to production.  I did notice that changes made to the external config file are not automatically picked up until the app restarts, but thats easy to force by simply editing the real app/web.config.  By the way, this does fully work in the original version 1.0 .NET framework, although it was apparently undocumented until 1.1.  Sorry if someone else wrote about this -- I can't remember where I first saw this tidbit recently -- I think it may have been in the last MSDN Magazine but I'm not sure.

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
      <appSettings file="YourSettings.config">
        <add key="KeyToOverride" value="Original" />
        <add key="KeyToNotOverride" value="Standard" />
        <!-- standard web settings go here -->

      <add key="KeyToOverride" value="Overridden" />
      <add key="KeyToBeAdded" value="EntirelyNew" />


  • Paul Wilson starts Blogging

    It seems that everyone else in .NET has a Blog, so I am submitting to this unstoppable force.  Those that follow ASP.NET probably know me already -- the rest of you are asking who am I now.

    I am a software architect in the north Atlanta suburbs (live in Woodstock, work in Roswell).  I am a MVP in ASP.NET, although I actually do a fair amount of anything Microsoft and .NET.  My website,, is an advanced demo / best practices site that features things like user selectable page templates, stylesheets, and language, all built using ASP.NET.  Its also the home of the WilsonWebForm control -- still the only way to have multiple server forms in ASP.NET, either with postback events and viewstate, or you can post to any url/page.  I have a column at the ASPAlliance, where I post articles about things I have encountered in my explorations of .NET.  I also feature my Page Template Generator and my Page ViewState Parser on my site -- I was really excited when Scott Guthrie linked to me in his first Blog entry!

    I'm a buddy of Kirk Allen Evans, who is already blogging here -- Kirk's definitely your man if you ever need any Xml advice in .NET.  I own the domain and would love to hear from anyone that has an idea of what I should do with it, other than pointing it to my other site.  I'm happily married and have 2 wonderful 5-year olds we adopted from Russia that you can see on my very out-of-date personal site,  My current position with Roche Diagnostics will be ending sometime later this year, so please keep my in mind if you know of any great opportunities in the Atlanta area.  I probably won't actually be available for at least a few more months, and possibly not until the end of the year, but I never really know.  Finally, see my colleague and buddy Jerry Dennany's article on TraceListeners and Reflection.