eWorld.UI - Matt Hawley

Ramblings of Matt

Madden 2005 - Awesome!

August 12, 2004 06:46 by matthaw

I picked up Madden 2005 for the Xbox this afternoon after work. I must say, the gameplay is superb, and playing on Xbox live against other people in Madden its just plain, well, awesome. It's almost as if I'm playing against one of my friends, but I don't actually see them. Its a bit more challenging playing against a human than the computer, but definately more fun. Make sure that if you have Xbox Live to look me up whenever I'm on few and far between.

"Game on!" - Wayne's World

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Naming Contest - 2.5 days left

August 11, 2004 18:03 by matthaw

Just as a reminder, the WebDeploy Re-Naming contest has just under 3 days remaining. I've gotten a lot of great submissions, but more is needed. Remember, the contest ends at 11:59 PM CST on August 1315, 2004. The winner will receive a FREE 1 developer license for my custom controls, along with their fame in the "About" dialog.

So, what are you waiting for? An idea? Need more info or rules?

Categories: Unleash It
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Reporting Services :: Not Running on Port 80

August 11, 2004 07:52 by matthaw

So I found another weird quirck with Reporting Services tonight, that is a must share in case anyone else runs across it. My server setup at home doesn't run IIS on the default port 80, but rather on port 8181. This is for security reasons since its publicly open via my Cable modem service (but behind my firewall/router).

On my server, I wanted to get reporting services installed so I can do some reporting against the anonymous usage statistics being collected via WebDeploy. So, briefly - my default website is running on port 8181, and the reporting services installation doesn't prompt you to determine which website you wish to use.

Attempt #1:

I ran the installation CD as well as the SP1 CD. Everything went fine, no errors, nothing. I open up IE, point my browser to http://localhost:8181/Reports and nothing happens. I get a 404 error. Hmm, what could be wrong? Okay, so I open up IIS management, and much to my amazement, there sits 2 websites. The first default one being my main website running on port 8181. There exists another default website (yes they are named the same) which is running on port 80, and guess what...it has the 2 virtual directories Reports and ReportServer.

Okay, so I manually add virtual directories (configuring them the same) to my port 8181 website, remove the port 80 website and refresh the browser. This time it prompts me for a user, however when it does go through its normal ASP.NET startup, it gives me some nasty error.

Okay, so I figured if reporting services installed everything on a port website, it'll look for a port 80 website to uninstall the virtual directories. So I change the ports to port 80 on my port 8181 site. Uninstall went smoothly, and everything was gone.

Attempt #2:

So after the uninstall, I figured I'll just leave the website at port 80 until after install. So thats what I do...I install reporting services and SP1 all over again. This time, the 2 virtual directories are created in the proper website...yay! Okay, so I test things out in the browser using port 80...things look good, awesome! Time to change that port back to 8181...done. Refresh the browser for 8181, and what do I see? Well that nasty error message has creeped back up. Okay, so its gotta be something in the configuration...

I open up file explorer, and browse to c:\program files\microsoft sql server\mssql\reporting services\reportmanager and notice that there are 3 config files. I start with web.config...hmm, nothing looks like what I want there...okay, onto the next config. I open up RSWebApplication.config and what do I see? Well, there's a XML element with a URL to the report server sitting right there...and it had http://<ServerName>/ReportServer sitting there. So, I change that to http://<URL>:8181/ReportServer, save the config file and open up IE again. Refresh the page, and whammo, things are working again.

So, I guess the moral of this story is be cautious on how your server is setup with Reporting Services. I also find it quite odd that URLs are hard-coded within configuration files, and that its highly dependent on those for usability. To me, this doesn't seem flexible for users who didn't know what they were doing.

Categories: General
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Windows XP Performance

August 11, 2004 05:46 by matthaw

This is a repost from Cuball, mainly for my records...my machine was fast after the rebuild, but boy, did this make a difference.

You need a minimum of 256MB of RAM before you make these changes.

Open your favorite registry editor and navigate to the following key:
HKEY LOCAL MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

Areas to change are as follows

  1. DisablePagingExecutive - Double click it and in the decimal value field, put a 1. This will allow XP to keep data in memory instead of paging sections of RAM to the hard drive.
  2. LargeSystemCache - Double click it and change the decimal value to 1. This will allow the XP Kernel to Run in memory.
  3. Create a new DWORD value and name it IOPageLockLimit - Double click it and set the value in hex to 4000 if you have 128MB of RAM, 10000 if you have 256MB or 40000 if you have more than 512MB of RAM.

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Reporting Services :: Page Breaks

August 11, 2004 00:40 by matthaw
I've been off at a client site today, which is why I've been a bit quite. Anyway, I've been working with SQL Reporting Services today, and I was wondering how in the world I could create page breaks between 4 different charts. Much to my amazement, if you just drop a "Rectangle" on the page layout, go to its properties, and check "Insert after Rectangle", you'll get a pagebreak. Easy as pie, a pie chart that is!

Categories: .NET
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XP SP2 Experiences Thus Far

August 10, 2004 17:25 by matthaw

Early this morning, Scoble had asked how XP SP2 is working out so far.

Well, I'd like to say that I've made myself happy with XP SP2. As most of you know, there's only the update version, and not a full install CD yet. So, being the geek that I am, I wanted (or needed? - nay, wanted) to rebuild my home PC from scratch. Its' been itching for one since I screwed up a SP2 RC2 installation a month ago.

Okay, so I didn't want to install XP SP1a then install XP SP2 on top, I wanted to just pop in a CD, install XP, and have it with the latest updates. So, most geeks out there are going...just slipstream the installation CD. Right! That's exactly what I did, and as of this morning, I had a bootable XP w/SP2 installation disc. My steps:

1. Make a directory to store the integrated (slipstreamed) OS:
    mkdir <DEST DRIVE>:\XPSP2_Int\Pro

2. Copy my Windows XP w/SP1a to my hard drive:
    xcopy <CD DRIVE>: <DEST DRIVE>:\XPSP2_Int\Pro /E

3. Extract the XP SP2:
    <CD DRIVE>:\xpsp2.exe /X:<DEST DRIVE>:\XPSP2Temp

4. Integrate, or slipstream XP SP2:
    <DEST DRIVE>:\XPSP2Temp\update\update.exe /Integrate:<DEST DRIVE>:\XPSP2_Int\Pro

5. Follow the instructions for making a bootable CD here. Note: You'll need the boot image, which I found off of the same site (Step #2 on linked page).

So, after 4 CDs (I had several bad burns, not sure why)...I had a bootable Integrated Windows XP SP2.

PS: I'm recalling my commands from memory, so if there is a mistake, please let me know.

Categories: General
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Updated Utility: WebDeploy 1.2.3

August 9, 2004 22:57 by matthaw

My constant barrages of updates for WebDeploy has left me releasing yet another version, 1.2.3. Like its predecessor, it is mainly a bug fix version, in the hopes that I'll have a rock solid tool to base my 2.0 distribution off of. This update was aimed at stability of the product, and as such you'll see that reflected in the changelog following this soon.

I do, however, want to take a step back and note this will be the last public release for WebDeploy. I do want to say that the utility is NOT going away, however once it is rebranded after the naming contest ends this Friday, work on version 2.0 will start. The next major release will have a re-written core, user interface, and console version. No major plans have been set for updates, just a system wide cleaning of the code. This means that there will probably not be any breaking changes. More to come on this later.

Anyway, on to the changelog:

  • Added ability to have a wild card character of ? to indicate any letter (or none at all) in that spot.
  • Added update notes to the notification when a new WebDeploy version is available.
  • Fixed exception being thrown when multiple file masks exist but in different cases.
  • Fixed problem loading VS.NET project with invalid characters, however those files will be ignored during deployment
  • Fixed dialog still being shown when app starts up "minimized". This, unfortunately, allows you to alt-tab to it when "minimized" to the notification area.
  • Fixed inability to delete the first file mask in the config section.
  • Fixed font size of copied files dialog.

So, until 2.0...here's your link.

Categories: Unleash It
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Ampersands in XML

August 9, 2004 18:11 by matthaw

Alright, hopefully someone will have an answer for this, or just explain it to me...

I'm working on WebDeploy, specifically a single bug I identified while trying to use WebDeploy to deploy Community Server :: Forums last week. The problem is that the VS.NET project file that is used, has a few File elements that contain ampersands within an attribute. Now I realize that you can have ampersands, but they must be in the format of "&amp;", whereas these are just straight "&" in the attribute values.

My initial problem was that the Xml Document I was loading the project file into, would throw a FormatException, and ultimately not allow me to process that file. So, I bypassed this by using an XmlTextReader. I am now able to get the data I want, but the problem of the ampersands still exist. Whenever I hit those nodes, whammo! exception.

My questions to MS or the blogosphere:

1. How in the world did those ampersands get into the project file without being converted so that the project file is valid?
2. How in the world does VS.NET successfully open these projects without complaining to the user?

As of right now, I'm putting in a bugfix for WebDeploy that will not hault deployment if it comes across such a problem, however it will skip over the invalid files. Maybe someone can answer my questions and give me a good solution so that those files with the ampersand will get deployed along with everything else.

Also, because of this issue, I also had to create a recursive call to make sure that it doesn't bomb out on the reading, the following code is how I bypassed this:

private bool ReadReader(XmlTextReader reader)
bool read = false;
read = reader.Read();
read = ReadReader(reader);
return read;

Categories: .NET
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I'm Thinking McAfee has...

August 9, 2004 04:50 by matthaw

...crappy online support. Case in point, I updated my and my girlfriends machines to XP SP2, and afterwhich our not so legal McAfee 7 crashes constantly. Okay, okay, yes I know its wrong so I was actually going to go purchase McAfee VirusScan 8. I go to their site, see it and go, hmm, I wonder if McAfee 8 will work with XP SP2...I better check with customer service before plopping 60 bucks down for it.

So off I go to Customer Service...and since a picture paints a thousand words...

Err, you gotta be kidding me...okay, so off I go to Technical Support...

Now...I'm no computer programmer, oh wait I am, scratch that thought. So like, how the heck am I supposed to get:

  • My question answered from Customer Service?
  • My question answered from Technical Support?

Riddle me this, McAfee...maybe I'll go buy Norton, unless someone in the blogosphere can answer me this simple question, does McAfee VirusScan 8 work with Windows XP SP2?

Categories: General
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The Girlfriend Test

August 8, 2004 07:33 by matthaw

I think this is by far the best test for any tool or control, thanks Shannon!

"I had my girlfriend sit down and run "the girlfriend test" on your datepicker.  She'd never seen the calendar at all before; I just put her on your demo page and told her to enter her birthday in the box.

The longest pause was about 2 seconds or so when she realized she didn't want to "previous month" through 30 years and looked for what to do instead.  

Total time was under 15 seconds.  She never asked a question or grew frustrated.  

That's a sure sign of success for you control, I think."

I wonder if my girlfriend can pass the test...

Update: About 20 seconds here...another success story.

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