Just sharing some of my inconsequential lunch conversations with you... RSS  

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hibernating Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V

I can now finally hibernate my Windows Server 2008! Here’s how:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

<update> For some strange reason, updating through a .reg file didn’t work, I had to do it via regedit. </update>

After restarting, Hyper-V is now disabled. To get it up running all we have to do is:

net start hvboot

Thanks for the link, Rasteiro.

PS: I couldn’t install VMWare player either, and now I can!

PS2: VirtualPC was incredibly slow here, and now it isn’t!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


IE8 has reached RC1. You can get it here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Isolating components

We’re re-architecting an old .NET app so that we can isolate changes within modules. Basically we are slicing our app into vertical areas we can deploy as independently as we can from each other, and trying to close common infrastructure into isolated assemblies so even these can live isolated from each others.

The simplest way to do it was slicing the app into Web Applications. The problem arise with master pages. The solution we’ve tried and chosen was sharing Master Pages amongst Applications by Embedding it in an assembly. We will now try the same with user controls and modal pages. And what about js files, should we extend this approach so far?…

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It is official now: Microsoft is firing

Here it is:

Microsoft will eliminate up to 5,000 jobs in R&D, marketing, sales, finance, legal, HR, and IT over the next 18 months, including 1,400 jobs today.


Microsoft Reports Second-Quarter Results: Modest revenue growth despite difficult economy; announces cost management initiatives.

Motivation Techniques

Here’s a great list.

S#arp Architecture: ASP.NET MVC with NHibernate

Here’s a cool package: S#rap Architecture:

Pronounced "Sharp Architecture," this is a solid architectural foundation for rapidly building maintainable web applications leveraging the ASP.NET MVC framework with NHibernate. The primary advantage to be sought in using any architectural framework is to decrease the code one has to write while increasing the quality of the end product. A framework should enable developers to spend little time on infrastructure details while allowing them to focus their attentions on the domain and user experience. Accordingly, S#arp Architecture adheres to the following key principles:

  • Focused on Domain Driven Design
  • Loosely Coupled
  • Preconfigured Infrastructure
  • Open Ended Presentation

The overall goal of this is to allow developers to worry less about application "plumbing" and to spend most of their time on adding value for the client by focusing on the business logic and developing a rich user experience.

NHibernate, scaffolding, IoC, guidelines, sample app, lots of goodies!

Windows 7 tips

Here are some tips for better using Windows 7:



Boy, now that I’ve returned to my spartan Windows Server 2008 I’m really missing Windows 7…

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One less excuse not to upgrade to Vista

Microsoft® Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V, formerly known as Kidaro) enhances deployment, management and user experience for Virtual PC images on a Windows® Desktop, independent of the local desktop configuration and operating system (OS). MED-V leverages Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 to provide an enterprise solution for desktop virtualization streamlining OS upgrades, and increasing IT control and user flexibility in enterprise environments.
MED-V solution for Application-to-OS incompatibility accelerates the upgrade path to Windows Vista®. Applications that cannot be installed on Windows Vista® or have not been fully tested on Windows Vista® may be installed by the administrator in a virtual machine that runs a previous version of the OS (e.g., Windows XP or Windows 2000) and operate in their native, supported environment.

To learn more about MED-V and MDOP visit

Monday, January 19, 2009

x64 support on my Vostro 1510

I’ve tried installing 64 bit versions of Windows 7 and Ubuntu. All devices were recognized out of the box – a relieve for me, as Dell doesn’t support 64 bits on this model.

I’m now expecting a Latitude E5500. Let’s see how it goes.

Musical sketchbook

Here’s another cool app from Microsoft research labs: Songsmith software. Microsoft Songsmith lets users create music in a novel way by attaching a microphone to a Windows PC and singing into the mic. Here’s something we’d expect from Apple. Cool!


Here’s how it works:

Songsmith basically does three things when it’s making music to go with your melody:

  1. Songsmith figures out roughly what frequencies (and thus what musical notes) you sang using a technique called autocorrelation. We don’t figure this out quite so precisely that we could write down sheet music for your melody (that’s still something a computer can’t do as well as a trained musician), but it turns out we don’t need to figure out exactly the melody you sang in order to make good backing music.
  2. Songsmith chooses chords to accompany the notes you sang, using the algorithm we describe in our papers about MySong. Basically, we’ve used a database of about 300 popular songs to train a mathematical model with the basic statistics of what chords sound good with each other and what chords sound good with different types of melodies. Note this is a statistical model... we’re not taking your melody and peeking into a database to find similar bits of melody when we make new chords. Instead, Songsmith has learned the basic statistics of chord sequences, and uses those statistics to generate new chords when you sing a new melody.
    Of course, there’s no single correct sequence of chords for a given melody – in fact there are lots and lots and lots of chord sequences that might sound good for your song. So Songsmith incorporates the “happy” and “jazzy” sliders to let users – both musical novices and experienced songwriters – quickly explore all those different sequences. If you want to know howthose work, you’ll have to go visit the MySong project page.
  3. Then we turn those chords into the music you hear using different musical styles (Songsmith comes with 30 styles, ranging from pop to rock to country, etc.). Songsmith tells the styles what chords it wants to play, and the styles help Songsmith turn those chords into a musical arrangement. These styles are provided through a partnership with PG Music, and Songsmith gives you a way to purchase additional styles from PG Music if you want an even broader range of styles. Then we turn that musical arrangement into the sound you hear using a musical synthesizer and a (very high-quality!) set of virtual instruments provided through a partnership with Garritan and Plogue. And yep, you guessed it, Songsmith also gives you a way to purchase additional styles and instruments from Garritan if you want an even broader range of sounds.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chrome on Windows 7 64 bits

For now we have to start with the –in-process-plugins switch:

e --in-process-plugins

As expected, it won’t keep you from receiving:

chrome on W7

Heard about it here.

Getting Chrome 2

Here’s how to get Chrome 2:

  1. Download and run the Google Chrome Channel Changer (http://chromium.googlecode.com/files/chromechannel-2.0.exe).
  2. Click the circle next to the channel you want to get updates from.
  3. Click Update to save your choice.
  4. Click Close.
  5. In Google Chrome, click the wrench menu and choose About Google Chrome.
  6. Click Update Now to install the current channel's release.
  7. Restart Google Chrome.

It looks like Google is copying Microsoft’s versioning strategy: it really should be a 1.1 version…

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Installing a .bundle package

I'm testing Ubuntu 8.10 x64 support on a Dell Vostro 1510, and I couldn't install neither .rpm nor .bundle. I had to open a shell an execute:

> sudo sh VMware-Player-2.5.1-126130.x86_64.bundle

(Heard about it here)

My saga goes on. When will Linux be mature enough to get fully installed without firing up a terminal windows?...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Windows 7 build 7000

Though I’ve already downloaded the supposed leaked version for over a week, I’ve only installed it today.

I’d already installed W7, the PDC version, build 6801, so I’m not euphoric. To be honest, and a bit against the mainstream W7 support I’m seeing, I continue to believe Vista is a great OS, and W7 is just riding the wave of Vista’s investments.

Sure there are a series of improvements, sure Microsoft finally heard the customers, sure W7 waists less RAM than Vista (over 25% less on this laptop, after an upgrade). But we have to keep in mind that W7 is just a minor release over the Vista revolution. And that probably the major reason of success of W7 are:

  • better hardware (hey, over 2 years have passed by! most Vista unfriendly hardware is now gone)
  • better drivers (the new driver model has been finally digested by hardware providers)
  • time – only time will heal :)

Now that I got this out of my chest, I can finally say, like the rest of us: “gee, W7 is a cool OS!”. Can’t wait to get a final version on my laptop.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Upgrading Vista to Windows 7

Just tried upgrading a Vista to Windows 7. Worked just fine, though it lasted forever. It was a x86 version and as expected I couldn’t upgrade to x64. Tomorrow I’ll try installing the 64 bits version on my Vostro 1510 testing unit – the one that doesn’t have (yet?) 64 bits support from Dell… :(

GDR with huge databases

Just had my first GDR experience with a 3000 tables database (Navision…). It wasn’t fast, but it worked!

PS: SSMS just refused to list the tables without filter conditions on this database. Has it should, though it couldn’t harm to have a ‘get all tables’ operation.

Steve Jobs stepping down from CEO at Apple due to health

Apple CEO Steve Jobs today sent the following email to all Apple employees:


I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple’s day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.

I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.


The stocks reacted as expected, proving what we already know: Apple is Steve Jobs, and his absence, hopefully temporary, will be missed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Microsoft Team Foundation Server Branching Guidance

Here’s a cool guidance document to help you get start your TFS branching approaches. Only 37 pages. Readable!


And here’s the v2 for TFS 2008.


Using GDR through scripts

One of the features I like the most on GDR is how well decoupled it is from the tool itself. We have just had a great experience synchronizing a database where we and the client both develop.

As we don’t have access to the database server other than RDP, we opted for exporting the script on the server and importing it back on our development servers. A word of caution: remember to uncheck the ‘Include if NOT EXISTS’ option on the script generation, GDR just doesn’t like it :) Thanks for the tip, Samorrinha.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Microsoft Tag

If already posted about the concept of using your PDA to get barcoded information. Here’s  Microsoft’s initiative, Microsoft Tag.

You can get your tags here and the reader here. Unfortunately it didn’t work on my old HTC 3300 – apparently, it’s camera doesn’t have enough definition :(


It works on my HTC 3300! Though it gives us an error message (warning?)! What was I doing wrong? I had to pull the keyboard menu on to get <Enter>, ok didn’t work. And here it is:



Vostro 1510 again

Here’s a great benchmark on the laptops we are testing:


70 MB/s average read? 210 MB/s burst speed? Pretty impressive. Let’s compare it against my D830:


This is obviously not a serious benchmark, the OS are not even the same (Vista x86 vs Windows Server 2008 x64). But other than the CPU upgrade (T8300 vs T7500), it explains why is my experience so much better with this unit. Great disk!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Choosing a mobile graphics card

Here’s a great link for those who need to choose a card.

Trying out Dell Vostro 1510

We are testing the next generation of laptops for our company.

We have been using Dell Latitude D820 and D830 for some time, but this line has been refreshed and we are trying out other options.

I’ve just tried the cheaper Vostro line. Dell has the following lines:

  • the Precision series: hi-end;
  • the Latitude: mid-range business class, focused on reliability, durability and subtlety;
  • Inspirons: consumer-oriented with more powerful media-centric features;
  • Vostro: economy-class;

And here it is, my first impression of the Vostro 1510 after the first day. Let’s start with the configuration I received:

  • 15.4’’ XGA
  • T8300
  • 2GB
  • 160GB 7200 RPM (a must!)
  • Intel GMA X3100 (oops…)
  • 9-cell battery (uau…)

Build and design

What the D830 had in metal, the Vostro has in plastic. For better and for worse. For better on respect to weight (and using them over naked legs, cold metal can be hard :) , for worse on how long can your laptop survive.

The glossy lid if cool, but couldn’t resist 10 minutes until it was fingerprinted like there is no tomorrow. I can only imagine how it will be one year from now, probably full of scratches.

The good news comes when you open the lid: the experience you get over the keyboard is fine, and all the plastics work fine here.


The 15.4’’ XGA display is slightly better than the one I have on  my D830. But this was D830’s  Aquille’s heel.

Ports and devices

D830 was a pain in the back of the laptop, it only had 3 USB. Now we have 4, as expected. <update>Unfortunately they are not conveniently placed – they are too close to us… </update>

DVD is slot-loading – this is cool!

Only a touch pad for mouse input. Oh, well, most people hate the other one on the keyboard, so why complain?…


I received a 9-cell battery. Battery life was a strong-hold of the D830 with a 6-cell battery, but the autonomy is great! I’m getting closer to 7H of autonomy, just incredible!

This comes with a price: a small hatchback on the back of the Vostro, which tends to unbalance the laptop when placed on most stands. Vosto is actually not very stand-friendly, has it holds the memory card reader, audio and mic sockets on the front panel…

Software support

No 64 bit support announced yet. This and the 4GB memory limit is something that makes me very unconfortable…


Performance was something of a surprise. Not that I had any doubt about the mid-range T8300, particularly when  helped by a 7200 RPM disk. What I was surprised to observe was the responsiveness of the Intel GMA X3100, even with Aero on and packed with heavy effects. The only thing I’ve reaaly missed was more graphics memory – when I plugged an external display I couldn’t get more that 1240x800, I am assuming this was memory related, though I didn’t yet tried to allocate more shared memory.


Though not very impressed with the Vostro specs, this configuration ended up better then the lower expectations I had. With some minor changes, it can be a fair desktop replacement for a not very demanding software developer. Though the D830 will be missed, and a Latitude E5500 is more what we’re used to.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Isolating data on my data disk

As probably most of you readers, I’ve been using separate disks for applications and data for ages. I usually name the volumes with an old programming segment convention: CODE and DATA :)

Since Windows 2000 I’ve trying a different approach: moved “c:\Documents and Settings\<my account>” into d:\ , unmounted d: and mount it back as a mount point on “c:\Documents and Settings\<my account>”. With this strategy I also recovered from re-installs pretty fast, though some few apps mysteriously failed – ok, not so mysteriously, this folder holds the hive and SID references…

So now I’ve just tried  yet another strategy: first, and using explorer, I moved all the special folders I could into “d:\users\<my account>” (like “Documents”, “Desktop”, “Music”, …). But AppData was a big thorn on my side and explorer didn’t a UI to move it, so I try using a junction point manually.

For that I’ve used SysInternals’s junction utility, and started by the bigger subfolder, Local:

c:\users\mario.romano\AppData> robocopy /yourfavoriteoptions Local d:\users\mario.romano\AppData\Local

c:\users\mario.romano\AppData> move Local Local.old

c:\users\mario.romano\AppData> junction Local d:\users\mario.romano\AppData\Local


For now my system seems stable enough. Let’s see how it goes.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Steve Job’s health

Steve Jobs has just written is own “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” statement. It seems like his weight loss reason has been found: a hormone imbalance that has been “robbing” him of the proteins his body needs to be healthy. And the good news is that the solution appears to be quite simple.

Great news for Jobs. Great news for anyone who has a Mac. Great news for anyone who understand the need for strong competition on this market. Great news for me, hoping to be able to keep posting hard ball articles against Steve Jobs.

Good luck for your recovery :)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Microsoft getting ready to lay off 17% of staff

Well, it seems like the rumors are getting stronger. 17% of 90.000. 15.000. Oops…

Online division seems to be an obvious choice, though the gaming division is surprisingly being hunted. EMEA is also mentioned. Wait, I’m on EMEA, hope no one I know of gets laid off.

Development Catharsis :: Copyright 2006 Mário Romano