11/30/2005

SourceSafe Web Interface (SSWI) and "How can I tell if my App Blew Up?"

Looks promising. Haven't tried it yet. Let me know if you have any feedback on it.

http://www.componentworkshop.com/products.aspx



How can I tell if my App Blew Up (Unhandled Exception)



("What?", you say, "I never have unhandled exceptions in my applications!")

The AppDomain unloads when your app blows up because of an unhandled exception. But it also does this before everything goes into the Black Hole:

AppDomain domain = System.AppDomain.CurrentDomain ;
domain.UnhandledException+=new UnhandledExceptionEventHandler(domain_UnhandledException);

private static void domain_UnhandledException(object sender, UnhandledExceptionEventArgs e)
{
EventLog evt = new EventLog() ;
evt.WriteEntry(e.ExceptionObject.ToString() ) ;
}


Unfortunately, in CLR 1.X this doesn't fire in the same AppDomain. You can try code like this, however:

AppDomain domain2 = AppDomain.CreateDomain("domain2");
domain2.CreateInstance("DomainLib", "YukkaPuk.ImaDweeb");



You can also set the following registry key:
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\.NETFramework\DbgJITDebugLaunchSetting

to a DWORD of 0xFF00 or 0xFF02, which should force a JIT-attach dialog to come up and give you the opportunity to at least figure out what kind of exception this is. That would give you a starting point to figure out why your app is blowing up.

If you want to get ambitious, you can use the newest version of Microsoft's AD-Plus tool and the correct OS debug symbols, running in Crash mode, to dump out what blew up!

Finally, if all of the above really gets you confused, here's some great news on how to fold a T-Shirt!

11/24/2005

Time for a new Global Energy Policy?

Shafts of ancient ice pulled from Antarctica's frozen depths show that for at least 650,000 years three important heat-trapping greenhouse gases never reached recent atmospheric levels caused by human activities, scientists are reporting today.

The measured gases were carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Concentrations have risen over the last several centuries at a pace far beyond that seen before humans began intensively clearing forests and burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels, and the results are being published today in the journal Science.

"CO2 and climate are like two people handcuffed to each other. Where one goes, the other must follow. Leadership may change, or they may march in step, but they are never far from each other. Our current CO2 levels appear to be far out of balance with climate when viewed through these results, reinforcing the idea that we have significant modern warming to go.", said James White, a geology professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Did you like Hurricane Katrina? Want some more? Hey, just keep drivin' that gas-guzzlin' SUV to work every day, with you being the only person in it!

How much evidence do you NEED? Did the Twin Towers coming down not convince you that there are bad, BAD people who want you DEAD, or have you just conveniently "forgotten about it"?

Gas and oil prices have come down dramatically, exactly as I predicted in early October, is that why we are "forgetting"?

We put people on the fewkin' MOON FORTY YEARS AGO! Are you telling me we can't take care of this shit?

We got a bunch of "status quo" good old boys in Congress who better wake up before all our grandchildren are DEAD. Let's get the "lead out" and formulate a long-term energy policy that really will work for America and the civilized world -- for the next 100, 200 years - and beyond. What kind of idiotic intellectual stagnation and lack of vision are we suffering from today?

Let's show some fewkin' GLOBAL LEADERSHIP for a change!

And at the same time, we can tell the oil guys in the Middle East to take a well-deserved HIKE. We can produce enough ethanol from corn right here in the USA to power every car, truck and bus in our country. And it costs WAY LESS than gasoline from OIL. If you travel through Nebraska, you can buy 95% Ethanol from corn at the pump -- and most modern cars and trucks will run great on it with no required modifications. How come it's not happening everywhere else? Simple: Your Congressperson and Senator aren't being pressured to do anything about it!

This isn' t about Democrats vs. Republicans, folks. It's not about Bush and Cheney being hooked into "Big Oil". If you think it is, you completely missed the message.What it's about is our future. Trade in your SUV to some sheik in Bahrain and start writing letters to your elected representatives. At least, it's a start.

I've been chastised for not sticking to technology and .NET on my UnBlog. My formula is simple: mix in enough of my personal view on world events I think are important, along with the technology stuff, so that programmers will read both. So what do you think? Do you have an opinion, or do you just think "Oh, yeah" and that 's the end of it? If you have a conviction, then get off your ass and DO SOMETHING about it, dood!

Incidentally, an astute blogger commented on a previous post of mine about the Committee on Energy and Commerce
with an interesting link that concerns this topic. Maybe we just need AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE?

Here's the deal: Even if you don't believe the research, don't we STILL NEED TO HAVE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE FROM FOREIGN OIL? I'm SICK of these power-hungry bureaucrats who think their SHIT DOESN"T STINK, and who are disconnected from the reality of global economics and security! We pay their salaries through our hard-earned tax money. They need to listen to US!

That's my two cents! ( for more information on ethanol, you can start here.)

11/22/2005

New Version of Microsoft AntiSpyware; Anti-Malware blog

A new version has been released that extends the timeout of the software to July of 2006.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=321CD7A2-6A57-4C57-A8BD-DBF62EDA9671&displaylang=en

Of course, you'll either need a "Genuine Windows" Product key on your OS or a good friend who does. (My "Genuine Windows" MSDN Universal Subscription Windows has always failed their little check, and I've never gotten an explanation for why, so go figure...)

Automatic updates are supposed to be turned on next week.

The AntiMalware team at Microsoft also has a blog here. Interesting reading.



11/21/2005

Future of the [Free?] Internet. . .

Doc Searles has a very thought provoking, lengthy piece on Linux Journal entitled "Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes".

Just to give you a bit of insight, here's an excerpt from the letter Vint Cerf (Google's new guru, and author of the TCP/IP protocol) sent to the Committee on Energy and Commerce about new Internet legislation that's making its way around the Hill:

"The remarkable social impact and economic success of the Internet is in many ways directly attributable to the architectural characteristics that were part of its design. The Internet was designed with no gatekeepers over new content or services. The Internet is based on a layered, end-to-end model that allows people at each level of the network to innovate free of any central control. By placing intelligence at the edges rather than control in the middle of the network, the Internet has created a platform for innovation. This has led to an explosion of offerings--from VOIP to 802.11x wi-fi to blogging--that might never have evolved had central control of the network been required by design.
My fear is that, as written, this bill would do great damage to the Internet as we know it. Enshrining a rule that broadly permits network operators to discriminate in favor of certain kinds of services and to potentially interfere with others would place broadband operators in control of online activity. Allowing broadband providers to segment their IP offerings and reserve huge amounts of bandwidth for their own services will not give consumers the broadband Internet our country and economy need. Many people will have little or no choice among broadband operators for the foreseeable future, implying that such operators will have the power to exercise a great deal of control over any applications placed on the network.
As we move to a broadband environment and eliminate century-old non- discrimination requirements, a lightweight but enforceable neutrality rule is needed to ensure that the Internet continues to thrive. Telephone companies cannot tell consumers who they can call; network operators should not dictate what people can do online.
I am confident that we can build a broadband system that allows users to decide what websites they want to see and what applications they want to use--and that also guarantees high quality service and network security. That network model has and can continue to provide economic benefits to innovators and consumers--and to the broadband operators who will reap the rewards for providing access to such a valued network.
We appreciate the efforts in your current draft to create at least a starting point for net neutrality principles. Google looks forward to working with you and your staff to draft a bill that will maintain the revolutionary potential of the broadband Internet."


If you believe the internet should remain free (in the various incarnations of that word, whatever it means to you), and you believe in free speech, I would recommend that you set aside some time to read his piece and take appropriate action.

11/18/2005

What Will Happen if We Leave Iraq?

There is a lot of static on the dial right now about us being in Iraq. Invectives being tossed around, but I am not sure if there's a great deal of thinking behind them... Emotions, yes.

The Intelligence was flawed, Not just US Intelligence. We all know that. That Bush manipulated it to enable us to go to war? Not likely. But even if he did, what's the point? We're there! We toppled the most ruthless dictator since Adolph Hitler.

And now we need to stay and finish the job. It could take a while, too. Maybe five, maybe ten years. Not for the faint of heart. Maybe Bush should have laid the groundwork better on that score, I don't know. There are plenty of critics around, but with almost no exception, they seem to be long on criticism and short on quality ideas for better alternatives and real leadership.

If we leave Iraq now, or even in the next year, there is a real likelihood of a civil war; the kind that could draw, at the least, Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia in, either as sponsors or possibly as active participants.

Iran, which is currently on the brink of being a terrorist nuclear state with publicly espoused policies of wanting to destroy Israel and the Jewish state, would be vastly emboldened.

It is quite possible that some currently moderate Middle Eastern governments could become more radical. It is likely that the Palestinians could renew their intifada against Israel. Hamas is up for election soon. Not "good timing".

We will have managed to take most of Al Qaeda from far-off, impoverished Afghanistan and Pakistan, to centrally-located, oil-rich Iraq and provided them with a carte-blanche rationale to build a Middle East launching-pad of global destruction the likes of which 9-11 pales to by comparison. Do you like Al Zarqawi? If we get out of Iraq now, you just voted for him, pal!

It isn't beyond my imagination to envision Al Qaeda with its own oil reserves. The US position in the world would be badly damaged and our efforts to gain a grip on global terrorism would be set back by a decade.

If you think we need to get out of Iraq, I agree with you.

But, we need to get out of Iraq when the job is done properly, not because George Bush "Lied" or because some American troops are dying, or an election is coming up. This was our initial goal, and it hasn't changed. We were in Japan and Germany for many, many years after the war. It took a very long time. They are now solid Democratic allies.

We can do the same with Iraq, and set the tone for a more peaceful world in the future. We can do it. But, we have to have conviction and patience. We can't just "bail out" in mid stream as in Vietnam or the Bay of Pigs; this spells disaster.

Too expensive, you say? Nope. No price for Democracy is too high. Sell me War Bonds, I'll buy them. Do it more efficiently? Waste less money? Sure, I'm for that.

BUT GET THE JOB DONE, NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES.


It's easy and its understandable for people to get all hopped up by emotions. The media is showing us this every day. They don't report the progress or the good news; it doesn't sell commercials very well.

When I was a little nerdy kid in high school I learned one lesson well: If you don't learn to stand up to bullies, you're TOAST. Al-Queda, Iraqi Insurgents, Iran, N. Korea -- they are all just bullies.

It's only if we are weak, lose our resolve, and back down, that they win. Democracy works. And illogical though it may seem, sometimes you have to get involved in a war to bring peace. Humans have been fighting for 45,000 years. When you sit down in a restaurant for lunch, don't you realize that subconciously you still "scan the horizon" for enemies? It's in your genes, you cannot change the human condition.

You can "Bash Bush" until your face turns blue. But until you can come up with a clear path and a detailed strategy that's actually better than what we have now, I suggest you shut up, and go back off and think.

The world has changed since 9-11. There are bad people who have no sense of morals or humanity, and who want you dead. You cannot appease or negotiate with maniacs who are willing to die to see you dead because they believe they will go to Heaven and have eternal life. The only thing you can do is track them down, and kill them before they have a chance.

If we leave Iraq, we are doing the exact opposite. We are telling them, "we give up, you win". Do you think they'll be "good guys" and stop? Better think again. The US Military recently found a letter from one of the top Al-Queda leaders telling his people exactly what to do when the "Americans leave". They have been just waiting for us to give up and get out of there to put their plans into place.

Somebody needs to analyze all the facts and the scenarios, and present them to the American people in a non - threatening way that they can understand. Because if we don't get our collective shit together and take care of business, painful though it may be, we very well may be dead.

What did Lincoln say?
"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged." --Abraham Lincoln

Google Analytics: ZZZZZZzzzzzz. . .

OK,
So they came out with this on Monday and we set it up. After all, it looks pretty slick, right? So we wait, and we check, and we wait, and we check.... And we wait....

First their help page said "In about 12 hour". Now its Friday ( how many fingers do you have on one hand? FIve, right? FIVE DAYS.) and still no reports. But hey! They've conveniently revised the page to now say "In about 24 hours".

You know what? I think Google's getting a little too big for it's goddamn britches. They're trying to do too much, too fast, and they're starting to FEWK UP, and this isn't the only example.

Googlies, I think you guys would be well -served by slowing down a bit and refocusing on the execution and the quality.

11/15/2005

Problems Installing Visual Studio.NET 2005? SQL Server 2005?

Fear not! Installation guru extraordinaire, Aaron Stebner, has created a "central link" post that links to all his latest tips and tricks relating to installation issues:

You can find it here.

http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/articles/492809.aspx

Incidentally, devil's advocate that I tend to be, I UnBlogged some time ago about ASP.NET 2.0 stress -testing based on an early MSDN article that was, well - let's say "ambitious", and heard back from Mr. ASP.NET himself, Scott Guthrie,
whose only objective was to "be objective" and who was very helpful with my tests.

I'm pleased to report Scott's latest:

"A few interesting stats that the stress team shared while I was filming them:
-- We run a total of 118 stress variations in the lab. Some do normal things like data access, standard page rendering, etc. Others simulate memory leaks, repeated app-domain restarts, crashes, and deadlocks (where the goal is to make sure the worker process recovers and the server stays up).
-- We put an average of 7,380 hours of stress testing on each build of ASP.NET 2.0 that we produced this year (note: we have a heck of a lot of stress servers).
-- Our lab throws 15 billion HTTP requests per day at ASP.NET servers in our lab.
-- All stress variations passed at 100% for the final build we released."


Kudos to ScottGu and his ASP.NET dev team.


When was the last time YOU stress-tested an ASP.NET App? Do you know how to do it? I spent nearly three weeks at the MS Testing Lab in Charlotte, NC under the tutelage of Dennis Bass and his crew. They were experts par excellance and I learned skills that have enabled me to increase my income and become a better developer. Learn how to stress-test your ASP.NET apps. Visual Studio.NET 2005 is an awesome piece of work. It has bugs, and it has idiosyncracies. But you can develop world-class applications with it. A big part of that process is learning how to improve throughput in PRODUCTION - which is often much, much different than development!

MS Acquires FolderShare, Product is FREE!

Subsequent to Microsoft's recent acquisition of FolderShare, the product is now completely free! Check it out at www.foldershare.com

This is an app that you install on all of your computers and it lets you access all your files via the web. If you install Windows Desktop Search on your PC with it, FolderShare will let you search your computers remotely.

You can also synchronize files between two computers, and even let others have access to your files. Basically the web interface allows you to select folders on the target machine that you want to share, and then send emails to anyone you want to be allowed to see it. You can set "permission levels" per user.

Pretty slick, IMHO.

11/14/2005

Corporate Ethics 101: How to kill the Golden Goose

In an interview on NPR recently, a Sony executive, in response to the clamor about Sony's questionable actions and inadequate response regarding its CD rootkit deployment, suggested that since most people don't know what a rootkit is, they had little reason to care about it. I think this takes the cake for the most arrogant comment I have ever heard from a top technology company executive!

Rootkits, by design, are virtually undetectable by anti-virus and anti-spam products. Even if they are detected, they integrate themselves so completely into the operating system that they are almost impossible to remove without going through a clean OS installation. Sony is already being sued on this, The California class-action suit (PDF court copy) is only one. There's another pending in New York, and another from abroad that I've read about so far. Don't be surprised to see more lawsuits. Sony, has in their arrogance and stupidity, created the classic Corporate Ethics 101 textbook example of attempting to solve a problem via subterfuge, and succeeding only in creating a much bigger problem.

The problem with Sony's rootkit is that once installed, it can hide any file, regardless of who puts it there. Meanwhile, the Trojan Stinx-E has been proliferating to take advantage of Sony's incredible blunder. The post distributing it also quotes Sony's now CEO as saying in 2001 that it would cheer him up to dispatch a virus to evidently punish those who illegally copy music.

The software, which Sony included on 20 or more recent CDs, gives no warning of the rootkit, nor does it inform users that it prompts PCs to contact a Sony website for updated lyrics or art, and in the process, reveals the user's internet address and details about how often the CD has been played. Another blatant violation of our privacy rights.

Obviously, if you get one of these Trojan files with an executable named "Article+Photos.exe" in the mail, don't click on it unless you really want a good reason to FDISK your hard drive and completely reinstall the works!

No matter what happens to Sony in the legal arena because of their incredible arrogance to the consumer who purchases their music CD's, the best way to handle this whole thing is to teach Sony (and it's arrogant corporate brethren) a quick lesson in Economics 101: DON'T BUY SONY.

That's my two cents!

Follow Up, Nov 15 2005: "From the frying pan into the Fire":

Sony BMG and the company that developed the antipiracy software, First 4 Internet Ltd. of Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, released a program that uninstalls XCP.

But the uninstaller has created a new set of problems.

To get the uninstall program, users have to request it by filling out online forms. Once submitted, the forms themselves download and install a program designed to ready the PC for the fix. Essentially, it makes the PC open to downloading and installing code from the Internet.

According to a Princeton analysis, the program fails to make the computer confirm that such code should come only from Sony or First 4 Internet.

"The consequences of the flaw are severe," the Princeton researchers said, "It allows any Web page you visit to download, install, and run any code it likes on your computer. Any Web page can seize control of your computer; then it can do anything it likes. That's about as serious as a security flaw can get."

There's much more to this story - the fact that researcher Dan Kaminsky found that 568,200 DNS servers knew about the Sony addresses, which means at least one compromised machine exists behind every one of them.

But the real protest should be by the artists whose work is represented on the BMG label. If I were one, I'd be voting with their feet to get away from Sony just as fast as I could.

11/10/2005

Evolution in the bible, says Vatican

The Vatican has issued a strong defense of Charles Darwin, voicing strong criticism of Christian Fundamentalists who reject his theory of evolution and interpret the biblical account of creation literally.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture (yeesh, where do they come up with these names?), said the Genesis description of how God created the universe and Darwin's theory of evolution were "perfectly compatible" if the Bible were read correctly.

His statement was a clear attack on creationist campaigners.

"The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim," he said at a Vatican press conference. He said the real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator".

This idea was part of theology, Cardinal Poupard emphasised, while the precise details of how creation and the development of the species came about belonged to a different realm - science. Cardinal Poupard said that it was important for Catholic believers to know how science saw things so as to "understand things better".

His statements were interpreted as a rejection of the "intelligent design" view, which says the universe is so complex that some higher being must have designed every detail.

In the US, Intelligent Design proponents couldn't care less about what the Vatican says, and continue their attempts to have the doctrine inserted into the public school curriculums in a number of states, continuing their efforts to mix religion with science. It is illegal to teach anything with a primarily religious purpose or effect on students in government-funded US schools.

Meanwhile, in the courtroom, under cross examination, ID proponent Michael Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, admitted his definition of “theory” was so broad it would also include astrology. So, Astrology would be considered a scientific theory if judged by the same criteria used by a well-known advocate of Intelligent Design to justify his claim that ID is science, a landmark US trial heard in mid October.

The score? Church 1, Fundamentalists, 0 (IMHO)

Church, for respecting science as a valid domain separate from Religion and the fact that the two can exist together without negating each other.

Fundamentalists, zero - for attempting to pass off religion as science.


You know what I think? It's funny watching people get cut by their own swords. One group wants Creationism, another wants handing out condoms, another wants a moment for prayer, and yet another wants to teach how to save the environment.

What's been lost in all of this is that our schools still can't adequately teach reading, writing and arithmetic! That's why my boss is importing talent from another country.

ASPNET_MERGE and Web Deployment Projects Arrive!

The long awaited ASP.NET build tool add-in is here:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/asp.net/reference/infrastructure/wdp/default.aspx


And Brian Goldfarb's blog item with additional links is here

"Visual Studio 2005 Web Deployment Projects provide additional functionality for building and deploying Web site applications that you create in ASP.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005. This add-in includes a new tool that enables you to merge the assemblies created during ASP.NET 2.0 precompilation, and it provides a comprehensive UI within Visual Studio 2005 for managing build configurations, merging, and pre-build and post-build task using MSBuild."


... And the good news: IT REALLY WORKS!

11/05/2005

GOT BUGS? VS.Net 2005 RTM: The infamous "Bouma Bug", et al

Frans found a particularly nasty one.

There are others:

http://blogs.x2line.com/al/archive/2005/11/05/1299.aspx


http://weblogs.asp.net/rosherove/archive/2005/11/04/429455.aspx



This is annoying stuff, the Bouma Bug is particularly nasty since the whole concept of a code editor is that you should be able to type anything into it, whether right or wrong. In this particular case it's Intellisense going into an endless loop.
I had no difficulty reproducing this with Frans' sample code block; the instant I attempted to type in an opening brace, the entire IDE froze and I had to kill the process to get back my desktop.

It was actually reported by a user, but it was so late in the RTM release process that they decided to let it go. Of course, there's a workaround for almost everything...

You'll get two schools of thought on this type of thing. I believe that nobody releases perfect software and you have to pick a point at which you are going to release your product with the proviso that you understand what the issues are and will take every step possible to provide fixes, workarounds, or Service Pack(s) as soon as is humanly possible.

The other school would have us wait until mid 2006 to get the product, at which time I can assure you that there will still be bugs of one type or another!

In addition, my Ladybug submission of the "Snapin Failed to Initialize" for the August CTP with the Microsoft .NET Framework Configuration Control Panel Applet is STILL BROKEN on my x64 box under RTM, and I've reopened the bug.

My Grandmother, who lived to be 100, always said that "The way to understand recursion is to understand recursion."