Projectors, Movies, Games

by Administrator 27. July 2007 17:51

My beloved HD projector started exhibiting some issues, mostly during Blu-Ray playback over the HDMI port.  Cruising some forums it seems that this huge purple line or white flash I sometimes see could be fixed by either firmware (not user upgradable) or a stuck dynamic Iris.  My projector (PT-AX100U) uses a dynamic iris to increase the contrast significantly.  My home theater and gaming depends on this device, I'm incredibly spoiled by always playing games on a 106" screen in a huge room in 5.1 so I'm not going to bother with any games until I get it back.  This would be the 4th piece of technology I've broken in a very short period of time.

Movies at Damon's, which I know some readers are on the mailing list for, will resume when my projector comes back.  300 will most likely be the next title, as it is supposed to be stunning in HD.  Anyone in the metro Milwaukee area who wants to be on the mailing list, leave or send me your address.

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Virtualization

by Administrator 26. July 2007 18:13

It was suggested that virtualization with Virtual PC might be a solution to the problem of future hardware crashes (and re-crashes) making me unproductive for days on end.  First, the last I checked, Virtual PC does not support USB ports for performance reasons.  PDA and Digital Camera development is a lot of my time and requires those newfangled USB ports.  In addition to this drawback I like my programs to be responsive.  VS2005 is now very responsive with my new machines but Outlook 2007 (while I like the program and its functionality) is barely tolerable and can still hang the entire system for several seconds during a send/receive.This is after following the performance improving ideas from Scott Hanselman and others.  I still can't fathom how anyone actually likes web based email. 

Grant's idea of ghosting your machine once in a while got me thinking.  A fantastic backup scenario for hardware failure would be as follows: when you want to take a backup you use a tool (I'm thinking a new improved Virtual PC) and just tell it "build a virtual machine image out of my current configuration".  This would make one giant virtual drive and image out of all of your programs and files.  This file could then be backed up and in case of a catastrophic hardware failure you copy this image out of your backup and continue from your last backup from inside virtual PC on whatever hardware is available.  Equally swell would be the option (you would certainly not always want to depending on the age of your last backup) to take your work from the virtual machine image and installify it onto your real physical hardware after repairs were done.  Yeah, that would be great.

This may already exist but I don't think so.

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Not so back

by Administrator 24. July 2007 00:48

After working for an amazing 5 hours my Dell roasted again, same issue as before.  I guess the issue was not the motherboard, and perhaps deals with the power circuitry or USB ports?  Dell is sending me an entirely new machine for the trouble of wasting quite a bit of my time, of course I won't be getting it for 10-15 days.  Despite their efforts to make things right I won't be purchasing anything Dell related in the future.  My last Dell laptop drank some Starbucks (my fault entirely) but it took three tedious round-trips to the repair depot to get it fixed.  Humoursly enough there is an insert in the repaired laptops when they come back that states that the unit has undergone "rigorous testing". 

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Laptop back

by Administrator 23. July 2007 19:39
My laptop is back from Dell in working order today.  Note to self: keep a Virtual PC with Visual Studio and some other necessities on it in case this happens again.  I should be able to get back to some pending articles now.

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What are the odds?

by Administrator 19. July 2007 19:30

Yesterday, two days after my fairly new Dell shorted itself, my not so new desktop PC at home decided to die as well-either the motherboard, the power supply, or both took a dump.  I was working on some discrete tasks from home since it would save me the trouble of setting up VS and the various messengers and tools.  Two computers in 3 days, what are the odds?

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Fried laptop

by Administrator 17. July 2007 15:49

My 3ish month old laptop decided to utterly fry itself, the USB ports went while I was looking at a PDA and then I was greeted by the very brief blue flash of a HARDWARE FAILURE screen before it retired and would not be reawakened.  The degree to which this puts me out of commission is disgusting.

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CF Replication

by Administrator 16. July 2007 19:57

You may try to open an SQL Mobile database with the query manager tool, or you may get error messages trying to compact, repair, or shrink an SQL Mobile database.  The solution is to install the SQL Mobile replication CAB appropriate for your device platform.  If you installed Visual Studio to the default folder you will find this in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\SmartDevices\SDK\SQL Server\Mobile\v3.0\wceX00 and sqlce30.repl.phone.wce5.armv4i.CAB is the file you're looking for, or the appropriate version for your platform.  You may not have installed this file if you are not using replication, but it contains a DLL (sqlcecompact30.dll) that the managed SQLMobile code will be looking for if one of the aforementioned operations is attempted.  It also seems that deploying from Visual Studio will not install this CAB file when you are using code that depends on it. 

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Orcas WPF Designer Surface

by Administrator 16. July 2007 17:04

The original series of articles on hosting the Visual Studio designer shall be wrapped up in the next installment.  The designer stuff is mostly done anyway, but I had planned on following up with a great deal of obscure Windows Forms tricks involved in interacting with the design time environment.  I've reevaluated the worth of this in light of the coolness of WPF and I think I'll shelve that effort for the forseeable future.  Messing around with the Orcas designer surface for a WPF window today, I realized I need to get on the ball with the Orcas design-time environment.

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Architectural Review

by Administrator 12. July 2007 19:52

A friend of mine asked me to do an Architectural Review for him, and since I have had my eye on some home theater recliners I agreed to help.  This is something I've done several times in the past in an ad hoc fashion: in conversations with developers, stakeholders, infrastructure experts, and users, the areas that require more rigid review than other areas make themselves known quickly.  This client had the audacity to want to know ahead of time what is usualy contained in an Architectural Review, which forced me to sit down and think about things that I haven't been at for a while, such as different viewpoints as to what exactly is entailed in the idea of software architecture and what people are really after when they bring someone in to review the architecture and implementation of a software system.

The latter question is often overlooked but is of paramount importance.  What are they after, bringing in an outsider who does not know their business and their politics to critique what is often the collective work of an entire department and a fair amount of involvement from other departments as well.  I have a friend who despite being a world class software architect is regularly subjected to reviews by people who were not out of diapers when he began working with the high level structure of integrated systems.  What are they after?  In some cases (though this does not seem to be the norm) there are clear problems with a system's ability to scale or with the difficulty in making changes to a system and the architect is brougt in to show the way forward. I will propose some answers with a few articles I am working on, culminating with my humble offer for a blueprint of what is involved in an "Architectural Review."

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Thanks, Sony

by Administrator 9. July 2007 16:05

Dear Sony,

Thank you for punishing your early adopters.  Revisions in console hardware and specifications are no doubt unavoidable, however cutting the price on the PS3 mere months after it was released, along with offering a new version containing an 80gb HD and the full version of Motorstorm so soon seems like a bit of a slap to the 6million or so people who just bought these things.  The loud and clear message is to not buy consoles at launch. 

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About the author

Damon Payne is a Microsoft MVP specializing in Smart Client solution architecture. 

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