Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Good news and bad news

The good news
The last two bugs have fallen out of the code and everything runs great.

The bad news
I haven't the slightest idea what I changed to make this miracle happen.

The worse news
The code only seems to work properly in Debug builds.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Catching a breather

For what seems to be an eternity, I've been working on this Symbian device driver. Just when I think I have it working, suddenly something else pops up elsewhere. Lately it's mostly been a matter of very poor performance, but before that it was problems with hardware interrupts not firing when they were expected. Finally, last Thursday the hardware manufacturer popped up out of nowhere and requested that we send our devices back because they'd like to take a look at the things and send us an updated set of devices.

Is it possible that the performance issues were hardware related? I hope so. It alleviates a lot of my pressure if that is the case.

So I sent the devices out on Friday morning and am expecting the new hardware any minute now. I've got a few minutes to take a breather and just unwind. Maybe I'll try to learn a new programming language. Maybe I'll just pass out on the floor and catch up on some overdue sleep.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Microsoft is giving away the store

Free this, free that, Microsoft is giving its software away for free! Not all of it, but a lot of the fun stuff, that's for sure.

The latest one is Visual Studio Express. It was actually free for download previously, but there was a $50 price tag that would be invoked a few months down the line. That sword is no longer dangling over the heads of the casual VSexpress programmer.

Will they start making express versions of all their products? Will they release their non-mainline products as free? We can only hope.

Dear Microsoft,

Please release Platform Builder for free without the 180 day time limit.



Thursday, April 06, 2006

Microsoft Virtual Server Success (so far)

I put together a 3Gb virtual hard disk and cobbled together a virtual machine.

Here's me installing RedHat 9 on the virtual server.

You'll notice that the title bar is not highlighted. That's because the VM is intercepting the PrintScreen key. I just set another window as the focus screen and took a full-screen screenshot.

It just finished up the installation and is rebooting now. The system seems to be doing a proper boot up sequence at this point, so it's only a few more moments until I'm running Gnome on Linux on Windows.

Microsoft Virtual Server Part ][

OK. First, you can't use Firefox as your Virtual Server Manager browser client. Let alone running it with Javascript disabled.

But now I've got it working in IE, though it seems to be a pain that I can't set IE as the default browser for this application without setting it system-wide.

I've gone and created a 3Gb virtual hard disk. Next up is to create a machine that uses that disk.

Everything looks good except the following:

Virtual Machine Additions
Important: We highly recommend that you install Virtual Machine Additions. Virtual Machine Additions provides performance and feature enhancements for Windows-based guest operating systems. These features include: time synchronization between guest and host operating systems, mouse integration when using the ActiveX control in Virtual Machine Remote Control (VMRC), and a heartbeat for the guest operating system to monitor the state of the virtual machine.

Where do I get that? Hmm... Anyway.

Microsoft Virtual Server available for free

There is a lot of recent activity on the MSDN Blog site regarding the recent release of Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2. My machine seems to be up to the minimum specs, so I think I'll give it a go.

The big deal seems to be that it's free to download, and there's no expiration period on it. Since it seems at least somewhat related to Virtual PC, I took a look at that page and found it to be not free. There is a 45-day trial version, but I think I'll stick with free for now.

Now why are they releasing it free? Probably some nefarious plot to boost sales and maximize profits. Whatever the case, it's one more toy for me.

The "Complete" installation requires IIS to be installed and enabled in order to install the Virtual Server Web management tool (or something to that effect). No big deal. Just choose "Custom" from the installation menu and we're off to the races.

Update 2:
Nice little no-warning network adapter reset there at the end of installation. That was very freaky. A warning dialog would have been nice.

Update 3:
It seems like it wants IIS like a 6 year old wants a pony. Here goes. Hopefully this doesn't attract attention from IT...

Update 4:
Hi, I'm your Virtual Server 2005 Manager application. I don't work or play well with Firefox.