Browsing Posts in Miscellaneous

Today I was informed that I have received a Microsoft MVP award for Visual Studio – Solutions Architect. You can check out my profile on the MVP site here. I would like to thank everyone, my wife and children especially, for all the support and encouragement over the years. A special thanks to my fellow plumbers (John Bristowe, Bil Simser, and Dan Sellers), the Calgary .NET User Group (big kudos to Jean-Paul Boodhoo and Daniel Carbajal), and the entire EDMUG crew (Donald Belcham, Stephen Rockarts, Justice Gray, Steve Yang, and Brad Daoust). Enjoy the link love, guys!

As you can probably tell from previous blog entries and presentations, I’ve been a big fan of Sysinternals tools for a long time. Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell wrote some of the best Windows tools in existence, free or otherwise. Process Explorer kicks Task Manager’s proverbial butt. Regmon and Filemon are invaluable debugging aids (and cited in many a Microsoft KB article explaining how to debug certain problems). Autoruns combs your system to identify what launches automatically when your machine starts. (Great for ferretting out malware or just getting rid of annoying auto-update software.) Junction, MoveFiles, the BSOD* Screensaver, Strings, PendMoves, PageDefrag, … The list goes on and on. Mark and Bryce also founded a commercial company, Winternals, which develops some topnotch system recovery software.

Microsoft has acquired both Sysinternals and Winternals. Mark and Bryce are now both Microsoft employees. So many of the tools I’ve grown to love will likely become core parts of the operating system. Congrats to both Mark and Bryce. This is a huge win for Microsoft, both from the technology they’ve acquired and the two gurus wearing freshly-pressed blue shirts. You can find the press release on the Winternals site, another on the Microsoft site, and a post from Mark on his blog.

* BSOD – Blue Screen of Death. The BSOD Screensaver, aka BlueScreen, accurately emulates a kernel crashdump and reboot based on the system its running on. Fun stuff to install on a cubicle mate’s unlocked computer while he/she’s off getting a coffee.

After a long hiatus, Richard Lander is back. Richard is a PM on the CLR team at Microsoft responsible for the loader and versioning. He’s also a Cannuck working in Redmond. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of chatting with him on a number of occassions. Due to moving, a second child, and site-hosting changes, his blog – CLR Hoser – went off-line about 6 months ago. He’s back and ready to blog. You can also catch him on DNIC discussing all things CLR with John Bristowe.

People have been hypothesizing about this moment for years. The rumours became even more heightened with the hiring/purchase of Ray Ozzie. Bill Gates’ non-appearance at the keynote for TechEd, which I highlighted here, was another hint. Well, the day has come. Bill Gates has announced that he is transitioning away from his daily duties at Microsoft to focus on his charitable work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, though he will remain CEO in name. Everyone saw it coming, but I personally didn’t think the announcement would come this soon. The transition will take place over a two year period. Ray Ozzie, currently CTO, will take on Gates’ title of Chief Software Architect. Craig Mundie, another CTO, will take on the title of Chief Research and Strategy Officer.

Kenny Kerr has updated Window Clippings, which I mentioned here, with some cool new features including:

  • Capturing the PrtScn key to initiate clippings
  • Saving images in the TIFF format
  • Prompt for storage location (rather than always dropping it in the same location)
  • Windows Vista support

You can download x86 or x64 versions, as appropriate, from here. Awesome tool! Thanks, Kenny!!! The x64 build is a great touch.

Consolas is a new mono-spaced font being introduced with Vista. John, Scott, and others have been raving about it for months. It’s designed to be a comfortable font for programming and is a huge leap forward from Courier. (Personally I’ve been using Lucida Console for years as it’s easier on the eyes than Courier. Consolas is a step better than that.) Various folks have documented how to “borrow” the font from Vista builds to use on your WinXP computers. Now there is no reason to hack it as Microsoft is providing a download of Consolas for Visual Studio 2005. The installer even sets your default editor font in VS2005 to Consolas so you don’t have to. Sweet!

N.B. Consolas has been optimized for ClearType. So make sure you turn on ClearType! You can use the ClearType Web interface or downloadable PowerToy Tuner. (You can also turn it on via Display Properties, but you can’t adjust it. It’s also buried deep in the options. So it’s easiest to use the web interface or PowerToy.)

[Via Scott Hanselman]

[Image "borrowed" from John Bristowe]

UPDATE: For some strange reason, Consolas wasn’t appearing in my list of available fonts for any program. (This included VS2005 and Notepad!) The registry entries for the Consolas font in VS2005 looked kosher for my user account and if I launched VS2005 as the local Administrator, Consolas appeared correctly in font selection dialogs. I just couldn’t get it to appear for my user account. Logging out and logging back in (without changing any security settings, registry entries, or other configuration) resulted in Consolas spontaneously appearing and working in VS2005 and Notepad.

Time to let the proverbial cat out of the bag. It’s probably the worst kept secret this side of the Rockies, but I’ve gone independent. Consulting Inc. is open and ready for business. If you’re looking for assistance with .NET development, architecture, agile techniques, or object-oriented analysis and design, email me at and I would be happy to chat. I’m interested in both short-term and long-term engagements. Whether you need an experienced team lead to mentor your team on .NET a few hours a week or a seasoned architect to design your paradigm-shifting* application, I can help.

* Paradigm-shifts are limited to one per customer, some restrictions may apply, void where prohibited, …

Actually you can get virtualization completely free these days. From VMWare, we have VMWare Player, which is based on VMWare Workstation, and VMWare Server, which is based on VMWare GSX Server. Microsoft recently announced that Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 is now free. Microsoft is even supporting Linux with Virtual Server, including virtual machine additions for Linux. Microsoft has also loosened up its licensing policy when it comes to virtualization technologies. So whether you prefer VMWare’s or Microsoft’s virtualization products, things just got a whole lot cheaper!

I double-checked that this wasn’t released on April 1st, but Apple will be supporting a dual-boot configuration for Intel-based Macs that let’s you chose between Mac OSX and Windows XP SP2. The code name is Boot Camp and it’s currently in public beta. You need to own your own copy of Windows, but Boot Camp deals with the Mactel’s EFI (as opposed to BIOS that PCs use) and finding all the hardware drivers for your Windows install. More details on the Apple site. Crazy stuff.

We’ve just released Episode 3: Powered by Infinite Improbability Drive. So that we can get you, our loyal listeners, the episodes more quickly, we’ll be hosting on both MSDN Canada Community Radio as well as on the Plumbers @ Work site. You can find the show notes here, photos here, and podcast here. It will be posted to MSDN Canada Community Radio shortly.

Show Notes

  • Introduction
  • Around the Horn with the Plumbers
  • Security March with Dan Sellers
  • Microsoft Blacklisted C++ Libraries
  • SHA-1 Discussion
  • Team Foundation Server (TFS) Release Candidate (RC) 1
  • Public Release of Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 Beta 2
  • Various Issues with IE 7.0 Beta 2
  • Development of IE versus Development of Firefox
  • The Browser as a User Experience (i.e. AJAX)
  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS) in IE 7.0 and Outlook (AKA, The Ultimate Pull Application)
  • Information Overload (AKA, Organizing Information)
  • Upcoming Canadian Conferences: VSLive! and DevTeach
  • Half-Time
  • .NET Framework 2.0 Adoption
  • ASP.NET 2.0 Adoption
  • PetShop 4.0 Discussion and Highlights
  • .NET Nuke 4.0
  • Old Microsoft Reference Applications (AKA, “Different Strokes” or “ALF”)
  • Enterprise Library 2.0 Highlights
  • Windows “Live” Highlights (i.e. Domains, Favorites, and Messenger)
  • Other “Live” Projects (Office “Live” and Visual Studio “Live”)
  • Windows OneCare Beta
  • The Realities of a “Secure” Operating System
  • Windows Vista Favourite Features
  • Running as Standard User/Non-Admin on Windows Vista
  • Event Viewer in Windows Vista
  • Windows Calendar (WinCal) in Windows Vista
  • What’s Coming Up for the Plumbers
  • Upgrading to Community Server 2.0
  • John Still Doesn’t Have a Xbox 360

Show References

Rory Blyth and the Ewok
The SharePoint Show
Alberta .NET User Group
Calgary .NET User Group
Dan Sellers’ Blog
MSDN WebCasts
Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend (Michael Howard)
Bruce Schneier
SHA-1 Broken (Bruce Schneier)
Michael Howard’s Blog
Team Foundation Server (TFS) Release Candidate (RC) 1 (via Jeff Beehler)
Rob Caron’s Blog
Jeff Beehler’s Blog
Team Foundation Server (TFS) Go-Live License
TFS Blog
Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0 Beta 2
Scott Hanselman’s “Running Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 2 without installing it.” Post
VSLive! Toronto
MSDN Article for Petshop Migration
.NET Nuke
Enterprise Library 2.0
Windows “Live”
Microsoft Gadgets
Windows “Live” Domains
Windows “Live” Favorites
Tuscany (AKA, Visual Studio “Live”)
Windows OneCare Beta
Windows OneCare Pricing Announcement
UntitledNet (Xbox 360 Locator Application)

You can post comments in the forums. As always, feedback is more than welcome.