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Showing posts from March, 2007

MeToo Apple

So many people think that Apple is the "de facto innovator" in personal electronics. It pains me physically to hear people exclaim "oh what a wonderful idea" when they see some nifty little white gadget from Apple.

Today the news is a-buzz about the AppleTV. Why this thing is so wonderful, I will never understand. Apple is yet another Johnny Come-Later implementor of the media-fusion device. The first of its kind was the Tivo, which was just a computer that could decode MPEG and interface with a television set. Then came Microsoft MediaCenter. Typical of Microsoft, though, it was confusing and not marketed very well. The home user didn't understand how to use MediaCenter because it wasn't packaged. Then came all of the open-source knockoffs of the Tivo device. They're the lunatic fringe, so they don't really account for any market. Then came the XBox 360, which was Microsoft's way of packaging MediaCenter into a fun and useful console. Grante…

Are You 2896 Ready?

Here's something weird. I'm on Windows Vista again, and developing with VisualStudio 2005. I create my MSI several times each day and install it. But tonight on Vista, I got this weird error. What's worst is that I didn't discover this error until after I found a lame MSI hack from an MSDN blog.

So I am installing my MSI, and it gets to the very end and pops up an error message. The error code is 2896. That's all I got was that lame error code. 2896. Go to google and do a search on "windows vista error 2896." You'll find the blog that leads to a solution to decoding the error.

Turns out that this error message is really because the software I am installing is marked for deletion by Vista. Since I did not change the MSI version number, and did not change the product code, Vista thought it was installing the exact same product, which I had just uninstalled. Apparently the uninstallation process is queued, so you can't install and uninstall the same MS…

Mi Vista es su Vista

Today I attended a code clinic about programming Windows Vista. I like attending the Microsoft learning events because they are free and the cross-section of talents are comfortable. There are some real old-timers that do Windows platform programming. They're fun people.

Anyway, one thing that I took from that talk was about how Vista handles registry access. In the past, if your application did not have permission to make registry changes, it would get an error. Now, Vista creates an isolated, virtual, registry for your application. This gives your application the impression of it working properly, and for the most part, it's correct. In my case, though, it's not.

I program middleware Windows Services that make use of .NET Remoting. To manage the services, I create a manager application that is available from the task tray. You've seen something like this with SQL Server Manager, if you do SQL Server programming.

So I figured out how to make my service run with elevat…

My First Theorem

It's not everyday that I get to exercise my brain in a theoretical fashion, but today was special. I suppose a cosmic ray zapped that one neuron that was holding the rest of them back. Or maybe that cosmic ray zapped too many of those neurons, and now I am delusional about my own grandeur.

Anyway, I have a theory about numbers. Take any integer number and add up its digits. That means for a number like '123' you add '1 + 2 + 3'. My first theory is that the resulting sum will have no more than N-1 digits, where N is the number of digits in the original number. That's nothing new. Call this the DSUM operator.

Now for my conjecture:
(1) Given any number, X, define Y = DSUM(X).
(2) For every Y[i] = DSUM(Y[i-1]), the number of digits in Y[i] will be less than in Y[i-1].
(3) [i] will always be less than or equal to N, where N is the number of digits in X.
(4) For all Y[i], Y[i] is always less than Y[i-1].
(5) There always exists a value of Y[i] such that Y[i] is less tha…

Viva la Vista

Recently my Compaq Presario 2700T laptop's screen has been flaking-out on me. With the crash in laptop prices, I figured it would be more cost effective just to get a new laptop with a Core 2 chip and Vista. Why not? I'm a developer and I need to stay ahead of the curve on new technology.

My first stop was at where I purchase a new Gateway laptop with 2GB of RAM, and a 1.6 Ghz Core 2 Duo chip. This used to be my "wow" developer configuration, but apparently it's the status-quo for home users. I feel so uncool now.

The laptop came with Vista Home Premium, which is cool in its own right, but I need Vista Business or Ultimate. You can't upgrade laterally to Vista Business from Vista Home. Rather, you have to use the Vista Update Anywhere tool to go from Vista Home to Vista Ultimate. I didn't realize this until I purchase the laptop AND Vista Business separately. Oh well, I can re-use the Vista Home Premium license for another computer ...

Many o…