Monthly Archives: October 2007

Check out the ALT.NET Conference Group on Yahoo Groups

I am sure most .NET developers have heard of the ALT.NET Conference whose name was coined by  David Laribee and was hosted in Austin, TX on October 5-7, 2007.

Well, it seem the movement has some traction and those involved have started a group in Yahoo Groups, it’s well worth checking out.  There are 1870 messages posted for October alone, as I write this.  The discussions are great and include all types of topics of interest to .NET developers today.

Here is a description of the group to pique your interest:

Spawned from the AltNetConf in Austin, TX in October, 2007. We are .Net developers looking striving to create quality software on the .Net platform.

ALT.NET – You’re the type of developer who uses what works while keeping an eye out for a better way. – You reach outside the mainstream to adopt the best of any community: Open Source, Agile, Java, Ruby, etc. – You’re not content with the status quo. Things can always be better expressed, more elegant and simple, more mutable, higher quality, etc. – You know tools are great, but they only take you so far. It’s the principles and knowledge that really matter. The best tools are those that embed the knowledge and encourage the principles

Now go over to the group and sign-up to add to the community.

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Relieving the Headache of the iPhone on Windows Vista with iTunes

So, I have my new iPhone in my hot little hands and crack open the beautifully designed box from Apple to look at the instructions.    The basic instructions are (8) 2″ x 4″ pages with very little writing and some pictures.  How hard could it be to get this thing working?

Well, obviously much longer than I expected otherwise I probably wouldn’t be writing this post.   The instructions are as follows:

  1. Download and install the latest version of iTunes.
  2. Connect iPhone to your Mac or PC using the included cable and Dock.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions in iTunes to activate iPhone and sync your contacts, calendars, email accounts, bookmarks, music, photos, videos, and more.

That’s it.  That’s all there is to it….yeah right.

I was already using iTunes with my older iPod and it has worked great.  I am on Windows Vista (32-bit) and running iTunes 7.4.3.1, which is the latest at the time of writing this.  I plugged in the iPhone Dock to the USB cable back to a USB 2.0 port and sat the iPhone in the dock with iTunes running…..nothing.  After several failed attempts of unplugging the USB, connecting with iTunes closed and different USB ports but still nothing worked.

Thinking I may have received a dead iPhone, I unpacked my MacBook Pro and tried the same combination and it worked just fine and I was able to activate my iPhone with AT & T with no problems.   I still had the issue of using the iPhone with Vista since I use Windows for my day-to-day work and the bulk of my media content resides on Vista I really needed to get it to work.  So off to Google I went….

It turns out this not a uncommon problem on Windows at all.  The first article for the iPhone on Apple’s support web site is titled “iPhone not recognized in iTunes for Windows“.   This article is a good place to start but did not solve my problem.   At the bottom of the article it basically says if all else fails the reinstall.   Apple does give some nice detailed instructions about uninstalling iTunes.

The article says to try the following:

In some rare instances, it may be required to remove all traces of iTunes, QuickTime, and other essential software components from your computer. Use the following steps to remove all traces of iTunes, QuickTime, and associated software installed by the iTunes + QuickTime Installer.

 

Remove iTunes (Click for more)

Note: iTunes Store purchases or songs imported from CDs are saved in your My Music folder by default and are not deleted by removing iTunes.

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. From the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  3. In Control Panel, click Uninstall a program. The Programs and Features control panel opens.
    Alternately, in Classic Panel of Control Panel, click Programs and Features.
  4. Select iTunes from the list of currently installed programs, then click Uninstall.
  5. When asked if you would like to remove iTunes, select Yes.
  6. After the uninstallation is complete, do not restart if you are prompted to.
  7. If other entries were present for iTunes remove those as well.
  8. In Programs and Features, remove any iPod Updater applications that are listed in the same fashion as iTunes was removed.
  9. Restart your computer.
  10. After the computer restarts, open Local Disk (C:) in Computer or whichever disk programs are installed on.
  11. Open the Program Files folder.
  12. Right-click the iTunes folder and select Delete and choose Yes when asked to confirm the deletion. Note: This folder may have already been deleted if iTunes was successfully removed in steps 1-7.
  13. Right-click the iPod folder and select Delete and choose Yes when asked to confirm the deletion. Click Continue if Windows needs confirmation or permission to continue.
  14. Right-click on the Recycle Bin and on the shortcut menu, click Empty Recycle Bin.
  15. Restart your computer.
  16. Install the latest version of iTunes from http://www.apple.com/itunes/download.

Remove QuickTime (Click for more)

Here is some content

  1. Quit QuickTime Player.
  2. From the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  3. In Control Panel, click Uninstall a program. The Programs and Features control panel opens.
    Alternately, in Classic Panel of Control Panel, click Programs and Features.
  4. Select QuickTime from the list of currently installed programs, then click Uninstall.
  5. When asked if you would like to remove QuickTime, select Yes.
  6. After the uninstallation is complete, do not restart if you are prompted to.
  7. If other entries were present for QuickTime remove those as well.
  8. Restart your computer.
  9. After the computer restarts, open Local Disk (C:) in Computer or whichever disk programs are installed on.
  10. Open the Program Files folder.
  11. Right-click the QuickTime folder and select Delete and choose Yes when asked to confirm the deletion. Note: This folder may have already been deleted if QuickTime was successfully removed in steps 1-7.
  12. Delete the QuickTime and QuicktimeVR files located in the C:\Windows\system32\ folder. Click Continue if Windows needs confirmation or permission to continue.
  13. Right-click on the Recycle Bin and on the shortcut menu, click Empty Recycle Bin.
  14. Restart your computer.
  15. Install the latest version of QuickTime from http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download.

Remove Apple Software Update (Click for more)

  1. Quit Apple Software Update.
  2. From the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  3. In Control Panel, click Uninstall a program. The Programs and Features control panel opens.
    Alternately, in Classic Panel of Control Panel, click Programs and Features.
  4. Select Apple Software Update from the list of currently installed programs, then click Uninstall.
  5. When asked if you would like to remove Apple Software Update, select Yes.
  6. After the uninstallation is complete, do not restart if you are prompted to.
  7. If other entries were present for Apple Software Update remove those as well.
  8. Restart your computer.
  9. Install the latest version of Apple Software Update by installing the latest version of iTunes http://www.apple.com/itunes/download.

Remove Apple Mobile Device Support (Click for more)

  1. Quit iTunes.
  2. From the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  3. In Control Panel, click Uninstall a program. The Programs and Features control panel opens.
    Alternately, in Classic Panel of Control Panel, click Programs and Features.
  4. Select iTunes from the list of currently installed programs, then click Uninstall.
  5. When asked if you would like to remove iTunes, select Yes.
  6. After the uninstallation is complete, do not restart if you are prompted to.
  7. If other entries were present for iTunes remove those as well.
  8. In Programs and Features, remove Apple Mobile Device Support in the same fashion as iTunes was removed.1
  9. Restart your computer.
  10. After the computer restarts, open Local Disk (C:) in Computer or whichever disk programs are installed on.
  11. Open the Program Files folder.
  12. Right-click the iTunes folder and select Delete and choose Yes when asked to confirm the deletion. Note: This folder may have already been deleted if iTunes was successfully removed in steps 1-7.
  13. Right-click on the Recycle Bin and on the shortcut menu, click Empty Recycle Bin.
  14. Restart your computer.
  15. Install the latest version of iTunes from http://www.apple.com/itunes/download.

Notes

  1. Do not manually delete the Mobile Device Support folder located at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple. Use Programs and Features as described in the steps above.
iPodService.exe Alert

Follow these steps if the message, “Cannot delete iPodService.exe: It is being used by another person or program” appears when you try to delete the iPod folder.

  1. Make sure that iTunes and the iPod Updater utility are not open.
  2. On your keyboard press Control-Alt-Delete. Select Start Task Manager.
  3. Click on the Processes tab.
  4. Locate the iPodService.exe in the list.
  5. Click on iPodService.exe and choose End Process.
  6. Quit the Task Manager.

I tried just uninstalling iTunes as instructed about but this did not work, so I followed all the steps including removal of QuickTime and also confirming all directories were gone as well.

The last piece of the puzzle was probably the root cause of the problem.   It seems Vista does a lousy job of installing various USB drivers and in this case the one for the Apple USB.   I needed to delete the folder beginning with USBAPPL_ in the C:\Windows\System32\DRVSTORE.

I then reran the iTunes setup, as Administrator, rebooted and tried the iPhone connection again and it all worked.

I hope this save someone from a headache or two and about 2 hours of time.

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Succumbing to temptation – Buying an iPhone

 

iphone

I have resisted the temptation and the constant Apple marketing long enough, I now own an iPhone. 

I have been thinking about moving over to a smart phone and have been waiting for Verizon Wireless to come out with the new Windows Mobile 6 phones but they have been  to be taking too long.

I was able to try out the iPhone at a client site where one of the other consultants had an iPhone.  The experience is truly incredible with the use of gestures to operate the user interface.

The announcement of the iPhone SDK was another compelling reason to get the iPhone.   The release of this will start the development of really great applications by third parties as is always the case with Apple developers…they create really great software.

One last reason for choosing the iPhone over a Blackberry or Windows Mobile device…Tim O’Reilly.   Tim posted how the iPhone will beat the Blackberry on his blog and Tim usually has his finger on the pulse of technology, so what the heck.

One downside to the iPhone is it’s lack of voice-activated calling.  I am used to this with my current phone, the Motorola Razr.  I hope Apple provides this update soon.

I did have some problem connecting my iPhone to my Windows Vista PC through iTunes.  The fix was annoying but it now works, I will detail the fix in another post

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Coding Horror: How To Achieve Ultimate Blog Success In One Easy Step

I am a regular reader of Jeff Atwood’s blog and always get something useful out of his posts, I find them well thought out and worth the read.

Jeff had a great post today called How To Achieve Ultimate Blog Success In One Easy Step.   Jeff gives great advice:

When people ask me for advice on blogging, I always respond with yet another form of the same advice: pick a schedule you can live with, and stick to it. Until you do that, none of the other advice I could give you will matter. I don’t care if you suck at writing. I don’t care if nobody reads your blog. I don’t care if you have nothing interesting to say. If you can demonstrate a willingness to write, and a desire to keep continually improving your writing, you will eventually be successful.

I have been blogging for a couple years now but I have not committed to a regular schedule.  My usual reasons are I am too busy with clients, family or life in general.  As Jeff points out,  a blog should be part of your regular life and commit to a schedule you can stick with and post something. 

I am committing here to post 3 times a week and see if I can make my blog more popular and my writing better.

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ASP.NET Development Server Problems Under Vista

I guess I was bored last night so I decided to upgrade my development system to Vista.  I have been running Windows XP Pro without any real issues but I wanted to start using some of the features of Vista I had only used in my virtual machines.

The upgrade went pretty well with only a handful of driver issues for video, printer and my sound card.

I installed the Visual Studio 2005 updates to run on Vista outlined by Microsoft and Visual Studio seemed to run just fine.    Note that ASP.NET is not installed by default, so you will need to enable it.

I normally use the ASP.NET Development Server for ASP.NET applications for development and testing and move over to IIS for deployment.   The only real problem I faced was hitting Ctrl-F5 in Visual Studio 2005 to run one of my web applications, the server started, Internet Explorer opened but nothing happened.  I waited for several minutes, but nothing.

After searching the web many different ways I found out that Vista implements IPv6 (versus the old IPv4) and browsers may have issues resolving http://localhost.  Since I use both Internet Explorer and Firefox for web development I decided to try just copying the URL the ASP.NET Development Server was using and pasting manually into both browsers and the same result…nothing, no error, nothing.

It turns out others have had this same problem and you can turn off IPv6 in Firefox pretty easily.

Disable IPv6 in Firefox
  1. Type about:config in the address bar and press Enter.
  2. Scroll down until you find network.dns.disableIPv6.
  3. Double-click on it to change its value to true.
  4. Restart Firefox.

After restarting Firefox I pasted the address used by ASP.NET Development Server into the Firefox address bar….and it worked like a charm.  So, it seems IPv6 is the issue.

I spent an hour or so trying to find a similar configuration for Internet Explorer but had no luck.  If a reader finds a setting in IE to disable IPv6 I would like to hear about it so I can update this post.

The solution I did get to work in IE was to disable IPv6 for my system.  I found a great article by the Cable Guy which pointed out what to do.   In short I set the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\tcpip6\Parameters\DisabledComponents

to a value of 0xff and restarted the system.  Checking the ASP.NET Development Server URL in the IE address bar displayed my page.

Conclusion

This worked for me but I have reservations about the solution.  What are the side-effects or the future effects of disabling IPv6 which Microsoft includes with Vista.  If the system evolves and I need IPv6 then I will have a different problem.

If someone has a different solution I would like to hear it.  I am not keen on disabling IPv6 but it works and it is not irreversible.  On the plus side, browsing the web seems to be faster.

Get your C# 3.0 Language Specification while it’s hot.

Fabrice posted about the recently released language specification for C# 3.0 and VB.NET 9.0. 

The C# spec contains 519 pages, yikes…is our language getting a bit bloated?

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Use Host-Header Routing to Host Multiple IIS Web Sites

I have been working with Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) since very early on and sometimes take for granted some nice features in the current (pre-IIS7) versions.

Much of my work is from the development side of things, creating ASP.NET web sites and web services.  I do get involved in the management of those IIS servers from time-to-time.   One issue that we often face is how to host multiple web sites on the same IIS server.  There are three approaches that work, they are:

1. Separate IP address for each site hosted – this works but requires you to use a precious IP address that your hosting company may not want to give out.

2. Use different TCP port – since normal HTTP traffic uses port 80 there is nothing saying you can host your web site on a different port, say 8080.  The drawback to this is yoursite.com:8080 may have it’s port blocked by the firewall you are behind and it’s not a common port so your users may have a hard time finding it.

3. The best way, in my opinion is to use what is called Host-Header Routing, which is part of the HTTP 1.1 specification.  Host-Header Routing is simply using a single IP address in your IIS configuration for all of your web sites but differ them in the configuration by indicating their host name.

You can access this information by going to Internet Information Services and right-clicking on your website and choose Properties and go to the Web Site tab and click the Advanced button and see a screen like below:

IISAdvanced

Choose the Edit button which will reveal a dialog like this:

IISHostHeader

Simply enter your host like “www.microsoft.com” into the Host Header Name field and select OK.  You can now do the same thing for additional web sites using the (All Unassigned) IP Address but vary the Host Header Name.   This will save your IP addresses and is an nice way to host multiple web sites.

The only caveat is the browser needs to support HTTP 1.1, which almost all do today.

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