Category Archives: Tools

Visual Studio 2015, Command Prompt & Powershell ExecutionPolicy

Just a hint in case you run into this problem that took a few days to discover the pattern.

I have the Productivity Power Tools 2015 installed as an extension to VS2015. These are from Microsoft and there are a ton of features in there that I can’t live without.

With this I can right click on a solution or project in Solution Explorer and open a command prompt at the relevant path.

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I mostly use this feature to get to posh-git to run some git commands.

posh-git is a PowerShell enhanced environment for the git command line.

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There are plenty of other reasons you may want to use PowerShell interactively with Visual Studio. Working with ASPNET5 apps is a very good reason.

The problem I encountered was that occasionally, I would get into PowerShell but my Execution-Policy was, for some reason, Restricted, so I couldn’t trigger posh-git.

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I finally figured out how to ensure I entered the command prompt with my normal Unrestricted ExecutionPolicy.

Be sure to open the Package Manager Console in Visual Studio first. That starts up Powershell with the correct policy. Then when you open your command prompt, you are good to go.

Capture Screenshots Directly into Camtasia Projects

I spend a lot of time in TechSmith’s Camtasia when I’m building my Pluralsight courses. I’ve been using it for years and am a huge devotee. (disclsure that I get a free licnese as a Microsoft MVP but would willingly pay for it). often decide while editing that an image would be handy. I usually have to go grab a screenshot, save that file. Then import that file into my camtasia project and then put it into my video.

I also happen to use TechSmith’s SnagIt for my screen captures (same disclosure re free license and same but I would pay for it for sure!).

I only just discovered that there are a slew of output extensions for Snagit and one of them is Camtasia.

Here is a 30 second video (that I created in Camtasia of course) of how it works.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TaLJu-h6iQ?rel=0]

Problems Installing AMD Catalyst Control Center on Windows 8? Here’s my fix!

TLDR: Updating to Windows 8.1 and reinstalling solved the problem. Smile

(And yes, I realize that I just wrote an UpWorthy-worthy post title!)

I recently replaced my 19” monitors with a pair of 27” monitors. My desktop is a Dell Optiplex and it has an AMD HD Radeon 7500 display adapter installed. This came with the Dell and is not an off-the-shelf card, but something that AMD sells generically to manufacturers.

My monitor has HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. My adapter has DisplayPort and DVI inputs. I plugged one monitor DP to DP. It was fine. For some reason, I got an HDMI to DVI adapter instead of a DisplayPort to DVI and when I plugged the second monitor in from the HDMI output, I got what is a classic problem with HDMI monitors: a 1” black border around my desktop window.

I tried many things via windows settings but none did the trick. The monitor has lots of hardware settings but it doesn’t have the classic Horizontal and Vertical scaling option that I’m used to from older monitors.

So I went to the internet and found many (many many many) recommendations on the web to just install AMD’s catalyst control center and then use it’s features to change the scaling on the monitor and lose the border.

Obviously this was the way to go. But after 4 hours of attempting to install the CCC software, I got bupkus. The installer went through the motions of installing but I did not get the CCC menu option on the desktop context menu. This is what it should look like:

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I went through uninstalls, reinstalls, registry purges (based on AMD guidance), installing beta software. Still nothing.

Then I dug into the install folder created by the installer (C:\AMD) and dug through sub folders running all of the installers I could find! (Yes I know…dangerous and potential for having to repave my machine).

This finally installed a shell of the CCC though still not on my context menu. But when I ran this shell, all it had in it was a Quadrant tool that lets you define where on the screen various softare should be displayed.

I gave up on this thinking that next time I was in town, I would just get a proper DisplayPort to DVI adapter.

A month went by and I decided to try again yesterday. I only wasted 1/2 hr this time before giving up.

I also happened to decide it was time to upgrade this computer from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. I had upgraded all of the other laptops and devices already.

After the 8.1 update was done, I decided to give CCC one last try (or at least what I was calling one last try.) I looked in the install folder and saw something I had never seen before in my many visits to that folder! A folder called WU-CCC2

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In there was another install folder and in there another setup.exe!

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Of course, I gave this a try and the install (because I just love to click on things!) and it did some interesting things. First it ran an uninstall (cleaning up previous garbage?) and then ran another install.

When complete, I had to reboot and the Catalyst Control Center option was finally on my menu!

I opened it up and it looked like all of the screenshots I had seen all over the internet as a recommendation on how to solve my original problem: the 1” border.

And changing the scaling on that monitor, has indeed, fixed the border problem! Smile

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Sometimes being a pit bull pays off. On the other hand, a new display adapter would have probably been more cost effective than the wasted time …but my pride was at risk, here. So I had to solve the puzzle!

My Long-Running, Not-Yet-Complete, Investigation into a New Haswell Ultrabook

(I’m updating this post frequently as I learn more about these machines or about ones I haven’t looked at well enough yet)

Dec 18 update:

The search is over! I’m in Love!

Well, the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus  (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) arrived late one night last week. The poor Fedex driver showed up at my house at 9pm and still had 15 deliveries to go after mine. I gave him a piece of home-made apple pie for the rest of his journey. I’ve now had the Samsung for 5 days and yesterday I cancelled the not-yet-shipped-after 4 weeks Dell XPS13. I was already in love with the Samsung so there seems to be no point in doing a comparison.

It’s light (3 pounds), quiet (unless I’m stressing it out), much faster than my Thinkpad (I did some geekbench comparisons) and I just love looking at the battery status and seeing “5 hours left” “7 hours left”. I love the keyboard and after struggling with the thinkpad’s eraser mouse and touchpad for so many years, I took to the Samsung’s touchpad “like a duck to water”. I had to do a bit of finagling to get my RDP setup to handle its super duper high res but am now using it as my full time machine with the ehinkpad nearby in case I forgot to install or copy anything.

I will definitely write a blog post at some point.

Amazon now has these available now on a pretty steady basis.

Dec 4 update:

Dell started selling the XPS13 a few days after my last update so I ordered that although it wouldn’t be shipping for over 4 weeks from when I ordered! Then Samsung’s shipping time went down to 1-3 days so I called to order one on Nov 20th. But I was told that the pre-orders were going out and they wouldn’t be able to ship one to me until Dec 13. I went ahead and placed the order. Was frustrated to see them shipping on Amazon with no wait about a week later but such is life. But I was excited a few days later to get an email that it shipped. The box arrived today. It was suspiciously light…much less than 3 pounds. All they had shipped was the free laptop sleeve that is part of their p.r. I have no idea when I’ll get either laptop and it’s driving me batty (blame A.D.D.). When I ordered the Dell, they had a promo for free shipping, free returns and no restocking. This means I get to try it out and if it’s not the one, it won’t have cost me anything (money, that is). Samsung was close with free shipping and no re-stocking fee. It is the only way I can get a hands-on look at these since they are definitely not available in our local Best Buy or Staples. And they won’t be for a while. We are a minor market. I couldn’t even find the 4GB/128SSD version of the Ativ at our BestBuy. So the wait continues. I’m guessing the Samsung will be the winner. Getting it to me weeks before the Dell would have helped dramatically because I would have grown fond of it by then. In the meantime, I have some friends who grabbed the Ativ on Amazon and are loving it. Today, it looks like the window of Amazon having those on hand is gone. Better wait in line behind me! 🙂

November 16 update:

Samsung ATIV Pro book 9 is announced but not on amazon anymore and not shipping from Samsung for at least a month. Dell XPS 13 is now orderable from their website but not shipping for another month. I have reconsidered MacBook Air but I really really really want touch! I have looked more closely at the Yoga Pro 2 but am reading enough negative stuff about it that it’s still a no (and I’m a long time thinkpad tablet /laptop user). I have reconsidered the Acer S7 but still want FKeys (even though other dev friends are okay with it). I have checked back with Toshiba Kira but they seem to be clueless about the reported fan noise complaints. I got hands on with the Surface Pro 2 but decided that I can’t use Visual Studio on that tiny screen when I’m presenting at conferences etc. I do want to do this before the end of the year (think: taxes). I thought I would pre-order the XPS13 and just return it if I don’t like it (current promo says no restocking fee) but the chat support was unable to 100% confirm key info about order/invoice/shipping dates that would affect this promo and I remembered that I don’t want to depend on Dell support anyway). I’ve re-checked other options (e.g. Asus, Sony) and still don’t want them. I’ve learned that there are issues with Windows 8 and the new fancy hi res screens but expect them to get resolved. I have had a thousand repeated recommendations on twitter from kind people who don’t realize I’ve spent about 40 hours obsessing over this already and have considered everything they are suggesting already. So I’m going to try to set it aside and wait a little longer. Today’s thought is that the Samsung will win. But I’m fickle and a crazy Libra so we’ll just have to see…)

Anyone who follows me on twitter may be familiar with my ridiculous, drawn out, indecisive process when i have to buy new gear. It’s time for a new laptop. I’ve been thinking about it for months. Because of this I have the added problem of forgetting what I liked or didn’t like about certain machines.

Here’s what I know I want:

  • Intel Haswell chip for long battery..most likely i7, but i5 could suffice
  • Light! I am hoping for under 3 pounds.
  • Min 8GB RAM
  • Min 256 GB Drive
  • Quiet because even though I record my Pluralsight & other videos on my desktop, I need to have my laptop running at the same time.
  • In my hands and ready to head off to conferences with me at the end of this month!

I do production code and video recording and run VMs on my desktop. Everything else on my laptop including pick it up and go when I travel. So I don’t need quad core heavy duty on the laptop.

What I’ve looked at seriously:

 

Acer Aspire S7-392-9890 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook

This is under 3 pounds. It claims a 7 hr battery life. According to a number of friends, the previous version (Ivy Bridge) has a lot of fan noise. Perhaps the Haswell version is quieter, but there is a possible showstopper for me: no F keys. The number keys serve as number and FKeys meaning that you have to do learn new key combos to Run or Debug an app in Visual Studio etc etc. Or to use Zoomit. I just don’t know if I want to make that commitment.

Showstopper: No F Keys

 

Toshiba KIRAbook 13 i7 Touchscreen Laptop

Cori Drew loves hers even though she threw it across the room (accidentally as she was wandering around looking for wifi because hers has a faulty wifi card or something like that). But, it’s got amazing resolution – to compete with Mac’s Retina display, is very light, very high end and very well built. Plus she says the customer service is fantastic. But….here we go again….the fan is crazy noisy. Crazy noisy like in a room full of developers, all eyes will suddently be on her becaus eof the fan. Many reviews complain about this as well. This just won’t work for recording.

Showstopper: Head turning fan noise

 

Samsung ATIV Book 9 NP900X3E-K01US 13.3-Inch Full HD Premium Ultrabook

Everything I’m looking for and 2.6 pounds, but this excellent Engadget review mentions the fan noise:

The ATIV Book 9 Plus pipes up quickly — heck, it sometimes makes noise when it’s sitting idle. But that noise never rises above a quiet sigh. In fact, we didn’t even notice it until we paused Pandora and started to work without any background noise.

“Quiet sigh”….I have worked hard to reduce the noise in my office for recording. I don’t know how loud a quiet sigh is but since it’s loud enough to write a whole paragraph about, I’m guessing louder than I want.

Showstopper: Fan noise?  SCREECH: wait, forget the fan noise, only 4GB RAM Max??  128GB drive? Not upgradable? Pfft!

 

The 8GB/256SSD is now listed on Samsung’s site:http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/pcs/NP940X3G-K04US  You can pre-order but it says “ships in 3-4 weeks” (I’m writing this on Nov 16)

Amazon has a place h older page but it’s not yet orderable: http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-NP940X3G-K04US-13-3-Inch-Laptop-Mineral/dp/B00F6EOB8C

Apple MacBook Air MD760LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION)

Yes, a macbook! Many friends use MacBook Pro with Windows & Visual Studio development. But the 2013 MbA has a haswell chip and can come configured with 8GB RAM and up to a 512GB drive. It doesn’t have the Retina display but that was one of those features I didn’t know I needed. It’s under 3 pounds. I could get a Pro with Retina display for another 1/2 lb but a quad core mac book pro is a 4.5 lb 15” computer. That’s about what I have now (though obviously much nicer, longer battery life and more powerful). But size matters, too! 🙂

Cons are no touch screen. I use my touch screen a lot on my laptop. I would miss it madly.

I’m going to be near the local Apple reseller today and will try them out. I’m hoping they’ll have Airs and Pros with Win8 installed on them.

Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook

I’d ignored this because it’s weird looking but that’s silly.Very high end, great graphics, 8+ hrs of battery.

It’s also 3.35 pounds, which I know is negligible and still a lot less than the 4.75 lbs of my thinkpad when I have the extra battery in it (which is always when I’m travelling)

Sony VAIO Pro SVP13215PXB 13.3-Inch Core i7 Touchscreen Ultrabook

Forgot that I had looked into this , perfect in every way but:

showstopper: fan noise (http://forum.notebookreview.com/sony-owners-lounge-forum/720737-official-vaio-pro-13-owners-lounge-svp13-2013-a-88.html) & http://forum.notebookreview.com/sony/726097-sony-vaio-pro-13-fan-noise-return.html

🙁

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch

(I can hear Scott Hanselman now, “’all that research and you missed my blog post review?”.

“starting at 3.4 lbs” so I wasn’t really looking at it. Plus in the comments of Scott’s post, another owner says “One other thing that really bothers me is that the fan is running at a quite noisy level – constantly”. 🙁

Currently they are built with 3rd generation chips. Looks like Haswell machines won’t be out until January 2014.

Am I asking too much?

Am I being too much of a stickler about the noise? Head-turning loud (Kirabook) is really impossible for me for recording. Maybe the Samsung Kiva’s “quite sigh” is not going to be a bad thing after all. I just need some more feedback on that. I just don’t want to buy something, make the effort of setting it up and then decided I don’t like it.

Coming soon but not soon enough for my pre-conference hopeful deadline:

Not to be overlooked is the new Surface 2 Pro. It will also be light, fast, long battery life, touch screen etc. But I really wanted to have something before I head off to conferences at the end of this month so that’s not doable unless I keep waiting and lug my thinkpad around for more trips. And I want to hear what my friends say about it before I buy one.

Dell: Precision M3800 workstation: 4.5 lbs …NOPE

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook  about 3 lbs, but still “coming soon…”

Availability and Pricing  (source Oct 2 press release)
The Dell Venue 7, Venue 8, Venue 8 Pro, and new XPS 15 will be available from October 18 on www.dell.com in the United States and select countries around the world. The Venue 11 Pro, XPS 11 and the updated XPS 13 with touch will be available in November. Starting prices are as follows:

  • New XPS 15: $1,499.99
  • XPS 11: $999.99
  • New XPS 13: $999.99

Reusing a Virtual Machine with Windows 7 and Handling Genuine Windows issues

Since I am using this VM copy ONLY to do some testing & research of Visual Studio 2013 RC, I don’t believe that I’m abusing any licensing requirements, especially since this license is from an MSDN subscription which is aimed at using the license for testing & development purposes. If this ends up reverting (as Martin suggests below) before I finish my research, I’ll just use another one of the license keys provided by my MSDN subscription.

 

julielerman's avatar Julie Lerman@julielerman

copied a VM w Win7to use for some testing & can’t get rid of the "not genuine windows" pestering. Love this guidance: pic.twitter.com/e3xsE2EmDN

Story image

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julielerman's avatar sad part is taht I’ve gone through this before and don’t remember how to fix. Now will ahve to spend that time AGAIN …bad me

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robertmclaws's avatar Robert McLaws@robertmclaws

@julielerman Try opening a command prompt as admin and typing slmgr -rearm and see what happens.

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julielerman's avatar Julie Lerman @julielerman

@robertmclaws restarting and crossing my fingers! 🙂

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julielerman's avatar

This worked! 🙂 RT @robertmclaws: @julielerman Try opening a command prompt as admin and typing slmgr -rearm and see what happens.

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aafvstam's avatar Maarten van Stam @aafvstam

@julielerman @robertmclaws careful.. May just have extended the grace period and see it again later on #fromwhatirememberloooooongago

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TRayburn's avatar  Tim Rayburn @TRayburn

@julielerman And this time you’ll blog about it, so it’s permanently committed to your google-able brain?

 

To Tim: DONE! 🙂

virtual machine vm genuine windows license win7

Hooray! See Upcoming Appointments in Outlook 2013

I am but one of thousands of Outlook users who were flabbergasted that Microsoft removed future appointments from the ToDo Bar in Outlook 2013. You can only see what’s happening on the day that is selected.

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Not only does the calendar not BOLD the dates with appointments, it doesn’t show me what’s coming up in the next week or so besides the single 9pm appt I have tonight. I have an important appointment tomorrow afternoon but I won’t know until I open up outlook tomorrow. If I had to be somewhere at 8am tomorrow morning, I could completely miss it because I may not see the reminder until tomorrow morning.

This was a show stopper. I have really bad short term memory. I had grown very dependent on the constant reminders every time I looked at my email about what work, vet, hair, user group, dentist etc etc appts I had to be aware of in the next week or so. And the Outlook 2013 solution is either to open up the Calendar or start clicking around on the ToDo calendar. This takes explicit thought  and multi tasking. Not for me. Not at all.

Many simply refused to upgrade from Outlook 2010.

There were no add-ins that solved the problem.

Until now.

A friend who refused to update to 2013 for this reason pointed out this Coding4Fun blog post : Bringing some Outlook 2010 features into 2013 with this add-in… to me this morning. It leads to the VSTO download on codeplex. I realize that I downloaded an earlier version of this in April but never succeeded in installing it and must have just given up and forgotten about it. With today’s reminder, I tried again with the latest version. I had the same install problems today but finally solved them!

Installation Problem …. Solved

I use Chrome by default. I downloaded. Unblocked. Unzipped. but when I attempted to install, got the dreaded “Deployment and application do not have matching security zones” error message. This typically happens when you try to install right from the web without explicitly downloading, unblocking and unzipping. I tried repeatedly. Restarted my computer. Googled again and again. Finally I opened up IE, downloaded, unblocked, unzipped and installed. It worked.

See Future Appointments

I’ve closed the other ToDo bar since I only use the calendar. Otherwise I’d have to devote more of my outlook window since I can’t seem to stack the panes for the ToDo bar and the Appointment window.

I’ve set this to show me the next 7 days and to show me my local calendar, my Windows Live calendar and the internet calendar. You can see that I’ve gotten in the habit of copying my LIVE calendar to my local calendar and vice-versa. I’m not ready to go 100% dependent on the web-based calendar. So now I’m seeing the duplication but better safe than sorry. 🙂 (I’ll get into modern times soon). The tool did not black out those appts tomorrow. I did. They are private. 🙂

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It has a feature to alert you when new mail comes in via the windows notification bar. I get a lot of mail so that is definitely a feature I disabled quickly.

Drag and Drop Emails to Create Appointments

Another Outlook 2010 feature that was inconceivably axed from 2013 was the ability to drag and drop emails onto the calendar to create appointments. It is another feature I used all the time and saw almost as many complaints on the web about its disappearance as the future appointments.

That’s back thanks to this add-in.

Go Get It!!

Here is the codeplex download page: https://outlook2013addin.codeplex.com/.

The codeplex project is created by a mystery author: https://www.codeplex.com/site/users/view/gamosoft

I am not a fan of developers who have public projects hiding behind an alias. I just want to pat their back and thank them publically and set them on a little pedestal. Maybe gamosoft is hiding because he or she is a Dalek or Cyberman or something? (yes, I’m watching too much doctor who lately)

My new rig (aka a development box for a geek who is not a hardware nerd)

This fall I got myself a new development computer. I did my usual indecisive Libra thing over for months before settling on something.

My last machine was one that I got arm-twisted into building myself. I’m just not made for this. It should have been obvious when the parts list I selected from Newegg did not include a processor. When the parts arrived they sat in their boxes for 6 weeks. When I finally put it together it took me over 8 hours. And it never worked right. Ever. Even though I spent a lot of time over the next two years trying to figure out and fix it’s problems.

For this NEW machine, I gave it the old college try, having learned from my earlier experience and came up with a parts list that someone kindly pointed out had a motherboard and a case that were incompatible. I made many lists over the course of 4 weeks.

Finally another geek friend told me what I wanted to hear …just get a Dell and be done with it. That’s what I have normally done. This time I did buy it with an advance plan to customize it a bit. So here’s what I did.

I started with a Dell Optiplex 9010. It is a good workhorse for development.

That has an eco-friendly option of a low powered power supply which I was happy to select. I also went for the mini-tower which gave me enough flexibility to add in an extra drive.

The specs I chose were:

  • Processor: 3rd Gen Intel Core i7-3770 Processor (8MB, 3.4GHz)
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Graphics Card : (Proprietary) 1GB AMD RADEON HD 7570 without Adapters (supports 1 DVI and 1 Display Port)
  • Drive: 1TB SATA 
  • O/S: Windows 7 Professional,No Media, 64-bit
  • DVD: 16X DVD+/-RW SATA, Data Only, OptiPlex 901
  • No mouse, no keyboard, no monitor

Thanks to whatever deals were available at the time, this ended up costing $1050 plus tax and free shipping.

At the same time I ordered from elsewhere:

  • Crucial C4 256 SSD drive (2.5” with adapter)
  • Western Digital 2 TB Green Drive (not quite as fast as their Velociraptor but uses less energy :)) 3.5”
  • 12 GB RAM from Crucial

I also ended up needing:

  • a DVI to Display Port adapter for my 2nd monitor (I ended up with this)
  • an extra hard drive tray – proprietary to Dell and specifically made for that model. I should have ordered it with the computer! (for an extra $9 rather than $25 from dell after the fact or trolling ebay)

Putting it all together:

  • I took out the 1TB drive and it’s still on my shelf but will go to good use.
  • I installed the SSD as my O/S drive and the 2TB drive as a secondary drive.
  • I installed WIndows 8 pro on the ssd and split it in half. So 128 for the c: and 128 for d: which will be critical data that I use a lot. The rest of my stuff is on the 2 TB drive.

Note that this is not where I store things like photos and videos. This is just my development machine. I also have a laptop for email, writing, etc and a have an in house NAS that I use for storage and sharing.

  • I also installed the extra RAM so I have 16 GB.
  • I have two DVI monitors plugged into this machine. One is plugged into the DVI port on the graphics card and the other into the display port on the same graphics card (via the DVI to DP adapter I bought).

The performance is great (if you ignore the graphics which are more than sufficient for my needs).

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And it’s very quiet which is important because I record screencasts for Pluralsight.com. So quiet in fact that I started getting bothered by the clock ticking on the wall and had to move it!

Where I notice the difference in speed on this machine is when I’m rendering videos in Camtasia. I imagine some of this may be due to the fact that it’s also a new version of Camtasia, but the videos render SO fast. What used to take about 45 minutes now takes about 2 minutes. I’m sure that the RAM, the processor and the SSD all contribute to that.

So I’m happy with this and have been using it for a few months now and just wanted to share in case anyone is in my boat — which is that I am NOT a hardware nerd and don’t have it in me to become one. And it did not cost me an arm and a leg. All told it was under $1500 which is relatively inexpensive for what I ended up with. Also, I need to consider that this is one of the few monetary investments I have to make for my business once every few years which makes it a bargain!

Sweating over all of the options will be the death of me some day. Thanks to the super-sensible Ryan Christensen-Schwarz (@mamanze) for talking sense into me. He was the one who said “oh just get a Dell”.

Easy Move for Outlook when Replacing Office 2013 Preview with RTM

I just downloaded Office 2013 Pro Plus from MSDN to install on a machine that was running the preview. As this is a recently repaved computer, Office 2013 Preview was the only version of Office on the box. In prep, I sought out others’ reports on the web, but couldn’t find anything except a note somewhere (not from Microsoft) saying that you had to uninstall the Preview first.

I was hoping not to have to go through account set up, macros and other non PST file settings again and took a bunch of precautions such as backing up the relevant registry node and taking a few screenshots. It turns out that all of these precautions were unnecessary. Yay.

When I opened the new Outlook installation, it already had my accounts with PST files, my Quick Access shortcuts and my macros in place. So in that regard, it was as though I had just reopened the already set up Outlook Preview. I suppose that means that uninstalling the Preview did not remove the registry files with the settings. the only thing I had to reset so far was to make sure the calendar showed up on the To-Do bar.

WRT the settings still being on the computer after uninstalling, I had come across a blog post by a Microsoft MVP about cleaning up after an Office 2013 Preview uninstall which should be useful if you have no intention of replacing that with the RTM.

Other than that I haven’t see anything different in my quick look so far. I did read that you can change the color scheme.

There are two things that I was unhappy about (one much more than the other) with Preview which have not changed with RTM.

When you have the calendar in the To-Do bar it only displays events for the selected date. This is a change from Outlook 2010. I have grown very dependent on seeing upcoming calendar items listed there. I am not very habitual (to go look at the calendar) and I have bad short term memory. So having the next few days or week’s worth of calendar events in my face constantly (because I’m constantly in the email section of Outlook) was a great benefit for me. It would help me keep things in mind..from dentist appointments to client meetings. I a not sure how I will replace this without having to train myself to a new habit.

The only other annoyance so far is that you can’t drag emails onto that ToDo bar calendar to create calendar items from them. This was a realy nice feature. Now you have to go through a lot of steps to duplicate that task.

But it’s the price of moving forward and I’ll just learn to live with these and create new habits. But …arggh..and to other software developers…think about that when you consider removing features when creating new versions of software tools.

Oh and 3rd party Office developers? Call me, maybe?

Visual Studio 2010 RC and Crystal Reports 2008 – Just Works

I have Crystal Reports 2008. This is the full application, not the Crystal Reports extension embedded into Visual Studio.

This morning I pulled a solution with many projects and many crystal report files into Visual Studio 2010 for the first time. This application originated in VS2003, migrated to VS2005/.NET 2.0, migrated again to VS2008 (still .NET 2.0) and now migrated to VS2010 (still .NET 2.0). Wow everything is SO much faster working with this solution in VS2010. It loads up so quickly. It builds quickly. Hooray. This is exactly why I wanted to ditch VS2008.

I know that Crystal Reports for Visual Studio is no longer embedded in VS2010 (see my earlier blog post Crystal Reports and Visual Studio 2010) but there is an extension you can easily install. I haven’t installed that yet on this machine.

Now it was time to see what happens with my reports.

It was easy. I double clicked on a report in Solution Explorer. The result was that Crystal Reports 2008 started up and the report opened up in that designer.

No fuss no muss. Thank goodness. I’ve been using Crystal Reports for, I dunno, 15 years or so and every time there’s some type of upgrade, it’s been disastrous. But I wasn’t really upgrading the Crystal Reports app, just Visual Studio this time. SO it was 100% painless.

I did have one problem at runtime because I had forgotten that on  my 64bit machine, I needed to target x86 when building. Luckily I wrote about this in an article for ASPAlliance last year (Lessons Learned: Sorting out Crystal Reports 2008 Versioning, Service Packs and Deployment). Unfortunately I wasted a few hours wrestling with this problem again before I cam to this realization.