Monday, December 29, 2008

OpenProj - Open Source Project Management Tool

OpenProj | Serena Open Source and Hosted Project Management Software

I was looking for a free project management tool today. Something that has the basic features of Microsoft Project but is not as expensive. This should be a tool that I could use anywhere and everywhere.
After looking at some programs, I settled with OpenProj. It has the best feel while working with it. The other alternatives that made it in the finals were Open Workbench and GanttProject.
Authors say OpenProj reads MS Project files. I see Microsoft Project 2003 xml file type available but have not tried to exchange the project file with MS Project.

OpenProj has Work Breakdown Structure, Resources, and Gantt Chart. It contains some statistics, schemes, etc. that I do not need at the moment. Calendar feature is a bit buggy and incomplete. I managed to add another base calendar but can not use it anywhere outside the calendar screen. Can't assign it to resources or tasks.
Still, for what I need, this is quite a decent tool.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Disable starting Server Manager on startup in Windows 2008 Server

I'm getting annoyed by constant display of Initial Configuration Tasks and Server Manager upon every reboot of the system. While the initial configuration tasks panel contains the checkbox that allows for not displaying it on startup in the future, the Server Manager is not that simple.

To solve that issue, open registry at HKLM\Software\Microsoft\ServerManager and change the value of DoNotOpenServerManagerAtLogon key from 0 to 1.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Disable UAC on Windows Server 2008

Today my Windows Server 2008 box is acting really weird. Mesh can not download and overwrite some files because it needs administrator permissions. Total Commander can not write to its own ini file.
When I ran Mesh with administrator privileges it refused to run. Running it again with user privileges messes up the links between folders on Mesh and local machine.
So, I'm going to disable UAC and see what happens.

To disable User Access Control (UAC) on Windows Server, use Start -> Run, type MSCONFIG. Go to Tools tab and scroll down. Close to bottom there are options to Enable and Disable UAC. Reboot is required.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Use Windows Server 2008 as the desktop OS

Windows Server 2008, the ultimate desktop OS

Here's a full tutorial on how to customize Windows Server 2008 to be used as a desktop operating system.
One part of the tutorial is how to run Windows Sidebar on the Server.

Run as Administrator - Win 2008 Server

I keep running into weird issues on Windows 2008 Server. UAC prompt is not triggered by all applications and they fail silently and then provide strange looking errors. Firefox can not open security database, KeePass 2.0 can not save the key file, etc.

The quick and dirty solution is to run these programs as Administrator:

The best option is to go to file's properties, tab Compatibility, and check the "Run this program as an administrator" check box.

Another way to do this is to create a shortcut to the .exe file, then go to Properties - Shortcut - Advanced, and select Run as Administrator checkbox. This will trigger UAC prompt when the program is run.

Another version of this is to press Windows button, then type the name of the program in the search box and, instead of Enter, press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. This will run the program as Administrator automatically.

Second kind of solution would be to run "runas /user:Administrator <program>". This leaves command prompt open while the program is running and also asks for the Administrator password.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Windows Script Files (WSF) & Objects in Windows Scripting Host

Using Windows Script Files (.wsf)

While using JavaScript and VBScript and their respective files (.js and .vbs), a need arises for a more structured approach and broader functionality. I would like to encapsulate certain behavior into classes in order to avoid copying and pasting code into new script files. For example, I want to completely stop, and later start, certain functionality in the operating system. Let's say there are VMWare Server services running, there may be tray icon and other programs loaded into memory and we want to get rid of them to free resources to play a game or do something else. The way to stop all the services and close open programs is to use Windows Scripting Host and run a script that does it.
Stopping services involves a bit of work in querying the system for the list, enumerating the list and stopping the service, etc. Too much code in every file. The functionality of searching for the service and doing whatever is necessary to stop it could be encapsulated into one function call - a method - called stopService(). There could be a stopProgram() as well. These, then, could be a part of a class that encapsulate the behavior. This class could be used from all the scripts - one that starts/stops the antivirus, another that operates virtual environments, yet another that sets up internet session, etc. These separate scripts need to include the behavior of the class that starts and stops the programs and services.

This is where Windows Script Files come into play. Files with extension .wsf are executed by the Windows Scripting Host (WSH) just like .js and .vbs files. More than one scripting language can be used in a file as opposed to .js and .vbs, which contain only one language. An example of a WSF would be:

<job id="IncludeExample">
<script language="JScript" src="FSO.JS"/>
<script language="VBScript">
' Get the free space for drive C.
s = GetFreeSpace("c:")
WScript.Echo s

You can see it is using VBScript to call a function in an external file fso.js. This solves the "include" issue. The good thing is that WSH supports classes so a class can be declared as

Class SomeClass

public sub hi
WScript.Echo "hi"
end sub

End Class

and saved in SomeClass.vbs. Then, the run.wsf file could look like the following:

<job id="IncludeExample">

   <script language="VBScript" src="someClass.vbs" />

   <script language="VBScript">

      dim a

      set a = New SomeClass




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TaskKill and the Mystery of the Morning Voyages

Yesterday I have finally solved the mystery of the morning voyages. Every morning I had to step to the lower floor, walk to the computer and manually turn the Azureus off.

To the rescue came all the functionality that is built in Windows. Task Scheduler, Command Prompt, and TaskKill command do the job well. Task Scheduler runs Command Prompt, that executes TaskKill /IM Azureus.exe.


JAM Software - Windows Freeware

NTFSRatio is a program that displays the ration of NTFS compression for files. Compression and decompression can be performed from within the program for files that do not compress well. In that case you can avoid the overhead of performing decompression every time the file is read by uncompressing it.
Compressed files are decompressed every time the operating system reads them from disk and compressed when they are saved back to disk. Compressing system files, hence, creates a lot of overhead and can slow down the system. How significantly? I need to investigate. :)

Real Alternative and Multimedia Codecs :: Download Real Alternative 1.90 : Real Alternative will allow you to play RealMedia files without having to install RealPlayer/RealOne Player

I prefer using free substitutes for major media formats because these free players come without ads, annoying pop-ups, updates, and services running in the background and in the windows startup.
The link above leads to the Real Alternative. As the name implies, it is a substitute for Real Player. The pages is hosted at Free-Codecs, where many other multimedia codecs can be found.
The latest one I downloaded was Xvid, which plays all the movie files I've seen so far. The only thing missing was a3 audio codec, but which can be downloaded at the above site separately.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Differences between WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007

Differences between WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 - SharePoint for End Users

The article above explains the differences between Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0 and Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007.
MOSS is an application built on WSS.

Which OS for development?

I'm thinking about creating a separate virtual machine that will be used for software development only. The isolation should work very well in order to reduce clutter and separate development software from personal programs, games, and other things. Also, this should reduce the risk in case of virus infection, OS reinstallation, etc.

Now, what would be the best operating system for software development? This assumes development using Microsoft tools and technologies - Visual Studio, SQL Server, SharePoint, web, etc. Lately I've noticed that people use Server operating systems to set up development environments. In a way this makes sense because all the services could be run locally.

Since it appears to offer an interesting experience and Windows Server 2008 is the latest OS published, I will go for it. It does make more sense to do web development on Server OS rather than Workstation OS like Vista or XP.

As for the Sharepoint, I still have not decided whether to have a separate virtual machine for Sharepoint Server or to install the Sharepoint services on the development machine. The case for keeping these two environments separate is already listed above but the issue is that it takes two virtual machines running to do Sharepoint development. So, there has to be a compromise between functionality, performance, and similarity to the real-world environments. What is the best relationship among these?

AppJet - Server-Side JavaScript

AppJet Dev Guide: Introduction

Here is the server-side JavaScript hosting environment. There are more and more of these online web frameworks. These times remind me of the first wave of free hosting providers - Geocities, Crooswinds, etc. Then came webmail and the history was made.
I wonder why Microsoft has not come up with a similar scheme. Probably they are not looking for homemade developers anymore and are focusing on the corporate environment.

Setting Up a Sharepoint Development Environment

How to Build a SharePoint Development Machine - Eli Robillard's World of Blog.

I started setting up my SharePoint development environment. Besides Windows Server and Sharepoint, other tools are required. DotNet Framework, at least 3.0, for Workflow Foundation and possibly other tools. The link above contains the list of some useful stuff like designers, SDKs, and other tools that help with SharePoint development.
I'm currently thinking how to organize the whole virtual environment and whether to create a separate development machine or to mix the development tools with the server(s). Multiple virtual machines running on the laptop quickly hog the whole RAM so having more than one virtual machine running becomes a tricky business.
I'm starting to dream of a proper desktop computer, with large LCD monitor, and a NAS rack with 1TB or more space. But, heck, what I have at hand will have to do for now.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Bought a WD pocket drive with 320GB for $129. This particular drive I've been looking for, was not available in the stores as it was sold out. Fortunately, I found it online. The same day delivery was free.

I've tried to copy some large files - hard drive files for virtual machines - but it failed with the message that hard drive was full! Only later, after I tried to split the large file first and assemble it on the target drive and failed again, I figured out the issue might be the file system. Funny, the drive was formatted originally. I just plugged it in and used it after it arrived. But the conclusion was right. It was formatted with FAT32 and could not accept large files. A quick convert to NTFS and everything is alright again.

Now I'm into creating some virtual machines. Rather than using the laptop for everything, I prefer to have a clean development workstation with only the developer software on it. Another one would be a toy machine that can install and run anything for testing. Other might be servers, etc. Will create additional ones as the need arises.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 VHD

Download details: Office SharePoint Server 2007 VHD

The above is the download page for MOSS 2007 trial, which expires after 30 days. Should be good enough to get to know the product and try different ideas and scenarios.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Downloadable content for Sharepoint 2007

Downloadable content for Office SharePoint Server 2007

Here is a list of downloadable content for Sharepoint 2007 available from Microsoft TechNet web site.
There is a whole part of the site dedicated to Sharepoint 2007. It includes a downloadable books and documents in .doc format.

The whole site section is available as a .chm file which includes all the texts as a compiled html collection.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

AndAlso & OrElse in C#

AndAlso & OrElse Operators in C#

I often mix Or and OrElse operators in c#, thanks to c++ heritage. Here is a reference to those logical operators.
In brief, single operator (|) is Or while double operator (||) is OrElse. The same goes for And and AndAlso.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

SQL IN operator with Linq to SQL

Re: Would it be hard to add support for SQL IN (...,...) ? - MSDN Forums

There is a way to use IN parameter, or a workaround, for Linq to SQL queries. It is done in the following manner:

string[] cities = { "London", "Paris", "Seattle" };

var query = dataContext.Customers.Where (c => cities.Contains (c.City));