Good Installation Errors & Visual Studio 2008

Have spent the last 2 days trying to get the RTM version of Visual Studio 2008 to install and what an experience that has been. Kept getting an error during the overall install process with the Web Authoring Component and the error given was:-

setup.exe: [2] ISetupComponent::Pre/Post/Install() failed in
ISetupManager::InternalInstallManager() with HRESULT -2147023293.

Now the googling started as I tried to work out what the problem was, all sorts of offerings were made and I tried most of them. Finally settling on extracting the web authoring component to a temp directory and running its setup out of the combined Visual Studio installer. This indicated that some Office 2007 Beta component was installed which was hindering the installation. So working through the various Office add-ons I had installed, previously I have had this error due to the PDF/XPS add-on and the Expression Blend betas. Well the PDF add-on is now the release version and I had already removed Expression Blend. After a few attempts it turned out that the Outlook 2007 Calendar Printing Assistant was the culprit, and once removed the install proceeded to complete.

Now I ask why couldn’t the combination installer tell me that in the first place, without trying to install it manually I would still be looking for a solution. If you are going to create combination installers which roll-up a whole host of components and install them together then you need to make sure that decent error messages are either passed back to the main installer or at least logged somewhere for further diagnosis.

The MacBook Air – The Missing Link?

Lots of articles around on the MacBook Air including The Fishbowl: Heavier than Air. But what is the Air really missing?

Well to my mind the real missing link here is a 3G cellular solution just like the iPhone – what’s up with Steve? I see the main problem is Apple’s intense focus on the US market, time after time Apple adds product features which only make sense, or can be used, in the US. If Apple really wants to take on Nokia or Sony then it needs to get a real global view, and for both the iPhone & Air this is having true wireless capability no matter where you are, I don’t want wifi in a product like this, I want true wireless freedom and that means using the cellular networks. Just take a look at Europe and the Far Eastern companies and you will see that using the mobile network for internet access is fast becoming normal.

So there is the challenge to Apple, to really make a difference look globally, I mean with the financial meltdowns in the US it may be the only place to sell such a high-end product.

Oracle’s VM – Does it really matter?

Oracle have now jumped on the virtualization bandwagon and launched their own VMM based on the Open Source XEN hypervisor. There seems to be a fair amount of confusion around Oracle’s support policy running within a VM environment as noted here Oracle (further) clarifies its support policy for VMware.

But does it really matter?

Well I guess it depends on what you are doing with your Oracle databases. In the course of my technology journey most Oracle databases I have come across are large enterprise class databases which typically require as much hardware as you can throw at them so in this case does the Oracle VM simply provide a better failover option using Live Migration?

Where you would want to run multiple databases on a single host then it is likely these would be SQL Server, mySQL, etc based systems as they offer a much lower cost point for these type of small database systems. Have you seen how many products come with a low-cost (or free) database engine these days. These are exactly the database instances that you want to consolidate and in this case product like VMware or SmartPeak WLM offer a fully supportable solution for the consolidation exercise.

So really I guess the answer is not really, Oracles VM will just end up being part of their database stack. It is even listed under their database product group on their website.

Thoughts anyone?

ESX 3i hosted in vmware workstation

Well thanks to all those articles out the net I now have my ESX3i server picked up at vmworld running nicely inside vmware workstation. Next step is to get even more esoteric and load up a VM within a VM, that really makes you want to step back and reassess what you are doing – but it is a far easier way to try out 3i without the need to procure a box of the HCL list.

Wacky, but cool !

Attention – That’s what counts

The wonderful Presentation Zen posts recently to “Don’t Make a speech. Put on a show” and this reminded me of the lecturer I remember most from my University days. Most, if not all, other lecturers used books, papers, overheads (days before PowerPoint and projectors), etc to bring us the topic of the day.

But what did this lecturer bring, well nothing – sorry he did always bring in an index card but that contained the work he would set for homework at the end of the lecture. So to start your focus was on him and what he said and he would then use hand drawn diagrams to illustrate his point, but never refered to a page in our text books. That was for us to go and read after the event – I mean we were capable of that weren’t we!

So not only did he put on a show but his method made sure we remembered him and his topic. He is the one that stands out most as I look back these 20 odd years to my University days, so that tells you something. So in essense this my goal as I present as well, make sure that people are focused on you and what you are saying, not on trying to read your 9 point PowerPoint slide, or your handouts.

Internet Explorer – making it a better experience

Day to day I still tend to use Firefox as my main browser but do end up running one or two windows in IE7 since I reguarly visit sites that just don’t quite get it right in firefox (often Microsoft sites!).

Paul Thurrot’s recent post on Firefox Goes Head-To-Head With Microsoft’s IE7 just made me remember how I make my IE7 experience better and more firefox-like, I mean when I have to use IE7 I want the same experience. So without further ado my list of must have extentions:-

*IE7Pro – adds mouse guestures & session restore, and lots more beside

[* InlineSearch – need I say more] – don’t need this as IE7Pro provides this feature

* ieSpell – adds spelling checks

So while I still prefer firefox these addons just IE7 that bit more useable for when I need to use it. Having said that I also have IE7 set as my default browser since I often had problems launching firefox from links in email from Outlook.

Vista & HP1740 LCD Panel Driver – WARNING!!!!

Well interesting weekend with Vista. On Friday I checked on Windows Update and there were updates for my HP nw8240 laptop hardware up a new graphics driver for ATI Mobility FireGL and the HP 1740 LCD I have connected to my docking station at work. So what does a good Vista person do, but opt to download the updates in order to get the ‘BEST” Vista experience.

Well on Friday all seemed to go well and after the update (no reboot now required for graphics driver updates which is really cool) and I continued to work happily with my 2 screen setup. Coming out of standby at home it was a different matter however, suddenly I could only run at 1280 x 1024 on the laptop panel (normally 1680 x 1050) and kept getting a ‘you have have no privelege to change settings’ followed by ‘this is an invalid display configuration’ whenever I tried to change the display setting.

So obvious thing is to suspect the updates I installed on Friday and I went to the graphics adapter and opted to rollback the driver – no change! Obviously I can’t rollback the LCD panel driver as since it isn’t attached I can’t access its driver properties from anywhere. Let’ts try looking at the installed updates from Control Panel – only shows the Windows updates installed and not those for drivers or other in-built apps (such as Windows Mail which also got an update).

Well didn’t need to do much over the weekend so got with weekend stuff and then back in work Monday to fix this. Well now things gets really messed up since once I bring up the laptop on the docking station I can only have a display on the in-builf LCD and am not able to show anything on the second display (you have no rights, etc, etc). So let’s just roll back the Hp1740 LCD driver now we have access to it under devices  in Computer Management.

WHAT! Now I have 2 screens showing the same content running at 640 x 480! Go back, update the ATI graphics driver again, try a reboot, nope still 640 x 480 – You have no rights, etc, etc. Have you ever tried Vista in 640 x 480, it REALLY doesn’t look good.

THINK! OK. open Computer Management, go to Devices, select the HP1740 LCD from the displays list and opt to uninstall it (include selecting to delete driver software). Screens go blank, wait for drive light to stop, press standby button and then bring laptop back out of standby and we are back in hi-res mode. Now bring up display properties and opt to extend desktop onto second monitor and we are back in business.

Moral of story:-

[1] Always create a restore point when updating drivers (I didn’t in this case)

[2] Avoid the HP1740 LCD driver like the plaque if you value your sanity

The iPhone Interface – How new is it?

I was pointed towards this presentation by Jeff Han at TEDTalks today and here he talks about research into dual-touch user interfaces. Lots of talk about two finger guestures to zoom in/out etc pretty much what the iPhoner is supporting. And David Pogue in one his blog posts also mentions Jeff’s work with Jobs implying that Apples came first.

Now this would not be the first time that Apple has looked at research and assumed this as its own would it? So who came first, and how long has research been going on in this area. How do you get 200 patents on one product and just how many people have been working on patents just for the iPhone. Think how much more Apple could of done if they weren’t writing up 200 patents, believe it is a slow and resource intensive process. How much manpower was just consumed writing and pursuing patents, and now we wait for the lawyers to start trying to enforce them (assuming they get approved of course).

The iPhone is not a Phone!

Just been reading up on the Apple iPhone announcements and it looks really cool. BUT it is not a phone, what phone requires you to press a button before you start dialing and I still didn’t see in Apple’s videos how to get a dial pad up quickly.

Now my Windows Smartphone my have its problems but if I want to dial somebody I just dialing their number or entering their name on the keypad and in a few presses I can dial their number. The iPhone UI looks cool but seems to me that it forgets to be a phone so really it is an iPod Phone, i.e. a music player first and a phone second, and that is what this post on it being a PDA done right argues as well. Not so sure about it being a full PDA yet though, what about over the air email sync?

So cool, good first try, but not a phone.

Hardware Virtualization – It’s Starting

Just noticed today from a link David Marshall’s VMBlog site that Hitachi now have a blade based server platform with virtualisation built into the hardware so how long before IBM, HP et al follow suit.

This is what I talked about in November and makes incredible sense for the hardware vendors since they intimately understand their hardware architecture and can optimise it for virtualization. So between them and the operating system vendors (Microsoft with Verdian and Linux accepting virtualization enhancements into the kernel) where does this leave VMware in the future? Their future lies in management systems for the virtualization space and you can see they fundamentally understand this through their acquisitions. It is not going to happen overnight but over time virtualization will become a commodity item built into the core platform architecture.