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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Visual Studio Wish List - IntelliThings

As I continue my daily use of Visual Studio 2010 I find more and more treasures in the IDE.  For instance, did you know that CDN-hosted JavaScript files with corresponding VSDOC files give you IntelliSense?

But I’ve been thinking about some things I’d like to see, as well as a few things I’d like fixed.

Intellisense Doesn’t Work Inside Script Blocks

To be clear on this one, if you are editing inside a script block and try to escape to a server-side tag you will not get CLR object IntelliSense.

For example, I don’t get IntelliSense here:


or here:


This one is likely a challenge, though, because now the IDE has to sort out if you are wanting JavaScript IntelliSense or if you want it for the CLR types.  Still, would be nice to have.

Let’s just get IntelliFix in there already, mmmkay?

When there are simple or even semi-complex errors that are common enough that a robot should be able to fix them…let the robot fix them.

Consider a missing semi-colon:


I would like to have an actionable interface here.  When I hover over the error, double-clicking should (and does) take me to the line.  Double-clicking again should fix it.  Voila, IntelliFix!

How about other scenarios?  A method that doesn’t return the expected type?  IntelliFix inserts a NotImplementedException for you (bypassing the compiler error).  Member has the wrong level of access for use?  Widen the scope to internal (or public, whatever satisfies the error).  Missing a using statement?  IntelliFix it.

How about IntelliTagTips?

Okay, I totally ‘shopped this one wrong (pay no mind to the types of brackets or the misspelled function) but the idea is what I’m after.


Here’s the concept.  If I pause, cursor (and eyes) blinking, at some point in a bunch of brackets, a little tool tip should fade in to show me where I’m at.

I don’t think it should do this for just one (you could use IntelliFix for that!), but two or more would be handy.  It would be a lot easier than trying to go back and count braces and brackets.

Normally I’m pretty good about keeping track as I write and nest code, so this might be a little annoying if it pops up too aggressively.  It would come in most handy when I’m: a) interrupted, b) tired, and c) fixing someone else’s code.

Yeah, the Names Suck…

…but I think these ideas stand up fairly well and Microsoft has teams of folks in marketing.  Therefore, I have added them to my wish list for Visual Studio versions of the future and hope to see IntelliThings there down the road.

Now, don’t mind me, I have to go geek out over IntelliTrace for a while…

Dear Microsoft: Give Us Zune

image North of the border we’ve gotten the shaft: Microsoft hasn’t released the Zune HD, nor the Zune pass service to Canada.  The implications of the licensing issues, by the way, extend to the Xbox 360 where we Canucks have not been able to access the content library our brothers in America have been entitled to.

And now our motherland – home of our Queen – is getting Zune pass too.  But, here in Canada, nada.

Heck, I even won a contest on CodeProject, the prize for which was a Zune HD, and they had to send me prize money instead because they couldn’t ship the device to Canada!

I want to make this clear

Not everyone in Canada is an Apple fanboi.  Seriously.

We have three media players in my house.  Two iThings and a Creative Labs MuVo.  I actually prefer the MuVo.  Sorry, five media players, because we have a laptop and a desktop PC.  Oops, make that six, because we have an Xbox 360.

I want to have media that can play on all these devices.  Seemlessly.  I don’t want to have to burn CDs, rip them and then re-title all the tracks I have.

I buy my music.  All of it.  I pay for my movies.  We even rent them on the Xbox 360.  I have a Gold Xbox Live membership.  I want my content on demand, I want a library that can grow and change as my preference does.  I want to be able to listen to the music I want to listen to on the devices I want to listen to them on.

I want to listen to it on a Zune HD.

If the Zune subscription service was available in Canada I would be the first in line to sign up (Microsoft readers: you can contact me directly for my credit card number).  I would even organize an iPod burning party and offer a free service to uninstall the pathetic version of iTunes that Apple has crapped onto the plates of PC users for all my friends and family.

Everyone is doing it

Netflix has announced that it is bringing its service to Canada.  I, for one, hope this is a resounding success story for them and a solid earning opportunity.  Why?  Because I want Canada to lose the stigma of being a bunch of media pirates.

If there are successes with Netflix, hopefully this will open the door for Microsoft.  While that would be great, I wish they didn’t need to wait.

We will pay our dues

I promise.

We believe in artists.  We enjoy the content.  Heck, we have a whole media company producing television and radio programming that is run by taxpayers just to prove it!

Because we believe and we enjoy we will also compensate.  Just give us a chance.  And a change!

Start with me!

So, Microsoft folks, I am offering my help and assistance.  I will show all my friends.  I will help my family’s iPods go ‘missing’ and encourage them to replace them with Zune HDs. 

I will stand in front of the Apple kiosk in Walmart and show everyone who is stopping by for an iPod how cool the freekin’ Zune HD is.  I will send emails out to old class mates and post about it on Facebook.  I will Tweet about the awesomeness of the player.

Just send me one.

Heck, send me five and I’ll find homes for them…all in different markets…and I will help get the word out that there is more than one game in town.

I was this close to having one before getting the carpet pulled out from under me.  So I ask, one more time, please make them available north of 49.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 on VMWare ESX Server 4.0.0

I’m not sure why this is, why this works, or if you’ll run into it, but I had some troubles with installing Win Server 2K8 R2 on our ESX server.

We have an ISO that is stored on our data store.  We typically select this in the Device Type selection to install an OS.  I selected the Windows Server 2008 R2 (multi-edition) ISO that I have and started the VM.  I got the language selection screen, clicked on ‘Install Now’ and then the fun ensued:


A requried CD/DVD drive device driver is missing. If you have a driver floppy disk, CD, DVD or USB flash drive, please insert it now.

Note: If the Windows installation media is in the CD/DVD driver, you can safely remove it for this step.

What?  Floppy disks?  Those are so 1998 (the year before I stopped using floppies.  I digress…).

So, to get past this, I tried to burn a DVD of the ISO to use that for the installation.  In Summary –> Edit Settings I set the Device Type of the DVD drive to “Host Device”.  I rebooted the VM and ended up back in the same spot as above.

With the above screen still displaying, I returned to the settings page for the DVD and switched it back to the Datastore ISO image.  Et, voila! When I switched back to the console of the VM I was past the driver error!


I initially went down the route of trying to find a driver for VMWare’s DVD drive in Win 2K8, but this 8 minute fix seems to work better.  7.5 minutes to burn the ISO, and 30 seconds to reboot and switch the selection.

A few acceptances of license agreements later, and blamo!


Good luck with yours.

Apple and MSFT Share the Lead…erm…Switch Places

I just hit Google Finance where the market cap of stocks I follow are listed.  I was surprised to see the following:


Apple has seemed to have slid through the bad press around the iPhone 4, the free bumper announcements and the privacy slips.

UPDATE I just hit refresh and saw the following:


Looks like Microsoft has taken the lead.  Should be an interesting couple of months while Apple tries to bleach their reputation back to stainless and Microsoft tries to play catch-up with the release of Windows Phone 7.

It’s probably no surprise that in the phone game I’m rooting for WP7 ;o)