Watch out! Visual Studio SP1 Pack for VS and VWD with WPI

By James at April 14, 2011 20:18
Filed Under: ASP.NET, Beta Software, Entity Framework, Miscellaneous, Technology in General

I like to have all my tools updated and current and wanted to install the RTM version of IIS 7.5 Express, SQL Server Compact 4.0 with the tools, and Web Deploy 2.0. I found a link to install these, along with Visual Studio 2010 SP1 via the Web Platform Installer.

Ok, methinks, I already installed VS 2010 SP1, so this should be smart enough to see this and not muck things up. Boy was I mistaken. After 90 minutes of installing, I figured something was wrong and cancelled the installation. Man, was that ever a bonehead move! My entire development environment got hosed; currently working solutions wouldn’t open, MVC 2/3 templates were gone, lots of frustration. Running SP1 again, I was given the opportunity to repair the installation, and that failed…twice.

I finally uninstalled VS 2010 SP1, uninstalled VS 2010, then reinstalled both. However, now this time, the Entity Framework templates were missing, and opening an EDMX file just showed the XML. Yikes.

I did another round of uninstall/reinstall, only to find out that both versions of MVC 2 and 3 didn’t have the tooling and my current MVC2 project doesn’t recognize any MVC related code.

I keep my VS 2010 .iso files on my server and use a virtual CD drive to run them. Doing a repair this way, caused a ton of problems too, as the VS 2010 installer wants to install .NET 4.0, which wants to reboot the system. Naturally when the system reboots, the installer wants to find the setup files, but since it takes time to find all the drives after a reboot, the install keeps failing.

What a waste of a day and a half.

Lessons learned

1. Don’t use the VS SP1 Pack for VS and VWD from the Web Platform Installer. Get the individual downloads for the apps you want to install (IIS 7.5, SSCE and Web Deploy 2.0) and run them by themselves.

2. Copy the files from the VS 2010 .iso to a local folder and run the setup from there. This way after a reboot, the installation will know where to look to continue on.

3. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


Offshore Contractor Speak

By James at December 17, 2008 11:03
Filed Under: Miscellaneous, Life in General, Web Development

We work with an offshore country based at GMT + 5:30 to develop an application for us. Communicating with the contractors has been trying to say the least. Emails just don’t seem to get the point across about what needs to be done, or how I should set things up on my side. And, it seems they want me to be awake at 2:30 AM my time to answer the phone. After two weeks of trying to move the application from staging to production, with multiple points of failure, it was time for a phone call.

Ring, ring.

Me: “Hello”

Them: “Hi James”

blah, blah, blah, and niceties exchanged.

Me: “Ok, so let me get this straight. On the production machine, you want me to set the connection string to the XYZ report to the staging database? Doesn’t this defeat the purpose?”

Them: “Yes, set the connection string to the staging database.”

Me: “Are you sure? You’re positive right? This is the production server.”

Them: “Yes, please set the connection string to the staging database on report XYZ.”

Me: “On the production server?”

Them: “Yes on the production server, set the connection string to the staging database.”

(this isn’t going well)

Me: “Ok. Then anything else?”

Them: “Yes, when we move to the production server, make sure to change the connection string to the production database.”

Me: “Sigh….”

Willie’s Talent Show

By James at June 06, 2008 03:25
Filed Under: Life in General, Miscellaneous

So, last week Willie and his homies performed at his school's talent show. Here's one of the better songs.... :)

and one that could use a bit more practice

But what can I say? My kid has heart!


Two nuns, a tow truck, and one Red Bull

By James at April 09, 2008 10:39
Filed Under: Life in General, Miscellaneous

If you've been following me on twitter, you may have picked up that I've been having some really dreadful dreams. Very realistic, disturbing, violent dreams. One night Carmina had to dive for cover, as I was beating the crap out my pillow. Don't know where they were coming from either.

So put that in the back of your mind for a bit....

Last weekend was a stay at home, putter around the house, run errands sort of weekend. Few trips here, few trips there, a chance to explore Beaumont.

Heading out to Home Depot, I noticed in the I-10 center divider heading west, a sporty red pickup truck with two young Latinas trying to flag down cars. Hmm, I think, interesting, and continue on. Twenty minutes of picking up stuff at the store and time to head back home. As I start coming up to where I remember seeing the girls and their truck, I notice they have created a sign and are waving it at the oncoming cars..."Please help us!"

Ok, putting on my Good Samaritan hat, I decide to see what is what. Because of how the freeways work I have to backtrack about 4 miles to get back to where they are, all the time saying to myself, "self, what are you doing?"

Pulling up to them I start to notice something odd. While the truck is a sporty red, the girls are wearing the same clothes; sensible shoes, calf-length gray skirts, white blouses with gray vests. Walking up to them, both are smiling and I notice they are wearing hand-carved wooden crosses.

They're nuns. Stuck on the side of the road. In a sporty pickup. This isn't Los Angeles, this is Beaumont.

Being stranded in the center divider of the I-10 is rather intimidating with the wind, the cars whizzing by you, the deafening noise, and no one stopping. I can understand the nun's concern and apprehension. It's so damn noisy, I can't hear them and think they don't speak English. First thing is to get them off the freeway and I pull out my trusty AAA card.

The operator asks, "Are you related?"

"No" I respond.

Operator, "you know this will count against your benefits?"

Me, "Yes, I know. Please send a tow truck."

Just as I hang up, CHP cruiser rolls up. I tell him what's happening and he says he'll stay with us until we're safe and for us to get back in our respective cars. Calling Carmina to tell her what's happening and to be ready for a translation assignment, the tow truck arrives, but ahead of me in the divider, putting me between the tow truck and the nuns.

Nice. The CHP officer tells me to "leap frog" around the truck. So if a CHP tells you to dart into traffic, then swerve off the road, that's what you do.

The tow truck driver is a young kid "JR", who gets the pickup on his truck. The CHP officer helps the nuns into the cab of the tow truck and I notice as he's walking back to his car, he is chuckling to himself. "Haven't seen many of these types of calls, have you?" I ask. "Nope" he responds, "thank you so much for stopping to help."

We're ready to head out. CHP runs a traffic break and we jump back on the freeway, with me leading the way. We pull off a few miles down in a nice safe, quiet area to figure out what is next. Ah... the nuns can speak English. They were on their way from a mission in Cathedral City to a mission in Riverside when the truck, loaned to them by a parishioner, breaks down. Looking at the truck on the flat bed, a ton of oil has dripped out. This engine is dead.

I normally tip tow truck drivers, but for some reason I didn't have any cash on me today. But I did have a 4-pack of Red Bull, my new favorite beverage. I offer this to JR, but all he wants is one..."it's been forever since I had a Red Bull. Thanks man!"

JR's dispatcher is telling him he has to leave us before he can take them anywhere else, so he drops off the pickup, and heads out. While JR is gone, I have Carmina talk to the nuns to figure out what they want to do. It's decided since they're halfway between Riverside and Cathedral City to get towed back to Cat City.

An hour later, JR pulls back up and gets inline to put the nun's truck back on his rig. Five minutes later they're ready to go, and I give each of them a slip of paper with my phone number, asking them to call when they get where they're going. The nuns shake my hand and whispering "God bless you." JR makes a comment about how we both have some karma in the bank. I wait for a bit, then head home.

An hour later, the home phone rings. It's JR. He just dropped the "girls" off with their friends and they are "safe and with people they know." I thank him again, telling him to keep my phone number on hand and, anything he ever needs, to call me.

An hour after that, the nuns call to say they are home safe, thanking me again.

I haven't had a bad dream since.

Now playing in my cube....Ozomatli - Street Signs - Love And Hope

My Che Guevara hat

By James at December 17, 2007 19:25
Filed Under: Life in General, Miscellaneous

I've always had an independent streak. I don't know if it's because I was raised by two, loving democrats in the midst of the '60's turmoil or not, but I've never felt comfortable in playing by the rules. I also love hats. Strange but I like hats; baseball caps, fedoras, bowlers, driving caps, trucker hats. I'd love to wear one of those big, ostrich feathered hats the three musketeers wore. I have a big collection of ball caps that I usually wear on the weekend, but have never gotten around to actually buying something different.

But now that Carmina is in my life, and with all the goodness that comes from that, I decided to change my look. A few weeks ago, we were on our way down to Carlsbad to see my dad in his annual gig as a professional Santa Claus and we stopped off to do a little Christmas shopping. As it was "black friday" and the stores had all their sales on, we stumbled across a black, wool, Kangol cap. I wasn't too keen on it, but my Carmina said I looked handsome wearing it and insisted I buy it. So, I decided to go for it. And of course, since I'm somewhat of a rebel, I immediately decided to wear it backwards....Carmina immediately commented that I looked like an Artistic Sandinista. Ricki said I looked like Che.

I love this cap. I wear it all the time, and have gotten tons of comments on it. Members at the user group (especially the VS 2008 Load Fest), in meetings at work, and even from people on the street. And, you know, it keeps my head warm too.

So tell me what you think? Am I cool or what?

My apologies to my fellow .NET User Group Leads... Art Villa, Mike Vincent, Woody Pewitt, Reza Mandani, that weird guy in the green metal suit, and the others...

The Red Stick Ramblers - Right Key, Wrong Keyhole - Grand Texas

About the author

James James is a five time and current Microsoft MVP in Client App Development, a Telerik Insider, a past Director on the INETA North America Board, a husband and dad, and has been developing software since the early days of Laser Discs and HyperCard stacks. As the Founder and President of the Inland Empire .NET User's Group, he has fondly watched it grow from a twice-a-month, early Saturday morning group of five in 2003, to a robust and rambunctious gathering of all types and sizes of .NET developers.

James loves to dig deep into the latest cutting edge technologies - sometimes with spectacular disasters - and spread the word about the latest and greatest bits, getting people excited about developing web sites and applications on the .NET platform, and using the best tools for the job. He tries to blog as often as he can, but usually gets distracted by EF, LINQ, MVC, ASP, SQL, XML, and most other types of acronyms. To keep calm James plays a mean Djembe and tries to practice his violin. You can follow him on twitter at @latringo.

And as usual, the comments, suggestions, writings and rants are my own, and really shouldn't reflect the opinions of my employer. That is, unless it really does.

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