March 2002 Blog Posts
Still waiting for the paperless office? This is a fantastic article describing why paper might not be such a bad thing after all.
I should probably say that I am now a fully paid up member of the Radio Userland community(!). The software is working great and is a snip at US$39.95.
I finally got around to reading the XML Files article in the March issue of MSDN magazine this week. Now there wasn't much new here (though I'm seeing an increasing number of references to XSLT as a functional programming language - I'm afraid I didn't get that unit in my degree course so it proved to be true that I wouldn't know a FPL even when it had been hitting me in the face for ages) but I hadn't run into the XSLT 1.0 Extension mechanism directly before. I had used the <msxml:script> extension in the past and dismissed it for making poorly performing templates (using the active script engines) but with both MSXML4 and the .NET Framework classes you can provide compiled extensions. A reasonable solution for those times when you want to url encode strings in XSLT? Perhaps. And of course all those other little things you just wish were included in XPath.
Thanks to the great guide, I've now (hopefully) got the comments feature working on this site. Only time will tell...
I finally got around to publishing my Outlook XP (2002) attachment unblocker applet that does the registry tweaking mentioned in Q290497. No fancy set-up program I'm afraid - it's only a tiny .EXE file so I just dropped it on as a .ZIP file. If you don't know how to get things out of .ZIP files, then I guess it may be dangerous to unblock the attachments in the first place(!).

Just finished writing my script for creating extra virtual web servers on Windows 2000/XP Professional.

Came across a useful tool this morning for recovering CD-RW disks that have somehow become "corrupted". My CD writing software had crashed while writing to a CD-RW disk and that meant that it didn't look like a CD-RW to software any more - the error I was getting was "unrecognisable media" or similar. Anyway, after a Usenet search, I came across a program called SuperBlank that did the trick and erased the disk enough so that I could do a full erase with Easy CD Creator. Problem solved.
I seemed to have cured the backup problem I've been having for a while. I use Dantz Retrospect for backing up - it allows me to do compressed incremental backups and to automatically exclude all those intermediate files that compilers produce like the (increasingly) huge pre-compiled headers. It appears, though, that there is a problem with Windows XP System Restore which was causing the backup to take a long time to start. Having disabled System Restore, all seems to be working fine. I don't really know under what circumstances I'd want to try a "System Restore" restore so it doesn't seem like a huge loss. It's also freed up all that disk space that was being used for the restore points.
I'd forgotten about the Microsoft ClearType support in Windows XP. I'd used it briefly in the past when I was playing with Microsoft Reader. If you're using an LCD (flat screen) display with Windows XP, then you can enable and calibrate the ClearType support at Activating ClearType (you can just enable it in the Display control panel under Appearance, Effects).

It's funny, isn't it, how when you're looking for something on the web you invariably end up following a path you never intended because something catches your attention. I've just seen a couple of links to tiny storage devices: http://www.thumbdrive.com/ and http://www.diskonkey.com/. I haven't seen these before and as soon as they make one a little bigger (they seem to go up to 512 MB at the moment), then I will definitely want one. Being able to back-up all my work and carry it on my key ring would be very cool.

I don't know about you, but I have a great dislike for HTML e-mail which takes extra time to open (as Outlook starts up an instance of the Internet Explorer engine) and is susceptible to going off and downloading images and who knows what else from the web. Well, it turns out that (finally) Microsoft added a "read as plain text" feature into Outlook 2002 SP1 but you need to edit the registry to enable it. See OL2002: Users Can Read Nonsecure E-mail As Plain Text (Q307594).
The managed C++ compiler seems to have some issues, at least as far as my installation is concerned. I have an interface written in C#, which I'm implementing on one of my managed C++ classes. I updated one of the interface methods to include an extra parameter and did the same to the implementation. When I compiled, I got an error stating that the method was not in the interface A::B::MyInterface but was actually in A::B::MyInterface. Huh? I tried everything to get it to build - full rebuilds of everything, rebooting, etc. In the end, I took the new parameter out, rebuilt, put it in but in a different place in the argument list, and rebuilt (successfully), and then moved it back where it was originally. Guess what? It worked then!
It looks like if I have two enum's in a C# class library that contain values with the same name and then try to reference the library in a managed C++ project, I get a C1001 internal compiler error. I guess that is one way to find duplicate names (although it took ages to track down the reason).
I wrote my first class library in managed C++ today having focussed most of my .NET efforts on C# over the last year. This was necessary so that I could link in an unmanaged code library for which I don't have access to the source. Seemed a bit clunky but worked in the end. The biggest issue was switching back and forth between C# for my unit tests and C++ for the library. If I type Math::PI or Math.PI the wrong way around once more...

This site is largely done now, and converted to use "Radio Userland". In the past, I'd used ASP but mostly to be able to use some scripting and include files that made site maintenance easier. This meant that each request for a given ASP file was actually generating the same HTML response every time and Radio does all that formatting in advance without losing any flexibility so I can just server HTML files. In fact, I can even do updates without having to worry about the upload process.

So, I'm just going to give it a couple of weeks before I shell out my $40 for a Radio license to make sure I make full use of the program. Looking good so far though.