getting there

I’m vaguely proud of myself. I’ve got the new machine almost completely set up now. (When did we get to the point where it takes 3 or 4 days to get a new computer set up?) I’ve got Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 on there, both patched to current levels. I’ve got my TomTom One GPS working, and my BlackBerry Storm working (after some grief with the USB mass storage mode). My iTunes library is in place and synced to my Apple TV again. Outlook is all hooked up, and can send and receive e-mail, no problem. I’ve made recovery DVDs, so I can reinstall Windows, if I ever need to. I’ve got most of the HP crapware either uninstalled or at least out of the way so it doesn’t launch on startup. Ditto for all the weird stuff that got installed with the new Canon printer. (Speaking of which, I have the drivers installed on my Dell Inspiron and my MacBook too now, so I can print from either of those.) Even with all that, I’ve still got a few things left to do. And, after all this work, I really need to image this hard drive, just in case.

new printer

I’m almost done setting up my new Windows 7 desktop machine. (I’m in the middle of installing Visual Studio 2008 SP 1 right now.)

I had two printers (b&w and color) and one scanner hooked up to my old machine. None of the three was compatible with Windows 7 x64. So, I went out to Best Buy and picked up a Canon PIXMA MX870, which should do a reasonable job of acting as a b&w printer, a color printer, and a scanner. So far, I like it.

It took quite a while to unbox and set up though. Lots of tape to remove, five different ink cartridges to install, etc, etc. I’m using it as a network printer (rather than USB) so I’ll (hopefully) be able to print to it from my laptops, in addition to my desktop.

Oh, and I’m very happy to finally own a printer that duplexes. It’s kind of slow at duplexing though; it needs to wait a couple of seconds for the ink to dry on one side before pulling the paper back through to print the reverse side.

Windows 7 – Virtual PC annoyances

I’m setting up my new HP desktop (bought from Woot a few days back). Things are going well, for the most part, but I’m not sure I like the new Virtual PC. My main complaint right now is the convoluted method required to merge an undo disk into a main VHD file. See here for details. This worked fine in VPC 2007. Now, it’s a real pain.

I also hit a snag with the integration features. I have an XP VM that doesn’t have any passwords set on any of the accounts. If you turn on integration, then you get a separate login box that won’t allow you to log in to an account without a password. Also annoying.

I posted about some trouble I had with VPC a few weeks ago here, when I was trying to see if I could do P2V on my Dad’s old machine. Overall, I’d say I just haven’t had a good experience with Virtual PC lately.

new desktop computer

Yesterday, I bought myself a new desktop computer from Woot. It’s an HP Pavilion p6320y with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and an AMD quad-core processor. The power supply is a little iffy, as is the on-board video, but I think I can live with that for now.

My current desktop machine is in a Falcon Northwest case, but now contains a hodge-podge of parts purchased from Newegg over the years. (I think the only thing left of the original machine is the case and the floppy drive.) Most of what’s in there was purchased in January 2006, so I’m more than overdue for a new machine. I was originally going to keep this case and just swap in a new motherboard & processor again, but the deal on Woot was good, and it’ll be easier to migrate to the new machine this way (since I can theoretically switch back and forth between the two until I’ve got everything moved over).

I may need to finally retire my HP DeskJet 520 printer now. The new machine won’t have a parallel port. Even though the 520 is about 15 years old, it’s still working (mostly), so I’m not that excited about tossing it, really. Even if I had the parallel port, though, I’m not sure Windows 7 still has a driver for it. (My current machine is running 32-bit Vista, and the new one will have 64-bit Windows 7.)

ASP.NET and other .NET stuff

I spent some time today watching a couple of dnrTV episodes on Entity Framework. (Episodes 117 and 118.) I may be using Entity Framework in the near future.

Meanwhile, my progress through the book for 70-562 has stalled at chapter 6. I got through chapters 1-5 in about a week, but then last week, I got distracted from this due to a sudden burst of job interviews (three in a row). I also just wanted to take my time getting through the ASP.NET AJAX material, since I found it to be very interesting, and I wasn’t that familiar with it.

I bought a cheap used copy of Dino Esposito’s “Introducing Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX” book from Amazon, to supplement the overview in the 70-562 book. It looks like this will be a good place to start. I’m not sure now when I’ll be getting back to studying for 70-562, though, due to these side trips. I’d still like to take the test next month, but we’ll see if I have the time to do that or not.


I’ve sent off two big orders to ScanCafe recently. The first was a box of my Dad’s old slides (about 600) and the second was a bunch of my Dad’s old negatives (including both 35mm and medium format). I sent the second box in while they were having a 25% sale, which saved me a substantial amount of money, given how many negatives I had.

I’ve got one more box of negatives to scan. I was going to wait until ScanCafe had another sale, but I just got an e-mail from them saying that they’re going to raise their prices in May. Of course, they don’t say which prices or by how much. Hmm, now I’m not sure if I should wait or not. I also just figured out that they post their sales to Twitter at so I think maybe I’ll just keep an eye on that and wait for the next 25% off sale. As long as they’re not raising their prices by more than 25%, that would still be a good deal.

What’s new in .NET Framework 4 Client Profile RTM

Here’s a good blog entry, explaining the .Net 4 client profile stuff. To some extent, I think this all just makes things even more complicated then they already were. On the other hand, there are certainly times when being able to distribute a smaller framework to the client is desirable.

Some post-VS2010 Launch Resources

This blog post pulls together some useful links to VS2010 post-launch resources.

I do now have a copy of VS2010, but I haven’t installed it yet. I want to concentrate on getting through the book on 70-562 for now. If I keep up my current pace (about one chapter per weekday), I should get through it by the end of the month. Then, I can take the test in early May. After that, I can figure out if I want to start messing with VS2010 or try to go a little further with VS2008 exams.

WPF Text in VS2010

WPF Text Blog : Blind Comparison VS2008 vs. VS2010
Speaking as a guy with relatively poor vision, I appreciate any efforts to make text more readable on computer screens. This blog entry is making the point that WPF now renders text as well as GDI, so the code editor in VS2010 should be as easy on the eyes as the one in VS2008. I downloaded VS2010 on Monday, but I haven’t actually installed it yet, so I can’t say how it looks on my own machine. Oh, and this blog entry also has links to a few interesting color schemes for Visual Studio. I need to try a couple of these.