MSDN Virtual Labs

Microsoft has these “virtual labs” where you are supposed to be able to get hands on with some of their products w/o all the pain of downloading and installing them.

Right now I can’t the site to respond, but I am guessing it is a temp problem, not that they have removed this service.

Some of the labs they have are:



BizTalk Server

Commerce Server

Connected Systems

Data Access and Storage

Internet Information Services (IIS)

JPlusN (J+N)

Microsoft Expression

.NET Framework 3.0



Smart Client

Soup to Nuts

SQL Server 2005

SQL Server 2005 Upgrade

TechNet Virtual Labs

Visual Basic

Visual C#

Visual C++

Visual J#

Visual SourceSafe

Visual Studio .NET 2003

Visual Studio 2005

Visual Studio Team System

Web Services

Windows Embedded CE 6.0

Windows Mobile

Windows Vista

Windows XP Embedded



Thanks to Somasegar for the links.

Code Comment Checking Policy

I have all but given up on Code Checkin Policy in TFS.

For me, running the policy checker against one of my solutions takes about 30 minutes.

That is unacceptable.

But, there is still some hope of running the static analysis on the back end, so I am still looking around at the goings on in this area.

A new Code Comment Checking Policy has been released, which would be really nice way to force the people to comment their code.

Subsonic MVC Templates. Not what I was expecting.

When I saw a new item in my RSS feed from Rob Conery about MV* I was immediately interested to read it, because I have been working on trying to create my web app pages using MVP, but am unable to find any examples beyond the most basic.

I would love to see how other people manage the interactions between the Controller and the View, to see how it compares to how I am doing it. 

My view interfaces tend to be kinda large.  For example, if I have a button that I hide and show depending on business rules, I will create a MyButtonVisibility property on the interface can set the properties from the controller.

I would be interested to see how others deal with things like the hiding / showing of items.  I could see wrapping more of that kind of functionality in the view, and giving the view some more logic but I think you would then start to lose some of the testability.

Anyway, the articl on Rob’s blog was really to talk about creating an MVC style architecture for subsonic itself, not the pages that use it.  However, Rob seemed to suggest that the new changes would aid you in using MV* in your pages by forcing you into good habits.

But I really don’t understand how that would work.  If you have code that does:


And you change it so that you use a Controller (or Manager as I have called it when loading Business Objects or DTOs) to look like this:

Product product = ProductController.Get(newID);
product.ReorderLevel = 100;
ProductController.Save(product,"unit test");

I don’t see how this helps you create an MV* architecture in your pages.

Maybe I am just not understanding.


Looking for TFS hosting? No luck.

I recently sought out any companies that were providing hosted TFS projects.  Microsoft is doing this with, but only for open source projects.

Amazingly there is nothing out there for people who want to pay to have their project hosted in a TFS environment.

Some sites suggest that this may be offered soon:

But as of now, nothing…

Which is too bad, because I think the source code control of TFS is pretty nice, and I would like to use it in the future on some of my projects.

Getting Enterprise Services Working

I have been trying to get Enterprise Services working in one of my clients environment. 

The latest hurdle was cleared thank to this article, which pointed out the need to modify the settings for windows firewall to allow the msdtc executable to talk OUT.

To enable network transactions through the firewall, you will need to add the msdtc.exe to the exception list of the firewall on all the machines involved in the transactions. You can do this using the UI in Control PanelWindows Firewall or you can use this command: “netsh firewall set allowedprogram %windir%system32msdtc.exe MSDTC enable”.

Why the hell is ITunes Crashing Outlook?

The other day I got some notification that updates were available for some apple products.  Like an idiot I didn’t read it over very carefully.  It looked like it was going to update Quicktime, but I had installed the Safari beta also, so maybe it was going to do something with that as well.

Well it now looks like it also decided to download and install iTunes, a TERRIBLE product that I avoid like the plague so much that I bought some other software to connect my new iPod to I wouldn’t have to install that garbage product.

Not only did it appear to intall iTunes, but it also installed an outlook add in ‘outlook itunes sync addin’ , which crashes outlook when you try to run it.

Here are some more people like me who are pissed off by this.