May 2005 Archives

(Originally Posted in the spring of 2005)
While at the Developer Connections conference I talked with Dan Appleman as I’m a fan of his book written for (and partially by) teens: “Always Use Protection: A Teen’s Guide to Safe Computing”. It’s a great resource for those of us that have neighbors, friends, family and in-laws that are trying to setup networks in their homes and ask us for support.

(Originally posted 3/31/2005)

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t appreciate poor customer support. Since I work with many high-tech toys and tools, I’m constantly running up against really good, really bad and really average customer service. A few weeks ago I wrote an editorial about my Buffalo WAP and how well they treat their customers. This week I wrote about the Hyatt in Orlando whose service is about as good as it gets. However, in the last month I’ve spent countless hours trying to get Motorola to give me a straight answer about my MPX220 phone and the 98500 Bluetooth car kit. One of the reasons I spent the extra money for the MPX220 is Bluetooth.

May 27, 2005 • Vol.27 Issue 21
Page(s) 22 in print issue

As promised, I want to talk about a rather interesting concept that Microsoft’s SQL Server team is introducing. Although this approach might never see the light of day (we still don’t have a firm ship date for SQL Server 2005), it needs to be addressed before it is cast in concreteif it’s not too late already.

re: Refactoring

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Hi, thanks for the nice comments about Refactor! for VB2005.

We also have a version that supports C#, and VB.NET on VS2002, 2003 and 2005, a handfull of extra refactorings not in the VB2005 edition and an extensibility API for building custom refactorings.
Thanks Bill, laughed so hard that I woke up my wife... now I'm in the poop.
That'll teachme to read your blog in bed at 3 in the morning....

I was just informed of a fix for what I call the “haunted keyboard” bug in Whidbey (April CTP/Beta 2). It occurs after having pinned one of the windows (like the Server/Database Explorer). Sometimes the backspace and delete key (and perhaps others) stop working. The other keys on the keyboard seem to work but you can't remove anything... strange. Anyway, to fix it, (thanks to Bill McCarthy) you need to set focus on the pinned window's tab and press Alt-Enter and set focus back to the editor window. It also helps to stamp your foot (right foot) three times and shout “Begone thou evil spirit! Never darken my backspace key again!

July 2, 2005: I just found this same problem on the June CTP. It's apparently harder to find than they thought...

Would you buy a Sony car or a Toyota toothbrush ?

My last phone was a 3G Motorolla A835. I am never buying another. This was the most shocking phone. The UI was poor. The software crashed. The phone was slow. The phone was cheaply built and bulky. You couldn't download mp3s onto it and set them as ring tones, nor download pictures and set them as your background (This might have been the Provider).

In short. If you want a good phone to play with but don't want a chunky PDA phone then get a nokia with symbian OS. I have installed loads of Java apps on it including a gameboy emulator etc..
That's an interesting observation. Yes, I supposed that would be an issue, but consider that this feature only works on the Express edition and assumes the "user" would be a traditional Windows user--not an ASP client. It's designed to work with Windows XP etc...
If I had to guess, I would say the "User Instance=True" flag was created specifically for web hosting companies, to allow clients to have there own instance of SQL with virtual no possible way to cross contaminate.

re: Refactoring

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I looked at this site and I can tell right away that it's going to be very useful. Sure I'd like a license. Thanks for all your help with the BLOG. I'll get back to fixing that as soon as I meet my next deadline...

I was working with the new SQL Server Express Edition lately and was reminded that the Profiler is programmed to deny connections to this edition. Ah, I think this  decision will unnecessarily challenge those who try to diagnose deployed SQL Express applications. Since you have to buy the SQL Server Workgroup (or better) edition to get the Profiler, I don’t see any reason what-so-ever to prevent its use against the Express edition.  I can certainly see not including it (or some other tools) with the SSEE, but to disable the Profiler is not going to do anything but generate more PSS calls. If I had my way they would enable Profiler to access SSEE--at least to a point. It does not need all the bells and whistles, just enough to see what's getting executed T-SQL-wise.

I've also been experimenting with “User Instance=True” in the ConnectionString. In case you hadn't noticed, this option is pretty bold. What it does is create a separate (seemingly invisible) instance of SQL Server by physically copying master, model, tempdb and your user database file(s) to the user's private diskspace. This is done once--when the connection is first opened. The user can then log on as SA and do whatever they want to the database, master or whatever as it will have no effect on the “real” master etc. or other user instances. Interesting. I also noted that this option is not permitted with “non-Express” versions of SQL Server so you'll have to build a connection string specifically for your deployed SSEE target instance. This approach is interesting for scenarios where the application needs a private, stand-alone SQL Server engine a bit more robust than JET or SQL Server CE.

Oh my Bill - this is awesome !!!
Oh... at the rate it's going some months after Whidbey/Yukon RTM I expect.
When does your new book come out?
My MPX is a piece of crap. Moto rushed it to market. Shame on them.
I dug into the code behind the scenes. It's using ADO classic without building a JET database to somehow pull down the data. My program uploads the ADTG files to SQL Server where are real query engine can make quick work of the search.
I thought I was the only person on the planet that couldn't get MSDN to find squat.com.

Talk about a hunk-o-junk!!

When I got my Motorola MPX-220, I gave my daughter George the MPX-200. It seemed to work fine for awhile until just recently when it started dropping calls--over and over again. It failed to take calls as well so incoming calls kept going to voicemail. Clearly it’s busted. Product support? A sad joke. She finally tossed it in frustration and is looking for a more reliable brand with real customer support.

This time, when as shop for a new phone we’ll pretend to be customers looking for technical (post sales) help. If the support person was understandable and could answer a question without having to read a script, we kept them on the list.

Sure, every piece of equipment we buy has issues. These phones, computers, cameras and toasters we acquire are often extremely complex and in some cases pretty fragile. What makes the biggest difference between one product and another is the service after the sale. Just because the salesperson speaks understandable English (or your native tongue) that does not mean the support person will be as easy to understand or as interested in keeping your business.

I also think that Microsoft will have a tougher time penetrate the Windows Mobile market with companies like Motorola supporting their software. Fortunately, there are alternatives.

I had the previous model (MPX200) and found it to be a great disappointment. The operating system was hard to use and unstable, the phone looked plastiky, the screen was poor and the entire thing broke after 2 months. That was my last Motorola...
You're right. Motorola's Customer Service is atrocious. It took me two months and many hours (at least 50) to get a firmware upgrade for the MPx220 that Motorola could have let me download from their website. They even have the firmware download application there, but when it connects to Motorola it faults out.

So, I had to send the phone to Texas. It took Motorola nearly three weeks, during which I had to do without the phone, to get the firmware upgrade.

My guess is that middle managers at Motorola are allowed to conspire to defeat customers' reasonable expectation perhaps because they see their customer as being Cingular or Comcast or other direct distributors. What they don't realize is that they hurt those who they DO regard as their customer when they abuse the end customer.

Maybe Motorola will become as irrelevant as General Motors is rapidly becoming. This seems to be a trend for American companies that spend more effort on brand image and less effort on brand substance.

re: Where’s Bill?

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Don't know the error by heart. It's just during setup, three components installed (framework, vs,...) and one failed (sql server ex). I had the webdev Beta V 1 also before but i followed microsofts' removal instructions.

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