The Browser Choice nobody wants

October 7, 2013 at 5:38 PMRoman

I don't really care about the story of how the EU managed to force Microsoft into adding "Browser Choice" into every new version of Windows.
However, I do care about the app itself that keeps bugging, nagging and annoying me time and time again.

It happened to me again today. When I just had rebooted my laptop after installing a couple updates:

 

Really! An important choice to make....  I already made that choice, long time ago.
What I hate most about this message is the subtle "The Browser Choice unpinned your browser, Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer, from your taskbar, but you can pin it back if you want."
How generous! How about not remove it to start with? It's MY frickin taskbar, not yours, and most of all not the EUs. I am in free and neutral Switzerland, which is NOT a part of the stupid EU. Their laws have NO meaning here!

The next dialog isn't much better either: A choice of browsers, how great! I wonder if the user of a "Google Chromebook" or "Apple MacBook" or iPhone gets to see the same "Browser Choice" message.

If I wanted a different browser, dear EU, I would install it myself!

 

Sorry, but I had to get this out. My neck started to swell up and my head was getting red like a traffic light.

Please Microsoft, stand up, put your foot down, don't let those EU clowns walk all over you again!

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Stumbling over my own feet, for the 287'000th time - how to configure web publishing with Web Deploy on Windows Server 2012

October 4, 2013 at 3:45 PMRoman

Would it not be great if at least one person out there would be saved from experiencing the frustrations I just went through for the last 2 hours. My fingernails are gone now - one of my bad habits when under stress, stress caused by not being able to do what I have done 100 times before.

My goal was to setup a new Web Server, allowing me to publish existing and new Web sites and applications. Windows Server 2012 R2 was up and running in no time, thanks to the generous virtualized environment I am allowed to use.

After joining the domain and the mandatory restart that comes free of charge with that (takes about 10 seconds), I carefully began to add roles and services. As this will be a production server, I tried to limit them to the absolute minimum (another habit of mine).
Thanks to my terrible memory and my habit of never writing anything down, I went through the list of roles and features, trying to remember which ones to install, and which ones to leave away. And if in doubt, leave it away and add it later if needed.

Bad idea, very bad idea.

So, I ended up having IIS 8 up and running, went back to add the ASP.Net 3.0 and 4.5 features (which I conveniently had left away in the 1 step).
When checking again in IIS Manager I found them and was so happy, that I fell for the friendly invite by IIS Manager: I installed Web Platform Installer 4.6!
At that point it would not have been too late (yet). But I continued and installed Web Deploy 3.5.

Big, big mistake!

I went ahead and wanted to configure the users who are allowed to publish stuff. But I couldn't find the "IIS Manager Permissions", leave alone the whole "Management" section in my first web.
So, what little was left of my memory kicked in. I remembered, I needed to install the Windows Management feature. It was installed in no time, and the section appeared in IIS Manager, and I could allow users. I was smiling: "Look at me, I'm the greatest!"

My frustration was bigger than my smile after I tried to just quickly publish that web site.

Error ERROR_DESTINATION_NOT_REACHABLE: Web deployment task failed. (Could not connect to the remote computer ("top-secret-hostname").

That message was thrown into my face for the next hour or so. Following a list of things I tried and the number of times I tried it (order might not be accurate):

  • Check Firewall (3x)
  • Check DNS (3x)
  • Check if Web Management Service is running (7x)
  • Check if Web Deployment Service is running (6x)
  • Check if need another service, install it, try, remove it (4x)
  • Check level of my coffee cup, get refill (3x)
  • Check if the error message was still the same (5x)

Then I gave up. I fired up bing.com and Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V went the error message from above.

The first result I opened made me sweat blood and swear at the same time: http://forums.iis.net/p/1200087/2053474.aspx?Web+Deploy+Produces+an+Error
My feelings towards the person who had marked the green as answered were not positive ones. I quickly dismissed the post, looked at two more and decided it was time to do some more thinking of my own.

That was when I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and I remembered that I had been fighting with the exact same thing before. I will write it down here, for myself to remember and for everybody else too.

DO NOT INSTALL "Web Deploy 3.5" BEFORE INSTALLING THE IIS MANAGEMENT SERVICE!

It will not give you any warning or error message. Everything will look okay, but it isn't.

The solution is really simple. Uninstall "Web Deploy 3.5" via Control Panel, reinstall "Web Deploy 3.5" via Web Platform Installer.

I wasn't even excited when everything worked on the first attempt afterwards, just annoyed with myself. That was when I decided to take the time needed to immediately write this down. Before I would forget it again.

 

Thanks for reading :)

Posted in: Web | Work

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Privacy, work-life balance, Microsoft and Snowden

July 16, 2013 at 4:59 PMRoman

A short while ago I was approached by a customer regarding the design, architecture and implementation of a new solution. It should integrate with a whole suite of applications I was involved with over the last 10 years. Of course time to market would be critical (as always). The solution would offer a web application and quite few background operations. We soon agreed on an approach that would make everything extremely flexible regarding possible hosting in the cloud.

And then everything changed, from one minute to the next: When Edward J. Snowden revealed how deeply Microsoft must have been in bed with the NSA in the PRISM program our whole construction fell apart.

Now I am sitting up in the mountains, scheduled for a week of relaxing summer holidays, but most of my thoughts are spent on how to work around the issues that surfaced when Snowden pulled down the mask that had previously covered the ugly face of the American secret service agencies. Outlook.com, Skype, Skydrive and who knows what other service as well have been severely compromised. My customers have lost all their trust in Microsoft regarding this and I don't know how to convince them anymore. Maybe they are right and this is all only just the beginning? What if they are right and Windows Azure hosted services, web sites, SQL databases and what not also have backdoors for the NSA and FBI? No way on earth could we then even remotely consider to host any data. Too big is the risk of violating my customers clients privacy, and with that loosing them all at once.

 Don't get me wrong: I am still a strong supporter of Microsoft and all the technology they create that make a developers life easier, but right now I am lost. I don't know what to believe anymore, don't know if Microsoft still can be trusted after they lied over the issue at first. It definitely would help to restore trust if they would communicate in a clear way (not that marketing BS they offered over the last couple days).

In the meantime I hike in the Swiss alps, take photographs of flowers and butterflies and later in the day think of how to redesign our solution (without the use of cloud services) or write up rants like this one here.

Posted in: Work

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9 Steps To Installing Windows RT 8.1 Preview On Non-English-US Surface RT (Updated!)

June 27, 2013 at 5:29 PMRoman

Great, I thought. After watching parts of the //build/ conference keynote I wanted to get the Preview of Windows 8.1 on my Surface RT. And of course I hit the wall, like many others too. When I initially had installed the device I had made a decision (which at the time didn't seem to be one) that now was biting my ass. Windows 8.1 Preview (RT or Professional) offers an initial set of languages. Unfortunately I had chosen "English United Kingdom" at the time I first installed my Surface RT. I tried around for a while, but with not much success, always hitting the same wall: an error message telling me that this update is really not for my Surface, when I tried to run the update offered on preview.windows.com.

Here are the steps that took me to success!

1. I removed all user accounts other than my own (I suggest you try without this step. My setup was a bit tricky, as all my Surface users configured different languages)

2. Installed Language "English, United States", make it the one at the top of the list. Reboot.

3. Removed all other languages (go into options, if possible, uninstall the language packs, then remove the language )

4. Made "English, United Stated" the System Locale

5. Transferred Language settings to default and new user accounts.

6. Downloaded the .msu file from here
    Followed instructions in this article here to correctly set installation language.

7. Followed the instructions here to get the msu installed
    Downloaded the .msu file from here

8. Reboot

9. Have more luck than me actually getting the download (Microsoft servers seem to be very busy now)

 

Do I have to point out, that this procedure is of course not official, not supported, not guaranteed to work and that I will not take any responsibility if you lose data or have your system damaged in any way? I guess not.

UPDATE #2:

I might have been wrong with my 9 steps. I just found this article here that explains how to properly set a new installation language. I followed it, and now my Windows RT 8.1 Preview is downloading. Sorry for the mess up. Unfortunately I can't test this anymore now, as my Surface is already updating. But I would assume that step 6 should be to follow the instructions to correctly set the installation language, and step 7 is to run the Preview tool from the website.

I updated the steps in the list above to reflect my new knowledge about it.

 

 UPDATE #1

I am still getting this message and don't know if it is because of busy servers, or because you can't trick it that easily:

 

Posted in: Work

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How to show a Modal Window with ShowDialog() before showing your MainWindow in WPF

June 17, 2013 at 12:06 PMRoman

There is those days when you get at your desk, and your colleague already sits there, waiting for you to help him solve the problem that has been bugging him for the last 2 days. Today was one of those days.

It gets really exciting, when after first looking at the problem, you can't see the solution yet. Here is what we were challenged with:

When starting up our application, we wanted the user to login to the application before showing the MainWindow. The first approach we tried was creating the MainWindow without showing it, then display the LoginWindow with ShowDialog() and after that make the MainWindow visible with Show(). Here is a little code snippet of what we tried initially (simplified of course, as there is more logic to checking the result of ShowDialog):

protected override void OnStartup(System.Windows.StartupEventArgs e)
        {
            base.OnStartup(e);

            var mainWindow = new MainWindow();
            Application.Current.MainWindow = mainWindow;

            var loginDialog = new LoginDialog();

            loginDialog.ShowDialog();
            mainWindow.Show();

        }

This gave us a working LoginDialog, but tons of DataBinding error messages on the MainWindow and with that a Ribbon that wouldn't show the proper controls.
After Binging for half an hour, going through each of the suggested workarounds (and not really liking any of them) we didn't want to waste any more time and decided to give the "think first, code after" approach a go.
We figured out, that by delaying the creation of MainWindow alone we didn't gain anything, as then the application would not even show the MainWindow, as the application would shut down immediately on it's own.

System.Windows.ShutdownMode.OnMainWindowClose

Is the default setting for

Application.Current.ShutdownMode

The next attempt was to use a different ShutdownMode during the time the LoginDialog would be gone (after closing it) and the MainWindow would be shown and BINGO!

That's what we ended up with:

protected override void OnStartup(System.Windows.StartupEventArgs e)
        {
            base.OnStartup(e);

            var loginDialog = new LoginDialog();

            Application.Current.ShutdownMode = System.Windows.ShutdownMode.OnExplicitShutdown;
            
            loginDialog.ShowDialog();

            var mainWindow = new MainWindow();

            Application.Current.MainWindow = mainWindow;
            Application.Current.ShutdownMode = System.Windows.ShutdownMode.OnMainWindowClose;

            mainWindow.Show();
        }

 

Feel free to leave feedback to this solution.

Posted in: Work | WPF

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Finally online - why do things always take longer than planned.

May 31, 2013 at 2:22 AMRoman

Here, I did it. I finally managed to find the time needed to put my blog online. I can't believe it's been almost 4 month since I wrote the first post for it, but never got around to actually finish setting it up. I guess that's part of adult ADD showing here. Reminding myself to write a post about that too.

Posted in: General | Work

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Expecting parents - completely unrelated

February 13, 2013 at 4:58 PMRoman

Has it ever made you think why on earth a human child needs 9 month to be ready to be born? After having a lot of time to think about that topic, it suddenly became very clear to me: It is not the child that needs all the time; it is the parents!

Edit: (2013/02/21)

1 week over the due-date now; wondering if my theory might be true?

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The first post, officially

February 13, 2013 at 2:16 PMRoman

Right, here I am, writing my first post. It remains still unclear why I even started typing.

For some reason I wanted to write for a long time, but I never really knew what to write about. The most obvious would be to write about my professional life or about my hobbies. I decided to try the impossible and combine the two. So, on this Blog you will come across stuff from my professional life as a software developer and you might also find the odd post about what I do when I am not working.

Hopefully some people will find this not too boring.

Posted in: Blog | Sailing | Work

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