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Markus on Development and Publishing

This is Markus Egger's professional blog, which covers topics such as development, publishing, and business in general. As the publisher of CoDe and CoDe Focus magazines, and as the President and Chief Software Architect of EPS Software Corp., Markus shares his insights and opinions on this blog.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006
Angry at ISO Images...

In theory, ISO CD/DVD images are neat. The are an exact image of a disc, which allows one to download a bootable disc, burn it, pop it in a drive, and - voila - everything is good.

Well, in theory. The reality is, that ISO images seem to be the source of much frustration. Here's an example: I recently downloaded both the x86 and 64bit ISO images for the Windows Vista release version from MSDN. (Note: By now, the 64bit image has disappeared from MSDN again... not sure why). I then was lucky enough to have someone else burn the images to DVDs. Unfortunately, this didn't work out so well. When I tried the first one (x86) on my desktop machine, it was unreadable, even though it checked out just fine on the machine it was originally burned. The 64bit version seemed to work fine. I ended up not (yet) installing on that machine though. Instead, I took the DVD to a different machine (my Tablet PC) where I thought I could do a first safe install of the new OS. Everything seemed fine at first. For about 20 minutes, the machine hummed away, copying files. And then: Nothing! It just stopped. I tried several more times. The install just stops. DVD unreadable.

So I figured I'd download and burn on my home system. This way, I would be burning the DVD on the same machine as I would ultimately install on (as yet another test scenario). The download went slow but fine. I then wanted to use Roxio to burn the image. I have used Nero in the past, but have switched to Roxio for the specific purpose of burning Vista images, because Nero seemed to have problems with that. But for some reason, Roxio didn't work anymore. Just crashed on startup with a VC++ runtime error. From when it happened, I gather that it has to do with Rixio's project explorer, which I do not even care about, but can't get past. I re-installed Roxio. I even upgraded. No luck.

At that point, I started to get pretty annoyed. I mean why the hell would I pay Microsoft for an MSDN subscription to get something delivered that I cannot install without a third party product?!? If they want to give me ISO files, shouldn't they also give me an easy way to burn it? It drives me nuts! Ah, but wait: Microsoft does in fact provide an ISO burning utility called DVDBurn.exe as part of the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit. So I downloaded and installed that. It is a command line utility. A pain to use. But I guess if it works, that is OK. But for me, it doesn't work! Instead, I get the following error message:

Unable to lock the volume for exclusive access 1

WTF?!? What does that mean? And what do I do about it?!? I posted recently about MS error messages, and this is a perfect example! Who thinks that this is a helpful message? Quick, post a a reply to my blog if you know what "access 1" does exactly!

I assume that this is a problem with the DVD burner drive. That is what I would consider a "volume", although who knows whether ISO images could be seen as that. After all, it is a while DVD in a single file, and I can imagine that exclusive access is involved. And after all, how could access to a DVD burner not be exclusive? I am pretty sure I do not have processes just spinning away in the background burning random DVDs.

After some research I found that some people have similar problems with this utility. Some say they have this problem when media player runs at the same time. Others say it may have to do with Virus protection software. Those kinds of things. But I am not running media player at the same time, and I have turned off all virus software. To no avail!

At this point, I have not been able to burn my image to a DVD in any way my home system or my Tablet PC can read all the way through.

Also, Microsoft, here is a little suggestion: Since you have ISO burning technology and you make it available for free, just also integrate it into the shell. How about right-clicking an ISO file in Explorer and choosing "Burn to disc"? And if something goes wrong, show me a message box that says what you tried to get exclusive access to and what other processes prevented that from happening. Could it be that hard? It seems to me that Microsoft would have some people who know how to hook into the shell and how to deal with in-memory processes and resource locking. It isn't rocket science, after all...

 

Posted @ 7:51 PM by Egger, Markus (markus@code-magazine.com) -
Comments (10)


Monday, November 13, 2006
Slides from DevConnections 2006 - Las Vegas

I just returned from DevConnections 2006 in Las Vegas. It was a great show. I would even go as far as saying that this was the event where DevConnections established itself as the #1 third party developer event in North America. (One could argue that PDC is bigger and as a first party show has certain advantages... but then there is the price...).

Anyway: I did 4 different presentations there. 2 on Tablet PC development ('Real Time Stylus' and 'Ink Analysis and Recognition') and one on UI design. The 4th was an all-day post conference workshop on WPF (which I did together with Bernard).

Unfortunately, I can not make my post-con blogs available as a free download, but the slides for the other 3 sessions are now available here.



Posted @ 2:32 PM by Egger, Markus (markus@code-magazine.com) -
Comments (20)


Monday, November 13, 2006
My PodCast with Dr. Neil

While I was at DevConnections last week in Vegas, Dr. Neil recorded a podcast that just went online here.

BTW: A really cool fact about this is that Dr. Neil recorded this entire show on his new Samsung Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) with no special microphones or anything.



Posted @ 2:05 PM by Egger, Markus (markus@code-magazine.com) -
Comments (6)


Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Microsoft Release Frenzy

TechEd Europe is in full swing, and so is DevConnections 2006 in Las Vegas (which is the show I am speaking at). Microsoft uses these shows to launch quite a series of new products and betas. Here are some of the bigger points:

  • Office 2007 has been released yesterday
  • Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office 2007 has been released yesterday
  • The .NET Framework 3.0 (including WPF, WCF, and WF) has been released yesterday
  • Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET 3.0 has been released yesterday (although many of the more advanced tools for technologies such as WPF are not there yet).
  • Internet Explorer 7 of course has been released just a few days ago.
  • Media Player 11 has also been released recently

Find more information about some of these things on http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio.

Of course, one of the big items not on this list is Windows Vista. It has not been released officially at this point, but I would be very surprised if that announcement wasn't made today or tomorrow or at least during these two shows.

Also, there are quite a few betas that have been made available now:

  • ASP.NET Ajax is available in beta 2
  • Visual Studio 2005 SP1 is available as a beta
  • Expression Web Designer is available as beta 1 (not a CTP anymore)
  • Exchange 2007 is available as beta 2
  • SQL Server 2005 SP2 beta is either already available or should be available soon
  • SQL Server Compact Edition (formerly known as "SQL Everywhere") should either be available as a beta or will be soon:
  • Windows Live OneCare is available as a beta now
  • XNA Studio is available as a beta now

And that's not even all I am sure (just blogging a bit in between sessions and meetings). Other things that are coming soon are new versions of SharePoint and also Expression Interactive Designer and Expression Graphics Designer betas will be available in the not too distant future (my guess).

 



Posted @ 4:09 PM by Egger, Markus (markus@code-magazine.com) -
Comments (18)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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