Monthly Archives: August 2008

One more reason to like DiscountASP.NET

Falafel Software, my employer, has written courseware for TestComplete that includes examples for Data Driven Testing. The examples make use of Microsoft’s AdventureWorks database which requires an MSSQL install (Express works too) which is not something everyone has installed or access to. On a few occasions I’ve had classes where people have really struggled to get MSSQL Server Express and the DB installed successfully not to mention actually trying to connect to the DB.
Several weeks ago I approached DiscountASP.NET (DASP) to discuss hosting options for Falafel’s ActiveFocus (AF) Project Management application, which is up and running on on DASP’s Windows 2008 servers using MSSQL 2008, and those talks turned out better than I had anticipated. DASP set us up with two separate accounts one for testing AF on the above software combination and the second to use for training allowing us to setup and configure an MSSQL 2005 database to host AdventureWorks for training! In fact, they were pretty excited about the training angle which we’ve been using for several weeks now and has worked out well. By using a hosted DB we can simply provide a connection string to the attendees of the class and get them connected right away, no hassling with installation, configuration and connection issues to MSSQL.
DiscountASP.NET is really focused on the ASP.NET developer audience and not only have I found their service to be solid and reliable and their support is outstanding this additional level of support is icing on the cake.
Time to update Why I recommend discountASP.NET?

Free Pascal Team releases version 2.2.2

I want to highlight a comment (see below) from Marco van de Voort and congratulate the Free Pascal team on their recent 2.2.2 release. Marco originally commented on a post I wrote nearly a year ago regarding potential copyright issues and the source code of the project. It sounds like a lot of time an effort was put in to clear up any issues and further sounds like the project is on a good footing with tools in place to help prevent future issues. The comment from Marco is as follows:

The new release 2.2.2 has the disputed code removed, and the cut was made fairly wide (using a tool to identify candidates), and this has been merged to all currently live branches. This is also why it took so long.

We have retired the old releases from our site. (rather than relicense, which could have been since all the disputed code was available under GPL via FreeCLX. This was deemed to confusing)

Since nearly all public releases were affected by these disputed routines (most disputed routines arrived in one batch in 1998-1999, which was pre 1.0), this is particularly sad for some of the more odd ball platforms (like Atari) that are not supported anymore.

Virtual desktop software VirtuaWin

In a recent post, I talked about the various applications I use while conducting online training. Over the years I’ve dabbled with virtual desktop software but never got very comfortable with the idea and thus it never “stuck”. Back in June I decided, once again, to look for virtual desktop software and one of my first searches lead me to this description which looked very promising:

VirtuaWin is a small, fast and easy to use virtual desktop manager for Windows9x/ME/NT/2000/XP with no unnecessary features.

Bingo! Exactly the kind of thing I was looking for and VirtuaWin has lived up to this description. While the above description doesn’t explicitly mention Vista I’ve had no problems (I wish I could say the same about Vista). I’ve been running it now for a month and a half and it’s worked pretty darn well. The current release is 4.0.1 from April of this year so it’s an Open Source project that’s very much alive and well. On of the best features is worked “out-of-the-box” and I’ve tweaked only a few settings so the overall experience as been very good.

At first, it took some time to get used to organizing multiple desktops but once acclimated having the extra space has been very nice. I use four desktops arranged horizontally with the first being my primary, one to the left for browsers, one to the right for email and fourth desktop for things like LaunchCAST for streaming music. My MacBook Pro runs at 1920×1200 and I use a second 20″ monitor running at 1600×1200 brining my virtual desktop size to a whopping 14,000×1200, although when connected to a second monitor I usually don’t use the virtual desktops much.

On thing I’ve discovered is that virtual desktops also work quite well for online training making it easy to switch between PowerPoint presentation and the application I’m training on. I guess you could call it an online version of a KVM switch!