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Brenton House



Brenton House - Software Architect and Visual Storyteller



 



Error creating new MVC Controller for Entity Framework

Fri, 01 Jun 2012 22:18:11 GMT

I downloaded and installed Visual Studio 11 (2012) RC today but I am getting an error every time I try to add a MVC controller to a project. 

Unable to retrieve metadata for 'MyNamespace.TestEntity. Unable to load one or more of the requested types. Retrieve the LoaderExceptions property for more information.

I know this bug existed in Visual Studio 11 Beta but it is marked as fixed in Microsoft Connect.  If anyone has a fix for this, please post!

(image)

 

You can vote for this bug on Microsoft Connect here: 

https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/feedback/details/745901/error-creating-new-mvc-controller-for-entity-framework

Brenton House




Google introduces the Knowledge Graph

Wed, 16 May 2012 19:32:52 GMT

Google is rolling out a HUGE new feature in the next few days.  They call it the “Knowledge Graph” and it is supposed to be a much smarter system for gathering the search results that you want.  This will set SEO experts scrambling to see how to best optimize sites and content!

(image)

[via Google]

Introducing the Knowledge Graph

When you search, you’re not just looking for a webpage. You’re looking to get answers, understand concepts and explore.

The next frontier in search is to understand real-world things and the relationships among them. So we're building a Knowledge Graph: a huge collection of the people, places and things in the world and how they're connected to one another.

This is how we’ll be able to tell if your search for “mercury” refers to the planet or the chemical element--and also how we can get you smarter answers to jump start your discovery.

See it in action

When you search for things, people, or places that Google knows about, we can use the Knowledge Graph to enhance your search results.

Find the right thing
The words you search with can often have more than one meaning. With the Knowledge Graph we can understand the difference, and help you narrow your results to find just the answers you're looking for.

Get the best summary
See key facts about your search with the most useful and interesting information for that particular topic, based on the questions other people have asked.

Go deeper and broader
Make unexpected discoveries and explore a topic more deeply with a springboard of information at your fingertips. What you find may surprise you!

See where your curiosity will take you. Give it a try.

Brenton House




Basic WCF Authentication with SQL Membership Provider

Mon, 07 May 2012 20:10:33 GMT

There is an interesting article on Code Project about using WCF Basic Authentication with SQL Membership Provider.   Obviously, there are much more sophisticated ways of securing WCF services but it is an interesting how-to for getting basic security for WCF up and running.

WCF Basic Authentication with SQL Membership Provider

We will show you how to set up WCF Basic Authentication using the SQL Membership Provider provided by Microsoft.It is highly recommended that you walk through the explanations by looking at the source code as it will help you gain a more solid understanding.You can also run the application on your computer.
We will assume you already know how to setup WCF to run in https, since basic authentication without https would be meaningless because the user name and password would be passed as plain texts in the network.
Topics

We will show you:

  • How to setup the database and the Web Site Administration Tool from the .net framework for managing the Users and Roles
  • How to setup the WCF Basic Authentication under https and use SQL Membership Provider to validate users and roles
  • How to make your WCF service consumable by other other platforms such as Java by making the WSDL a single file

You can also see how to make your service consumable by any technology and also set up error handling here.

 

Brenton House




Frequently Asked Questions about Free Upgrade on SkyDrive

Mon, 07 May 2012 12:33:17 GMT

[via: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/skydrive/loyalty]

You’ve been with us a long time, and through a lot of changes. We appreciate you sticking with us, and we want to make it easy for you to keep using your 25 GB of free online storage. All you need to do is go to the SkyDrive storage page and choose Upgrade my storage. That’s it—you’re locked in for 25 GB for free.*

Frequently asked questions

  1. Why is the storage limit changing?
    When designing the new SkyDrive, we wanted to create personal cloud storage that was both powerful and that had enough storage to meet the needs of most people—for free. The new SkyDrive offers 7 GB of storage. That’s enough for 20,000 Office docs or 7,000 photos. And unlike before, you can upload big files (up to 2 GB) and automatically sync files or entire folders to SkyDrive right from your PC.

    We also wanted to offer additional storage options for people who needed more, without applying a single limit to everyone. So we now offer affordable plans to add up to 100 GB of additional storage to SkyDrive.

  2. What are the new features?
    SkyDrive for PC or Mac: Install SkyDrive on your computer and you can access files in your SkyDrive right from your desktop—online or offline. Files in your SkyDrive folder are automatically kept up to date across your PCs and Macs. Available for Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X Lion.

    Apps for Windows Phone, iPhone, and iPad: Get to your files while you’re on the go with the new SkyDrive for iPad app and updated apps for Windows Phone and iPhone. And of course you can still go to SkyDrive.com from your phone’s browser.

    Fetch files: Forgot to put a file in your SkyDrive folder? You can access any file stored on your PC running Windows from SkyDrive.com.

    Increased upload sizes: Now you can upload and share files up to 2 GB.

  3. What happens if I don’t upgrade my storage? Will I lose my stuff?
    No. In the new SkyDrive, everyone gets 7 GB of free storage. If you were using close to this amount before the latest update, we’ve automatically upgraded your storage already . You can always see how much storage you have by signing into SkyDrive and checking the storage meter.

  4. Where can I go to learn more?
    You can get more information about SkyDrive on our website. If you have any questions, you can get answers in the SkyDrive forum.

Brenton House




Microsoft Cloud services are changing... Windows Live is dead. Long live SkyDrive.

Mon, 07 May 2012 03:32:00 GMT

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/05/02/cloud-services-for-windows-8-and-windows-phone-windows-live-reimagined.aspx 

We have talked quite a bit about SkyDrive and using your Microsoft account for the sign-in and roaming capabilities of Windows 8. These are just two aspects of a broad service infrastructure that you can tap into when using Windows 8 (and Windows Phone, Xbox LIVE, and a host of other services and apps). We want to talk more about the capabilities and features of cloud services for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. To get started, Chris Jones, the VP of our Windows Live group responsible for the development and operations of all of the services and apps, authored this post to introduce the reimagined role of cloud services in Windows 8.
--Steven

(image)

Brenton House




Microsoft SkyDrive has received a major upgrade!

Fri, 04 May 2012 21:22:00 GMT

Microsoft SkyDrive has received a major upgrade that allows you to sync 25GB for free. Upgrades are dirt cheap at $10/YEAR for an extra 20GB of space. Everyone is preparing for Google's 100GB Google Drive announcement...

https://plus.google.com/101371617406438805612/posts/jTVJSWZbiH6

I have installed the client on Windows 7 and on Mac OS X Lion. Haven't had any issues yet but I will post updates with how it works. If everything goes well, it will replace my Dropbox for sure!

Brenton House




Using Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 Together

Fri, 04 May 2012 20:56:00 GMT

So I broke down and installed Windows 8 Preview on a machine... Not the experience I was expecting. I hope that this is nothing like the final version because Windows 8 Preview looks horrible and it is even harder to navigate.

Anyways, I decided to see if I could put Visual Studio 11 on it. I know, beta on beta, but that's how I roll. This won't be a really long post about it because it won't even install on it. I tried several different methods but no luck.

Since I was less than impressed with the Windows 8 UI, I opted to wipe the machine and put Windows 7 on it. Haven't had any problems with Windows 7 and Visual Studio 11 Beta together!

Post comments if you have had a better experience and how you worked around any issues!

Brenton House




Installing latest Windows 7 updates could cause unbootable system

Wed, 25 Feb 2009 16:45:00 GMT

Be careful when installing the latest updates that just came out from Microsoft yesterday.  I have only tried them on one machine but after installing the latest updates from Windows Update, my machine rebooted and Windows 7 will no longer start.

I have tried repairing my installation but that does nothing for the situation. 

The Starting Windows logo comes up for a couple of seconds and then the machine automatically reboots again.

Brenton House




Activating Windows 7 on different hardware

Fri, 16 Jan 2009 21:11:00 GMT

(image) With Vista, if you replaced hardware on your machine or put your hard drive in a new computer, Windows would prompt you to activate online.  You were typically given 5 or so activations before your key would no longer work.

With Windows 7, if you replace hardware, you still get the Windows Activation message saying that you must activate in 3 days.  However, now you must reactivate using the automated phone system.  Online activation can only be accomplished if you are reactivating with the same hardware.

(image)

I wonder if you can now reactivate more than 5 times on the same hardware?  This would make sense since they are storing your hardware information to match up with your activation key.

Brenton House




Avoid creating hidden 200MB partition in Windows 7

Fri, 16 Jan 2009 14:33:00 GMT

(image) The first few times I installed Windows 7, I noticed that it created a hidden 200MB active partition on my primary hard drive.  The purpose of this partition is to store the boot files and the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) for repairing your computer if necessary.  Once it is created, it is very difficult to remove and you risk your computer not booting.

Now this is a good idea in theory and for most people, this won’t matter.  But when I am setting my my systems (at least with Vista and Windows 7) is that I install the OS on a machine and configure it exactly the way I want it.  I then install all the software on it and take an image of it using Acronis TrueImage.  I can then take that image and setup a new computer (with different hardware) within a matter of minutes.

This whole 200MB partition deals complicates the imaging process and so I looked into the details of it.  Apparently if you install Windows 7 on a drive with unpartitioned or unallocated space.   Create the primary partition first by choosing Drive options (advanced).  When you get this dialog box: “To ensure that all Windows features work correctly, Windows might create additional partitions for system files.”  Hit Cancel.  The boot files will now be put on the primary partition that you created earlier.

(image)

If you aren’t going to be imaging your system or you want to setup dual boot, you can go ahead and let Windows 7 do it’s thing and create the extra partition.

Brenton House




How to get your Quick Launch Toolbar back in Windows 7

Thu, 15 Jan 2009 15:41:00 GMT

(image)

  1. Right click on taskbar and select Toolbars > New Toolbar
  2. Browse to: 
    C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
  3. Hit: Select Folder

-or-  you can just download and install a much better version of Quick Launch called Free Launch Bar.  It is free (as the name implies) and has more features the old Quick Launch.

Brenton House




How to find missing drivers for Windows 7

Thu, 15 Jan 2009 14:33:00 GMT

(image) I installed Windows 7 on machine that was a couple of years old.  When it booted up, the max display resolution was 640x480 because of the old vga video driver that shipped with Windows 7.  I tried to find an updated driver from several places but ended up being saved by DriverMax.

DriverMax is a FREE application that helps identify unknown hardware and uploads the data to their site and provides downloads for updated drivers. 

Shortly after using this software I was back up and running at 1280x1024 (max for my monitor).

Brenton House




How to (Successfully) Install Cisco VPN Client on Windows 7

Thu, 15 Jan 2009 13:30:00 GMT

(image) If you do not follow these instructions when installing the Cisco VPN Client on Windows 7, you will probably end up in an endless blue screen / reboot cycle!

 

  1. Uninstall any previous version of Cisco VPN client that you may have installed
  2. Reboot
  3. Download the Citrix DNE Update and install it.
  4. Reboot
  5. Make sure you have Cisco VPN Client 5.0.4.0300 (or newer, if available)
  6. Install the Cisco VPN Client
  7. Reboot

 

** Check out some of the additional steps others have taken below if you run into problems

Brenton House




Live Mesh update for Windows 7 Beta is now online

Wed, 14 Jan 2009 20:29:00 GMT

(image) Microsoft has posted a new update for Live Mesh that is compatible with Windows 7 Beta.  The info has been posted on the Live Mesh Blog

Brenton House




R.I.P. .NET Reflector

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 20:01:00 GMT

Yes.  It is true, Lutz Roeder has decided to end development of .NET Reflector…  This free tool has been the greatest addition to .NET development since, well, forever.   Development will be passed on to Red Gate Software and it is unclear whether it will eventually move to a retail product.  So sad.

Here is a copy of the email that was sent out:

 

After more than eight years of working on .NET Reflector, I have decided it is time to move on and explore some new opportunities.

I have reached an agreement to have Red Gate Software continue the development of .NET Reflector. Red Gate has a lot of experience creating development tools for both .NET and SQL Server. They have the resources necessary to work on new features, and Reflector fits nicely with other .NET tools the company offers.

Red Gate will continue to provide the free community version and is looking for your feedback and ideas for future versions.

For news and updates on Reflector, sign up for the .NET Developer’s Newsletter from Red Gate. To find out more about the agreement, see the interview on Simple Talk.

Brenton House




Web Analytics with Clicky

Fri, 01 Aug 2008 02:09:00 GMT

I have tried out several of the services out there that allow you to track your statistics and analyze visitors and hits on your site.  Some are free and some of them have a small fee.  One of the ones that I have been the most impressed with has been Clicky.  This service gives you a nice dashboard that lists all kinds of information about your site in a very easy-to-read format.

(image)

Like a lot of the other services, you simply place a small amount of javascript code in the template for your web page or blog and you can start seeing results.  They even have a very cool “Spy” feature that uses an Ajax to show you who is on your site right now and what they are looking at.

 

(image)

 

(image) They have both a free and a premium paid service.  They premium service offers you a ton of features that you don’t find in most other services.   They provide a developer API that allows you to create any kind of GUI that you might want and have it integrated into your application or site.  They also provide a lot of widgets for iGoogle, Wordpress, Vista, etc on their site.

You can also integrate this with your FeedBurner feeds to be able to track actions from users.  This gives you much more details than you find with the default statistics from Google’s FeedBurner. 

The service also allows you to track keywords, visitor actions, as well as the usual browsers, computers, and information about where visitors are from.  Giving you a list of the most popular pages on your site can allow you to optimize traffic based on what keywords that visitors are using to find your site.

Before using Clicky, I was using Google’s tracking service.   I started looking for another service when I had issues reporting on multi-day segments or when I wanted to track multiple sites.  I would often get taken to reports for a different site when I would browse reports within Google’s UI. 

I would try out their features if you are interested.  They have a free 14 day trial of their premium service that allows you to determine if you want the extra features that the free service does not include.

Brenton House




Extension Methods with Enum Description

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 17:26:00 GMT

Since Enum names in .NET do not support certain characters like spaces, often developers will use the DescriptionAttribute to add detailed text to an Enum.     Copy Code    [Flags]    internal enum SuperHero    {       [Description("Clark Kent")]       Superman = 1,       [Description("Peter Parker")]       SpiderMan = 2,       [Description("Bruce Banner")]       Hulk = 4,       [Description("Tony Stark")]       IronMan = 8,    } You can pull the description from the enum with code like this.  (Keep in mind that you can make this MUCH faster using DynamicMethods and caching, but that is another article…)    Copy Code       private const char ENUM_SEPERATOR_CHARACTER = ',';       public static string GetDescription(Enum value)       {          // Check for Enum that is marked with FlagAttribute          var entries = value.ToString().Split(ENUM_SEPERATOR_CHARACTER);          var description = new string[entries.Length];          for (var i = 0; i < entries.Length; i++)          {             var fieldInfo = value.GetType().GetField(entries[i].Trim());             var attributes = (DescriptionAttribute[])fieldInfo.GetCustomAttributes(typeof(DescriptionAttribute), false);             description[i] = (attributes.Length > 0) ? attributes[0].Description : entries[i].Trim();          }          return String.Join(", ", description);       } Well, now with .NET 3.5 and Extension methods it only makes sense to make this a little bit easier.    Copy Code       public static string Description(this Enum value)       {          return GetDescription(value);       } And now you can do the following:    Copy Code          var secretIdentity = SuperHero.Superman.Description();          var superHeroes = SuperHero.Superman | SuperHero.SpiderMan;          var secretIdentities = superHeroes.Description(); Note that the code handles Enum marked with the FlagAttribute as well.  The output of the whole flag thing is not ideal but at least it does not break when handling those Enums. Brenton House [...]



Windows Live Writer Technical Preview

Wed, 04 Jun 2008 19:06:00 GMT

(image) Microsoft has released a technical preview of their new version of Windows Live Writer.  It has a bunch of new features that you need to check out.  WLW is already the best blog posting software out there (and it’s free!). 

I have listed some of the new features that are in this build but I have to say, the best new feature IMHO, is something that is not even listed in the official release notes.  That feature is the ability to organize your draft posts any way you want on your hard drive and be able to edit them by simply opening them from windows explorer.  I know that might not seem like a huge deal to some people, but I like to lay out my ideas and draft posts in folders and sub-folders based on topics or tags.  In previous versions, if you attempted to load a draft post from any other folder other than the official drafts folder, you would get a new draft post instead of editing an existing one.

Note:  You still cannot manage your draft posts (other than the ones that exist in the official drafts folder) from within WLW.  But I am hoping that this feature will be coming in a future build.

Awesome work WLW Team!

New Features

You’ll also get an early look at some improvements and new features we’ve been working on:

Video and Image Publishing Enhancements
  • Upload videos to Soapbox
  • Image cropping and tilting
  • Additional border styles
  • Support for LightBox and other image previewing effects (like Slimbox, Smoothbox, and others)
  • Support for centering images
Editing Enhancements
  • Auto Linking
  • Smart quotes/typographic characters
  • Word count
UI Improvements
  • Revised main toolbar
  • Tabs for view switching
  • Improved category control with search/filtering

via Charles Teague’s DragonStyle Blog

Brenton House




.NET Framework 3.0 RC is out

Sat, 02 Sep 2006 01:01:00 GMT

 
 

Via Jason Zander's WebLog -

NETFX 3.0 just went live on the web today, you can download it here.  NETFX 3.0 contains Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Windows Workflow, and Windows Cardspace. 

You can find out more information about the Go Live program here.

Finally, you can also download the SDK for this release here.

Congrats to the team for reaching this important milestone!  I'm looking forward to the feedback on release.  Tell us how it is going for you!

(image)
 

Brenton House




Frans Bouma article about why a cache in an O/R mapper doesn't make it fetch data faster.

Thu, 31 Aug 2006 16:41:00 GMT

  Why a cache in an O/R mapper doesn't make it fetch data faster. Via Frans Bouma's blog - PrefaceOne of the biggest myths in O/R mapper land is about 'caching'. It's often believed that using a cache inside an O/R mapper makes queries much faster and thus makes the O/R mapper more efficient. With that conclusion in hand, every O/R mapper which doesn't use a cache is therefore less efficient than the ones who do, right?Well... not exactly. In this article I hope to explain that caching in O/R mappers is not there for making queries more efficient, but is there for uniquing. But more on that later on. I hope that at the end of the article, I have convinced the reader that the myth Caching == more efficiency is indeed a myth. Beware, it's perhaps a bit complicated here and there, I'll try to explain it in as much layman's terms as possible. What's a cache?Before I can explain what a cache is, it's important to understand what an entity is, what an entity instance is etc. Please consult this article first to learn about what's meant with these terms. A cache is an object store which manages objects so you don't have to re-instantiate objects over and over again, you can just re-use the instance you need from the cache. A cache of an O/R mapper caches entity objects. Pretty simple actually. When an entity is fetched from the persistent storage (i.e. the database), the entity object (i.e. the entity class instance which contains the entity instance (== data)) which contains the data fetched, is stored in the cache, if it's not there already. What exactly does that mean: "if it's not there already" ? It means that the entity object isn't there yet. Caches in O/R mappers are above all used for a concept which is called uniquing. Uniquing is about having a single entity object for every entity (== data) loaded. This means that if you load the entity of type Customer and with PK "CHOPS" from the Northwind database, it gets stored in an entity object, namely an instance of the Customer entity class. What happens if you load the same entity with PK "CHOPS" again in another instance of the Customer entity class? You would end up with two instances of the same class, but with the same data. So effectively the objects represent the same entity. This doesn't have to be a problem. Most actions on entities don't require a unique entity object. After all, they're all mirrors of the real entities in the database and with a multi-appdomain application (like desktop applications accessing the same database or a multi-webserver using webapplication) you have the chance of having multiple entity objects containing the same entity data anyway.However sometimes it can be a problem or an inconvenience. When that happens, it's good that there's a way to have unique objects per entity loaded. Most O/R mappers use a cache for this: when an entity is loaded from the database, the cache is consulted if there's already an entity object with the entity data of the same entity fetched. If that's the case, that instance is updated with the data read from the database, and that instance is returned as the object holding the data. If there's no object already containing the same entity, a new instance is created, the entity data fetched is stored in that instance, that instance is stored in the cache and the instance is returned. This leads to unique objects per entity.Not all O/R mappers use a cache for uniquing however, or don't call it a 'cache'. You see, a central cache is really a very generalizing. What if you need for a given semant[...]