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Andrew Stevenson's WebLog

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I picked up an OCZ NIA nerve and brain wave controller

Sat, 17 Jan 2009 15:25:00 GMT

I'm not sure what I was doing when I first spotted the NIA (, but it caught my attention and I wondered if where they could be found, Amazon had them but wouldn't ship to Canada. When I checked at the MicroBytes (local computer parts chain) site, they had it listed, but it had to be special ordered. I wasn't setting my expectations too high when I decided I would buy it; I figured the "3 days to 3 weeks" would tend towards the 3 weeks, but it only took 4 days. The software that comes on the CD is out of date, so there is no point to installing it, you can just download and install the most recent version from the OCZ site Getting the headband out of its protective packing was the hardest part of the setup, after that you just plug things in and put the headband on. I seem to have the interference problem that's described in the video on the product page. I tried unplugging the chargers that are near the computer (bye bye Internet and sound for that test); the level for the muscle signal improved a bit, but I have a variety of things that may be causing interference. For the moment, Ive positioned the box so that my arm rests on it and that eliminates the interference. Pong: I tried it, and its hard, so I switched to the brain fingers which shows you the 8 levels: Glance, Alpha 1-2-3, Beta 1-2-3, and Muscle. At first, everything is maxed out or moving around, but when the first bursts of new toy excitement cools a bit, relaxing and clearing your mind should bring all levels down. I had having decent results in the fingers mode, I was able to get Alpha 1 maxed with every thing else at minimum; then I decided to take a screen shot and everything went crazy again. After several close calls that resulted in excitement or muscle tension I put my finders on the right buttons and tried to do it again after several tries, I got a pretty good pic (beta3 in up a tiny bit) of it* . After that, I seemed to get a little stuck, it became really easy to keep Alpha 1 up and everything else down, but it was really hard to look at the NIA UI without Alpha 1 going way up. Try Pong: fail. I don't really play much FPS, so I didn't have a game that matched the built-in profiles, so I picked the basic arrow key profile and tried Warcraft 3. I was able to scroll around a bit and I was able to "press any key" using the NIA. This is better than I what was expecting, it was time to head over to my friends place where there are many FPS games to be found, Left 4 Dead being current most played game. We had a lot more problems getting the nia calibrated at my friends house, part of the problem was that the headband wasn't solidly plugged into the box (my bad) but there was also more interference. At home, when I am touching the box, the signal comes perfectly into range, but we had to fiddle with the calibration a bit more before we got it working smoothly over there.  It was time to try playing Left 4 Dead in the game profiles, we selected the Half-Life 2 profile because it has the same default key mappings.I had never played Left 4 Dead before, but I have watched my friends play, so I knew what I had to do. I started a game on easy at first there was nothing happening, then some weird stuff, then we set the key mappings back to the defaults :P It took ten or fifteen minutes in the start area and a fair bit of friendly fire to get a feel for how to move and shoot, but eventually I was able to move forward and shoot without too much effort. Moving and shooting are tied to the muscle sensor; The profile wizard will show all the settings for a profile. The glance reflex is tied to strafe right and left, it was hard to use this consciously, but it worked really well a few times in the heat of battle.  The camera control stayed on the mouse, but if I can figure out how to get the glance to control the camera, it might be possible to play mouse-less. I was really surprised how well I was able to pl[...]

Annother Typemock update, this time for VB.Net

Tue, 13 Jan 2009 22:28:00 GMT

Can you tell I want one of these?
If you haven't tried it, you probably should. 

Typemock have released a new version of their unit testing tool, Typemock Isolator 5.2.
This version includes a new friendly VB.NET API which makes Isolator the best Isolation tool for unit testing A Visual Basic (VB) .NET application.
Isolator now allows unit testing in VB or C# for many ‘hard to test’ technologies such as SharePoint, ASP.NET MVC, partial support for Silverlight, WPF, LINQ, WF, Entity Framework, WCF unit testing and more.

Note that the first 25 bloggers who blog this text in their blog and tell us about it, will get a Free Full Isolator license (worth $139). If you post this in aVB.NET dedicated blog, you'll get a license automatically (even if more than 25 submit) during the first week of this announcement.

Go ahead, click the following link for more information on how to get your free license.

A Typemock Isolator for sharepoint , yes please!

Tue, 25 Nov 2008 17:19:00 GMT

A great chance to test sharepooint and maybe even win a free isolator license :D

Typemock are offering their new product for unit testing SharePoint called Isolator For SharePoint, for a special introduction price. it is the only tool that allows you to unit test SharePoint without a SharePoint server. To learn more click here.

The first 50 bloggers who blog this text in their blog and tell us about it, will get a Full Isolator license, Free. for rules and info click here. 

The wallpaper is not funny (house of spam)

Tue, 09 Sep 2008 18:41:00 GMT

It seems like every blog post on is the recipient of a comment with "funny wallpaper >>"

It looks like spam, can it not be blocked? 


NUnitAsp and style="display: none"

Wed, 13 Feb 2008 16:32:00 GMT

I have a control, which I test with a customvalidatortester, that produces an html span with (I thought) style="display:none" and it was failing the test for visible==false.

A closer inspection showed that there was a space after the colon:   style="display: none"

Removing the space fixes the problem, but the root of the problem is where the space comes from. The space is inserted when I use Visual Studio 2005's format document on the aspx markup.

To solve this, I mad another small change to NUnitAsp.

In ValidatorTester, I chanbed the visible property to check for both versions.

                bool displayNone = (style != null && (style.IndexOf("display:none") != -1 || style.IndexOf("display: none") != -1));


NUnitAsp and WebForm_PostBackOptions

Wed, 30 Jan 2008 18:39:00 GMT

I've decide to use NUnitAsp on the current project.

After doing some basic visibility checks I tried to call Click() on a LinkButtonTester and I got an error.

I did some digging and found that the new WebForm_PostBackOptions was not being recognized as a postback.

With a bit of hacking around, I've got it working again, the biggest issue was different quotes in the postBackScript from those in the html.


The fix:I'm not sure how comprehensive it is, but the basic fix is 2 changes in WebFormTester:

public bool IsPostBack(string candidatePostBackScript)


bool postback = (candidatePostBackScript.IndexOf("__doPostBack") != -1)

|| (candidatePostBackScript.IndexOf("WebForm_PostBackOptions") != -1);

return (candidatePostBackScript != null) && postback ;



public void PostBack(string postBackScript)


string postBackPattern1 = @"__doPostBack\('(?.*?)','(?.*?)'\)";

string postBackPattern2 = @"__doPostBack\(\\'(?.*?)\\',\\'(?.*?)\\'\)";

string postBackPattern3 = @"WebForm_PostBackOptions\(""(?.*?)"", ""(?.*?)""";


bool succeeded = TryPostBack(postBackScript, postBackPattern1);

if (!succeeded) succeeded = TryPostBack(postBackScript, postBackPattern2);

if (!succeeded) succeeded = TryPostBack(postBackScript, postBackPattern3);

//if (!succeeded) succeeded = TryPostBack(postBackScript, postBackPattern4);

if (!succeeded)


throw new ParseException("'" + postBackScript + "' doesn't match expected patterns for postback in " + Description);




A shortcut to TFS Explorer

Mon, 05 Nov 2007 14:45:00 GMT

I find the number of clicks it takes to get to the Team Explorer a little long so I dug up this shortcut so that I can put it on a toolbar button.

Customize your toolbars, select "View" from the available categories, then scroll down to the commands that start with T and you will find TfsSourceControlExplorer.

Drag that puppy onto your favorite toolbar.






Why is GMail better about spam than hotmail.

Tue, 02 Oct 2007 18:47:00 GMT

 I have accounts on both services and I can tell that lots of spam gets sent to each account.

The big difference seems to be that most spam sent to gmail is delivered directly to the spam folder where at least half of the spam in hotmail goes to the inbox.





IE6 UI , Vista and Firefox

Tue, 18 Sep 2007 17:54:00 GMT

I'm looking for a browser that will run on Vista and give me the same UI that I had with IE6. 

At the moment, I'm using Firefox, it isn't my favorite, but I find the UI to be better than IE7.

I've tried some registry hacks for IE7 but now I'm ready to try other things ( I'm addicted to the Google Toolbar's search this site option so that might limit my options)



A little footnote : I still have IE 6 on one machine at home (the main web browsing machine) and the main page of this site doesn't display very well.



Understanding and solving the JavaScript/CSS entanglement phenomenon... deep web UI

Thu, 15 Feb 2007 20:59:00 GMT

A friend of mine who is a web UI specialist just put up an article about the complexities (and a fix) of showing and hiding parts of the UI when there is mix of css and javascript and javascript is disabled.

I prefer to leave these subtleties to him, but I think there may be some people here who would like the solution. 


CruiseControl.Net with MsBuild is giving me some strange behavior.

Fri, 29 Sep 2006 16:53:00 GMT

I've used CCNet in previous projects with nAnt to launch the build and I can't remember having any issues like the ones I have now.
It worked very smoothly.

In the project I am in now:
 -I use the msbuild and the msbuil task instead of nAnt.
 -The task is configured to use the the ThoughtWorks..XmlLogger. 
 -The build server running CC is a 64bit VMWare system.


I'm experiencing some reliability issues with this; frequent "Failure" and "Exception" results from builds. Sometimes a Force Build will fix the issue, but usually I need to restart the CCNet service. Sometimes I even need to reboot the CC server.

The most common "Exception" I've seen is an "attempt to read or write protected memory".
Other times, the status is just "Failure" and looking at the build log shows what seems to be a successful build :S

I'm not sure what to suspect as the source of the problem.
Is there anyone else using this same combination (on a virtual x64)?

If I could find a forum dedicated to CCNet, I'd post there...

Thanks for any suggestions about how to figure this out.



Who decides "off topic"?

Thu, 10 Aug 2006 20:57:00 GMT

I'm wondering who decides that a post is off topic.

I wrote my first blog entry in a long time today was confused when it didn't show up on the main site.

After trying to figure out if I had not published it properly or set some specifc property, I eventualy noticed the two links for On Topic Only and All Posts.

I don't need the entry to show up on the main page, but it doesn't seem to be further off target than some of the other things that are in the main feed.

Edit : I think I figured it out, use the "Asp.Net" tag :P


Deleting the diagramming objects from Sql Server

Thu, 10 Aug 2006 13:49:00 GMT

Maybe there is a more direct way to do it, but the scripts below will delete the objects that are created for database diagrams.

I delete then because when I have no diagrams in the db and when I run Scriptio, it includes them in the script. They are marked as system objects, so the "delete" option does not appear in the Sql 2005 Management UI.

Note that this does delete any diagrams you might have in your db.

DROP PROCEDURE dbo.sp_alterdiagram
DROP PROCEDURE dbo.sp_creatediagram
DROP PROCEDURE dbo.sp_dropdiagram
DROP PROCEDURE dbo.sp_helpdiagramdefinition
DROP PROCEDURE dbo.sp_renamediagram
DROP PROCEDURE dbo.sp_upgraddiagrams
DROP PROCEDURE dbo.sp_helpdiagrams
DROP FUNCTION dbo.fn_diagramobjects
DROP TABLE dbo.sysdiagrams

Windows Communication Foundation :: Confused I am

Tue, 09 May 2006 17:06:00 GMT

I haven't been following the various version of WinFx and Indigo so I'm quite confused about what version or combination of versions of what that I should be using for a project that will use WCF.

We've downloaded the Go Live versions (I've installed it) as well as the WinFx SDK.

In the sample (Bookstore STS) I opened, there is a reference to "System.IdentityModel.dll" and I don't have this on my system. I do have the "System.IdentityModel.xml" file which is almost empty.

I don't know if its the things I've chosen to install or some more subtle issue, but I hope some wise person can set me on the right path (page) towards getting the right stuff up and running.

Edit :: Might have just been wrong compenent installer



Canada is NOT at war

Tue, 25 Apr 2006 16:21:00 GMT

I don't usualy have an opinion on our country's military activities, but the situation that is being created this week bothers me. It goes against my feeling of what this country is about and what our soldiers are supposed to be doing when they are not protecting our borders.

If we are at war, then the public should be informed.

We are not at war.

How clear could that be, I'll say it in all caps: CANADA IS NOT AT WAR.

Our soldiers are overseas trying to help the world.

Death is not supposed to be a regular consequence of this activity; It happens, those are rough parts of the world that we send them to, people get hurt and sometimes people die. They must not be ignored.

We need to respect and remember those who gave their lives in war to protect our freedoms and values, but we also need to make special note of those who give their lives in hopes of giving others a chance to have the same freedoms.

To deny us seeing them return home, and to deny them the tribute of flags at half mast is a denial of their efforts and a denial of the price the paid for our dream.



Growing dislike for chords in 2005

Thu, 02 Mar 2006 16:20:00 GMT

I'm not sure I will ever appreciate the new "chord" keyboard shortcuts in VS.Net. A big part of the problem is that I don't know how to find, configure, and control them.

I have key sequences that I use always. CTRL+SHIFT+B to build solution, CTRL+B to build the current project/selection. These 2, with CTRL-S and CTRL-SPACE are the absolute must-have items for me.

If I use a new keyboard scheme and map CTRL+B it doesn't work as I expect. When I hit CTRL+B, I get a "waiting for second key of chord".

I find this very frustrating and I revert to the VS 6 setting, throwing away all the new stuff, just to get one thing to work the way I need it to.

Is there some way to find and remove the chords I don't like other than typing each one in "Press shortcut keys"?

Update: Microsoft.Sdc.Tasks :: Operational Troubleshooting in Progress :: GDN Update

Mon, 20 Feb 2006 16:44:00 GMT

   The tasks GDN workspace seem to have been updated the same day I posted this.Edited date 2/20/2006 
   There is a doc in the download that says March 1 2006. Whatever the date, it is different than the last time I downloaded :P

   n.b. I prefer the way that the (GDN) AssemblyInfo task works with the existing AssemblyInfo file over the approach MS-SDC and the Community tasks have chosen.

I know this belongs in the forums, but it seem like every time I want to post something in the GotDotNet forums its broken. "Operational Troubleshooting in Progress. The Gotdotnet team is aware of the current site operational issues and is working on a solution. Thanks for your patience. "

I'm trying to setup a continuous integration server and use some of the tasks from  Microsoft.Sdc.Tasks in GDN  ( )

I wanted to post the forum, but they still have the error ...

If anyone can help, I'd appreciate it:

I'm experiencing a significant number of issues trying to use the SDC stuff.

  • They don't match release versions of .Net  : fixed by removing strong name verification (Nagaraju Palla's WebLog )
  • From what I can tell the tutorial has not been updated to match the recent versions. ".Configuration" has been removed from most things.


  • The help contains errors in the remarks and samples for nUnit tasks. The AssemlyName property has changed and using ExcludeCategory throws a NotImplementedException ;)
  • Can someone point me to a working sample that uses the nUnit task?
  • The FxCop task is going a little better, but a  good working sample would help.

I could really use some good resources for this if you know of any.

Thanks again.



Live Messenger Send Offline IM

Thu, 22 Dec 2005 19:25:00 GMT

I always liked the ICQ feature to send a message while offline. Most of the time it would just be "call me when you get home", but I always missed the feature in Messenger.

Now its there in the 8.0 Beta.

Well done, thank you.