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Adi Oltean's Weblog - Flashbacks on technology, programming, and other interesting things

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  • Blog Post: A simple way to access Shadow Copies in Vista

    In the past, I presented various ways to browse these mysterious device objects called "shadow copies". Shadow copies are static images in time (snapshots) of your volume contents, at some point in the past. These shadow copies are volumes on their own, with a file system namespace accessible...
  • Blog Post: .NET Framework source code - public

    I sure hope that you will appreciate this - the .NET 3.5 source code will be publicly released . Initially, we will see .NET BCL, ASP.NET, Windows Forms, ADO.NET, XML and WPF. Later, more libraries will be added (WCF - yes!), LINQ and Workflow.
  • Blog Post: [RO] Seminar - Storage si programare distribuita

    Florin Lazar , Todi Pruteanu si cu mine am demarat in cursul acestei saptamani un seminar tehnic pe teme de storage in Vista si programare distribuita in WCF. Mai multe detalii aici: http://reg.studentclub.ro . Pana acum seminariile din Bucuresti si Cluj au avut un raspuns fantastic! Daca aveti opinii...
  • Blog Post: Previous Versions in Vista - on Channel 9!

    Hot and fresh from Channel 9: a session on Shadow Copies in Vista, and its applications: Previous Versions and the brand-new System Restore. Check it out .
  • Blog Post: The intentional slowdown

    The Daily WTF has a funny story around intentional slowdowns . I have one story to share as well. Back in the college days, when we were still busy with exams and courses, some of my friends started working at various companies in our city (Bucharest). One of them managed to get a contractor position...
  • Blog Post: Lock-free programming: used now in games!

    Lock-free programming is a performant multi-threaded synchronization technique that allows you to safely manage in-memory data in a controlled manner. In its essence, the idea is to write your multi-threaded programs without using locks. Why is this better? For one thing, using OS constructs like mutexes...
  • Blog Post: IronPython 1.0 released!

    Jim Hugunin just published the IronPython 1.0 download path here: http://www.codeplex.com/IronPython As an open-source product, it was an interesting exercise in deep integration between a highly dynamic language to the language-independent CLR environment.
  • Blog Post: Gartner redesigns Windows Vista

    There is an article in Techworld.com mentioning a curious research report from Gartner implying a redesign of the Windows Vista code base, around virtualization. Huh? To quote from the article: Instead, the research firm predicts, Microsoft will be forced to migrate Windows to a modular architecture...
  • Blog Post: WS-Management? Already here in Vista!

    WS-Management is a new web services-based management protocol. It's SOAP-based of course, and it is compatible with the rest of the specifications in the WS-* Web Service stack, like WS-Transfer, WS-Enumeration, WS-Addressing. WS-Management is enabled in Vista (and Longhorn Server) in several ways. On...
  • Blog Post: Ahh, backups... the eternal conversation subject

    Finally! The wait is over. Brett Shirley started to blog. As I expected, Brett started with a highly technical, but very interesting story . You might not believe it, but many customers are very optimistic, and they never perform backups of their critical systems. So Brett added an event log entry...
  • Blog Post: Getting the free space available under a certain directory

    There is a useful function called GetDiskFreeSpaceEx( ) . The GetDiskFreeSpaceEx function retrieves information about the amount of space that is available on a disk volume, which is the total amount of space, the total amount of free space, and the total amount of free space available to the user...
  • Blog Post: More VSHADOW stuff: how to backup Exchange, SQL, NTFS

    While researching for the previous post, I just started a few searches for VSHADOW on the internet, and I found more interesting usages of it. One example: EqualLogic published a nice technical report of using VSHADOW to backup/restore Exchange, SQL and NTFS. Here is the link: http://www.equallogic...
  • Blog Post: Fast backup of Virtual Server images (using VSHADOW)

    Jeff Trumbull published a very nice script on how to backup a Virtual Server image wiht about one minute of downtime! The solution uses VSHADOW.EXE, a small command-line utility that can be used to create shadow copies. VSHADOW is part of the VSS SDK
  • Blog Post: The VDS API is now public on MSDN

    The VDS API is now live on MSDN ! What is it? VDS offers a COM-based API for volume, disk and LUN management in Windows Server 2003. In Windows Server 2003 R2, we also have additional integration with iSCSI targets and MPIO. For example, you can use it to add a drive letter to a LUN . P.S. The...
  • Blog Post: How to do atomic writes in a file

    Let's assume that you want is to write some simple code that writes to a text file. A few assumptions: 1) You need avoid corruptions of any kind. 2) Either all of your writes have to make it to the disk, or none of them. 3) The file is updated serially - no concurrent updates from separate processes...
  • Blog Post: SSE - an RSS extension for two-way synchronization

    Ray Ozzie mentioned an interesting variation of the RSS protocol. RSS is essentially a one-way synchronization protocol. What it would take to change the RSS standard in a very minimal way, such that it will work for two-way replication. A simple idea, with very deep implications. The new RSS is now...
  • Blog Post: ...but, in Soviet Russia, the web services use YOU!

    Actually, in US too. No, I'm serious! The technique it's called Mechanical Turk , and its first form is developed by Amazon.com. The process is quite simple: 1) A large number of humans are going to that site. 2) They will be asked to do some work. 3) After completion, they will get paid in their...
  • Blog Post: Singularity - a new research OS from Microsoft

    Here it is: http://research.microsoft.com/os/singularity/ There are several interesting ideas in this new operating system. It's not just an "OS written in managed code". There are a new set of techniques in modern software development: contracts, verifiability and static analysis. Singularity combines...
  • Blog Post: .NET FX 2.0 available for download

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/downloads/updates/default.aspx
  • Blog Post: DOSDEV.EXE - a misterious tool

    Once in a while, you might encounter this tool in some Microsoft-provided SDKs, or Resource Kits, for example in the Windows Resource Kit, the Exchange Report Toolkit, and others. But this tool never came with any relevant documentation. It just displays the following cryptic help message: DOSDEV...
  • Blog Post: Random Repro vs. Consistent Repro, and a surprise under the cover...

    (Continuing on my previous post on supportability) Supportability Principle # 3 - When writing code, avoid random, hard-to-diagnose, unpredictable failures at all costs. I previously mentioned that good predictability means less costs in supporting your product, and the fact that predictability...
  • Blog Post: Supportability is not a feature

    I recently read about a Linux to Windows switch story . It made me remember something: supportability is crucial to the success of your software. Your programs are out there in the wild, alone. There are no helpful debuggers that you (or anyone) can hook up. There are no creative developers around that...
  • Blog Post: Are there any COM programmers out there?

    Even with all this new wave of .NET stuff, I still find myself in the XXI century doing good old COM programming - and I enjoy doing it... So is anyone still interested in blog posts around COM programming? (especially around COM servers, COM security, etc).
  • Blog Post: How big is Hotmail?

    Huge. Here is some data from a PDC Hotmail presentation : ~200 million active users 3.3 billion inbound emails a day 1.5 billion blocked at the router 1.0 billion deleted as spam (never hits the user's mailbox) 0.5 billion sent to the junk folder Over 100 million messages sent a...
  • Blog Post: WS-Management specification submitted to DMTF

    WS-Management was just submitted to DMTF! WS-Management is a web-service based spec for system management tasks like resource discovery, events, executing of certain operations, etc: [...] this specification identifies a core set of Web service specifications and usage requirements to expose...
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