System.Blog.Martens.Ben

The Tech Blog of Ben Martens

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About The Tech Blog of Ben Martens

I'm an SDET in the Connected Systems Division. The Calendar Printing Aassistance for Office is the first public product to be released from our group and is available with Office12.

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    CPAO

    • 72 Comments
    The Calendar Printing Assistant for Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 is the first external product to come out of my group. There are some nice writeups finally hitting the web: http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2006/08/15/701836.aspx http://www.microsoft...
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    So You Want to Add XP to your Vista Installation

    • 11 Comments
    I'm loving my Vista installation, but there was one piece of custom low level software that wouldn't play nice with Vista. I set forth on a quest to add an XP partition. My first option was to use Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. It's free and it supports...
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    Windows Server 2008 R2 and Desktop Gadgets

    • 11 Comments
    Running Windows Server 2008 R2 as a desktop OS does have it’s advantages. As a tester, Hyper V is key to my daily work. I love desktop gadgets though and have written some custom ones that really help me throughout the day. Gadgets aren’t available by...
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    Brain Teaser #3

    • 10 Comments
    This brain teaser also comes courtesy of Simeon Cran. What will the following code output? When you think you know, copy the code into Foo.cs and run “csc Foo.cs” and then run “Foo.exe”. Did it output what you expected? The brain...
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    Taskbar Pinned Shortcuts Location

    • 8 Comments
    Ever wondered where those pinned shortcuts are stored in Win7? %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar
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    Two Command Line Tricks

    • 7 Comments
    Watching a co-worker type can be a good tool for learning new tricks. I always ask "How did you just do that?" when I see something fly by a bit too quickly. I just learned two of them in the last half hour. If there is a command in your history...
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    Video Encoding for the Zune

    • 7 Comments
    Since I'm working on a 4.5 year old PC at home, I find the automatic Zune video transcoding a bit slow. I was able to figure out some Zune compatible settings for Windows Media Encoder and I've tweaked them to run a bit faster (probably at the expense...
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    1080P From the XBox360?

    • 6 Comments
    Whenever a conversation about HD and the 360 comes up, I see a ton of confusion about which outputs give you 1080p. Hopefully this handy chart from DanielN will help to answer a few questions. Xbox 360 connected using component DVD’s via HD-DVD drive...
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    Brain Teaser #2

    • 6 Comments
    This brain teaser comes courtesy of a co-worker named Simeon Cran. Using C# and no branches, and no method calls , no allocations, and no unsafe code , write a method that takes a ulong and clears all the bits in it except the highest bit that was set...
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    Pulling a Facebook RSS Feed via .NET

    • 6 Comments
    I wanted to add my Facebook status to my other blog which is running Community Server 2.0. All I needed to do was write a user control to pull the RSS feed and display the text. This seemed easy enough, but it turned out to be a little tricky. First I...
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    Delayed Environment Variable Expansion

    • 5 Comments
    Someone around the office joked that my blog is turning into "Random Batch File Tips and Tricks." I'll continue that trend with this post... I recently encountered an environment variable surrounded by exclamation points instead of the usual percent signs...
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    Brain Teaser Answer

    • 4 Comments
    There was a lot of extra information in that brain teaser . All you really needed was these two sentences: Clearly 41 runs * 1210 feet = 49610 feet. The watch incorrectly said that I had skied 20,100 but had the correct number of runs. So if I had looked...
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    Zune + Pioneer Navigation System

    • 4 Comments
    Last week I spent some time behind the dashboard of my car hooking up my new Zune to my Pioneer AVIC-D2. Actually it only took about 10 minutes and most of that time was removing and reinstalling the plastic facia of the dashboard. I took some video and...
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    Modules Window in Visual Studio 2010

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    I went to pull up the modules window in VS2010, but I couldn’t find it. Maybe I did something to remove/hide it from the menu, but if you’re in this situation, you can still get to it by pressing Ctrl-Alt-U.
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    Programmatically Changing Your IP Address

    • 3 Comments
    A friend needs to change back and forth between a DHCP network and a static IP network. Rather than teach her how to go in and configure the settings manually, I wanted to write her a program that would automate everything. I found the registry settings...
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    Blogs of Senior Microsoft Testers

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    I have been meaning to make a post listing out the blogs of some of Microsoft's senior testers, and I was reminded of that task today when I found out that James Whittaker has started blogging. If you're interested in testing, these are great places to...
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    Oslo Elevator Pitch

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    One of the big challenges for me has always been coming up with a short and sweet elevator pitch for our offering, but recently Don Box and Doug Purdy have done just that on their respective blogs. http://www.pluralsight.com/community/blogs/dbox/archive...
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    "Oslo" Web Links

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    Microsoft "Oslo" Resources " Oslo" Developer Center Download the "Oslo" SDK Ask a Question About "Oslo " Report an Oslo Bug A Lap Around "Oslo" (PDC video) "Oslo" - The Language (PDC video) "Oslo": Customizing and Extending the Visual Design Experience...
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    Path Manipulation in a Batch File

    • 2 Comments
    Have you ever typed "help for" at a command line? If you write a lot of batch files, read through it and you'll probably save yourself some time. Today I was trying to figure out how to get just the filename out of a path that may or may not contain the...
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    Never Lose Product Keys

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    How many times have you bought software on the web and then lost the product key? I have a couple programs sitting unused at home because I have no idea where I put the key or who to contact to recover it. Windows Live Marketplace is out of it's beta...
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    Live Local Updates

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    I'm a big Live Local fan. Google Maps was the first one to the table with AJAX maps, but they have remained stagnant since introduction. Meanwhile Live has been continuously stepping up their game with new features. One of my favorite features is the...
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    What's My Motivation?

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    As a test engineer, it is my job to design and write tests that find every possible bug or defect in the software. My test team is motivated by the drive to ship a quality product. But what about testers who benefit from bugs in their software? For example...
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    So You Want a Job at Microsoft

    • 2 Comments
    This week I was on campus at Drexel looking for interns and college hires. It was my first time doing recruiting for Microsoft, and overall I was happy with the way the event went. There were a wide variety of students who visited the booth. Some were...
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    DOSKEY Features

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    Maybe I'm the last person on the planet to learn about this, but I have new love for my command prompt. I live in multiple command windows all day long so I can't believe I haven't seen this before. I tested this on Vista and Win2k3. F2 + character: Prints...
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    Brain Teaser

    • 2 Comments
    During a recent Hope on the Slopes 24-hour ACS skiing fundraiser, I used my watch to track vertical feet throughout the day. The watch isn't perfectly calibrated, but it's reasonably accurate. The watch counts a run any time you make a vertical change...
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