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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    Getting Started with Power Query for Excel

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    Power Query v1 launched a few months ago. Power Query is part of the Microsoft Power BI suite. If you’re interested in getting started with Power Query, here are some helpful resources: Help page – This includes helpful topics such as the Introduction...
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    Ode to Data Explorer

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    To the tune of The Candy Man by Sammy Davis Jr. Who can talk to SQL, sprinkle with Hadoop Cover it with Sharepoint and a miracle or two Data Explorer , oh Data Explorer can Data Explorer can causes it mixes it with love and makes your data taste good...
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    TFS Work In Progress Shelvesets

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    By now you all know that you should save your progress often. This batch file will quickly create a TFS shelveset with all your current changes. The shelveset will be named with the current date and time. You can specify an optional parameter which will...
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    Windows Server 2008 R2 and Desktop Gadgets

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    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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    Outlook Rules

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    I live in Microsoft Outlook at work and at home. At home I can just let everything dump into my inbox and keep up with it, but that doesn’t work for the hundreds (or thousands?) of emails I get each day at work. There are lots of theories about how to...
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    Traffic Analysis with Microsoft Data Explorer

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    For the past couple months, I’ve been running a simple app on my desktop which records the estimated length of my commute using Bing Maps Traffic. The output is stored in a CSV file. The CSV file looks like this: 12/1/2011,5:07 PM,HomeToWork,22:26 12...
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    Fantasy NASCAR + Microsoft Data Explorer

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    As a member of the Data Explorer team and a fan of NASCAR, it was only natural (or not?) that I would combine the two. Besides, it’s fun to file bugs to our dev team who overwhelming choose soccer as their favorite sport. Even as I write this I can hear...
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    How to Override a WP7 App Submission

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    I love writing apps for Windows Phone, and I’ve devoted quite a lot of time to my most popular one, CascadeSkier . A few times along the way, I’ve discovered a major bug AFTER submitting my application for marketplace testing. In both cases, these were...
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    Bug Tales: WP7 Secondary Live Tiles

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    In my spare time, I have written quite a few Windows Phone applications. By far the best and most popular one is CascadeSkier . In a recent update, I switched from pushing out live tiles from a centralized server to having the phone generate it’s own...
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    Removing Errors In Data Explorer

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    If you step through my previous post about Netflix + Rotten Tomatoes and try to recreate it, you might notice a couple things that I skipped. In my particular queue, I have some TV series. Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t return any search results. This results...
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    Using Data Explorer to Combine Netflix and Rotten Tomatoes

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    I recently reactivated my Netflix subscription after having it on hold for a few months. I had a lot of movies built up in the queue and I was wondering which ones I should watch first. Netflix does offer recommendations based on what I’ve seen before...
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    Do Bicyclists Like Yogurt?

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    It's so much fun to have material like these videos going out for our product! Here’s another new one to check out. Various other team members have also been doing some blogging. I’d specifically recommend that you check out Tim’s blog . He has been releasing...
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    New “Data Explorer” Video

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    Our team has released another video! Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before you can actually get your hands on some real bits. We’re cranking away on a couple more great features that we want to get into that first release. Don’t forget to check...
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    Microsoft Codename “Data Explorer” Announced

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    I’m happy to announce that the project I’ve been working on is finally public! Technically the actual bits are not public yet, but the fact that we exist is no longer a secret! Here’s my elevator pitch: This product allows you to easily pull in lots of...
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    Ambiguous Morse Solver

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    Decoding Morse Code when there are character delimiters is fairly trivial. When you don’t know where each character begins in the string, it becomes a little more difficult. You can solve it with recursion without too much trouble, but you can also solve...
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    Play Music After Build

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    Building our product can take 10-20 minutes depending on how much of the tree you have selected. In that time my mind will wander to Outlook emails and other tasks and I’ll forget to head back to my command window when the build is done. I now have the...
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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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    PDC Videos

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    Here are some videos of the PDC sessions related to my project. The first one, specifically, is devoted to my immediate team’s work. SQL Server Modeling (nee “Oslo”) Microsoft Project Code Name “M”: The Data and Modeling Language Building Data-Driven...
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    SQL Server Modeling November 09 CTP

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    The latest CTP from my team is now public on the web! Here are a few of the “M” language updates you’ll find in these bits: The ability to reference labeled entity instances in expressions and across compilation episodes. Entities and collections now...
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    MSDN Data DevCenter

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    Members of my group have been hard at work getting a new MSDN Data DevCenter up and running at http://msdn.com/data . This is a merger of a few other DevCenters to provide a unified look at developing with Microsoft’s data platform. Keep your eyes open...
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    Logs Named By Current DateTime

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    I have a scheduled task and I’d like to save logs from the output. After some quick batch file work, I came up with this. @echo off setlocal for /f "tokens=2" %%A in ('date /t') DO @(set MyDate=%%A) set MyDate=%MyDate:/=-% set MyTime=%TIME:...
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    Taskbar Pinned Shortcuts Location

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    Ever wondered where those pinned shortcuts are stored in Win7? %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar
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    Restrict Your RAM

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    I recently had a stress test bug assigned to me that I couldn’t repro on my machine with 6GB of memory. I could have opened the box and physically pulled out a couple sticks, but what fun is that? You can actually restrict the amount of RAM right from...
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    Oslo May 2009 CTP Available

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    The May 2009 "Oslo" CTP is available on the Oslo Developer Center ! Shawn Wildermuth has done a nice job of summarizing the changes to the M language since the January CTP. Also check out Jeff Pinkston's (aka "Pinky") blog for some existing posts on the...
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    Check Binary Signing

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    I’ve recently been doing a lot of work around signed and unsigned assemblies. Someone passed along this great command to me which will recursively check whether or not each assembly at and below the current directory is signed. for /r %i in (*.exe *.dll...
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