John Pollard's Technical Blog

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  • Blog Post: Changing the type of a Visual Studio project

    The reason I’m blogging about this is that I was trying to do this the other day and I struggled to find the relevant information from ALL of the major search engines – including the one I work on . Now it could be that I was using the wrong search terms, but I wanted to capture the solution just in...
  • Blog Post: Fixing an issue with Windows Live Toolbar and Favorites Sync

    I’ve always used the Windows Live Toolbar to sync favorites across my multiple machines, so it was a bit disappointing when the previous beta removed that functionality with the demise of http://favorites.live.com That meant I was pleased to see the service had been added to the latest beta of the toolbar...
  • Blog Post: Super-fast MSDN

    I got this tip in the pub on Friday from my friend Bobby who works on the MSDN team. He told me he’d worked on implementing a low bandwidth version of the site, which is simpler and much, much faster than usual view. I’d never heard of this, but a quick Live Search found a few relevant blog posts...
  • Blog Post: ASP.Net Compilation Tool - do you want to allow updates without redeploying?

    We found an interesting issue today regarding our use of pre-compiled ASP.Net websites that I thought I would share, as we learnt something that we didn’t know before. In our particular setup (for reasons too complicated to go into here), we have an ASP.Net website that: We want to pre-compile...
  • Blog Post: Using a parameter in a SELECT TOP statement in SQL

    As usual, this may well be common knowledge but I found this useful. In a stored procedure we were passing in a parameter (say @maxRows) which we wanted to use to dynamically limit the number of rows returned by the query. For ages we couldn't find a way to do this without building up the SQL in a string...
  • Blog Post: debugger command in JavaScript

    I don't do much client-side JavaScript programming, and I've always had intermittent issues when trying to attach a Visual Studio debugger to a instance of IE when I'm trying to figure out what's going on. However in August 2007's MSDN Magazine (doesn't seem to be available online yet - page 52 in...
  • Blog Post: SQL Parameters and Types

    I found the following page interesting when having issues setting a value in a SqlParameter constructor. From http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/0881fz2y.aspx : When you specify an Object in the value parameter, the SqlDbType is inferred from the Microsoft .NET Framework type of the Object...
  • Blog Post: Performance Counters Fun

    Recently had some issues setting up some custom perf counters to install and run from an ASP.Net page that I thought I'd share. We began by using the information in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555129 which states: "It turns out that the permission set required to update performance counters...
  • Blog Post: CTRL + Click opens new tab in IE7

    Is this a well known trick and I'm just completely out of touch? Probably, but I was very excited when I found out that holding down CTRL when clicking a link in IE7 will open the link in a new tab. To think all this time I was using right click and then "Open In New Tab". I guess my productivity...
  • Blog Post: Finding currently installed MSIs

    I was struggling to install some new software (the superb new Live Local 3D view - I had an early internal beta already installed) and then remembered a handy tip. To find all currently installed MSIs, use the (hidden) folder c:\windows\ Installer . It gives you a nice browseable view of the current...
  • Blog Post: Running Visual Studio Unit Tests in NUnit GUI

    As I've posted before, I really don't like the Visual Studio interface for running unit tests. This is mainly because it's not as clean (no hierarchy tree or big green line!), makes a copy of the files every time a test is run and is pretty slow (probably because of the file copies). However I was...
  • Blog Post: Starting off a new process

    Reasonably often I find myself writing a mini-test harness when I want to run a console application and time how long it takes. I always end up looking back through old code to remember how to do it, so this makes it very suitable for posting here. It's not particularly revealing or complicated code...
  • Blog Post: Cool tip when using Windows Live Local

    I'm now working on the Windows Live Expo team, which means: I might have some more interesting things to post on here :-) The focus of this blog may change a little We shipped our first public beta yesterday (US only for posting at the moment, but open to all to view), so we can start talking...
  • Blog Post: Rebooting a web server remotely using iisreset

    This one surprised me a lot when we found it. You can reboot a computer that is running IIS remotely by running the command: iisreset [computerName] /reboot It's been very useful today when we've been patching a whole rack of servers with security patches, but could be very dangerous in the wrong...
  • Blog Post: Copying files needed for Visual Studio 2005 Unit Tests

    I'm not 100% convinced that the unit test framework in VS2005 is a step forward from using NUnit. I don't like the interface (in a shallow way I really like the progress bar of NUnit, and the feeling of well-being it gives when it goes green!), and I really hate the way it creates a new directory...
  • Blog Post: Delete and return keys not working in Visual Studio 2005

    I had some strange issues on my laptop with Visual Studio 2005 - the delete and return keys didn't work, which made it somewhat tricky to write code. I even resorted to copy and pasting a new line when writing code, which as you can imagine wasn't very productive. After much investigation, I solved...
  • Blog Post: Windows ISA Client 2004 has a browser tab!

    I'd never seen it before, and it turns out hardly anyone else in our team had either so I thought it was worth sharing. I was having problems accessing a particular resource on our internal network for which I had to use a particular proxy server. I set the proxy in the manually set ISA server and...
  • Blog Post: Using SelectSingleNode (or SelectNodes) on XML where the default namespace has been set

    I've been stumped by this one at least two times over the last couple of years, so I thought it was a good candidate to be written up here. I was trying to select a node from some standard XHTML where the default namespace was set. In otherwords the XHTML was something like: <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC...
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