Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Visual Studio 2012 Crashes When Attaching to Process or When Opening Solution

This is a rant. For the solution skip to the next section
So yeah... I don't know about you all out there in dev land, but I have been running into non-stop issues with Visual Studio 2012... Frankly I like Visual Studio 2010 better because it works and is easier to use in my opinion. I keep running into really ugly problems with Visual Studio 2012 that are show stopping problems; as in I cannot get work done. These problems include working with WPF applications, sometimes the IDE just doesn't feel like running the project... it just sits there no matter how many times you press the play button... gee... thanks? 

The Problem
Today's problems are (starting to sound like a 95' Ford) that the IDE crashes with the above screen shot when... 
  • ...I attach to process for IIS
  • the play button to launch IISExpress
  • ...(and) ultimately starts crashing outright when starting up the IDE
There is already a ticket open for Microsoft support desk, you can view it here.

The Work Around (No Fix Yet)
As many things with Visual Studio... when nothing makes sense anymore START OVER. So by this time you probably have restarted your computer, reset IIS and done all kinds of other stuff you didn't want to do. In my experience of working with visual studio since Visual Studio 2003 moving forward, I have learned one important lesson: when your solution has gone renegade or wonky - DELETE IT.
  1. Close your solution if it is still open 
  2. So before you delete your solution, you can try to delete your solution's suo file. The suo file is hidden, so you need to enable the visibility of hidden files.
  3. If that didn't work, then create a brand new solution file.
I tried both options and both have worked for me.

Dear Microsoft - IE10 is a disappoinment for developers (I am still on IE9 because of the bugs in IE10) and Visual Studio 2012 half works. Please fix the tools I have to use every day. Thank you. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dell Latitude E6400, Topaz Signature Pad and Broadcom USH Drivers

Dell is special... Latitudes are not good development machines, they are business grade, but somehow organizations think that cheap laptops are okay for developers to use. Anyhow, I have been working with a Topaz Signature Pad TL-460-HSB and I have been having a horrible time doing so. My laptop just wouldn't recognize the signature pad. I found a solution and I am going to share it.

You plug in your Signature Pad and the drivers won't install, you see an error when you look in your device manager that reads "Broadcom USH" with a caution sign next to it. Congratulations you got a dell!

The Fix
The fix to this problem came from this forum post:
  1. Go to this link:
  2. Download this file: Dell_ControlPoint-Security-D_A18_R269916.exe (Figure 1) 
  3. Run the installer 
  4. At one point during the installation you will be prompted that what you are installing is old - ignore this because it really doesn't matter and the link provided is their main support link. I tried to find the latest driver and couldn't - thanks dell! (Figure 2). 
  5. For your installation - I am going based on memory now (writing this how to much later) - I remember only installing the control point software. Don't bother installing anything else. In other words uncheck all other option except for control point when prompted. 
  6. Finish installing 
  7. Restart if necessary
Figure 1 - The file you are downloading

Figure 2 - Less than helpful warning
Rant you can Skip
I hate dell because of stupid problems like this. Dell always has their own set of special problems per product, they have no uniformity and generally the cheap piece of crap you just bought is exactly that - a cheap piece of crap. If you are looking for a reliable and decent machine do yourself a favor and get a Lenovo.


Seagate DiscWizard Acronis True Image Imaging Software Failure

I have used the Seagate DiscWizard Acronis True Image imaging software before, and I rather like it. However it failed for me on bootup recently from both Hiren's BootCD and from Falcon Four's Ultimate Boot CD - this of course I want to clearly point out is not the fault of the disks, they just provide the software all in one neat little package. I have a feeling the imaging software is no longer a viable option as it is not updated enough to handle the latest mother board chipsets or something to that effect. Therefore the next option was to look for a different free alternative.

Error Messages
These are the error messages I received while trying to run DiscWizard:

  • acronis: cannot open module 'st': no such file or directory
  • acronis: insmod: error inserting '/lib/modules/floppy.ko': -1 No such device: No such device
After getting the errors the disk would spin down and not spin back up again... I started searching for why and I couldn't find a better explanation than: "You need to download the latest software". Okay, well I did, just not a new version of DiscWizard which I don't think is exactly free.

Clone your drive with: EaseUS Disk Copy 2.3.1
This was very easy to install and use. My favorite thing about it is it let me install the software to a USB drive as a bootable USB drive. No disk to burn! Fantastic. Running the software was simple and very straight forward. Choose your source disk and choose your destination disk. Done.

After I cloned my smaller drive to a larger drive, I had unallocated space. Apparently windows doesn't let you increase/extend the size of your system/boot drive for some reason I am not interested in understanding. Frankly it should be an option because other software can do it - why can't windows?

Extending your System Drive with: Partition Wizard 8
I would have recommended EaseUS's Partition Manager, but it kept trying to install all kinds of other software on my system except the partition manager. That gets very annoying after a few screens, so I canceled the installer. I found Partition Wizard 8 which does not require a boot CD and you can just run it straight from windows. Once again very straight forward. Select your partition, right click for context menu, select extend, move the slider bar all the way to the right, press OK, press Apply and you are pretty much done.

Thank you to all of the freeware that's out there. Disk cloning and changing the expanse of a volume is really not a day to day thing - so not having to pay for software for a one time deal if very nice.