Sunday, December 16, 2007

Package This

If you find yourself in the situation that you need offline access to the MSDN and/or TechNet Library, and the MSDN Library cd's are not an option, take a look at Package This. This is a neat little tool which connects to the Library API and lets you specify which articles you need to download from the library of your choosing. After downloading you can export the whole package to a Microsoft Helpfile (*.chm/*.hxs) to take with you on the road.

There is also a pleasant personal experience attached to the tool. The first version of the tool could only be used with the MSDN Library. As I'm using both, I wondered if it could connect to the TechNet Library as well. So I left a comment on Codeplex asking if this would be possible. And within a day I got a reply from Larry Jordan from Microsoft:

Hi there,

I spoke with Erik and he said...
<<
Right now it's a change to two lines of code to use TechNet instead of MSDN. But it would be better to have a menu item to choose between the two libraries and save that preference.
I'll see if I can get it up there today.
>>
So we will post it to the codeplex project on how to do it. TechNet and MSDN libraries are build on the same infrastructure.

Larryj

And only a few days later, version 1.1 came out which added support for the TechNet Library...

That was so cool! Thanks guys.

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Boosting your VM Server

If you've ever worked with Virtual Machines (VM) hosted on a VM Server, you might have come across the following situation where the VM itself has not been used for some time and is running very low on resources allocated to the VM. This is noticeable from the initial sluggishness of the VM, while it is getting more CPU cycles and Memory allocated from the VM Server. This process repeats itself until the VM isn't running out of resources anymore, or if the limits imposed on it are reached. I've witnessed some occasions where the server would initially cause timeouts or other MOSS errors because it wasn't running on full throttle yet.

You can use several tricks to get more resources from the VM Server before you start working on the VM:

  1. Open a Remote Desktop session to the VM.
    While building the desktop session, the VM needs more resources. This will boost the resource allocation from 4 MHz CPU cycles and 20 MB Memory used to, say, 400 MHz CPU and 500 MB allocated memory, which is not bad.
  2. A reboot of the VM.
    This will get you even more resources. Needless to say, this can only be used on VM's which aren't serving customers.
  3. 100.000!
    If you're working with a Remote Desktop session, you can also just start Calculator, switch to Scientific Mode (View > Scientific) and let the VM calculate the factorial of 100.000 (or 100,000 if you're from the US). Depending on the VM and VM Server, this will take under a minute, during which the CPU Usage will be 100%. This causes the VM Server to allocate more CPU cycles to the VM, although the memory usage won't be as high as the first two tricks.

You can use all kinds of actions besides these tricks to get more resources, but these will do the trick every time.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

TED | Inspired talks by the world's greatest thinkers and doers

If you're not familiar with TED, here are two Webcasts from the site. I especially recommend the interview with Richard Branson. He seems a very happy and down to earth person and not at all someone what you'd expect a captain of industry to be like. The second one is an 8 minute talk about self aware robotics Cornell University, which takes an unconventional approach to robotics.

Richard Branson: Life at 30,000 feet

TED | Talks | Hod Lipson: Robots that are "self-aware" (video)

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

System Center Configuration Manager Beta Exam - Santos Martinez

...and since I'm on a roll anyway, another Beta exam invitation. Who wants to take a shot at it? A VHD is available.

System Center Configuration Manager Beta Exam - Santos Martinez

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"So, a booth babe and a geek walk in to a bar..." : Firecracker Disco: WS2008 Betas

Trika has announced the availability of the three Windows Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist beta exams:

The betas are open now until December 21.

"So, a booth babe and a geek walk in to a bar..." : Firecracker Disco: WS2008 Betas

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