2009 Retrospective

General Ramblings comments edit

I just finished upgrading the last of our computers at home to Windows 7 and now that I have Windows Live Writer installed I figured I’d do my yearly retrospective - see what’s gone on this year and recap.

In January I found that they were ending Google Notebook so I had to move all of my notes over to PBworks. That was sort of painful, but I’m really enjoying PBworks now and I have a ton of stuff in there. I also released version 2.2.1.0 of CR_Documentor, a bug fix release.

In February I showed you how to upgrade your Windows Home Server capacity with an eSATA port replicator and upgraded my main TV to a 52” Samsung LN52A750 (still great, and still recommended).

March was pretty eventful. I upgraded my blog to Subtest 2.1.0.5. I reflected a bit on why it’s a good idea to keep a cool head in a tough situation. I ran into some User Account Control issues in Windows Server 2008 and wrote about some power toys that will help you out with that as well as providing my own Visual Studio related elevation toy. I went to MIX09 and blogged all three days (1, 2, 3). My MIX trip then spun off some travel luggage recommendations.

At the beginning of April I found that most of my network configuration problems were due to Verizon updating my FiOS router automatically, requiring me to restore my router to factory defaults more than once since then. I found that an HDMI switchbox can help solve issues where your TV loses the HDMI signal when your computer goes to sleep. Jenn and I took a three-day vacation to Vegas, which is always a good time. I released version 2.3.0.1 of CR_Documentor and put out a solicitation for input (with not much response, to be honest). I wrote about some challenges I’ve faced while trying to write multi-tenant ASP.NET apps. I also wrote about some challenges I faced with my Blackberry due to the Facebook application - if you’re having trouble synchronizing, check your default services.

May found me offering some tips on proper use for bullet lists and finishing off the ripping of all of my DVDs. (Did you know an average DVD is 6.7GB?) I wrote a script to automatically set the album artist on your iTunes tracks. I reviewed ASP.NET 3.5 Enterprise Application Development with Visual Studio 2008. I explained how to get iTunes music playing in Windows Media Center, though Windows 7 fixes a lot of the issues there. Plus I showed you how to use the MSBuild engine in your programs and take advantage of the file finding functionality in there.

June started out where I showed you how to use Typemock Isolator to skip generic constructors. I got an HD camcorder and struggled with the file formats. I reflected a bit on blogs that rip off content and publish it as their own. I talked about defragmenting your Windows Home Server drives, then I went to see the B-52s in concert. June ended on a huge down note, though, as my Grandma Jeanne passed away at 86.

July started out with a nifty trick - I showed how to change Windows Service runtime behavior using Typemock Isolator. I also showed you how to get the Windows OS version from inside MSBuild. I talked about the SQL Server installer constantly requiring a reboot (which always seems to be the case for me) and how to fix it. I updated my custom NAnt tasks to .NET 2.0. On a personal note, my birthday was awesome and I went to see Tears for Fears in concert. The biggest thing in July, though, was Jenn and I running our own fireworks shoot in Sandy. Scary and exhilarating.

August started out brilliantly with one of our famous 24 marathons. I discovered the coolness that is Asset UPnP on Windows Home Server and showed you how to back Windows Home Server up to MozyHome. I showed you how to write Firefox extensions using Visual Studio and I even released one of my own - Firefox NTLMAuth, a plugin to help you with Windows pass-through authentication in Firefox.

Jenn and I started September with a trip to Victoria, BC, Canada - good times. I found a little gotcha when using the Windows Vista DVD burner and it tells you there aren’t any files to burn. I updated my iTunes metadata copying program for the latest iTunes. I reviewed Professional ASP.NET MVC 1.0. Jenn and I went to see The Killers in concert (awesome!). I posted a couple of ASP.NET AJAX tips - using ASP.NET AJAX String.format() in jQuery validation and parsing currency values. Finally, I created a quick DXCore plugin that helps other plugin writers explore contexts.

In October I started out with another jQuery/ASP.NET AJAX tip - converting relative to absolute paths. I did a one-year retrospective with my Windows Home Server. I discovered the hugest gotcha with the “COMPLUS_Version” environment variable and the .NET runtime - I wish that was more clearly documented. And, finally, this year we had 243 trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

In November I had to manually uninstall a Windows Home Server add-in and showed how to upgrade PerfectDisk for Windows Home Server. I ran into a weird edge case with XML serialization while debugging a Visual Studio add-in. I did some work on my Media Center and figured out the Windows 7 supported media formats, how to fix that one-pixel line in Windows Media Center playback, and talked a bit about metadata and artist names on music files. I showed how to create icons for your context menu items in DXCore and how to put your log4net.config outside your app.config/web.config file. November ended, as it always does, with my least favorite holiday ever.

In December I updated my Subtext database maintenance page for Subtext 2.1.0.5, but I did two other programming things that I was more proud of: I released a DXCore plugin, CR_CodeTweet, that lets you tweet code snippets from inside Visual Studio; and I released a Windows Live Writer plugin that lets you upload images to ImageShack. As part of that ImageShack upload plugin, I figured out how to post multipart/form-data using .NET WebRequest.

Overall, the year was decent, but not great. Like everyone else, we’ve had our challenges with the economy. There have been a couple of fairly difficult personal issues to face as well. On the bright side, Jenn and I are both healthy, and we’ve got a nice place to live, we both have jobs, and we’re otherwise doing well, so I can’t say we’re in a bad spot. I’ll be glad to see 2009 past and I look forward to seeing what 2010 holds.

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