media, windows comments edit

In both Vista and Windows 7, when running at full 1920 x 1080 resolution, I found that I would occasionally see a one or two pixel “line” along the right side of my TV when playing video. It looked like some sort of artifact left from the menu I was just using to select the video, but I couldn’t tell. I started down the road of trying to figure out if I needed to tweak some overscan setting or something when I posted to The Green Button forums to see if anyone else saw this.

Turns out there’s a hotfix for this specific issue.

KB 974324: “Black and white pixels unexpectedly appear on the right side of the screen when you run Windows Media Center in full-screen mode in Windows 7 or in Windows Vista.”

Downloaded and installed the hotfix, problem solved. If you’re seeing this problem, grab the hotfix.

gists, net, vs, csharp comments edit

A long time ago I posted a little sample showing how to get context menus working with your DXCore plugin. As part of a new plugin I’m working on, I wanted to get an icon to show up in the context menu next to my entry in the menu, something like the icon you see for the Refactor! menu.

It’s possible, but it’s not really documented, so here’s what you do.

First, make sure you’re working with a DevExpress.CodeRush.Menus.IMenuButton. This is the type of thing you can click on and have something happen, as opposed to a DevExpress.CodeRush.Menus.IMenuPopup which is what allows you to have nested menus (like if you hover over it another context menu will fly out). The IMenuButton can have an icon, the IMenuPopup can’t.

Now make two 32 x 32 bitmap images. The first is going to be the icon you want to display. The second is the transparency mask so the menu knows what to show and what to hide. The color image will look like this:

Color version of the button.

Note that in your transparency mask, black pixels are the parts of the image I want shown and the white pixels are parts you want to be transparent.

To make it easy, I used the Visual Studio icon editor. You could do this in your favorite paint program or whatever, but I’m lazy. This has the added benefit of embedding the icons as resources (which, again, you could do after creating these in a paint program).

Once you have your icon and your transparency mask, you can create your button, set the style to show both the icon and the caption (text), then call SetFace()` to set the “Face” property to be the color icon and the “Mask” to be the transparency mask. It’ll look something like this:

MenuBar editorContextMenu = DevExpress.CodeRush.VSCore.Manager.Menus.Bars[VsCommonBar.EditorContext];
var contextMenuButton = editorContextMenu.AddButton();
contextMenuButton.Style = ButtonStyle.IconAndCaption;
  Properties.Resources.ContextButtonIcon.ToBitmap(),     Properties.Resources.ContextButtonIconMask.ToBitmap());
  // ...and set other properties, too:
  // * Caption
  // * Enabled
  // * Click event handler
  // * etc.

Note the “ToBitmap()” call I have there - that’s because the “Face” and “Mask” properties take bitmaps but I used the icon editor so the format needs to be transformed into a bitmap from an icon. If you embed a bitmap directly, you won’t have to do anything additional.

Once you have that, your button should have the proper icon with transparency in the context menu. Done!

UPDATE 3/4/2010: Rather than setting “Face” and “Mask” separately, use the “SetFace” method. Setting the properties manually works in VS2008 but fails in VS2010; using “SetFace” works in both.

media, windows comments edit

In researching potential video formats for switching my DVD library from VIDEO_TS to something else (due to file access time issues) I found I had real trouble locating the list of audio and video formats that Windows 7 supports out of the box. The provided “supported formats” page really isn’t technical enough.

While I haven’t determined which video format to move my library to, I did get a response to my question about this on the forums. Here’s the info from there, for your convenience:

Format Name File Extensions Container Video Decoders Audio Decoders
MPEG-4 .mp4 (A, V, A+V), .m4a (A), .mov ISO MPEG-4, AVI H.264, MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile (ASP) and Simple Profile (SP) AAC, MP3
3GPP/3GPP2 .3gp, .3g2 (A, V, A+V) 3GP H.264, MPEG-4 Simple Profile (SP) AAC
AAC .aac (A) ADTS   AAC
ASP in AVI (Compatible with DivX 4-6 video, Xvid and 3ivx) .avi (V, A+V) AVI MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile (ASP) MP3, MS ADPCM
AVCHD .m2t, m2ts, .mts (A, V, A+V) MPEG-2 Transport Stream (TS) H.264 Dolby Digital, LPCM
HDV .m2t, m2ts, .mts (A, V, A+V) MPEG-2 Transport Stream (TS) MPEG-2 (Layer 2) MPEG-1 L2

Or, split/arranged a different way:

Category Supported Types
Video Decoders H.264/AVC Baseline, Main and High Profiles (new in Windows 7); MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile (new in Windows 7) besides Simple Profile; Subset of H.263 that overlaps with MPEG-4 SP; Motion JPEG (new in Windows 7); WMV variants including VC1 and WMV Screen; MPEG-1 and -2; DV
Audio Decoders AAC, HE-AAC, HE-AAC v2 (new in Windows 7); Dolby Digital Plus (new in Windows 7) besides Dolby Digital/AC-3; WMA family of music decoders and speech decoders; MP3; MPEG-1 and -2
Image Decoders HD Photo (JPEG-XR); JPEG; PNG; BMP; TIFF; GIF; ICO (Icon Format)
Containers MP4 and its close cousins MOV, 3GP, M4A (new in Windows 7); Media Center’s WTV (new in Win7 and Media Center TV Pack) and DVR-MS; MPEG-2 Transport Streams and its cousin AVCHD; MPEG-1 and -2 Program Streams; AVI, WAV; ASF; DVD; ADTS

media, windows comments edit

UPDATE 11/4/2009: I got some feedback on this process from Raxco (PerfectDisk) Support. They say:

The update process is as follows:

  • While connected to your WHS and notified than an update to PD is available, choose Install
  • When notified that the Console is open and prompted to Retry, Ignore or Cancel, choose Ignore
  • When update has finished and prompted to reboot your WHS, reboot
  • Upon reboot of your WHS, PD should be updated.

Note that if you run PD and click on Product Resources, PD shows that it has been updated to new build. If you look in the add-ins, it still says that old PD build is installed. This is due to the way that the add-in manager is looking to see what is installed/available - it is not looking in the “normal” locations to determine what is actually installed - it is using a different set of registry keys. Also note that if you have HP WHS, after updating to a new build of PD, the Network Critical tab displaying PD update as available even though it is already installed. This is something specific to HP WHS and we are currently waiting to hear from HP on what exactly they are checking/doing.

I’m not so sure I like that there are “expected problems” remaining after this upgrade process. Doing it my way, you get the upgrade, the version reads correctly, and there’s no remaining WHS “Network Critical” warning. For reference, the original entry I wrote and the process I followed for upgrade is here…

I’ve got PerfectDisk for Windows Home Server installed and I generally like it but the installation procedure is a little weird.

A fresh install goes like this:

  1. Download the full installation package for PerfectDisk to your client computer.
  2. Install PerfectDisk on your client computer.
  3. As part of the installation, a folder will be created where the PerfectDisk add-in for Windows Home Server will be placed. The location is typically something like: C:\Program Files\Raxco\PerfectDisk10Install\PerfectDisk10_Home_Server\PerfectDisk_x86.msi
  4. Drop the PerfectDisk_x86.msi file into the \\server\software\add-ins folder on your Windows Home Server.
  5. Open the Windows Home Server console, go to the “Settings” tab, and under “Add-Ins” select to install the PerfectDisk add-in.

The last few steps - dropping the installer in the “add-ins” folder, opening the WHS console, and installing add-in - is pretty standard WHS stuff. The weird bit is that you can’t just get the WHS add-in as a direct download - you have to install on a client computer.

Recently I found there was an upgrade to PerfectDisk and the upgrade process isn’t documented. This is what the process is from what I can tell, after some panicking and manually uninstalling things.

PerfectDisk has a feature to “check for updates” from within the Windows Home Server console. It’s OK to use the “check for updates” feature to see if there’s an update, but do not install the update from there.

First, trying that will fail because the Windows Home Server console is open (Catch-22, eh?). Second, if you try to do the update from Windows Home Server via Terminal Services, it doesn’t quite do what you expect. I think the engine gets updated, but the console add-in doesn’t or something. Stuff gets messed up. Just don’t do it.

Instead, it appears that this is the proper sequence of events for an upgrade:

  1. Go to the PerfectDisk site and re-download the full [updated] installer for the client computer.
  2. Install the new version on your client computer. This will update the installer files in the C:\Program Files\Raxco\PerfectDisk10Install\PerfectDisk10_Home_Server folder as well.
  3. Log into the WHS console and uninstall the PerfectDisk add-in. You’ll need to restart the WHS console and possibly reboot the WHS after this.
  4. Copy the new add-in from the C:\Program Files\Raxco\PerfectDisk10Install\PerfectDisk10_Home_Server folder into the \\server\software\add-ins folder on your server. You may want to keep a backup copy of the old version of the add-in somewhere before you overwrite it with the new version. Don’t put two copies of the add-in in the server’s “add-ins” folder, though.
  5. Log into the WHS console and install the new version of the PerfectDisk add-in. It will tell you to restart the WHS console. Do that.
  6. On restarting the WHS console, go to the PerfectDisk add-in and re-enter your product key.

You’ll notice that this is pretty close to what a fresh install looks like. You’d be correct. The in-place upgrade for PerfectDisk doesn’t work for WHS.

This is all, unfortunately, documented nowhere on the PerfectDisk site. I have submitted a ticket to their support people about this. In the meantime, I figured out a bunch of things you shouldn’t do to upgrade the add-in.

Things you should NOT do:

  • Do not try to install the PerfectDisk update on your WHS through the “Check for Updates” feature. This ends you up with a mismatched add-in version and engine version and somehow corrupts the way the add-in is registered with the WHS console.
    • Don’t do it from the WHS console.
    • Don’t do it from a Terminal Service session to the WHS.
  • Do not update your client computer’s PerfectDisk install through the “Check for Updates” feature. That will update your client computer just fine, but it won’t update the installers so you won’t get the updated WHS add-in.
  • Do not uninstall PerfectDisk on your WHS through Add/Remove Programs. I didn’t do this, but it will end up corrupting the way the add-in is registered with the WHS console. Use the WHS console to remove PerfectDisk.

net comments edit

The quick version:

If you’re writing a Visual Studio add-in, a DXCore add-in, or anything else where the debug environment is Visual Studio itself, be careful not to load the add-in project in the Visual Studio instance you’re debugging. You’ll get some weird errors.

This is a total edge case but it had me baffled for a while.

I’m working on a DXCore plugin that talks to a web service. It takes some selected code and sends it to a web service to do something with. Since you need code to work with, the easiest way to debug it was to:

  1. Hit F5 to start another Visual Studio environment with the add-in installed.
  2. Go to File -> Recent Projects and grab the first one in the list - the add-in project.
  3. Test out the plugin.

At one point I made a call to the web service using a complex type (not a string or integer, but a data transfer object) like this:

ComplexObject response = serviceProxy.DoAnOperation(param1, param2);

…where param1 is an input object of type ComplexObject. Doing that I got a weird XmlSerializationException:

[A]CR_PluginName.WebServiceNamespace.ComplexObject cannot be cast to [B]CR_PluginName.WebServiceNamespace.ComplexObject. Type A originates from 'CR_PluginName, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null' in the context 'LoadFrom' at location 'C:\Documents and Settings\tillig\My Documents\DevExpress\IDE Tools\Community\PlugIns\CR_PluginName.dll'. Type B originates from 'CR_PluginName, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null' in the context 'LoadNeither' at location 'C:\Documents and Settings\tillig\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\ProjectAssemblies\wi3h64z601\CR_PluginName.dll'.


The key was in the second location: “…\ProjectAssemblies\…” The object I was sending to the web service was defined in the plugin assembly… but it was trying to deserialize the response using the temporary assembly that the debug instance of Visual Studio had compiled in the background.

The solution ends up being “don’t do that.” Opening up a different solution, I no longer had issues debugging my web service calls and the plugin worked fine.

  1. Hit F5 to start another Visual Studio environment with the add-in installed.
  2. Go to File -> Open Project… and find some other project that is not the add-in project.
  3. Test out the plugin.