Sam Gentile::Longhorn

An INETA Speaker and Microsoft Solutions Architect MVP Looks at Windows Vista, Indigo and WinFX from a Development Experience

August 2005 - Posts

  • Windows Vista beta testers get a peek at StyleVista

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    Stardock has released the beta of a new free program called StyleVista to the Windows Vista beta group. StyleVista is a program that allows Windows Vista users to change the color and opacity of the new "Aero Glass" user interface.

    By default, both active and inactive windows in Windows Vista are set to being a "clear glass" look for the title bars, borders, and toolbar client area. With StyleVista, users can set the opacity and color for both the active and inactive state individually.

    Download: StyleVista beta 0.1

  • Nine Days with Windows Vista on Main Laptop

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    Nine days ago, I installed Windows Vista on my main laptop. Thus far, I am extremely impressed. The time that the team took out to shore up the Fundamentals clearly shows. I have not had a single OS crash or program crash yet. Other than the June Yukon CTP, I have not found a single program yet that doesn't install and work as it did before. Omea Pro is providing 300+ blog feeds although the IE 7 RSS support is quite cool and useful for single blogs. Of special significance, is I doing full development on the machine with NUnit 2.2, CruiseControl, VS.NET, Zanebug on the 1.1 front with no issues. On the Whidbey front, I am even using a future unreleased Whidbey build (no not July) and again no problems. The really cool thing is that on this native machine, Vista is already clearly faster than XP and 2K3. So nine days in and all's good.
  • Install Order for Avalon and WinFX Development

    Cross-posted from Longhorn BlogOk, through a lot of trial and error, I found that their are errors with the Avalon samples and broken integration with VS.NET with the Visual Studio Extensions for WinFX Beta 1.

    You must install in order:

    1. Windows Vista Beta 1
    2. WinFX Runtime Components Beta 1
    3. VS.NET Beta 2 (MUST be be Beta2!!, not July or June)
    4. WinFX SDK Beta 1
    5. Microsoft Visual Studio Extensions for WinFX Beta 1
    If you don't do it in this order, or if you have the old WinFX SDK, none of the Avalon project samples will load and none of the Avalon project types in VS will work.
  • I'm Baaack!

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    It's been a long time indeed since Feburary. I haven't been playing with Longhorn since then but I have been heavily involved with the Indigo SDR program the last 16 months or so as well as keeping up with everything at My Main Blog With the release of Windows Vista Beta 1, I am back in the swing of things and it made sense to put my Longhorn posts here.
  • The Power and Impact of Blogging

    Many people much more profound than me have written at length about the power of blogging and the big effects it has had on diminishing book sales and conference turnouts, and mainstream media. I am quite aware of that and the good mine has done for me (consulting gigs, jobs, MVP, INETA, etc.) and the .NET community in the 3 and 1/2 years it's been going. I want to say something and I am not sure if it's profound or not. Yesterday, I linked, in my New and Notable, to the utterly fantastic blog of Rob Caron, and I said, “There is so much great stuff in Rob Caron's New Team System Stuff - 2005-07/31 and Suggested Reading -2005-07-31 posts, that I suggest reading it all. I know I will!” Believe it or not, I printed it all out yesterday and spent the whole night reading it all and it really struck me that the quality of the VSTS and Agile bloggers and posts were so good that essentially I was getting a full education, that in the 90's I would have turned to a book or a conference for. There was so much fantastic VSTS stuff I read last night that a book could be assembled just from last night's posts! That struck me as profound. If you look at that trend and then the whole way that the relationship with Microsoft has changed due to the many bloggers, it's very profound. I can tell you, having had a relationship with Microsoft with 22 years, we all now have a level of access to designers, key players that we never, ever had. Then if you take the volumes of great information that they post, many people have questioned, what do I need a conference for?  For me, conferences are still important for that personal interaction and socializing with your peers but there's no question that there is a subset of Microsoft/.NET key bloggers you could read every day and be very educated and up to speed, as well as getting virtually everything that was discussed at conferences as well as materials. So what's the message? An investment in reading quality bloggers every day will increase your knowledge and make you a better Developer/Architect/Marketer, and also your own blog could do wonders for your career and exposure. Your thoughts?
  • Installed Windows Vista Beta 1 on Main Laptop

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    Those who know me well know that I can't stop playing with bleeding edge technology and that I get real fustrated when I can't get something to work. For the last week, I have been attempting to run Windows Vista in a huge VPC (1.2 GB of virtual RAM). I would get so fustrated as everything took forever - it would literally take 20-30 seconds for a window to come up and some things much longer. As the VirtualPC Blog says, “Windows Vista Beta 1 does not have drivers for our emulated video card, SCSI adapter and sound card.  The video and SCSI drivers are installed as part of the Virtual Machine Additions - however there is no way to get our sound card to work.” So aggainst all common wisdom, I installed Windows Vista on my main Toshiba Satellite P25-S609 with 2 GB online RAM and a NVIDIA GeForce FX G05200. Holy crap, what a difference!! Not only did it install flawlessly and works great, but its very responsive and lightening quick! I am actually able to do all my work with my regular apps with no penalities.

    I was able to get my sound card to work. I thought I had a problem with my NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 device driver but I installed the Supplemental Driver Pack and now I have the full NVIDIA driver with 1440x900! It also installed drivers for all my other devices that weren't picked up before. Loving it!

    I got VS.NET and the WinFX SDK installed but I could not get any version of Yukon to install. I couldn't get July VSTS to install on Vista either but as Rob notes it's untested-). So Beta 2 of VSTS client works for me together with the WinFX SDK + the Microsoft Visual Studio Extensions for WinFX Beta 1 which are neccessary for VS integration. The Monad shell works too as well as Office 2003.

  • TweakVista and Disabling Services

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    Via the almighty Mike G, I found out about the awesome TweakVista program and site. On the site, is a much better and more thorough guide to disabling services, than my haphazard method I tried, in Parts 1 and 2.
  • Yukon June Does Not Install on Vista Beta1?

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    As we all know, the June Yukon CTP is the required build for the July releases of Whidbey. So in order to do a Whidbey July install to do WinFX development on Vista, the setup program of Yukon fails the check for supported OS. Remember, that this WinFX Beta1 release supports Visual Studio 2005 Beta2 and the .NET Framework 2.0 beta 2.  There is also an updated WinFX SDK, including documentation, samples and tools available for this release. Ideas?
  • Struggling with the WinFX 'download' install - WinFX SDK ISO Image - Tirade

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    So, for two days, I have been struggling with the Microsoft® WinFX ™ Software Development Kit for Microsoft® Pre-Release Windows Operating System Code-Named "Longhorn", Beta 1 Web Setup. It was getting me quite pissed off as the initial download is only 977K and then it downloads and installs the rest over the .NET. The problem, like the Platform SDK, is that it really doesn't work. I don't know if the servers are overloaded or the whole thing is flawed but it trickles down and constantly quits. There is no auto-restart or download manager like MSDN downloads. It shouldn't take 3 days to download a damn SDK at T1 speeds and still not have it. Much to my relief, they have either added a full ISO install link today or I just noticed.

    Well, that's not much better. I broke down and installed GetRight Download Manager but Microsoft should fix this problem. While I'm at it, the whole Windows Genuine program is absolutely insane. Every single time I try to download this SDK, I have to run a program to verify that I am running a “genuine” Windows installation. Hey Microsoft, I have been a loyal customer for 22 years and have a damn MSDN Universal! Don't ask me every single time if I have a genuine Windows copy! And if you do, make sure you ask me ONCE and not every single time I click on the download in a new browser session!

  • First Post from Vista and Perf - Don't Forget to Defragment!!

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    Here is my first post from IE7 running on Windows Vista Beta 1. Yesterday, I was so knocked out by the wonderful easy setup program (and probably jet-lagged) and I said the perf was “much, much better.” It's not. It still sucks. It even almost verges on usable or so it seemed. I thought to myself that it can't possibly be this bad and it isn't. The first thing I did is invoke the first golden rule of OS performance: DEFRAG the USB 2 drive that you installed on. It turned out that the USB drive was a mess and defrag brought performance up to acceptable figures. I then shut down a few unused services like Pen Input (Why is this on by default???) and increased the paging file to 4 GB. I am bringing over Yukon and Whidbey July before I install the SDK and will report on that experience when they get over.
  • Windows Vista (Longhorn) Beta 1 Setup Experience Excellent and Perf Good

    So I am sitting in the Belfast Airport, drinking my StarBucks and waiting for my plane. My USB drive is connected with Windows Vista Beta 1 installed on it from last night. Get this. The install for Vista is painless and easy that I only had to answer three questions in the install and 2 could have been defaulted!! That's usability my friends. If you are expecting the fiasco of the build from last PDC, this is a whole different world. As said, install on a VPC is trivial and with 1280MB VPC, the performance is much, much better than last year's model, Excellent job (Longhorn) Vista Team!