One 'bricked' laptop

Thursday, 20 May 2010

This evening I thought I'd install the most recent firmware update A09 for my new Dell XPS 1645 laptop. I downloaded the installer and ran it, and it automatically started the update.

Then it got stuck.

I left it for a fair while, but the progress bar was not moving, and then I discovered the mouse and keyboard were also not responding. Holding down the power-button had no effect, so the only way to power off was to remove the battery.

A call to Dell support revealed that as it is a hardware problem I need to talk to their hardware support line which is only open 8am – 8pm (and it was already past 8pm).

So tomorrow morning I'll be on the phone to see what can be done. Very frustrating.

SQL Server 2008 R2 Event

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

To paraphrase Roy and HG, "When too much SQL Server is barely enough"..

If you're interested in seeing some of the new Business Intelligence (BI) features of SQL Server 2008 R2, then you might want to attend one of the free events being held around Australia. The east-coast events are done, but it isn't too late if you're in Adelaide (Tuesday 25th May) or Perth (Wednesday 26th May). Register now via this form.

As an added bonus, for Adelaide attendees you can stay on to catch Buck Woody direct from the USA present on another R2 feature - Data-Tier Application Components at the May meeting of the Adelaide SQL User Group – held for your convenience at the same venue.

See you there!

Grafx 1.0 for MINIX

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Isn't this Internet thing cool! Using Google Group's Usenet archive, I managed to locate the project I completed in the 3rd year of my Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer and Information Science, way back in 1991/92.

My supervisor (Bob Buckley) offered to post the finished source code to the comp.os.minix newsgroup on my behalf (as students didn't have permission to post to newsgroups at that time). Strangely, the older posts in this newsgroup don't appear to be indexed properly by Google (eg. searching for 'gardiner' doesn't return any matches), but for posterity, here are the links to the overview and 4 parts:

Quoting from the introduction text:

The Grafx package gives MINIX the ability to display graphical output.
It also partially implements the UNIX plot(3X) library.
Graphics is driven through the BIOS (with all the associated implications).

Hardware Requirements:
        IBM-PC or BIOS compatible
        Graphics Adaptor - CGA,EGA,VGA,(Hercules Untested)

        Other platforms eg. 68K should be able to use this package
        with a small amount of work.

The documentation is distributed in the following files:

usrdoc.txt      - User documentation - ASCII text
sysdoc.txt      - System documentation - ASCII text

These are wordperfect output - so bold and underline may look odd
on your screen, but should print OK. Mail a request for the WP
files if you want to print with different fonts, etc.

I would welcome your feedback on this package. It was my 3rd year
project, as part of the Computer Studies Degree course at the
University of South Australia.

- Dave Gardiner, 14/2/92
Internet: [email protected]

Historical notes

ReportViewer 2010 remote processing requires RS 2008 or later

Friday, 7 May 2010

I had an idea today that using the newly released ReportViewer 2010 controls might help with an unusual rendering issue we're having with a web page when displaying very large reports.

Turns out that you can use Report Viewer 2010 with Visual Studio 2008, though I did have to copy the files out of the GAC. Make sure you update the assembly references in the project file, web.config and also any .aspx pages so that they refer to Version=10.0.0.0.

Firing up the site to view one of the reports then resulted in the following error message:

"Remote report processing requires Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services or later"

Checking the current MSDN documentation for Configuring ReportViewer for Remote Processing does indeed state that "to use a server report, you must have access to a SQL Server 2008 or later Reporting Services report server". Contrast that with the Visual Studio 2008 version of the same page which says SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services was the minimum.

Unfortunately in this case Reporting Services are still on 2005, but when that changes, using Report Viewer 2010 will be a viable option.

User-settable properties in Reporting Services

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

SQL Server Reporting Services reports have a number of properties that can be obtained via the GetProperties web method.

The full list of properties is documented in SQL Books Online in Report Server Item Properties. What it fails to mention is that some of these items are read-only. Try passing them in via CreateReport or SetProperties and you'll just get an exception for your trouble.

By trial-and-error (mostly error!) against an instance of the SQL 2005 Reporting Service Web Service I discovered that the following properties are user-settable:

Property User-settable
CreatedBy  
CreationDate  
Description Yes
Hidden Yes
ID  
ModifiedBy  
ModifiedDate  
Name  
Path  
Size  
Type  
VirtualPath  
Language  
ReportProcessingTimeout Yes
ExecutionDate  
CanRunUnattended Yes
HasParameterDefaultValues  
HasDataSourceCredentials  
IsSnapshotExecution  
HasScheduleReadyDataSources  
MimeType