Tuesday, April 22, 2008

.Net Application Restarts Frequently on Windows Server 2003

While stress testing a .Net 2.0 application, we noticed the application was restarting about every minute. This restart did not occur under normal loading, but when we really pounded the app it did this weird restart every minute thing.

The application ShutdownReason was "Configuration change", a more detailed message:

_shutDownMessage=Overwhelming Change Notification in c:\inetpub\wwwroot
Overwhelming Change Notification in C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\Config
CONFIG change

This happened on Windows Server 2003, but not on XP.
The solution was to install the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 1. Now it is happy.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Encyclopedia Britannica Offers Free One Year Subscription to Bloggers

Yep, I took the bait. I was impressed with the simple, but elegant design of the site.
While reading some articles, my inner being was refreshed; I didn't realize how, when surfing the net, I'm constantly asking myself the question, "Is this really true?".
I could turn down my skepticism and enjoy reading the articles.

To signup visit britannicanet.com/ and click on the green "registration" button on the right side.

Watching TV on Your PC via Hulu.com

I spent a few minutes with Hulu this Saturday. Hulu is easy to use and has a wealth of old and new TV shows. I appreciate the Firefly and Babylon5 reruns there. Commercials adorn the front of the show, which isn't bad, but clickable banner ads appear at the bottom of the running show which is annoying.
Now if I could just pipe the hulu stream to my Tivos.

Free Web Filtering with OpenDNS

Since I have young kids at home I've used web filtering software, but it's been very slow to load. When a browser opened for the first time, the nanny software would load a bunch of restricted sites and this would take a long time.
I've been using OpenDNS for a few months at home and it's very zippy. OpenDNS works on a different principle. You set the DNS server for your machine (the computer which converts urls like "www.fincher.org" to "") to be the OpenDNS server. OpenDNS then does filtering based on the categories you have set.

The URLs in the blocked categories are from a public project that votes on how sites should be categorized.
Other niceties:
1. OpenDNS is advertised as being faster than your ISPs domain name server
2. It corrects typos in urls ("cnn.co" is mapped to "cnn.com")
3. You can create your own shortcuts ("go" is "google.com")
4. Reports are available on DNS usage

Check it out at OpenDNS.com

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Biogasoline Breakthrough Using Cellulose Feedstock

Researchers have made a breakthrough in creating biogasoline from renewable cellulose like switchgrass and trees. The final product is almost indistinguishable from gasoline made from crude oil. Most energy research has been focused on converting corn and cellulose to ethanol, but ethanol has several problems:
1. By volume ethanol only has 70% of gasoline's energy, so cars will only go 70% as far on a tank
2. Ethanol cannot be transported by pipelines since it collects water in the pipelines so this makes distribution more expensive
3. Pure ethanol cannot be used in cold climates
4. Cars must be modified to use ethanol
Using biogasoline gets around all these problems.

We don't need to produce all our gasoline this way, but even if we could make 10-15% it would take pressure off the price of gasoline.
This new biogasoline could tide us over until eestor's "batteries" are available in the Chevy Volt and we go all electric.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Using IntelliSense with Nant Files in Visual Studio 2005

I've been hacking at some build files to integrate with CruiseControl.Net lately. I finally took the time to research how to have intellisense with the build files in Visual Studio 2005. It's easy - really.

1. Copy the Nant.xsd file into Visual Studio's Schema directory:

copy C:\opt\nant\nant-0.85\schema\nant.xsd "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Xml\Schemas"

2. Look at the Nant.xsd to copy the namespace into your build files.
Inside my version of Nant.xsd the second line was:

<xs:schema xmlns:nant="http://nant.sf.net/release/0.85/nant.xsd" elementFormDefault="qualified" targetNamespace="http://nant.sf.net/release/0.85/nant.xsd" xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">

So I added the namespace to the "project" element of my build file.

<project name="Scythe" basedir="." xmlns="http://nant.sf.net/release/0.85/nant.xsd">

If you haven't already set your build file to be XML you need to right-click on the build file, select "Open With...", and use "XML Editor".
Now intellisense gives me hints on what I can put in the nant file.