Thursday, September 10, 2009

Installing SQL Server 2008 x64

If you want to have the DAT and LOG files on a separate drive, perform the standard setup and choose the default values.

On the feature selection window, make your selection and DO NOT CHANGE the location where your shared features will be.


If you do so, you will get this error message, and WILL have to restart the installation all over.

The INSTANCESHAREDWOWDIR command line value was not specified. This value must be specified when the INSTANCESHAREDDIR value is specified.


Read about it from the msdn knowledge base 955458.

Funny, it complaints about INSTANCESHAREDDIR when it is really looking for the WOW64 shared components directory INSTALLSHAREDWOWDIR.

Check the Configuration file path at the Ready To Install screen:


If you open this ConfigurationFile.ini you will see the entries what the boot strapper is looking for.

Continuing with the default installation, you will get to the Database Engine Configuration screen, that’s is where you can specify the location for the DAT and LOG files.


Non-intuitive, IMHO.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Developer Environment

I’ve read Steve Smith post regarding Developer’s Machine.  Great post.  Got me thinking about my development environment…

Background: to fully understand the whole lifecycle of a solution, you need to know not just Unit test or integration tests. But also about  the backend/infrastructure where this application would eventually live. 

For instance, I have been involved in several integration projects at different clients. The solution calls for situations that involved multiple users, multiple roles, multiple permission profiles.  Yet, they only provided me with a SINGLE account to their environment to fully test my application.!

Being an integration geek, you need to have a bigger bag of utilities to help you being certain that your app works as intended.  IMHO, you not only need to know about IIS settings/security, but also about AD, Clustering, SQL roles, etc.  And it is not enough to just READ it from a blog.  You need to experienced it and work with it.  You need to be a JOAT.

Ideally, like Steve’s view, the Developer workstation will be both mobile and desktop.  It is nice to be able to take that mobile environment with you.  However, most of the times while working at home, I would trade my portability for some speed and flexibility. I like desktops with Dual screens (wish I had more than 2 monitors… :) and full size keyboards. I like to feel a mouse and not those annoying keypads/touchpads. Yes, I do HATE touchpads…!

I had built my own controlled environment (SandBox).  This is so that I can experience what the network operator/admin that is going to inherit my application would experience. Under this controlled environment, I can test the full cycle of my software (deployment, running, integration) . Nothing worse that going into a client’s environment and say: “… but, it works on my machine…”

I know that now a days, with VM’s (VPC/VMWare), building a Sandbox environment is easier and cheaper.  However, there are pros/cons for virtualization vs real machines. I feel that my investment was well spent.  My future upgrade will be to beef up my SQL server (still keeping it as a real machine).  Then put a couple of VM’s on the app and the web servers to test NLB and some Farm features of BizTalk and SharePoint.

CIMG6596 old CRT 14" monitor. No LCD here… :(
CIMG6592 I selected 4u cases for my servers, since they can fit  standard hardware (MB, Power Supl., video, nic’s) = cheaper…

4U – App Server
4U – SQL Server
2U – Web server
Guess which case I bought first…. ;)
CIMG6580 16-Ports Switch used to be plenty of ports over 5 years ago… :(
 CIMG6581 LAN lines.  Rest of my hardware ( 3 laptops, NetBook, Wii, NDS’s) are all on the Wi-Fi.
CIMG6573 Power master switch for all servers.
CIMG6587 KVM switch.
CIMG6595 My mini-keyboard. Love it…


BTW, I think building your own computer is still the way to go.

Friday, May 01, 2009

PANAMA 2009 Elections: RERE, TE, PLAGEL, CPP

Having dual citizenship give me the opportunity to choose and to compare 2 different ways of voting. I casted my vote for the most powerful man of the free world back on Nov. 2008, and now I have the privilege to influence who will lead my Querida Panama for the next government.

Since most people I know in the US have no idea about presidential elections outside of the US, I want to share a little bit of knowledge.

There are 8 political parties (as of today ;)  in Panama.  The main one is the PRD (Partido Revolucionario Democratico). It stands for Revolution and Democracy.  BTW, it is the same government that we had with Noriega. All of the other parties are opposition to this one.  Each of them claims to be different because of  X-Some facts/view. 

People line up with the political party that they feel, closely matches their views, concerns.  However, if you work for any government institution it is expected that you lined up with the PRD, if you don’t your job might/will be at risk.  All of the parties put their candidates up and start the political satire that occurs everywhere, in which they try to convince the audience that they party is better than the other ones.

This all seems very similar to the US elections.  Start with the flow of information on the Radio, TV, Newspapers (negativity and lies).  However, in Panama, they also do Posters, Billboards, Musical Tours. There are about 3.5 million people in Panama according to the CIA world factbook. Since the population is so disperse, one of the ways to get your message across is to *tour* the small towns.  What is different about this, is that they bring what is called MURGAS to each city.  It is basically a band playing folklore music. There is plenty of free drinks and dancing. Most of the times they close the roads and make the whole road a big staging area.

DSC_1105 Another of the ways they publicize their slogans.

People rent their cars/time to drive around small towns and playing loud messages over their megaphones. ANY time of the day.!!


One thing you need to know about the Panamanian culture, and all Latin cultures for that matter.  We are very centric on socializing and having a good time. So the Murgas, attract the majority of the local audience, and if you have a good time with this candidate’s murgas, then voting for this candidate will bring more of the good time, right?… ;)

This is what an official ballot looks like. You need to select ONE entry only.  As you notice there are only 3 candidates to president.  Just like in the US (Rep., Dem., Waste-your-vote).  Now, we started with 8 political parties, and as the election date gets near, each party aligned with the candidate that they think will win. 


In Panama, there is still a lot of bribery. (just like in the US, but not as organized ;).  So if you are in one of the political parties that have won, you can expect to have favoritism over jobs and influences once the new party takes over.  One step further, you can even put your own people on jobs that are already filled by people from the losing party..!  And this is regardless of qualifications/tenure.  It is all about who you know.

Union Patriotica
Vanguardia Moral de la Patria
image Partido Popular


Cambio Democratico
Partido Liberal

So you see, there is LOTS of thing riding on your vote. Not just the future of your country, but also your vote affects DIRECTLY your future.  The percentage of people willing to vote in Panama is a LOT higher than in the US for that matter.  In the US, we get to elect the most powerful man in the world, and yet I see many people that are not even excited about having this privilege.!

Hope this little bit of info have brought you a new insight into exercising your right to vote.

BTW, there are LOTS of acronyms used in Panama.  TE: Tribunal Electoral.  CPP: Centro de Procesamiento Postal.  PLAGEL: Plan General de Elecciones. RERE: Registro de Electores Residentes en el Extranjero.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Exam 70-541 – Developing for WSS 3.0 Study Guide

One of my goals for 2009 is to get certified in SharePoint development. I have found that you can get some good/cheap/professional online training from Microsoft Learning.  If you go to this link Microsoft eLearning Collection and follow the instructions, you can obtain the e-learning promotion code.  Then you get to use this code to choose ANY training material for only $35.00.  I have chosen the Collection 5385, which coverts all of the topics needed for the 70-541 test.

  • Course 5386: Working with Server and Site Objects WSS 3.0
  • Course 5387: Programmatically Securing WSS 3.0 Sites
  • Course 5388: Programming Lists and List Events in WSS  3.0
  • Course 5389: Managing Documents and Libraries in WSS 3.0
  • Course 5390: Working with List Metadata and Content Types in WSS 3.0
  • Course 5391: Customizing Navigation and Layout in WSS 3.0

Their course is very interactive. It contains videos, labs, code snippets, games, etc


Once you finish with the course, then you can start doing the interactive labs. Microsoft gives you one full hour to use on the virtual labs.  I’ve found that this is plenty of time to complete the labs, if you don’t do the extra assignments.


The only issue I have with the labs, is that I wish I could get a hold of the solution code that is being used in those labs.

Overall, I did like the simplicity of these labs.  I would highly recommend them for anyone looking to pass the exam 70-541.

I took the 70-541 test today.  It is a 3:00 hour test.  According to my calculations, I needed to get 41/59 correctly answered questions in order to pass. I did get more than 41 questions correctly answered. ;)    At the end of the test, I have but 22 minutes left, time flies when you are having fun.!

Hints for the test?  Setup your own VPC and a Domain Controller, so that you can go explore web parts and Document Workflows a little deeper than what they offer on the eCourse.  It certainly helped me a lot… ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to Synch Google Calendar with a SmartPhone Running Windows Mobile without a Computer.!



I just discover that Google has a setup that supports the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol to provide synch between their products and your Windows powered device. Follow the instructions in Set Up Your Windows Mobile Phone.

I did this configuration without having to craddle my SmartPhone to the computer.  I have the Motorola Q9c running Windows Mobile 6.1.  On your phone, open up  ActiveSync.


select Menu


select Add Server Resource.  After this step. I followed the instructions on their site. [I repeated them here for posterity]


add your username and password, leaving the domain field blank


Now on the next screen, I selected the Calendar option ONLY.


It was giving me some errors when I selected tasks, email, and contacts.  I think it does not handle tasks created in Outlook.

Click on Finish and Voila.!  It synchs wirelessly.!


Once it had synch all of my calendar entries, I went back and added the option to synch my Contacts.  The one drawback to synching your contacts for the first time, is that you have to go to Gmail and categorized them all.  And this is not fun when you have too many contacts…


This is very cool.  I have a share calendar with my wife and now we both can add/delete/modify entries into it, and it is REAL TIME synch.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Enterprise-in-a-Box Series – Creating users in an AD

When dealing with Enterprise applications, you often need to use VM’s to try to replicate the environment where your solution is going to ultimately live on.

For SharePoint and BizTalk development, the best way to ensure that your solution will deploy and run on the target environment is to create a Virtual Environment that closely resembles what your customer has.  Besides the obvious benefits to the IT department (less heat, more CPU utilization, etc, etc.), there is the hidden benefit of efficiency and less integration bugs on a Virtualized environment.  How many times you have developed the “perfect software”, and when try to deploy to the QA or Production environment, you’ve spent lots of hours troubleshooting security permissions, user profiles, IIS settings, SQL permissions, Service account not having proper rights, etc, etc. I know I have had my share.!

To setup a Virtual Enterprise from scratch, the easiest way is to follow the steps by steps directions from Microsoft: Using Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 to Create and Configure a Two-Node Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Cluster

I recommend that you use a 64bit Operating System as a host to run the Virtual Server.  I have used a Dell D820 running Vista x64 with 4GB of RAM.  I have found this configuration to be very responsive and not very expensive.

Let’s assume that the solution for my customer will have 3 users, and each of them have different roles and responsabilities.






user asmith Aaron Smith asmith@contoso-local
supervisor jsmith John Smith jsmith@contoso-local
CEO msmith Michael Smith msmith@contoso-local


Once you have your virtual environment setup, it is time to add users and roles to get your environment setup. I have used Neil Thompson’s script to create AD accounts programatically.

Here is a slightly modified version of his script:



As you can tell, now I am able to programmatically add users so that I can test. One more benefit of this Enterprise in a box, is that once you are done with it, you can bundle all of the configuration and setup to your integration team.  No more manual configurations.!

Noticed that regardless of what my solution does, or what the problem is. I would be able to test and troubleshoot my solution under 3 separate roles.  There is no need to deploy to production for *real* users to test if my application does what it is expected to do.!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CodeMash 2009

Once again this event was like a good wine.!  The older it gets, the better and more concise it becomes.!

Just when you think, how can they improve on something that is already great? The organizers of this event did an absolute outstanding job (Jim, Dianne, Jason, Brian, Jeff, etc).

Pre-Compiler: oh yeah, I got the most of this session.  In the spirit of CodeMash, I have decided to try something out of my comfort zone.  Last year, I tried Ruby.  This year, I have decided to give Groovy and Grails a try.  I immerse myself for a FULL day of these 2 technologies.  While I can't say I am a Groovy developer at the end of that day, I have a much better understanding of the technology.

KidzMash:  One word to describe this:  INSANE.  This is my 2nd year volunteering for this event. [CodeMash 2008].  Learned a few new things from the experience last year.  This year, I've decided to make it a little bit more interactive, so I've packed 4 laptops with Scratch.  Out of those, one have BabyMash installed, just in case there were some young developers in the making there (<6yrs old).   I was completely blown up by the number of kids we have:  35 kids.!!  Thankfully, Sarah Ford and Michelle and another mom  in there step up to help by providing extra laptops and balloons animals.!  Hopefully, I was able to influence those young minds to become a future RIA developer.

Open Spaces: I've got a lot of value attending these.!  I was just being a fly-on-the-wall. Intimidated by the sheer brain power of those people talking.! Looking forward more Open Spaces.!


  • Scala with Venkat.  Got a candy with the infamous: "do I need to ask a question to get a candy?…" ;)
  • Scaling of ASP.NET apps with Richard Campbell.  The man is a legend.!
  • WCF with Keith Elder.  Good refresher course.
  • User Experience with Josh Walsh.  Solid session.  Very good presenter.  Even though I have not worked on end user apps for a while, this session was a very good background information.

KeyNote: This might be the only portion of CodeMash that I have to skip.  Last year's keynote with Scott Hanselman was awesome.  Venkat was a terrific follow up this year.!  His analogy of how writing unit test compares to doing physical exercise was right on target.  All of the other keynote presenters were good, but they just could not capture my attention.

Negatives:  yes, there were negatives.

  • Too many repeated sessions or content was very similar to another talk. Open spaces filled that void. :D
  • Keynotes were not hitting the CodeMash audience (except Venkat… ;)
  • Evaluation forms.  Why aren't the evaluation forms online instead of paper?  It would be awesome to fill them up online.  Instant feedback.!

Moments: CodeMash is also about networking with others, and I use Breakfast, lunch, dinner, party, water park, etc to meet someone new.  I love the small conference atmosphere where you don't feel like another number in a group.

  • Met developer that work for Overdrive.  They developed the application that I just installed last year to get audio books from my public library into my Zune. And you know, they are based on Akron, OH.!
  • My Twitter count went up by 10.
  • Carl Franklin rocked the house on Thursday night.!
  • Sponsors ads during meal time. FTW..!!!

Looking forward CodeMash v.2010 next year