Like, uh, whatever, I guess


  Thursday, April 29, 2004
    [2:30:09 PM]

London bloggers meetup

Via Zoe, via the Guardian, a London bloggers meetup (not via meetup.com) on the 4th of May (next Tuesday)

Anyone up for it? Cory's going to be there ;-)

    [7:32:26 AM]

Little gMail update

Apparently Google is intending to open gMail up to the public in 3-6 months, but until then beta testers seem to be by invitation only.

So, how do you get an invitation?

  1. From a Google employee (ref)

  3. If you have an active Blogger account (by active I mean you use it, not just have an account registered) (ref)

  5. From an existing gMail user (when I signed up, I was given two invitations... one left, though Kit seems to be interested)

  Monday, April 26, 2004
    [1:36:22 PM]

Still trying out gMail

Just noticed this post about how to bypass gMail security over on http://www.bradlands.com/.

Quite interesting, and certainly helps to highlight the potential ineffectuality of certain security questions (mothers maiden name etc).

  Thursday, April 22, 2004
    [4:42:02 PM]

Google Mail Revisited

Whilst fiddling with my blog settings at Blogger.com (still haven't moved to DasBlog, still too tight to pay for .NET hosting), I noticed a little advert inviting me to join the Google gMail beta program.

So far so good, I'll try and post some thoughts and comments here once I've been using it for a while. In order to force myself to use the service, I've temporarily forwarded my pop3 account to gMail....

Actually, I wonder how good the spam filters are, if this site is visited by any email harvesting programs, then they can eat this email address up (luke.latimer@gmail.com), and we'll soon see !

    [12:46:58 PM]

Forget Task Manager

And welcome Process Explorer !

Process Explorer from SysInternals.com displays detailed information about all the processes running on your machine. Including:

  • A human readable description (i.e. "SoftModem Messaging Applet" instead of "AGRSMMSG.exe" - still don't know exactly what it does, but have more of an idea now)
  • Displays dependancies (i.e. what system dlls are required for that process)

  • Displays all threads for a process

  • Ability to drill down and view the stack for an individual thread (!)

  • Associated registry entries

  • Files a process is using (hopefully this'll help with that "Cannot delete this file, it is in use by another process" error that seems to always force me into shutting everything down)

  • And more....

Craig's right, it does rock :-)

  Tuesday, April 20, 2004
    [1:15:41 PM]

So it's not just me !

Every heard of N.A.D.D? Me neither until about 5 minutes ago when I read this blog. Perfect: Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder.

This little quote pretty much sums up a lot of what I've been thinking about of late (in between thinking about a squillion other things ;-)):

I'm making NADD sound like a rosy affliction. There are several downsides.

First, it's a lot of work to figure out your personal program of digesting the world and, sorry, you are going to miss things. This will annoy you, but it will also drive you to incessantly look for the NEXT COOL THING.

Second, you're going to sound like a know-it-all. Try not to.

    [10:56:22 AM]

Whats using your hard drive space?

When I recieved my new laptop with it's non-fill-up-able 60GB hard drive, I thought I was sorted... 6 months down the line I've used 50GB of it

After some searching on Google, I found this Hard Drive Profiler. It scans your hard drive, and ranks folders by size, and also provides a pretty pie chart. You can drill down to see what makes up a particular folder too.

It wasn't too much of a surprise to find out that c:\downloads\videos\ is hogging most of my space :-)

  Monday, April 19, 2004
    [6:54:22 PM]

Renaming files in Visual Studio.NET

This is a classic case of (me) not reading application warnings properly.

When you rename a file in Visual Studio.NET, and that file is under source control, the following happens:

  1. A new file is created with the new name, it has the contents of the old file
  2. The new file is marked to be added to source control
  3. The old file remains in source control, in a checked out state
  4. The old file is not displayed in the Visual Studio.NET solution explorer

So, to avoid confusing other developers as to why you've had SomeFile.cs checked out for months, you need to open up the source control GUI, and manually delete the old file.

I thought I'd post this as I was looking in source safe earlier, wondering why there were a load of files checked out by me, but I couldn't see them in VS.NET...

    [3:20:46 PM]

Advanced IIS 6 Redirector

IIS's ability to redirect a request to another URL is extremley useful, for example when moving or renaming an application.  For one thing it doesn't cause users that have bookmarked the old URL to see a "page not found" error.

Generally this isn't a tricky operation, but when you need to worry about preserving the request URL's structure, and it's querystring, you need to start playing around with the IIS redirect parameters.

So, to redirect all requests to a URL like:




you'll need to do the following:

  1. Open IIS, right click on the desired website and select "properties"
  2. Select the "Home Directory" tab
  3. Select the "A redirection to a URL" option
  4. Enter http://AppName.CompanyName.com, followed by $V$Q

    1. $V passes the URL without the server name, in this instance "Dir1/Dir2/Page.aspx", if you want to redirect to a different directory, use: http://AppName.CompanyName.com/NewDir1/Page.aspx$Q
    2. $Q passes the querystring, including the question mark

  5. Check the "The exact URL entered above" option
  6. Click Apply and you're ready to rock.

I've included the entire IIS Administration help page on this topic, I would just point you towards a page on MSDN, but the one they have just results in a 404.

Redirect Reference

Redirecting a client's request is one way to ensure that users get the correct page, if your site is under construction or has changed identity. You can redirect client requests to a directory on the same Web server or a different URL.

Redirect Variables

You can use redirect variables to pass portions of the original URL with the destination URL. To use these variables, open a directory's properties in IIS Manager, select the Home Directory, Virtual Directory, or Directory tab, click the A redirection to a URL option, and enter a URL in the Redirect to text box, using any of the variables below.

$SPasses the matched suffix of the requested URL. The matched suffix is the portion of the original URL that remains after the redirected URL is substituted.If /Scripts is redirected to /Newscripts, and the original request is for /Scripts/Program.exe, /Program.exe is the suffix. The server automatically substitutes this suffix; you use the $S variable only in combination with other variables.
$PPasses the parameters in the original URL.For example, if the original URL is /Scripts/Myscript.asp?number=1, the string "number=1" is mapped to the destination URL.
$QPasses both the question mark (?) and the parameters from the original URL.For example, if the original URL is /Scripts/Myscript.asp?number=1, the string "?number=1" is mapped to the destination URL.
$VPasses the requested URL, without the server name.For example, if the original URL is //Myserver/Scripts/Myscript.asp, the string "/Scripts/Myscript.asp" is mapped to the destination URL.
$0 through $9Passes the portion of the requested URL that matches the indicated wildcard character.For example, if a wildcard character is used for the lowest-level directory name, such as */Default.htm, the part of the URL that names the directory containing Default.htm is passed.
!Do not redirect.Use this variable to prevent redirecting a subdirectory or an individual file in a virtual directory that has been redirected.

Redirect Wildcards

You can use redirect wildcards to match any number of characters in the original URL. Open a directory's property sheet in IIS Manager, select the Home Directory, Virtual Directory, or Directory tab, click the A redirection to a URL option, and insert the wildcard character (*) in the Redirect to text box. Begin the destination URL with an asterisk (*) and a semicolon (;), and separate pairs of wildcard characters and destination URLs with a semicolon.

For example, to redirect all requests for /Scripts/Filename.stm to a single file called Default.stm, and to redirect all requests for /Scripts/Filename.htm to a single file called Default.htm, type the following in the Redirect To text box for the /scripts virtual directory:


When you use wildcard characters, be sure to select The exact URL entered above check box. For a redirected path, type in a URL.

  Thursday, April 08, 2004
    [4:36:03 PM]

Outlook plugin for "intelligent archiving"

After reading Andys posts (here and here) about the size of Outlook pst files, and one suggestion of deleting your emails, I thought that some sort of clever archiving plugin might be in order.

The basis idea is that when you run the archive job, only the last email in each thread is actually stored.  So if you were part of a conversation that contained 20 emails, only one would actually be stored to disk.

Therre are a couple of obvious drawbacks to this:

  1. What is the defining characteristic of an email thread?

    1. I think outlook adds a custom header item, something like x-message-thread-id
    2. Perhaps just examing the to, cc and subject (minus the "RE:"'s) items to find a match would work

  2. Attachments may be lost

    1. In a corporate environment, you'd hope that internal documents would reside in some kind of document management system, or global file share

  3. If any email in the thread doesn't include all previous content, some may be lost

    1. Of course you could scan each email in the thread, and collate all unique messages into a single archive email

  4. If seperate emails in the same thread were moved to different folders, you'd lose all but one of them

    1. Part of the email thread characteristic could be the folder in which the email is stored

Anyway, just a thought :-)


  Tuesday, April 06, 2004
    [3:41:16 PM]

Potentially interesting insights to be had

For those of you (if there are any) that don't read Rory Blyth's blog, there's a new site within MSDN called Channel 9
that went live today.

Basically it's run by Microsoft developers and is aimed at giving some insight into how they think, work, design, communicate... everything. For those of use that use Microsoft tools and products, this could be very useful in a 'see-whats-going-on-in-their-minds' kind of way, on the other hand it might scare us away :-)

We'll see anyway, and there's RSS galore !

Just noticed that the site uses FlexWiki for their Wiki needs, nicely customised too...

    [7:40:31 AM]

MS Releasing Code on SourceForge

Reading Craig Anderas blog earlier I noticed this post, basically Microsoft for the first time ever have released some code under an OSS approved licence.

The code actually sounds really useful, it's called the Windows Installer XML (WiX), and allows developers to create Windows installer databases from XML source. Apparently this is how internal Microsoft people (currently Office, SQLServer, BizTalk, MSN Messenger ... ) create setup files.
WiX consists of a complier, a linker, a lib tool and a decomplier.

Here's the link to the project at SourceForge, and here's a more detailed explanation of what WiX is, and how it came to be released as OSS.

  Friday, April 02, 2004
    [8:24:19 AM]

I recently discovered Technorati.com, mainly because I see it's bot in my webserver logs, but also because a lot of people mention it in their blogs.

Anyway I noticed that they have a page that tracks what books people are blogging about, quite interesting.

I'm sure Clayton'll be pleased to notice that "A short history of nearly everything" is on there :)

  Thursday, April 01, 2004
    [1:22:20 PM]

I totally forgot to post my review of Classical Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall from last Thursday night up here.

So if anyones interested (and bear in mind that IANAMC - I am not a music critic ;-)), it's here

    [9:11:20 AM]

It was only a matter of time I suppose, but Google are allegedly going to launch a free email service, with 1GB of storage space.

Pretty cool considering Yahoo, Hotmail etc offer around 2MB, Google said that the idea is "you'll never need to delete anything". 

Having said that, it doesn't take all that long to build up a whopping MS Outlook .pst file, so I wonder what the policy'll be regarding attachments etc.

Apparently advertisments will pay for the service, maybe in the form of embedded personalised ads (a la Ad-Sense), which sounds a bit instrusive to me....

More on ZDnet


Press release that reads like an april fools joke here


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