Archive for November, 2006

MSN Radio is free and has added Pandora

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Listening to music at work consists of two services for me MSN Radio and Pandora; both completely different services, both keeping my ears fairly happy. I started with MSN Radio and after a while realized that the songs repeated about halfway through the work day on any specific genre station. Listening to the MSN Local Sounds station gave me a bit more variety but it still repeated and it was only refreshed with new music once a week. Bored of the same ol’ same ol’, I turned to Pandora to build my own customized radio stations with bands and songs that I like. Pandora allowed me to build stations that I entitled “Space Rock” or “Chick Singers” for example. Pretty cool but the music would also get old after a couple of days if I didn’t give a thumbs up to a few new relevant bands it offered up as “Space Rock” or “Chick Singers”. Over time, I found myself switching between the two; Pandora for one day, MSN Radio another, and switching stations after I came back to Pandora and then MSN Radio.


I guess the people at MSN Radio were reading my mind and recognized the benefits of Pandora because they have teamed up with them and now have the Pandora service available on MSN Radio. The service is free, but a subscription will get rid of the ads. To add to an already sweet offering, the MSN Radio service is free now…ALL STATIONS.


The two services aren’t integrated together and I’m not sure if that’s in the big picture for MSN Radio. Currently MSN Radio opens up in Media Player, while using Pandora opens the Pandora player in web browser. It’d be nice to see these two things melded together within Media Player and to have Pandora station building with MSN Radio stations. Just a wish… I’ll be content with what they’ve given me so far. Baby steps…Thanks MSN Radio!



What do you use for a system differencing tool?

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It sure is a challenge to find the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit. Why does Microsoft make it so hard to find? You can download it here (thanks Matt).


I was hoping to find a version of SysDiff on it for Server 2003. No such luck. After getting a version of SysDiff here I attempted to run it on Server 2003 and… it doesn’t work. Microsoft wants you to use Wininstall LE now.


Wininstall doesn’t seem to be all that. I need a tool that I can take system snapshots (before and after an application installation), compare and report the differences. I’d like to track the following changes on Server 2003:



  • Files

  • Folders

  • Registry

  • Users

  • Groups

  • Permissions

  • Wishful thinking: SQL 2000 and 2005 schema changes

I’ve found WinAlysis and it seems promising. What tool do you use?


Testing from the dentist’s office

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This morning I took my son to the dentist for his semi-annual cleaning and my brought my laptop along to get some casual white paper reading done while I waited. After firing the ol’ IBM up, much to my surprise I realized that Smiles Northwest had free wireless access. Sweet! I quickly resumed my normal testing schedule by VPNing in to work, doing a remote desktop connection to my test machine and then started testing away. Gawd I heart technology. Testing from the dentist’s office…Heh.


BTW, for what it’s worth Dr. Montrose and the staff @ Smiles Northwest are GREAT. If you’re in the Portland/Beaverton/Hillsboro area I highly recommend them.


System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException in .NET 1.1 and 2.0

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I recently had the privelege to explore a SQL 2000 to SQL 2005 upgrade for one of our Web applications, and in the same breath an upgrade from the .NET 1.1 framework to .NET 2.0…


I’ll talk about the specifics that I learned during the SQL upgrade another time, but I ran into only one issue during my 1.1 to 2.0 upgrade process. The issue wasn’t even really an .NET framework issue.


Long story short, my lesson learned was essentially establish that the app works before the upgrade. Duh, can you say BASELINE? What threw me for a loop which led me astray is that the .NET 2.0 led me to believe that I had a SQL 2005 configuration issue:


Error With .NET 2.0
Exception=System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server.  When connecting to SQL Server 2005, this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 – Could not open a connection to SQL Server)


To troubleshoot, I rolled back to .NET 1.1 with SQL 2000 and saw:


Error With .NET 1.1
Exception=System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: SQL Server does not exist or access denied.


Interesting, so I didn’t have a SQL 2005 OR .NET 2.0 problem. The issue? I learned that the above errors occur when:


1. SQL not started (duh, that wasn’t my problem though)
2. IPSEC configured incorrectly (my problem)

The fix:
1. Start SQL Server
2. Configure IPSEC so that the servers  can be pinged successfully in both directions (Web server to SQL and SQL to Web server)


Why am I telling you all of this? Because I have nothing better to do right now. Err… Or…While Googling on my SQL 2005 error I found some great SQL Server 2005 connection troubleshooting links. If you’re stuck with SQL 2005 connection issues here are three some references to check out:


Troubleshoot Connectivity Issue in SQL Server 2005 – Part I

Troubleshoot Connectivity Issue in SQL Server 2005 – Part II

Troubleshoot Connectivity Issue in SQL Server 2005 – Part III


Even Better, just use this site/search


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