The Future of Windows 8

by Dmitry Kirsanov 17. September 2012 05:00

Windows 8 logoIs Windows 8 a new Windows Vista?

During last few days the first thing that comes to my mind every morning, is this question.

The few months before and after the release of Windows 8 is the period of unique opportunity, just like it happens with other new or fundamentally changed products. The amount of efforts you put during such period of time always pays more than the same amount of effort at a later time.

This year, Microsoft is publishing a whole range of new (very) expensive fundamental products. Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012, Office 2013, Visual Studio 11 with Team Foundation Server 11 and more. Some of these products don’t bring any significant opportunity, as user interface is the only change that affects most of it’s users. For example – Office 2013. It’s nice, it should work better, but there’s no real reason to upgrade.

However, Windows 8 is different. As Microsoft rightfully says, it was reimagined, and the problem is – they are not lying and it’s not a buzzword (yet). The changes they made to the very principles of how applications work – not just the looks, but even the life cycle of application – make it harder for the market to swallow. More...

Deploying Large Files in Local Network

by Dmitry Kirsanov 27. August 2012 13:37

Sometimes I need to copy large files simultaneously to several tens of computers. Like – Hyper-V virtual machines for training courses, and sometimes they take up to 60 Gigabytes. Usually these files reside on a single file server, connected to the local network by 1Gbit NIC, but even if nothing else is taking the bandwidth from that file server, copying 60 Gb to 20 machines would take more than 11 hours – that’s the amount of time it takes to transfer 1200 Gb at the speed of 30 Megabytes per second.

I wanted to reduce the overall time of deployment to about 70-90 minutes, or about 10 times. And this article is about how I’ve accomplished that goal.


ReactOS Rising?

by Dmitry Kirsanov 2. May 2012 02:03

ros_logo_08Have you ever heard about ReactOS? It’s an operating system which was in “alpha” state for the last 16 years (!) and is basically a free, open-source Windows clone. It looks just like Windows XP / 2003, but the code base is written from scratch. However, the software written for Windows should work just fine on ReactOS. That’s the goal, at least. For now, applications like WinAmp and uTorrent work stable on current release.

Just about now the founder of this project, Aleksey Bragin, sent an e-mail claiming he is fundraising to actually hire full time developers for his OS. Until now it was a hobby for everyone, but now he is about to make it real. Taking into account that his goal is quite modest 30 000 euro, I think he’ll make it in no time, so the only question that is left open – what’s next?

Either he is going to ship this OS (to potentially free millions of PCs from the inevitable upgrade of Windows XP), or he wants to rise the price of the project to sell it. In a latter case, the question is who would buy it – would it be some social network, financially capable to have a pet operating system, or would it be some ill management addict company, which is buying new projects and technologies to substitute previously acquired and dying ones?

More questions than answers, but anyway, I wish these guys a well deserved success.

Blogging Software Review: Live Writer 2011 vs. MarsEdit 3.5

by Dmitry Kirsanov 24. April 2012 13:20

BlogEditorsThere are two kinds of bloggers. The ones who edit their works offline and the ones who prefer to do it online (or just don’t know they could do it the other way).

Also, there are bloggers who don’t know that they are bloggers. Some websites are built on blog engines, as blog platforms are basically article-optimized CMS systems. For example, the BlogEngine.NET home page is built over their own blog platform.

This article is a comparison of two most widely used vital tools of modern blogging – the Microsoft Live Writer 2011 and MarsEdit 3.5 by Red Sweater Software.


Software as a Service at Glance

by Dmitry Kirsanov 29. January 2012 15:00

Software as a paid ServiceI am beginning the series of articles about various SaaS solutions offered by various companies – some known and some that you probably haven’t heard about, and since all of them share that characteristic of being the SaaS solution, it is important to describe first what SaaS is.

In the upcoming series I am going to describe multiple SaaS services and focus on the alternative ways to have the same functionality. My goal is to describe each of them so you could understand them without digging into the documentation or waste time trying. More...

Choosing Laptop for Blogging

by Dmitry Kirsanov 18. December 2011 22:00

This is a story about me choosing the notebook for maintaining this blog.

Usually I am writing about something related to technologies which I am either exploring or training. Sometimes it’s about non-technological parts of the training or lifestyle. Something that consumed considerable amount of time to learn or get to. I’m sort of showing a shortcut to others and we usually call it “sharing of knowledge and experience”.

Since I am very serious about keeping my blog to be a useful and creative place, I decided to devote more time to it – especially the time when I am most mentally capable. And during that time I am usually far from my main 17” laptop – heavy powerful gaming-class machine which is theoretically portable.

So I made a decision to purchase a laptop especially for blogging. Taking into account that this blog doesn’t bring any income – pretty much enthusiastic move. But however, I’ve started with research. More...

Updating currency exchange rates in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

by Dmitry Kirsanov 22. November 2011 08:36

As promised earlier, I’ve created a small utility which updates currency exchange rates for currencies used by Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 server. It’s fast, reliable and can be run in unattended mode, so you can set it once and forget about it.

A bit about Microsoft Dynamics CRM first

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is the most advanced CRM system created so far. It allows you to keep track on your customers, partners and rivals and monitor relations in real time. So you can create marketing campaign for all your customers in Denmark with turnover higher than 200 000 euro and who’s main industry is Finance. And send them personalized proposal. And each of that customers will reply to manager, assigned to that customer. And you will track the success of that action in real time, being able to test your genius as CEO. Well, not only that. More...

CAPTCHA sample project

by Dmitry Kirsanov 28. October 2011 23:41

Good Captcha in ASP.NET will make your website free from spamI’ve created a small sample project for Mondor's Captcha (see the full project page here). As some people are asking at the forum about how to implement it in ASP.NET project, I decided to make a quick sample for both development environment and production IIS.

MS CAPTCHA is a free component for ASP.NET which implements “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart” – an image which “only people” could read. In case of Mondor’s CAPTCHA, it also contains unique feature called “Arithmetic”, which displays simple formula, so even if bot will be able to read “2 + 2”, it will type “2+2” as an answer, while there should be 4.


ExecuteAs utility

by Dmitry Kirsanov 28. October 2011 01:50

Well, yet another useful command line utility. This one is for system administrators in need to run some command on behalf of another user.

Why bother, if there is a command in Windows, called runas? Well, mainly because it doesn’t accept the password as command line parameter, and also because I wanted to add more features to such simple process.

This is the help text you get when running this program without parameters:

Syntax: executeas.exe /u:UserName /p:Password /x:Priority /d:Domain /a:Affinity /quiet /hide /noprofile /wait /t:60 [program name]
Where t is a timeout in seconds to wait for program completion.
The only required parameter is program name. You can place command line arguments after the program name.

As you can understand, UserName is the user name of target user without the domain name,
Password is his password,
Priority is the priority at which you want this program to be executed (1 – idle, 2 – below normal, 3 – normal, 4 – above normal, 5 – high),
Domain is the domain part of the user name, if needed,
Affinity is how many CPU cores you’d like to use,
Quiet won’t produce any output,
Hide will hide the target program, so it will not be displayed to user,
NoProfile means that profile of target user won’t be loaded,
Wait will wait until the target program will be completed – useful when running from batch file.

So, here it is and have fun!

As  always, .net framework is required for this program to run. This time it’s .net 3.5, which is installed by default on Windows 7 and is available as feature on Windows Server 2008. (3.99 kb)

Windows Live is alive

by Dmitry Kirsanov 12. September 2011 03:10

Do you remember such thing as Outlook Express? A lightweight e-mail client from Microsoft which was the part of operating system since the stone age. It was separated from Windows for good, so unlike in Windows XP, we don’t have to cut it from the distribution DVD anymore. However, once separating some applications from the system, Microsoft added a few more tools to the Live family.

One of them is the one I am using at this particular moment – Windows Live Writer. The thing looks like a Microsoft Office 2010 product, something similar to FrontPage, but it’s about blogging. Whatever platform you are using for your blog, it can connect to it and you can use this wonderful editor without ever having to log into your blog. Styles, working with resources - everything is here. And it’s free.

Another one is irreplaceable for me and it is called Live Mesh. Once you’ve got your free 5Gb space at Windows Live, called SkyDrive, you can synchronize folders between your multiple computers. Like, for example, between home and work machine, so you can make sure that two folders on these machines are equal. Works perfectly for source code sharing for my notebooks and desktop, as having multiple versions of hundreds of files is a pain.
Another feature of Live Mesh is remote desktop, which works also through proxy and is just great when you want to log into your home computer but don’t want to set the remote desktop NAT rules. At some point it is more secure, as you won’t forget to switch off your rules later.

I know how hard it is to find a gem in a pile of software and services, so if you have a problem that any of these two programs solve, try them out!

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