Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cannot debug ASP.NET in Visual Studio

Today I stumbled upon a curious bug while developing some ASP.NET code using Visual Studio 2005: the debugger didn't work. What "didn't work" means? It completely ignored the breakpoints within the code.

After messing around with this issue for a while, I discovered that the issue is actually with IE8 (?!). If there was an instance of IE8 running prior to the debugging process, the breakpoints will be ignored.

Solution: close the IE8 window, and press F5 again in Visual Studio. Viola, now the breakpoints break.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Remote Assistant

I mentioned in the previous post that my parent's PC was broken, and that I had to put quite a few hours to get it back to normal working state.
This isn't the first time that I've provided support for their PC or the PC of some other family member of mine, and probably not the last. I guess every geek finds himself as the "family tech support".

When my brother's computer breaks down, I usually start a remote desktop session using the IM client, and solve the issue. Now, I want to have the same ability with my parents, only this time it must be done with zero interaction on their side. I want to be able to call my mom, and tell her to turn on the PC. That's it. No confirmation dialogs, no chat and no nothing.

This is why I installed on their PC the free version of LogMeIn. It starts as a service, supports wake-up-on-LAN and doesn't require any router configuration. Problem is that the user experience on my end isn't very good. Performance lag even on a 2.5Mbps line. Maybe it's a price I have to pay, or maybe there are better services which does the same and I'm not aware of.

A final tip for this post: most non-techie-parents will do just fine with a limited computer account (when using Windows/Linux). There really isn't a good reason for them to use a privileged account just for browsing the web and using Skype.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Issues wasting my time

First and foremost, since I set the integration feature between Google Buzz and my Blogger account, I wonder whether this post will also appear in my Buzz stream (for those who follow me). If so, readers have the ability to choose whether they want to use simple RSS/Atom following using a feed aggregator, or following via Buzz using whatever UI Google/3rd-parties are going to come up with.

Enough said about that, I'm wasting my evening trying to fix my parents' PC. It's 3.5 yrs old, but already behaves as if it's six. By now, it appears the DVD-RW drive is broken, one memory stick is corrupted, there are bad sectors on the HDD, and the NVidia graphics card is also misbehaving. Thankfully, I set-up on this computer a partition with Ubuntu a long time ago (now it's 8.10), and it became very valuable, as it provides memtest86+ and other tools which were used to diagnose all of those issues. Too bad most are hardware issues that cannot be easily fixed like software issues.

Other than that, I spent a few hours tagging all of the faces in my Picasa, so I can easily find pictures of people. The "People" feature in Picasa is very neat and works impressively well.