Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not every computer is online

I had to test some installers yesterday. Four of them. I needed to run them on a virgin machine, so I could test all the installation of prerequisites. So, I wiped my notebook, and put Vista on it, using the factory install DVD. I hoped to use the XP on the machine, but I'd never activated it, and despite having a license, activation failed. So, I went the quickest route open to me.

Vista is frustrating, as always. In fact, after running the uninstaller once, I found that the control panel stopped working. It would flash up and disappear. If I ran in safe mode, it works, but gives an obscure message about permissions when I try to uninstall something. For the record, I installed .NET 3.5, Acrobat, and my program, so one of those screwed it up. I was able to keep working by running Programs and Features ( because they HAD to rename it in Vista, or it may have been easy to find the first time I used it ), from My Computer.

So, my installer is running, and taking *forever*. I know the stupid .NET 3.5 install claims to be downloading, even tho I have the full version on the DVD. I suddenly realise, it's trying to connect to download, even though it doesn't need to, and timing out five times before noticing it has the data locally. Then it moves up a bit, and repeats the sequence. It's bad enough that our clients are shown a screen saying that .NET 3.5 is downloading, when it's not, but this is just the height of stupidity in my opinion. I was at a family dinner, testing, so I didn't have the option of connecting to the web, which slowed down my work considerably. Another example of Microsoft's inability to see past their own assumptions, and consider what the possible situation of real users may just well be.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


So, I am using the Windows Media Player control within my WPF project, because the built in control is too slow. My problem is, I want the control to not play the video right away, but to have it loaded, so there's no moment of black screen when you press play. The only way I can see to do this, is to turn off the volume, tell it to play, and when it starts, pause it and turn the volume back on. Which is, of course, messy.

What is also messy, is that when I search the MSDN, the media play control has a ton of different types of volume settings. One allows for the volume to go between 0.0 and 1.0, with 0.0 being off. At other times, the windows media player control apparently has settings between 0 and -10,000, where 0 is full volume. When I find the right documentation, for the right version of the object, it tells me that the settings property "... gets an IWMPSettings interface that provides a way to modify various Windows Media Player settings." What is a IWMPSettings interface ? What does it expose ? I did find a link which would tell me that, and, for the purposes of the COM control, under C#, the range is 0 to 100. I think. I mean, it's not really clear enough for me to be sure, given all the other options I have been given. I'll try that and see.

My point today is - why does Microsoft have to do the same thing 100 different ways ? Why can't they just decide on something and stick to it ?