Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Free .NET Utility Libraries

I’ve recently come across two useful utility code libraries in C#:

BclExtras by Jared Par

MiscUtils by Jon Skeet

Some interesting concepts and useful code in both.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Team Foundation Server Power Tools (October 2008)

I missed this new release of the Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server Power Tools back in October.

New in the October Release:

Team Members

  • Adds a new node under each Team Project to the Team Explorer called "Team Members" that identifies people who work on the project. Serves as a "pivot point" for information about and operations on people and teams.
Windows Shell Extension
  • Allows core version control operations within Windows Explorer without using Team Explorer.
PowerShell Support
  • Provides a PowerShell pipeline and cmdlets for TFS. Initial support is for basic version control operations.
TFPT (updated)
  • tfpt searchcs - the Search Changesets Power Tool brings up a dialog from which the user can search for changesets that match specific combination of criteria including server path, committed date range, committed user, check-in comments and check-in notes.
  • tfpt unshelve /undo - finds all pending changes in your workspace that match the changes in the shelveset and undoes them (including deleting the local files for pending adds).

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Think Your PC has a Fast CPU?

I'm in the process of putting together the spec. for a new PC using one of the new Intel i7 chips, the Quad core 920 2.66MHz. I've been holding off until they (and the motherboards) fall out of the premium price bracket, which due to the less than stellar Aussie Dollar, is taking a bit longer than expected. I was interested how the top end CPUs compared and came across this very interesting benchmark graph. (OK, I know benchmarks should be taken cum grano salis)

Check out that quad Opteron 8354. Sweet!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


SQL Server’s Built-in Traces

Most people are aware that when SQL Server is installed, it starts a lightweight background trace known as the default trace. If this has not been disabled (and it’s unlikely that it will have been), this trace will be running with a trace ID of 1:

SELECT * FROM sys.traces

This trace includes a small set of events for server starts and stops, object deletion and creation, log and data file autogrowth and other changes at the database level. One of the things this trace is useful for is unexpected events, such as finding out who dropped a table. You can examine the default trace’s contents in the same way as any other trace using fn_trace_gettable():

DECLARE @path varchar(256)

SELECT @path = path
FROM sys.traces
where id = 1

FROM fn_trace_gettable(@path, 1)

Another less known background trace that comes preconfigured with SQL Server 2005 is the BlackBox trace. Its primary use is in diagnosing intermittent server crashes and can be started by setting the @options parameter of sp_trace_create to 8. This trace uses 2 rollover files and toggles between them as one reaches its maximum size, which is configurable. A great tip from Chapter 2 of “Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2005: Query Tuning and Optimisation” is to wrap the blackbox trace definition in a stored procedure, and configure the stored procedure to run when SQL Server starts (that way intermittent problems are more likely to be captured after restarts):

USE master
DECLARE @TraceId int
DECLARE @maxfilesize bigint
SET @maxfilesize = 25 –- 25MB maximum file size
EXEC sp_trace_create
@TraceId OUTPUT,
@options = 8,
@tracefile = NULL, -- NULL = default SQL Server data file folder location: you might want to change this…
@maxfilesize = @maxfilesize
EXEC sp_trace_setstatus @TraceId, 1

Set the procedure to start automatically when SQL Server is started:

EXEC sp_procoption 'StartBlackBoxTrace', 'STARTUP', 'ON'

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Regular Expressions Cheat Sheet

A while ago, I posted a link to a regular expressions cheat (or crib) sheet. Due to the demise of the original domain this content has moved to

An updated version of the Regular Expressions cheat sheet is here. It's a great resource to print out and pin to your cubicle wall. The examples are best experimented with in a tool like Expresso.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Leap Year Snags 30GB Zunes

If you own a 30GB Zune you might have found that it didn't work too well today! The reason is reported to be a bug in the code which calculates the date and time from an offset.


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