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Posted on February 4, 2013 10:49 by Haider
We were pretty amused looking at the Windows 8 preview. The graphic designer in the office said he felt like touching the screen. The Metro interface has been designed specially for touch screen (tablet, smart phone etc.) so it is a step towards the right direction. Great!
But here is the problem: of all the 25+ workstations in the office, the number of touchscreen monitors we have is a whopping ZERO. We are professionals working with workstations, some featuring mulitple monitors. After wasting a good couple of hours trying to figure out how to access the most trivial aspects of Windows. I, as the system admin, happily gave up on Windows 8.
Windows 7 is serving us just fine! There is no reason to go through the pain of upgrading to Windows 8 so we would have to re-learn the operating system. The Start menu has been in Windows ever since we can remember. It had gotten a lot better over the previous generations of Windows. The search box in Start menu is something I have gotten quite accustomed to, and I have no idea what is being accomplished by the great minds at Microsoft by removing the most used UI element of the Operating System, with absolutely no option to enable it!
In Windows 8, you have to take the mouse to four corners of the screen and yet you would accomplish less than what the little Windows button on your keyboard does in Windows 7. Beauty!
Like another person said in the office, before he even looked at Windows 8: Microsoft is going to screw up Windows 8, and get it right again by Windows 10. Speaking from experience, of course. We had to stick with Windows XP through all the nonsense and then upgrade to Windows 7 when things settled down.
Microsoft's message is very clear to us IT professionals: Don't bother upgrading to Windows 8, stick with windows 7.
This we can do, but the problem is with Windows Server 2012. Putting a touchscreen friendly interface on the server, and removing the friendly Start Menu is beyond my comprehension! Yes, the server manager is far more capable now, and we can take care of most of the things from the Server Manager, but the Metro's search of "Apps" and "Settings" etc. is more than a practical jokes to the Admins.
Are you suggesting that we start referring to SQL Server and Exchange Servers as "Apps", because that is the popular term today for smart phone applications?
Bring back the start menu before it is too late.
Posted on August 27, 2012 05:26 by Haider
Much anticipated Windows Server 2012 (formerly Windows Server 8) was finally released to us on Aug 15th. Depending on what your interests are, you may have been waiting to look at different aspects of the new Windows Server. One of my primary interest, of course, is Hyper-V. We had a brand new Xeon E5 based server with 128GB of RAM and 12TB capacity waiting to be setup with Windows Server 2012. Now that I have installed and took a quick look at Hyper-V in 2012, here is my first impression:
- Despite many enhancements in Hyper-V, the fundamental approach remains the same. You should have no problem getting started with it, if you have been working with Hyper-V on Windows 2008.
- Many of the new features, such as replica or shared nothing live migration, does not work if the server is not part of a domain (bummer)
Moving a VM from Windows 2008 R2 Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V
First thing I wanted to try and move a production VM from Windows 2008 R2 to Windows 2012. Since live migration was not an option, I decided to export the VM, copy the files into the new server, then import it. Here is a couple of things to remember if you decided to take this approach.
- Saved states are not compatible between the two Hyper-V versions. So don't save and export the VMs, shut down then export.
- Integration services have to updated in the guest VM, once moved to Windows Server 2012. Mount the integration disck from Hyper-V manager and install from within the VM
I moved the VM with saved state. First, import feature in Hyper-V 2012 reported that saved state will not be compatible. Then after the import was complete, I was not able to resume the VM. It quits with an error. I found no way to discard the saved state, but deleting the saved state files worked!
So far Hyper-V in Windows 2012 looks good. although I don't appreciate the metro like GUI on the Windows 2012 Server, it is not as much of an obstacle as I initially thought. Although I would take the start menu back anyday.
Posted on August 25, 2012 12:08 by Haider
As I switch between 7 different servers located at 3 different location accross the country, it makes me realize how easy much of my work has been because of Remote Desktop. Some of the things I have been able to accomplished over the past 10 years were only possible because of Remote Desktop.
When I am at home, I am logged onto my desktop at work all the time, working as if I am sitting in my office. Sometimes I am logging into the servers from iPhone, and carry out emergency tasks!
Because of Remote Desktop, I only have to keep all my projects in one place, and no matter where I am, I can carry on my work as long there is a PC with an Internet connection. Last year I travelled for 2 months and visited 3 different countries, all the while keeping a connection to my workstation back in the office, and making sure everything is running smoothly.
So Thank you! Remote Desktop.
And thanks to all the people who are behind it.
Posted on November 15, 2011 08:27 by Haider
The RazorEngine project on CodePlex is a powerful Templating library that utilizes the Razor Syntax. If you are trying to use this library and wondering where is the HtmlTemplateBase<> as it is shown on the project's page, it does not really exist! That code snippet on RazorEngine's home page is an example of what you could possibly do with that library.
There is a thread on the project's discussion board where this is being discussed. Apparently no one had time to put it together.
So I wrote a version of my own HtmlTemplateBase<> that supports the Html Helper and ViewBag. You should be able to add Ajax Helper if you need it. I won't go into much details, as the code should be self explanatory. I am not saying this is the best way to do it, but it works.
Some people commented that it does not work in Winform. This is not intended for Winform context. I do not need it in Winform at the moment and haven't looked into an implementation that would work outside of HttpContext/WebPageContext. Sorry!
/*** HtmlTemplateBase<> ***/
/*** Author: Abu Haider
/*** September, 2011
/*** To be used as the Template base with the RazorEngine on CodePlex
/*** Copyright 2011, Abu Haider, www.haiders.net
/*** Use at your own risk
public class HtmlTemplateBase:TemplateBase, IViewDataContainer
private HtmlHelper helper = null;
private ViewDataDictionary viewdata = null;
private System.Dynamic.DynamicObject viewbag = null;
public dynamic ViewBag
return (WebPageContext.Current.Page as WebViewPage).ViewBag;
public HtmlHelper Html
if (helper == null)
var p = WebPageContext.Current;
var wvp = p.Page as WebViewPage;
var context = wvp != null ? wvp.ViewContext : null;
helper = new HtmlHelper(context, this);
public ViewDataDictionary ViewData
if (viewbag == null)
var p = WebPageContext.Current;
var viewcontainer = p.Page as IViewDataContainer;
viewdata = new ViewDataDictionary(viewcontainer.ViewData);
if (this.Model != null)
viewdata.Model = Model;
viewdata = value;
Using the HtmlTemplateBase<>
Make sure this class is part of your Web/MVC Project. It will work in the context of a WebPages (MVC) only, unless you tweak it a little to work on WebForms. It's fairly simple to use this as the Template base class. Before parsing any Template, use this single line of code:
- This will not work in Winform context, because it uses the current WebPageContext for some of the functionality.
- This will add support for Html.EditorFor<>(), Html.EditorForModel<>() etc. within your Template.
- The Html Helper in your template will use the Model and Model Type that you use for the Template, not the Model Type of the Webpage it is being parsed in. Of course they can be the same. Much like the Html.Partial() helper method.
- The ViewBag will have all items added at the Page level prior to parsing the Template. You can set ViewBag items within your Template and they will be available at the Page level once you parse/execute the Template. However, if you set an item using ViewData["..."] = Value within your Template, it will not be available with ViewBag.ItemKey, within your Template, or outside the Template.
Hopefully this code will be enough to get you started on this.
Posted on September 29, 2011 03:33 by Haider