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Alan McBee's Professional Blog
By Alan on 2014-07-19T13:10:57

I was “invited” to help someone repair a computer with Windows 8.1 that kept booting to a black screen. It only got just far past the initial Windows logo with the spinning dots “wait” indicator, and then it would just black out. This happened even when we put a bootable DVD in the optical drive and booted from it. Since we never got to the Windows UI, it was impossible to configure the startup sequence to prompt for diagnostics (the F8 menu).

After some tinkering with video cards and BIOS setups, I tried removing his primary boot drive and putting in one I knew was good, and it worked fine. That suggested that the problem lay with his drive, and not with the motherboard, video adapters, or the BIOS.

I removed his drive and put it into another computer. The BIOS POST complained that it couldn’t find a drive, but let me boot up anyway.

Windows had a really hard time working with the drive. It recognized that there was a drive, but wouldn’t do much else.

I tried running the...
By Alan on 2014-05-23T12:14:52
While these are libraries that I'm using in my specific project, I find these libraries generally useful, and for my own sake, I'm recording them and what I like about them.
By Alan on 2014-05-22T10:59:54

Well, right after I Tweeted how much I liked the Merge Conflict resolution built into Visual Studio 2013

… I ran into a weird problem where I could not resolve a DLL merge conflict. This is how I finally solved the problem, and all the steps in between.

By Alan on 2013-09-07T16:21:54

Git has really been giving me fits with its aggressive merge feature.

By Alan on 2013-04-04T09:00:37
Some stupid spambot is annoying me with spam trackbacks. They don't get through because trackbacks have to be confirmed. Nonetheless, I'm tired of deleting the half-dozen entries they make every day. So, until further notice, trackback links are disabled. Death to spammers.
By Alan on 2013-04-02T12:26:09

Taken from, these are the shortcuts that I think are cooler than most, and that aren’t really advertised on the tutorials, etc..

By Alan on 2013-01-14T16:42:17

Thanks to Carl and Richard of DotNetRocks, I got turned on to two tools for quickly setting up a machine just the way I like it.


By Alan on 2013-01-02T21:56:10

A friend of mine had a question which I thought would better be answered publicly than privately.

What do you feel is a manageable sized block (e.g. class, script, function) of code?

50 lines?

100 lines?

500 lines?

1,000 lines?



By Alan on 2012-10-23T16:53:26

If you haven’t heard about this, and if you do any work with HTML and Javascript at all, then I strongly recommend you take a look at this: TypeScript.


By Alan on 2012-10-22T19:17:36

I really am not a fan of anything from Oracle. Overpriced or overly complicated, it’s just never felt right working with anything from them.

Bear in mind, I am not one of those über-geeks that likes to memorize complex command abbreviations and all the parameters for a shell. I like GUIs, even though I am very comfortable with command line interfaces.

Anywho. I’m experimenting with Windows 8 for a presentation, and I am not willing to try to replace the native OS on this laptop yet, so virtualization is the way to go.

I was a little disappointed to find out that Windows 8 does not run in Windows Virtual PC.

But it does run in Oracle VirtualBox, mostly.


Recent Comments

Re: WebFormsMvp and the AutoDataBind property
That's a great question, and I am going to do what I can to answer it, but I won't be able to answer it well here.

I've spent the last several weeks working with WebFormsMvp under different scenarios to try and understand better how to use it well. There are a number of assumptions that WebFormsMvp makes that, if you don't understand them, will cause a lot of challenges.

One major assumption is that you are a master with managing ViewState and understanding data binding, especially as they relate to data-binding controls (like PageDataSource which derives from ObjectDataSource). While I was certainly not new to those features, I confess that I learned quite a lot these past few weeks.

Once I have my tests working where I'm positive I understand them correctly, I will be posting some explanations and suggestions on this site. Please stay tuned, but meanwhile, experiment with very small apps, and trace those experiments very thoroughly to make sure you understand how everything works.

Re: WebFormsMvp and the AutoDataBind property

How will this work if you had one parent mvp page which determines what your NameDropDownList will bind to.
I have tried setting autodatabind to false but then something is not quite working.
Problem is NameDropDownList dropdownlist will get populated first-time but not other times event from parent page fires.

Re: Silicon Valley Code Camp: Saturday
Hi by the way I am Sarah. Yes I agree with your response and thanks! Giving time for such organize volunteer work is really important. And I think in volunteer works, you have to learn these words, "DEDICATION and COMMITMENT".. of course enjoy every single of moment when you are around other people. As what you have said, Time is really important, and that's what I am lack of..
Re: Silicon Valley Code Camp: Saturday
That was a short response? I'd hate to see a long response.... (sigh)
Re: Silicon Valley Code Camp: Saturday
Sure. Although I'm keeping this short because I can't tell whether the comment is from a spambot.

For me, the hardest part about volunteering is just deciding to do it. There are two main tradeoffs that have to be weighed. One is that you may have to give up time, either before the event (which is what I chose) or during the event when you might otherwise spend that time networking or attending something. The other is that your Smug Quotient will go up, and you'll think you might have earned preferential treatment. While it might be true that you sometimes do get preferential treatment, you're doing it wrong if that's your reason for volunteering.

But the payoffs can be large. You'll meet the organizers, who are usually very well connected to movers and shakers. You might get preferential treatment. In my case, all of the volunteers got to attend a dinner that was normally reserved just for speakers (those movers and shakers). If you volunteer for an early slot, like I did, you can also catch the buzz on who is making a splash without having to stare at tweets for hours.

Probably the single largest payoff, though, is this: You'll feel better than you thought you would or could. It sounds trite, but it actually works. People who have actually donated to public media, or volunteered, know how true this is, even if they started from a place of timidity or curmudgeony. There's almost no downside to it, and all kinds of upside.

But it takes a small amount of fearlessness, and I do mean really small! You only need just enough to get yourself to decide to do it. Once you have decided that you will volunteer, it only gets easier and better.
Re: Silicon Valley Code Camp: Saturday
You know what I am always thinking of how it feels like to be a volunteer. I have never tried it ever in my entire life. Could you share some experiences?
Re: Windows Phone 7 Developer Launch: My App There!
Nope, that's not mine. I expanded my plans, but the main thing is that I had a day job that just concluded a MAJOR project (millions, man-years, etc.) this month. Free time has been scarce, until now. Todoist Lite looks like a cool app; I will definitely be trying it out.
Re: Windows Phone 7 Developer Launch: My App There!
So is "Todoist Lite" your app? Or did you abandon this project?

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NuGet Libraries I currently like
Using Git and branches
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Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts
Setting up new machines and environs
A Manageable Block of Code
TypeScript: A new language I can appreciate!
Running Windows 8 in an Oracle VirtualBox