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May

22

Enterprise Library error: Binary format of the specified custom attribute was invalid fix for Visual Studio 2010

By pcurd

I’ve just started to work on a project and I am using the Enterprise Library 4.1 (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/cc467894.aspx) , download at (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=1643758B-2986-47F7-B529-3E41584B6CE5&displaylang=en) in Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1.

I kept running into a really annoying problem, an error using DatabaseFactory.Create():

System.Reflection.CustomAttributeFormatException: Binary format of the specified custom attribute was invalid.

and

build key Build Key[Microsoft.Practices.EnterpriseLibrary.Data.Database, null]) failed: Binary format of the specified custom attribute was invalid.

Turns out that Enterprise Library 4.1 doesn’t support .Net Framework 4.0 (http://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=444020) so I changed the Project Preferences to use .Net 3.5 and it worked perfectly.

Oct

18

Firefox gets down with the natives

By pcurd

Firefox 3, due out “soon”, is at a conundrum.  Do they want to maintain a familiar look and feel across borders or go native on each platform?

News.com covers the story nicely.

Personally I agree that fitting in to the host system is a good idea – it makes for easier integration and one could argue shorter learning times but as a user of three separate operating systems (Windows, Ubuntu and OSX)  I like that Firefox looks the same on all of them.  I use Google Browser Sync to keep my bookmarks up to date, del.icio.us (and it’s firefox addon) for the rest and don’t have to worry about it.  I use Firefox far more than any other application – can’t imagine my day to day life without it.

I’m probably bias – in fact I am – because I don’t like the look of Safari or of IE so I naturally want Firefox to look like Firefox.  I don’t use Opera because I don’t know how it works and because I’m afraid it won’t do what I want.  I know Firefox will but that isn’t the reason I use it.  Something about it feels right.

I’m writing this on a machine without Firefox (need to put Portable Apps Firefox on the network!) and I feel icky inside.  It’s a browser with tabbing so I’m able to survive having 20 web pages open without clogging up the OS but it just doesn’t feel right. I can’t bring myself to think of using Firefox and having it look.. like this.  It’s just wrong. 

So I would definately definately keep Firefox looking as it does – or at least ship the current default skin as an option.  I guess that’s the great thing about open software -if I don’t like it, I don’t have to lump it.

Sep

5

The Hoff

By pcurd

Recently my ISP’s holding company, “Pipex Internet Ltd”, has been using David Hasselhoff as their mascot/front man for what I can only imagine is comedy reasons.

For example:

Me and The Hoff

(Me and The Hoff in a publicity Web2.0 tool generated picture)

If you have managed to live in sufficiently large holes for the last 55 years, David Hasslehoff is a legend of television and film acting. He was of course the star of Knight Rider, a superb piece of early 80’s entertainment and financier/star of Baywatch – according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Baywatch is the most watched TV show in the world, with over 1.1 billion viewers.

Now it had occurred to me that someone is paying for this and that it might be me. Surely some percentage of my monthly subscription is going to Pipex rather than my own ISP so some percentage of that money must be going to The Hoff… Whilst advertising is important, and what with The Hoff being a meme at the moment I have no problem with that. I for one welcome our hair chested overlord. However the story gets complicated once you realise that Pipex has been sold to Tiscali.. now Tiscali has no mascot that I am aware of, no media attention beyond their own advertising and so I began to fear – is The Hoff still receiving my pennies? Only one way to find out – email accounts!

My Email:

Good evening,

I notice from recent media coverage that elements of the Pipex Group, owners of Freedom2Surf, have been sold to Tiscali.

As a long standing customer I would be interested in knowing how the distribution of my monthly subscription will be effected by this change in ownership. Particularly if a proportion of my fee will still be going directly to The Hoff as I imagine it has since Pipex recruited their legendary mascot?

I appreciate you taking the time to respond to this request, it may well be a deciding factor in whether I remain a customer of Freedom2Surf in the coming months.

Regards,

Peter Curd

Now Freedom2Surf have excellent support staff, very helpful and knowledgeable but I was not expecting as full a reply as I received.

Their Reply: (names changed to protect the innocent)

Hi Peter

We can confirm that Pipex Internet Ltd including Freedom2Surf has been sold to Tiscali UK.

Your monthly subscription will continue to be paid directly to Freedom2Surf as it always has been and there will be no change to this.

Unfortunately at this time we can not confirm what if any proportion of this subscription will be paid towards ‘The Hoff’.

I am sorry we could not fully answer your query at this time.

If you have any further queries please reply to this email or alternatively telephone the billing team on the number shown below.

Kind regards

*****
Freedom2Surf Billing Team

Sadly my question remains unanswered, but perhaps it is best left that way.

Aug

8

Online Music Services

By pcurd

I’m a huge fan of free (as in beer), and who isn’t?, but I do get scared by free music. Free music can be found at a multitude of places but this post isn’t about where, it’s about how.

My current favourite is Seeqpod which spiders the web using something they call biomimetic search and discovery. Effectively, it is designed to mix up good ole’ fashioned guesswork and copy (hence the mimetic) the way that human minds link information and recall connections. It’s a very cool idea and from the results it gets, it works. Certainly a new approach to trawling podcasts etc. But most scary of all is the built in audio player. Not only can you search for music, as you can with some jiggery pokery in google but you can listen to it directly within the results. Isn’t that a littttle close to breaking some RIAA noses? The video player launches videos within the indexed sites video tool (for example a YouTube video opens in the recently launched external YouTube player) which at least pushes some of the load off to the video site. You could, and I would, argue that the site only indexes what is already available rather than actually distributing works however that argument hasn’t worked well before, Digg, and I can’t see it working in every case.

Is the guy who gives you stolen goods breaking the law? Yes. Is the guy who tells you where the guy who gives you stolen goods breaking the law? Pretty much, yes. It’s conspiracy to commit an offence.

More so than any legal problem, how do they intend to stay in business? There are no adverts on the site. Not even the ubiquitous Google AdSense to be seen. It’s currently a university project form UC’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory which might explain that. Perhaps a future link to Amazon will fund it? I assume that no music data crosses their servers so really all they have is an indexing business to run. The page itself is AJAX and Flash so limited bandwidth there and frequent users will have it all cached anyway.

Maybe it’s not so hard to be innovative for free these days?

I’d be interested in any music services you can recommend. Criteria are : Free as in beer, bonus points for OSS; able to find a range of music; easy; fast; Firefox compatible.