# Monday, 11 September 2006
Yesterday my daughter and I hiked from Timberline lodge out to Zig Zag Canyon.  What a nice hike!  Just about the right length, and the weather up there was perfect yesterday.  Check out the pictures.

Definitely a good hike for even medium-sized kids, and the views are fantastic.

Monday, 11 September 2006 14:07:05 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

I've been a contented user of AnkhSVN for a while now, and love the way it deals with integrating Subversion into VS.NET. 

I've also been using VS 2005, and the formerly WinFX now .NET 3.0 pre-release versions for some time.  A few months back, I got into a state where all the .NET 3.0 stuff worked fine on my machine, except the WF extensions for VisualStudio.  If I installed the WF extensions, VS.NET 2005 would hang on the splash screen with 100% CPU for ever.  Very frustrating.  I'd been putting off solving the problem, instead just uninstalling the WF stuff, but I really need to work on some WF stuff, so I tried again with the recently released RC1 bits of .NET 3.0.  Still no joy.

However, all the WF stuff works fine on my laptop.  What could be the difference?, I asked myself.  AnkhSVN, I answered.  So I tried uninstalling it on my desktop machine, and hey presto, VS 2005 starts up just fine with WF extensions intact. 

Hmmmm.

I'll look and see if there's a more recent version of AnkhSVN than I had installed, and give that a try.  I'd hate to not be able to use it.

Update:  I installed the latest version of AnkhSvn (1.0 RC3), and it works fine now. 

Monday, 11 September 2006 14:04:42 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [1]  | 
# Monday, 21 August 2006

We just got back from a week's vacation in sunny Marin County CA (just across the Golden Gate from San Francisco, for those not up on Californian geography).  We were visiting family and checking out goings on in "the City", which we haven't done in 4-5 years. 

I was quite surprised to discover that the California Academy of Sciences, which was one of my favorite destinations as a kid, is being rebuilt.  We showed up in Golden Gate Park, (finally) found parking, and were all set to go to the aquarium and visit the stuffed lions when we came around the bend to find a big hole in the ground, surrounded by cranes.  So we went to the recently renovated Deyoung art museum instead, and hit the temporary location of the Academy (near Moscone Center) the next day. 

We also squeezed in a visit to the new Asian Art Museum, much of which used to be the Brundage (sp?) Collection at the Deyoung.  The new building is beautiful, and very well laid out.  It's designed to be viewed as a progression over time and distance, starting with India and South Asia, through SE Asia, and then East Asia (China, Korea, Japan).  The new Deyoung is also very well laid out.  Don't be put off by the exterior.  It'll grow on you as you get closer, and the inside is fantastic. 

Our tour ended with a day in Sonoma, where we checked out the historical sights, like Valejo's house, the Sonoma Mission, and Jack London State Park, which has a very nice museum, and where you can see the ruins of London's "Wolf House" which burned down a month before he could move in. 

The weather turned out to be very pleasant, and in fact it was hotter here in Portland when we got home yesterday.  Go figure.  Hotter in Portland than in Redding?  Who'd have thunk it. :-)

Monday, 21 August 2006 13:18:16 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Thursday, 10 August 2006

I have progressed a bit.  At least I seems to have an install where ADAM and AzMan will coexist happily in the same ADAM instance, and I can retrieve a user from the ADAM store.  I can also add roles to AzMan programatically, so that's all good.  However, I still can't add an ADAM principal to AzMan as a member of a role.
This is supposed to work...

   15           string roleName = "RetailUser";

   16 

   17             MembershipUser user = Membership.GetUser("TestUser@bank.com");

   18             Console.WriteLine(user.ProviderUserKey);

   19 

   20             IAzAuthorizationStore2 azStore = new AzAuthorizationStoreClass();

   21             azStore.Initialize(0, "msldap://localhost:50000/CN=Test,CN=AzMan,O=AzManPartition", null);

   22             IAzApplication2 azApp = azStore.OpenApplication2("TestApp", null);

   23 

   24             IAzTask task = azApp.CreateTask(roleName, null);

   25             task.IsRoleDefinition = -1;

   26             task.Submit(0, null);

   27             IAzRole role = azApp.CreateRole(roleName, null);

   28             role.AddTask(roleName, null);

   29             role.Submit(0, null);

   30 

   31             IAzRole newRole = azApp.OpenRole(roleName, null);

   32 

   33 

   34             newRole.AddMember(user.ProviderUserKey.ToString(), null);

   35             newRole.Submit(0, null);

And should result in TestUser@bank.com being added to the role "RetailUser". 
Sadly, on that last line, I get

System.ArgumentException was unhandled
  Message="Value does not fall within the expected range."
  Source="Microsoft.Interop.Security.AzRoles"
  StackTrace:
       at Microsoft.Interop.Security.AzRoles.IAzRole.Submit(Int32 lFlags, Object varReserved)
       at ADAMAz.Program.Main(String[] args) in C:\Documents and Settings\PCauldwell\My Documents\Visual Studio 2005\Projects\ADAMAz\ADAMAz\Program.cs:line 35
       at System.AppDomain.nExecuteAssembly(Assembly assembly, String[] args)
       at System.AppDomain.ExecuteAssembly(String assemblyFile, Evidence assemblySecurity, String[] args)
       at Microsoft.VisualStudio.HostingProcess.HostProc.RunUsersAssembly()
       at System.Threading.ThreadHelper.ThreadStart_Context(Object state)
       at System.Threading.ExecutionContext.Run(ExecutionContext executionContext, ContextCallback callback, Object state)
       at System.Threading.ThreadHelper.ThreadStart()

All I can figure is that AzMan doesn't like the SID as generated above. 
I'm running this on XP SP2, with the 2003 Management tools, and ADAM SP1 installed.  I'm fearing that I may have to run this on 2003 R2 to get it to work.


Thursday, 10 August 2006 17:07:15 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 

I’m having a heck of a time trying to get ADAM and AzMan to work together.  The vision is that I’d like to use ADAM as both the store for AzMan, and the source of principals to use inside AzMan, rather than principals from AD.  Using ADAM as the store is pretty straightforward, but the second bit is turning out to be a lot harder.  In addition, I’m trying to use the ASP.NET Membership object to mediate between ADAM and AzMan, and seeing some weird stuff.  I was able to use Membership.GetUser(“username”) to pull the user from an ADAM store, but only until I installed AzMan using the same ADAM instance as its store.  After that, the call to GetUser started returning null.  Once I get that working, I think I understand how to add the principals to AzMan, but have yet to see it work.

Hmm.  (Or possibly “arghh!”.)

Work continues. 

Unfortunately, the documentation I’ve been able to turn up is sketchy at best, and it all assumes that you are using ASP.NET (I’m not) and really just want to make Membership work.  Sigh.

To further confuse things, the only way to get the AzMan management tools on XP is to install the 2003 Server management kit, but that doesn’t contain the PIA for AzMan.  That only gets installed on actual 2003 systems, so I’ll have to try and track one down.

Thursday, 10 August 2006 11:05:04 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [1]  | 
# Monday, 07 August 2006
There’s a great (relatively new) site for hikers around the Portland area called (aptly enough) PortlandHikers.com.  There are forums for trip reports (many of which come with beautiful photos), gear reviews, and other topics related to hiking our part of the Great NW.  You can check out the pictures I posted of our hike to the Indian Heaven wilderness last weekend, which turned out to be a great trip.  Nice weather, good company, and a very pretty lake to camp next to.
Monday, 07 August 2006 23:10:39 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 02 August 2006

I’ve been doing some exploration of the Peer Channel in WCF over the last week or so.  It’s a pretty cool idea.  Basically, the peer channel provides a way to do multi-cast messages with WCF, where all parties involved get a call at (essentially) the same time.  Better still, it’s not just a simple broadcast, but a “mesh” with some pretty complex algorithms for maximizing network resources, etc. 

The hard part is in the bootstrapping.  When you want to join the “mesh”, you have to have at least one other machine to talk to so that you can get started.  Where does that one machine live?  Tricky.  The best case solution is to use what MS calls PNRP, or the Peer Name Resolution Protocol.  There’s a well known address at microsoft.com that will be the bootstrapping server to get you going.  Alternatively, you can set up your own bootstrap servers, and change local machine configurations to go there instead.  All this depends on the Peer Networking system in XP SP2 and up, so some things have to be configured at the Win32 level to get everything working.  The drawback (and it’s a big one) to PNRP is that it depends on IPv6.  It took me quite a while to ferret out that bit of information, since it’s not called out in the WCF docs.  I finally found it in the Win32 docs for the Peer Networking system. 

This poses a problem.  IPv6 is super cool and everything, but NOBODY uses it.  I’m sure there are a few hearty souls out there embracing it fully, but it’s just not there in the average corporate environment.  Apparently, our routers don’t route IPv6, so PNRP just doesn’t work. 

The way to solve this little problem with WCF is to write a Custom Peer Resolver.  You implement your own class, derived from PeerResolver, and it provides some way to register with a mesh, and get a list of the other machines in the mesh you want to talk to.  There’s a sample peer resolver that ships with the WCF samples, which works great.  Unfortunately, it stores all the lists of machines-per-mesh in memory, which suddenly makes it a single point of failure in an enterprise system, which makes me sad…

That said, I’ve been working on a custom resolver that is DB backed instead of memory backed.  This should allow us to run it across a bunch of machines, and have it not be a bottleneck.  I’m guessing that once everyone has joined the mesh, there won’t be all that much traffic, so I don’t think performance should be a big deal. 

The next step will be WS-Discovery over PeerChannel.  I’ve seen a couple of vague rumors of this being “worked on” but I haven’t seen anything released anywhere.  If someone knows different I’d love to hear about it.

Indigo | Work
Wednesday, 02 August 2006 14:10:43 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [2]  | 

Yes, it’s happened again.  Yet another technology/trend which appeared in Neal Stephenson’s seminal novel Snow Crash has come to (almost) fruition.  I think he called it “sintergel” or some such.  This new technology joins the burbclave and a host of other trends that Stephenson predicted back in the day. 

Liquid Body Armor By End Of 2007

The company Armor Holdings is developing a liquid-type of body armor to either replace or enhance the current tough fiber and polymer armor that's in use today. The liquid can be smeared on a person, or a person's clothing, and stiffens when hit by an object. [Gizmodo]

Wednesday, 02 August 2006 09:54:15 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [2]  | 
# Tuesday, 11 July 2006

One of the things the has irked my about using SVN with VisualStudio.NET is trying to set up a new project.  You’ve got some new thing that you just cooked up, and now you need to get it into Subversion so it doesn’t get lost.  Unfortunatley that means you have to “import” it into SVN, being careful not to include any of the unversionable VS.NET junk files, then check it out again, probably some place else, since Tortoise doesn’t seem to dig checking out over the existing location.  Big pain.

Along comes Ankh to the rescue.  I’ve been using it off and on for a while (version .6 built from the source) but now I’m hooked.  It adds the traditional “Add to source control” menu item in VS.NET, and it totally did the right thing.  Imported, checked out to the same location (in place) and skipped all the junk files.  Worked like a charm.  I’m definitely a believer now.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006 10:46:49 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [3]  | 

I’m a big fan of watching TV shows after they come out on DVD.  You don’t have to deal with the commercials, and you can be assured of not missing anything.  Plus, I don’t have cable, so it’s about the only way I ever see TV.  Anyway, Vikki and I just finished season 1 of Veronica Mars.  What a fantastic show.  I can see why Joss Whedon calls it the best show that noone is watching.  Great dialogue, good acting (mostly), great story arc, and I totally didn’t see the ending coming. 

While each episode explores a subplot about the rigors of high school, etc. the overarching story line is about a murder mystery, and the season ends with the murderer revealed (it’s not who you think).  They pulled off some very interesting plot twists throughout.  I’m breathlessly anticipating season 2 next month.  There are still a number of open questions which I’m hoping they’ll pursue in the second season. 

If you like the Whedonverse (BtVS/Angel/Firefly) you’ll probably like Veronica Mars.  Best dialogue this side of Joss himself.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006 10:42:52 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |