Shane O'Sullivan's technical blog… really ties the room together

Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Temporary solution for using Huawei modems in Windows

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on May 18, 2008

Microsoft, in their infinte wisdom, recently sent out a “security” update that has broken the use of many USB devices. It switches off the power of USB devices it considers to not being used. This may be fine for mice, keyboards and printers, but I use the Huawei broadband modem from O2 (also used by Vodafone an 3 Mobile here in Ireland). See one of many discussion threads about it here.

Update June 16th 2008: O2 have released a fix for this. Go to and follow their instructions. I installed their update, and so far my connection has not dropped for 5 hours or so.

Update Aug 19th 2008: I have written a simple utility application that checks your broadband usage with O2 in Ireland, rather than taking 5 minutes to find it on their website.  Read about it at .

The modem is powered down every few minutes, disconnecting you from the web, and forcing you re-enter the PIN after 10 or 20 seconds. Extremely annoying. O2 say that they and Microsoft are working on a patch, but it’s been 4 weeks or so now, and my broadband is still more or less unusable.

So, I’ve come up with a temporary fix that seems to work well. All it does is repeatedly list the contents of the the drive that the modem is mapped to (F: on my laptop) every 5 seconds. This tells Windoze that the device is in use. To use this, paste the code below into a text file whose name ends in .bat, e.g. PollModem.bat. This is an executable script file in Windows.

dir F:\
PING -n 5>nul
goto loop

Alternatively, you could download the file from

If your modem is listed as a different drive, change the drive letter from F to whatever drive it is on the second line of the script. You can find the letter by double clicking on My Computer and looking for the drive called “O2 Broadband” (this is for O2 obviously, the Vodafone and 3 Mobile modems may be called something different.)

Once you’ve saved the PollModem.bat file, double click on it. You’ll see a window pop up, listing the drive’s contents every 5 seconds. It’s been running for me now for an hour, and the modem hasn’t disconnected yet.

You’ll have to run this once each time you start Windows, but it’s far more convenient that having your broadband disconnect every 3 minutes! Hopefully 02, Huawei and MS will fix this permanently soon, but until then, this should keep you going.

Update: After using this solution for a few weeks, I’ve found that it doesn’t reliably fix the problem. However, it does seem to keep the modem alive for longer, but it will still cut out eventually. Huawei, O2, Vodafone and Microsoft (especially bloody Microsoft) had better get their act together!

Posted in broadband, Microsoft, Technical | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Software Factories in .NET, by Christian Weyer

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on August 29, 2006

I went to an interesting talk tonight by Christian Weyer, where he described some of the upcoming features in Visual Studio, namely Software Factories. Software Factories allow you to customize and extend Visual Studio much more easily than before, so you can bundle together things like wizards, context sensitive menu actions, code generation etc. The slides from the event are available here.

Being the good Java-devotee that I am (I’m not religious about it or anything, they pay me to care :-) ), I of course pointed out that this is, in many ways, very similar to Eclipse perspectives, which also allow you to easily (“easily” being relative of course) extend an Eclipse rich client application with organised packages of code in Plugins and Features. These plugins and features are used to do everything in Eclipse applications, like wizards, context sensitive menu actions, code generation etc (seeing a pattern here?).

As I promised to Christian and others, here are some useful links to Eclipse documentation on this subject:

  • This is the basic, high level description of Eclipse perspectives, more from a users point of view than a developers.
  • Eclipse Rich Client tutorials Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Part 2 is where it describes Perspectives best.
  • A book, in German (for you Christian ;) ), on the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP).
  • A screencast on Eclipse RCP application development. All RCP applications are based on Perspectives.ISV Guide pic
  • And finally, a plug, my RedPaper called “IBM Workplace Managed Client: ISV Integration Guide“, which describes a number of different methods of writing Eclipse RCP applications based on the IBM Workplace Managed Client application. (It’s really good, honest!). Much of the practices and technology described in this paper are used in the upcoming Lotus Notes release, codename Hannover.

All in all, it was a very good talk, with a packed room. It’s just a pity there wasn’t a screening of Blade Runner in a private cinema, like the last time I saw Christian present, in 2004. I guess we were a bit spoiled that time!

P.S. Thanks to Kieran from Digerati for telling me about the event.

Posted in .NET, eclipse, IBM Workplace, Microsoft, Rich Client, Technical, Visual Studio | Leave a Comment »

Dojo in .NET… Is Atlas about to drop the ball?

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on July 31, 2006

Just read about the Emergetk toolkit, bringing Dojo to .NET. Very cool idea. I wonder how this will play out against MS Atlas, Microsoft’s Ajax toolkit? They’re going to need good tooling for Visual Studio for one thing, and probably get rid of the GPL license, or else it’ll be a pretty hard sell. Still, it’s great to hear Dojo being promoted to the .NET crowd!

Here’s my comment on the subject..

Update: The GPL is now gone, they’re using the BSD license instead. Much better!

Posted in .NET, Ajax, Atlas, Dojo, Javascript, Microsoft, open source, Technical | 3 Comments »

ApacheCon Europe Highlights

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on July 1, 2006

ApacheCon Europe 2006 is over, and I had a blast.

Mark Shuttleworth Keynote

It started off with Mark Shuttleworth, the Ubuntu founder, giving a very well delivered speech about where he sees the world of free software heading in the next five years. Some of his better points include “Pretty is a feature“, and the massive opportunity for Linux and other free software on consumer gadgets.

Apache Axis

The Axis folks gave a good talk about the new features in version 2.0 of Apache Axis, the web services/SOAP implementation in Apache. The coolest thing, to me at least, is the fact that every web service is also automatically given a REST interface. While it isn’t a full REST api, just using GET and PUT methods, it is a great step forward for people who’d like to write simplistic clients (e.g. Javascript/Web 2.0 clients) and access web services with neither the need to write annoyingly complex client side code, or modifying the server-side code to add a simpler REST interface.

Microsoft Atlas Keynote – Rob Burke

Rob Burke from Microsoft Ireland braved the choppy waters of ApacheCon to speak about Microsoft Atlas, their free javascript toolkit. What could easily have been a hostile crowd was quickly disarmed by Rob using possibly the funniest picture I’ve ever seen, which I’m happy to say I may have helped come into being a little. The talk went down very well, with the main thrust it focused on a coding demo, where Rob went through how to write Atlas applications with .NET and PHP. While .NET looked more attractive due to the slight difference in prettiness between Visual Studio and Notepad (used for the .NET and PHP examples respectively) it was pretty cool to see how easily it could be used in a PHP environment. Microsoft even wrote some PHP code (!) to make the transition to a non .NET framework easier.Clippy
One thing that was missing was a quick comparision between other open source Ajax toolkits, and “why” people should use Atlas instead of Dojo or Scriptaculous/Prototype etc, which are firmly estabished in the open source and commercial worlds. To play devils advocate for a minute, in defence of the other toolkits:

  • Tooling around open source ajax frameworks took a large leap forward with the initiation of the Ajax Toolkit Framework in Eclipse, and should soon be quite comparable to the MS IDE. Also, it doesn’t lock you in to a particular framework, as it supports multiple existing ajax toolkits (currently Dojo, Zimbra/Kabuki and Open Rico)
  • The announcement that MyFaces, the Apache implementation of the Java Server Faces specification, is migrating its client side widgets to Dojo means that Dojo will now have a server-side binding, for Java developers at least. This should be more or less equvalent to the .NET combination of Atlas + VB/C#
  • The recent announcements by IBM and Sun regarding their support of Dojo, with both code and documentation, along with the Oracle connection through MyFaces, and you’ve pretty much got three of the four main IT companies jumping on the Dojo bandwagon.
  • The latest code drop for Dojo will surely lead to it’s dominance over mankind as we know it…. cue self patting on back :-)

My extra-happy birthday

On a more personal note, the second last day of the conference just so happened to be my birthday, and since it was also the birthday of one of the organisers of the conference, we got Happy Birthday sung to us by hundreds of inebriated hackers. Now THAT I can get used to.

Finally, thanks/hi/bye to all the cool people I crossed paths with over the week. I had a fantastic time bouncing ideas & beer bottle tops off you all, and hope to see you all again in a years time!

P.S. For a listing of a whole host of pictures of the event, go here and here.

Posted in Ajax, Apache, ApacheCon, Atlas, Axis, Dojo, Javascript, Microsoft, Open Rico, Technical, Ubuntu, Zimbra | 5 Comments »

Notepad? Check. Rotten tomatoes? Check. Microsoft Atlas is being presented at ApacheCon!

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on June 23, 2006

I've been chatting a lot with some friends recently about the merits of Microsoft's Ajax engine, Atlas. They tell me that it's the be all and end all (of course they're died-in-the-wool "friends of Bill" so….), and after some initial investigation, it definitely seems to be a nice package. It shares many features with Dojo, my Ajax package of choice, and has some nice (and free – shock!) tooling based on it, in the Microsoft Web Developer Express. However, all the documentation assumes that you're developing an ASP.NET application, and that you're using their tooling, rather than just say "Here's a bunch of javascript libraries and how to use them". The documentation is also very fragmented, for example I couldn't find a single "Hello World" tutorial, just a (seemingly) random bunch of code snippets.

Anyway, I've been assured that Atlas is essentially free of all backend or tooling dependencies, with optional ties to the .NET framework. I'm yet to be convinced, but Rob Burke told me that he's presenting a session on Atlas at ApacheCon next week here in Dublin, so at the very least it should be interesting to see the reaction of the open source crowd to Microsoft's foray into the "free as in beer" world of software development.

Posted in Ajax, ApacheCon, Atlas, Javascript, Microsoft, Technical | 2 Comments »


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