Monthly Archives: January 2007

No Vista clean install for you!

Counting on buying an upgrade version of Windows Vista, but wiping the machine first of the old version so it’s a clean install? Bad luck, Microsoft’s made changes that will prevent it, unless you install onto an empty partition. Never mind that it’ll make a periodic re-install a right pain in the arse. What were they thinking?

PS. Tuesday: Ed Bott pours cold water on this, not saying it’s untrue, but saying “wait and see…”

SFTP from scheduled tasks

I was asked to set up a daily SFTP job to push files off a Windows box.

Windows has FTP built-in. But SFTP? Well there’s the free (and open-source) Putty implementation which provides a number of SSH tools, including SFTP. Free is good. I like free.

Putty SFTP is fairly straightforward to use from the command line; pretty similar to any other ftp client. Basically chuck everything into a directory and you can run it directly. Under Windows it caches public keys into the Windows Registry in HKEY_CURRENT_USER, and will ask about this the first time.

For batch use, you can create a BAT file that calls it like this

psftp -l [user] -pw [password] [host] -P [port] -b [scriptfile]

…and just put your FTP commands into the script file.

For running it as a scheduled task, you’d preferably want to run it under a special user, as you wouldn’t want it under your own user account. It seems not to like asking about caching unless you’re the person logged in. Even running with RUNAS didn’t work for me — it flashed up something lightning-fast, but immediately failed.

The only way around it I could find was to log on interactively as the scheduled task user. As expected it asked the first time. Subsequent times it didn’t ask, and worked happily as a scheduled task.

(Also found recently: How to set up an SFTP server on a Windows machine. Or a prefab one like FreeFtpD is also an option.)

PS3 in PAL territories

Sony’s PS3 will be available from March 23rd in PAL territories such as Australia and Europe. The Age reports it’ll retail for A$999 in Australia, and it’ll be the 60Gb hard drive version — the cheaper version won’t be sold. The BBC notes Europeans will also get the more expensive model.

Now, how many people are umming and erring because they want a PS3, but are still officially boycotting Sony because of the rootkit debacle?

Train Simulator 2 arriving soon

For all the geek train nuts out there, it’s been confirmed that Microsoft is working on a second version of Train Simulator. The lead developer, Rick Selby has surfaced with a blog so people can track progress. (I wonder if he knows there’s a Puffing Billy station named after him?) In fact, the official site links to numerous developers’ blogs.

I’ve played both Train Simulator and its main opposition, Trainz… to my mind, Trainz is probably better, and they’ve kept working on their product over the past few years, as TS has been somewhat neglected (and I haven’t had it installed in quite some time partially because it won’t run without Admin privileges).

Incorrect <rpcproxy.h> version. Use the header that matches with the MIDL compiler

To solve this problem, check the ordering of directories searched for include files (in VC6, it’s Tools | Options | Directories | Show directories for: Include files). SDKs and Visual Studio have different versions.

Windows Vista imperialism?

There’s some disquiet about the Windows Vista Games menu, highlighting the fact that use of parental controls will mean any game without an ESRB rating won’t appear. The ratings apparently cost US$2000-3000 to obtain, which means they’re effectively out of the range of independent games developers.

So I guess Snood and the like wouldn’t appear on the Vista games menu.

What I want to know is — are the North American ESRB ratings going to be forced onto every user the world over who wants to use the parental controls?

I’m not going to claim for a moment that the Australian government’s Office of Film and Literature Classification is perfect, but I do want to know if the Vista games menu when used by Australians will be showing Australian ratings (G, G8+, M, MA) rather than the unfamiliar North American ratings (C, E, T, M, A). And likewise for every other country.

We have enough troubles with products constantly defaulting to US English. We don’t need another North American standard rammed down our throats.

The Diamond Age comes to TV

SciFiWire reports that a team led by George Clooney are working on a miniseries of Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. (via Tony S). Hmm. Well that could be very good… or it could be very bad. I reckon that book’s a prime example of the imagination of the reader being bigger than a screen would allow.

Perils of outsourcing

With outsourcing, many big corporations are becoming much more fragmented than they were before. It’s often a gradual process, with a bunch of internal staff first being moved only in name, but over time it takes hold in more concrete ways: being kicked off the email system, moved to new facilities off the internal computer networks, deleted from the corporate directories, that kind of thing. (As well as untold “new” people joining the fray.)

Which can mean a lot of inconvenience. Suddenly the outsourced people have all their phone numbers and email addresses change. They can’t easily find contacts within the company. And vice versa. Emails which contain sensitive information and formerly only got sent internally are going out on the live, insecure and slow internet.

VPNs and other hoop-jumping has to be set up just so people can work, and that’s before you start moving whole servers and applications outside the cosy confines of the corporate network.

And God help you if you want to set up an appointment with some busy people who are no longer viewable in your calendaring software.

Is it all worth it? Who am I to judge? Pah, what would us geeks know about it, anyway?

Cool XML stuff

A bunch of XML Tools from the good people at Got Dot Net. The particular one I needed was XSD Inference, which creates an XSD from an XML document. I needed it to use with some code to validate XML against XSDs in VB6. It seems XSDs created from XML with some tools (I’m looking at you, XMLSpy — though maybe it’s fixed in later versions) won’t work properly using VB6/XML Parser 4 (which is what I’m using, at least for some of my stuff).