Thursday, September 30, 2010

Holy crap, a Windows ramdisk program that works

In the past, I've had a bit of experience trying to install and run ramdisks in Windows XP, but I never found anything really good. Microsoft provided a ramdisk driver for Windows 2000 that one could get working in XP, but it wasn't really useful because it only provided a maximum of 32 MB of storage (Why ?!). I decided to revisit the issue of ramdisks at work today for Windows 7 because I wanted a way to speed up Visual Studio's caching and other operations (and Eclipse, but that's another matter). After searching around some more, I found a program called ImDisk. The installation is dead easy (if a little lacking in the notification department to tell you it's successfully installed). What's even better, you can make disks of arbitrary size, have it simulate various kinds of devices, and you can setup multiple ramdisks. The only catch is that you have to start the service in Administrator mode, and it's a bit more than trivial, though it is easy using the following steps :

1. Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt -> Right-click -> Run as administrator
2. sc config imdisk start= auto (note the space between start= and auto, this got me the first time)
3. net start imdisk
4. Open up Control Panel -> ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver

... and have at it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Editing your file system mappings for TFS paths

So, as you may or may not know, when using Microsoft Team Foundation Server for version control, TFS maps remote project paths into local file system patmhs for checkout, etc. As I learned today, there are times when you check out the wrong path, and/or map it to the wrong path in the file system. If you ever need to modify or just nuke your file system mappings in TFS, here's how you go about doing it :

Team Explorer -> Source Control (double click) -> Workspaces (dropdown) -> Workspaces ...

Once you've selected your workspace in the dialog that comes up (you'll likely only have one anyway), click on :

Edit ... -> Working Folders

... and then select the folder to file system mappings that you want to remove, or create whatever new file system mappings you want right there.

Starting a new job ... and a new philosophy

Ok, so I've left my previous employer and started at a new job. This means new domains of knowledge, new tools, and new people. My new employer is a Microsoft-exclusive shop, for almost every aspect of their software. If you've read this blog in any significant amount in the past, you'll know that I'm really not a Microsoft fan. In fact, I hate almost everything that's ever come out of Redmond, because for the most part it's deficient in how it's been engineered, and not as usable as other products out on the market (or even a lot of open source products). Therefore, the tone of this blog is probably going to change somewhat, and I'll be ranting and raving like a lunatic on things I'm learning about dealing with Microsoft products more often. It's going to be interesting.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Finally ... MySQL workbench sucks less

MySQL workbench has been out for quite a while, under the guise of the people at MySQL. For the longest time, I stuck to using just the individual MySQL Query Browser and Administrator because they weren't too bad, and there really wasn't anything out there that I liked much better for query browsing alternatives. I tried out the old Workbench back when MySQL was standalone, but it really wasn't a very positive experience, so I just dropped it.

However, lately, something drove me to search for better alternatives to the MySQL query browser again, and I don't even know why. In my Google search, the MySQL Workbench came up, and I saw that it was a very recent version that was a good .2 versions up from the last one I had used, so I figured I'd give it a try. The difference was startling. Not only did they completely revamp the interface (at least for the Mac) but the workbench was just generally much more reliable and performant than the old query browser. If you get the chance, give it a shot. The new integrated interface is much more user friendly, and there's a bunch of new "Copy to clipboard" snippets that I personally find incredibly convenient and useful.