MSI installer troubles...
Saturday, January 15, 2005, 02:56 - Programming
The customers of my Outlook Addin had difficulties getting the buttons visible in Outlook. They do not have local admin privileges so they could not install the addin themselves. After an admin installed the addin the buttons still did not appear. In the COM Add-ins overview within Outlook it showed that the addin could not be loaded.

In the end this turned out to be caused by the fact that the addin was added to the registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER. After changing this to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE in the installer project the installation went fine.

The MSI installer created by Visual Studio .NET 2003 allows the user to choose whether to install for the current user only or for everyone on the computer. I spent quite some time trying to figure out how to read the chosen install type to use it in conditional registering of certain keys in the registry. It turns out you cannot get this property and I wonder why Microsoft includes that choice at all at run-time.

Only today I found out that when you create a new Addin in Visual Studio, the wizard gives you the choice to install the addin for the current user only or to install it for everybody. Very weird that you have to make that choice when you create a new project and not when the end-user runs the installer.

Solutions for TOP 5 personal traffic irritations
Thursday, January 13, 2005, 20:31 - Top X lists
1. regularly overtake on the right-hand side
2. will drive closely behind them or raise my headlights a little (I can adjust them while driving)
3. same as 2
4. give a good honk after about 1 second of green
5. overtake them as soon as possible

Although the above may suggest differently I'm hardly ever a danger on the road. I don't cause to much trouble for other drivers. Sometimes I really can be a gentleman and I nearly always give way to others where I'm supposed to. I just drive a little faster than allowed most of the time.

The only car damage I had in the last 7.5 years was someone who rear-ended me when I stopped for a orange traffic light....

TOP 5 personal traffic irritations
Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 20:09 - Top X lists
Cars that
1. drive in the leftmost lane unnecessarily (in the Netherlands you're supposed to keep as much to the right as possible)
2. drive in the leftmost lane slowly
3. drive slower than the speed limit
4. react too slowly to a traffic light turning green
5. accelerate too slowly at traffic lights

Sex maniac
Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 20:04 - Humor

ONC RPC client
Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 03:34 - Programming
Last week I developed an RPC client to send events from an application on a Windows server to another application running on a UNIX server. The server was using ONC/RPC (RFC 1831) and I had to create a simple console application with a couple of command line parameters.

I hadn't decided yet on an implementation language and I was looking around for available RPC libraries because you do not want to reinvent the wheel by coding the low level communications again. I also had only one week to complete the project.
I came across a few commercial alternatives (Netbula ONC RPC (C++, $750), Netbula JavaRPC (Java, $850), Distinct ONC RPC / XDR for .NET (C#, $1,495 plus $50 per deployment)) and tried them out, but they all had some or more problems.
I finally decided on the open source Remote Tea ONC/RPC for Java.
This is a LGPL library so no need to go through the trouble of purchasing a license for the company. Java is a bit slower than C++ but it does the memory management for you, which is a great plus for a quick and dirty hacker like me :)

I couldn't get the Remote Tea jrpcgen RPC protocol compiler to work on the .x protocol files I received, but after looking at their examples and the outputs of some of the other development kits I created the interface classes myself. Then I coded the main class to do the RPC calls based on the provided command line parameters and a few default values defined in a .properties file.
Soon I had a working Java executable that also turned out to be working correctly!

It just needed a little fine-tuning and today I created the source and binary distribution .zip files as well as the documentation. Another project successfully completed!

Aid for tsunami victims
Monday, January 10, 2005, 00:08 - The News
Partly thanks to a large TV and radio action on Thursday, here in the Netherlands the amount of money donated by the public and raised through private initiatives has reached over 112 million euro (145 million dollar) which is about 9 dollar per capita.
The Dutch government had already donated 30 million euro (39 million dollar) for immediate aid and has reserved a couple of hundred million euro for rebuilding the areas in Asia and Africa that have suffered from the tsunami.

Nations all over the world have so far provided over 3 billion US dollars according to Wikipedia.
The European Commission will see to it that the EU countries will actually pay up the amounts of money that they have promised.

Why is so much money collected? Of course the enormous scope of the disaster and the sudden and direct cause play a role. But here in the Netherlands we've also had a rough time that started with the assassinations of Pim Fortuyn and recently Theo van Gogh. Those events have led to a hardening society and separation between natives and immigrants. Also the threats of terrorism fed the desire to do something positive together and it seems that raising funds has created some unity.
Hard as it may seem to those directly hurt this news is a diversion of all the negative news close at home. But money can't fix everything. A lot of labor is needed to rebuild completely destroyed villages. And a lot of time is needed to make the pain bearable of losing so many loved ones at once.
Long before that other news will have taken over the headlines in the West and this disaster will be almost forgotten.

And there are still other emergency situations elsewhere in the world, such as Congo and Sudan. The United Nations warns us that we should not forget that estimatedly 1000 people die per day in Congo. That's 365,000 deads per year.
Fighting in Darfur is escalating and the Sudanese region could face a new upsurge in violence despite efforts by the UN.

There is a lot of shit going on in this world!
Sunday, January 9, 2005, 06:42 - Games
As can be seen by the badge at the bottom right of this page I started playing at BlogShares which is a fantasy stock market for weblogs. Players get to invest a fictional $500, and blogs are valued by incoming links.

I like playing these kinds of games and the fact that it handles about real-life blogs makes it extra fun!

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