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The Riverblade Developer's Blog

Beth demonstrating Visual Lint at the ACCU Conference 2008  Anna taking part in a discussion panel at the European Software Conference 2007 

Welcome to our developer's blog. We hope that this forum provides an insight into us, our products and how we develop them. Please feel free to write to us if you have anything to add to any of the posts here.

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Windows Vista RC1 - First Contact
Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sometimes everything happens at once, and this week was certainly one of those weeks.

About 6 weeks ago we ordered a new system from Mesh - a Matrix 2 Prestige system running XP Pro with Athlon X2 5000+ processor, 2GB of memory and 300GB of disk space. Unfortunately the order was delayed due to processor shortages, and (to cut a long story short) we finally took delivery of it on Thursday. So far, it seems like a well put together and responsive machine - albeit a vanilla WinXP system.

To make this machine more useful to us we've fitted the system drive within a lockable caddy - with the aim of being able to quickly swap to a new configuration (Vista and Windows Server 2003, naturally). With the caddy fitted, rebuilding the system with a new OS is quick and safe.

The second thing was the arrival of our MSDN subscriptions (through the Microsoft Empower Programme) on Friday. Given that we only applied for membership last weekend, that's one fast turnaround! It's sad to see that they are no longer issuing MSDN disks for VS2003, Windows 2000 etc. though (you can't even download Win2k from the subscriber downloads area now, either). Sometimes progress has a price.

The third thing was the release of Windows Vista RC1 to MSDN subscribers in the last few days. Putting all three together, and as you can imagine we've been rather busy over the weekend...

Back to the subject in hand. We finally finished downloading the x86 version of Vista RC1 on Saturday afternoon, whereupon we installed it on a clean disk and fired it up. Although we briefly looked at Vista Beta 1 in a VM some time ago, this is the first time we've seen the full Aero Glass interface on one of our systems, and I have to say it's very impressive. Enough has changed in the UI that it's going to take quite a while to get used to it...but already, XP feels dated.

Sadly, that installation lasted just an hour. It came up minus several drivers- notably audio (although the XP driver that came with the Mesh worked fine once we installed it) and the Linksys Wireless-G card we'd fitted on Thursday. After a quick hunt around the web it quickly became apparent that this (very common) card currently has no working Vista drivers. However, we did find a workaround - see How to install Linksys WMP54G and WUSB54G Wireless card on Vista.

When we tried it, it seemed to work - after a bit of fiddling we were able to connect to the wireless LAN and browse other systems on the network. At that point, I was just reaching for the Visual Studio disks when it all went horribly wrong - when the system was restarted, it hung with a blank screen. No error messages, no BSOD, nothing. It just wouldn't boot - even to safe mode.

Time for plan B. We'd heard that there may be an updated driver for the WMP54G on the Windows Update site, so after reinstalling Vista we temporarily moved the router so we could get a wired connection onto the machine. The wired connection went live with no problems, connected to Windows Update and spotted that there was an update for the wireless card. So far so good.

After the driver installed we were able to connect to the wireless LAN with no problems, but once we restarted the system it refused to boot again (blank screen). As these are the same symptoms as last time I imagine it's something peculiar to Linksys drivers for the time being. Back to the drawing board - once we've reinstalled it (again) we'll start testing on it without the wireless card.

I must admit Aero Glass sure looks spectacular though....particularly when running through a pair of 19" TFTs (no problems there, I'm happy to say. It spotted both monitors, although it chose the secondary as its primary for some reason). Once the driver issues are sorted I imagine it's going to be a stunning platform to work on...I just can't help feeling that those who will inevitably set it back to the so called "Classic" theme really will be missing the point (it just looks wrong...).

Posted by Anna at 21:51 | Get Link


Grrr....comment spammers
Monday, September 04, 2006

Over the past few months we've seen a rather more than steady increase in the volume of comment spam this blog has been attracting. At first it was a mere irritation; however it has now got to the point where the word "annoyance" is not nearly adequate.

Back in May we added some basic filtering (and IP logging) to the scripts, which caught the worst offenders (those posting large numbers of very unsavoury links). Since then, however, the volume of spam which didn't match the filter has continued to rise, to the point where we were having to delete 20-30 spams per day. That is clearly unacceptable.

I'm happy to say that we've now tightened the filters again, and of the 140 or so comment spams which have hit this blog over the past two days, not a single one has made it through.

Of course, it can't last. Spammers really are scum.

Posted by Anna at 19:27 | Get Link