Further adventures with localisation of resources

19. August 2013 09:29 by Chris in dev  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

You may recall from http://www.chrissully.co.uk/Blog/post/2013/02/04/Resource-Files-Usage-Notes that I was successfully able to get intellisense working for local resource files in visual studio 2012 with MVC4. More recently I wanted to get this working in a webforms project but this is proving problematic as the access modifier option is greyed out in Visual Studio (2012): 

 and, perhaps consequently, the normal properties of the resource file I would expect are not exposed: 

I tried in a previous version of Visual Studio as well as on another machine. For expediency I am now giving up and resorting to the standard, out of the box access mechanism but am popping this records here a) for my reference and b) in case someone can assist. 



(bit of a filtered google view, sorry)





Multiple identities found matching workspace name [Team Foundation Service/ Visual Studio 2012]

16. August 2013 13:11 by Chris in dev, ForTheRecod  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

I received the following error trying to check in code to a newly created TFS project: 


The solution ... close VS and try again. Sometimes things are that simple. In fact, quite often with VS ,,, ;)

Diesel costs - UK vs Europe

7. August 2013 15:31 by Chris in ForTheRecod, Holidays  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

We went for a diesel car recently, in part because of the better fuel economy but what's the deal with diesel in Europe being cheaper than petrol while here it is more expensive?

We were running late for the Ferry in France so didn't have the opportunity to save some hard earned 'pennies' in France but let's do the sums: 

  • On arrival in the UK we filled up in Tesco Dover - £40 @ £1.46 (just checking price online at http://www.whatgas.com/fuel/tesco.html) meaning we stuck 27.4 litres into the car.
  • In France/ Germany/ Belgium/ Holland the prices seemed similar (I wasn't avidly checking every 5 mins!) around the 1.35-1.45 euro/L mark.
  • Taking the lower figure the same fuel would have cost 37 euros
  • Which equates to almost £32 - 20% cheaper if I've got my sums right, and it would be embarrassing if I hadn't!
  • So, the message is to fill up in Europe for the short term at least!


Twitter as a B2C communication tool

1. August 2013 06:48 by Chris in ForTheRecod  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

The call centre experience is commonly a poor one for customers. Companies are seemingly reluctant to additionally or alternatively utilise email effectively to increase customer satisfaction in resolving queries. Rather they are quick to 'jump on the bandwagon' and offer an alternative response path via twitter. Whatever the communication mechanism there is no point doing something unless you are prepared to invest in it and try and do it well. This means the company needs, the degree dependent on it's nature, to cater for both one way and two way communication between itself and it's customers. Further it is the latter which is key in delivering customer satisfaction.

Some do this badly, e.g. @CardiffCouncil either ignore incoming tweets or say they are passing them on to 'the correct department' and then nothing ever happens. They have taken the easy option and just pump out the same old tweets in rotation, whether this be about rubbish collection, council meetings or bike security. Admittedly this is a council/ public sector so I have very low expectations from the start.

Some do respond to customer tweets but badly. Two recent examples: @Nook_customercare chose to answer a completely different question from the one I asked(!) and I'm still waiting for a resolution to a query raised with @TMobileUK after 5 days and one chasing tweet. In the latter case this is particularly bad as my query is about a roaming issue and I am currently not in my native UK making the call centre communication path considerably more problematic! I live in hope - it's about four hours before I go off wifi for the remainder of my holiday. Chances? I should note that they did deal with a previous query effectively in the past so 1 from 2. I would also note that if the informational resources around their service and the service itself were better in the first place there would be less need for customer support!

Fortunately some get it right and restore your faith in twitter/ humanity. AJ from @AskNationwide corrected the damage done to the organisation's reputation by a particularly poor call centre experience by proactively dealing with my urgent query. It's a shame the service received via Twitter isn't always as good.

So today's winner is @AskNationwide. Round of applause please. The rest ... please do better. 

UPDATE: TMobile told me they had made the necessary config changes on 10/8. Unfortunately I was back in the UK by then and could not test! Hopefully all will work next time I'm abroad.

eReader Dictionaries

31. July 2013 17:38 by Chris in dev, Welsh  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

I just put this up on the SSIW forum:

Might be a long shot this one ... I've just downloaded a Welsh book to my Nook eReader from the "eBooks for Wales" website and the thought occurred that it would be very useful for Welsh learners such as myself to have integrated automatic translation from Welsh to English, similar to the English dictionary that is accessible where you just press on the word and see the definition. A quick google suggested only English dictionaries are supported but perhaps others here know better, or know of better support on other platforms/ devices?Currently I have Ap Geriaduron on my Nexus 7 by side by side with the Nook but I could do without the extra data entry!

I then came across this: 


which refers to a project with which an aquaintance of mine is involved: Apertium.

Maybe I should just develop one myself using the opensource tools/ data available?!


Who owns your mobile network?

31. July 2013 15:31 by Chris in ForTheRecod  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Perhaps it doesn't matter overly but often while abroad I see a brand I recognise from back in the UK and the thought occurs 'who owns them', particularly which is the company's country of registration. This may well be complicated by the fact that different parent organisations own a given brand in different countries. For example, C&A has long gone in the UK but seemingly going strong still in Germany.

Anyway, mobile is big business and this isn't going to change any time soon. I was surprised to discover a year or two back that I'd completely missed the fact that O2 brand had been sold abroad. Here's the list, as of the time of writing, of the main providers in the UK:

  • EE (Orange and T-Mobile) - EE is a 50:50 joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and France Télécom, formed in 2010 through the merger of their respective T-Mobile and Orange businesses in the UK
  • Vodaphone is British, being the Worlds 2nd largest mobile telecoms company
  • O2 is owned by Telefonica (Spanish)

Those are the main networks. My understanding is that any others are reselling the network services of the above. Correct me if I'm wrong!

Cultural Learnings of Germany for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Cymru

30. July 2013 07:02 by Chris in Holidays  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Not really.

So, the rest of the family and I are in Germany, visiting the rellies, just the four hours from Calais in Duisburg, a university city and the eleventh largest city in Germany with some 513,550 residents (don't you know) and therefore getting on for twice the size of our hometown of Cardiff. Doesn't feel like it though - less busy, but that'll no doubt be largely due to lower population density that the the size of Germany affords. Quick google:

  • Germany population 82 million, 357 square km
  • UK population 63 million, 244 square km

Handy site if you want more comparisons.

I'm not sure how much one should trust wiki answers but:

Germany is about 137,000 sq miles. France is about 212,000 sq miles. The UK is about 94,000 sq miles.

Hmmm, a) France is a big old place and b) Germany is not so much bigger than the UK than was my perception. Ignorant? Moi?

Enough of the stats; some observations to conclude for now: 

  • German's drive v.fast on dual carriageways/ motorways and there don't seem to be many cameras to stop them. Compare this a) with the towns where the speed limits often seem down to the 20mph mark and b) the UK which, based on the Cardiff-Dover run, is overly obsessed with speed cameras.
  • It is excellent to see bikes in more general use in this area of Germany, albeit we are at the height of summer, and particularly the demographic of cyclists with many more 'elderly' cyclists on the roads, or rather cycle lanes which are much more common. Puts Cardiff/ the UK to shame. Far fewer of the portly middle aged men spending oodles on their carbon road bike frames and lycra getup for 30 min weekend rides as well. Or bmxs, or mountain bikes or hybrids, for that matter. Lots of sensible tourer type bikes being driven relatively sedately around purely for the purpose of getting from a to b. Hoorah.
  • When you park your car it is the convention to do so in the direction of the prevailing traffic!

 May be back later. 



Booting a window 8 VHD from windows 7

12. June 2013 12:14 by Chris in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

This is the third time I've done this now and I keep having to look up the detail here so I am going to write it down this time. In my case I need to refresh the install of Windows 8 Enterprise trial every 3 months when it expires as I don't yet have a full win8 copy. You'll find the trial ISO on Microsoft's site and the next think to do is to prep a bootable USB stick with the OS. Note that the link to the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool in Hanselman's article is broken as I write this and I don't need it so if starting from scratch you'll need to locate this or an alternative. I'm not so I don't!

The important bit for me is to F10 from the disk selection step of the install to pick up my existing VHD and fire up DISKPART from the cmd prompt. Once in:

DISKPART> select vdisk file=d:\VMs\Win8.vhd

DiskPart successfully selected the virtual disk file.

DISKPART> attach vdisk

If you do not already have the disk created you'll need to do so first:

DISKPART> create vdisk file=d:\VMs\Win8.vhd type=expandable maximum=60000

or similar. See the earlier section of the referenced article.


In my case I also need to reformat the drive before proceeding and skip over the errant 'can't install to this disk' warning.


Then let the Windows install do it's stuff and you should then get the dual boot option on startup.








To RT or to not RT?

16. May 2013 13:11 by Chris in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

I got into a bit of a Twitter conversation with a chap from Dell today (@stephenjatdell) who asked the question "Great UK deal on XPS10 tablet del.ly/6011XxkF?" Except I'm not sure he actually meant it to be a question as I received the impression subsequently that he was pretty sure it was a good deal! I was less convinced. In fact I retweeted with my follow up question: '(still too expensive for RT to compete?)' The conversation continued but, that aside, let's look at this in a little more detail.

I will precursor with the fact that I don't understand why anyone buys an iPad - it's an overpriced toy as far as I'm concerned. Currently tablets attract a premium as the 'new thing' but when you compare the hardware with a fairly standard laptop the pricing does not stand this sort of analysis? I did buy a Nexus 7 in the end - a slightly less overpriced toy which I only use because the Welsh dictionary app isn't available for my phone (Windows Phone). I share the Nexus with my wife (OK, it's her's really!) and the big issue is the lack of 3G connectivity which I'll return to shortly. I am fully aware that Nexus 7 versions with 3G are now on the market.

Back to the Dell 'deal'. It is/ was for a Dell XPS 10 tablet running Windows RT. The 32GB version costs £249 with a whopping £120 more for the keyboard/ dock, though I am aware of the silly prices for laptop docking stations so this was no great surprise. Presumably you can add a USB keyboard and mouse for productivity in the supplied Office applications (should be a big plus for RT over competing OSs though I've not played with), though I guess you'd need to prop up the tablet in another way! No 3G on the tablet by the way with the base product - options were mentioned on the page but I received the impression the info had erroneously found it's way to the UK site from the US.

Talking of matters erroneous: at http://www.dell.com/uk/p/XPS-10-tablet/fs is stated 'The new XPS 10 tablet comes with Windows RT, built-in security and flexible docking options that give you full PC functionality when you need it.' This is entirely misleading. This is Windows RT not full Windows so you do not get 'full PC functionality'. This is poor from Dell, even in the context of the confusing marketing from Microsoft in this area.

So for £249 you get a well engineered (though see review link below) 10" tablet, with probably the best touch OS on the market, 32GB of RAM and the RT version of Office. Wireless, no 3G unfortunately. Compared to the 16GB iPad (albeit with retina display - 2048x1536 compared to 1366x768) and it's £400 price tab this is pretty good. Of course apps are going to be lacking so if this is important to you are likely to have issues.

Back to my comment 'still too expensive for RT to compete'? What do you think? I'm coming from the angle here while I'm sure the hardware is great (like the Surface itself which, for comparison, is £400 with keyboard currently), RT has a lot of catching up to do and it may require some minimal profit margins to be in place for a while.

Hmmm, maybe I should buy one of these Dells 'for the wife';) Or maybe no: http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/ipad-and-tablets/dell-xps-10-review-50009051/

Though, anyway, what I really need is the Surface Pro (also overpriced!).

What is ... WebP?

9. May 2013 13:52 by Chris in What is ...  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

What is .... WebP?

Scott Hanselman mentioned WebP in a tweet which immediately prompted my question 'what is that?' The normal answer might be 'yet another web related technology or product that Microsoft has just released'. In this instance, as you'll see from the link, it is a new image format for websites care of Google. They are smaller for the same quality so great; but support for them isn't 'there' yet so my advice, which I'm following, would be to make a mental note and keep an eye on to see if they break into the mainstream.

Another link

See also http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/361588/google-creates-image-format-for-faster-browsing, though I have no plan to pronounce erroneously as 'weppy'!



About the author

I am Dr Christopher Sully (MCPD, MCSD) and I am a Cardiff, UK based IT Consultant/ Developer and have been involved in the industry since 1996 though I started programming considerably earlier than that. During the intervening period I've worked mainly on web application projects utilising Microsoft products and technologies: principally ASP.NET and SQL Server and working on all phases of the project lifecycle. If you might like to utilise some of the aforementioned experience I would strongly recommend that you contact me. I am also trying to improve my Welsh so am likely to blog about this as well as IT matters.

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