November 2013 - Posts

Announcing a CodePlex project that provides an IronPython DSL that can be used to define the handling of TFS Alerts
Sun, Nov 17 2013 15:03

I have just published a new project to CodePlex http://tfsalertsdsl.codeplex.com/.

Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) provides an alerting model where given a certain condition, such as a check-in, work item edit or build completion, an email can be sent to an interest party or a call made to a SOAP based web service. Using this SOAP model it is possible to provide any bespoke operations you wish that are triggered by a change on the TFS server.

This framework is designed to ease the development of these bespoke SOAP wen services by providing helper methods for common XML processing steps and API operations such as calling back to the TFS server or accessing SMTP services.

They main differentiator of this project is that it also provides a Python based DSL that allows the actual operation performed when the endpoint is called to be edited without the need to  to rebuild and redeploy the bespoke service. Operations are defined by script such as show below

For more details have a look at the project site, hope you find it useful

by But it works on my PC!
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Building VMs for use in TFS Lab Management environments
Thu, Nov 7 2013 12:27

We have recently gone through an exercise to provide a consistent set of prebuilt configured VMs for use in our TFS Lab Management environments.

This is not an insignificant piece of work as this post by Rik Hepworth discusses detailing all the IT pro work he had to do to create them. This is all before we even think about the work required to create deployment TFS builds and the like.

It is well worth a read if you are planning to provision a library of VM for Lab Management as it has some really useful tips and tricks

‘Upgrading’ my Lenovo W520 to Windows 8.1
Tue, Nov 5 2013 10:35

The upgrade experience for Windows 8 Enterprise is basically a reinstall, as you lose some many desktop apps and settings. So I decided to do a clean install, my PC was in need of a repave anyway.

My PC has 3 disks, a bitlockered SSD for the OS, another bitlockered drive used for data and a non bitlockered drive I use for ISOs, downloads etc. Just to be on the safe side I removed the bitlocker encryption on my second drive, then I deleted the contents of my SSD and re-installed.

All seemed to go OK, the OS installed and then a rebooted but then hung. I then remember the problems I had had installing Windows 8 RP, if I did not have the Intel video card enabled (I usually have it disabled as I find having both it and the Nvidia confuses projectors). Once I enabled both video cards the setup completed and I was able to join the PC to the domain and associate my LiveID with the domain account.

On checking device manager I saw a few items were missing drivers

  • Microsoft basic display adapter – Just used Window update and it found the Nvidia driver
  • Base system device -  This needed the Ricoh Media Card Reader driver from the Lenovo site
  • PCI serial port -  This took a while to find but in the end I needed the Intel Management Engine Interface 7.1 and Serial Over LAN (SOL) Driver from the Lenovo site

I also found, as before, I need to use Windows update to update the soundcard drivers, the default ones  were working on the laptop, but not via the base station outputs.

I then set to installing my desktop applications. Other than Office and Visual Studio I tried to do this all with Chocolatey, thus building up a script to make this easier in the future e.g

cinst poshgit
cinst 7zip
cinst notepadplusplus
cinst WindowsLiveWriter
cinst sysinternals
cinst skype
cinst git-tf
cinst eclipse-standard-kepler

This left me with one issue, i could not work out how to setup fingerprint login. In Windows 8 there was a Biometric icon on the Control Panel, but not in Windows 8.1. So I installed the Lenovo provided fingerprint tools, as I had to do in Windows 7. This allowed me to scan a fingerprint and associate it with an account. However, then i tried to login or unlock the screen with the fingerprint I got a message that ‘cannot use a fingerprint for a domain user’. Now in previous versions of the OS there was a checkbox on the Biometric control panel that set whether fingerprints could be used for domain accounts, but as i said before this tool is not present in 8.1.

After much searching, using Google as Bing found nothing, I found that you now have to enable fingerprint usage via a Windows 8.1 settings not the control panel. Once this was done my fingerprint scanner worked as expected.

So just need to re-bitlocker my PC and we are good to go.