Getting MSVS 2011 to register

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There’s a lot of bad information going around about a defect in the Windows 8 Metro developer license setup pass for Metro development on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
Specifically, the license servers are overloaded, and mostly-failing.

The way the MSVS panel responds is to give the message

We couldn’t get your developer license for Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Please check your network connection and try again

Error 80004005

However, what’s actually going on is simpler: MSVS is calling some command line program, and that command line program, when it doesn’t get an answer from the other side, assumes your side is broken (thus the comment about checking your network – something it could easily – and should – do itself.)

Honestly, this is like a popular eBay auction – just keep trying, and hammer the servers until they do their job.

You could do that by closing and re-opening Visual Studio 2011, but honestly, who wants to do that?  It’s invoking a program called “Show-WindowsDeveloperLicenseRegistration“.  Just open a shell or a PowerShell and run that.  You’ll probably see the same error message; keep trying.

It took me six tries.  Once that command completes, opening MSVS will just work.

Honestly, someone really should update that tool to fail in a more transparent fashion; people are re-installing operating systems to get around what should be “try again in five minutes.”

Thank you. Finally.

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Read it from them. IE <= 7 dies.

Why the 3DS isn’t selling

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The media invariably seems to think that the problem with the 3DS is that it’s too expensive (after dollar value adjustment it’s not as expensive as almost any of Nintendo’s other portables have been,) or that somehow this is Apple’s doing.

This is all bullshit.

The problem is simple, and it’s the same thing that has crippled many, many platforms in the past. It’s what’s killing Win7 phone today.

There are no desirable software packages for the platform. I’ve had one since launch day, and I still haven’t bought any games other than the one I bought on launch day, because they’re all the same garbage that’s been being sold for ten years, and none of them do anything interesting with the new hardware.

Nintendo needs to wake the fuck up and change its software production availability to small producers, or *that* will sink the company. The platform has been out for six months and there are barely 40 games (for comparison, the DS launched with nearly double that, and people screamed at the sky for the limited game catalog.)

The iPhone gets about that many games released PER HOUR.

I hate playing games on my iPhone, but at least my iPhone has games I want to play.

Wake up, Redmond; Japan isn’t going to fix this.

My blog is about what again?

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I just noticed that I haven’t written about code in literally years.

For shame, fat man.


Hooray, PrinceXML does JavaScript!

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One of my favorite, unbelievably under-appreciated tools – PrinceXML – is in beta of version 8, and that beta includes JavaScript.


Time to dust off one of my old unused domains.  :D

Hooray, IE9 does protovis!

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At this time the Protovis example gallery’s HTML is not shipping a doctype, meaning that IE eats that page in quirksmode, so the graphs don’t show.

However, if you hit F12, pull Document Mode down and hit IE9 Standards, suddenly they nearly all work. :) To fix this permanently, all the Protovis team needs to do is add a doctype (preferably HTML 4.01 strict) to their pages.

Currently, streamgraph, bubble charts, force directed layout, dymaxion maps, conway’s life, belousov-zhabotinsky, n-body and automaton explorer are broken. Everything else works flawlessly, and the rotated tiny text is *gorgeous*.  The animated and live graphs are lightning fast, and sparklines are perfectly positioned.

Adobe’s installer engineers hit one out of the ballpark

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So, I go to install my Creative Suite 5 Web Premium upgrade, and I’m looking at version 4, and there’s a bubble in the disc.  Rageface.  Call the company preparing to have to spend $40 to have a DVD mailed to me two weeks from now.

Nope.  Put in the old serial, the new serial, put in Adobe’s version of a mouse Konami code, get a challenge code to give to the phone guy, give a magic number back, bang, CS5 installs.

A-fucking-plus, guys.  That was awesome.

What a pity – the Tufte talk was terrible

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I’m really sad about this, as I had been looking forward to the Tufte talk for months.  It’s just a directed reading from the books.  He doesn’t add anything except made up data (like that analog plate printings from the 1500s are eight times higher resolution than your laptop and cell phone, because apparently he hasn’t noticed how different those resolutions are in his highly made up measurement.)

Powerpoint jabs every 20 minutes or so.  Don’t user test – Jonathan Ives doesn’t, and Microsoft does.  Repeated appeals to buy his mother’s book.  Let’s turn to page X and spend five minutes silently appreciating this graph, then move on with no expounding at all.

For that price, I had expected at least some content other than what’s in the books.  I didn’t think I was paying almost $400 to have the author read his book to me.

I expected better.

Firaxis love/hate – Civilization 5, y u no werks? Brilliant garbage :(

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Six months in, and Civ5 still can’t get basic network play running. Call 2k? They just insist nothing’s wrong.

Why must the most brilliant game ever made be so broken?  :(

Know about a bug?  Add it to comments here please.  They turn a blind eye to the forums.  :(

ZDnet: where to get your writing skills. … Laughed at.

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Are ZDnet authors edited at all?

I mean seriously, when someone gets up on a soapbox about quality of language, shouldn’t they, y’know, get their language up to par?

So, some responses, because of course ZDnet removes all critical commentary:

  • Flagrant means “intentionally flamboyant.”  Errors are rarely flagrant.  Flagrancy is not about how wrong someone is; an error is only flagrant when someone makes it knowing full well that it is an error, and even then only when they are making the error solely for the purpose of angering someone.  (Like, y’know, a bad writer with delusions of language quality.)
  • None of these are grammar errors.
    • All but #4 are lexical errors.
    • #4 is simply incorrect.  Both i.e. (id est) and i.e. (exempla gratia) precede examples; you use IE when your list is complete and exhaustive (ie when every possible correct outcome is investigated), but e.g. when the list is incomplete (e.g. when putting out a sanctimonious author’s low quality of english to be seen by all.)
    • Grammar errors put are things place wrong like when you in the.
  • #2 is particularly galling: you cannot download something along with the things inside it; whereas the sentiment the author is fumbling towards is apparent, the other mistakes they make set the well educated reader’s teeth on edge.
    • “Along with” is never correct.  It’s “alongside”.
    • The second half of #2 is even worse, as the “its” there is extraneous and incorrect.
      • A conjunction is sufficient to conjoin; one need not, and indeed must not, put in an ancillary pronoun.
  • #5: Impact certainly is a verb, you giant lummox.
    • Granted the thing you’re trying to admonish against is wrong – impact does not denote effect – but yes, an asteroid can impact the moon.  Don’t be a dunce.
  • #6: “on a regular basis” is a horrific britishism.
    • The word is “regularly”.  You would do well to read on language usage regularly.
    • For someone who wants to lessen the effect of the misuse of impact to turn around and be confused about the much simpler word “basis” is frankly hilarious.
  • #7: No, you tremendous gonce.  “Differs from”.  Not different from.  Have you any concept of conjugation?
  • #9:  When a sentence begins with if, you’re doing a bad job at writing, and should start the sentence again.
    • It doesn’t matter what’s required at that point, as you’ve begun writing crap.
    • Then is notimplicit; it’s extraneous.
      • I have no doubt you’ll insist there’s no practical difference on the heels of an article about getting details correct.
    • There is no such thing as a sub-peeve.  Peeves are not scaled by size.
  • #10: No, you might have, not could have.  Could have refers to possibility, not happenstance; it applies only in the abstract.
    • A ZDnet author could have failed grammar school; you might have.
    • And by might have, I actually mean should have.

Please don’t labor the internet with your savant elocutions anymore, good sir or madam.   And ask your editor why they aren’t saving you this embarrassment.  It’s their job, don’cha know.

It’s things like this which make me wish ZDnet editors were publically visible.  This kind of piss poor sanctimony is becoming increasingly common at a site which pretends to be about technology and business, and if the editors were made aware how thoroughly disgusted their readers were with the bathwater quality of writing they pass, they might get back to editing.

Congratulations, Jody: you’ve hit a new low for ZDnet writing.

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