Missing Scaffolding Engine Components in ASP.NET Core Projects

Yesterday I went to create a ASP.NET Core MVC web project in Visual Studio, and found that there was no scaffolding available when creating a new controller.  Right clicking on the Controllers folder, there was no Controller option in the Add sub-menu, and no option to select scaffolding after clicking New Item and selecting MVC Controller Class.  During the project creation, I had selected No Authentication.  In researching why scaffolding would be missing, I came across the following warning in one of the ASP.NET Core tutorials:

You must have the Authentication set to Individual User Accounts in this release for the scaffolding engine to work.

So, go back and create a new project using Individual User Accounts, and sure enough, it works!  Suspecting that there was some component missing, I compared project.json between projects using the WinMerge tool which showed that, apart from the expected items for EF and authentication, there are two missing dependencies and a missing tools registration. Continue reading “Missing Scaffolding Engine Components in ASP.NET Core Projects”

Business Insider Surface “Flop” Linkbait: Point by Point

Jay Yarow from Business Insider claims that the Microsoft Surface tablet is “going to be a total flop”.  He writes this as though it is fact, despite that many questions, including price, remain unknown.  Through the use of faulty arguments, his blog post becomes a fail of epic proportions.  Normally I don’t write much about things like this, but this one astounded me.  How are articles like this even published?

His two main points (two? really??) are as follows:

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Reset: Microsoft Announces Windows Phone 8

On June 20, Microsoft announced the next version of their mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8, at a San Francisco based event called the Windows Phone Developer Summit. At the event, Microsoft outlined the short term future for Windows Phone, including new features developed for use in the enterprise. Windows Phone 7 was described by Microsoft as a reset for its mobile OS, replacing Windows Mobile 6.x.  What was announced today appears to effectively be another reset, with Windows Phone being aligned closely with Windows. This time around, though, there is a focus on maintaining backwards app compatibility and improved support for enterprise scenarios, both of which were sorely missing when Windows Phone 7 was introduced. Windows Phone 8 is expected to be made available on new phone hardware in Fall 2012, though no date was announced.

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Encoding h.264 Video for the Nook Color using Handbrake

The Nook Color from Barnes and Noble has a nice 7” IPS screen with a resolution of 1024×600, and also supports adding storage using a MicroSD card up to 32GB.  Given that, it makes sense to encode movies from DVD or other sources for viewing on the Nook.  There are some limitations though, due to the hardware.  As noted in the Nook FAQ:

Your NOOK Color supports the following video file formats: 3gp, 3g2, mp4, m4v; MPEG-4 Simple Profile up to 854×480; H.263 up to 352×288; H.264 Baseline profile up to 854×480

Your NOOK Color will not support the following video file formats: Flash (Flv/swf); Mov/qt; AVI; MKV; Xvid/divx; WMV / VC-1; H.264 Main and High profile; and videos with a resolution higher than 854×480

Continue reading “Encoding h.264 Video for the Nook Color using Handbrake”

Windows Home Server Restore Issues with Realtek Network Adapters

There is apparently an issue with using the Windows Home Server Restore CD on systems with certain RealTek network adapters.  The driver on the WHS Restore disc seems to be defective and cannot start the network adapter to find the server when trying to do a restore.  This is fixable, but is a pain in the neck to begin with.

After doing a Bing search, it seems like there are a number of reports of the same issue for people that have the RealTek 8111, or some variant like 8111C.  I believe this generally ships as an onboard network adapter on motherboards, including mine, which is a Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R.  What happens after booting to the WHS Restore CD is that the WinPE environment detects the hardware and, if you click on Show Details, reports a RealTek RTL8111/RTL8168 NIC.  It looks like everything should work, but when the restore process tries to find the Home Server, it fails both automatic and manual because there is no network started.

The solution is to download the driver straight from RealTek on another PC if necessary, extract it and put it on a USB flash drive.  Stick the flash drive in a USB port and boot the computer to the WHS Restore CD.  After the hardware is detected, click on Show Details to see the hardware detected.  Select Install Drivers button, and click Scan.  The working RealTek drivers should be found on the USB key, and the name of the detected network adapter should change in the list.  At this point, when the restore process tries to find the Home Server on your network, it should work and barring any other issues you should be able to complete the restore.

Using the Realtek driver, my restore of 64-bit Windows 7 completed successfully from my Home Server.

 

Info from Microsoft

Realtek 8111/8168 Driver Download Page – Get the Windows XP/2003 driver package (not the installer program), and unzip to the USB flash drive

Windows 7 SP1 Installation Failed – Possible Fix With System Update Readiness Tool

In cases where the Windows 7 SP1 update fails, there may be a fairly easy resolution using a downloadable tool from Microsoft called the System Update Readiness tool.  This tool checks the state of certain files and registry keys, and attempts to fix them if required.  There are a certain set of errors (see table below) that this tool may help resolve when applying updates or service packs.  These largely relate to Windows manifests and servicing components.

I updated my 3 home systems to Windows 7 SP1 today using Windows Update.  On two of the three systems, the installation was flawless and fairly quick (for a service pack install).  On the third, however, the install failed.  When the failure was presented on the screen, I tried rebooting and running the update again.  Once again, it failed.  I checked into it further by clicking on View Update History in Windows Update, then double-clicking on one of the SP1 failed instances.  In the Error details field it showed “Code 80073712”.  Clicking on the “Get  help with this error” brings up a Windows Help and Support article that references the System Update Readiness Tool.  There isn’t much info presented on the tool, but it says that it may “correct some conditions” that cause this error.  Unfortunately the tool is mentioned briefly in the Help article, then there is much more detail about repairing Windows.  Definitely try the System Update Readiness Tool first. Thankfully a link is provided.

Continue reading “Windows 7 SP1 Installation Failed – Possible Fix With System Update Readiness Tool”

OneNote Mobile – Unsung Killer App for Windows Phone 7

OneNote Mobile may be the best kept secret of Windows Phone 7 (WP7).  By default OneNote syncs any notes you create on the phone with a notebook called Personal (Web) on your Windows Live SkyDrive.  This is great.  It provides a cloud-based copy of all your notes, which is editable from your PC using Office 2010, or in the browser using Office Web Apps.  It really is OneNote everywhere. 

But what if you want to use multiple notebooks?  Or what if you want to share a notebook with another Windows Phone user?  This is where OneNote really gets killer, but unfortunately it’s not readily apparent.  By default OneNote only uses a single notebook, and that can only be sharedby editing permissions from the web, not on the phone.  In addition, individual tabs don’t seem to be shareable, only the notebook.

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Streaming h.264 from Windows Home Server to Xbox 360 (Part 2)

After configuring my WHS so that it will stream h.264 to my Xbox, I now need to convert some movies.  For converting movies to h.264, Handbrake seems to be a good solution, if not the most user friendly.  It offers numerous options, many of which are explained on the Handbrake User Guide.  There are several presets available with options preconfigured for specific devices, though they are mainly targeted towards Apple i-devices.  Unfortunately, there is no preset for Xbox 360 in the current version (v0.94), with developers claiming in their forums that none of them have one, that it doesn’t support standards properly, and it seems to be not worth their time.  Despite that, I still want to find a good combination of settings to produce nice looking h.264 files that will stream to the Xbox.

I started out with the High Profile preset in Handbrake.  However, that did not work out, as there was a lot of stuttering and pausing upon playback from the 360.  I tried the normal profile, which was much smoother, but did not look as good.  Then I began to tweak settings, mainly on the Advanced tab to product a conversion somewhere between Normal and High.

Continue reading “Streaming h.264 from Windows Home Server to Xbox 360 (Part 2)”

Streaming h.264 from Windows Home Server to Xbox 360 (Part 1)

I’ve been working on this one for a while.  I’ve seen suggestions all over the place for streaming movies to the Xbox 360, ranging from using transcoding apps to converting your ripped movies to various formats.  For my purposes, I would prefer to use a single, standard, portable format for my ripped DVD movies which precludes the use of a transcoding app like Transcode360 or some of the others.  h.264 appears to be the dominant format moving forward for video storage, usable across many platforms and devices, and retaining high quality at decent bit rates.

Unfortunately WHS v1 has Windows Media Player 10 and Windows Media Connect 2.0 installed, which doesn’t support streaming MPEG-4.  The Zune software appears to offer such support.  Unfortunately, the Zune software doesn’t install on WHS natively, and requires software from Windows Media Player 11.  WMP 11 also will not install on WHS or Windows Server 2003.  After doing some searching, I found a post on the We Got Served Wiki on installing WMP and Zune.

I followed the process for installation and configuration of WMP11 on WHS.  Only difference was that I used 7-zip to extract the WMP11 download.  Then, to install Zune, I downloaded the setup package (ZuneSetupPkg-x86.exe), and extracted it with 7-zip into it’s own folder.  Then I went into the packages folder and ran Zune-x86.msi, which installed successfully.  After the Zune install finished, I ran it and set the folders to recognize the WHS media folders.  This allowed me to stream h.264 files (with .M4V extension) to the Xbox 360.  Using the right settings for converting movies so that it will play smoothly on the 360 is another story.

Xbox 360 Hard Drive upgrade to 250GB

In early 2006 I bought a Xbox 360 with the 20GB hard drive.  While the original box died and I’ve since replaced it, the hard drive has continued to run strong.  I finally decided that I must have more space for installed games, demos, etc.  So I bought a 250GB Western Digital hard drive from Amazon with for $40 the intent on replacing the 20GB.

The 250GB BEVT works great, with the full capacity showing in the Xbox settings.  To perform the upgrade, I followed this guide, which was very useful.  Nearly everything went just as described in the guide when I followed the directions, except for migrating my data over to the new drive.  I first tried using a WinPE 3.0 USB flash drive to boot and run hddhackr.  That was fail.  Finally I created a regular DOS boot flash drive, attached the drive to a SATA port (running in Legacy mode in the BIOS) and the flash of the 250GB drive went smoothly.

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