Dell Latitude E6540 with AData Premier Pro SP900 SSD

It is almost end of the year, although Christmas starts earlier than usual for me. Just got a new laptop with SSD at my work. So I want to give you an impression how it feels to switch from 2 years old Dell Vostro 3560 with Windows 7 to Dell Latitude E6540 with SSD and Windows 8.1.

One of obvious differences is Windows version. From my feeling, Windows 8 is so so faster compared to older versions of Windows. When Windows 8 was in development stage I was actively following all the coming news directly from Microsoft developers. I have seen many greatness coming up. I can feel now the built-in improvements in the new laptop for sure: amazing start up time, sophisticated resources management and really fast UI responsiveness.

Of course, software can’t do much without good hardware. Software developers are used to have best class CPU and a lot of memory for everyday development tasks. I always thought that hard drive speed is not improving so fast as lets say CPU or GPU. Although it is not totally true, because hard drive size is constantly growing, but speeds are not decreasing. The typical HDD is usually 7200 rpm, has less or more cache available and an interface. I have even read somewhere, that technology used in HDD remains the same for the last 30 years. So you can’t expect too much, from the old man, right?

So I did this comparison on the old laptop running full of stuff vs. and the new one already pre-installed with most of my components for every day work: IIS, windows services, SQL server, etc.

Lets see some numbers now. Just check this benchmark HDD vs. SSD:

Vostro 3560 CrystalDiskMark WDC WD5000BPKT-75PK4T0Latitude E6540 CrystalDiskMark Premier Pro SP900If you compare only plain numbers, read speeds are 5x-268x times faster and write speeds are 3x-270x faster. Just amazing. Now cold start-up time of the machine is 15-20 seconds (till I can start clicking). Visual studio solutions compile times increased at least 2x-3x times. To open Visual studio takes less than 10s. For me, used to the old machine, these are really fast numbers. I can’t say how much performance is affected by the SSD in this case, but I believe it is a lot.

Old HDD was nothing special, just a standard model for consumers:

Vostro 3560 CrystalDiskInfo WDC WD5000BPKT-75PK4T0If somebody will be looking for more hardware details about E6540, I made several more print screens.

AData Premier Pro SP900 SSD:

Latitude E6540 CrystalDiskInfo Premier Pro SP900CPU:

Latitude E6540 CPU-Z Intel core i7 4900MQ

GPU:

Latitude E6540 GPU-Z AMD Radeon HD 8790MLatitude E6540 GPU-Z Inten HD graphics 4600Latitude E6540 HWinfo64

Happy coding!

Free OnePlus invitation

Something like year ago, I was looking to buy for my first smart phone. IOnePlus have also taken a peek at OnePlus One. Although I didn’t want to wait for an invitation, but created an account and just bought another middle range phone.

Sadly, just few hours ago I finally received my invitation to buy OnePlus One. To make someone happy, here is the link to claim the phone. Please put a comment below if you have used it.

You have a new invite!

Dear fanboy/girl,

Whoop whoop! You have just received an invite to purchase the OnePlus One.

To use this invite, please follow this link to claim it as yours (you have less than 24h to do so): https://account.oneplus.net/invite/claim/GLVE-IWWM-B4H6-1PDB. If you haven’t yet registered your account, no problem. Just follow this link: https://account.oneplus.net/sign-up

Remember that this invite can only be used for orders shipping to Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States.

The invite will expire 24 hours from when we sent this email, not necessarily when you received it, please claim it as soon as possible as expired invites are not re-activated.

Enjoy!

Azure MSDN subscription disabled even not all credits are used up

I did try out Azure payable services using MSDN credits. But after several hours my account was disabled. When I login in Azure portal (old or new, doesn’t matter) I see this information message: “Your subscription has been disabled as it has no credit remaining. Remove spending limit”.

Azure MSDN credits disabled 1I have not used Azure so heavily to consume 75 Euro so quickly. Here is a list of my total usage currently shown on the portal:

Azure MSDN credits disabled 2New Azure portal shows this billing summary (I have one private and one MSDN subscriptions):

Azure services billing including MSDN subscriptionMaybe someone knows why it happened and what to do now? Comments are very welcome.

TomTom Via 135 can’t update maps (solved)

Last week I was solving big issue with my TomTom Via 135 (including Lifetime Maps). As usually (every quarter) I got email about new free map available for my navigation device. As usually I connected my device to computer and expected smooth update process. But this time things went bad…

Download of a map went OK using MyTomTom application. Maybe I even didn’t saw at first, but later I noticed that I got this error while updating the maps.

TomTom Via 135 not connected. Installation interrupted. Please reconnect your navigation device.

1) Not connected. Installation interrupted. Please reconnect your navigation device.

I immediately started cheeking what have happened. Old maps from my navigation device were deleted and new maps were not yet installed. I was getting red screen on TomTom navigation and a message “Maps not found”.

I tried like ten more times to proceed with copying, but neither was good. Still was getting the same message (1). So started Googling…

I found such issues similar to mine: “tomtom installation interrupted”, “tomtom not connected”, “tomtom no maps found”. Also bumped into this advices from TomTom support (copied for the future):

  • Make sure you have the latest Service Pack for Windows installed.
  • Reset your navigation device and make sure that your device is switched on when connecting to the computer.
  • Make sure you are logged in as an ‘Administrator’ to ensure that you have sufficient rights to connect new hardware to your computer.
  • Connect your navigation device to a different USB port on your computer.
    You should plug the USB connector directly into a USB port on your computer and not into a USB hub or USB port on a keyboard or monitor.
  • Make sure that you are using the original USB cable that came with the navigation device and connect it directly to the device. You cannot use the mount to connect your device to your computer.
  • Check if the USB cable is faulty.
    If possible, use a different USB cable to connect your navigation device to the computer.
  • Firewalls, antivirus scanners and pop-up blockers can also interfere with MyDrive Connect. It may be necessary to configure your firewall and router to allow MyDrive Connect full access to the internet.
  • If you are using MyDrive Connect on a business network, for example at your workplace, be aware that your company may have restrictions and access policies that may prevent MyDrive Connect from connecting to TomTom servers. Also, if you are using a public network, it could be an unstable internet connection and could cause a download or an installation failure.

None of these tips were helpful. Also tried many suggestions from TomTom forums, but also without luck. I was still experimenting after few days. After cache cleanings, re-installations, resets, different USB ports, different computers, different browsers (TomTom MyDrive) and various other things I saw this new error while TomTom was plugged in (for a long time):

TomTom USB device not recognized

TomTom USB device not recognized

Again Googled and in few posts found out that TomTom device, if connected successfully, should show up in “Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Devices and Printers” and also in “Device Manager\Network adapters”. I was not seeing it.

In the mean time, I got automatically “critical update” for MyTomTom software (Windows) and it became TomTom MyDrive. Web interface had this name long time ago. But error didn’t disappear after software update.

TomTom MyDrive installation interrupted. Please reconnect your navigation device

Installation interrupted. Please reconnect your navigation device

The only thing I was suspecting was the same USB malfunction error. Totally accidentally I tried not TomTom original cable. As I saw later this tip was already mentioned by TomTom itself: “Check if the USB cable is faulty. If possible, use a different USB cable to connect your navigation device to the computer”. I have used micro USB cable from my phone to connect TomTom navigation to a computer. I needed carefully insert micro connector to the navigation device, because it was not like TomTom hook thing and I was afraid to damage micro USB slot in the device itself.

Solution: with the new USB cable I updated the maps on TomTom from the first try. After many hours I was again able to use the device. But I am still not sure if this “fix” is future proof… 

I hope this information summary will help you in your case solving, dear reader!

For the record, I also made some print screens of TomTom device details (Device manager -> Network adapters -> TomTom), before the fix.

TomTom device manager network adapters general

Currently, this hardware device is not connected to the computer (Code 45)

TomTom device manager network adapters driver

Preparing for exam 70-583: Designing and Developing Windows Azure Applications

Last year I have finished my MCPD certification on “Windows Developer 4″. This year I want to achieve MCPD on “Windows Azure Developer”. To get the certification I only need to pass one exam: 70-583 Designing and Developing Windows Azure Applications.

My certifications in progressMCPD Windows Azure Developer prerequisites and requirementsI was looking on internet for self-training resources which could help me and created a list. If you know any other good material for preparation, please add it to comments.

  1. On exam page you will find links to preparation resources. Official self-paced training “Learning Plan for Designing and Developing Windows Azure Applications” is little bit outdated. Information provided is from years 2010-1011. BUT, this is an old exam, so you don’t need to know latest & greatest from Azure. Strangely, link is not working if I am singed in with Microsft live.
  2. On this site you will find some more links which helped other people to prepare for the exam.
  3. One more guy sharing his preparation material: “Top Five resources to help you prepare for 70 583 Designing and Developing Windows Azure Applications“.
  4. Useful discussions in MSDN forum “Looking for Exam 70-583 material“.
  5. Probably too new for the exam, but very extensive material: “Learn Windows Azure with these free Microsoft Virtual Academy courses online“.

Of course, exam is not everything what you need to know to become a good Azure developer. I also recommend to follow latest news on Azure on Channel9.

Install msi silently with PowerShell

If you have prerequisites for your application, you know how big pain is to install all of them. And after you have done multiple installations over and over again, you can feel as a monkey doing the same thing every time.

To avoid such situations and improve deployment process you probably already started using PowerShell, because it is very very flexible power tool for software deployment challenges.

Recently I added some automatization for deployment process with installing msi in sequence and even without user interaction. Not everything can be installed without user interaction (silently). But you can always choose what to install with UI for user’s input, silent installation without UI and optionally to wait for a msi installation to finish.

In the example below msi setup is installed and PS waits till it is finished. No user interface is displayed, because msi doesn’t require any user input. You can even pass some parameters to MSI.

You can refactor this example to your to needs. And don’t forget to share your script in comments below!

Pass arguments to WIX\MSI setup

It is possible to pass needed arguments to MSI\WIX setups from command line. This approach can be used to make deployments more customizable.

First you need to define properties in WIX definition:

Second, you need to start MSI with parameters to set before defined properties:

In the end, you could get user interface fields pre-filled with your passed values:

WIX MSI example

SVG images display in XAML

Last weekend I was looking for possibility to display SVG images in WPF applications. Svg is an vector image format (two dimensional). It means, that you can scale image without any quality loss and image will stay sharp.

One simple way to do that is to convert SVG image to Canvas object. Or you can create custom Canvas by yourself.

Let say I have SVG image source:

XAML code got from SVG to XAML converter:

What you will see in items control (alternating rows enabled):

SVG example in xamlIt was not so difficult in the end.