Service Pack Slipstream

Some time ago, Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2005 was released. It weighs in at about 430MB of data, and depending on the installed features, may take more than one hour to install on a decent machine.
This, by itself, may be annoying, but not actually a show stopper. What is really mean is the slack that the Windows Installer leaves on your harddisk after installing a patch that large. You might want to take a look at the directory Installer in the Windows directory. After installing the service pack, the Windows Installer “backs up” easily 1GB of data there. So, for clean installations, anybody who is not into masochism might want to slipstream the patch data into the installer.

There is a nice post at the MSDN blog site on how to do that here.
One might wonder why the Windows Installer behaves that way, and obviously, it does that to support re-configuration of the installed software package. The simplest method to do that seems to be this one, but one wonders if there is no better way to handle this. At least, there is no better way to clutter your system drive with data you are most likely never going to need. Over and out from someone with a 4GB sized Installer directory.

WinUAE Help 2.0.9

Peter has yet again done a great job keeping the official WinUAE help file up to date with the latest release of WinUAE, namely 1.4.1. You can grab the latest version of the file in the Emulation section.

Emulation done right

If you have been into computers and games for a couple of years, and want to play your old favorite games again, you are bound to stumble accross emulation at some point, programs that will allow you to run software for other computers or gaming machines on your PC.
Here at vware you will find the official help file for WinUAE, which is the de-facto standard for emulating Amiga machines. This, however, is just one major emulator I would like to hint at.
Lately, what the developers of MAME accomplished, is simply astonishing. They have the do-it-right strategy which is very impressive compared to most of the projects which just try to make something work, even if it may be with hacks. I recommend checking out blogs of some MAME developers:

It is rather interesting following the progress of these dedicated guys, as MAME is a project that had its 10th birthday this year. For educational purposes, I would recommend checking the source code, as it contains sort of a reference implementation for other emulators.

NetInventory 1.0

We are pleased to announce our first stable release based on the new .NET platform provided by Microsoft. As usual, the online help is available in its most current version.

Scorebot, anyone?

You might probably be visiting this site because of the ClanTools package, which actually made vware a little popular in the first place. Development was given up quite some time ago, but at the moment IrcScore is being converted to make use of the latest technology. IrcScore is a scorebot which is capable of querying servers of 17 different games and post their status into IRC. You might even see a revival of the bot in a heavily upgraded incarnation… The current version is available as part of the ClanTools package.

New Server

We recently moved to a new server within our host after having some reliability problems. Apart from this one being faster, it also has a better connection to the Internet. We are sorry for the problems some users had, and hope they are gone now. Big thanks to our host and site admin for the quick help and the excellent new configuration interface!

WinUAE Help 2.0.6

Peter has yet again done a fine job updating the official WinUAE help pages, bringing them on par with the latest developments on WinUAE. You can grab the file in the Downloads->Emulation section. Hopefully I will soon find the time to aid Peter and contribute new stuff to the file as well.

NetInventory 1.0.0-RC2

We are happy to announce the first public release of one of our programs in quite some time: Release Candiate 2 of NetInventory. You are welcome to test it, make suggestions, and help us fix remaining bugs. In general, this version should already be quite stable, due to a intense testing period. So far, the package has been proven to work fine in environments with more than 1000 Windows machines.

Never heard of NetInventory? It is a rather powerful set of tools designed for Administrators, and helps troubleshooting, error detection and prevention. If you want to get informed about NetInventory and what it is capable of, please view the online help.

Interested? The download is 1MB, if you want to give it a try, see the NetInventory section in downloads.

We got obfuscated

When releasing freeware, you do not pay a lot of attention to protecting your program of hackers, or spend a lot of time implementing an overly complicated registration/activation system. However, with the dawn of the .NET Framework and the inability to compile your code to native executables, your compiled program can be decompiled pretty easily.

Freeware does not mean open source in this matter, so coders at least try to keep people from stealing their code. What you get packaged with Visual Studio is Dotfuscator CE, which is said to be one of the better obfuscation tools. With delay signing your assemblies, obfuscating them, and then signing, you make sure that these assemblies stay intact. However, if you have a setup project in the same solution as your source code, building the setup will also re-build all your assemblies, thus destroying all the obfuscation-signing, and simple create new, unsigned, and not obfuscated assemblies.

Just a nice little thing considering the new “coder friendliness” and RAD strategies. Right now, I am working around that by adding all assemblies directly to the setup, instead of adding the project output files, which would have been simpler and easier to maintain. Oh well.

Slow

Developments have been slow for almost 2 months now due to personal matters and work. As things are slowly clearing up a bit, we are getting started again. Strangely, the number of bug reports from testers has decreased almost at the same rate as the development speed has… So, things should really get serious now as to our first releases on the new platform.

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